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  #1  
Old 02-06-18, 19:37
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Default Farley Mowat's Stug

Was recently reading an article on the Weald Foundation Stug in the UK, which evidently is one of the vehicles collected by Farley Mowat and returned to Canada following WW2. Does anyone know how this vehicle ended up in private hands in the first place? Seems to be a bit of a national treasure that should still to this day be the property of Canada. Must be an interesting tale of how it ended up with a German re-enactment group in California then eventually the UK. Anyone know actual story?

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Old 02-06-18, 20:49
Perry Kitson Perry Kitson is offline
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This may be the Stug that Bill Gregg collected from a range here in Canada (Shilo perhaps?) for his museum/collection. The one he did have was sold to somene in the States later. I am sure Stew can shed more light on this topic.
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Old 02-06-18, 22:36
David Dunlop David Dunlop is offline
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Thanks for linking that up, Hanno. That is indeed the old Shilo Stug.

At one time, there used to be a Base Gate situated on the western approach to CFB Shilo. The Stug sat on the North side of the road near the gate, facing west. On the opposite side of the road sat a Long Tom heavy artillery piece that had served with a Newfoundland Regiment during the war.

A few years after GATES was established at CFB Shilo, the western gate disappeared, along with the Stug. The local story was that some higher ups at the base deemed the Stug was a ‘tank’ and not appropriate for an artillery museum so it was traded out west for something more ‘artillery appropriate’. Not at all sure what that actually was, but I suspect that in the process of the trade, Shilo may have lost title to the Stug. From what we knew at the time, the engine from the Stug was removed when it became one of the gate guardians and it was probably either scrapped, or some farmer bought it and its sitting in a shed somewhere in the area. There used to be a big surplus/scrap dealer in the Brandon area that bought a lot of stuff from the base. Might have ended up there. And the rest, as they say, is history.

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Old 02-06-18, 23:56
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I was sent these photos from Colin a few months back, trying to confirm if it was Shilo. In the photo, the vehicle is parked across from the chapel on what is now the MFRC parking lot. We now have the canoe memorial park across the street form this location.

Re how it/ they left Shilo, I have heard 3 or 4 stories, so it is hard to pin down which one is true. Suffice to say the museum used to be run by the military. It is now run by civilians better trained in museum operations and procedures.

I'm not sure I would call it a national treasure mind you. Had it been one that Currie won his VC helping to knock out, then perhaps. Was it valuable....no doubt. But a national treasure?

Several other Farley Mowatt pieces were discarded to the local milsurp yard back in the 70s as part of a compound cleanup. They have since all found new homes. We have verified several pieces which remain in Shilo as Farley Mowatt bring-backs.
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Old 03-06-18, 01:56
Perry Kitson Perry Kitson is offline
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Looks like a Jagdpanzer IV in the photo on the left. I wonder where it went to. Ottawa?
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Old 03-06-18, 03:58
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So reading Hanno's link are we to assume the Stug made it from Shilo to Currie Barracks in Calgary? And I understand the seventies were a wild decade, but given that, how does a WW2 German assault gun fall off the radar and end up in the USA? This is the part where I imagine all kind of nefarious and underhanded back room deals and manilla envelopes full of cash...like Kelly's Heroes but Stugs instead of gold bullion...and to Rob's point, I will retract "national treasure", I mean you're right Rob, it's not a Sherman for gods sake, what was I thinking? Now having grown up reading Farley Mowat, he was a national treasure!
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Old 03-06-18, 04:25
rob love rob love is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perry Kitson View Post
Looks like a Jagdpanzer IV in the photo on the left. I wonder where it went to. Ottawa?
I only count 6 road-wheels on it. Doesn't the Jagdpanzer IV have 8? The suspension looks a lot like the panzerkampfwagonIII, while the upper looks like a Jagdpanzer. But in all honesty, I know f-all about German armour.
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Old 03-06-18, 04:39
rob love rob love is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdmcm View Post
...and to Rob's point, I will retract "national treasure", I mean you're right Rob, it's not a Sherman for gods sake, what was I thinking? Now having grown up reading Farley Mowat, he was a national treasure!
Two of the items that were scrapped during the cleanup in the 70s were a flak 38 and a flakvierling. There was still a 20mm receiver hanging off the flakvierling, and I found another 20mm receiver which had sunk out of sight under an 1898 RCD limber that I recovered. A sale was arranged about 2 or 3 years ago to an American. He needed to have the receivers cut as per BATF guidelines to import, so I offered to do that. As I was cutting the first one, I noticed a number that I did not notice before. I went to the glovebox of my nearby M38A1CDN3, where I had (and still have) a listing of the Farley Mowatt bringbacks with some serial numbers from a listing from CWM. Turns out that number, along with the number I found on the second receiver, were both listed as being from Farley Mowatt's bring backs, as did the flak30/38 chassis. It kind of pained me to be cutting those receivers up, but it wasn't me that made the decision to send them to a scrapyard. Both guns and one of those wishbone type trailers for them headed off to the US for restoration.

I think I have seen pretty much all of the larger artifacts stowed away in the museum, and it does not look like the missing 3 receivers or the barrels are in the museums collection. Whether they went a different route to scrap, or remain sunk into the clay at my favorite scrapyard™ may forever remain a mystery.
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Old 03-06-18, 15:16
Perry Kitson Perry Kitson is offline
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Rob,

I was referring to the vehicle in the left hand photo, definitely the "saukopf" mantle and L/70 75mm gun. The Stug has the box mantle. I believe these are two different vehicles in the photo's.

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Old 03-06-18, 15:36
rob love rob love is offline
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Perry
I blew up the photos, and it looks like you are right. Different mantles, and the first one has the first roadwheel more forward than the second one with relation to the return roller above. I had placed both photos as being accross from the church here in Shilo....looks like I need to rethink that.

I'll keep an eye in the Shilo archives to see if any photos of that area from the 50s show up. No doubt there are photos somewhere that show the German vehicles, whether incidental or not.
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Old 03-06-18, 15:41
lincwel lincwel is offline
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Default Stug

It seems that many years ago there was something in Wheels and Tracks magazine inc a photo of it being loaded
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Old 03-06-18, 17:30
James P James P is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rob love View Post
Perry
I blew up the photos, and it looks like you are right. Different mantles, and the first one has the first roadwheel more forward than the second one with relation to the return roller above. I had placed both photos as being accross from the church here in Shilo....looks like I need to rethink that.

I'll keep an eye in the Shilo archives to see if any photos of that area from the 50s show up. No doubt there are photos somewhere that show the German vehicles, whether incidental or not.
Yep..... Jagdpanzer in the LH pic Stug in the right. Sad how these vehicles where treated and lost. Interesting they are still wearing a correct coat of dunkelgelb paint.
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Old 03-06-18, 20:51
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But we're they actually "lost"? Or we're they sold off by the museums? Or was there some misappropriation? Not trying to open a capital case here, just sadly curious as how something with legitimate Canadian military history attached is now part of a private collection in the UK instead of here, where one could argue, it should rightfully be. Thanks for all the replies and input, it is fascinating to hear how things worked around the bases and museums regarding these artifacts.
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Old 04-06-18, 02:30
rob love rob love is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdmcm View Post
But we're they actually "lost"? Or we're they sold off by the museums? Or was there some misappropriation? Not trying to open a capital case here, just sadly curious as how something with legitimate Canadian military history attached is now part of a private collection in the UK instead of here, where one could argue, it should rightfully be. Thanks for all the replies and input, it is fascinating to hear how things worked around the bases and museums regarding these artifacts.
I would suggest that "lost" is not the right word. Perhaps "sold" or "traded" are the correct terms. Perhaps one day when we meet face to face, I can share the stories I have heard. There would seem to be variations to each.
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Old 04-06-18, 18:27
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Sounds great Rob, look forward to it
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Old 04-06-18, 20:36
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Thee wasn’t a market as such for these vehicles in the 70s or really up until the early 90s. STUGs were coming out of Finland in running condition for the price you would pay for a Bren Carrier today back in the mid 80s. Remember that a good proportion of the Grizzly Sherman’s that came from Portugal in the 80s ended up on the UK firing ranges because the dealer couldn’t sell them all to the hobby market....and they were runners too! Only a couple of years ago a complete gate guard Churchill was only just saved from being targeted in the UK, the base were happy to put a more modern tank in its place and had chalked it up to be taken out as a hard target. It’s now with a private individual.
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  #18  
Old 04-06-18, 22:33
45jim 45jim is offline
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Default Stug to Europe

That Stug was at Harvey Barracks in "Martin Park" up until about 1988-89. Supposedly the tank was the "property" of the CFB Borden collection and was just on loan to us. It was called back, I don't remember the exact date but I did cut the hatch open and release the brakes for the hauler. The front two torsion bars were broken but it was mostly complete inside and the engine and transmission were all in place and still hooked up. The air cleaner was still on the carb and the linkage worked and the transmission moved through the gears. We were restoring Sherman's, Ferrets and a Centurion at the time and I couldn't convince the powers that be that we could restore it too. So, off it went to Borden.

I heard that it was later traded for a US half track to a collector in the US (can't remember his name but not Littlefield) and now that half track is in the Borden collection. He later sold it to some German dress-up guys who started the restoration. They contacted me looking for info on the tank and did send me some photos, I will have to look if I still have them.

It must have went to the UK after they stopped playing with it.
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Old 04-06-18, 22:54
Perry Kitson Perry Kitson is offline
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I recall seeing a photo of Bill Gregg in the commandres hatch of a Stug, sitting nose down(broken torsion bars), in his yard as it was being loaded onto a float. Could be the same machine. However, I think this was well before '88-89. If Stew could chime in, I'm sure he could shed some light on the subject.
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Old 04-06-18, 23:13
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One stug story I got was that it was part of the deal when Bill gave the collection to Shilo. I'm not certain though that it was the same Stug that was in Calgary. Stew told me it showed up back in Rockwood, the promptly left for the US soon afterward. I think the recipients name was Roepke or something to that effect?

But I heard another story that one of the German pieces left here as a result of a trade for repairs on the Grizzly. No idea if it was the Stug or not. I think Mr Roepker's name was mentioned in that story too. (Apologies to Mr Roepke if I have misspelled his name.)

I recall talking to the curator of Borden back around 1985/86 re the halftrack with (was it quad or a pair?) 50s on the back. I can be certain of that date because I only made it to Borden every 5 years during trades training. I can't remember what he said they traded for it, but It may have been a Stuart. Again, too many years passed.

Another story that was related was that one of the German armoured pieces was sold to help pay for restoration on other Gregg vehicles. They generally spent about $10K on each one that they did.

Then another story yet was that one piece was sold in order to pay for the expansion of the golf course here in Shilo.

Another story is that the Bundeswer took a German piece of armour back with them, possibly in exchange for the more modern 1960s yagpanzer that remains here.

Enough stories yet? We must have had a field full of the stuff to satisfy all those tales.

Mike Calnan was around Shilo back then...he may be able to shed a little light.
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Old 05-06-18, 03:35
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If Perry Kehr in the US is following this sad story maybe he can cast some light re. this StuG (now in the UK). I have spoken with Perry in the past and he is a interesting fellow with a ton of info and knowledge, he even visited Mowat in his research. So all that said the timeline and various paths this StuG traveled is well explained in the MVPA Supply Line for Feb/Mar 2015. The "Mowat" StuG is in exceptional hands now and has been given the very best of restoration work and attention to detail it deserved after decades of abuse and finally being essentially discarded by Canada.

Last edited by James P; 05-06-18 at 20:42.
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Old 05-06-18, 06:14
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Well that should put a lot of the stories to rest. I need to find that edition.
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Old 05-06-18, 11:41
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Quote:
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Well that should put a lot of the stories to rest. I need to find that edition.
Yes and no, the history is well tracked from Holland to landing in Canada, then it seems there is a big black hole the Stug fell into while in the "care and custody" of the CF and various CF "museums" till it surfaces again in the US and passed about to various owners and eventually to the UK and given the respect and attention this piece of history deserved. The question is what authority, in Canada, back in the day, essentially gave away the Mowat Stug.

https://www.scribd.com/doc/241818390...-survivor-tank

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Old 05-06-18, 12:56
Ed Storey Ed Storey is offline
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There were at least two in Canada, this one was taken off the Meaford ranges in the 1970s and saved by the CWM. They did a nice job of doing a cosmetic restoration and integrating it into their Italian Campaign display when the new museum opened in 2005. It seems Canada kept the wreck and gave away the runner.

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Old 05-06-18, 13:53
David Herbert David Herbert is offline
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It might be argued that the wreck above is a more interesting exhibit to the general public than an intact runner if the runner is just going to be a static exhibit.

David
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Old 05-06-18, 20:41
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Quote:
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It might be argued that the wreck above is a more interesting exhibit to the general public than an intact runner if the runner is just going to be a static exhibit.

David
Wrong ! Both of the StuGs (the range wreak/diorama at the CWM and the one now in the UK) should have remained in Canada AND as running (or made running) vehicles and not either blasted and shot up or "sold" off in some slippery, self serving deal that is now lost to time.

https://www.wealdfoundation.org/Insi...ley-Mowat-StuG
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Old 05-06-18, 23:39
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Actually James I totally agree with you. I was making a different point altogether !

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Old 06-06-18, 00:47
David Dunlop David Dunlop is offline
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I suppose any given military mirrors the society it is part of. If that society has little regard for old things and a ‘disposable’ mindset, we should not be surprised when old things get targeted for destruction on a range somewhere.

What has always struck me odd, however, with anti-armour weapons, is that they always get tested against armour technology that is 30 or more years older than the weapon being tested. And then everyone gets excited about how nicely the armour gets blown to bits. There is something innately wrong with that. If you have just developed and built a new antitank weapon today, why don’t you test it against a brand new Abrahams? Transportation Safety Boards do testing to destruction with brand new vehicles each year and has anyone looked at the average price for a brand new pickup truck these days?

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Old 06-06-18, 11:40
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David
I think there is a difference, between testing Anti tank weapons during development and the training of troops in the use of anti tank weapons.

During development the weapons are test on the intended adversary, but these test are not for the public eye, (sometimes promotion videos are shown afterwards). I have passed by one development test once during my service time, It was very hush hush and held in the furthest part of the training grounds and everything covered up.

Training of troops in the use of the weapon, does not require much of the target, though it is helps with the recognition, if the target is the material used by adversary or the shape of a tank etc.
But any old tank will do, and normally they are bit more robust, and will take the beating better than a plain steel plate.
Furthermore there is nothing more annoying, than having to stop in the middle of a firing exercise, and then go out and repair the target plate, because some penetrated it and hit the structure holding it.
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Old 06-06-18, 18:41
Perry Kitson Perry Kitson is offline
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So was perhaps the wartime Jagdpanzer IV traded to the Germans for the Kanonenjadgpanzer 90 that sits as a gate guard now, or a least the last time I was out there.

As a note of consolation, the Stug is in great hands, receiving the kind of restoration and care it deserves.

I guess having a military that a few years ago deemed the modern tank as useless, and not being too particular about preserving it's own historical vehicles, it is not surprising that they would care little about properly preserving our former enemies armour.
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