Monday, June 28, 2010

Blast from the past

NDP 1995: Mobile Column participants and their armoured vehicles emerge after a tropical downpour to rehearse for NDP 1995.

Participants of yesteryear put in long hours of rehearsals - rain or shine - just for 10 minutes or so passing by the Padang in disciplined formations. But the men and women all took it in the right spirit.

Leading the rehearsal are SM1 light tanks, armed with a 75mm gun which was modelled after the deadly Kwk 42 7.5cm gun mounted on German Panther medium tanks. The Singapore Army and Singaporean defence engineers enhanced the lethality of the SM1's main gun with a cannister round, packed with 400 ball bearings for clearing vegetation, as well as a sabot round.

NDP 1995: Singapore Army Bv206s mass along Nicoll Highway. Notice how all three lanes were used for the Mobile Column to form up in review order. Behind the Bv206s are Combat Engineer Tractors, followed by M-728 Combat Engineer Vehicles and a pair of M-60 Armoured Vehicle-Launched Bridges (AVLBs).

NDP 2000: In the millennium year's parade, Mobile Column vehicles used the eastbound lanes to get to the Padang. Seen here after a thunderstorm are M-728 Combat Engineer Vehicles, each fitted with a Pearson Engineering Track Width Mine Plough (TWMP), followed by a pair of AVLBs.

NDP 2005: Singapore-made Bionix 1 infantry fighting vehicles roll down Nicoll Highway on their way to the Padang. The Mobile Column in 2005 was the last time SM1 light tanks appeared during a National Day Parade.  

NDP 2010 CR2: The same view five years later, with Singapore Army Terrex infantry fighting vehicles rolling down the same city-bound lanes. This part of Nicoll Highway now has a right turn leading to Middle Road.
NDP 2000: Police officers from the crack Special Tactics and Rescue (STAR) team seen along Nicoll Highway before mounting up for the National Day Parade 2000. There's a story behind this picture. The STAR team was amused to see me show up every weekend for the NDP 2000 Combined Rehearsals. The team's only ground rule was no face shots, which I respected. On the actual day of the parade, they allowed me past the cordon for a photo shoot.
In 2007, the STAR team apprehended Dave Teo, the full-time National Serviceman who ran away from camp with a SAR-21 assault rifle and 5.56mm bullets. Thanks to contact made at NDP 2000, arrangements were made and the Singapore Police Force granted me an exclusive interview with the STAR team.
The police officer on the right is the one who led the assault team that caught Dave Teo in the Orchard Cineleisure toilet.
I have the highest regard for Singapore's special forces community.

11 comments:

goat89 said...

HAHA, next time I should join you on your escapades. ><

xtemujin said...

Great to see some good stuff from the past.

Anonymous said...

Any news about your favorite colonel?????

FIVE-TWO said...

Is 1995 NDP the first time the M728 and M60 AVLB were shown? I can see in the 1995 picture the M728 were already fitted with the mine plough. Did they ever appeared in public with the original dozer board?

Anonymous said...

Nice pics from the past.
In response to FIVE-TWO's comment, I seem to recall seeing M728 (maybe without the plough) and M60 AVLB on NDP prior to 1995 (like sometime in the late 1980's). Maybe the blog owner or anyone with the info can enlighten us.

bdique said...

Its quite amazing how the BX1 was replaced by the BX2 after just one mobile column...hope they'll not vanish for good from future mobile columns.

David Boey said...

Dear All,
The M-728 CEV and M-60 AVLB first appeared as part of the Mobile Column in NDP 1984. That year's parade marked 25 years of nation building.

There was a write-up by a reporter who was allowed to join the Mobile Column while sitting inside the CEV.

The CEV was fitted with a dozer blade.

By the time they appeared at NDP 1984, both vehicles had already been in operational use for several years.

Trivia: Till today, the SAF has yet to show a single picture of the CEV firing its main gun, the 165mm demolition gun.

re: BX1's disappearance. That's why it's worthwhile stalking all the columns. :)

FIVE-TWO said...

I am surprised that the M728 and AVLB was displayed as early as the 84 NDP. I had just regained my civilian freedom and busy with attending university in 84 so watching the mobile column wasn't high on my priority ;o)

The reason I am surprised about the M728 and AVLB appearing in 1984, is that as late as 1981 both vehicles still had to be completely covered with tarpulin (not an easy task!) while being transported by low loaders whenever they have to go outside of Sungei Gedong. During my conversion course in 38SCE we were told specifically that these vehicles are classified and not to be talked about.

Re: firing of CEV 165mm demolition gun, I can at least attest that they do fire the gun in Sungei Gedong, but not at the regular tank butt (which the AMX-13 uses) but rather towards the anti-tank butt. I once found a 165mm blind high up on the hill slope and had the distinct honour of deposing it.

Anonymous said...

That's nothing. I was told the AVLBs were "classified" as late as 2001 and not to be talked about. ffs.

Timothy said...

Dear readers, the M728 CEV did fire its guns once and only once in Singapore and its 165mm mortar was so powerful it shattered glass of buildings a distance away.

Since then the 165 was never fired again in Singapore to my knowledge.

Leong K Y said...

Just came across this blog by accident.

Here are some answers to some of the posts.

[1] I don't think you will ever get to see a picture/photo of the CEV firing its 165mm demolition gun from the force. You should be able to see one from Youtube featuring the M48/M60/M728CEV/M105/108/109 firing their respective guns at Fort Knox.

[2] On the - 165mm fired only one in Singapore and shattered glass of buildings a distance away - this must be a big joke. Each of us gets to fire off 10 rounds of 165mm (before mid 80's). 1 batch alone could have fired off about 180 rounds locally (commanders and gunners). The gun is powerful but it would not shattered glass of buildings a distance away. Only the tank head lights were dismounted before such firing. There are no buildings at the tank butt.

[3] 165mm blind??? - I have never heard of or seen a 165mm blind in my life before. I am trained was involved in the entire revision of the training format in the much earlier period. We have a wooden 165mm round for trainees to practice the loading and unloading into the main gun and we call it a training round and not a blind as it cannot be fired off. There is no 165mm blind for the M728 CEV.