|Bovington Tank Museum - Bovington - Great Britain
Address: Bovington (See map)
Telephone: +44 (0)1929-405096
Shop: shop present
Size of the museum/site: large
Year of visit: 2004
Description: The Bovington Tank Museum has one of the largest collections of tanks (and armoured vehicles) of Western Europe and also is one the leading authorities when it comes to knowledge of armoured warfare. In a museum like this the visitor gets a perfect chance to learn about the 'evolution' of tanks over the past century, to have a closer look at a lot of different types and of course the opportunity to compare them. This makes the museum interesting to all kinds of visitors. Tanks have played an important role in both threat and protection (actively as well as passively) and next to that can be a feared weapon to its opponents, but also a deadly trap to its crews.
The museum tour starts with some dioramas about the First World War (trench warfare), which you can walk through. After that there's an interesting part dealing with the evolution of primitive armoured cars to the Mark I tank: the first tank ever used in battle (in 1916). Different types of it are on display in the museum and you can even have a look inside some of them.
The evolution of tanks into more reliable and better manoeuvrable vehicles during the inter-war years takes you to the period of the Second World War. At this point the tank had become a vital part of warfare (take for instance the Blitzkrieg). Lots of well-known tanks form this period as well as more rare ones are being shown in the Tank Museum. Both allied and axis vehicles are well represented: with Sherman tanks (among which is an amphibious type), The Grant M3, the Russian T-34, the Königstiger, the Panzer III and well…many others!
After World War II the evolution of tanks went on. During the first decades, under the influence of the Cold War, tanks became larger and larger. Later on technological advances became more important. In these parts of the exhibition you can see the for instance the Centurion tank, the Chieftain, the Challenger, the T-72, the AMX 13, the M103 and the Leopard.
During the summer period the museum has 'tanks in action' shows twice a week (see photos below). During the shows of approximately 45 minutes, some different tanks and armoured vehicles are shown in live action. Check out the museum's website for more details.
If you want, you can also have a look at the following pages on our website where we describe museums with tanks/vehicles as their main topic: the Panzer Museum in Munster, the Musée des Blindées in Saumur and the General George C. Marshall Museum in Zwijndrecht.
Entrance of the museum. On the right is a Challenger tank.
World War I soldier clearly suffering from a so called Shell Shock.
Heavy armoured car (Sdkfz 234/3, Spähwagen).
Tanks in action. This is a Sherman tank on the move.
During the outside-show, different tank manoeuvres are being demonstrated.
Replica of an armoured train.
General Grant medium M3 tank.
Overview of one of the exhibition halls.
Challenger 2 main battle tank.
It is possible to get on this armoured vehicle for a ride. The ride is not included in the entrancefee though, see the website for prices.