June 22, 2009:
During the two decade Tamil rebellion in Sri Lanka (recently concluded with a rebel defeat), the Tamil minority showed enormous resourcefulness in their fight to partition the island (into Tamil and non-Tamil nations). When the Sri Lankan army recently scoured territory long controlled by the Tamil rebels, they found all manner of improvised weapons. But none was as amazing as a Tamil "tank" that had been improvised by mounting the turret, from a captured (British made) FV601 Saladin reconnaissance vehicle (a six wheeled armored car), on a (Chinese made) Type 63 tracked APC (Armored Personnel Carrier.) The result was a lightly armored, 13 ton tank, armed with a 76mm gun [PHOTO]. The Saladin usually has a crew of three, but the slightly roomier Type 63 Saladin could probably hold four or five. This is apparently a one-of-a-kind vehicle, and testimony to wartime grit, determination and unwillingness to waste anything. And probably worth quite a bit on the armor vehicle collectibles market.