Tank Crews

Discussion in 'RAC & RTR' started by Belgian Dave, Aug 20, 2013.

  1. Belgian Dave

    Belgian Dave Well-Known Member

    Thanks Ron, think I now have everything to get moving forward.
  2. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    This photo is from Bryan Perrett's book 'Wavell's Offensive', it's an IWM image but I can't find it on the website. So here's a scan.

    edit: no sooner do I post that when I found a different image of same chaps.

    The crew of a Light Tank Mk VIB cook their Christmas dinner besides their vehicle, 31 December 1940.

    THE BRITISH ARMY IN NORTH AFRICA 1940. © IWM (E 1501)IWM Non Commercial Licence

    Attached Files:

    dbf likes this.
  3. Belgian Dave

    Belgian Dave Well-Known Member

    I have just recalled something my Grandfather used to say to me. He insisted that they were only given three sheets of toilet paper a day. He said this was one to clean, one to polish, and one to shine! Was he pulling my leg, or was this true?

    Whilst on the subject, I also seem to remember something about the use of an empty shell case for when it was inconvenient to exit the tank (can imagine what that was like, all shut up in the desert!) I guess it got chucked out at first chance possible!

    Can anyone add anything to this?
    von Poop likes this.
  4. Belgian Dave

    Belgian Dave Well-Known Member

    Super pic Owen, thanks.
  5. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Belgian Dave

    Without wishing to be too crude, the only advantage that I found of going into action on a Stuart Mk III turretless tank was that we used to reiieve our bladders literally "over the side" :)

    On the subject of toilet paper (apologies to those of a sensitive nature) we were always glad when Jerry leaflets were shelled into our lines as these were a perfect substitute for the job in hand.


    Ps. And yes...... i think your Grandfather was having you on :)
    Andrew Eyles likes this.
  6. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Hi Tom! I mentioned the sand in connection with this some years ago now on AHF and it was poo-poo'd! But I had rememberd it being mentioned on here a couple of times...

    Was the sand just to weight the thing upright, or for "slow release" of the petrol that soaked into it?
  7. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit

    Make sure you don't use the Benghazi kettle.
  8. 51highland

    51highland Very Senior Member

    The 3 sheets was used in some borstals, but they said, 1 up, 1 down and 1 shine.!!!
  9. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Especially if it's still alight.
  10. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    I do believe the Grandfather was correct - and for the scoffers who never saw the inside of any Tank - even in peacetime - now and then a Tank crew would be shut down for more than 12 hours in

    any battle- but nature still called with regularity..to exit the Tank was frowned upon by the Commanders as it invariably meant a vacancy in his command... with sudden death syndrome -so..the

    alternatives were in the expended round bag- which were used and with a quick opening of the turret hatch and an almighty heave - the job was done.....the Benghazi Kettle was ONLY used on the

    exit of the whole crew and when things were quiet...where some would take a shovel and wander onto the nearby woods

  11. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    The 105 mm base was around 4 inches diameter - the Chocolate tin around seven inches so fairly stable - six pounder round about 3 inches - the sand was to slow down the explosive factor of raw petrol - and after less than a minute - the job was done and the tea was made......didn't matter about the taste - it was TEA
  12. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Tom, that's what I thought! :) Thanks for that.
  13. idler

    idler GeneralList

    The usual basis of the Benghazi burner would have been an empty 'flimsy' - the infamous 4-gallon non-returnable petrol tin. Cut it in half and maybe poke a few holes in it for ventilation - job done. The bottom half of another flimsy could also be used as the cooking vessel once you'd got used to the taste of petrol! The big biscuit tins could serve the same purpose, and were probably stronger.

    The flexibility (no pun intended) of the flimsy is shown in the IWM photo, although they're not cooking on one, they are all sitting on them. I assume that the tins are still full of petrol as I'd think they'd collapse under a squaddie if empty. With their reputation for leaks, I'm not sure I'd want to be sitting on a full one that close to a fire. Incidentally, the only likely source of wood for the fire would have been the rough cases which held a pair of flimsies.

    As for dimensions, a flimsy was 9.5" square and 13.375" high.

    And I need to show my dad this picture as he believes (from another version he's seen) that the bloke on the left is his dad who was out there with the KDG!
  14. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    that system was known as the Benghazi fire in the very early days - but the Benghazi Kettle was then thought about and became much more popular as wood was very scarce and the coleman

    stove with it's double burner being much slower was used to cook dinner - but tea was of the essence after a few hours fighting - and had to be quick .....90 seconds was to be aimed at..the flimsies

    were done away with late in the desert as the German unit was way more efficient in not losing the contents

  15. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    But then...flimsies were used for water too! ;)
  16. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    and lost as much as the petrol ones - the new ones were painted white inside to cut down on the confusion - but the flimsies were handy for dousing fires

  17. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    Great thread.

    How's the model going?

    All the best

  18. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    KDG were armoured cars though?

    All the best

  19. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

    In more recent times we would place a can on the exhaust silencer box or in the exhaust itself if running with the AFV 432 - the NATO issue paper cup could be left standing on the box and the contents soon boil. Compo tins pierced and stood on hot landrover engine blocks would soon heat up.
  20. Belgian Dave

    Belgian Dave Well-Known Member

    Thanks all, as I mentioned previously, I do like this kind of subject. It also seems to bring about good discussions.

    Andreas - The model is in early stages. Im cutting away at a 1/32 Airfix Multipose 8th Army figure. He has webbing straps moulded on, which I dont want as im trying to produce a tank crewmember. For anyone interested, the Airfix multipose figures are excellent, and I think just as good as the modern, and more expensive resin figures that you see.

    I was getting a bit confused between the Benghazi Fire, and the Kettle, but understand now. To keep it simple, I may go for the fire, as I have quite a good idea about the construction and dimensions of the flimsies.

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