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Posted on Apr 10, 2004 in Stuff We Like

Duxford Land Warfare Hall

Armchair General

This is a Russian T34/85. The way this exhibit is displayed was amazing. A Russian Infantryman is ready to leap off the rear of the Tank as the Commander waves the way ahead (although we weren’t quite sure why the Infantryman is equipped with a German MP40 submachine gun ? but hey-ho). It looks like this machine has just come from the front lines ? and it was a much more inspiring way of displaying such a tank than we’ve seen elsewhere. It really brings the thing to life. Photo by AJS.

Photo by Roach.

Photo by AJS.


This is a Tiger Tank. Actually, no it isn’t, it’s a scale model replica built especially for the shooting of the Steven Spielberg film " Saving Private Ryan ". Roach has come across this vehicle before ? he worked behind the scenes on both " Saving Private Ryan " and the TV series " Band of Brothers ".

Although it looks impressive, we’ve seen the real thing at Bovington, and this replica has nothing on it. Many readers may already be well aware of the cosmetic differences between the replica and the real thing, but for those who don’t the following points may be of interest. For a start, it’s way too small and low. Andrew is 6′ 6" tall, and the deck of the original Mk I Tiger at Bovington was HIGHER than his shoulders. The deck of this version is lower than the height of his elbows and it was possible for him to look over the expanse of the main deck without having to stand on tiptoe like with the original machine. Also, the tracks are very narrow compared to the original Tiger. Having said this, it’s an impressive mock-up, despite the occasional rough finish such as on the muzzle brake (this wouldn’t have shown up in the film).

This vehicle is actually a modified Russian T34. This explains the reason why the turret is mounted much further forward than the real Tiger and the extreme difference in proportions to the real machine. At a guess, we’d say that this mock-up equates to an 80% scale model of the original.

NB: When Roach visited the Museum several years ago, this ?building’ was inhabited by a German self-propelled gun based on the Panzer IV chassis (if Roach remembers correctly it was a prototype but his memory has deteriorated over the years!); unfortunately this rather more interesting vehicle is currently conspicuous by it’s absence.

Photo by AJS.

Here is a Soviet JS2, a heavy Tank from late on in the war. This is the only one we’ve seen, although undoubtedly there are others around somewhere. The gun is simply enormous. Photo by AJS.

This is a beautiful example of a German ’88. Look at the elevation dials on the side ? this gun is in incredible condition. Photo by Roach.

This is a Russian SU100 Tank Destroyer that we found lurking in a corner. He’s not shown, but up above this exhibit in a nearby "ruined building" was a German soldier aiming at this machine with a Panzerfaust. Photo by AJS.

Here we see an incredible example of a Panzer IV ? it must be an early model since it has a short barrel. As impressive as it was to find an example looking so good, the only problem with taking this picture lay with the lighting and the fact that it is just so BLACK (well, obviously it is that lovely shade of grey that those cheerful Germans used to love, but it in this instance it might as well be black!). It almost literally sucks light in. We’ve had to brighten up some of these photos to show the detail, this one more than most. Photo by AJS.

Here’s a German Schimmwagen, an amphibious car from the Second World War. The (virtually) black Panzer IV is behind. Photo by AJS.

Here’s a kubelwagen with the Schimmwagen next to it. Photo by Roach.

This is a British 3.7 inch AA Gun. Photo by AJS.

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