Venting.

Anything goes ... within reason ... Because life isn't JUST about militaria.
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poniatowski
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Venting.

Post by poniatowski » Tue Nov 21, 2017 11:21 am

This has been bugging me since June and has nothing to do with Pickelhaubes. My wife and I took a drive to see a US M-1917 6 ton light tank located in Bloomington IL, owned by an American Legion post there. A few years ago, they 'restored' the vehicle. Now, in the military vehicle collecting community, there's a saying similar to, "There's nothing more tragic than a military vehicle, a welding rig and an idiot coming together all at once." In this case, a former tank mechanic in their post did the 'restoration', which meant doing nothing to stop rust inside of the vehicle and welding the hell out of hatches, the turret ring (to keep it from moving... you know a SIX INCH weld is necessary). He also took the original 'driver's hatch lock', which was a small rectangle of steel strap and threw it away. It made me sick to my stomach to look at the botched job.
I see this all of the time. Good intentioned people take an old tank and paint it up, pat themselves on the back and call it a restoration, while the inside rots away. I guess it's similar leaving a Pickelhaube in the attic or something. It's just very annoying to me.

Oh well.

Cheers!

:D Ron
I really do need to know more about this....

Neil Young
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Re: Venting.

Post by Neil Young » Tue Nov 21, 2017 12:32 pm

Agreed! :(
Neil

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Peter_Suciu
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Re: Venting.

Post by Peter_Suciu » Tue Nov 21, 2017 12:43 pm

That is a real shame. The problem is that things like cannons, tanks and other vehicles are outside year round, so the elements are the worst enemy. Few people have the skills to do a proper restoration these days. The only positive is that the tank received SOME care. I guess in this case we should be grateful that the tank received what it did. It could have been left to get even worse.

I guess if old soldiers fade away, old tanks and cannons rust away!

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poniatowski
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Re: Venting.

Post by poniatowski » Wed Nov 22, 2017 8:00 pm

I'd rather it received NO care from the Legion post and have them sell it to a collector or donate it to a museum. As long as it's outside, it's in danger. There are seven track shoes, links, sections, that have rusted clean through, as well as damage to the armor plate and rust through on the suspension assemblies to the inside. It's very evident that NO care was given to this in the past. They welded plate over the rusted out track sections and probably patted themselves on the back, rathe than thinking of a better solution. Now, if they want to get inside, they'll probably ruin the driver's hatches by taking a cutting torch to the weld seam that runs down their entire length, rather than entering through a less destructive route. I don't have a lot of faith in any of these organizations to properly care for a vehicle.

:D Ron
I really do need to know more about this....

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poniatowski
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Re: Venting.

Post by poniatowski » Wed Nov 22, 2017 8:14 pm

Here's a link to a photo of the track damage. You can see the rust through on the suspension housing above it.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid ... 1b5b28641a" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;



:D Ron
I really do need to know more about this....

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Re: Venting.

Post by Peter_Suciu » Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:50 pm

poniatowski wrote:I'd rather it received NO care from the Legion post and have them sell it to a collector or donate it to a museum. As long as it's outside, it's in danger. There are seven track shoes, links, sections, that have rusted clean through, as well as damage to the armor plate and rust through on the suspension assemblies to the inside. It's very evident that NO care was given to this in the past. They welded plate over the rusted out track sections and probably patted themselves on the back, rathe than thinking of a better solution. Now, if they want to get inside, they'll probably ruin the driver's hatches by taking a cutting torch to the weld seam that runs down their entire length, rather than entering through a less destructive route. I don't have a lot of faith in any of these organizations to properly care for a vehicle.
I'd suggest trying to contact the U.S. Army and complaining. I think technically they still own the tank. Tanks like cannons that are on display at Legion posts, VFW halls, etc. are usually on loan. So the Legion can't sell or donate the tank.

It is a shame that this is happening, but only the actual military could step in and determine what should be done.

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poniatowski
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Re: Venting.

Post by poniatowski » Fri Nov 24, 2017 6:18 pm

Actually, I've talked to Charles Lemons, who was curator of the Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor and a friend of mine. These particular tanks were written off of the records and given to the Legion posts. They're the post's personal property and the government has no say in it. This isn't the case with newer tanks.

:D Ron
I really do need to know more about this....

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Re: Venting.

Post by poniatowski » Sat Nov 25, 2017 2:59 pm

I would offer to purchase the tank from them, but don't have the money for the tank, nor the tens of thousands (maybe over a hundred thousand?) a good restoration would entail. I've helped with a lot of restorations and have local resources to assist with it, so I've no doubt I could do this properly. The real problem is that this poor little tank is a mess. It looks as if a tree had fallen on it at one time, fracturing the turret roof (and funneling water into the interior under the 'tower' (M1917 manual's term for the cupola), driver's hatches were also damaged (welded now) and other plating is chipped. Of course, this can easily be welded and new pieces laser cut, but since the floor plate was also damaged near the driver's feet (by the tree?), it may be that they threw out the clutch, accelerator and brake pedal assembly, assuming their preservation / historic sense was about the same as it is now when the damage was done. The ruined track shoes would be difficult (but not impossible) to replace and it looks as if somebody had started a fire in it at one time, judging from the photos I was able to take through the vision slits. The engine compartment bulkhead is also missing.
It seems to me that there is only one course of action for preserving this tank and that's cosmetic along with fixing the plating, with the hopes of finding parts and tweaking the restoration as the years go by. I've offered to do the project and return the tank afterward, but no replies on that. So, as far as I know, it's destined to continue to rust. It won't be too long (70 or so years?) before it begins to fall apart. Considering Charles told me that they try to do cosmetic restorations that will last 500 years on indoor display vehicles, 70 years is just a heartbeat.

:D Ron
I really do need to know more about this....

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