Revisit to 169096
C/S 21C Crew Commander Cpl Geoff Bennett
Saw action at Binh Ba
I drove up to Wangaratta today with a close friend, John Clifford to introduce a prospective buyer to Andrew, for 169096.
We left early at 7.45 am, and met with Ian at 10am after a nice relaxed drive, and then drove out to Andrew's property. A few handshakes with everyone and it was down to the shed. This had been damaged in a storm and now had lost part of the roof. There were two tanks there 169096 and 169085. Both had been driven there in the early 1990's and sat there ever since. Andrew hooked up a couple of big batteries to 169096 and gave her a go. She turned over nicely, but as there was no fuel it was not started, but it was nice to see her turn over. Andrew will fuel her up and have her running for the next inspection. Ian appeared to like the tank but there is a committee to be consulted first so hopefully it will be sold, and if so its going to a good home.
I have been asked to put up some photos of just what is it that makes the Mk 5/1Aust different from the Mk 5. So today I took a few photos and included are the main items.
Just about all the Cents now have the front guards cut back, as above but in Vietnam they were cut back even further and the guards made from 1/4" plate.
The rear guards were also cut back on an angle, this one appears to have had an extension piece added
The right hand barrel hole looking at the picture was where the old Besa 7.62 was mounted in the Mk 3. The fitting of the .30 cal into this position made the tank a Mk 5 It was later bored out to take the .50 cal ranging gun and another barrel hole was drilled to the left, where the .30 was repositioned. This was in the Mk 5 / 1 (Aust.) All the Vietnam tanks had this modification.
This is the B Barrel with counter weights
The smoke dischargers on both sides of the turret, these were damaged and torn off so often in Vietnam that they were removed, but refitted when back in Australia
The two radio antenna mounts are in good condition, with screw fittings still in place.
The turret casting numbers
The spare road wheel mount and omega bracket. The bracket was often bent in at the bottom allowing the wheel to hang on the top hook and allow easy removal. Rather than undo the two bolts it could just be lifted up and off the top hook.
The fitting of the spare track links was an Australian idea
The IR cage the searchlight was fitted into the left section. The wheel on the right was for a telephone cable, and mostly removed in Vietnam
A rear view of 169096, showing the tow rope and 100 gallon fuel tank
The sliding bins from inside the turret of the operators side. These held two rounds each and could be slid left or right. They could also be removed when not required, with little trouble
Another shot of the smoke dischargers
169085 is the left front idler wheel and 169096 is the right one, note the different design.
Mixing the idler wheels would cause the tank to pull either left or right and on long straight runs could burn out a steering brake
The glacis plate number
Hopefully next time I see this shed, 169096 will be moving out to be loaded for a trip to her new home.
Looking back at some old photos I took of Tim Vibert's storage shed I thought a look at them as worth while
You cannot always believe what you see
2A. Hell I have seen 2A on a heap of tanks, would have to be a favorite number
Also Birth Controller --- this was the name and painted much the same on 169108 which served in Vietnam
BUT this is a 105 barrel and was never on 169108 and only one of these barrels were ever fitted to Centurion in Australia, and that was169031, the Gate Guard at Puckapunyal. And that was only because no 20 pounder barrels were available, when she was rescued from the range.
Wonder what the story was behind this barrel??
Want a brand new Final Drive, quite a few around here
Half a dozen new road wheels
Something for everyone Need a new transmission
Top rollers Front guard extensions
Want a used V12
There is $5000 in one heap
Suspension stations without springs
Then there is the odd turret laying around
An odd mix, front idler wheel suspension spring and some more road wheels
Plenty of new tracks and another transmission
And another pair of transmissions
SOME MORE ON THE .30 Cal BUILD
A snug fit in the mount
The fitting of the un-drilled barrel base and pistol grip
The sliding tube for the cocking bar is also installed
The barrels will be stainless steel and will have the cooling holes laser cut.
On this mount you can see the locking lever for the cocked action
We are waiting on some machined items, end of barrel, Flash eliminator fitting and so forth
She is coming along quite well and we are pleased with the results so far.
The display that I made up for the Vietnam Veterans Museum
They have now made a case for it, which looks excellent - Unfortunately they have not connected the power to the turntable, so at this point of time the Centurion is stationary, a fault I do hope they will remedy quite soon.