Tanks are interesting vehicles, for some odd reason I find them fascinating, and having served in mechanised infantry myself I know how safe you feel behind those steel walls, but how vulnerable you really are to anything bigger than a 12.5mm armour piercing round. World War 2 tanks do not really abound in South Africa, although lately I have been pursuing them as far as as I can. The first one I ever photographed was in Lenz, at the camp where my brother was doing his national service. It was an M3 Stuart, or "Honey" as they were known in Britain, and I do have a soft spot for them. Its probable that they are the most numerous in South Africa.
|Lenz Military base M3 Stuart.|
That image was taken about 1975, and as at 2000 two Honeys are listed as being at the base. I have grown up slightly and thankfully my taste in clothing has improved. The camera still survives and the print that this image was scanned from was taken with it. (126 cartridge format).
Most Stuart Tanks ended up as gate guards at military bases or MOTH shellholes.
|Honey at Warriors Shellhole in Muldersdrift|
|Honey at Springbok Redoubt Shellhole in Bethlehem|
|Honey at the Smuts House in Irene.|
And a former MOTH Shellhole Honey has found her way to a park in Springs where she is steadily being picked clean by scrap metal scavengers.
|Honey in Springs|
The document I use to find them is called "Preserved Tanks in South Africa", by William Marshall and Trevor Larkum, and it lists as many as 34 Honey's in South Africa. The reason so many seemed to have survived could be because they are small and easy to transport, sadly though, the attention of scrap metal thieves is enough to decimate them and is proving to be even more dangerous than anti-tank guns of World War 2.
The final Honey that is probably the best preserved of them all is to be found at the National Musem of Military History in Saxonwold.