Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Littlefield Tank Collection Part One

 Hi Kids, The Chuckster wrangled an invite to the world famous Littlefield Tank Collection on his last trip to Cali!  How was this arranged?  Black helicopters, dead drops, go-betweens, secret payoffs and government handouts?  Nah.  Just a couple emails and US$20.00.  Then I had to fly to Cali, rent a car, follow a trail of breadcrumbs.....  All kidding aside, this collection is probably the best I've ever seen in the USA; much larger than Danville, Manasas, or Ft. Knox; and better condition than Aberdeen (which pretty much doesn't exist anymore).  I'd rate it just behind Bovington Camp and the Imperial War Museum Duxford. I still have to visit that one in Indiana.  There isn't a guide book to go with these shots, so I could get some ID's wrong, but I'm not a expert with these things.  Also, most of the restored examples are in buildings, and for some strange reason they didn't want me starting them up and pulling them out into the sunshine, so a lot of the shots are strange angles and partials; but hey, what can you do?  Here we have an M36 Tank Destroyer, I think they brought it over from Yugoslavia.
 These are the prototypes of a new armored Hummer, T54/55 behind them.  The Soviet beast is for sale if you've got US$45K sitting around.
 A Brit Centurion and an up-armored T54/55.
 Some kind of arty and an M3 Stuart.
 Hummer wannabees.
A nifty French tank, the AMX-13!

 An Israeli Super Sherman, I think this is one of the M50's, but I wouldn't swear it.  Does that look like a 105 to you?
 The business end.
 Churchill AVRE, complete with 165mm gun, and assorted hardpoints for carrying stuff like mine plows.
 A little tiny PZ 1.  And I mean TINY.  If it had a handle you could just pick it up and walk out with it.
 One of the four large buildings, this one with the sexiest tank of all time, the Chieftain!
IIRC this was an M2 arty tractor halftrack.

 Of course, it's not ALL tanks, here's a 23mm quad mount from the Soviets or one of their client states.
 Oh yeah, dead sexy!  Another view of the Chieftain!  When the Brits surplused them they were only US17K!  A used tank or a used Honda?  Tough choice.
 One of the few M103's ever made.  At this point of history guns had trumpted armor, so there wasn't a whole lot of point to building more superheavy tanks.
 A Brit armoured car, the Saladin.  They had its alter-ego, the Saracen, also.
 A T-34/76.  Yes, that kid is lifting the hatch.  That's how easy they are to operate.
 Another line-up shot, with what might be Scorpion, French armored cars, an M48 and M88 way at the end.
Gotta love those Scuds!

 The Brit mate of the M103: The Conquerer. They made even fewer of these.  The Guide said this was the only vehicle they delivered in two loads; hull and turret.  It was just Too Honkin Big.
 The other side of that goofy looking French Armored Car, Panhard EBR.
 Eland 90. Much sexier than the 8 wheeler.
JS-3.  Stalin digs em!

 The US M551 Sheridan.  I heard shooting normal 152mm ammo was a life changing experience.  The Shillelagh missile was a bad joke.  Aluminum armor, too.  Most of these are in artificial reefs now.  If this was designed in Russia the dudes responsible would be in the artificial reef too.
 The line-up from the other direction.
 Some of the yet-to-be-restored tanks outside. I can see a Valentine, a Sherman, and some arty and recovery vehicles.  The tours are limited to 3 hours and none of these were in the tour.
 A line of CVRT, not sure the exact models; Striker, Samson?
 That last one looks like a big wheel Ferret or maybe a Fox.
The courtyard view, there are four large buildings each crammed with cool stuff!

Well, I've been told my huge posts with 100+ pictures are tough to download, so I'm going to break these reports up into bit-sized chunks. So tune in tomorrow for more Littlefield action!  For those of you who don't dig tanks, you'll get to ignore me a lot more often!  So everybody wins!


Tartar Sauce said...

Oh man! I have got to get off my lazy ass and drive up there. No more excuses, by the end of summer I'll visit this place!

ColKillgore said...

The jaded traveler Chuckaroo always ends up with a good slide show.