DOUG'S 'HEAVY METAL' GALLERY

 

T A N K SC A R R I E R SG U N SA R M O U R E D   C A R S

 

AFVs in hot weather - Leopards in Australia's north. motors.
   (Ver 1)

 

From a former Aussie Leopard crewman comes this story. I will point out that dehydration and heat stress to the level he describes here can have serious medical consequences, such as (but not limited to) kidney failure. Quite possibly his youth and fitness and the promptness of the medical attention he was given saved him from worse results!

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Just read the stories about comfort from Rory and Eric. I have a short story about afv discomfort.
From 1997 to 1999 I was posted to 1st Armoured Regiment in Darwin. For all of those people who are not from Australia Darwin is located in the Northern Territory and is the most northerly city in Australia. It is tropical in climate and never gets below 27 degrees.

When the regiment first moved up to Darwin from Puckapunyal Victoria the heat was a major problem for tank crewman. As you can imagine you are sitting in 42 tonnes of steel with an engine that regulary reaches 100 degrees, the hydraulic motor that runs the hydraulics system in the turret runs at a temperatue of about 80 degrees and is located between the gunners legs all of this means the temperature inside the tank is extreme. Due to the number of crewmen that suffered heat stress and some even exhaustion the army decided to do some testing.

They placed a temerature guage in a tank that was stationary without the engine or hydraulics running and the temperature reached 59.98 degrees. Well we all thought this to be a fairly useless test as we don't just sit in a tank on exercise that isn't moving we are constantly on the move. Another test was conducted by one of the sergeants who aquired a gauge from an airforce meteorologist detatchment who was out field at the time. This test showed a temp of 67 degrees. The interior of the turret was an extremely tough environment when we were live firing. Apart from all of the above adding to the temp you now have a very large 105mm gun chamber and breach that heats up when firing and the co ax machine gun which heats up so much the barrel becomes white hot.

On one ex I was loading for the troop leader. The whole squadron had a full load of 105mm rounds (59) and bulk machine gun rounds. We started firing at about 3 pm and by about 4 pm we had fired about 30 rounds. Now each of these rounds weighs approx 12 to 15 kg and each one has to be picked up off the turret floor swung over and rammed into the breach. After an hour I was to the point where I threw up all over myself but being an idiot I kept going. I got through the next 10 or 15 rounds and then promptly fell to the floor of the turret. It was only then that I realised that I had stopped sweating and that I physically couldn't get up off the floor. I was dragged out of the tank and taken back to the medics M113 where I had 5 bags of saline put into me via a drip. Before anyone thinks I'm weak I wasn't the only one to go down with heat stress there were about 10 other crewmen back at the medics and most of them were also loaders.

The Leopard 1 built by the germans for use in Europe didn't have any type of cooling system for the crew but it did have brilliant heater that burnt 6 litres of diesel an hour. So the only thing fitted to the leopard was a small fan for each crewman. The army did trial a number of airconditioning systems but none worked.

Annonymous.


 

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