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I'm at Saumur on the 3rd, will do both the Cavalry and Tank Museums. I looked at the Carrousel program a year or two ago, but it was so much horses and pageantry and seemed to be only an hour's worth of tank drive-byes. What do you gather, John?

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Must win lottery to be able to visit these places or make sure my kids get really good jobs so the can send me on vacations.

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I'm at Saumur on the 3rd, will do both the Cavalry and Tank Museums. I looked at the Carrousel program a year or two ago, but it was so much horses and pageantry and seemed to be only an hour's worth of tank drive-byes. What do you gather, John?

 

I haven't been there for many years, in fact I've never paid to see the event from the seating area. For the tank-nut, staying at the fence to the area where they park the tanks for the show is a much better gig in my view. You get to see the tanks move in and out of the arena, all the manouvering in the parking area, warming up of engines and what not. So you can see the tanks while the horse and motorcycle show goes on. Being at the museum the days before the carrousel is also worth it, as they are loading the tanks and driving them to the arena. Seeing a Panther being loaded on a trailer gives an interesting perspective on its suspension, for example, something which is lost when its just driving along.

 

Dont know if they fence the parking area off these days?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, I had so pretty good luck on my visit Friday.

 

 

Very cool! What are your thoughts on the King Tiger now that you have had a chance to crawl around inside one?

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It's surprisingly roomy inside, if you forget about the 70 rds of 88mm that were stowed in the hull sides forward of the engine compartment to the driver's compartment, plus up to 22 more in the turret bustle. Tiger I had no main gun ammo in the turret and apparently the crews did not like to store rounds in the Tiger II turret, but the whole thing was an ammo box, and only the turret ammo would have been handy for loading. Perhaps because there is not a turret basket, there is much room for everybody but the gunner. I could stand fully upright in the loader and commander positions.

 

Gunner and driver controls were OK, and I don't know why the British found the manual traversing wheel awkward projecting into the gunner's lap. Interestingly, there is a second manual traverse located in front of the loader, so he could add his energy as well to the traversing load. They should have had this in other tanks as well, especially heavies. My eyes popped out when I saw the 8 speed transmission shifting lever, but it is apparently as easy to drive as the earlier Tiger. Many controls are redundant, for instance braking is via foot pedals and the usual levers; must help a lot for panic stops.

 

So well engineered I'd say, at first impression, but of course it's hopelessly underpowered and overtaxed by terrain limitations for which the suspension could not handle. As with the M103, it likely represented the limits of automotive engineering of its day.

 

I was accompanied only by one of the museum's volunteers, the co-author of Tanks in Hell, so our mutual USMC tank history connection quite simply led to this opportunity. I took about 160 pics in two hours, was almost exhausted by the effort required.

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Sounds like a great experiance. I basicly consider the Tiger II a Tiger I with the L/71 gun and Panther like sloped armor which supporting all that lead to the increase in weight.

 

Any of the pic's postable here or in Tank P*rn?

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They are all available after I publish a book in 2017.

A new book? Can you give us any details or is it still under wraps at this point?

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Oh, not much thus far, as I am working on the opposite end of the spectrum right now, an Osprey pamphlet on M-50 Ontos and M-56 Scorpion 1956-1970, US Tank Destroyers of the Vietnam War. I have to deliver it early next year and then turn to this full size book: German Heavy Fighting Vehicles of the Second World War. This was not my idea and it remains to be seen what possibly can be added to the wide range of pubs already out there. In any case, I am to deliver it in 2017. Wish me luck!

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Good luck with the German heavy armor book. It's amazing how the market for books on the Tiger never seems to diminish.

 

Funny thing about the M56, for a vehicle that was not built in large numbers there are quite a few of them on display around the US. There is one in pretty nice condition at a very well maintained VFW hall not too far from me in Marcellus MI. A couple summers ago I was able to take some pictures of it. Seeing one of these up close really makes you appreciate what odd little vehicles they are. Inflatable drive sprockets!

 

101_1266.jpg?w=1000&h=

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Road wheels, you meant.

 

It is an odd thing, the frequency with which one finds these in public parks. Only 160 were built, 5 exported to Spain, 1 to WGer, 30 left in ROK and c.87 exported to Morocco, so almost none were likely scrapped. A dozen or so ended up, as with many of the Ontos, as QM56 ground target drones for aircraft use in the USN.

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Road wheels, you meant.

 

It is an odd thing, the frequency with which one finds these in public parks. Only 160 were built, 5 exported to Spain, 1 to WGer, 30 left in ROK and c.87 exported to Morocco, so almost none were likely scrapped. A dozen or so ended up, as with many of the Ontos, as QM56 ground target drones for aircraft use in the USN.

Roadwheels and the drive sprocket, at least I think so. Unless that thing is solid rubber.

 

101_1294.jpg?w=1000&h=

Edited by Walter_Sobchak
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Both the sprocket and the idler wheel are solid. There is no air pressure check in the operator's manual for these, just the roadwheels, which are also referred to as 'tires' in the manual. "Tire (combat type, pneumatic, smooth tread) ....8 ...Air pressure 75 psi.

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Both the sprocket and the idler wheel are solid. There is no air pressure check in the operator's manual for these, just the roadwheels, which are also referred to as 'tires' in the manual. "Tire (combat type, pneumatic, smooth tread) ....8 ...Air pressure 75 psi.

Thanks for the correction. Guess I'll need to get your book when it comes out and brush up on my M56 knowledge.

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Well, in a format of 12,400 words text/1600 wds captions, divided between two distinct vehicles, it will hardly be the defining work, but better than what we have to date, one should hope.

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Speaking of that, why does Osprey put the same $17.95 price on the 48 page New Vanguard series as they do on the 80 page "Duel" series?

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