sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Margarita's Husband

I have a friend who fought with the freedom fighters in Hungary in 1956 when they tried to dislodge the Soviet Union and failed. I haven't spoken to him in over twenty years and he reached out completely out of the blue. It was very nice to chat and reconnect.


During that war, he crewed a World War 2 vintage Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger Ausf. E (German Tiger Tank). They were operating in Budapest against Russian T-34/85 Tanks and he said that they'd knocked out three or four when the world turned to pinwheels and he woke up in Great Britain in hospital (having been evacuated).

He ended up joining the British Army, Royal Corps of Signals, and I met him when he was assigned to 18 Signal Regiment. He's long since retired from the Army as a Warrant Officer (WO1). People have interesting stories and histories. He referred to me as "Pup". Which is what he said when he called me on the telephone after all of these years. The man, like the famous German tank, is a tiger. I always called him, "Margarita's husband" because he married an English lady named, Margarita. Margarita was a tall, well proportioned blonde lady with a ready laugh and a generous smile who succumbed to cancer about a decade ago. RIP.

Hand Cranking a Tiger Tank
The inertia starter "Schwungmasse" works by rotating a heavy mass at speed, once it reaches 60rpm a lever is pulled below the hand cranking arm, this pushes the drive pinion onto the fly wheel, making the engine rotate and start.

10 comments:

  1. That's wild. I had no idea old tanks like that were crank started by hand. Makes sense, though, now that I think about it.

    I like when, on rare occasion, I'm referred to as a kid or youngster. Gives me hope that I'm not quite so close to the end. I got carded the other day!

    Store clerk was being a smart ass, but still :)

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    1. You'll note my profile photo. My hair has been pure white for about 20 years. I started getting the automatic "pensioner rate" at various establishments when I was in my late 30's because of hair color alone as clerks just gave it to me. I just smiled and graciously accepted the discount.

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  2. No worries about running down the battery. I guess this tank will never need to call the auto club for a jump start.

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    1. You'd get a lot of respect on the LA Freeway system at rush hour.

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    2. This automobile doesn't quite fit my personality. But I WOULD ride shotgun.

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    3. There are different positions within the tank - driver, gunner, loader, and tank commander.

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  3. If I remember correctly, your hair turned gray on a Thursday evening in December. I'm so glad my hair didn't go wonky.

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    1. You haven't aged at all, and I suspect that there is a picture somewhere that is beat to #@%& that displays the "real WoFat". Next time I call, I'll ask Judy where you keep it.

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  4. Can't imagine doing that under fire... nope... Yet ANOTHER reason I went Navy and Air. Those folks had some brass ones! Glad to hear y'all reconnected too!

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