Spanners and other stuff you could put in the tool boxes

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Stephen White
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Re: Spanners and other stuff you could put in the tool boxes

Post by Stephen White » Fri Sep 13, 2019 11:29 am

John, I'm not qualified to talk about wiggly amps, that's Mark's field but I can comment on refreshments. Forget the wine, too smart and too fragile. In WW2, during a roadside halt in France maybe but not on Chieftain. I did have a bottle of Grouse once but it smashed and my tank suits smelt very good for a week afterwards. It was winter, 'kin cold on the tanks and you needed something to warm you. The whisky was an essential component of "nippy sweeties" (well, it was a Jock regiment) which was an unholy alliance of the Farmhouse Goose and cherry brandy. As for beer, if it was Canada, it was Labbatts Blue, although the odd slab of Carly did creep in:

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In Germany, it was usually Herforder, known as the yellow handbag. You needed a minimum of two slabs, one to provide for emergency thirst and one to pay off the recovery crew on the ARV if you were ever stupid enough to get bogged. There is no surviving photographic evidence that I ever got bogged........

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If on the Soltau Training Area (SLTA), resupply came via the world renowned Wolfgang:

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He was always there at the critical moments. Unfortunate rumours started to circulate last year that he'd died, until he popped up on social media to say that he was still very much enjoying his retirement. Before he did that, the tributes were flowing in.


Of course, Fourth Tanks did things differently and we had a deal with Dewars and with Tennants and the favoured beer was the latter, in the cans with the tasteful totty pics.

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That's exhausted my extensive knowledge of beer on tanks.

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Re: Spanners and other stuff you could put in the tool boxes

Post by John-Heaps » Fri Sep 13, 2019 1:02 pm

Hi All,
to clear up some questions on the firing circuit tester, there was the official version and a locally produced version which is what you have here, normally made locally when the traverse monster had eaten the official one, in use you would mount it in the FNA with the cross drilled hole pointing up, by looking into the gap between the rear of the breech block and the breech ring you could see it light up when testing the circuit and just as important see it go out when the trigger was released.
The circuits could be tested with obi, s fitted as you were not trying to look at the front of the block and due to the flash channel not being in a straight line you would not see any light anyway as light does not tend to go round corners well.

Mounted in the emergency firing circuit box was a small 12v battery that was trickle charged during normal use and came into play when the switch was thrown and was independent of the rest of the vehicle batteries.

The gun cannot be fired with the breech open as someone suggested, the vent tube chamber would be nowhere near the FNA, the firing needle would be cammed rearwards, the flash channel would be well below the bore line and even if you lit the charge with a match without containment the propellant would burn very slowly.

During testing it was normal to test all the firing circuits with both the operational and spare FNA and BREC.

hope that helps.
Cheers
John

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Re: Spanners and other stuff you could put in the tool boxes

Post by Mark Heaps » Fri Sep 13, 2019 1:29 pm

Hi John Clarke,

Firing circuits were a nominal 24v like every other system on the tank.

For some unknown or forgotten reason, I believe the vent tubes only needed 19.2 Volts or thereabouts but do not quote me on that.

Both generators could have failed, hull and turret batteries totally drained but the tank could still keep on firing for a while.
Chieftain, Challenger 1 & Challenger 2 tanks had a lot of Rev Modes ( Reversionary Modes ) that crews could have and would have used, and they were tested on. In my experience only the first couple of shoots on a firing camp were done using full modes to give the crews confidence that the tanks were fully servicable. The shoots were then made progressively harder by the crews being ordered to switch one or more of the systems off to simulate their failure during battle, fight the tank using the systems still available.

Last Rev Mode available was the gunner would hand-crank the gun and switch from Normal to Emergency. This would connect a set of rechargeable batteries to and only to the vent tube firing circuit and either the gunner would have to reach backwards or the commander reach downwards to hit the "tit". Theoretically the crew would have been able to fire off any bomb load they still carried before having to abandon the vehicle.

I only fixed them and gave the crews the best possible vehicle available at the time, subject to spares availabilty. People like my brother and Stephen crewed them and put themselves at risk inbetween the enemy and me so that I could do my job. My attitude was always that my personal weapon was either 7.62mm SLR, 9mm SMG or 5.56mm SA80 small arm. If I had to use it to defend myself then something has gone severely wrong or I have severely screwed up. If I was doing my job properly, there were 12 tanks, each with a 120mm cannnon and 2 7.62mm machine guns between the enemy & me and keeping me safe.

Mark

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Re: Spanners and other stuff you could put in the tool boxes

Post by Mark Heaps » Fri Sep 13, 2019 1:36 pm

I would need to have access to the circuit diagrams to confirm it but I seem to remember it was two 12 volt batteries . In Normal mode, they were connected in parallel and trickle charged. Selecting Emergency put them in series and put their output to the vent tube firing circuit.

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Re: Spanners and other stuff you could put in the tool boxes

Post by Mark Heaps » Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:03 pm

Ah, Yellow handbags. The unofficial currency of BAOR. Need your car motor fixing, pay the VM in yellow handbags. Want a car radio installed, pay the ECE with yellow handbags.
My first posting to Münster, the Sqn Ldr asked if I could completely rewire his horse box and I said it was a 3-handbag job. On the Saturday arranged to do the work, he had been called away to a conference somewhere so only his wife was there. On reporting to her that the job was completed
Her - "My husband said to hand over these" - proffering three yellow handbags
Me - " Thank you , Maam"
Her - "What do we owe you for the work?"
Me - "Maam, you have paid in full"
Her- "I do not understand."
Me -"Maam, ask your husband on his return, he will explain."

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Re: Spanners and other stuff you could put in the tool boxes

Post by Mark Heaps » Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:34 pm

Nippy sweeties must have been an officer thing or a tankie thing.
We just generaly put up with coffee with "white" sugar or coffee with "brown" sugar

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Re: Spanners and other stuff you could put in the tool boxes

Post by Stephen White » Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:53 pm

Very much a Jock Tankie thing. Stuff goes on north of the border. Tin mug, lots of oily finger prints, purple content downed before the coffee. Warmed most parts but made long range observation tricky. Totally medicinal.

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Re: Spanners and other stuff you could put in the tool boxes

Post by John Clarke » Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:39 pm

Cheers John, Mark and Stephen.

Where else can you get information like this.

WW2 stuff is great, but it can only be gained from edited books. The participants are not around any more.

But true life memories are something else .....................Real. 8)

Nippy sweeties and yellow handbags
Oh Man, I only ride em I don't know what makes them work,
Definatley an Anti-Social type

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Re: Spanners and other stuff you could put in the tool boxes

Post by Mark Heaps » Sat Sep 14, 2019 7:00 pm

John Clarke wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:39 pm

Where else can you get information like this.

Nippy sweeties and yellow handbags
Coffee with "white" sugar - tot of Baileys added to it. Coffee with "brown" sugar- tot of rum added to it. Both bottles held in reserve along with the ingredients for corned beef cheesy pom. When the crew were absolutely shattered from lack of sleep and overworked , cold & wet and on their last legs and about to collapse, they would be used to keep the crew functional and fixing /recovering tanks for another 24 hours until we did get a break.

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Re: Spanners and other stuff you could put in the tool boxes

Post by John Clarke » Sat Sep 14, 2019 7:32 pm

It's a whole new world :lol:
Oh Man, I only ride em I don't know what makes them work,
Definatley an Anti-Social type

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Re: Spanners and other stuff you could put in the tool boxes

Post by Stuart Faulkner » Sat Sep 14, 2019 7:32 pm

Don't forget a packet of lemon screech.

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Re: Spanners and other stuff you could put in the tool boxes

Post by Mark Heaps » Sat Sep 14, 2019 8:33 pm

Lemon screech ? Did someone actualy drink it ??

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Re: Spanners and other stuff you could put in the tool boxes

Post by Mark Heaps » Sat Sep 14, 2019 9:11 pm

For those who did not serve, there was lemon screech and orange screech. Packets of powder that you then mixed with water to get a "refreshing" drink or at least that is what was the idea. The orange version was barely tolerable, the lemon version went in the rubbish sack. They were known as screech because you screeched when drinking them.

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Re: Spanners and other stuff you could put in the tool boxes

Post by Richard Goodwin » Sat Sep 14, 2019 10:17 pm

For those of us that did'nt have access to fresh water and had to use water purifying tablets, those powder packets were a godsend! You boys obviously had it far to easy :lol:

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Re: Spanners and other stuff you could put in the tool boxes

Post by John-Heaps » Sun Sep 15, 2019 4:42 pm

Hi All,
even when i was in Belize the taste of the purification tablets was better than screech, even the local Belizian kids who could not afford pop would not touch it, it was terrible but it did have a use, mix powder with less water than quoted on packet and put in a watertight pot, drop in the gas plug and parts from the machine guns and watch it eat off the carbon.
Citric acid and sugar did clean MG parts but what would it do to your guts?.

Back to spanners and stuff, normal form in my old unit was if you needed REME to fix your wagon was as follows,
REME get to you, the tank/recce crew takes over local protection, radio watch and also set about feeding and watering the fitters so they could get on with getting us back in the fight, in my time i have seen our fitters sections go from one breakdown to the next with no breaks/sleep in between for days at end, by using this method at least the fitters were fed and were there for the next task.

one fitter crew even had a section of scaffold board to use as a gang plank from one vehicle to the casualty so they did not have to climb up and down, again saving time and energy.

i spent a long time doing recce and could be tasked out of area and doing a simple thing like being polite and respectful when dropping in on the nearest REME detachment not from my unit helped ( Hello TIFI, i have an issue, could you assist me PLEASE) got me back on task.

on the subject of crates of beer, it was normal in my time to ask for help from REME by way of a crate (VM fix to car/ ECE fit radio to car) but the more normal was if you as a crewman had screwed up and broken something was to go to your TIFI with a crate of beer and say "hello TIFI i have a problem with my wagon(put crate on TIFI desk) could you help me PLEASE", if it was really bad and they could save you you would be issued a bill for a bottle of whisky for the section, did not happen often.

The best tool a Chieftain had was its BV, it did not matter what else went wrong as long as you could feed and water your fitter section they would get you back in the fight by hook or crook, black nasty and Don ten,

Cheers John

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