AROUND 24,000 visitors are expected to travel to this weekend's sold-out Tankfest extravaganza.

The annual event, at The Tank Museum, Bovington, is scheduled for three days from Friday.

Historic vehicles on display this year include the German Second World War Panther tank, which has travelled from the French Tank Museum.

Other highlights will include a Jagdpanther and a World War II British Sherman Firefly tank, being transported from Belgium.

Aside from the arena displays, visitors will be able to explore the living history encampment's and trader's village.

Museum curator David Willey said: "At Tankfest, The Tank Museum displays some of the finest running armour from its own collection.

"What makes this event extra special is our ability to attract some amazingly rare guest armour. For many of our visitors this will be a first opportunity to see these vehicles running."

The Second World War German Panther tank, lent by the French Tank Museum, will be running as part of the arena displays for the first time ever this year.

Considered to be one of the best tanks produced during World War II, the restoration of the Panther and its transportation across the English Channel has been funded by event sponsors World of Tanks.

A museum spokesman said: "The iconic Russian T-34/85’s are coming from the Cobbaton Collection in Devon and private collector John Sanderson.

"John Sanderson’s T34-85, came off the production line in 1944 and is thought to have been damaged during the Battle for Prague and then went on to fight at the Battle for Berlin.

"The Sherman Firefly comes from the Bastogne Barracks in Belgium, part of the War Heritage Institute. It was manufactured in the USA in 1942, delivered to Europe in 1943 and converted to a Firefly in early 1944.

"After the war, it was due to be scrapped, but avoided this fate and was recently restored to running order by the museum."