Wednesday 1 September 2010

Tiger 131 on DVD

Back in June I went to the Bovington Tank Museum annual Tankfest show with my brother-in-law. We had a great time and I shot several hundred pictures and posted them on this Blog. But I also treated myself to a couple of DVDs  while we were at the show and have been meaning to review them ever since.

The first DVD is "Saving the Tiger : The Story of Tiger 131" and is exclusively about the only running Tiger I Tank in the world. The story of its capture in 1943, its assessment back in England and its renovation are dealt with in detail and some of the key people involved at each stage are interviewed. In particular Peter Gudgin who's Churchill tank was knocked out by Tiger 131 and who later found himself being assigned to assess and report on the Tiger's capabilities.

In addition to the main documentary there are some extra features including the full length version of the 1943 Tiger recognition film produced for the Allied forces. I found this quite a useful insight into the training techniques employed during the war as well as highlighting some interesting recognition features of the Tiger.

The second DVD also features Tiger 131 extensively and is called "The Tiger Files".  This is a very interesting documentary lasting 72 minutes and includes archive footage and veteran interviews throughout. Whereas the first DVD looked specifically at the life of Tiger 131 this documentary looks at the full story of the tiger from drawing board to battlefield.

One of the most interesting parts of the documentary is some film shot inside the Tiger during a driving run. It shows the both the technological and technical innovation of the Tiger and some of the difficulties faced by all tank drivers on both sides of the war.  There is also some interesting interviews with various veterans that faced the Tiger in combat including Joe Ekins who is attributed with killing the German tank ace Michael Wittmann.

Tiger 131 at Tankfest 2010
Both DVDs can be bought via the Tank Museum website or in the shop at the museum itself. I think they are an excellent insight into this iconic weapon of war and well worth buying if you have an interest in WWII Armour.

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