Spring is here and things are turning OD. Reenactors are looking in their closets and wondering what still fits while MVers are checking fluids, charging batteries and filling tires. This is probably a good time to remind folks that these toys with which we like to play are old. And just like the old guys who play with them, they leak, tear easily and are prone to breaking.
A couple of years ago, a good friend went for an impromptu tank ride. Some reenactors had an M5 light tank and had offered the assistant driver’s position to him. Who would pass up that opportunity?
Sitting behind the .30 caliber on the right side of the hull, he couldn’t resist the urge to prop himself in the open hatch as the tank clanked out of the built up area for the open fields. In the matter of one second, a series of system failures occurred that resulted in the turret turning, the 37mm barrel toppling the hatch on him and the periscope peeling his back like a ripe apple before nearly cutting him in half.
The explanation of what failed is irrelevant to this tale. What is important, though, is the reminder that these things are 60 years old and systems will fail. The military relics that we all love to see, hold or use were not built to last beyond the battlefield. Just because something looks “mint” does not erase the natural erosion of time.
Whether you are playing with MVs or pulling on the wool, exercise some caution, folks. All the stuff is old, and I will wager, you aren’t in the same shape as the 18-21 year-old GIs for whom the equipment was originally intended.
Editor, Military Trader & Military Vehicles