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  #61  
Old 24-07-18, 03:00
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Herbert View Post
Malcolm,
Good idea to just run off the rear tank and not refit the tanks either side of the engine.

David
Ensure the rear Aux fuel tank is meticulously cleaned out first. In Australian use, the rear tank in Vietnam was not used for fuel, it was filled with sand for RPG protection for the engine compartment. If these (fuel) tanks in Canadian service were fitted during a European tour where Urban fighting might have been more expected that long range driving, then it could also have been sand-filled as additional protection.
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  #62  
Old 24-07-18, 03:16
rob love rob love is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Martel View Post

PS: Live track and dead track? Qu'est-ce que c'est?
Live track has rubber bushes on each track pin. The pins may be molded to the pad and end connectors installed, or may be pushed through a hex bushing with interlocking pads. When laid somewhat flat on the ground, the ends tend to curl up.

Dead track is simple pins through track shoes. When laid down it flops flat. Bren carrier track is a good example.

Live track is considered modern....dead track is antique. I always thought the USSR used it the longest, but the Cents may have given them a run for their money.

When I was still in the service around y2K, we got a call from a professor at RMC looking for a section of dead track to use as a training aid. We had nothing in service anymore, but I sent him a short section of bren carrier.

Last edited by rob love; 24-07-18 at 13:09.
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  #63  
Old 24-07-18, 04:07
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Hi Malcolm,

Thanks for the images. Yes, that is the IR battery mounting point, though in Australian tanks fitted for IR, the mount is high enough on the wall to allow the ammo bin below to be opened (thus not reducing the main armament ammunition load by having an inaccessible floor bin).

The driver's compartment IR periscope stowage would have been an open-top bin mounted on the left wall. The one shown is the driver's paperwork stowage bin - such as the vehicle log book, etc (plus the 'stick books' of course!).

Regards

Mike
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  #64  
Old 24-07-18, 04:13
Mike Cecil Mike Cecil is online now
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Default Aust LR tanks in SVN

"In Australian use, the rear tank in Vietnam was not used for fuel, it was filled with sand for RPG protection for the engine compartment."

Where did you hear of that, please Tony?

In many years of research into the Australian use of Centurion, and interviews with many people who operated Centurions in SVN, it is the first time I've ever heard of that, so I'm curious to learn the source.

Regards

Mike
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  #65  
Old 24-07-18, 10:37
David Herbert David Herbert is offline
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I have not heard of filling the rear tank with sand either but it could well be something that was done without sanction from above. Did they really fill the tank itself or remove the tank and fill the armour box, which would have been much easier and quicker.

British tanks continued to use dry pin track though with replaceable rubber pads on Chieftain and even Challenger 1 but Challenger 2 finally got live track similar to Leopard.

David
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  #66  
Old 24-07-18, 14:13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Cecil View Post
"In Australian use, the rear tank in Vietnam was not used for fuel, it was filled with sand for RPG protection for the engine compartment."

Where did you hear of that, please Tony?

Regards

Mike
I believe it was in Jungle Tracks, adopted following Binh Ba. I'll have a re-read and find the quote.
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  #67  
Old 24-07-18, 16:37
Malcolm Towrie Malcolm Towrie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Smith View Post
Ensure the rear Aux fuel tank is meticulously cleaned out first. In Australian use, the rear tank in Vietnam was not used for fuel, it was filled with sand for RPG protection for the engine compartment. If these (fuel) tanks in Canadian service were fitted during a European tour where Urban fighting might have been more expected that long range driving, then it could also have been sand-filled as additional protection.
Tony, 3 years ago when I was last working on the tank, I found the rear fuel tank rusty inside with the worst on the floor (no sand). I cleaned it and vacuumed it as best I good but access isn't good, and sprayed the interior with preservative oil. We'll have to think about what further cleaning we can do, or whether we'll settle for some heavy duty filtering.

Malcolm
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  #68  
Old 24-07-18, 17:40
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Or make a new stainless tank using the original fittings and designed in such a way that you can use the last bit of fuel rather than permanently have 20litres going stale.

David
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  #69  
Old 24-07-18, 19:53
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i cleaned the long range tank on one of my cents last week. fairly simple to remove the drain plugs and give it the good news with a high pressure steam cleaner.
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  #70  
Old 25-07-18, 03:36
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Mike did all the Australian Centurions which served in Vietnam have the up-armored glacis and .50 ranging gun?
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  #71  
Old 25-07-18, 05:17
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We are straying somewhat from Malcolm's initial question, but I think that has been answered satisfactorily by this stage anyway.

Australian Centurions sent to SVN - gun tanks, command tanks and dozer tanks - were fitted with:
- RG (with associated changes to the sighting system to correspond to the new ranging technique)
- applique armour on the glacis plate
- IR
- LR armoured fuel tank on the rear,
- internal changes to allow stowage of the IR sights & periscopes, the IR batteries, and the .50 cal ammunition liners.

... with one exception: one of the first two dozer tanks sent to SVN in 1968 was not fitted with RG and IR, and was not fitted with the basket, commonly called an IR basket, on the rear of the turret. A 'home grown' basket of smaller size was fitted in SVN to provide additional stowage.

Mike
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  #72  
Old 25-07-18, 23:35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Cecil View Post
Australian Centurions sent to SVN - gun tanks, command tanks and dozer tanks - were fitted with:
- RG (with associated changes to the sighting system to correspond to the new ranging technique)
- applique armour on the glacis plate
- IR
- LR armoured fuel tank on the rear,
- internal changes to allow stowage of the IR sights & periscopes, the IR batteries, and the .50 cal ammunition liners.
Mike,

A Mk 5/1 LR with RG and IR?

Cheers,
Dan
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  #73  
Old 26-07-18, 00:09
Mike Cecil Mike Cecil is online now
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Yes: the Mk5/1 (an uparmoured Mk5) with the 20-pdr combined with the RG was, as far as I know, unique to Australia, though Australia did not officially list a different nomenclature for that combination, leaving it as either a Mk5 or Mk5/1. Neither did Australia use the 'LR' suffix in the nomenclature to indicate the addition of the rear armoured fuel tank.

The combination of the 20-pdr and RG required a different sight reticle, (among other changes), to the 105-mm - equipped tanks with RG.

Mike
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  #74  
Old 27-07-18, 10:08
Dave Mills Dave Mills is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Cecil View Post
We are straying somewhat from Malcolm's initial question, but I think that has been answered satisfactorily by this stage anyway.

Australian Centurions sent to SVN - gun tanks, command tanks and dozer tanks - were fitted with:
- RG (with associated changes to the sighting system to correspond to the new ranging technique)
- applique armour on the glacis plate
- IR
- LR armoured fuel tank on the rear,
- internal changes to allow stowage of the IR sights & periscopes, the IR batteries, and the .50 cal ammunition liners.

... with one exception: one of the first two dozer tanks sent to SVN in 1968 was not fitted with RG and IR, and was not fitted with the basket, commonly called an IR basket, on the rear of the turret. A 'home grown' basket of smaller size was fitted in SVN to provide additional stowage.

Mike
Hello Mike, have been following this thread with interest. Living in Seymour and being near Pucka the home of Armour I know many SVN veterans and have spoken today with these veterans from 68/69 1st Armoured Regiment. A Driver said no way was sand used - Fuel was the life line, Mechanic said that in 1968 a .50 Cal round punctured a tank, fuel leaked out and ignited from the burning grass and another fuel tank got blown off by an RPG and due to the mounting bolts being the only thing holding it in place it got blown off and did not ignite. And a tank refueller who said that every night all fuel tanks were topped off with fuel and no sand. They all agreed with your thread about the baskets etc.

In this time they even produced the arourmed protection for the .50 Cal on the M113 out of the track guards from the Cent as they removed them pretty quickly in the jungles of SVN.

Speaking to these blokes who had boots on the ground at the time I would not doubt their recalling of knowledge.

They discounted that in 1968 / 69 that sand was used to fill up the rear external fuel tank. With all of them career Soldiers serving in the unit until the late 80's and that they had never heard of the practice and that fuel was every thing to them.

Cheers,

Dave.
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  #75  
Old 27-07-18, 16:17
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Thanks, Dave, for checking that out. I'd not heard of filling the rear armoured fuel tank with sand either, but you can learn something new every day, hence my query to Tony.

Tony - have you had a chance to locate that quote yet, please? I've had a quick look in Jungle Tracks, but didn't see it.

Regards

Mike
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  #76  
Old 27-07-18, 20:04
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Dave

great research on the Vietnam Centurions, best to go to the source! I have always been a Centurion fan, fascinated in part because as a kid it was one of the first actual tanks I had ever seen up close and in person in the form of a gate guard at Sarcee Barracks in Calgary, that Centurion now at the War Museums of Alberta. They had actually welded handles on the Centurion and Sherman to make climbing on them even easier...ahh the good old days before lawyers ruined the world.

As I have learned more about the Australians use of the Centurion in Vietnam, I have to say I have a newfound excitement and appreciation for this tank, reading and watching the documentaries about the Centurions in action at Binh Bah and the defense of FOB Coral and Balmoral is fascinating. When you think of tanks in Vietnam, which really isn't something usually equated with that conflict, you think of M48's, maybe M41's and the occasional T54 and PT76. I think the use of the Centurion and the Australian modifications to same is something every Centurion fanatic should immerse themselves in. And to get the information right from the tankers that served on these machines is amazing. The Centurion tank, definitely one for my bucket list.
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  #77  
Old 28-07-18, 00:03
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John,

Sounds like you need to read 'Canister! On! Fire!' by Bruce Cameron, detailing Aust tank operations in South Vietnam. There is a book review of it on here somewhere.

I have a spare copy which would minimise the postage cost.

Mike
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  #78  
Old 28-07-18, 00:58
Malcolm Towrie Malcolm Towrie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Cecil View Post
We are straying somewhat from Malcolm's initial question, but I think that has been answered satisfactorily by this stage anyway.
Mike, just to close the loop, you said in a PM I think that our tank is a rather unique Canadian Mk 5/2 fitted with IR equipment and a 20 pdr. Do I have that correct?

Malcolm
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  #79  
Old 28-07-18, 01:24
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I would love to get a copy of that Mike!

Regards
John
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  #80  
Old 28-07-18, 01:53
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Malcolm,

That was before the info in posts 38 & 46 popped up. It was identified as a Mk5/2 ECC118109: a Mk5/2 with IR and RG - a configuration which appears to be unique to Canada, but not so unique within Canada, if you get what I mean.

Seems to me all it needs to return it to that configuration is to change to 20-pdr for a 105mm barrel.

John: I'll PM you about the book.

Mike
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  #81  
Old 28-07-18, 02:06
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From the ELD L112 4th revision.

ECC 118105; Tank, combat, full tracked, medium gun, armoured, Centurion, mk5

ECC 118109 Tank, combat, full tracked, 105mm gun, Centurion MK 5/2 fitted with RMG

ECC 118110 Tank, combat, full tracked, 105mm gunned, armoured centurion mkII

ECC 118203 Tank, combat, full tracked, medium, command, armoured, centurion Mk 5

ECC 118401 Tank, bridge layer, full tracked, heavy, armoured, Centurion Mk 5

ECC 118801 Recovery Vehicle, full tracked, heavy, armoured, Centurion mk2
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  #82  
Old 28-07-18, 10:48
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Speaking further with a veteran today he pointed me to a publication which he had and is a fantastic read of Aust armour in Vietnam.

"Vietnam Tracks Armor in Battle" - USA publication hence the spelling of Armor and not Armour.

ISBN - 0850454727

Pages 160 - 180 which focus on the Aust Armour.

Went to the Armour Museum the other day and worked with a former RAEME mech now in his 70's who was replacing the bushes and adjusting the gear selector rods on the Musuems Cent. Fantastic just fantastic, apparently the gear changes between 2nd and 3rd if not done fast and correctly would bog the Cent.
He said most drivers did full noise and from 1st to 3rd as fast as possible. One day we will not have these Vets around and I enjoy every minute that I get with them. The Pucka museum is great and so hands on if you know the right people.

Cheers,

Dave.
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  #83  
Old 28-07-18, 14:44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rob love View Post
From the ELD L112 4th revision.

ECC 118110 Tank, combat, full tracked, 105mm gunned, armoured centurion mkII.
Rob,

The only difference in ECC's between your list and mine, is the ECC for a Centurion Mk 11. Mine shows it as 118305 while yours shows it as 118110. I'm wondering if it was changed in the three years between my source document and yours. I doubt one vehicle was issued two Codes.

Thanks for posting this, as now I have something else to research, and to me, that's all the fun.

Cheers,
Dan.
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  #84  
Old 28-07-18, 15:47
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Bit off topic,and perhaps Hanno will move this to a more appropriate place, but I was wondering about the Anzac tankers crewing the Centurions in Vietnam, did they wear a mix of Australian and US gear? I have seen the APC crews wearing what look like US pattern armored vehicle crew helmets with radio mikes, but not sure if I have ever seen the Centurion crews wear those, perhaps someone could advise as to radio configurations and the like on the RAAC tanks. Were the uniforms, flak jackets and web gear a mix of the US and Australian or was that just the inevitable trading back and forth between the troops?
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  #85  
Old 28-07-18, 16:05
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John,

Tank Suits were too hot, so crews wore standard Army Greens (cotton shirt, trousers) on ops and when working in camp, and had a light-weight flying suit for 'evening wear' (after work) in camp.

Flak jackets, when issued, were of US origin. Two types were on issue.

Some Cent crews adapted US AFV Crewman's Helmets, most drivers just had the outer shell of an M1 helmet handy. Hats were black beret or a US ball cap. AFV Crewman Helmets were easier for an M113A1 crewman to use, as they plugged straight in to the US type IC (AN/VIC-1 harness) and worked with the radios (AN/VRC-46, and AN/GRC-125, etc)

Cent radio configuration was B47/C42 (gun tanks) or B47/C42/C42 (command tanks) internally, AN/PRC-25 externally on the turret roof, held in an angle iron bracket as part of an ammunition liner stowage mounting.

Mike
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  #86  
Old 29-07-18, 01:05
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Seeing as we're talking about all things Centurion, I found this little chart on the t'internet. Thought I'd post it for those interested in Australian Centurions in Vietnam.

Cheers,
Dan.

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  #87  
Old 29-07-18, 03:12
Richard Coutts-Smith Richard Coutts-Smith is offline
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For most of the 90's I worked with Vietnam Vet, a gunner in the Centurion. As was the case then (and now?) many vets were reticent to talk about their service. My recollection of the few comments he made was:
They worked on a range of 60 miles with full fuel.
When under fire from tunnels in hillsides they would pump in round after round of canister as it was most effective.
The Cent. was not a suitable tank for the terrain/conditions.
(The most effective weapon he saw was a Bofors A/A used for ground defence.)
Suffered terribly from Tinnitus and later developed PTSD.
I thought I was doing the right thing and organised a ride in a Cent, he flatly refused (politely, he was a great bloke) to be involved...
I guess our love of the machinery can blind us to the human side on occasion, I still feel
guilty that I could not see his suffering.
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  #88  
Old 29-07-18, 03:21
Bruce Parker Bruce Parker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Coutts-Smith View Post
For most of the 90's I worked with Vietnam Vet, a gunner in the Centurion. As was the case then (and now?) many vets were reticent to talk about their service. My recollection of the few comments he made was:
They worked on a range of 60 miles with full fuel.
When under fire from tunnels in hillsides they would pump in round after round of canister as it was most effective.
The Cent. was not a suitable tank for the terrain/conditions.
(The most effective weapon he saw was a Bofors A/A used for ground defence.)
Suffered terribly from Tinnitus and later developed PTSD.
I thought I was doing the right thing and organised a ride in a Cent, he flatly refused (politely, he was a great bloke) to be involved...
I guess our love of the machinery can blind us to the human side on occasion, I still feel
guilty that I could not see his suffering.
Rich.
Humbling. But if we are doing what we do for the right reasons (and I think most of us are) it is to pay tribute to vets like this and what they went through. If nothing else it's to help tell their story to generations that would otherwise have no idea.
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  #89  
Old 29-07-18, 13:30
David Dunlop David Dunlop is offline
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What, if any, losses did the Australian Centurions experience in Vietnam?

David
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  #90  
Old 29-07-18, 20:19
Ed Storey Ed Storey is offline
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Default Centurion Mystery

Does anyone know the fate of this Lahr Centurion Mk 11 Gate Guardian?

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