British Tank Development.

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

  1. JohnB

    JohnB Junior Member

    Later on the majority of ammunition carried in the CS tanks was HE I believe. Earlier there may have been issues with how much of each type was shipped to the Middle East i.e. mostly smoke.
    Stanley Christopherson of the SRY used a Crusader CS in the advance to Tunisia and recorded it as a liked and effective weapon in his diaries.
     
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  2. JohnB

    JohnB Junior Member

    I imagine a lot of best guesses was involved but they would have had the reports from all sides, known what was what from experience, possibly personal interviews with survivors and the time in order to make those best guesses.


    It's an arguable point, one could say the 2-pdr was obsolescent the day the first Matilda II rolled off the factory floor!
     
  3. JeremyC

    JeremyC Active Member

    Hmmm - I've just finished reading James Neidpath's "The Singapore Naval Base and the Defence of Britain's Eastern Empire 1919-1941", with Bill Clements' "The Fatal Fortress: The Guns & Fortifications of Singapore 1819-1956" and am just about to start re-reading Louis Allen's "Singapore 1941-1942".
    I have enough to get my head around, working out what actually happened, without bothering with what-ifs 80 years on . . .
     
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  4. Don Juan

    Don Juan Well-Known Member

    Mixing the attacking 2 pounder Matildas with a proportion of HE equipped CS Matildas seems to me to have been a perfectly achievable technical and tactical proposition without any excess of effort. Especially as the 3" Howitzer and 2 pounder were interchangeable in the same mantlet. Would it have worked? Who knows?

    But it's when conditions aren't marginal that APHE is most viable! EMC Clarke was basically a rationaliser who always wanted to produce the minimum variety of gun and ammunition types. Ultimately, he didn't think that the burster charge made a sufficient difference to justify the production effort involved.
     
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  5. Don Juan

    Don Juan Well-Known Member

    The CS Cromwells in 1944-45 still carried majority smoke.

    By that definition so was the 5cm KwK 38, which was as bad at penetrating the Matilda, and the front of a Panzer III, as the 2 pounder was. Getting tired of people who are repeatedly informed that the penetration performance of the 2 pounder and 5cm KwK 38 were virtually identical, and then keep pretending that they haven't been.
     
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  6. BFBSM

    BFBSM Very Senior Member

    With you on the 'What ifs' I tend to ignore them, although I do intend to read just one - that by one Andreas Biermann: A COUNTERFACTUAL CONSIDERATION ON ROMMEL'S FIRST OFFENSIVE. I think it may be interesting, and if not I am sure I can find a way to let him know.
     
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  7. JeremyC

    JeremyC Active Member

    Oh no! Something else to read (found a copy of David Carver's "Tobruk" yesterday and am trying desperately not to pick it up - just yet. . .)
     
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  8. JeremyC

    JeremyC Active Member

    Ok - so we're agreed that the 2-pounder was obsolete by 1941-2 (or even earlier).
    So who was using the things for the rest of the War, that made improvements like the Littlejohn squeeze-bore worthy of research, development and production?
    David Boyd's website shows 2-pounder production peaking in 1942 and tailing off to 370 guns in 1944.
    2-pdr ammunition (all natures) also peaked at circa 12.8 million rounds in 1942, going down to 3.54 million in 1943 and ending with 1.53 million in 1944. These figures include the significant numbers of HE rounds I mentioned earlier in this thread.
    Who was using this stuff? Did we have that many 2-pdr equipped armoured cars in Italy and in NW Europe post D-Day? Someone (DJ?) mentioned that the Navy used them - but in large numbers?
     
  9. Don Juan

    Don Juan Well-Known Member

    Tbh, if we're going to go down the "2 pounder was obsolescent in 1941" craphole, which was utterly flogged to death on AHF years ago, then I am now going to leave this thread permanently, and not come back.
     
  10. JeremyC

    JeremyC Active Member

    That would be a shame.
    I've never been involved with AHF ("years ago" I was concentrating on late 19th Century-WW1) so I have no idea what you're talking about there. I was merely trying to summarise light-heartedly the arguments expressed so far in this thread in asking a question that no-one has yet answered. I have largely ignored "technical improvements" and other such nut-an-boltery so far in my reading and it was the impact of almost simultaneous retirement and lockdown that made me realise just how little I know about British AFVs and gave me the time to start to do something about it.
    The value of this forum for me is that there appear to be several people out there who have been mining the archives for long enough to gain a dispassionate, overall picture - and who haven't so far minded answering questions. I am still trying to get the facts sorted out in my mind, in order to decide where I am going to start digging, and on what particular topic.
     
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  11. ltdan

    ltdan Nietenzähler

    please ceep calm an carry on - it's getting interesting and instructive here after all

    The German 3.7-cm calibre became obsolete as early as 1940, but it was still used until 1942.
    And that was certainly not because this fact was not recognised very quickly.
    But especially tanks are de facto designed around their main armament, so it is not easy to pack a gun with more punch into the turret (and certainly not into a narrow shoebox like the one found on the Mathilda II).
    Such a change requires some time, so the fact that a calibre is no longer sufficient is of little use at first.
    Not to mention the change in ammunition production (and the necessary development and testing) + taining + adapted optics + logistics chain + etc. etc.....
    I know enough examples where promising and effective solutions could not be realised because production could not be interrupted to implement the upgrades.
    Conclusion: Take what you have and make the best of it, there is simply no other choice.
     
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  12. Ewen Scott

    Ewen Scott Well-Known Member

    2694 Daimler Armoured cars built from 1941 mostly with 2pdr
    220 Coventry a/c built from mid-1944 that never entered service with British forces. 64 used by French from 1946 in Indochina.
    Crusader II production didn’t end till mid1942 and we’re not finally completely replaced until 1943.

    The Aussies were still using the Matilda in places like Borneo in July 1945.

    NWE Armoured Car units here
    WarWheels.Net - British Armoured Cars In Europe: 1944-1945
     
  13. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    Not much time for What-Ifs, but getting to the bottom of the plans for where 7 Armd Bde was supposed to go was an interesting factoid to me.

    All the best

    Andreas
     
  14. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    Errr, no? The gun was perfectly fine for 1941, it was in 1942 that it stopped being a primary gun on the battlefield.

    And I'm with DJ on this. There are more interesting aspects of British tank development that really haven't been discussed as much.

    All the best

    Andreas
     
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  15. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    I'm sure you can.

    Also, this isn't a traditional WI, but one where the underlying premise is firmly rooted in history and not a stretch (Rommel's orders were clear, and he chose to violate them - another general might not have done this) and data (the tank delivery numbers).

    Well this one has the advantage of being free and not clogging your bookshelves. It may of course be a case of you get what you pay for.

    All the best

    Andreas
     
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  16. JeremyC

    JeremyC Active Member

    Fine - this is a thread on British tank development - you point it in the direction you want to go. All fine with me!
     
  17. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    Yes, tactically it would have worked. In fact, it did work when it was tried. Sorry to go back east again, but Australian Matilda units used CS tanks in the proportion of 1 CS to every 2 2-pounder tanks. The usual drill attacking Jap positions was for the lead tank in the 3-tank troop to blast away covering foliage, chip away at the enemy position, and stun the Jap occupants with 3-inch HE. The other tanks would then move in to hose the position with Besa and post high velocity 2-pounder HE through the embrasure. These tactics were quite successful.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2022
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  18. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    What was the justification for that, the ability of the 75 to fire HE? If I was leading a tank squadron I still would have wanted my CS tanks to have a generous allotment of high explosive. (Two legs good, four legs better.)
     
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  19. idler

    idler GeneralList

    The bigger question - twisting things back to development - is why anyone bothered with the 95mm once the British 75mm was on the cards? If the 95mm's raison d'etre was smoke alongside 6-pr armed gun tanks, who asked for it and who agreed it? Anyone know the chronology?
     
  20. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    The 95mm was not one of the shining successes of British ordnance. Here is an article on the subject:
    <95mm Howitzer armed Churchills
     

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