When Was Equipment Made Obsolescent/Obsolete?

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by TTH, Apr 9, 2020.

  1. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    I am trying to find out when some items of British equipment were declared a) obsolescent and b) obsolete. The WO lists of changes covering WWII have not been published, much less digitized, so available information on this subject is patchy to say the least. If anyone can help with this I'd be very grateful. Items in question are below.

    1. A13 Cruiser Tank Mk IV/IVA (A13 Mk II)
    2. Light Tank Mk II/III series (including Mk II India Pattern)
    3. Light Tank Mk IV (including India Pattern)
    4. Light Tank Mk V
    5. Rolls-Royce Armd Car
    6. Fordson Armd Car
    7. Guy Armd Car
    8. Morris Armd Car (NOT to be confused with the Morris Lt Recce Car)
    9. Marmon-Herrington Mk I/III Armd Car (SA Armd Car)
    10. A15 Crusader Cruiser Tank (gun-armed marks I-III)
    11. AA Light Tank Mk I/II (Light Tank Mk VI chassis)
    12. Early (pre-Universal) Carriers--Recce, Cavalry, Bren, etc.
    13. Alvis-Straussler Armd Car

    Guns and small arms will follow later. Thanks all.
  2. Don Juan

    Don Juan Well-Known Member

    There tend not to be exact dates for these, but as a general rule:

    A13 Cruiser Mk IVA - the last frontline operational use was in January 1942, when there was a small number in 2nd Armoured Brigade during Rommel's capture of the Gazala line. 9th Lancers certainly had one. The last "operational" use to my knowledge was defending Cyprus with 4th (Queen's Own) Hussars, whose last mention of the type was in February 1943.

    A15 Crusader gun tanks - these were phased out of frontine use after the end of fighting in North Africa in May 1943. They continued to be employed by Home Forces up to the D-Day period, in some cases as training tanks for those crews who were earmarked for the Crusader AA variant.

    In both these cases, and probably the others, there was bound to be some god-forsaken unit somewhere that had them for a while after they should have handed them in.
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  3. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    And in the case of wheeled vehicles (as opposed to tracked) used for all sorts of purposes for which they were not originally intended (and in the case of the carriers this could be extended to tracked) and not just in obscure units
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  4. ceolredmonger

    ceolredmonger Member

    My thought on the system are (it isn't quite this linear) :
    Item identified as being not optimum by users, replacements become available.
    Ministry ceases contracts for production. Production of spares continues.
    Item continues in service with training and back up.
    If not practical for frontline use, withdrawn for second line / training.
    Attrition may reduce available numbers so withdrawn (in theatre or generally) and issued to discrete units to ensure spares/repairs/training. Odd survivors may remain with users (officially or unofficially) not supported by spares.
    Production of spares stops and general training not supported. Spares/manuals pooled for discrete units. Possible distribution to foreign allies, etc.
    Mothballed in storage.
    Issue to auxiliaries.
    Use for drill/range targets to destruction.
    Sale as surplus.

    Some kit can be declared obscolescent and linger for years, others be withdrawn and mothballed simply awaiting an identified user/need (mule equipment springs to mind - tons found in the 1990s 'Frontline First' clearouts).
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  5. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    Thanks, that helps some.
  6. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    Yes, these latter stages are what interest me most. As I have found researching the non-standard equipment page, stuff which had been made obsolete many years before WWII could still be found in odd corners and was duly hauled out for use again, as witness Long Lee Enfield rifles, 4.7-inch medium field guns, etc. I'm just trying to get as many specifics as I can on all this.
  7. morrisc8

    morrisc8 Under the Bed

    I have this original booklet on Repair, Replacement and Disposal of B Vehicles + Motor Cycles at home 1944. 32 pages Gives lists of Vehicles for disposal in the back,
    ww2 Repair Replacement and Disposal of B Vehicles and MC 1944.jpg ww2 Repair Replacement and Disposal of B Vehicles and MC 1944 index .jpg ww2 Repair Replacement and Disposal of B Vehicles and MC 1944 index 2,3 .jpg ww2 Repair Replacement and Disposal of B Vehicles and MC 1944.jpg disposal.jpg
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  8. ltdan

    ltdan Nietenzähler

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  9. ceolredmonger

    ceolredmonger Member

    There are some real problems getting detail on this. I have experience of having been around the museum world for a while and was often surprised by batches of stuff emerging here and there. Whilst it isn't reliable to work with anecdotes and "off the record", the ability of units/commanders/QMs/etc to squirrel stuff away is incredible. I took possession of a 'back-door' 25pdr in the late 90s. from a TA unit, the record showed it had been written off by stripping for spares. About 1979 I attended a sale at Ruddington which showed both sides of this - there were hundreds of welding sets being sold singly and in batches. These were associated with servicing Centurion tanks and the six wheeled APC series therefore no longer needed and efficiently disposed of. In the same sale were dozensof sets of 1908 leather mule equipment 'found in a store'. The reductions in the Military Estate following 'Options For Change' in the early 90s threw up all sorts from Smith Guns to King Tiger Tanks!
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  10. ceolredmonger

    ceolredmonger Member

    Items struck off can hang around too. Property can be in limbo awaiting disposal - by destruction, sale (as is or as scrap) or transfer (domestic or as foreign aid). When the British Army embarked on the Falklands expedition it was (rightly) worried about air superiority. It was decided the .50 Browning M2 was needed, it wasn't currently 'trained on' however there was a stock 'in store' complete with spares and manuals. Apparently analysis of late 2WW Soviet tactics led to a cold war 'Stomovik' scare. Have you ever seen an MG fitted on any of the Cold War trucks even though they all have cab rings? Ground mounts were also 'found' which left ammo, the USA at the time were implying neutrality. A friend of mine was an officer at the ammunition disposal depot on Anglesey and found the 1950s ammo, out of nominal 20yr date, which 'should' have already been incinerated....
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  11. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    I've got a good story about this. In the the mid 1980s I worked with a guy who had served in the US Army and been stationed in the UK and Germany for a while. Maybe he was there sometime in the 70s, he was older than me. Anyway, he was in the armored corps and at one point was ordered to report to an RAF air base along with two tank crews. The USA had some responsibility for ground defense of the base, and the mobile element of the defense force turned out to be a pair of M4 Shermans. Yes, that's right, still in running order decades after they'd been made obsolete in both US and British service. It was a very easy assignment, a trip down memory lane for any tanker. They named the tanks Elizabeth and Victoria after the queens.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2020
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  12. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    Thanks, that's just fabulous. I wish more information like that was available, like for A vehicles. I see the Humber LRC there. What was the 'Standard' LRC?
  13. ceolredmonger

    ceolredmonger Member

    Aka Beaverette if I recall correctly, based on the production Standard car.
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  14. morrisc8

    morrisc8 Under the Bed

    Beaverette, photo from my collection.
    RAF Beaverette 1944 (2019_01_08 13_19_49 UTC).jpg
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  15. morrisc8

    morrisc8 Under the Bed

    Next page 28/29 of vehicles for Disposal.
    ww2 rapair disposal.jpg
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  16. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    Dodge Light Recce Car, what was that? Morris, Humber, Otter I know, but Dodge?
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  17. Vintage Wargaming

    Vintage Wargaming Well-Known Member

    I know LRC suggests armour but could it have been the Command Car?
  18. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

    Right. Probably a WC-24, no?

    EDIT: Typo. WC-56 or WC-57 with winch
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2020
  19. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    The full designation of the WC56 was Command reconnaissance car so seems reasonable
  20. Trackfrower

    Trackfrower Member

    Notice only the 4x2 Recce cars appear, not the 4x4

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