Some experiences defy description. They can only be reported.
I attended the Whiteman Park classic car show and looked at all the old cars. Amongst them was a preserved scout car – presumably used by a reconnaissance unit in the Australian Army some time ago. I am guessing WWII or later and possibly attached to a Western Australian command.
It was well-preserved and the exhibitors had left most of the hatches open so that we could see inside – that was kind. I was surprised at the angle at which the steering wheel was mounted – until I reflected that the driver was likely to be looking out through periscope visors on the battlefield and would be looking up. When you assume that position, your arms and hands naturally rise as well, and the angle of the wheel becomes natural.
I can tell you little more of the vehicle, other than to say that I assume the machine gun poking out of the turret is either completely de-activated or a solid metal replica welded in place.
Which leads me on to the other pictures. I believe the ring mounting seen erected here on a framework within the camouflage cloth is generally intended to be on thin-skinned vehicles. The elevating mechanism – counterweight springs and an arched frame – suggest that it is intended as close-in antiaircraft protection. That is a Browning M2 .50 cal machine gun in the mount. I would guess Korean War and later…
I am also going to guess that the gun is also a completely deactivated device – possibly from the local Army Museum, or perhaps from a group of enthusiasts who have gotten police permission to possess it. I expect that the ammunition displayed on the fee tray is also dummy and hollow. I assume, expect, and presume a lot, don’t I?
I’ve owned a lot of firearms – real operational ones – in my time. All with proper police licensing, I hasten to add. I’ve displayed them at public events. I’ve stood in front of crowds doing drill with muskets and rifles loaded and unloaded – blank charges. But I’ve never pointed the muzzle of the weapon at the crowd – particularly at small children and their mothers standing two yards in front of me…I’ve always assumed that it was dangerous, illegal, frightening, and unnecessarily damaging to the image of my club.
But then I did admit to assuming and presuming a lot, didn’t I?