Austarmycrest.gif (8966 bytes)                  Australian Military Vehicle Walkaround

Centurions - Final Australian configurations
Shane Lovell

gate guard.JPG (51797 bytes) Centurion Gate Guard Outside Puckapunyal, Victoria.
 This Centurion has been modified to Mk 5/1 standard by the uparmouring of the glacis plate and omega brackets, to hold spare road wheels are fitted.
The two holes on the mantlet, too the right of the barrel, indicate that a .50 Cal Ranging Machine Gun has been fitted.  The barrel, a 105 mm L7, was fitted after the vehicle was retired.
The vehicle name is on the hull side storage bin and is white lettering contained in a black rectangle.  The vehicle registration number, in white numerals, is on the upper left hand side of the glacis plate. The red outline square on the turret stowage box indicates that the vehicle was probably serving with B Sqn, 1st Armoured Regiment when taken out of service.
Centurion with side skirts.JPG (49262 bytes) Exercise El Alamein Firepower Demonstration 1991
This Centurion Mk 5/1, named 'Circus' is held by the RAAC Museum.   Interestingly it retains it side skirts.  The vehicle is fitted for Infra red operation, the vehicle search light being visible in the turret basket. 
Once again, the vehicle name is painted in white on a black rectangle.
Mk5 Turret top IR fitted 2.JPG (52812 bytes) Late Production Centurion  Mk 3/5 Series Turret - Tank dozer Mk 5/1 169106
Late production details include the raised top plate, blanking plate in place of the air outlet valve, late position loaders hatch and no evidence of the original loaders periscope opening on the top plate.
In service, the turret has been fitted with IR, the searchlight inlet box being positioned on the air outlet valve blanking plate.  The antenna base, visible to the right front of the turret is typical of a turret with a raised top plate.  The rack to the rear of the turret, developed in South Vietnam, is designed to contain .30 cal ammunition boxes and an AN/PRC 25 radio so that the crew could communicate with adjacent infantry units.
Unidentified to date is the bulge on the forward face of the turret shell, to the right of the gunners sight guard, and the rectangular fitting forward of the crew commanders cupola.
The forward face of the turret shell has been painted with a non slip surface.
Mk5 Loaders Periscope.JPG (49272 bytes) Relocated Loaders Periscope
The loaders periscope, originally positioned in the forward left hand corner of the turret top plate, was relocated to the forward face of the turret shell in response to user feedback
Centurion shell ejection port.JPG (39630 bytes) Shell Ejection Port and Stowage Box Detail - Centurion 169027
Visible between the two turret stowage bins is the shell ejection port.   This is opened and closed by a handle accessed from within the turret and is partially visible in the photo.
The right hand side of the photo shows the attachment points for the turret basket.  the basket was developed as part of the IR fittings to provide protection for the IR searchlight when not fitted.
The two weld marks on the turret rear indicate the previous position of spare track link brackets.
Once again the vehicle name is painted in white on a black rectangle
Centurion gunners sight rear.JPG (34342 bytes) Gunners Sight and Guard - Centurion 169027
This photo shows the rear of the gunners sight. Note that this can be opened and is held in place by wing nuts.  The sight guard bracket, visible forward of the sight, was initially fitted to vehicles in the early 1960s.
Fitted to the top of the sight unit is a box containing the electric motor for the sight wiper.  Electricity for the motor comes via an electrical cable entering from the rear of the box.
Finally, the electrical cable and inlet socket for the right hand smoke discharger is also visible.
centurion mg mount.JPG (51751 bytes) Crew Commanders Machine Gun Mounting
   Viewed in profile is the .30 Cal mounting on the crew commanders cupola.   This is shown bolted in its original position, but a modification added in the late 1960s, added a second, more favoured position on the guard for the scissor periscopes.   This second position allowed the crew commander to fire the MG whilst the cupola pointed forward. 
   The handle visible at the rear of the mounting allowed the crew commander to fire the weapon without exposing his head.  When not in use it is held in the position visible by a clip.
LR Fuel tank.JPG (24200 bytes) 100 Gallon Long Range Fuel Tank - Centurion Tank Dozer 169106
Possibly the most successful modification to increase the Centurions poor range was the 100 Gallon fuel tank.  Fitted to all Centurion gun tanks deployed to Vietnam, the tank was bolted to the rear of the hull.  Initial technical problems occurred with fuel transfer to the main tanks, but this was soon rectified.  One Centurion of C Squadron was was hastily evacuated when the fuel tank was hit by a .50 Cal round from another Centurion whilst in contact.  The two brackets visible on the rear of the fuel tank were for attaching the tow cable.
Raer fuel tank filler.JPG (46585 bytes) 100 Gallon Fuel Tank Filler Detail
Access to the fuel cap on the 100 gallon tank was through a cover in the centre rear top of the tank as shown.  The hose visible transfers fuel from the tank to the main fuel tanks
Infantry telephone box.JPG (32858 bytes) Infantry Telephone - Centurion 169027
Previously fitted to the rear of the hull, when the 100 gallon fuel was fitted the infantry telephone was repositioned to the left hand side of the fuel tank.   Note that the telephone is not fitted directly to the fuel tank, but is attached via four brackets and bolts.
Centurion drivers hatch1.JPG (48744 bytes) Centurion Drivers Hatch detail
The bracket visible forward of the hatch is for the drivers detachable windscreen.

Copyright Sentinel 2000-2003. All material on this site is copyright and should not be used without the webmaster's permission or that of the contributor

Back to Australian index