A tank a day keeps Politicians at bay.

Discussion in 'The Barracks' started by von Poop, Nov 1, 2019.

  1. Juha

    Juha Junior Member

    Ah T-55, we were taught that the optimum aiming point was between first and second road wheel, where there was a wider gap. And I thought, thanks a lot. With our recoilless anti-tank weapon 55 S 55 (somewhat like Carl Gustaf recoilless rifle) and its 88 millimetre (what a surprise) HEAT grenade with its low muzzle velocity (160m/s) it was enough difficult to hit a moving T-55 somewhere mid tank where the ammo and crew were, rather hopeless to try to hit into that smallish gap.

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  2. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin


    The Churchill

    Much-maligned by the lighter weight nerdosphere but loved by its crews.
    Which I think says something.

    Tom & Gerry, late of this forum & both with substantial WW2 experience in Churchills would say they wouldn't swap it for any other tank, and they're not the only veterans I've spoken to with similar feelings.

    Why it's so lazily maligned I'm not sure.
    Its shape alone makes some dismiss it as WW1 technology 20 years too late, it was certainly slow and had the most difficult of developments with a rough start in service, alongside the continued British gun issues.


    The shape allowed for immense strength with fairly simple construction methods & more internal space, the slowness went hand-in hand with a superb transmission & climbing ability that meant it fought in places the Germans were astonished it could even reach (not only Italian mountains. The fact any at all got over the Dieppe sea wall off shingle is remarkable for tracked heavy vehicles of the period). The developmental issues were addressed by 'The Reworks' that thoroughly addressed earlier marks & fed into the more polished VII, It was also fitted during its service with the six pounder and even locally installed Sherman 75s, not forgetting that AVRE or Crocodile with Petard & Flamethrower were carrying some of the most destructive/dramatic assault systems of the war.
    Some of the thickest frontal armour found on any standard tank.

    They'll still slag it off.
    It's a bit funny-looking, and the track arrangement probably hampered its useful WW2 life by causing issues with larger turrets.
    But we know...
    A good & really interesting machine, with a difficult birth.

    Good enough for a future AB of C to earn an MC in & get a painting by Cuneo - good enough for me.


    David Fletcher's 'Mr Churchill's Tank' remains the best coverage of 'em I've read.
    Particularly for students of 'how the hell were these people allowed to interfere? No wonder they were keen on distracting 'em with TOG...'
    Tanks_and_Afvs_of_the_British_Army_1939-45_KID1265.jpg Mk1 cs reversed.jpg 4bdl1k0zns231.jpg Churchill_3-01.jpg d51bcaf02bb09546738768a5e6492925.jpg Churchill-III-01.jpg Kingforce.jpg churchill-na75_orig.jpg na75mghull_orig.jpg f0rpx5qlyowy.jpg T2RrUum.png Churchill_VII_AVRE_With_Fascine.jpg AVRE-close-up.jpg fascine.jpg wurlitzer.jpg 2758yxlfix7z.jpg 004.jpg ChurchillDoubleOnion.jpeg churchill-mounting-obstacle-cushioned-by-fascine-large.jpg Churchill-AVRE-with-the-Bobbin-Carpet-Mk-II-canvas-mat-F.-700x456.jpg croc.jpg BitIuneCMAAkYDd.jpg Bullshorn_plough-1945.jpg

    Cheeky bit of Black Prince-ish action, because, well... look at it.
    12463999173_973c56ff33_b.jpg black_prince_tank_side_view.jpg
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  3. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    In the late 70s I was reviewing REME's computer centre at Woolwich. One somewhat antiquated system was a tape based sequential record of every mechanised vehicle the British Army still held. It got updated once a month. I was surprised to see how many Churchills still survived - mainly as unsung workshop cranes, tugs etc but still doing an honest job.Like an old soldier it just faded away.
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  4. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    I certainly don't have the credentials to argue with any of the crews that manned those beasts. If they gave the thumbs up then so be it. I think for me it may simply be a case of aesthetics. Much like being asked to love the 200 lb. girl because she has a delightful personality.
    stolpi likes this.
  5. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    We talked to an old chap at Tankfest that kept patting the front of it.
    That very thick armour apparently gave some reassurance.

    Nothing's perfect, though...

  6. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    Reassurance was probably the defining factor. As noted with the debate over welding lengths of extra track to the glacis.

    "The extra weight would drive up fuel consumption and cause premature track and engine wear, they said. They also stated that the extra padding was illusory, that it would do nothing in the way of adding protection. The crewmen remained singularly unimpressed with these arguments. They didn't care a hoot about fuel, track or engine wear; they cared about getting across the next one hundred yards of ground and living to tell the story. If the extra armour was not real protection, that didn't matter either, they liked it and if it helped their morale and gave them more confidence in their vehicles then it was worth the expense."
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  7. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    the Churchill i like it

    i love psych ops
  8. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    Back in early 1944 the subject of how long to lift an artillery barrage to allow attacking tanks to pass through was raised and it was suggested that with Churchills there was no need they could drive through the barrage. This was tested by having a squadron drive through a 25 pounder barrage - several times. The report on this stated that although a number of direct hits were made damage was only superficial but that spare aerials should be carried.
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  9. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    I think I've probably mentioned this several times, but this article prepared by David Morrell, son of Major Percy Morrell, about the conversion of Churchill tanks to "NA75" (North Africa 75) pattern armed with 75mm Sherman tank guns, is a really good read. It includes Percy Morrell's own account of how the work came to happen.

    The D.M.E. then closed the interview by saying “Morrell” – I have been looking at your record. You were commissioned from warrant rank less than two years ago. Today, probably because promotion tends to be rapid in a theatre of war, you are a captain and second in command of your unit. If you can make a success of this project, which I warn you is pooh poohed by several of the A.F.V. experts I have referred it to, I will see that you do not lose by it. If, on the other hand, you are unable to make a job of it, and in the process you render unserviceable a tank which cost the British Taxpayer a great deal of money, you can take it that your career has advanced just about as far as it is going to!"
    NA75 by David Morrell Showcase
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  10. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    A main official objection was, I think, that it might slow turret traverse.
    Important factor. Remember Gerry saying they didn't fear Tiger as much as mark IV in Italian terrain as it took longer to swing its gun around?

    Though personally, yeah, I'd have had a turret you couldn't see under all the track I'd buried it under. {This is a lie... I'd almost certainly have been hiding under a rock somewhere & hoping nobody found me.)

    download (1).jpeg

    On a side note:
    I'm sure I read a report years ago (possibly American?) That discussed whether extemporised additions like track might actually enhance the effect of some shaped projectiles.
    Trouble is... I've never been able to find it again.
    If anyone might spot such a chimaera in the wild I'd be very interested.
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  11. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

    I don't understand how all shaped projectiles work but it always seemed to me that the more material of any kind in between a person and a projectile the better.
  12. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    I have seen such a report but it isn't shaped charges that is assisted but high velocity AP. What happens is that an iron or mild steel plate is liquified by the kinetic energy and the molten metal acts as a lubricant to assist in penetration of the armour
  13. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    Whereas applique armour could protect against shaped charges (hollow) by causing them to detonate at an in-optimum distance from the armour - so even sandbags would help protect against Pazerfaust etc.
  14. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    As with most discussions, the outcome isn't always and black and white and is dictated by particular circumstances. The extra track was probably more consistently effective against conventional solid shot vs shaped charges.

    "The use of add-on spaced armour skirts can sometimes have the opposite effect and increase the penetration of some shaped charge warheads. Due to constraints in the length of projectiles, some designs intentionally detonate closer than the optimum distance. In such cases, the skirting effectively increases the distance between the armor and the target, and the warhead detonates closer to its optimum stand-off."
  15. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    That one Robert mentions sounds very much like the thing I dimly remember.
    Will have to try a dig again with wider terms than I'd been using.
  16. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    Will there be a Revolution tank posted on Friday ?
  17. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    The effect was established in 1915 in a paper by Carlos de Zafra of New York University. In this case he was referring to the piercing of naval armour. Experiments by U.S.Coastal Artillery and published in the Journal of the United States Artillery in 1918 confirmed it and led to the development of AP shot with a 'soft' metal nose cap - this however appeared counter intuitive to many. However putting unhardened metal in front of armour plate diminishes the resistance of the latter to AP shot.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2019
  18. Juha

    Juha Junior Member

    I have problem with that, at least in practical sense. If one looks from e.g. Bird and Livingston, World War II Ballistics: Armor and Gunnery Second Edition (2001) p.60, penetrations of 17-pdr A/T gun pure AP is better against homogenous armour but capped, in British case APCBC (Armour-piercing capped ballitically capped), was better against face-hardened armour. The softer metal nose cap was there to lessen the impact shock to the tip of the AP shot proper so it would not shatter if it hit very hard armour face as in case of a face-hardened armour plate but this "soft" cap hindered somewhat penetration if a capped shot hits a normal homogenous armour because it adds the thickness of metal that the AP shot proper should penetrate and the tip of a AP shot proper was capable to handle the impact shock generated when hitting an homogenous armour plate, so in that case the cap produced only extra weight (means fractionally slower muzzle velocity if the ammount of propellant is kept the same) and put extra metal between the tip of the AP shot proper and the interior of the target.

    PS: After sleeping over the matter.
    At high obliquity, the cap aids a bit in righting up the projectile towards the perpendicular but for this the cap is eroded away, it needs a very strong, high temperature solder or otherwise solid attachment to the projectile nose and it needs a deeper thickness to work. At extreme obliquity and against thin, ductile plating, one wants to have a blunt projectile tip and the cap can offer sharp edges and blunt tips by covering the pointy projectile nose. This will help reducing projectile ricochet effects.
    The Navy type, sombrero shaped AP-cap with a central bulge allows both, sufficient depth in front of the nose and sharp edges along it´s circumference. So there might have been a risk that those ad-hoc extra armour systems like added tracks might give in certain circumstances "bite/grab" to the tip of the AP shot/shell and righting up it towards the perpendicular and so increasing its penetration ability and reducing its ricochet effects.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2019
  19. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

    Not if you use enough of it. ;)
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2019
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  20. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin


    That Other Thing.

    Thing day arrives.
    Cheers to everyone for a 40 day campaign armoured period with no actual discussion of the thing. (Excepting a couple of mentions in passing, you little tinkers.)
    I've been as subtle as a brick putting this in the barracks and rambling it along every day as a 'just bloody don't start' sort of gibbet, but it's been quite interesting refreshing the memory & digging out a few books when the off-the-cuff armoured nonsense I've spouted proved untrustworthy.
    Even feels like it may have given general tank chat a bit of a kick, and I certainly can't see any politicians around here.

    I like tanks, but they're not always doing what they're really designed for.
    Our masonic rule is good - much about it I was uncomfortable with, but we're a subject specific site & thing-ish arguments poisoned the well, but at least out in the real world it's probably a good thing we get to relatively peacefully participate every now & then, unlike some poor bastards...

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