Crewing the Cold War Chieftain tank

 

 

Alan Hodges was a Royal Tank Regiment Chieftain tank commander and troop SGT in West Germany. Mick Hadfield was his 17-year-old gunner. The affection between the two is still apparent even today and Mick still calls Al his army Dad.

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Mick met Al in 1987 straight out of his armoured corp gunnery training at Catterick.  They served for 3 years together in 1st Royal Tank Regiment in Hildesheim from August 87 to December 90. 

They share detailed insights into the operations of the Chieftain, the training, the camaraderie of a crew as well as important details like how you go the loo in a tank…

As part of the 1st Royal Tank Regiment they were at the time (the most forward-facing Tank unit in BAOR  and given a 2-hour life expectancy. They were told that if the Soviet 3rd Shock army crossed the border, each Chieftain would have to knock out a minimum of 10 Soviet tanks before they got overrun.

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