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Revenge of the T-59 - 1
From England comes a T-59 story. A cerain museum and their T-59 have had a less than happy introduction. There is more than one version of this story about, but as far as I can prove, this is the one closest to actual events.
In the mid 1990s this museum was donated a Type 59 tank that was captured in the first Gulf War.
After its capture, this vehicle had spent quite some time as a test subject for rearming with a 105mm British gun with the view to the export market. In the end it was concluded that the idea wasn't all that marketable and so the vehicle was then surplus to needs.
Its arrival coincided with the staff who normally operate the museum AFVs being sent to London with a tank for the unveiling of a new memorial, this had been scheduled to coincide with an anniversary of the last time a tank had been on display in Whitehall. They had left specific instructions that should the T-59 arrive it should be left alone till they returned. However, this was not to be the case, perhaps the trucky delivering the T-59 could not wait around, perhaps there were other reasons? In the their absence, other staff went ahead and unloaded the T-59.
Back in Whitehall the event had gone off quite successfully. The AFV staff had bought some take-away and retired to their hotel room to relax, have some grub and watch TV. The news came on and the first item was a still picture of a certain yellow T-59 mangling a car. They instantly recognised that there was probably only one place in England where this could have happened.....
The news then announced that the tank had taken its own revenge for being captured and had run amok in the museum car park. In the process it had mangled 5 or 6 cars. The vision then switched to a home video taken by the occupant of one of the cars concerned as the T-59 ground its way along the side of the car and moved on to other cars. What astounded the AFV staff was that the occupant had been more concerned about getting the video than he had been about his own safety in a car being eaten by a tank.
Upon the return of the AFV staff they straight away inquired as to what had happened and were told that the tank had been started, placed in gear and was going quite nicely until the driver tried to stop. He then discovered that the steering controls appeared to be disconnected. At that point he went for the brake pedal, which promptly went limp. Then the clutch pedal, which didn't do anything either. Last resort was to shut the engine down, again no success. So, he was in there for as long as the ride lasted.
The T-59 happily rumbled along into the parked cars with now well alarmed musuem visitors scattering to safety.
It finally stalled of its own accord (possibly not having enough revs to climb onto a car) and the driver was able to climb out. They were scarcely able to believe their luck at the fact that nobody had been injured. However the property damage was considerable.
One of the senior people at the museum was quite bemused at the way luck works, his car had been the next in line to be mangled when the tank stalled. Of all the car owners involved, he was the only one who would have welcomed an insurance claim as his car was about ready for retirement.
The subsequent investigation revealed that at some time previously persons unknown had either failed to install split pins in the control linkages or had failed to assemble the linkages. It is also a mystery why this area of the tank had been worked on as it had not been necessary to modify anything there during the rearming experiment.
It was however one very lucky day in that nobody was hurt.
These days, incoming vehicles get a safety check before being started and this is done by the staff most qualified to do so.
Information source is annonymous.
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