Ausarmourfest 2017 at the Australian Armour and Artillery Museum, Cairns 2-3 Sep 2017

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Last weekend I made the trip 1700 kilometres north from my hometown of Brisbane to the tropical city of Cairns in far north Queensland, Australia. This year I turned 50 so to celebrate a great friend of mine Ashley and I flew up to Cairns to visit the Australian Armour and Artillery Museum, and specifically to attend Ausarmourfest 2017.

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We flew up Friday evening 1 September 2017 on a Tiger Air A320. On arrival we picked up our vehicle at the airport and within 5 minutes were at our beachfront hotel. Dinner and drinks followed but we turned in at a reasonable hour as we had a big day planned for Saturday.

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As is my habit I was up with the sun and went for a run along the Cairns Esplanade. Cairns is a beautiful place, the photos are great but just don't do it justice.

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As I was on my run a P&O cruise ship was just coming in to port .....

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.... and was about to berth when I hit my turnaround point.

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Back at the hotel Ash and I went down for breakfast and soon we where ready to make the short 7km trip north up the Captain Cook Highway to Smithfield, the home of the Australian Armour and Artillery Museum (AAAM).

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The museum is located at the base of a low range of hills that form part of the Atherton Tablelands north and east of Cairns.

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You can't miss this place - it is pretty impressive .....

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..... and has some formidable looking gate guards including a Bundeswehr Jagdpanzer Kanone 4-5 .....

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..... a Saladin armoured car .....

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..... and a Churchill tank. No question at all we were in the right place!

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After paying our $25 entry and buying some 'tickets to ride' (more on that later) we passed through the well stocked museum shop to the exhibits. The 120mm mortar just inside the door attracted our attention as both Ash and I were mortar qualified back in the day.

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The museum has two indoor galleries, with most of the modern armour exhibits in the west wing ......

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..... with the rest of the guns and vehicles in the south wing, about 200 metres long.

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Some postwar British AFVs first. The Chieftain MBT .....

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..... a Challenger turret .....

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..... and an Abbot SPG.

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Moving into the modern armour wing we have the M47 Patton next to a Daimler Ferret armoured car. The tube attached to the barrel of the M47's gun is a weapons simulation system.

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Next up was the Centurion MBT, probably the most successful British tank ever built with the first models entering service in 1945 and still in service with some armies today.

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Beside the Centurion was a Soviet T-54/55, the most produced MBT in military history.

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Last in the row was the US M-52 105mm SPG.

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On the other side of the gallery was a BTR-60 ....

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..... and a BTR-152, this one captured by the Israelis.

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Beside the BTR-152 was a Czech M53/59 armoured AA truck.

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Moving on to British AFVs is the Saracen wheeled APC .....

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..... followed by the FV432 tracked APC.

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I had a look in the back of this thing and there seemed to be much more room than in the M113 I used to ride around in back in the '80s and '90s.

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Speaking of which next up were the M113A1 APC and the M577 command variant. The command vehicle has served with the 2/14 Queensland Mounted Infantry Regiment, which means I had likely seen that particular vehicle up close and personal when it was operational.

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Finally the less well known M114A1 command and reconnaissance carrier which proved less than successful in combat and was retired by the US Army in the mid 1970s.

I will end Part 1 of the AAAM 2017 blog there, with part 2 covering the much larger south wing of the museum.

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  1. Stumptonian's Avatar
    Thanks for posting, Carl.
    Very interesting assortment. The Saladin and Saracen caught my eye as I had Dinky Toy and Matchbox versions as a kid.
    Might still have them in the basement ...
  2. gully_raker's Avatar
    Great pics Carl!
    Man I am jealous!
  3. Guntruck's Avatar
    Great stuff Carl, thanks.
  4. Jager's Avatar
    Great pics. Carl; you're luring me into getting all those tanks for Tanks painted up.
  5. Marechallannes's Avatar
    Nice collection.