Tank Target

Shooting Practise

17th May 2017

The above photograph shows two fascinating new acquisitions recently donated to The Tank Museum Archive. 

Both of these items each came with attached fragile paper label saying “Target rubber No. 9”. These peculiar rubber tank models are in fact small practise targets that were placed in a miniaturised environment as a training aid for soldiers. 

Tank targetsWe can confidently date these targets post 1947 as a ‘Gunnery Training Equipment (Provisional)’ report from the RAC school Bovington in August writes that rubber targets made from inner tyre tubes were undergoing trials as the metal targets were “easily damaged and ricochet”. The report reveals the painstaking levels of detail that were added to the miniature ranges in an effort to make them as realistic as possible:

“Roads and streams may be represented by strips of clay…which must be moistened every few days to preserve their plasticity. Strips representing streams should be painted or distempered as realistically as possible, using white to represent foam, and combinations of blue, brown and green for smooth water”

The tank model would be pulled back and forth on a pulley system attached to the brass hooks on either end of the model. A soldier would fire either a .177 in Air Rifle or a .22 in Rifle to mimic AP fire, akin to a fairground firing gallery today.