Ex-WWII tanks still used as paddock bashers on Australian farms

From ABC (Australia) comes an article on ex-WWII tanks still in use as paddock bashers on Australian farms.

8018074-3x2-700x467The cows do not seem too perturbed but they make sure they get out of the way whenever the members of the Busted Arse Tank Repairs and Co roll by on an armoured vehicle.

These giant machines may seem out of place on the otherwise quiet, rural property near Oberon in central-west New South Wales.

But their owner said in the years following World War II, ex-military vehicles played an important role on many Australian farms and he and his band of tank tinkerers want to pay tribute to that history.

Many sheds on farms across Australia are jam-packed full of dusty collections of tools, equipment and junk.

But the shed owned by Matt McMahon, a cattle producer in the Oberon district, contains some massive rusty specimens that speak of a little-known part of Australia’s farming history.

8023238-3x2-700x467It is a collection of tanks and other ex-military vehicles which was originally started by his father, John McMahon, in the decades following World War II.

In the great tradition of farmers making do with what was to hand, many snapped up cheap ex-military vehicles at auction.

“I’ve read stories of people getting a whole row of them for 50 quid.”

Mr McMahon said tanks helped shape many Australian properties including his, where his father cleared land…….

Read the full article here, including video clip.

Book Alert: Fallen Sentinel

fallen sentinelAmazon has listed a release date of January 2016 for the book “Fallen Sentinel: Australian Tanks in World War II.” We assume this is a release date for a US edition since the book has been available in Australia or in a digital version since 2011.  Authored by Peter Beale, this hardcover book is listed at 320 pages published by Big Sky Publishing.   Peter Beale is best known for his book “Death by Design” which gives a critical evaluation of World War II British tank development.  While British WW2 tank development has been covered over the years fairly extensively by authors such as David Fletcher, AJ Smithers and Peter Beale, this book is the first to cover Australian tank development in substantial detail.  A preview of the book is available on Amazon here.

Publishers Description:

Fallen Sentinel tells the story of Australian tanks in World War II, a dismal tale for both tankman and taxpayer. Against the backdrop of the sweeping conquest of Western Europe by Hitler’s Panzers, the Australian Government, cash-strapped and resource poor, attempted to field its own tank force to do battle with the Axis forces. Three armoured divisions were created — and all three disbanded before they had seen action. In what became a prodigious waste of time, material, and human endeavour, sixty-six Australian cruiser tanks were produced — the Sentinel tank —none of which would ever take the field of battle. This is a book that portrays governments under pressure and the bureaucratic bungles that saw opportunities lost and precious resources squandered. Fallen Sentinel presents a careful dissection of government process in the crucible of war, a rare gem in an age when most wartime histories focus on the front-line soldier. Peter Beale presents a damning indictment of the frailty of government under pressure, a bureaucracy in crisis and the extraordinary failure of government process at the highest level. Modern-day governments would do well to heed the lessons of this book.