Chinese Eye Chieftain

Forum for discussion relating to the Chietain MBT
Phil Woollard
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Re: Chinese Eye Chieftain

Post by Phil Woollard » Sun May 05, 2019 7:53 pm

I'm liking these photos they will make excellent reference material. The running gear wear is very nice indeed. 8)
Mechanical engineer, Pyrotechnic technician, and small time farmer.
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Stephen White
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Re: Chinese Eye Chieftain

Post by Stephen White » Sun May 05, 2019 8:34 pm

What follows might give you a feel for Chieftain in action. I can't now remember who the firepower demonstration was for but they must have been worthy because a lot of ammunition went down range.

Under cover of suppressing artillery fire, the armour deploys

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and the advance to contact begins

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The lead troop contacts the enemy and engages

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That was a bit close

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Hit on a hard (tank) target

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The lead troops

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would invariably have an artillery battery in direct support, the fire controlled by the attached Forward Observation Officer in his FV 432

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The rear troops take up the lead and engage

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Supported by the Royal Engineer Centurion AVRE, with AVLB (bridge) and Giant Viper (mine clearing) on call

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A minefield is detected, which holds up the tanks

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But the Sapper is able to deploy Giant Viper and the rocket deploys an explosive hose across the obstacle,

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which explodes across the minefield

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clearing the mines (allegedly),


The Sapper Recce then proves the clear lane in preparation for the tanks to cross the obstacle

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and finally, under a spectacular artillery barrage,

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the tanks.....

go home for tea and medals.

Hope that was interesting.

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Re: Chinese Eye Chieftain

Post by Kevin Hunter » Sun May 05, 2019 10:41 pm

A fascinating insight to these large scale exercises, and how the armour would operate “for real”. Pretty well all of the Chieftain posts so far have made for great reading, so thanks to Stephen and the other contributors.

The Sapper Recce then proves the clear lane in preparation for the tanks to cross the obstacle”. Is that a rough deal or just a case of put your money where your mouth is? :D

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Stephen White
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Re: Chinese Eye Chieftain

Post by Stephen White » Mon May 06, 2019 12:03 pm

Kevin, thanks. A bit of the latter but the main reason was that GV wasn't a guaranteed solution and the Sappers (brave souls all) had to manually clear any mines that weren't disrupted by the initial clearance.

Anyone for a Chieftain ringtone?

https-//www.dropbox.com/s/k0zv1o8rhunxcy6/tank- ... ....webloc

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Brian Lawrence
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Re: Chinese Eye Chieftain

Post by Brian Lawrence » Mon May 06, 2019 2:02 pm

The fire power demo was to make a film and show interested parties "Sappers at War" I was serving with 26 armoured engineers at the time and it took place either 1984/85 if I remember right the whole of 32 Armoured Engineer Regt took part

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Re: Chinese Eye Chieftain

Post by Stephen White » Mon May 06, 2019 10:28 pm

Superb Brian, thanks for adding that. My negatives didn't have any date and that's pinned it down. It must have been 1985. I'm now looking for the film of course! I found "Sappers in War" on YouTube and enjoyed watching it, recognising some of the characters but it wasn't the right film. Please do let me know if you find a copy. It was was one of the most impressive demonstrations. I was trying to remember the location but the tall fire tower gives it away.

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Re: Chinese Eye Chieftain

Post by Brian Lawrence » Tue May 07, 2019 10:18 pm

What was even scarier we actually laid a live minefield using barmines and towed several old armoured vehicles and wheeled trucks so that the film was a bit more life like! One tank was fully bombed up and fuelled - man it made a spectacular explosion.

My group prepped the giant viper for firing it was the first and last time we ever handled a live GV.

Oh 32 Armoured Engineer regt nickname during the second gulf war was "The Antiques Road show" :lol:

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Re: Chinese Eye Chieftain

Post by Stephen White » Tue May 14, 2019 10:05 am

Latest magnificent print from Mick Graham, ex 4 RTR.

Screenshot 2019-05-14 at 09.56.02.jpg

Copies available from Mick's site here:

https://www.mickgrahamart.com

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Re: Chinese Eye Chieftain

Post by Stephen White » Fri May 17, 2019 5:09 pm

Today, the web has come up trumps. I've so far not been able to confirm the ERM (equipment registration mark) for my "Chinese Eye Chieftain". The best photo I have of it has the ERM obscured by CPL Clarke, my operator.

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This afternoon, I posted a request on FaceBook and within an hour, I have the number: 01FD12. This has allowed me to confirm that my tank was built as a Mark 3/S in early 1971 by ROF Leeds and by the time I commanded it in 1986-7, it was at Mark 7/4/(C) standard. It was delivered to 4th Royal Tank Regiment in Imphal Barracks Osnabruck on 29th Aug 1986 and went to 2 Armoured Delivery Squadron on 7th November 1989. This was probably because the Regiment was at that time receiving the new Mk 10 with STILLBREW and Mk 11 with TOGS. Here's the FaceBook page:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/tankie/

This has also thrown up two websites I'd not seen before. The first is the Merlin Archive, which gives some vehicle history (although the full histories are only found on the vehicle record cards held by the Tank Museum Archive. The Archive would be useful to anyone making a model of a specific Chieftain.

https://merlinarchive.uk/vehicle/01FD12

Secondly, a reply to my post linked to a brilliant archive of photos of exercises in Germany during the Cold War. With that, the database compiler has identified the exercise on which my photo was taken. It was Exercise KEYSTONE in 1987 and there are more photos here:

https://military-database.de/1987-keyst ... p4CUlgXPX4

All I need to do now is ask Mick Graham to alter my print...... perhaps not.

I'm a contented Armortek model maker. Thank you WWW.
Last edited by Stephen White on Sat May 18, 2019 7:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Chinese Eye Chieftain

Post by Mark Heaps » Fri May 17, 2019 6:27 pm

Congratulations, Stephen, on tying down the ERM to the call-sign you want.

I am still working on it for mine. I have two sources which I hope will come up trumps. Younger brother 17th/21st Lancers, or if I have to go for QRIH a fellow freemason in my lodge who crewed a C Sqn, 3rd Troop tank , as a Trooper in 1987.

Mark of vehicle, ERM, call-sign, Stillbrew or not, TOGS or not is important to me. In York Barracks, Munster during my tour 87 /88 , 14th/20th took over from QRIH. IIRC 14th/20th came into a full Challenger fleet, the Chiefys having been sent back previously whilst we were still QRIH LAD.

We also went from standard Chiefys without Stillbrew or TOGs directly to Challys, although I believe the squadron that was in Berlin did have Stillbrew.
Mark

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Re: Chinese Eye Chieftain

Post by Michael Cecil » Sat May 18, 2019 1:29 am

Stephen,

"All I need to do now is ask Mick Graham to alter my print...... perhaps not."

Be really, really bold! Commission an original painting! (.... and make an artist really, really happy!)

Nice bit of detective work, Stephen, in identifying your tank.

Mike

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Re: Chinese Eye Chieftain

Post by Stephen White » Sun May 19, 2019 11:05 am

Some more from Exercise KEYSTONE, 1987. The photos were taken around the Gronau area, to the west of the Sibesse Gap, a feature around which NATO forces would have fought a decisive action had the Warsaw Pact attacked. Although D Squadron 4RTR were acting as enemy, the "Friendly Forces" were exercising in an area in which they planned to fight in the real operational plans.

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Apologies for the poor quality of the photos, I was using a little 110 "spy camera" which was convenient but useless and Photoshop has done its best.

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Part 2 follows.

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Re: Chinese Eye Chieftain

Post by Mark Heaps » Sun May 19, 2019 2:34 pm

Hi Stephan,
Many thanks for the photos, especially the last one. 00 FD 58 just sprung out at me. I know that ERM from somewhere and am now wracking my brains to remember where.
Mark

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Re: Chinese Eye Chieftain

Post by Stephen White » Sun May 19, 2019 2:40 pm

Exercise KEYSTONE 1987. These photos are from Lars de Vries' marvellous archive of pictures of exercises in Germany and were taken by Frank Kirchner, for which thanks.

KEYSTONE was run in the so called exercise season, in early Autumn, once the crops were in. It took place in an area which would have been of great operational significance for real. The exercise involved the movement to Germany of 2nd Infantry Division, which was based in UK, to reinforce the 1st British Corps of the British Army of the Rhine. 33,000 soldiers took part (today just less than half the size of the whole British Army today). Of those, 18,000 deployed from UK, of which 12,500 were part-time Territorial Army. It was a considerable and very effective demonstration of the reinforcement which would have taken place in a time of crisis.

This map shows the closeness of the exercise area to the former Inner German Border:

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As the 2nd Infantry Division deployed into its defensive positions, the "enemy" (us and a German brigade) attacked through the Sibbesse Gap. The exercise play tested the ability of 2 Div to counter attack NE into our flank from the Thuster Berg towards the Hildesheimer Wald.

Keystone Plan.jpg


Frank's photos, showing D Sqn deploying.

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The next photo is interesting. It shows that by October 1987, 4 RTR had begun to receive the upgraded Chieftains with both STILLBREW armour and the Thermal Observation and Gunnery System (TOGS). This tank is therefore a Mk 11. I suspect it was the only one in my squadron at that time but by 1990 when I returned to the Regiment after a spell on the Staff, it was wholly equipped with the later marks.

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This was a high profile exercise and we'd repainted the camouflage, using the official pattern, something rarely if ever done in BAOR. The most important bit was to extend the black along the bottom of the bazooka plates, where the straight line tended to compromise the camouflage. We then got ambitious and invented a pattern of stripes which would identify the troop within the squadron, depending on the position of the stripe. Squadron HQ was distinguished by two stripes. It worked after a fashion, until the tanks were covered in dust, on about day three..... oh well.

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A great exercise, despite spending a lot of time in wet woods. I certainly enjoyed the opportunity to let the squadron loose on a rather static opposition. The challenge was to keep control........

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Re: Chinese Eye Chieftain

Post by Stephen White » Sun May 19, 2019 4:55 pm

To give some further sense of scale to these Cold War Field Training Exercises, in addition to the troop numbers in the post above, the exercise involved troops from UK, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. The following vehicles and aircraft took part:

Wheeled vehicles - 7400
Tracked vehicles. - 980 including
Tanks. - 180
Artillery pieces. - 90
Helicopters. - 138
Fixed wing aircraft. - 50

The exercise took place between 7-27th October, with the main tactical play between 12-22nd Oct, ten days of continuous operations, about as long as we thought World War 3 would last before it went nuclear and all bets were off.

The exercise play was intended to allow 2nd Infantry Division to practise and test their plans for:

Phase 1 - Deployment and assembly
Phase 2 - Unit tactical training
Phase 3 - Divisional defence against airborne assault
Phase 4 - Divisional defensive operations against an armoured offensive
Phase 5 - Divisional offensive operations and the counter-stroke.
Phase 6 - Dispersal and return to barracks

It followed the traditional pattern of realistic hard graft in the middle and to raise the spirits and end on a high note, offensive operations at the end. As the "enemy", we provided the attacking force for most of the exercise and were then encouraged to fall gracefully on our swords as the Blue (Allied) Forces attacked at the end. Then home for tea and medals.

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