Defence spending comes on to the news radar with some regularity nowadays, and more often than not appears in a less than favourable light. But most vehicles built for military use do tend to get used sooner or later. It was not always thus.
Recently, while trawling the local history of Crewe – the exercise is for a photo collection of the town which I have in progress right now – I came across the strange case of the Covenanter tank. This was designed for service in World War 2, and the reason it features in the town’s history is that many of them were built at the Railway Works.
It’s sometimes imagined that, given the UK generally made the most of its scarce resources in the war years, every last item of equipment was pressed into service. Not the Covenanter. Over 1700 built, and almost every one scrapped without seeing service, the consequence of poor and rushed design.
They didn’t even bother with a prototype. Not a good idea.