Friday, July 12, 2019

Behind the Scenes in the CFB Borden Tank Shop

I had a chance this week to get a tour of the tank restoration shop which is part of the Military Museum at Canadian Forces Base Borden.  Tucked in a corner is what remains of a fellow that I've driven past off and on for a decade now, a Wehrmacht Flakpanzer IV.

In 2017, this fixture of the Borden Tank Park disappeared, and I had often wondered what had become of it.  I knew that a restoration project was planned, but I wasn't sure how far it had progressed.   On Tuesday I got to see that the restoration had started and the tank has been completely dismantled.

The hull has been completely gutted,  Here you can see the rather unconvincing blue that it had been painted in for decades.

The superstructure is getting new hatches, by the looks of things.    The turret ring is visible at the back.

Our guide explained that a local machine shop had been contracted to measure what survived of the fuel tank, and fabricate a new one.   I don't know if the Museum has a set of plans or schematics to go by, our guide didn't know the answer to that.  Hiding in the back left is a Leopard AVRE, which the Museum staff use to move vehicles around.    There is also a Hetzer lurking somewhere in the workshop, but it is a tiny thing, about the size of a large SUV, and it was apparently covered by a tarp, so I never saw it.

How the Flakpanzer and Hetzer came to Borden is an interesting story.   These two vehicles were rounded up at the war's end by a young Canadian officer, Farley Mowat, who is better known as a Canadian author.   Borden was the HQ of the Canadian Armour Corps during and after WW2, so I guess it was a natural home for these war prizes.   FYI, Mowat himself wrote an  account of his wartime experience in Italy called The Regiment, which is one of the great Canadian war memoirs.

Various parts, carefully stored and sorted.

I sent this photo to my brother the Mad Colonel, who volunteers in the tank shop of the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, and he felt that the Borden shop looked properly messy and therefore productive.

The turret shell has been refinished and painted in what looks like a proper German dunkelgelb.

I suspect that this vehicle will be finished long after I've retired from the Army, but I'll be in the area, and I hope to see it one day looking like this.


  1. Cool post Mike. I enjoyed the visit behind the scenes

  2. Thanks for sharing that. Looks like a great project, I'll be very interested to see the finished vehicle. Do you know if they are planning to make a runner or a static piece?

    1. It will probably be static.
      That's what it was before.

  3. Cool beans!
    I was sad not to see it last time I was there.
    Glad the restoration is moving ahead.
    It is apparently 1 of only 2 left.

  4. Awesome! Thank you so much for this report. I‘ve been to the museum as a part of an exchange program with the Royal Canadian Army Cadets back in.... ummm... must have been 2000 actually, and can well remember the Wirbelwind on display there.


Blog Archive