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HMS Kent say Tanks for the memories after day with the Army

HMS Kent say Tanks for the memories after day with the Army
4 August 2022
How about some heavy metal thunder to add some steel to your day?

Sailors from HMS Kent rumbled over the British Army’s principal playground as they got their hands on the No.1 fighting vehicle in the military’s arsenal.


The Portsmouth-based frigate – which has just completed rigorous Operational Sea Training – is affiliated with the Royal Tank Regiment, daddy of every armoured unit in the world’s armies, going back all the way to the birth of the vehicle back in 1916.

A team from the ship made the short trip to Tidworth on Salisbury Plain to spend a day with the tankers and their Challenger 2 main battle tank.

(Time for the Top Trumps bit.)


At 75 tonnes the tank is lighter than Kent (4,500t), faster (37mph to 28+ knots), has a bigger gun (120mm/4.7in to 4.5in) but with a shorter range (around two miles to the 4.5’s 17+ miles). You only need a crew of four in a Challenger (compared with 180 to 200 men and women on a Type 23) but you’ll need to fill up the fuel tank after just 160 miles off road… whereas Kent can get as far as Sri Lanka.

Enough of the preamble.


Hosted by the regiment’s Lt Siebenaller and 2Lt Gibbs, the visitors were treated to a display of impressive silverware in the Mess dating back to the days of the Somme, before the sailors’ hosts ran through the similarities and differences of day-to-day life in a tank regiment/warship.

Next was a tour of the training and simulator facilities used to train tank loading and gunner crews with fascinating briefs on the weapon systems and ammunition found in Challenger 2 tanks. The Kent team were also shown around Challenger Armoured Repair and Recovery Vehicle – a beast of a machine used by the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers to recover stricken Challenger 2 tanks.


After the static, the action as the sailors rode out on to Salisbury Plain for an experience they would never forget in three tanks.


The amazing experience demonstrated the power and versatility of the vehicles over cross-country conditions.


The rides also put into perspective the reality of life in a tank and the constant teamwork required from all four crew to be effective in the field.


“It was a fascinating visit which highlighted the similarities – and differences – of training, equipment support, operations and day-to-day life between our respective organisations culminating in an unforgettable tank ride experience,” said Commander Jez Brettell, Kent’s Commanding Officer.

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