It isn’t every day you’re given the chance to drive and fire a 17 and a half ton FV432 tank around beautiful English countryside.
So when this amazing opportunity came up, I had to take it. Armourgeddon, here I come!
It’s always good to get out of London and the drive to Leicestershire was relaxing – no traffic, green fields and shining sun.
I had passed a brown sign with a picture of a tank on it, but I wasn’t sure – everything seemed rather peaceful…
Aha, here was a clue in the form of a massive tank near the entrance, I had arrived!
Armourgeddon tell us they are the only place in the world to do tank-on-tank paintball battles using real armoured vehicles over a real World War II bombing range. Wow.
The three instructors – Big G, Wayne and Roger, immediately put all guests at ease. They made what might have been boring safety instructions interesting and fun and gave the impression they were enjoying themselves as much as we were.
Each team of three had an instructor at all times (safety was rightly always the top priority).
I can’t lie, I was so excited I hardly took in any of what Big G told us about the tank and the controls after we had climbed inside and bumped our helmets numerous times. We rotated duties and each took a turn to drive.
I must have taken in more direction than I thought because I drove first and (don’t tell) it was pretty easy, I was in my element!
Big G verbally helped out when necessary (like when I didn’t know my backwards from my forwards, ahem).
Next we all moved round and I took control of the gun. I sat further back and higher up in the vehicle, alongside the paintball firer. Luxury seating was lacking but take my word for it, being perched on top of a tank is the place to be.
Two manual controls took the cannon left and right, up and down and a painted viewfinder helped with aiming (or not in my case).
I was less successful in this task but equally enjoyed it.
As with the other tasks, there were a number of things to do so coordination, speed and teamwork proved necessary qualities.
Finally we went head to head in a paintball battle.
After beating the other tank on points, we took on the final armoured vehicle. I like to think the only reason we were not victorious is that Stewart (from the winning side) had driven a tank professionally for many years.
Massive thanks to all the team, not forgetting Joe from Armourgeddon Photography who patiently sat in a bunker taking all the best shots the whole time we were having fun.
It was a great surprise at the end to be able to choose and buy those best moments of glory.
Before leaving I had a proper look at all the memorabilia in the museum including one of the oldest helicopters in the world, as well as the fantastic vehicles outside such as Green Goddess fire engine.
Here are a few extra shots to give you a flavour.
Fancy embracing your inner soldier? Get ready for battle and book this amazing experience.
Images: RLD and Armourgeddon Photography