Chieftain info and banter

Forum for discussion relating to the Chietain MBT
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Stephen White
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Re: Chieftain info and banter

Post by Stephen White » Thu Nov 28, 2019 9:33 am

Good morning John. The driver's access door is mounted on a spring loaded column which raises it when the two retaining catches are released. These extracts from the User Handbook and ISPL describe the setup.

Screenshot 2019-11-28 at 09.25.29.jpg
Screenshot 2019-11-28 at 09.25.18.jpg
IMG_5544.jpg

Drivers were very wary of the hatch and had the dangers explained to them in training. I don't recall any incidents. On the other hand, the commander's hatch could be lethal. It opened rearwards and was very heavy, despite being spring assisted. The retaining catch was known to fail and it was possible if debris got into it for the catch to stick in a position which didn't fully retain the hatch. One of our squadron leaders hit a bump very hard and the hatch flipped over. It hit him in the back of the head and he lost his nose on the front of the cupola hatch opening. How did he smell you may ask? Awful after two weeks in the same clothes............. I shouldn't make light of it, the accident was as they say, life changing. Still, it was rather a large nose.......

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John Clarke
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Re: Chieftain info and banter

Post by John Clarke » Thu Nov 28, 2019 2:32 pm

Afternoon Stephen, Thanks, I'd like to say Yep that's clear.
But
The instructions seem to mean the hatch is always open under normal circumstances, allowing access to the drivers position.
So effectively once the hatch is lowered it cannot be opened from the outside.
I believe the driver can get out though the turret when the main gun is in the right position.

It must have been a bit awkward to get an injured driver out though the turret then?

Worst problem I had was ripping my shorts exiting the Commanders hatch, a pocket getting caught on one of the many hard, sharp and sticky out-ty bits that festoon the hatch aperture. :oops:
Oh Man, I only ride em I don't know what makes them work,
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Re: Chieftain info and banter

Post by Mark Heaps » Thu Nov 28, 2019 4:24 pm

If I remember correctly, the clamps had a hexagonal hole on the top of them. You could stand on the hatch to close it against the spring pressure and then turn the clamps using an allen key.

Mark

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Re: Chieftain info and banter

Post by Stephen White » Thu Nov 28, 2019 4:28 pm

John, the British Army was very sensitive to the enemy being able to open hatches from outside after some close encounters in Korea with Centurion. The hatches when locked from the inside couldn't be opened from outside without a box spanner. For security, we used to lock the driver's and commander's hatches from inside, then exit through the loader's hatch and secure it with a padlock. For normal use, the driver's hatch was shut without locking it and a bolt was pushed through the hasp. When that was removed, the hatch would spring up and could be opened. In a good crew, the loader or commander would help the driver close down by standing on his hatch as he locked it, before getting into the turret.

You could get to the driver under the gun and indeed when we spent long periods closed down, that was the only way he got to drink tea or eat. The turret had to be rotated to about two o'clock and the gun fully depressed to get to him. His escape back into the turret would have been pretty difficult. He had to collapse his seat first and then crawl backwards.

Given the origin of tanks in His Majesty's Landships Committee and our Royal Navy heritage, we perpetuated one very sound tradition, which was to discourage the Lower Decks from coming upstairs as in that old Navy adage "never let the Engineer onto the Bridge". The driver's cab was the least uncomfortable crew station so most were only too happy to remain downstairs. In time, driver's did the gunner's course anyway and once they were dual traded, they were interchangeable and we often swopped around. I loved driving Chieftain, although I never achieved the skill of the best driver's.

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Re: Chieftain info and banter

Post by Phil Woollard » Thu Nov 28, 2019 8:07 pm

Does anyone have any ideas for the hatch mech opening spring? 8)
Mechanical engineer.
Youtube channel, Magpiespyro. For 1/6th scale video action!

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Re: Chieftain info and banter

Post by Charles A Stewart » Fri Nov 29, 2019 7:07 pm

Good evening everybody

I confess that I will use that drawing of the drivers hatch to detail my vehicle when the time comes, thank s also to Phil and his build.

I am still struggling about the rear of the vehicle. (no innuendo intended, ex service)

The references I am using are both Rob Griffin books( the only back end reference) & Richard Kent (no rear view).

I am looking forwards to a rtn trip to tank museum,sometime next year but 370miles is a bit of a trip. Are there any accessable Chieftains in northern Britian? (Byker, is it still there?)

Have a good weekend👍

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Re: Chieftain info and banter

Post by Mark Heaps » Mon Dec 02, 2019 7:12 pm

Charles A Stewart wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 9:18 pm

What's the box for, on the far right for. As seen from the rear?

Cheers Charles
Hi Charles,
If you can provide a photo then I should be able to identify it.

https://www.armortek.co.uk/Forum3b/down ... &mode=view suggests it was the junction box for the cabling to the convoy light and NATO trailer socket.

Most of my time was looking after Challenger 1 which did not have the trailer socket and the convoy light was mounted centrally directly on the engine compartment wall and the wiring was in the pack bay.

Mark

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Re: Chieftain info and banter

Post by Charles A Stewart » Fri Dec 06, 2019 7:59 am

Thanks Mark

I have also found John Clarkes page which has some good pictures the tanks back end. I will go with your suggestion, it makes sense when the photos are viewed..
Cheers Charles

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Re: Chieftain info and banter

Post by Mark Heaps » Fri Dec 06, 2019 7:27 pm

A lot of the cabling on Chieftain was not plugs and sockets connecting various boxes but rather armoured conduit containing loose strands of wire terminated each end with eyelets that were then screwed onto tag boards in the boxes at each end.
Fiddlier to repair than a cable you could just swap out but more battle repairable. If you lost an important line, pull a new strand through the conduit or sacrifice a not so important connection by switching the tag board connections at each end. No need to wait on a replacement cable being available and getting to you.
Mark

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Re: Chieftain info and banter

Post by Richard Goodwin » Fri Dec 06, 2019 10:01 pm

Mark Heaps wrote:
Fri Dec 06, 2019 7:27 pm
A lot of the cabling on Chieftain was not plugs and sockets connecting various boxes but rather armoured conduit containing loose strands of wire terminated each end with eyelets that were then screwed onto tag boards in the boxes at each end.
Fiddlier to repair than a cable you could just swap out but more battle repairable. If you lost an important line, pull a new strand through the conduit or sacrifice a not so important connection by switching the tag board connections at each end. No need to wait on a replacement cable being available and getting to you.
Mark
Not a bad idea when you think about it!

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Re: Chieftain info and banter

Post by Mark Heaps » Sat Dec 07, 2019 12:44 pm

It worked very effectively to keep the tanks operational.
However it relied on people recording what they had done and reverting it back to normal at the earliest possible time, which did not always happen.
It was a bitch when a simple repair job made matters worse, you then spotted that wires were incorrectly attached at the tag boards and had to work out what your predecessor had done to keep the tank working, do a proper repair on the fault he had and then fix the new fault.
Mark

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Re: Chieftain info and banter

Post by Charles A Stewart » Sun Dec 22, 2019 10:52 pm

Hi all

A question for those who served on Chieftian; did you have LFO webbing when on ops.?

I ask because you had NBC kit, respirator, fart sack/sleep mat & compo. All packed, where on the tank?

Guarding/stag, with SMG (only action man ones on eBay), how did you carry spare Mags?

Sorry if the above sounds vague, I served with Harrier Force, albeit in a Logs Park but generally around Sennelager. We did once go to Osnabruchk, all mid 80's

Charles

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Re: Chieftain info and banter

Post by Mark Heaps » Fri Dec 27, 2019 2:33 pm

On the ARRVs we left the webbing on the outside of the vehicle and just had the respirator case around our waists and had our weapons with us. The same when turning up at a tank to repair it but we would leave the weapon with the webbing, not a chance of getting in or out of any hatch when wearing 58 pattern webbing, let alone taking an SLR in with us. Later on the tank crews got chest webbing. As for stowage points for personal weapons on the tanks, I do not recall Chieftain or Challenger 1 having any. I think Challenger 2 had stowage clips for the driver´s SA80 and I think there were clips on the inside of the turret roof for the loader´s smallarm.
A tank had a 120mm cannon and two 7.62mm machine guns, if you had to fall back on a 9mm SMG or pistol, 7.62mm SLR or 5.56mm SA80, then things had gone severely wrong.
Mark

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Re: Chieftain info and banter

Post by Charles A Stewart » Fri Dec 27, 2019 3:07 pm

Cheers Mark

Acquired a couple of sets of 58 webbing on eBay, so should add some extra detail. I do appreciate one wouldn't wear webbing in a tank, it was bad enough trying to stow it & SLR on back the shelf of a 4tonner.
Cheers Charles

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Re: Chieftain info and banter

Post by Mark Heaps » Thu Feb 06, 2020 6:42 pm

Reference the posts on other threads about the amber "flashing" light on Chieftain.

I always knew it as the "winky pot" because the bulb did not flash on and off. When switched on the bulb would be continually illuminated. A motor rotated a reflector around the bulb causing the concentrated beam of light to rotate around the tank. Just like a lighthouse, from ground level it would appear to be flashing, from above you would observe a rotating beam of light.

Also as Stephen White has posted,180 degrees of the orange lens should be covered with "black nasty", black masking tape, and this side should be towards the commanders and loaders positions to prevent them being periodically blinded. During any road move, the commander is observing the traffic to the front, the loader the traffic to the rear. If gun front, the loader has the "winky pot" in front of him. If gun in the crutch, commander has it in front of him.

Putting the gun over the side would also have sorted the problem but was not recommended :wink:

Mark

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