Leopard Tank - Seymour, Victoria, Australia
S 37° 01.153 E 145° 07.732
55H E 333547 N 5901359
Quick Description: A Leopard Tank in the Rotary Park beside the Hume Highway in Seymour, Victoria, the Goulburn River Valley, known as 'The Heart of Victoria'.
Location: Victoria, Australia
Date Posted: 4/30/2012 7:10:39 AM
Waymark Code: WMEB2Z
The 42-tonne Leopard Tank is one of 29 battle tanks that were delivered to Returned Services League clubs around Australia during 2011.
The Leopards operated for almost 30 years and the closest they came to "action" was when several were loaded (and then quickly unloaded) onto a warship bound for East Timor during the 1999 conflict.
The German-made Leopards never fired a shot in anger and were replaced in 2007 by 59 second-hand US-built M1A1 Abrams tanks.
|105mm L7A3 QF Gun |
|42,400 Kg |
|Engine ||Daimler Benz V10 Diesel|
610 kW (830 HP) @ 2200 RPM
|62 km/hr |
|500 kms |
It might seem strange that a Leopard Tank is on display in Rotary Park in a very militarily orientated area, but shortly after I was able to determine the reason why.
Seymour is proudly honouring all who served in Vietnam with the construction of the Vietnam Veterans Commemorative Walk. I chatted with one of the 'Wardens' of the project, and he advised me that, when it is completed and opened late in March 2013, it is expected to have on display a Centurion Tank, an Iriquois UH1H 'Huey" Helicopter, and a 105mm Howitzer. They hope to also have an M113 Armoured Personnel Carrier, but that hasn't yet been confirmed.
As explained above, the Leopard Tank is "The tank that never fired a shot in anger for Australia".
The Centurion Tank served with distinction with the Australian 1st Armoured Regiment in Vietnam.
The 'Huey" Helicopter was used extensively for insertion, extraction, resupply, and dustoff (medical evacuation) throughtout Australia's involvement in Vietnam. It's familiar 'Wocka Wocka' evokes powerful memories in all Vietnam Veterans, including me. I commend the displays and videos at the Australian War Memorial Iriquois Display to those interested in this tireless workhorse. The 'Light and Sound' show of 'The Battle of Long Tan' is also a must see and hear (complete with 'Wocka Wocka').
Among it's other significant history, the 105mm Howitzer played a pivotal role in Vietnam. I'm uncertain whether the gun on display will be an Italian made gun or the later US made guns. The earlier Italian made guns, designed for mountain warfare, were crucial to Australia's success in 'The Battle of Long Tan', during which 12 Australian 105mm Howitzers of 1st Field Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery, and 6 New Zealand 105mm Howitzers of 161st Battery, Royal New Zealand Artillery , together with 6 United States 155mm Howitzers of Bty A, 2nd Battalion, 35th Artillery Regiment, US Army, provided fire support to the beleagured Australians. The accompanying Forward Observation Officer (FO) with D Coy, New Zealand Captain Morrie Stanley, continuously called fire support missions and counter battery fire, including the historic 'Fire Mission Regiment' in which all 24 guns fired on the same 'Mission'. Fire missions are often tasked with one gun (Fire Mission), two guns (Fire Mission Section), or six guns (Fire Mission Battery), but to my knowledge this is the only time an 'Anzac' Artillery Forward Observer (FO) has called 'Fire Mission Regiment'. The gunners in the audience might dispute my terminology, after all I am only a proud Infantryman, but I'm sure they won't dispute the facts.
Bob Buick was a member of D Coy 6 RAR/NZ at the time of 'The Battle of Long Tan'. His memoirs at Bob Buick's Viet Nam Page make very interesting reading. Bob also mentions "Three Troop, 1APC Squadron, with Alpha Company 6RAR on board". My late brother Michael was 'FO Ack' attached to A Coy, when they rushed through the night to support and relieve D Coy.