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Some anecdotes and pictures from a former British Army armoured crewmember.    (Ver 2)

 

I was on scorpions in the 70's, I was a gunner but couldnt hit a barn door. I thought they where good fun but very hot in summer on the gunners side, by the way the coax (GPMG) was not ballistically matched to the main gun. We used to get a lot of problems with the fuel bag and we never ever floated one.

I thought they would be death trap in war as they where petrol and aluminium, also if you withdrew in contact i.e with the gun over the back it was flat i.e not sloped armour and from the bottom up was fuel, ammo and crew, also the bin was over the drivers hatch so he couldnt get out.

I just remembered - sometimes the cable on the forward & reverse handle snaps. We had one occasion when a drive shaft snapped and all the drive transffered to to the other side , the scorp swerved & hit a mini bus. I was on Centurion, FV-432, Ferret (mk 2/6 swingfire) Saracen, and Scorps (oh and Pigs) so if I can answer any questions I will. I was a radio op on C42, B47 and C13/R210.

Just read the Chieftain article - I recall one had 5 power packs replaced! We where on exercise in Germany and the fitters stopped going off to the next job and just followed it round, I think at that point they started delivering them by helicopter. If you ever watch a film of them look at the back decks and you may see a fine spray of oil being thrown out of the decks (via the fans) from the various leaking joints.

I remember I was told if you pulled on the handbrake while moving the gearbox automatcally changed down all the way to first and broke the commanders teeth on the cupola if he wasn't paying attention (I cant verify that).
By the way make damn sure the drivers hatch has locked properly or your mother may not recognise you !

Here a pic of a ferret firing swingfire at Castlemartin ranges in South Wales, about 1977 ish. Below it is an enlargement.



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Scorpions at a gunnery range in Germany about 1978 ish BAOR Fallingbostel ranges.
The squadron markings - look on the back of the Scorpion middle top of the turret bin.
Callsigns = 31 ( 9 troop leader C Sqn), 31A (troop sgt 9 troop)
Triangle A = troops 1- 4
Box B = troops 5 - 8
Circle C = troops 9 - 12
D lying on its back = HQ.



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On exercise in Germany 1978, Eric on the left.



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Hong Kong 1977, Eric driving.



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On the ranges at Lulworth, an ACV (Armoured Command Vehicle).



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Germany, about 1977, 1 RTR as armored recce regt. Visible are Ferrets, Saracens (2 types) and Scorpions. The 2nd photo is an enlargement of some of the vehicles in the first.



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The FV-438's and the ferret Mk5 are being prepared for swingfire firing at the end of a GW (Guided Weapons) controllers course at Lulworth in about 1977. The FV-438 is the swingfire firing version of a FV-432 and you would (if you can recognise it from a dark & blurred photo)!
The FV-432 family of vehicles was the British APC of the late Cold War Era.



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Saracen in Hong Kong - notice the tropical air flow (Chimney Pot like things on the engine decking) thats not me leaning on it.

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  The Saracen in a ditch is on Laffins Plain (I think thats what it was called) Hong Kong 1977 on driver training the sheepish looking bloke with no hat is the one who ditched it. It was pulled out backwards by the saracen behind it.
C Squadron 1RTR was in Hong Kong - only one squadron in the colony, set up as an armoured recce squadron, we had 2 kinds of Saracen the command one for Squadron Hq , and the APC one for Assault troop.

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  The ferrets are mk5 (Swingfire ATGW) in Hong Kong in 1977, Sek Kong Barracks.

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  About 1977/78 in Germany on exercise.

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My thanks to Eric for the pictures and anecdotes.


 

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