Militracks 2018 - King Tiger
Well here are a lot of King Tiger photo's from outside and inside :)
The biggest impression I left with in the end was the overall size and sheer mass of it. To that point my overall first reaction was not, wow that is a massive machine. As it was parked in a place that was quite a bit lower then where I was standing.
But lets start from the start. The first time I got a glimpse of it standing behind a crowd and seeing other people getting a tour of the turret. Made me go, well dammit I want that too, so I bought a ticket :p
After that I lined up in the line and waited for more then an hour to get in. Still for most, the people I ended up standing with was great company.
Well now it was time to get a look of the Tiger, groups of 4 where allowed a time and we got around 5 minutes in the turret and another 5 around the tank to check it out and take many photo's of it and many with myself on it :p
I first took some photo's of the tank it self as the first two went into the turret. After that we (me and another guy) got a quick look of the drivers and radio operators position. At this point the driver was explaining stuff in his best possible English (shame I cant understand french :P). But in the overall, with what I walked away with that this tank is quite easy to drive.
After we got our time in the turret. Where I got a rather good explanation on what, what is and how it worked. Only thing I did end up forgetting to do was hopping down into the Gunner position.... Well maybe another time, I did look through those sights, they are still perfect! Overall impression of the turret, roomy! Even when it would be fully load, I think it would still be somewhat roomy. Well maybe not the most leg room for the commander when he is poking into the back of the gunner. As I was placing my feet on the gunners seat.
After that I went away to look for Molegode and the gang. Never found those guys at the time and went back to hear the results of the lottery. I did find those guys again then, they were waiting in line for a ride in Sdkfz 251. Well at that point they started shouting numbers. And you know what, I was first called out with my number :P
After that we got a few instruction on where to sit, as I ended standing up on the engine deck I made eye contact with the guys I was hanging out with, well lets say those faces where priceless when they realized on the ride I just scored!
As I ended up sitting on the turret and watched as the engine was hand cranked into action. You first hear this humming sound and then it roars into life. Still not as impressive as a Rolls Royce Merlin Engines, I may have been spoiled to much with a Lancaster's, Spitfires and P51's and there low passes the last few years.... But my overall reaction was, that it was not as loud as I expected it to be.
Well after I ended up sitting in loaders hatch, and then I ended up really riding on a King Tiger for a bit. Still hard to believe!!! At this point it really started to click for me, just how big this tank really is. I was treated to this amazing few of the arena. With this great over view of all the vehicles and the crowd. After it was over the commander of the tank, asked how it was. And my reaction was, this made my day : )
After that I got a few more photo's before it drove of again. And this was the point, it just fully clicked for me on what I was looking at. The ground just shook with it driving at a walking speed. I have never experienced something like that something before, you could just feel the pure mass of it, even at such a speed. (to that point those heavy half tracks make the ground also shake a bit at speed, but not like that) Could you imagine laying behind a hedgerow in Normandy and then suddenly feeling the ground shack as something as massive as that would pass you by on the other side?
That is pretty much my King Tiger experience at Militracks 2018. I may have skipped on a few things, but this is long enough dammit :p