Thursday, 11 October 2012

Royal Australian Armoured Corps Museum- Part One

For the two weeks prior to Bedecon, I was off roaming about South Australia with my fiancee, doing my time in the shops, before dragging her to museums. One of the ones we were lucky enough to visit was the Royal Australian Armoured Corps Museum at Puckapunyal, which is about an hour north of Melbourne. Situated on an active army base, the museum was really, really fantasic, and the novelty of taking a campervan onto an army base was not lost on the mrs, so less brownie points were lost than anticipated! Like my homeland of NZ, Australia were a bit late to the whole "tank" thing. The ANZACs were not famous as tank crews, rather as being elite light infantry (and stealing everything that wasn't nailed down). In the Second World War it became necessary for the Australians to acquire tanks, both in the desert and in the pacific theatre. Post the war, the Australians developed their armoured force, equipping themselves with foreign built tanks, and maintain an armoured force to this day. But, on to the pictures... Inside the museum was a good collection of all of the Australian Army's service weapons from it's inception, particular highlights were an Owen SMG, Johnson LMG and even an M134 Minigun.
In the middle there, is a Johnson. They wouldn't let me take it out...
An AUSTEN (Australian Sten) SMG
"Old Painless"- I really should watch Predator again...
A Claymore Mine. "This Side Towards Enemy" is printed on the front- very good advice!
A Recoiless Rifle, the descendant of the AT gun and the predecessor of the ATGM
The 17pdr Anti-Tank Gun. It was a gorgeous sunny day in Australia, which meant that photos were more or less rubbish.
The ubiquitous 25pdr gun. Long serving and famous for being a stop gap AT weapon, and being able to be fired so quickly it seemed that they were automatic.
A 3.7" AA Gun. The British equivalent to the dreaded 88, these were never really used in the same way as the Germans used the 88. By all counts, not a bad AA gun at any rate.
The PaK 38 AT gun. Captured by the Auzzies at Alamein, the PaK 38 was used expertly by Rommel in his combined arms tactics, causing massive losses to Allied armour.
The Dreaded 88. Used by Rommel most famously as an anti-tank gun, but it also had a lethal air-burst round, which the gunners used to fire at infantry positions. The Australian memoirs that I have read were all very scathing of the gun, because of it's flat trajectory (rather than a parabola like an artillery piece) they knew exactly what was firing. But because of it's high velocity, there was next to no warning. All they could do was hunker as low as they could in their sangers.
Markedly smaller than the 88 is a wee little PaK 36. Known as the "door-knocker" because of it's poor AT later in the war, it was not a bad gun when it was designed. The one thing that came to mind upon seeing it was that I really would rather hump a PaK 36 around, than a PaK 38! Certianly moving a PaK 38 at speed would not be a pleasant experience.
The British designed and build 6pdr Anti-Tank gun. By all counts, a very good anti-tank weapon, capable at destroying most of the German panzers at the time it was introduced. By the arrival of the Panther and Tiger, the gun was outclassed at range, but was still capable of knocking out the bigger cats at close range. Especially when it started having APDS (Armour Piercing Discarding Sabot) rounds.
On to a Vietnam era Light 105mm howitzer, with a gun shield. The shield probably wouldn't have lasted that long in combat, but guns like these were part of Australian Fire Bases in the conflict.
A heavy 120mm MOBAT Recoiless rifle. By making the gun recoiless, it made it significantly lighter, but it also made the 10 metres behind it lethal! Even a Panzerfaust had a very large back-blast which had potentially fatal consequences to the firing man's friends!
This last artillery piece was a bit of a mystery. Now I "think" it is a 203mm cannon- which leads me to believe it could be some form of heavy US howitzer that the Australians got the use of. Or it could be something captured from the Germans (Bardia Bill?). Not sure, if you know, please enlighten me!
I beleive this is a Type-1 47mm Anti-Tank Gun captured by the Australians from the Japanese. It would normally have a gun shield (I think).
A nice selection of Centurion shells, showing the size of their charge.
Another 120mm MOBAT Recoiless gun, this one is without it's mounting. As it is in their restoration area, I can only assume that they are tinkering with it.
This is one of my favourite shots. What they did was they cut a Centurion barrel straight down the middle, to show off the internal rifling of the barrel. The rifling serves to make the shell spin, which increases the accuracy of the shot. The physics of it are really cool (if you are a science nerd such as myself).
And this is what happens when a Centurion 105mm cannon hits something! This was an armour penetration test which they put on display. It was really interesting to see all the different calibres and round types (this is a Centurion AT round) and it's effect onto steel plate. There was the remains of an ENTAC missile hit too, but my photo for it didn't come out right. So there ends part one. In part 2 will be all the tanks! I am sure you are wondering what is going on with the Australians for Conquest? Well..
I have some painting to do... CP

1 comment:

  1. Awesome!

    Thanks for sharing and I cant wait to see the they had a Leopard 1?