Every year for TANKFEST we bring you the star running vehicles from the Museum’s collection.
Built to be slow but heavily armoured in order to support soldiers on foot, The Matilda I spearheaded the British attack at Arras. This vehicle was recovered from Otterburn firing range and was painstakingly restored by The Tank Museum Workshop over a period of three years. This is the World’s only running Matilda I.
The Panzer III was conceived in 1934 as the principle combat tank of the Panzer divisions. The Museum’s Panzer III went into action in the North African theatre of war and is believed to have been captured at the Battle of Alam Halfa.
The Matilda II was dominant in the Western Desert battlefield between the autumn of 1940 and the spring of 1941. The Matilda II first saw action at the Battle of Arras in 1940 and was the only British tank used throughout the Second World War. In North Africa the thick armour earned the Matilda II the nickname, ‘Queen of the Desert.’
The M3 was the first US tank used by the British, and has since seen action with numerous countries around the world. Donated to the museum by the Brazilian Army in 1990, the Museum’s Stuart is a hybrid, featuring a M3 hull and a M3A1 turret, which has had the raised cupola removed and fitted with a diesel engine.
The Churchill tank was a key British tank design of the period, seeing service in the Dieppe Raid, North Africa at El Alamein, Tunisia, Italy and North West Europe. On long-term loan from the Churchill Trust, this is the only running example of its kind in existence.
The Sherman is the most prolific tank of the Second World War and played a crucial role on all fronts, in all theatres, by all Allied armies. This Sherman came to the Tank Museum in 1985 from the Defence Academy at Shivernham, and is the star of the 2014 film ‘Fury.’
Designed as an upgrade to the Cromwell tank, the Comet entered service in 1945 and conducted occupation duties in Germany. This vehicle is widely regarded as the best tank Britain produced during the Second World War.
The M24 light tank entered service with the US Army in winter 1944, during the Battle of the Bulge. British Army Units who operated these tanks, included the reconnaissance squadrons of the 7th Armoured Division (The Desert Rats). This vehicle is part of the Bannister Collection.
The T-72 is the most widely used main battle tank in the world. It has been manufactured in six countries, is in service with the armies of 35 nations and has fought in all the major wars of the last 20 years. Used by the former East German Army, this T72M1 was built in Poland and is fitted with a snorkel.
This Challenger 1 was used in the Gulf War of 1991. It was commanded by then Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Denaro, the Commanding Officer of the Queens Royal Irish Hussars and named ‘Churchill’. During the war Challengers were fitted with thick add-on Chobham armour on the side skirts and Explosive Reactive Armour on the nose.