Sunday, 12 July 2015

Tankfest Fury 2015

This year I was lucky enough to have a free weekend to plan a trip down to Bovington to see Tankfest. Tickets had sold out for the Saturday, and a friend managed to secure 2 for Sunday. The Tiger was due to role out, and the theme this year was centred around 'Fury' the film.

A quick purchase of the film on Friday, meant that we watched it on Saturday before setting off on the Sunday morning. The film doesn't pull any punches, given some natural restrictions that a film has. A lot of the actors were older than they would have been, if they were serving soldiers at the time. Not a problem to be honest, if you have to stump up the millions for a film, and would like to get some money back to pay for it , you need names to get people in to see it. War and tank warfare is messy, very messy. You don't need to see it all, and thank goodness you can't smell it.

Fury used the Bovington Tiger tank, and 4 restored Shermans for actual footage in the film. Restrictions were made on the use of the tanks and the amount of hours they could be operated. There were of course other restored vehicles used as well to add depth and colour to the film, and mercifully minimal CGI that seem to plague/infest other films of whatever genre.

The VCC, showing vehicles awaiting time, love and money

Tankfest was packed, and after getting in, it was hard to get around through the mass of people, so we really only managed half of the VCC (Vehicle Conservation Centre) hanger, and half of the display field with the re-enactors and traders. This was due to our inability to get up to the edge of the display arena and see what was going on.

A British MkIV, powered by a JCB, part of the Museums exhibits

After looking at replica WW1 tanks - a German A7V and British MkIV, we headed to the VCC for a quick look, and then the arena.

The first display was of current vehicles of the modern  British Army, with a simulated blue on red recce and attack, supported with a drop by RM Commando's and Seaking, and extraction. Comic relief was the removal of one of the trees in the arena by a Challenger tank. It just barreled over it, sat there looking a bit embarrassed, and then reversed off the arena.

Grabbing a burger and tea, strolling through the field, I had a quick look at some of the reenactors. There were WW1, and WW2 guys there, Soviets, US and German Fallschirmjagers. The US and Fallschirmjagers would take part in the Fury display at the end of the afternoon. We then found a good place to see the arena displays, and since they had opened up the tank park for the vehicle displays had a good look around. Prior to the afv through the ages display. We would stay there the rest of the afternoon having secured our spot.

In the tank park, but did not feature in a display

The tank park had 3 of the 4 Shermans from the film Fury in the park, and I managed to take a lot of view shots of the markings, stowage and general detritus that tanks would pick up in operations. The main reason was to help with my modelling of my own US Shermans, and allow me to add appropriate detail to them. There were also a few afv's that really take my fancy there, especially the Infantry Tank Mk1 and a Czech in German service P38t

Lucy Sue


Early afternoon then saw the afv display of different types of vehicles and from various periods, including the venerable P38t which coughed and spluttered round. The P38t was just about operational and got round on love and luck, proudly making its own way off without being towed. A credit to the staff who keep the vehicles going and repaired.

Tiger 131

A tea break and then a shortish wait for the main display. Set in May 1945, using US reenactors and German Fallschirmjager reenactors, and of course, the Bovington Tiger 131 and 3 of the Fury films Shermans. The display started with a US patrol supported by Shermans coming up against a last ditch defence organised by the Fallschirmjagers and Volksturm. A simulated air attack by a Spitfire was done to soften up the defences and then it was game on. What was noticeable was the popping sound of rifles which grew to a crescendo. The Shermans were set up to fire black powder charges, I don't know about the Tiger, but they were all impressive with their clanging, clanking and squealing of tracks.

Tiger 131 supporting the German defences

The Shermans on the attack

A low blow, again short in the rear, and brewing up. A Pzr III to the left that did not survive either

As a day out at Bovington, there was just so much to see, all high quality and equally demanding , from the VCC to the field displays, and the tank park and arena. Not forgeting the Museum displays of course. Fortunately, with the Tankfest ticket you can come back at a later date to have a more relaxed look at things - its a year ticket, but does exclude special events.

A good day out and well worth it.

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