THE LOST CENTURIONS
Twelve Centurions were sold to the USA to make a movie, "Courage under Fire"
I was able to locate these tanks, but could not obtain any information from the company. The United States Army would not supply / loan / give / sell them any Abrams tanks so they brought these Centurions and dressed them up with plywood and fibreglass to mock up Abrams, which as most of the picture is in the dark, it does the job quite well.
Later I was in contact with a guy that drove one of them in the movie and found out that one was burnt out in the movie and still sits out in the Desert, where it was abandoned.
Two more were sold to private owners and I was able to trace one, 169137 one of the Hong Kong Tanks to a Mr. Robert G Creely in Mississippi USA. This tank still in the mock up state and Robert has it up for sale.
These photos have been shown further back but I will add them here anyway
Robert passed on the home of the other one that had been sold but alas I could not get any response from two letters I sent them.
Then this weekend I received an Email from Dennis Tocock who had supplied information and photos of his Dad's (Sandy Tocock)Tank, a while ago. Dennis had just returned from America and while there called into Kenosha Military Museum in Pleasant Prairie and noticed the Abrams mock up. Not only did he take photos but he also obtained the ARN, 169051.
As strange as it seems, it was only about ten days ago I was in contact with Mick White who was enquiring about his fathers Tank, ARN 169051--- Tis indeed a small world!
The ARN is plainly seen--169051
I wonder what is written on the Info board?--Note the Chopper in the background.
It appears to have the transmission and motor sitting behind the tank??
Dennis said that the tank is complete so maybe the items have nothing to do with a Centurion!
Then later Brenton Shevlin visited the museum and took the shot below.
This shows that up close it is indeed a make over
Below is a section from The Museums webpage
Mark opened this place in 1986, following a path that we've seen before: a collection gets too big, the obsessed collector turns the collection into a museum so that he can buy more stuff for the collection. In Mark's case this move was obviously warranted. One cannot keep a Sherman tank in the basement, or a Sky crane helicopter in the back yard -- at least not for very long.
The museum's exhibits are spread across 15 acres. Mark is away most of the time, buying tanks and bombs, so his wife Joyce runs the place. She sells training grenades in the gift shop, among other chores. Since most of the museum is outdoors, and since Joyce and Mark live south of the border in Illinois, Joyce sees no reason to drive up here and open the museum when it rains. This is thoughtful, in a way, but it also requires that visitors call ahead if the weather seems spotty.
The grass near the gift shop is kept mowed, and the hardware is displayed on concrete pads with little signs on weathered wood pedestals. At least you know the name of what it is that you're looking at: a Higgins Boat landing craft, an M-48 Bridge Layer, a Sexton self-propelled gun. But walk a little further, into the back acreage, and the Kenosha Military Museum reveals itself what it is at heart -- a dream-come-true junkyard that any 12-year-old would understand and appreciate. Rusting tanks, jeeps, trucks, missiles, humvees, halftracks, and helicopters are everywhere, scattered among the scrub pine, weeds, and wildflowers.
Veterans who visit this place to relive their youth may be in for a bit of a shock. Mark doesn't have much of a maintenance budget, and most of his collection shows its age -- plus it had the crap beaten out of it when it was young. Hatches are missing, glass is cracked, paint is flaking, rust is everywhere. If you tried to take any of this stuff into battle now, you'd be dead in five seconds. That is, if you could get it to run at all.
But that isn't the point. Mark, like any good collector with spare parts or resale on his mind, goes for quantity over quality when he can get it, hoping to trade up in the future. Most of his duplicates are for sale, with all of the profit, we imagine, ploughed back into the collection.
And lest we give the wrong impression, some of the surplus that Mark has on display here is still in good running order. Mark, for example, has a particular fondness for the M-4 Sherman tank -- he has eight of them. On those days when he is here, he sometimes fires up one of the Sherman’s and crushes cars with it.
Wisconsin has always been a little chary of Mark and Joyce's museum. It's one of the first things that visitors see when they drive into the state on I-94, and that probably rubs some bureaucrats in Madison the wrong way. Since 2002 the village of Pleasant Prairie has been trying to move the museum -- and a couple of nearby porno book stores -- somewhere else. The Puppet masters would rather have hotels and restaurants here, but who would eat and sleep in them if there was nothing to see?
Instead, Wisconsin should deed several dozen more acres to Mark, and give him the purchasing and maintenance budget for a world-class armoured juggernaut. Imagine the crowds that would flock here if Mark could get his hands on a Flying Wing, or an atomic cannon?
There were many names given to Centurions, some very smart and some that were straight to the point. I have collected a few over the years
Buka Boom Boom 1
Buka Boom Boom 11
Been Seen and Done
Cat House Circus
To name just a few of them
Then I saw a another one, and it was new to me. I contacted Roger Martlew and asked if I could use his photos, a request he agreed with.
Roger served with 4 Troop A Sqn --and 2 Troop with Ed Lancaster in C Sqn
Vietnam in 1970--1971
below you see some shots of "Crater Critter", in Vietnam!
Unfortunately I do not at this time have an ARN
What has he got to smile about---swapping a final drive in the field--- What a job!