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Military Vehicles I Have Known

Discussion in 'Military Vehicle Restoration' started by mke01943, Apr 3, 2011.

  1. mke01943

    mke01943 Member

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    Hi

    I didn't get far cleaning out boxes of photographs in the garage today. I dived into the first box and came out with photos supporting the story of a Grant Tank that I had known.

    The Grant was originally located on a farm east of Perth in Western Australia. It was one of two that had been purchased from Government sales via Nungarin Ordnance Depot during the late 1940s. The intent was to use the Grants for land clearing. One of the two Grants had been used for this purpose, while the other had been parked and not used. The second Grant is the subject of the story.

    The subject Grant, was named "Cassius", had served with 'C' Squadron, 2/10th Australian Armoured Regiment, 1st Australian Armoured Division from 1942 until late 1944.

    I photographed "Cassius" in about 1969 using black and white film. The vehicle was the most complete Grant I had seen. It had had little use in service. The vehicles compass was still installed.

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    "Cassius" during 1969

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    Inside "Cassius" during 1969

    I revisited the farm during 1976 when the second Grant, parked next to it was sold to a friend. I took several colour photos of "Cassius". The second Grant was started up and moved. Driving it was like sitting in front of a railway locomotive. The radial engine had the vertical cylindrical mufflers (if you could call them mufflers).

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    "Cassius" during 1976

    This second Grant remained on the farm until removed to be auctioned in Perth.

    "Cassius" remained until sold in about 1982 to another friend. I went along one weekend to help start "Cassius" and returned the following weekend to load the vehicle onto a low loader for transport to a private museum in Perth. Some of the loading and transporting sequence was photographed.

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    "Cassius" on the low loader ready for transport to Perth

    "Cassius" was restored in Perth and later sold through auction after the museum's owner passed away. Later "Cassius" again changed hands and was transported to Victoria, where the Grant turret was removed and replaced by a Lee turret.

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    "Cassius" during restoration in Perth

    During 1995, "Cassius" was repainted as "Lulubelle" and transported to New South Wales for the remake of Humphrey Bogart's film Sahara. The remake starred James Belushi.

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    "Lulubelle" ex "Cassius" during the remake of the film Sahara

    "Lulubelle" was exported from Australia after the filming.

    There are a lot of additional photograph at: M3 Grant Tank pictures by mgk0951 - Photobucket

    Regards

    mgk
     
  2. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    Thanks for the great story as well as photos of these Grant tanks. Im glad they were rescued and are being preserved.
     
  3. mke01943

    mke01943 Member

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    Another Military Vehicle I have Known

    This time it is a M3 Light Tank. The lead to this Stuart came from a farming family that I had met. The tank was bought by them, but never removed from the place of sale to their home farm. I passed the lead on to a friend of mine who bought the tank in 1976.

    The Stuart had a tree pushing arm attachment and when first visited, had not been run for a number of years. My friend, his mechanic and I arrived at the farm one very hot summer's day to start the tank's engine. The tank had the name JUNO stencilled on the turret side, but I cannot remember what other markings were present.

    Several hours were spent trying to work out what electrical and mechanic systems were intact and were working. Most of the wiring was gone. The engine oil tank was full and the oil lines were intact. We only had 20 litres of petrol, so decided against testing the fuel system and opted instead to use a rubber hose and milk bottle. Thus gravity would allowed us to bypass the fuel pump if that didn't function.

    Being the youngest and smallest, I won the short straw for removing the engine compartment bottom plate and removing the spark plugs to allow for a starter turn over to blow accumulated oil from the cylinders. Oil pressure was noted by slackening one of the fittings on an oil line while cranking the engine.

    Time to refit the spark plugs, connect the patterned milk bottle fuel system and apply the loose end of a jumper lead to the starter motor.

    The next six photos show the process of setting up the accessories and the result of several minutes cranking of the engine.

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    Battery - check; jumper leads - check

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    Filling the patterned milk bottle fuel supply

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    Contact

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    Won't start, but the engine has started to suck fuel - level in milk bottle is slightly lower

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    Fuel has made contact with spark in cylinders - new vehicle owner is still at his station

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    Ticking over nicely, even the smoke is clearing, new owner is pleased

    Next job was to try a second start and see if we could move the tank. Engine running, my foot on clutch resulting in a shower of sparks from the area of the clutch housing. Clutch throw out bearing were seized. I applied grease at the grease nipple on the fire wall. Grease squirted out of the end of the broken hose, which was no longer connected to the throw out yoke. So, after removing the bearings, that was the end of proceedings for day one.

    Back again later with more of the story.

    Regards

    mgk
     
  4. mke01943

    mke01943 Member

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    Another Military Vehicle I have Known - more photos


    In Autumn of 1977, we went back to the Stuart for a second attempt at moving, the vehicle from under the trees, to a place it could be loaded onto a low loader. The clutch throw out bearings were replaced and the floor of the drivers compartment was cleared of rotted leaves, soil and loose rust. However, it was immediately noted that the accelerator pedal was seized and the clutch would not return after being disengaged.

    The vehicle was again started, but only by by-passing the fuel pump. So off came the fuel pump. One fuel tank was chosen for an attempt to see if it would hold fuel. 13 gallons of petrol was pored into the filler and the tank did not leak. However, the fuel tap/switch (for choosing connection to either left or right tanks) started to leak fuel. So off that came and the fuel lines were sealed with flexible hose and clamps.

    Again moving the vehicle was put on hold for a few days.

    The fuel pump and tap were repaired and fitted a few days later by a team of three (without me). The same team were able to free up all the controls and refit the drivers seat back to its rusty seat base. The vehicle was now ready to be moved.

    The following weekend, the earlier team of three arrived at the farm to move the Stuart. The engine was started and I climbed into the drivers position only to find a chains and short pieces of wire attached to the accelerator and clutch pedals. These, I was told were the human activation controls for returning (i) the accelerator to the idle position and (ii) for engaging the clutch once depressed i.e. push the pedal with your foot; pull the pedal back by hand.

    I was given the order to reverse the tank. This is going to be good. Foot on clutch, bang; I'm laying on the floor on top of the drivers seat back. The rusted seat base had given way.

    Second attempt, holding onto the driver's hatch support, foot on clutch, into reverse, release clutch by pulling on chain and wire, now moving backwards with tree pusher arm dragging on the ground. Into first gear and ram the tree pusher into the ground. Then reverse again to disconnect the tree pusher.

    The tank steered OK and was eventually parked about 1/2 a kilometre away, ready for transportation. However, in my absence, it could not be started next morning and was winched onto the low loader.

    JUNO was eventually sold at deceased action estate. JUNO was then restored and changed hands several times through auction. I lost touch with the vehicle in about 2003.

    Photos below display JUNO during its second start in 1977 and later during restoration.

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    More photos are at http://s367.photobucket.com/albums/oo117/mgk0951/Stuart%20Light%20Tank/

    R
    egards

    mgk
     

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