Thursday 8 September 2022

Armourfest at the Australian Armour and Artillery Museum (part 2)

With so much to see at the museum I've decided to break it down into a couple of posts, if you missed the first one which looks at much of the German and Soviet equipment on display you can find it here.

For this post I'm going to focus on AFVs from the western allies - the US, Britain and Australia. Despite the number of Sherman tanks that were built it's not a tank that seems to garner a lot of interest. Now a Panther or a Tiger, that's a very different matter, but the Sherman which served on almost every front and in the armies of the US, Britain, the USSR and China seems much neglected by comparison.

I've seen the M4A4 as well as the Firefly version, so it was good to have a first look at an M4A1 with a cast hull.

The museum also has a running Sherman Firefly.

One of the ironies of Armourfest was that the Sherman, probably one of the most reliable of the Second World War vehicles on display, was the only tank to have a breakdown. So much so that it was returned to the workshops and we didn't have the chance to see it again.

Nice to see a Churchill MkVII here as well.

The museum has several US-made tanks that served in various allied armies. They have two M3 Stuarts. The early version has an impressive array of machine guns - a co-axial, a bow and two mounted in sponsons on either side of the hull. 

They also have a running M3A1, a later model that can be distinguished by the rounded turret (and the removal of the two sponson mounted machine guns). 

The final stage of the tank's evolution is the M5A1, which the museum also has in its collection.

The M3 Grant/Lee was used by the Australian 1st Armoured Division but never in combat. While they were replaced in most theatres with the arrival of the Sherman, they continued to see use by the British against Japan in places like Burma. The museum has a Grant version.

And a Lee.

The later war is also covered with a Chaffee light tank and a Pershing.

The Pershing mounts the powerful 90mm gun which was also used on the M36 Jackson tank destroyer, another of the running vehicles in the museum collection.

Perhaps a little more unusual is the British Archer self propelled anti tank gun with a 17 pounder mounted on a Valentine chassis.

Talking of the Valentine there is also the original tank version in the collection.

The Valentine, like the British Matilda soon became obsolete for the European theatre but both found a use in the Pacific right through until the end of the war.

There is a good selection of armoured transport from a LVT-4 Buffalo.

To the impressively imposing LVT(A)4.

The M3 White Scout car.

And the mass produced M3 half track.

While not US produced they have a running version of the Canadian Ram Kangaroo APC.

They have several armoured cars and other light vehicles, including a M8 Greyhound in running condition.

For the British they have a Dingo.

And the Canadian manufactured version, the Lynx.

A working Humber.

And a Staghound.

Two countries are under represented in the collection. One is Italy and the other is Japan. There are no Italian vehicles but there is one solitary Japanese tank a Type 95 Ha Go, which was recovered from Rabaul after the Japanese surrender. Unlike many of the other vehicles it has not undergone any restoration work but I rather liked seeing it in this original condition.

So far I haven't touched on the artillery in the museum's collection and there is quite a lot of that, so perhaps I'll save that for a future post.


  1. They have a fine collection of vehicles, thank you for sharing them with us.

  2. The Chaffee is my favourite tank for WW2. I think it looks great. And it also amazes me that in 1944 it is classified as a light tank but if it was deployed four years earlier it would have been ruling the battlefield.

  3. This is an obscenely good collection - particularly impressed with the Kangaroo and the Lee (love the longer barreled 75mm). I like Shermans! But, I prefer the 76mm armed variants, especially those used by the USSR. A great photo of the Firefly at distance that shows the effectiveness of the counter-shading on the barrel - I didn't know the same scheme had been used on the Archer but then you don't see many pictures of it and it rarely gets mentioned in accounts (please correct me if wrong).

  4. A superb collection, and nice to see so many are running examples. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I watch their week you tube videos. The musuem techs do some amazing working restoring the armor vehicles. The Jagpanther was build from bits and pieces from several tanks. Great blog. Keep up the great articles.