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Rules for Moving Armour.
From Ossie in the UK comes the following article on moving armour. He says the following about the article:
I am an ex-B1 Driver/Mech Centurion/Chieftain. This article was checked by another B1 Dvr/Mech and finally by a B1 Dvr/Mech, D & M instructer.
Having had the opportunity to drive tanks in the Army as a Royal Engineer and in civilian life as a hobby, I must say that over the years I have seen a lot of avoidable accidents. I therefore hope that this short article will give you an insight into the dangers of driving or moving Tanks, SP Guns or smaller wheeled vehicles, without the presence of the vehicle commander, or a competent person to give driving directions.
Above all, I have found that the main thing that will help the novice ‘tankie’ is vehicle knowledge and taking tank-driving lessons from a qualified person, these lessons are not usually available at your local BSM Driving School. If you do not have that knowledge then ask, you will always find that there is someone who served on them and is willing to help, providing that they are familiar with your vehicle.
Driving and Commanding
You are strongly advised not to drive any ex-military vehicle on any public road, or in the presence of the public, or where they can be injured unless you are fully conversant with driving the vehicle and any peculiarities that that vehicle may have. Some vehicles which have manual change gearboxes, may have ghost gears, and others may require a ‘double declutch’ method of gear change, whilst gently pulling on one of the steering levers, to slow down the gearbox speed. Other vehicles just bit back, hard, if you do not treat them with love and care.
Many people that I have met outside of the military feel that they can just jump into a tank and then drive it like a Formula one racing car. These vehicles are designed for one main purpose and that is to kill people, whilst affording protection to it’s crew and they do it with impunity.
When you move any large tracked vehicle there must always be a commander who is in overall charge of the vehicle and that person and that person only gives directions to the driver. The other passengers on the vehicle must position themselves in the designated hatches and if feasible, they should only have their head and shoulders outside of the hatch. This is because, if the vehicle overturns, anyone sitting on top of the tank and outside of the hatch will be crushed and killed.
It is the Commander’s responsibility to instruct the driver to start the vehicle and to ensure that everyone is positioned correctly before the vehicle moves. Before any of this can happen, it is the driver’s task to ensure that the engine has had a first or last parade carried out, that the gearbox decks are securely closed and that the tacks are adequately tightened. Tight tracks help with the turning circle of the vehicle and also prevent them from being thrown off. Just prior to moving off the commander must lastly look underneath the vehicle, walk around it and check that everything is secure and fastened down.
Moving the vehicle
The Commander must walk in front of the vehicle when in public places or where the public is present and obey all local laws and speed limits. When moving a vehicle in confined or dangerous areas the driver must watch the Commander at all times and obey his commands instantly. Vehicle commands are either givens by hand signals, torch signals by night or over the vehicle’s internal I/C.. In many cases when the vehicle is operating in small or confined places it is advisable to have people located on top of, to the rear of and to each side of the vehicle. The Commander must always be aware of the vehicle turning circle.
Mounting and dismounting.
The vehicle must be mounted and dismounted from the front only and in full view of the driver and commander. If you mount or dismount from the sides or rear, the driver or commander may not see you and start to move the vehicle, thus resulting in an injury.
It is far safer to use the internal intercom with the driver at all times. This can be achieved by various means, either by using vehicle radio systems, or by what is termed a ‘live Mike’ system. This is a radio mike that is connected to a headset at the other end for the driver and it can be powered by the inspection light socket. There are also other systems that can be used, for example the infantry telephone at the rear of the vehicle, which is used by the Infantry to commentate with the commander when the crew are hull down, or used by the commander to reverse the vehicle, when hitching a trailer.
Lastly, if you treat and drive your vehicle with respect, it will treat you with respect and last you a long time. Always be vigilant and wary of those around you when they are on your vehicle.
Download the big pics by clicking on the small pics...
Photo used by permission of M E Orsbourn - probably the worst case vehicle for needing a Commander/Observer!
My thanks to Ossie.
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