Tanks – a Lot

Is a hover tank too much to ask for high school graduation? Really? All I wanted was a hover tank, with an instruction manual, some extra rounds of ammunition for the smaller guns, and money to hire the rest of the crew with. No? I would have settled for an Abrams or Merkava. Yes, I had a serious armor addiction when I was younger. I blame history books and David Drake.I grew up reading military history, mostly US and Royal Navy books. Then I latched onto all the various accounts in the Bantam Press WWII series, and I devoured air combat, submarine stories, infantry in all theaters, and other things. Any illusions about warfare I might have had remaining disappeared after reading With The Old Breed and books about the Battle of the Bulge and Malmedy. And then, my junior and senior years in High School, I stumbled onto the Falkenberg’s Legion novels and David Drake’s Hammer’s Slammers.

I was in love with the hovertanks. They had it all: speed, firepower, serious armored protection, and a smooth ride with a communications suite that would make a WWII tank commander weep with envy. Heck, it probably makes modern radio guys slobber, because in the stories that I recall, it never broke down at bad moments. Some of the characters I had not exactly encountered before, at least not in that form, but I recognized most of them from what I’d read, even as edited as many of the WWII books had been. In part because of those books, I spent two years of my undergrad career studying Pre-WWII armor and armored doctrine, such as it was. And I wanted a hover tank. I had airplanes, so to speak, but I wanted a hovertank.

I was in heaven listening to the exploits of the Abrams tanks in Desert Storm. And it turned out that one of the policemen at my undergrad college was an Abrams commander in the reserves. We sort of bonded, in a professional sort of way, and when time came for me to present my research, he offered to see if he could arrange to have an Abrams come to campus for me to use to demonstrate the technological developments of inter-war armored development. I did not quite drool, but it was close. Alas, big city traffic and the prospect of what the tank would do to the roads on campus (and the plantings, and small cars that failed to yield) prevented the demonstration, but wow was it fun to imagine.

Two or three years later I was in Calgary, Canada, and went to the military history museum there. If you are at all interested in military history in general, the Canadian military, or how to do a very good museum, I highly recommend it. As it was, I kinda miffed one of the docents by giving my parents a long technical explanation of what we were seeing with some of the vehicles there. I think the gentleman was ticked that I stole his thunder, and that he couldn’t correct me. (I stuck with the gears-n-treads stuff that I knew really well.)

Over time my interests shifted and I moved on to different fields of study and fixations.

But I still want a hovertank.