Monday, May 20, 2013

Whose Tank is That? Its My Own Tank, Actually

Back in the 1960s and 1970's my Dad was in the Army Reserve and got really interested in armored warfare while in Command and General Staff School.   He subscribed to a magazine that I believe was called "Armor."  Sort of a Motor Trend for armored warfare.  My bother and I read every issue over and over.

In one particular issue, the Editors ran a contest and the grand prize, in fact the only prize, was that you would win a particular Armored Fighting Vehicle if you could correctly identify it from their photo.

It seems that someone had stumbled upon a a few score tons of historic footnote at the warm end of a firing range and convinced the right people to rescue the vehicle in question because of its historical value.

The Editors of Armor picked up the story and decided to run a contest thinking that it was so obscure no one could possibly win.  

They thought wrong.

My brother and I had amassed a fairly large cesspool of worthless knowledge about armored fighting vehicles and had seen a drawing of the beast in question in one of our many books on the subject.

We fired off a letter explaining that it was a T-28.   A massive 105mm self propelled gun intended to punch holes in the Siegfried Line. 

We waited quite a few weeks for the tank hauler to show up and had just about decided that the whole thing was a fraud when  a manilla envelope from the Editors of Armor showed up in our mailbox.

Inside was an eight by ten glossy black and white photograph of the T-28 and a letter explaining that they had honestly thought that no one would know what the heck it was.  Since several responses were correct, and there was no provision in the contest rules for dealing with a tie, they had no option but to send all of the winning entrants a photograph instead of the real AFV.

That photo is still on the wall of my Dad's den and I still say that the Editors of Armor owe me one T-28.  I know that's the one that's mine because they only built two of them and its the only one that survived.  If the Editors would  like to redeem their honor, they can contact me here at the blog.

The photo above is from Theo Spark


DocInKY said...

By any chance is that the T-28 from the Patton museum by Ft. Knox?

Looks familiar...

Lantry said...

That must be it. When they did the contest, they said that only one still existed. I never knew where it went. Its good to find out. Its funny. My brother did his basic training at Ft. Knox. It was probably there by then. Too bad he didn't have time to look at the museum. That picture is from Theo Spark. I only thought of the contest again when I saw the picture. I'm always looking at pictures of tanks that I have actually seen at museums. The Patton Museum has the King Tiger that I saw at Aberdeen back in the 1970s. Every time there is a show about the Battle of the Bulge and they show King Tiger Footage I look at the turrets to see if any of them is # 336. I've never found one closer than #334. I never actually saw the T-28 but I did win the contest so its always interested me in the same way. Thanks for the info!