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A Chequered Chieftain at #10

Forum for discussion relating to the Chietain MBT
Richard Goodwin
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A Chequered Chieftain at #10

Post by Richard Goodwin » Fri Nov 01, 2019 12:08 am

Welcome to my very first build blog. I've never built an Armortek model before nor anything approaching this size, let alone the weight! The the last time I did anything mechanical (other than fix the car) was over 40 years ago in my apprenticeships so I have a steep learning curve to overcome and be of no doubt, I will be asking plenty of newbie questions to our experts :roll: so please be gentle :wink:

As the title suggests, the lady I'm going to model will be smartly dressed in Urban Camo. She will also undertake a modification program to bring her up to the Mk10 standard ie 'Stillbrew', a challenge in itself methinks. 03 EB 20 will be my subject and unlike many of her sisters, is still in one piece and currently resides at the Combined Military Services Museum in Maldon, Essex.

From the brief history kindly provided by CMSM, 03 EB 20 started life in 1967 as a Mk2. She initially served in BATUS then with the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, the 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards, the Queens Royal Irish Hussars, and finally, with SHQ Troop, C Squadron, 14/20th Kings Hussars as part of the Berlin Armoured Brigade from 1988 with the call sign Zero Delta. Following the collapse of the Berlin Wall, C Squadron left Berlin in 1991 and returned to their Regiment. In 1992 she was returned to the CVD in Wiltshire where she was struck off to the Imperial War Museum at Duxford in 1995. Around 2016, she was moved to CMSM less her engine!

She is quite a famous Chieftain with her pictures appearing in the Tankograd book previously mentioned in the 'Chieftain References' thread; she is also the subject of the Takom Mk10 1:35 scale kit. The most famous of all her pictures is probably the full frontal with the barrel pointing right at the camera; a fabulous view of the rifling. I sincerely hope I can do her justice with my limited knowledge and abilities!
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03 EB 20 as she is today with a new lick of paint but still a few details to be added

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Re: A Chequered Chieftain at #10

Post by Richard Goodwin » Fri Nov 01, 2019 3:24 pm

I'm a little behind the drag curve on maintaining this blog so I will endeavour to do better and keep up :oops:

So, on the 4th October commencing at 0900 hrs, I began sitting in the garage with the door open, patiently waiting for Santa, freezing my little wotsits off :roll: A pkt of biccies, several cups of coffee and numerous roll ups later, at 1154 hours precisely, Santa pulled up outside the house in his heavily modified sleigh, both being expertly disguised in the UPS livery! The heart started pounding and I had a grin from ear to ear.....oh what a happy bunny was I :D :D :D
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130kg of joy + the owner of course!
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Loving the little details!
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Not looking forward to changing this work of beauty
Attachments
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Look at the size of this thing!

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Re: A Chequered Chieftain at #10

Post by Mark Heaps » Fri Nov 01, 2019 4:15 pm

In Berlin as part of QRIH, she would have been DofE Sqn ( Duke of Edinburgh´s ). I was attached to the parent regiment in York Barracks, Munster in C Sqn Fitter Section. When the 14th/20th took over, C Sqn went to Berlin, we stayed where we were and became D Sqn Fitter Section.
0D or Zero Delta was the third tank in SHQ (Squadron Headquarters ) and had a highly experienced crew. Its purpose was primarily as a spare vehicle so if Zero-Bravo ( Sqn Leaders tank ) or Zero-Charlie (Sqn 2IC´s tank ) broke down, they as individuals could jump onto Zero-Delta, change the callsign to their own and keep fighting the battle. The commander of Zero-Delta would have gone to the broken-down tank untill it could be repaired. Secondary purpose was defense of SHQ.
Mark

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Re: A Chequered Chieftain at #10

Post by Richard Goodwin » Fri Nov 01, 2019 4:39 pm

Many thanks for that Mark, I've now learn't a little more! I'll be sure to pass that back to CMSM as well; I'm sure they would be interested. Just one question; are you saying she was definitely in Berlin with the QRIH?

I need to find her record card which should tell me when she was converted to a Mk10 just incase the stillbrew doesn't work out :lol:

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Re: A Chequered Chieftain at #10

Post by Mark Heaps » Fri Nov 01, 2019 5:01 pm

I cannot say for certain she was there with the QRIH. All I can say is which squadron of QRIH and 14th/20th was the Berlin squadron. I was attached to the regiments at the main location in Munster. I was there for two years and we disposed of non-stillbrew and got Challenger 1.
If she was QRIH 1987/1988 and Stillbrew at that time then she would have been in Berlin, she was not in Munster.
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Re: A Chequered Chieftain at #10

Post by Richard Goodwin » Fri Nov 01, 2019 5:17 pm

Thanks again Mark. The info I have suggests that she went directly from QRIH to the 14/20th so it was highly possible that was 87/88. One final question, would the tanks stay at location and the crews rotate in and out? Would make sense given the paint scheme.

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Re: A Chequered Chieftain at #10

Post by Mark Heaps » Fri Nov 01, 2019 5:31 pm

Both QRIH and 14th/20th as the Berlin Squadron. It was a squadron detached from the regiment and acting independently. No crew rotation but I believe crew members were occasionally sent to Berlin to fill in gaps due to leave periods or commpassionate cases.
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Re: A Chequered Chieftain at #10

Post by Stephen White » Fri Nov 01, 2019 8:06 pm

Richard

03EB20 was built by ROF Leeds as a Mk 2 under contract KL/A/217, which produced 355 Mk 2s between Apr 66 - Aug 69. It then underwent the TOTEM POLE upgrades. The X/Y mods (essentially TLS and MRS) made it a Mk 2(Y)L, Mk 2(Y)1 and finally a Mk 2(Y)2. It then subsequently went back to 23 Base Workshops Wetter, to complete the Z mods, which resulted in it becoming a Mk 6(L through to Mk6/4(C). This work would have been done in the late 1970s but you'd have to find the record card to establish exact dates. In the 80s, it went back to Base Workshops for installation of IFCS and APFSDS ammunition stowage, after which it was a Mk 9. Final major upgrade to install STILLBREW would have happened between 1982-84, after which it became a Mk 10.

I've put a lot more detail on the development history of Chieftain on other threads, so I won't repeat here.

It's not easy to tell at what stage this photo was taken but it looks like pre MRS, ie as a Mk 2 and the tac sign 20/4 refers to 20 Armd Bde which was stationed in Paderborn/Sennelager (possibly the worst lager in the world....). I'm struggling to make out the cap badge but if I had to guess, I'd say 16th/5th Lancers.

5C4H4ZhVMLiXaFVI2SLwryKsgUQndXF6LXNWB76C.jpg

C Sqn, 14th/20th King's Hussars in Berlin, 1989

CusBifLgSFeux1XEBzLicrajUi3F0wzk7zbLYwSB.jpg

A word of caution about the Berlin camouflage scheme. The application was very precise, unlike the green/black scheme, which was applied with considerable artistic licence. In order for the Berlin scheme to work, it had to be repeatable to a set template, as you can see above. There have been a number of attempts to recreate it, including on the Mk3 hybrid owned by the Tank Museum, which is currently on loan to Overloon. The latter scheme is not authentic and was freestyled by the Friends of the Tank Museum. For the definitive scheme, it's best to refer to contemporary photos alone. I haven't looked at the Takom scheme or the current scheme on 03EB20.

Regards

Stephen

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Re: A Chequered Chieftain at #10

Post by John Clarke » Fri Nov 01, 2019 8:22 pm

Nice catchy title to your topic Richard. :wink:

Like mine, a bit Punchy.

Looking forward to seeing the Brightest Smartest Chieftain on the block. 8)
Oh Man, I only ride em I don't know what makes them work,
Definatley an Anti-Social type

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Re: A Chequered Chieftain at #10

Post by Richard Goodwin » Fri Nov 01, 2019 9:22 pm

Stephen White wrote:
Fri Nov 01, 2019 8:06 pm
Richard

03EB20 was built by ROF Leeds as a Mk 2 under contract KL/A/217, which produced 355 Mk 2s between Apr 66 - Aug 69. It then underwent the TOTEM POLE upgrades. The X/Y mods (essentially TLS and MRS) made it a Mk 2(Y)L, Mk 2(Y)1 and finally a Mk 2(Y)2. It then subsequently went back to 23 Base Workshops Wetter, to complete the Z mods, which resulted in it becoming a Mk 6(L through to Mk6/4(C). This work would have been done in the late 1970s but you'd have to find the record card to establish exact dates. In the 80s, it went back to Base Workshops for installation of IFCS and APFSDS ammunition stowage, after which it was a Mk 9. Final major upgrade to install STILLBREW would have happened between 1982-84, after which it became a Mk 10.

I've put a lot more detail on the development history of Chieftain on other threads, so I won't repeat here.

It's not easy to tell at what stage this photo was taken but it looks like pre MRS, ie as a Mk 2 and the tac sign 20/4 refers to 20 Armd Bde which was stationed in Paderborn/Sennelager (possibly the worst lager in the world....). I'm struggling to make out the cap badge but if I had to guess, I'd say 16th/5th Lancers.

A word of caution about the Berlin camouflage scheme. The application was very precise, unlike the green/black scheme, which was applied with considerable artistic licence. In order for the Berlin scheme to work, it had to be repeatable to a set template, as you can see above. There have been a number of attempts to recreate it, including on the Mk3 hybrid owned by the Tank Museum, which is currently on loan to Overloon. The latter scheme is not authentic and was freestyled by the Friends of the Tank Museum. For the definitive scheme, it's best to refer to contemporary photos alone. I haven't looked at the Takom scheme or the current scheme on 03EB20.

Regards

Stephen

Many thanks for the additional history Stephen; I;ll pass that back to CMSM for their info. Good spot as a Mk2 though, I hadn't seen that one before!

So in a nutshell, the stillbrew is going to have to work........no other option available if I want an Urban Camo scheme.

You are quite correct to urge caution on the format of the scheme. I believe the allowed error from the template was 2 inches so in our scale, 8.5mm :shock: The reason why it was so tight a tolerance was'nt primarily due to the parades, it was a tactical one such that all vehicles (not just tanks) would be of similar appearance such that the enemy would not be able to identify the number of vehicles or the unit by the vehicles colour scheme. It also blended in very well with buildings in the background to the point where the vehicle would disappear!

I know the Takom scheme is incorrect so I won't be following that; I am as you suggested following photos from the time period namely from the Tankograd book unless of course someone has a copy of the template hiding away somewhere? The current paint job was done using that same technique of referring to books and the internet.

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Re: A Chequered Chieftain at #10

Post by Richard Goodwin » Fri Nov 01, 2019 9:28 pm

John Clarke wrote:
Fri Nov 01, 2019 8:22 pm
Nice catchy title to your topic Richard. :wink:

Like mine, a bit Punchy.

Looking forward to seeing the Brightest Smartest Chieftain on the block. 8)
I thought so to John although the 'Stillbew for a fuller flavour which you kindly put forward was a very close second!

Yes, in the grass it will stand out like a sore thumb; perhaps I should build some plasticard buildings to hide it in :lol:

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Re: A Chequered Chieftain at #10

Post by Richard Goodwin » Fri Nov 01, 2019 10:25 pm

Located behind the bow wave deflector is 'Ser No 102' as shown in the photo below. Is this the Serial Number of the tank itself I wonder?
DSCF0518-1.jpg

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Re: A Chequered Chieftain at #10

Post by Stephen White » Sat Nov 02, 2019 12:08 pm

Richard, the hull castings were supplied to the two production lines from sub-contractors. The Chieftain drawing for the casting specifies two cast marks, the drawing number (FV46922512/1 ie sheet I of2) and the "maker's symbol":

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Screenshot 2019-11-02 at 11.57.01.jpg (128.99 KiB) Viewed 1334 times

The star symbol on your photo is the maker's identification and I suggest the SER 102 is a maker's reference. Given that the tank was a Mark 2 originally, the number might reflect the number of castings produced to date by that sub-contractor. Similar markings can be seen one on the Bovington Chieftains:

IMG_8252.jpg
IMG_8253.jpg

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Re: A Chequered Chieftain at #10

Post by Richard Goodwin » Sat Nov 02, 2019 1:03 pm

Many thanks for the drawing and pics. This number however, is much lower down, in line with the headlights. Wouldn't it be unusual for the suppliers to deviate from the drawings unless of course, the drawings were amended at a later date and the location and markings had changed? The following picture is whats just above the Ser no; you can just make out the makers stamp in the lower half. To the left of the plate is an 'F', to the right, '/1' It looks as if the drawing number was here and has been partially been ground off to allow fitment of this plate. Any ideas what this plate was for?
DSCF0516-1.jpg

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Re: A Chequered Chieftain at #10

Post by Stephen White » Sat Nov 02, 2019 2:06 pm

Richard, drawing FV469251 was first produced in 1963 but the amendment record shows the version I'm looking at dates from 1971, so it's entirely possible that the location of the casting marks was changed.

It may be that the change was introduced with the tank dozer blade installation. I can't now remember when that came in, except that it wasn't popular and I had to suffer it on my tank when I was Second-in-Command of A Sqn, 4RTR around 1977. It always fell to one of the SHQ tanks to carry it. Your mounting plate doesn't appear on the drawings for hull machining for external fixtures, nor, significantly on the drawings for the "Deep Wading Equipment Fittings", so we can rule those out.

The manual for the dozer blade doesn't illustrate the mounting fixtures but that's not surprising. The dozer blade was a universal fit for all Chieftain MBT ie it could be fitted to any tank. The dozer blade pickup points were the towing eye brackets on the toe plate but the hydraulic distribution block and blade locking cylinders sat under a cover on the front part of the glacis. The mounting plate you asked about was also a universal fitting, so my best guess is that it was used to secure elements of the dozer installation.

Stephen

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