Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Achtung Panzer

Gateguard at the museum
The Tank Museum at Bovington is one of Dorset’s premier tourist attractions and with good reason. It has an unequalled collection of military fighting vehicles from the past hundred years. On the days when the tanks are started up, mock battles are fought across the open heathland with realistic explosions, gunfire and smoke. It is an event not to be missed.

Missing none of it is the ghost known lightheartedly as Herman the German. He appears dressed in the smart black uniform of a panzer officer from the Second World War. The ghost is generally thought to be linked to the museum’s Tiger Tank. This superb fighting vehicle was officially known as the Panzer VI, but was soon dubbed the Tiger by its crews.

This massive tank weighed 57 tons, but could still manage a top speed of 24mph and could travel 1409 miles without refueling. Its great strength lay in its armour and armament. The powerful 88mm gun could knock out any tank in the world at long range when the Tiger entered combat towards the end of 1942 and remained supreme on the battlefield to the end of the war. Meanwhile the superbly engineered 100mm armour made the Tiger impervious to the guns of other tanks and anti-tank weapons unless attacked at close range from behind.

These supreme killing machines ruled the battlefields of the Second World War, being vulnerable only to close combat, air attack or a lack of fuel. It was the lack of fuel that eventually drove these monsters to defeat, but quite a few were damaged in combat. The Tiger at Bovington Tank Museum was one such and it is generally thought that the ghostly Herman the German was a crew member killed in battle who cannot bear to leave his beloved Tiger.

from Haunted Places of Dorset by Rupert Matthews
Buy your copy HERE

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