British Tank Development.

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by von Poop, Feb 21, 2022.

  1. Don Juan

    Don Juan Well-Known Member

    Your tendency to lie low for a bit, and then return to flog the same old dead horse with a bit of snark, is eerily reminiscent of a certain person on that 51 page AHF thread.
  2. JohnB

    JohnB Junior Member

    Bit personal innit.

    I was just pointing out something you may have overlooked. It wasn't just the British who made mistakes.
  3. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    The infamous AHF Thread of Death does have some very good info from original sources in between the fistfights, so it is worth checking. I confess that I didn't know that the Voldemort Gun and the German 50mm were so comparable.

    I am trying to determine when certain weapons and rounds of ammunition were introduced and reached the field, and the available internet sources are not much help. They'll say "1943," or something like that, which is too vague for me.

    1. When were the long barreled 6-pounders (Mk III/Mk V) brought into service?
    2. When did the HE round for the Voldemort Gun become available? (I think the Australians might have developed their own HE for the weapon, so which came first?)
    3. When did 6-pounder HE come into service? The IWM has a film clip of a Churchill firing 6-pdr HE in April '43, is that about right?

    Thanks. You guys can get to the sources, I can't.
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  4. Don Juan

    Don Juan Well-Known Member

    It's not that easy to establish these because they tended to trickle to forward units in very low volumes at first - I suspect a lot of the first issues of ammo got used up in various in-theatre tests, or went to certain people or units "in the know" etc. So my best info is:

    1. Dunno
    2. Mid-1943, after the fighting in the ME ended. No such rounds were used in the ME.
    3. About Feb '43, although 1st Army seemed to have higher stocks than 8th Army, where it seems to have been comparatively rare.
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  5. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    Thanks, very helpful.

    I am curious about what the tankies in the field thought about their equipment--at the time in 40-42, not ex post facto. Did the units ever say, "we would like HE for the Voldemort," "we would like HE for the 6-pounder," or "we would like a greater allotment of CS tanks and more HE for the guns of same?" US tankers were certainly vocal about what they wanted.
  6. idler

    idler GeneralList

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  7. Don Juan

    Don Juan Well-Known Member

    I haven't seen any direct surveys of crews, but the general comments and requests from field units were processed through reports from two bodies - the AFV Branch at GHQ in Cairo (or (G)AFV), and the local Ministry of Supply AFV(Tech) organisation (basically William Blagden and David Rycroft) that shared the same office as (G)AFV, and in my view went a bit native. There were certainly requests for 2 pounder APHE and HE, and for 6 pounder APHE and HE, as well as for 2 pounder and 6 pounder APCBC. There weren't any significant comments about the CS tanks, which were very popular, but no-one seems to have had the idea of extending or expanding their role.

    One of the complaints that (G)AFV always had was that it was only an advisory body, so the level of pressure that it could bring to bear on implementing its recommendations was generally pretty small.
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  8. Listy

    Listy Well-Known Member

    Simple answer: There was a HE round for it.
    At the Battle of Maur(Spelling?) in the Malayan campaign, Australian Atk gunners stated they used HE for their 2-pounders to knock out Japanese tanks at very close range when shot over-penetrated. Indeed the Gun commander specifically states he called for HE to be loaded.

    I'll admit it's hardly massive and conclusive proof, but I get the feeling that there's more to the 2-pounder HE story than is commonly told. Just like there seems to be more to the story of the 3.7-inch tank Mortar ammunition story.
    What this extra bit is, is hard to say as we just have snippets. But the docs do seem to suggest there's something going on.

    What do you mean?
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  9. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    My understanding is that reference in the Western Desert to an HE round should be taken as reference to APHE which still kicked around.

    There are tons of highly informed comments on this post: 2-pdr HE rounds – again

    All the best

  10. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    Well, we know there was a 2-pdr AP-HE round with a bursting charge. It was used in France in 1940 and in the first Desert engagements but was then phased out in favor of shot. I recall seeing some references in 9th Australian Div war diaries in Tobruk to a 2-pounder HE round. My belief now is that this was in fact the 2-pdr AP-HE and that other such early war references to an HE round are also to the AP-HE. While the AP-HE was phased out in the UK and the Desert I suppose it is certainly possible that 8th Australian Division would have had some in stock alongside AP shot. File under "more research needed."
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  11. idler

    idler GeneralList

    At the risk of digressing (I still think there's scope to clarify whether/when tactical thought led technology, or vice-versa), here's a first pass at the chronology of official 'armoured' doctrine:

    Field Service Regulations, Vol. 2 Operations, 1929
    Mechanized and Armoured Formations, 1929
    Modern Formations, 1931
    Field Service Regulations, Vol. 2 Operations, 1935
    Field Service Regulations, Vol. 3 Higher Formations, 1935
    Mobile Division Training Pamphlet No. 1, Notes on the Tactical Employment of a Cavalry Light Tank Regiment, 1938
    Mobile Division Training Pamphlet No. 2, Notes on the Employment of the Tank Brigade, 1938
    Mobile Division Training Pamphlet No. 3, Notes on the Tactical Employment of A Royal Horse Artillery Regiment, 1938 (this one's more for the record than relevance)
    Military Training Pamphlet No.41 The Armoured Regiment, 1940
    Army Training Instruction No.3 Handling of an Armoured Division, 1941
    Middle East Training Pamphlet; No. 2, Part 8 Tactical Handling of Armoured Divisions in the M.E., 1942
    Military Training Pamphlet No.41 The Tactical Handling of the Armoured Division and its Components Part 1 The Armoured Division, 1943
    Military Training Pamphlet No.41 The Tactical Handling of the Armoured Division and its Components Part 1 The Armoured Regiment, 1943
    Royal Armoured Corps Training. Vol. 1 Tactics. Pamphlet No.1 The Armoured Regiment, 1948
    The Armoured Division in Battle, 1952

    The last two are offered as the 'school solutions' of the wartime problems.

    I can't recall exactly how I came upon the trail of the Mobile Division 'missing links'. Their existence doesn't seem to have been acknowledged where you'd expect - they didn't leap out during a very cursory glance at Harris (MIT) and Larson. The best bit is that the Vickers Machine Gun Collection and Research Association website hosts 50% more Mobile Division Training Pamphlets than the IWM: Tank and AFV Training - The Vickers Machine Gun

    I don't know if there were any more in the series. I've been pleasantly surprised by what I've seen so far in the Tank Brigade pamphlet - there is some tactical detail when I was anticipating something a little more vague. Could it be significant that the GOC of the Mobile Division from late-1937 to mid-1938 was some bloke called Brooke?

    No guns were mentioned in the making of this post.
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  12. BFBSM

    BFBSM Very Senior Member

    Interesting list, thank you for posting, now to check my archive to see what I have.
  13. Don Juan

    Don Juan Well-Known Member

    My understanding of this is that in the Middle East the RAC converted their APHE rounds to practice rounds by taking out the burster charge and filling the shell with sand, while the RA retained the APHE rounds as active rounds. This is why you tend to see the RAC complain about the lack of APHE shell and wanting its reintroduction into production, while the RA were still using APHE into the first quarter of 1942.

    There were still some active APHE rounds kicking around into the middle of 1942 or even later as I have seen reports of trials that were held using these rounds in the Base areas.
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  14. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    When you say RA I assume you mean anti-tank regiments. I don't have my old notes handy, but at a guess I would imagine that the AP-HE rounds I saw referenced in Tobruk were held by 3rd Australian Anti-Tank and 3rd RHA.

    Excuse my ordnance ignorance, but was 2-pdr AP-HE of any use at all against a soft target?
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  15. Listy

    Listy Well-Known Member

    Well putting a 40mm hole in something rarely does any good for it!
    However if you hit something solid enough that failed to action the fuse then not really. But generally APHE was a bit useless and in some cases (many cases?) actually worse than solid shot. So that's why the UK tended to keep with solid rounds.
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  16. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    Yes. 2-pdr HE rounds – again

    All the best

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  17. Don Juan

    Don Juan Well-Known Member

    The RAC wanted APHE for use against anti-tank guns and 88mm AA guns, as the 2 pounder solid shot was alleged to just hole the gunshield without splintering and causing further damage. Although the APHE didn't have very impressive penetrative characteristics, it should have been able to easily penetrate a gunshield and then detonate, causing more damage to the gun itself as well as to the detachment. That the RAC apparently didn't know that the RA still had active APHE rounds tends to say something about the level of cooperation between arms at that time.
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  18. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    An excellent talk by John Buckley on the interaction between armored technology and armored tactics in Normandy.
  19. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    The War Illustrated - 4d1m1946...


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