100 Years Ago: British Tank “Fray Bentos”

Mark-IV-female_Ypres_1917_1007-A6-CopyIn August 22 of 1917, the British Mark IV tank named “Fray Bentos” experienced the longest tank action of the war, being caught in battle for 60 hours.  Commanded by Donald Richardson, a wholesale grocer who named the tank after a brand of canned meat, this tank became trapped near enemy lines during the Third Battle of Ypres.  Despite almost all the crew being wounded, they were able to fight off repeated attacks by German forces.  Eventually, with the crew out of water, they decided to risk an escape, running back to British lines.  Remarkably, during the entire period of the action, only one crew member was killed.  The crew of the Fray Bentos would be awarded for their bravery, becoming the most highly decorated tank crew of the war.

Of course, there is much more to this story.  Fortunately, several articles have appeared recently marking the centenary of this tank and her brave crew.  Click on the links below to find out more of this story.

The Tank Museum – Tank 100 – Trapped: The Story of Fray Bentos

The Telegraph – The Siege of Fray Bentos: the World War One tank heroes who survived 72 hours trapped in No Man’s Land

Daily Echo – The incredible story of tank ‘Fray Bentos’ is being told at the Tank Museum

Tank Chats #42 Elefant

Tank Museum curator David Willey does a nice job describing the history of the German Elefant tank destroyer.

Ropkey Museum shuts down

RAMCoverAs of the end of July, 2017, the Ropkey Museum in Crawfordsville Indiana has permanently closed its doors.  Housing one of the largest collections of military vehicles in the country, the museum was the work of Frederick Noble Ropkey Jr.  Mr. Ropkey, a tank platoon commander during the Korean War, passed away in November 2013, leaving the museum to his wife Lani.  After keeping the museum open for four years following his death, Mrs. Ropkey has decided it is time to close the museum.  According to an article from the Crawfordsville Journal Review, the contents of the museum are being shipped to other museums across the country.

Journal Review article excerpt:

Fred Ropkey’s favorite World War II-era Sherman tank will soon roll out of the building housing his renown collection of restored military vehicles, but a “for sale” sign doesn’t tell the entire story of closing the Ropkey Armor Museum.

It’s the story of a Marine who took a single scout car and built the world’s largest private collection of military tactical vehicles. And it’s the tale of a city girl who followed her husband to the countryside, taking on his passion for preserving Armed Forces heritage.

Now almost four years after Fred’s death, his widow, Lani, feels she has honored his commitment.

The museum hosted its final visitors last weekend and Lani is moving home to Indianapolis, where she’s ready to find her own life’s passion.

Read the full Journal Review article here.

To view photos of the Ropkey Museum collection, check out this SmugMug gallery by photographer Paul Hannah.

Tank Chats #41 Sherman Firefly

David Fletcher of the Tank Museum at Bovington takes a look at the British Sherman Firefly.

Tank Chats #40 Crusader

David Fletcher of the Tank Museum at Bovington takes a look at the British WWII era Crusader tank.

Tank Fest Photo Gallery

Photographer Dave Layland was able to attend the recent Tank Fest event at the Tank Museum at Bovington and snapped some photos for us.  We have posted them below in a slideshow for those that want to give them a look.


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Lindybeige on the Panzer III

Here is youtube personality “Lindybeige” at the Bovington Tank Museum describing the German Panzer III tank.  We present this for your entertainment, although we would argue that some of the details in the presentation are debatable.

Tank Chats #38 Churchill

Historian David Fletcher MBE, in the 38th Tank Chat discussing the well-loved Churchill tank. The Churchill in this video resides at The Tank Museum, Bovington and was the last Churchill VII of the production line.

Top Five Tanks: Lindybeige at the Tank Museum

Youtube personality “Lindybeige” takes a trip through the Bovington tank museum to show off his five favorite tanks.  Actually, only three of the vehicles in his list are technically tanks since the Jagdpanther is a tank destroyer and the Universal Carrier is a….universal carrier.  Of the three actual tanks he picked, the WWI era Mark IV, the Churchill, and the S-tank, only one of them has a turret.  Does Lindybeige hate turrets?  Inquiring minds want to know….

Tiger Day at Bovington Tank Museum

The Daily Echo has posted a story and photo gallery of this weekends Tiger Day event at the Tank Museum at Bovington UK.

290417purTigerday08.jpg.galleryTHOUSANDS of people visited The Tank Museum today for an event which included two restored World War Two tanks which featured in Brad Pitt’s blockbuster movie ‘Fury’.

Around 4,500 people visited the museum in Bovington, for a day dedicated to Tiger 131, the only running Tiger 1 in the world.

Tiger 131 runs only twice a year, at Tiger Day in April and again on Tiger Day in September, and always attracts huge crowds when it does.

And this was the first Tiger Day event where tickets have all sold out before the day itself.

Visitors were treated to a day of talks and tours on the subject of Tiger and its Second World War contemporaries, as well as an opportunity to see rare objects from the Museum archives relating to the capture of the German tank.

One of the highlights was the chance to see Tiger take to the arena alongside its ‘Fury’ co-star, the Sherman tank, with other contemporaries like the British Matilda I and Comet.

Read full article and picture gallery here.