“The Tank Museum” – there are few, if any, military enthusiasts that wouldn’t know this refers to The Tank Museum, Bovington Camp, Dorset. I’ve been visiting this museum since I was a small boy, long before ‘health and safety’ prohibited climbing on the tank exhibits around the car park and museum entrance.
Since those days the museum has grown in both scope, sophistication of presentation and appeal. Back in the late 1960s / early 1970s (when I was a small boy) the museum presented a collection of armour, now in the 21st Century many of the vehicles are presented in a historical context to enhance the understanding of both the casual visitor and the enthusiast. Current themes and exhibitions include:
- The Tiger Tank Collection
- Tank factory
- War Horse to Horse Power
The visit during which I took the photos on this page was fleeting, lasting only 2 hours on Friday 31st March. In fact I was in that part of the world to attend the Swanage railway Spring steam Gala, but being so close to The Tank Museum and knowing that the new Tiger tank exhibition was open, a visit just had to be made.
So let’s start with The Tiger Tank Collection…
And now lets move on to the Fury exhibition focusing on the movie of the same name starring Brad Pitt. Fury is a mid-war M4A2(76) HVSS Sherman, the ’76’ referring to the 76mm gun and ‘HVSS’ referring to the suspension (Horizontal Volute Spring System). Both features were an improvement over earlier marks of Sherman, but by 1945 Fury would have been out-classed by the latest German armour.
A more recent exhibition is Tank factory, describing the history and manufacture of tanks in the UK.
Finally let’s take a look at some of my favourite armour from the 1939-45 period on display in the tank hall.
The Tank Museum is most definitely worth a visit; for the enthusiast it’s a stunning collection of armour, while for the casual and family visitor there is plenty of hands-on and audio-visual entertainment in support of the exhibits.