NOTICES warning passing motorists to “Beware – loud explosions” set the scene for Tankfest 2014.
Booms, bangs and clouds of dust delighted visitors over two days of top military displays at The Tank Museum, Bovington.
The world’s premier collection of tanks attracted bumper crowds with more than 8,000 people on Saturday and similar numbers expected yesterday (Sunday) with some from as far as Australia and the USA to celebrate the history of armed warfare.
From a Second World War mock battle with rare examples of Allied and Axis vehicles to a modern combat demonstration, all eras of military might were demonstrated.
“The range and quantity of armour here simply can’t be matched,” said museum spokesman Andrew Sawyer.
Among VIP guests over the two days was actor Edward Fox, reliving the making of the Second World War film A Bridge Too Far in which he starred, while Dan Snow and Kate Adie also enjoyed the spectacular armoured show.
A highlight on Sunday was a demonstration by The Royal Signals motorcycle display team whose skills made for a stunning display.
“It’s the ultimate boys’ toys – and the kids love it,” said visitor Karen Betts from Portsmouth, there with her family.
The grand finale battle was a tribute to Operation Market Garden, the attempt to shorten WWII by capturing key bridges in Holland, featuring the famous Tiger 131 tank and parachutists.
Joining the battle overhead was Jumpin Jacques, a North American P-51 Mustang, which flew in the last years of the war and still bears the scars.
For aficionados there was the Valentine DD, Comet and Panzer III roaring across the arena and the British Army was present with the Challenger 2 and Titan.
“This is the biggest event we have ever put on,” said Andrew. “And from the public perception it was the best ever.”