Summer Offensive Soesterberg: Tank Show

During an hour long show in the tank arena some ten vehicles were showcased. The show was split in two parts of which the first was a theatrical act “The battle of Soesterberg” in which one group of AFVs belonged to the villain, ex-general Roodhart (team red) which had to take it up against the good guys of general Blauwenaar (team blue). Although the story was amusing, it was long winded and clearly aimed at a young audience. To be fair, the whole event was heavily marketed toward families with children. The implementation of pyrotechnics was quite nice though and the invasion of the arena by team blue really added to the overall experience.

For me, as general armour enthusiast, the first part of the show was a tad disappointing. The second, much shorter, part largely made up for the first. It consisted of all partaking vehicles running laps around the arena while at the same time provided with some quality commentary by nobody less than David Willey, curator of the Tank Museum. This provided good photo opportunities which I greedily took, of course. Unfortunately this part took only about 15 minutes and was clearly rushed; David was barely able to finish his commentary before the tanks left the arena. After the show there was also time to visit the static show in which the vehicles acting in the arena could be appreciated up close.

The Leopard 2A4NL developed a fault in the fire control system which caused the gun-slaving to malfunction. Presumably, for this reason the turret was reversed the rest of the show. Because the Dutch often visit TankFest with a lot of large equipment, the Challenger 1 tank from the Tank Museum was also present as a kind of exchange.

What is fascinating about this tank is that it is the first (British) tank to use the “Chobham” 1 composite armour.