How many tanks?

Discussion in '1940' started by MarkN, May 29, 2016.

  1. BFBSM

    BFBSM Very Senior Member

    Beauman: France May-June 1940
    Part 1: Army Quarterly, Vol.46 No.2, August 1943

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    Part 3: Army Quarterly, Vol.47 No.2, January 1944

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    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jul 3, 2019
  2. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    Thanks BFBSM. Looking forward to a good read.
     
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  3. Don Juan

    Don Juan Well-Known Member

    I have identified five Cruiser tanks that were almost certainly at the MEE at Farnborough all the way though May and June 1940. These were:

    A9's - T3493 & T3527
    A10's - T8091
    A13's - T4385 & T4386

    Note the two A13's were the first two production A13 Mk.I's. If these were not included in the total for 103 Cruisers available in the UK on 11th June 1940 (82 in depots and 21 in training units) as presented by Laurence Carr to the DC(S), then this means that they could be 5 of the 14 tanks that are thus far unaccounted for.
     
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  4. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    In my notes l have scribbled down that the first 10 A13 Mk.l were produced to a lower standard and were retained as (driver) training vehicles. I did not mention this earlier as l have been unable to refind the source of that info. However, throughout my calculations l have had in the back of my mind that 55 not 65 A13 Mk.l were 'available' to go to France.

    Similarly, and just for the basis of building a model on which to derive a likely distribution of tanks to analyse various possible combinations, of the 21 training tanks stated by Carr on 10 June, l nominally assumed those 10 A13 Mk.l, 10 A9 gun tanks and a single A9cs.

    The documentary evidence is so fragmentary, and the numbers so imprecise, it is impossible to ascertain whether the 5 MEE tanks you list are included in 'training', 'depot', or simply forgotten and not counted at all.
     
  5. Don Juan

    Don Juan Well-Known Member

    The only real difference with the first ten A13 Mk.I's was in the steering brakes, whose brake bands (i.e. shoes) were of the one-piece "wrap around" type instead of the eventual production intent hinged two-piece "caliper" type. From what I understand, it would have been fairly easy to bring these tanks up to the full production standard, although I doubt this ever happened.
     
  6. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    Interesting. Thank you.

    As l was compiling the information used in this thread, l created a database of all the Cruiser tanks l-lV to see if it offered any help in understanding the questions. It didn't. Nevertheless, not one of the first 10 A13 Mk.l tanks appears to have gone to France. However, my database is derived from a limited sample of pictures which - l understand - offers the greatest source.
     
  7. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    The mention of A10 T.8091 at MEE got me thinking.

    35 were produced, 31 supposedly lost in France. That leaves 4 survivors in the UK that either never left the UK, went and returned, or a combination of the two.

    It seems likely that T.8091 can be counted as 1 of those 4. Additionally, T.9229 was being used as an experimental bridging vehicle.

    Now have a read of this thread: British Cruiser Tanks in French service 1940

    Consider the last picture posted by Richelieu. He is quite right to contradict Peter Brown's captioning. Very unlike Peter Brown to make such glaring errors. I also suggest the A13 is a Mk.ll not a Mk.lla as it looks like a Vickers gun mantlet.

    Anyway, the two A10 pictured could well be the 'missing' pair of A10.

    As regards to it being in France. Hmmmmm! Like Richelieu, l reckon that's back in the UK. Probably July 1940.
     
  8. Don Juan

    Don Juan Well-Known Member

    My understanding is that 36 A10 Mk.I's were produced, and four were deliberately selected to stay at home with Establishments, and did not go to France. See the excerpt below:

    A10's.jpg

    This is from a letter from R.A. Smallwood of TT1 (formerly MGO5) to SD7 and OS5. Rather annoyingly it is undated, although the timeline of communication it is in puts it around the 11th-13th June. As you can see, these four A10 Mk.I's were denuded of the No.14 Wireless Set. We know that T8091 was at the MEE, so if the other three were at establishments other than training establishments, then they might have evaded Laurence Carr's survey. This leaves one A10 Mk.I unaccounted for.

    Additionally, my understanding is that although the project for mounting a scissors bridge on an A10 nominally commenced in March 1940, T9229 did not actually arrive at the EBE until July 1940. Again, I've got info somewhere that backs this up, although I'll have to scour through my files.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2019
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  9. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    Very interesting.

    That document notes 36 x A10 Mk.l as opposed to the generally accepted number 35. Do you think the extra 1 refers to the original prototype or there is an error in either the documentation or the perceived history?

    Nevertheless, 4 staying behind in UK does tally with my belief that 31 went to France and all 31 were lost there.
     
  10. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    On second reading. I notice that the number of A10 allocated to 1st Armoured Division totals 37 which tallies with their expected interim establishment for 1 June 1940. Note how they assume 32 will be the Mk.l variety. The implication being that if they only took 31, 1 that was intended to go didn't make the journey. Or, alternatively, made the journey and returned.
     
  11. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    And, to add another bit of lateral thinking, the A10 clearly identified on the picture posted by Richelieu and Orwell as belonging to RHQ 5RTR is marked identically with those A10 that 5RTR took to France. Note how it differs in markings to the 2nd A10 in the picture.

    Of the 3 A10 that 5RTR took to France, T.8099 dropped out on a long route march on 10 June and was abandonned, T.5914 was last recorded being sent to Div Workshops at Le Mans - but l have a picture of it abandonned in France - and T.9199 was recorded being loaded on to a train bound for Cherbourg on 15 June.
     
  12. Don Juan

    Don Juan Well-Known Member

    My understanding has always been that 36 A10 Mk.I's were produced, and I would like to see where the number 35 comes from. This number derives from a decision to produce 100 2 pounder + VMG mountings for the A10 and A13 Mk.II, with 64 being allocated to the A13 Mk.II and 36 to the A10.

    The photo of the A10 Mk.I with 342e CACC, if it was taken in England, accounts for all 36 A10 Mk.I's - 31 lost in France, 4 with Establishments, and 1 with 5 RTR after the Battle of France. How it came to be with 5 RTR after the Battle of France is indeed a matter of conjecture.
     
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  13. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    Where the original data comes from, l don't know. I've taken the information from Peter Brown's article. I have long doubted his claim of 30 x CS version but never found the time or need to positively confirm it one way or another.

    Thus, the total number of A10 could well be 36 not 35 too.

    Having had a quick peek at my rather shabby database, the 'offending' tank is T9203.

    Vickers produced 10, all first version A10.

    Birmingham Railway Carriage & Wagon built 75: 13 A10 and 62 A10A. T5921 was an A10 that 9L took to France, T5922 was an A10A that 3RTR took to Egypt and Greece.

    Metropolitan-Cammel Carriage & Wagon built 75 - a mix of all 3 versions. T9201 was an A10 that went to France with 9L, T9204 was an A10A that 3RTR took to Egypt and Greece. My database has a complete blank next to T9202 and T9203. I had the split between 02 and 03. If there were a total of 36 A10, then the split is between 03 and 04. Blank spaces on my database for this period tend to be tanks lost in France.
     
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  14. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    Also, looking at my database, l noticed the bridging equipment tank T9229 was an A10A not an A10. Thus not counted in the 35 or 36 total.
     
  15. Don Juan

    Don Juan Well-Known Member

    Yes, Metro-Cammell built 13 A10 Mk.I's

    I think R.W. Crabtree also built 10 Mk.IA's for 170 in total. I can't remember if these were CS.
     
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  16. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    I ignored Crabtree as their deliveries were outside our time of reference. I have no indication that they were CS version. Circumstantial evidence points to gun tanks.

    My best guess, withput any attempt to research and analyse, is that Metro Cammell built 20 CS version - not 30 as noted by Peter Brown.
     
  17. jhunt

    jhunt Junior Member

    Re the photo of the 2A10’s and A13MkII in French hands. The A10 in front would appear to be T9199 seen in the picture below, compare the camouflage pattern on the front and the position of RHQ diamond on the turret front.

    jnnshhshs.jpg
     
  18. Don Juan

    Don Juan Well-Known Member

    It does certainly seem to be the same tank, although it's really amazing how this photo and the French photo are almost perfectly staged so that we can't make a definitive positive ID.

    I assume that the vertical stick-like thing above the hull gunner's compartment is the aerial for the No.14 Wireless Set.
     
  19. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Isn’t that a 2-pound round stood on end?
     
  20. morrisc8

    morrisc8 Under the Bed

    One more on epay i have not seen.
    tank bef ca.jpg
     

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