Volume 2, Issue 3
November 6, 2006


Welcome to the sixth issue of "Heavy Metal" -- the newsletter of the

Virginia Museum of Military Vehicles (VMMV). Our mission is our motto -- by working to restore armored fighting vehicles, artillery, small arms, uniforms, and accoutrements of the US military and other countries, we hope to share the legacy of the sacrifice and courage of our fighting men and women with future generations of Americans. Located in Northern Virginia, our collection has grown to over 90 vehicles, starting out with the first US tank, the M 1917 through such legendary US vehicles as the M4A1 and M4A3 Sherman , M3A1 and M5A1 Stuart , M24 Chaffee , M3A1 Half-track , M36 Jackson and M3 Lee along with a few vehicles you might not know existed -- such as a prototype of the Rapid Deployment Force (RDF) tank.

Get to know your VMMV staff & vehicles
In this section we will introduce you to the people and armor of the Virginia Museum of Military Vehicles. We will chat with the VMMV staff, so that you can get to know the people who "keep 'em running" and work so hard behind the scenes. And also provide a behind-the-scenes look into the history of individual vehicles in the VMMV collection. In this, our sixth newsletter, we interview VMMV’s own mechanical supergenius—Marc Sehring who sheds some light on himself and some of the vehicles in our collection.


Marc, How did you get started with VMMV?
“I had a keen interest in military history, so during college I worked for Mr. Cors as a summer employee, sweeping the floors, odd jobs etc. After a while, things just progressed and I started working on the tanks and found I had a real knack for mechanical things, so now I get to combine my hobby and my job.”

What is your favorite tank of all time and why?
“I would have to say that my favorite tank of all time is the Leopard 2. It is one badass vehicle—great armor, neat set of upgrades and who wouldn’t like a 1500 horsepower diesel engine!”

What is your favorite tank in VMMV’s collection and why?
“I love them all….xoxoxoxxo. They each have special qualities, but my two favorites are the T-72 and the Strv 103C (perhaps better known as the S-tank). The T-72 is a modern main battle tank, with a long history, but it is also still in service in many places around the world. It’s 125mm cannon is one large gun and it just plain looks cool! The Strv 103C also looks cool in a very different way, has a neat gas turbine engine, autoloader, and hydro-pneumatic suspension. Its just a well-engineered vehicle.”

What is the hardest tank to work on and/or drive?
“That’s easy, the hardest tank to work on is the Churchill---it is just a nightmare. Its cramped and complicated. And the hardest to drive are the M3A1 Stuart and the Hetzer. The Stuart is cramped, difficult to steer and has bad ergonomics while the Hetzer has a very stiff clutch and almost no visibility.”

In contrast, what is the easiest tank to work on and/or drive?
“Hands down, the Sherman is the easiest tank to work on—roomy and well laid out. The M5A1 Stuart is the easiest to drive; it’s light, easy and has an automatic transmission.”

Ok Marc, time to show us your personal side—what is your favorite type of food?

Ketchup or Mustard
“Neither, I like Thai Hot Sauce”

The lexicon of armored vehicles is filling with a bewildering amount of
acronyms. And at the VMMV we have a few of our own. Here we will have the
VMMV word of the day so you may better understand the conversations you
might overhear at VMMV.

BFA = Blank Firing Adapter or sometime Blank Firing Attachment. A BFA is a
device that is attached to the end of a barrel of a gas-operated or blowback
weapon when firing blanks to trap enough gas to cycle the action. Full-auto
and semi-automatic weapons rely on the back pressure of a bullet to push
back on the bolt ejecting the spent cartridge and chambering a new round.
When firing blanks, there is no bullet and thus, no back-pressure to allow
full- and semi-automatic firing during training. A BFA allows automatic
weapons training without the use of live ammunition, increasing safety while
at the same time increasing realism.

Calendar of Events
11 November – Veterans Day

Have a great fall from all the staff and volunteers of VMMV.

Mike Panchyshyn-Editor