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antonyvw

Couple ofquestions regarding transporting ww2 tanks

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Im interested in building a model railway where I can occasionally run ww2 military trains. My questions are:

 

1 What type of wagons were normally used to carry tanks? Flat or well? Most of the pictures Ive seen on the net usually are of German transporting tanks not UK. 

 

2 How were the tanks secured to the wagons? Where were the anchor points

 

And finally. Were they covered over or left on show?

 

Thanks

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The expert on this subject is Mike Walshaw, the builder of the Lulworth Camp layout (some pictures here). I'll email him and see if he is happy to help.

 

Phil

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There's a bfi film covering the subject somewhere, and quite a bit of still film showing UK tanks been loaded moved in UK during war.

 

There was several type of wagons, war flat, flat bed, chains and a turn screw thing was used to secure them, covers if available were used for security and weather protection

 

Special wagons used at ends if a ramp was not available

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Thanks both. Im still at the planning stage at the moment - nothing has been built as of yet (and probably wont for a while as I'm waiting for my son to have the time to build the boards for me - well he is a carpenter after all).

 

My young grandson wants to run just about anything so we thought of doing a preservation line. As our local preservation line has a ww2 theme every so often we thought this would be a good idea.

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A quick answer without checking my notes is that during WW2 British tanks up to and including the Churchill were transported on Warflats. However, the Churchills required the removal of exhaust louvres and fittings on top of the turret.

 

American tanks such as the Sherman were carried on Warwells. In addition 115 Warwell B wagons were built to carry the projected American M6 tank but only 40 of these were built and none came to Britain so the Warwell B was redundant.

 

The Warflats were normally formed into block trains with a ramp wagon at each end and a coach for the troops. Here is an example.

 

http://hmvf.co.uk/forumvb/attachment.php?attachmentid=43947&d=1302768075&thumb=1

 

There were also Rectanks and Warflats which were built during WW1 and US built Warflats from WW2.

 

For your scenario, Warwells and Warflats are (or will be) available. However, I would not expect heavy tanks to be carried on a preserved line. Armoured cars, jeeps and lorries are probably more likely but it is your railway so do what you (or your grandson) want. 

 

Tony

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Thanks Tony. I think part of the challenge is to help foster my grandson's enthusiasm. So Im happy to put on the odd tank or two if it helps him gain a love of both modeling and model railays in particular. And thanks for the info - much appreciated.

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Note the warwell with Sherman (Oxford diecast) has just been released and the warflat with tank load (Bachmann), is due very soon. Tanks generally had towing / tie down points front and back for rail transport and chained down with the chains crossed to stop lateral movement as well as forward and back.

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There has been a lot of discussion on here about military traffic on rail, due to the recent introduction of not one, but two, Warwell models:-

http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/115836-hattons-warwell-wagon-in-oo-and-o-gauge/

http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/119214-oxford-rail-announces-warwells/

A Warflat is expected soon, albeit of a 1970s build.

Ordinary well wagons were also used for transporting imported tanks from the West Coast ports to the assembly areas in Southern England during the build-up to D-Day. Tanks would not normally be sheeted, though external machine guns would be removed and stowed. Photos of wartime movements are rare, due to DORA, though there are some in 'Freight Wagons and their Loads in service with the Great Western Railway and British Rail Western Region'.

There is one preserved railway which has seen military traffic in recent years; the Wensleydale Railway, which runs between Northallerton and Redmire, has a purpose-built unloading area at Redmire, which serves Catterick Garrison. This sees block trains of AFVs to and from bases elsewhere in the UK. Another unusual destination for such trains is the coal-loading site at Cwmbargoed, which is the railhead for the various Training Areas in the Brecon Beacons.

If you want to see photos of current-day loads, have a trawl through here:- https://www.flickr.com/photos/brianews/albums/72157627008284776 

I remember when, at about the age of ten, my enthusiasm for railways was briefly displaced by one for military modelling; all my Hornby-Dublo wagons got a thick coat of Olive Drab.

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The Bachmann Warflat is actually the early version suitable for WW2 not the 70's one.

http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/85818-Bachmann-warflats/?fromsearch=1

 

The warwells, (Hattons or Oxford Diecast), are available in WW2 up to modern versions just check which one, as I said before Oxford do one with the Sherman included.

Edited by PaulRhB

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The Bachmann Warflat is actually the early version suitable for WW2 not the 70's one.

The warwells are available in WW2 up to modern versions just check which one, as I said before Oxford do one with the Sherman included.

Thanks for that, Paul; for some reason, I thought they were doing the later type.

I had a look at the Oxford Warwell with the Sherman last week. It's got the wooden box over the engine compartment that seems to have only been carried on delivery, but also has the machine gun on the turret, which would have been removed and stowed.

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The machine gun is only lightly attached so both mine came off just with a gentle twist and no damage. Popped them in a mini sealed bag and back in the boxes.

No doubt more Sherman variants will come from Oxford so you can have delivery fresh, as you noted, or transporting to the ports in full markings.

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The use of sheets is interesting I've seen photos of both, course lot depends on the stuff been moved, towards D-day lot of military vechiles were open topped like self propelled guns, armour personal carriers, the American army stored vast amounts of vechiles in lay-bys camps etc nearly all there vechiles had sheets.

 

I've a book Normandy invasion published in the 40's photos taken ( having passed censorship) which has a very newspaper or magazine feel to it, nearly very thing is sheeted perhaps to hide specialist armour from prying German spy's. In it is a train of "dummy" tanks to fool the Germans were where going from Dover, that's just plywood & sheet material.

 

So I really think anything goes

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The Strike Force Entertainment DVD compilations "Britain's Railways - The Home Front war years Volumes 1 to 3" contain quite a few sequences of tanks being transported by rail, mostly British but some Canadian; and mostly on Warflats.  Shows details of how tanks were tied down for transport.  In addition to what Tony has said up the thread, heavy tanks such as Churchills were limited to one per Warflat, as they were too heavy for two per wagon.  Lighter tanks like .Valentines could be transported two per wagon.  The tanks were not normally sheeted except for those with open turrets, like the Firefly variants of the Sherman.

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The Firefly didn't have an open turret. The M10 tank destroyer (on Sherman chassis) did though; the British used the original 76.2mm gun version (Wolverine) and also refitted a load with 17pdrs (Achilles).

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The Firefly didn't have an open turret. The M10 tank destroyer (on Sherman chassis) did though; the British used the original 76.2mm gun version (Wolverine) and also refitted a load with 17pdrs (Achilles).

Oops - you're right.  Misremembered what I had seen.

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Thanks for all the good info. Seems some military history is necessary when building themed layouts lol

Have a look at "More tanks for Russia" 1942, it's on YouTube, excellent short on preparation of tanks and loading WW2

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http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205198967 Thats amazing. I look forward to seeing this reproduced when Baccy finally produce the Warflat.

 

Unfortunately neither of the Warwells RTRs are suitable for wartime traffic as they are modelled with a wooden deck, quite when this was added is unclear to me for the remaining Warwells, many of which were sold out of MoD service and converted in 1948-49.

 

Paul

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