Chinese Eye Chieftain

Forum for discussion relating to the Chietain MBT
Steve Stuart
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Re: Chinese Eye Chieftain

Post by Steve Stuart » Thu Nov 14, 2019 11:11 pm

Mark
Good job Gophers don't go for nuts? :twisted:
Steve

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Re: Chinese Eye Chieftain

Post by Mark Heaps » Fri Nov 15, 2019 4:45 pm

Stephen White wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 2:08 pm
I'm sure our REME subject matter expert will have a view but usually the pull would be in a straight line. This pull at an angle was probably constrained by the area of boggy ground.
I was an ECE and not a Recy Mech so not a subject matter expert on recovery, but experienced quite a few recovery taskings whilst crewing the ARRVs ( I operated the radios, the BV, the jib (crane) sometimes , and basically did what the Recy Mech told me to do unless I was on a tank fixing a fault.

We always strived for a "straight-pull" - This was extracting the tank back exactly along the way it went in, the safest known proven ground was that over which the tank had just driven before it bogged-in. Many a time we only had to winch the tank back a halfs-tank length before it would regain traction and reverse further under it´s own power. Any side-ways pull could have made the matter worse.

We had the advantages of the winch so could stand further off if we felt it was needed, and the blade which was lowered as an earth-anchor. Troop recovery involved another tank getting close enough to attach the towing beams, and potentially getting bogged itself if they mis-judged it.

In my view, Stephen´s photo shows an excellently executed troop recovery, third vehicle to give added pull and crewmen out to the sides to relay signals to the three drivers so they could co-ordinate their actions, all co-odinated from a person in a central position. Very slight curvature suggests that they were following in the lead vehicles tracks which was absolutely the correct thing to do, so I believe it was a "straight-pull" and not an angled-pull

Mark

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Re: Chinese Eye Chieftain

Post by Stephen White » Fri Nov 15, 2019 8:54 pm

Thanks Mark.

Some more photos from yesteryear, which I've just found. This first one needs explaining.

PICT0079 copy.jpg

This is Bergen Hohne Ranges, 1990 and the command group, 4th Tanks is having a picnic on the structure known to us and to generations of British tank crews as the Hitler Hof. It is the remains of a massive observation bunker built between 1933-34 as the Wehrmacht began to form the Panzer Truppen. Legend has it that Hitler would use the bunker to observe his forces and impress visitors. Bergen Hohne was a principal tank training area close to Luneberg Heath, some 20km by 17km in size. Post war, it became a major NATO firing complex which could accommodate live tank, artillery, mechanised infantry and air to ground weapons.

Bergen Hohne Schiessplatz.jpg
Bergen Hohne Schiessplatz.jpg (99.92 KiB) Viewed 1335 times

The Hitler Hof was probably never used by Hitler but there is evidence that Herman Goering did frequent it. This is the Hitler Hof/Hohe in the 1950s when the bunker was substantially complete.

Hitler Hof Bergen Hohne ranges.jpg

We knew it for a different reason. It was not only a scenic place from which to plan training exercises (and from the photographic evidence, have the odd can of Tennants) but it was also a target. This photo was taken on Range 7B, right in the southern part of the ranges and some 5300m from the Hitler Hof, which is arrowed.

Semi-indirect illustration Range 7B.jpg

By the time the photo was taken, firing at the bunker was prohibited although by then, little remained for preservation. In the seventies, when I first fired at Hohne, it was very much fair game. I've posted the picture to illustrate what Chieftain could do at long range. Although our principle focus was direct fire out to about 2500 metres, using APDS/APFSDS, we had the capability of engaging at longer ranges with HESH and Smoke using semi-indirect techniques. The gun was capable of engaging out to about 10km but this was an inefficient use of tank ammunition and better done by artillery or air. Up to about 5km, the commander could probably see and identify an area target and engage with semi-indirect fire.

I should explain the terms. With a direct fire shoot, the gunner is able to lay onto the target with his sight because, despite the tangent elevation of the gun, the target still falls within his field of view and ballistic graticule pattern. At longer ranges, the tangent elevation (how much the gun was cocked up) was such that he could no longer see the target. The engagement was then controlled by the commander using binoculars and the gunner established his gun lay by using a traverse indicator for line and a quadrant fire control for elevation.

At the end of a range period, it was traditional to do a squadron semi-indirect shoot onto the Hitler Hof. Advocates of one piece ammunition derided the Chieftain split case ammunition for supposedly slow rates of fire but with a good loader, we could get three rounds in the air at the same time at those ranges and could achieve 5-6 rounds per minute, as fast as any single piece ammunition and faster than most auto-loaders. It was a truly impressive sight but probably of limited use in war.

Now back to the picnic. Anyone for Tennants?

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Re: Chinese Eye Chieftain

Post by Stephen White » Sat Nov 16, 2019 12:29 pm

Another lot, this time from 1975 and troop training on the Soltau Training Area in Lower Saxony. This is B Squadron, 4th Tanks, when I was troop leader, 6 Troop, C/S 22. Although the photo quality is poor despite Photoshop, they're interesting for anyone doing an early Chieftain.

PICT0012 copy.jpg

Large callsigns were all the rage then, these were in yellow. The B Sqn tactical sign of a square can be seen on the turret, in Oxford Blue (4th Tanks colour within the Royal Tank Regiment). Note the early NBC Pack No 2, Mk 1. The thermal sleeve on the barrel is folded back behind the fume extractor. This was an unfortunate compromise required by the early lever gun crutch, which wouldn't fit over the sleeve:

Gun crutch.jpg
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This type was replaced by the scissor type (as seen on the kit) and friction pads were added to the thermal sleeve, making the crew's life much easier.

PICT0013 copy.jpg

The 4/3 on the front mudguard was the formation indicator for 4 Guards Armoured Brigade, garrisoned in Muenster, Westphalia. 4th Tanks were the third major unit, hence the 3

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My troop sergeant's tank. 4th Tanks armoured vehicles all had names beginning with the letter D, names used by our antecedents in D Company/D Battalion of the Tank Corps, who were the first unit to take tanks to war in September 1916. A Squadron names began, DA, B Sqn DE, C Sqn DI etc. My three tanks were: DEFIANCE, DESPATCH and DERRING-DO

PICT0015 copy.jpg

On this shot, you can usefully see the jerry can holder on the right wall of the turret. It was subsequently replaced by a large bin for stowage when APFSDS was introduced.

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Dirty work, this tanking. You cleaned your weapons before anything else.

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That signature barrel. This is always my favourite Chieftain aspect.

PICT0025 copy copy.jpg

I"ll leave this one on here for someone to identify. It was known universally in the British Army of the Rhine as "the obvious"...........

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Re: Chinese Eye Chieftain

Post by Mark Heaps » Sun Nov 17, 2019 3:46 am

I can confirm that the Hitler Hof later became a protected site, and all routes up to it were sign-posted as prohibited to tracked vehicles.
On one exercise , during a move in the early hours of the morning, pitch black and fog, the tanks could see where they were going due to TOGS, we could not and were just desperately trying to follow the convoy light of the vehicle in front. Suddenly "STOP. STOP, STOP" came through on all frequencies, followed by all recovery assets being tasked or put on standby for immediate tasking.
Somehow an Avlab, ( Chieftain Armoured Vehicle Launched Bridge), not only got up to the Hitler Hof but managed to get on top of it.

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Re: Chinese Eye Chieftain

Post by John Clarke » Sun Nov 17, 2019 9:35 am

Sorry,

But that's got to be " A Bridge too Far" :lol:

Great atmospheric pictures
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Re: Chinese Eye Chieftain

Post by Stephen White » Sun Nov 17, 2019 10:12 am

Mark, given that the Hitler Hoehe was the highest feature on the ranges, maybe this is a “tall story”?

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Re: Chinese Eye Chieftain

Post by Mark Heaps » Sun Nov 17, 2019 2:23 pm

Maybe a tall story, but a Battle-group night move was cancelled midway with the emergency "STOP !, STOP ! STOP ! "and we did not get permission to move again untill dawn. The Tiffy had gone back to UK on compassionate grounds and I was commanding the 432 at the time. Conditions were atrocious and the driver´s night sight was useless, there was no light to intensify. I was having difficulty in keeping track of the convoy light of the vehicle in front of us.
An Avlab on top of the Hitler Hof was the reason or rumour that circulated the following day for the exercise being halted for several hours.

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Re: Chinese Eye Chieftain

Post by Stephen White » Sun Nov 17, 2019 8:53 pm

A couple more from the albums. It's Canada again, A Sqn, 4RTR in 1980. We were again supporting an infantry battle group, 2nd Battalion, Royal Green Jackets I believe.

PICT0108 copy.jpg

This picture is interesting for what it shows of the power of the 120mm L11 main armament, firing APDS. It shows the 110mm thick glacis plates of the Centurion hard target after some attention from Chieftain. The is no doubt about the penetrative power of sabot against rolled homogenous armour. Armoured regiments could not fire the operational sabot ammunition in Germany because of range constraints, so the only time I got to fire it was in Canada. On each deployment, a crew fired 12 rounds. It was truly impressive at both ends, the firing rocked the tank back and at the far end, you were in no doubt about a hit on armour because there was a very bright flash as the penetrator hit. There were two objectives in allowing crews to fire APDS, firstly to experience the so called "consequences of firing" the blast, platform rock, recoil, sound, flash, barrel jump etc and secondly to give confidence in the effectiveness of the round. To that end, the firing was very regimented and we got to inspect the targets afterwards. Of course everyone hoped to find a core pentrator, which was a wild goose chase as most of them were probably several kilometres beyond the target. Except that I got lucky.......

IMG_3490.jpg

This is the APDS round with it's lighter training version:

MVC_737S.jpg
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APDS was replaced by APFSDS (armour piercing, fin stabilised, discarding sabot:

MVC_739S.jpg
MVC_739S.jpg (27.68 KiB) Viewed 1183 times

The next photo shows the commander's view of really good tank going. The ground looks flat but to a tank commander, there are good fire positions and concealed routes in abundance on the prairie. It was ideal training for armour. In this photo, we are winding up to attacking the enemy position in the far left distance. We will probably have masked the target with a troop keeping it under fire from this sort of range (probably about 1200-1500 metres). As the Squadron second in command, my job was to command that suppressive fire and keep the position under observation, whilst the squadron leader took most of the squadron, the supporting infantry and the artillery forward observation officer to a forward forming up point to attack from a flank. In this case, the position of the forming up point is revealed by the smoke from the Chieftain exhausts in the far right distance. In reality, that was probably not such a handicap because the enemy would have had his head down at this point or have bugged out.

PICT0118 copy.jpg
The final photo shows the same thing but at night. This time, I'm commanding the assault force and we're in the forming up point, just about to attack. The illumination came from the 105mm Abbott battery in direct support and the tracer is from 120mm Chieftain fire from the fire support group to our left. You can clearly see the flash which a hit on a hard (ie armoured) target produced. At this period, we needed white light because thermal imaging had not yet been introduced. Only the tank drivers had night vision equipment, a rather poor image intensifier. Attacking at night with live ammunition, closed down and in featureless moon country was a good test of professional skills (which is a roundabout way of saying it was f...ing difficult, even for well trained crews).

PICT0128 copy copy.jpg

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Re: Chinese Eye Chieftain

Post by Stephen White » Mon Nov 18, 2019 6:31 pm

Getting good top shots of tanks is always a challenge. I recently took a fancy to the new DJI Mavic Mini drone, which is getting good reviews. I'm not intending to become a Vlogger on YouTube or to race FPV drones but I did think it would be a useful tool for obtaining otherwise impossible reference material and for filming our models in action.

My usual approach with a camera is to take far too many shots and then realise that the one aspect you really need isn't in shot. To overcome that problem, I'm also experimenting with taking video from which I can then select a screenshot. The usefulness depends on whether you can get truly horizontal and vertical angles and with the drone, this is possible by controlling the camera gimbal and height of the drone. Here are some samples.

DJI_0032.jpg
DJI_0037.jpg
DJI_0039.jpg
DJI_0055.jpg
DJI_0057.jpg
DJI_0059.jpg
DJI_0063.jpg
DJI_0070.jpg
DJI_0075.jpg
DJI_0081.jpg
Screenshot 2019-11-18 at 18.28.19 copy.jpg
Screenshot 2019-11-18 at 18.28.58 copy.jpg

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Re: Chinese Eye Chieftain

Post by Phil Woollard » Mon Nov 18, 2019 6:59 pm

Nice clear photos Stephen I can use some of those images for weld details but how is that model of yours coming along? 8)
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Re: Chinese Eye Chieftain

Post by Stephen White » Mon Nov 18, 2019 7:09 pm

Phil, I think I'm still getting over my previous relationship with Centurion. I was with her for years and parting is hard. This new Chieftain is a lot more glamorous but she's hard to pin down and just when I think I'm getting somewhere, she goes off with someone else.......

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Re: Chinese Eye Chieftain

Post by Phil Woollard » Mon Nov 18, 2019 7:38 pm

She's a tart indeed but I am falling in love with her, Jesus we better stop the parody or we will be getting ten rolls of rubber wall paper for Christmas 8)
Those photos of the bare nickel welds are cool, I am still not certain how the fender skirt fillet is attached, I can see all the fixings all along the fillet to armour horizontal joint but its not clear how the fillet attaches to the skirt, maybe its folded over and down toward the bazooka plates?
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Re: Chinese Eye Chieftain

Post by Stephen White » Mon Nov 18, 2019 8:03 pm

Try this Phil.

IMG_8605.jpg

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Re: Chinese Eye Chieftain

Post by Stephen White » Mon Nov 18, 2019 8:07 pm

and these:

Screenshot 2019-11-18 at 20.05.38.jpg
IMG_8599.jpg

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