29 November 2017
A splendid array of military machinery will be on parade and Show visitors can really get up close and gauge the size and strength of tanks and armoured vehicles from WW2 to the mid-1970s, and experience that military might first-hand with a tank ride.Among the military stars of the Show will be a very special 1942 M3 Grant Tank. This particular machine was used as a target to secretly test captured German ammunition to allow the Allied Forces to improve armoured protection on their vehicles. It took thousands of hits in its vital research role, and is still peppered with countless bullet holes because owner Carl Brown has chosen to keep it in a highly original condition, complete with rust. However, it still runs and will take to the tank arena at the Show.
You can’t have a live-action tank display without a Sherman, and the 1943 M4A1 due to appear at the Show is a splendid example of the main Allied tank from WW2. The Isle of Wight Tank Museum rescued it from a range and began a restoration that featured in the Tank Overhaul TV programme. Work stopped when funds ran out and Jez Marren stepped in, bought the tank and began a four-year restoration. Powered by a Continental R975 nine-cylinder radial engine – as used in certain US fighter planes – it features a 75mm main gun, two Browning 30 calibre machine guns and a B50 calibre machine gun.
The tank arena will host some highly entertaining demonstrations of tracked vehicles. As well as historic tanks, other armoured vehicles will be put through their paces and, thanks to the presence of SWB Motorsport, visitors can even take a (rather bumpy) passenger ride. Based at Bicester Heritage, SWB will be bringing a fine range of hefty toys out to play, including CVRT Spartan and FV432 armoured personnel carriers and an Alvis Stalwart high-mobility load carrier.
Yet more military content is still to be announced, but is likely to include anti-aircraft and anti-tank guns, Jeeps and armoured cars.
In addition, military re-enactors such as the Bicester Home Guard will be making regular patrols at the event, and visitors are welcome to fall in and join them for drill or watch them doing bayonet practice. The Show will be in safe hands – the Home Guard will be on the lookout for enemy soldiers and ready to capture them should they put in an appearance. Helping to turn Bicester Heritage into a living museum for the weekend, other re-enactors will showcase the uniforms and clothing of WW1 and WW2 eras, and Chalk Living History will show just what life was like in a Glider Pilot Regiment.