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The Weakness


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Draconder #1 Posted 20 October 2012 - 05:07 PM

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Hello everyone

I am looking forward to when the Britist tanks will be coming out and I like reading all your conversations regarding what the Brits will have in terms of tanks, power and consumables of fine Earl Grey. I have been reading an interesting book called Tank Men by Robert Kershaw which talks about the lives of those men fighting in those machines of all nations and one thing that I found interesting was reading every nations downsides regarding their fighting machines.

In World of Tanks many vehicals have a downside, some factions have some universal weakness no matter how trivial such as ammo being more prone to exploding ect. I like these weaknesses, it gives a sense of tactics that must be used to defeat certian opponents. Which leads me to my question to you all for this thread.

What weakness do you think the British tanks should have universally?

The British commonwealth tanks were not amazing, they were pretty shoddy for the most part compared to the tanks the likes of America, Germany and Russians were bringing to the field and the Brits seemed to be always playing catchup up until near the end of the Second World War. Ironic since they were the ones who pioneered it during World War 1.

Crews complaigned about their tanks breaking down and how every morning and evening they had to botch them to keep them running. What was common for the British tank crews was the oil that leaked constantly and caked the floors of their tanks and this proposed a fire risk. That's why if I had to put a universal weakness for the British tanks it would be that their engines would be more vulnable to their engines catching on fire more than other nations.

LGrum #2 Posted 20 October 2012 - 09:27 PM

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View PostDraconder, on 20 October 2012 - 05:07 PM, said:

Hello everyone

I am looking forward to when the Britist tanks will be coming out and I like reading all your conversations regarding what the Brits will have in terms of tanks, power and consumables of fine Earl Grey. I have been reading an interesting book called Tank Men by Robert Kershaw which talks about the lives of those men fighting in those machines of all nations and one thing that I found interesting was reading every nations downsides regarding their fighting machines.

In World of Tanks many vehicals have a downside, some factions have some universal weakness no matter how trivial such as ammo being more prone to exploding ect. I like these weaknesses, it gives a sense of tactics that must be used to defeat certian opponents. Which leads me to my question to you all for this thread.

What weakness do you think the British tanks should have universally?

The British commonwealth tanks were not amazing, they were pretty shoddy for the most part compared to the tanks the likes of America, Germany and Russians were bringing to the field and the Brits seemed to be always playing catchup up until near the end of the Second World War. Ironic since they were the ones who pioneered it during World War 1.

Crews complaigned about their tanks breaking down and how every morning and evening they had to botch them to keep them running. What was common for the British tank crews was the oil that leaked constantly and caked the floors of their tanks and this proposed a fire risk. That's why if I had to put a universal weakness for the British tanks it would be that their engines would be more vulnable to their engines catching on fire more than other nations.

All tanks need a lot of maintenance to keep them in the field, and some conditions were more testing than others.

As to oil problems, British tanks were well compartmentalised, with transmission (which was at the rear to start with) separated from the engine. The fire risk would come from petrol fuel not from lubrication oil.

Kyphe #3 Posted 21 October 2012 - 02:36 AM

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The British tanks were not shoddy, Russian tanks were shoddy, German tanks were examples of over engineering and US tanks were fucked over by politics, British tanks were under gunned and ended up being the wrong design philosophy than what ended up being needed but build quality and production are rarely ever an issue with British engineering of any kind let alone tanks.

The problems British tanks faced in north Africa were nothing to do with their design or their build quality.

Problems with poor transportation methods meant they needed a full maintenance workup before they were fit for service.

This meant the engineers had to use a lot of the spares right off the ship which caused a shortage of supply in the field and the desert is a whore for destroying mechanical systems.

As supplies of spares became available under monty the problems crews faced with bodging repairs drastically diminished.

but it is good to know you have men in the field who can keep a tank running even if your supply lines are cut.

oh and the fire risk both for US and Brit tanks was nothing what so ever to do with fuel, it was poor ammo stowage, it was an early war issue and a situation which was fixed when recognized.

Edited by Kyphe, 23 October 2012 - 07:10 PM.


ChObAm #4 Posted 27 October 2012 - 11:43 AM

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Oil fires burn very slowly, once its ignited, so oil sumps leaking wouldn't have been the cause of tanks brewing up, british tanks were undergunned at the start of the war, into 1942 due to restraints put on the designs that they had to fit  the railway gauges, the abillity to be taken through tunnels on flat cars, so the turret size couldn't fit a bigger mounting.

British tanks were poorly designed, by egomaniac's that wanted the next fighting vechile to be build in their factories, rather than look to the good of the country, some CEO's and politians, hid from the government how poor the designs really were, and came to a head in parliament, when  Churchill was chanellanged to a duel, the PM to drive the tank named after him, the challenger to drive a Tiger.

For further reading I suggest you find HMSO publications called, The Great BritishTank Scandal, and its follow up, The Universal Tank. I boughtthese two books at bovington and they really open my eye's to how much we needed the lend lease agreement with america, and how petty the people in power were, when all should have had a comon goal. comet production was delayed, because of arguments over whether, the shortend 17lber should be fitted, as it would slow cromwell production,hardly a sellar design in itself, as much of its armour was bolted on, and we had the firefly shermans.

British tanks were hard to maintain. People forget that, monty fought his battles with mostly shermans and grant tanks, and  it was the influx of american production, that cured the spares problems, Matilda, Valentines and crusier tanks required alot more effort to keep in the field, either more complicated suspension, or alot more wheels to grease, than Stuarts Grants or Shermans. grease mixed with sand makes a paste that is very erosive, so less moving parts the better.

Its all history now and open only on congecture, but I'm fairly certain that had Monty to rely on only British built tanks he would have become just another sacked general

From the farce that was british tank design in the 30's and 40's came what I think are the best MTB's in the world, Centurion, Chieftain, and Challenger, none of these tanks are as fast as other Nato MBT's or the tanks they are likely to face, but they were built to kill all other tanks they might face, with  crew protection, and survivability in mind, and when it takes longer to train a fighting crew, now, than it takes to build a tank, that  is one of the most important aspect of tank design

LGrum #5 Posted 27 October 2012 - 01:10 PM

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View PostChObAm, on 27 October 2012 - 11:43 AM, said:

Oil fires burn very slowly, once its ignited, so oil sumps leaking wouldn't have been the cause of tanks brewing up, british tanks were undergunned at the start of the war, into 1942 due to restraints put on the designs that they had to fit  the railway gauges, the abillity to be taken through tunnels on flat cars, so the turret size couldn't fit a bigger mounting.

British tanks were poorly designed, by egomaniac's that wanted the next fighting vechile to be build in their factories, rather than look to the good of the country, some CEO's and politians, hid from the government how poor the designs really were, and came to a head in parliament, when  Churchill was chanellanged to a duel, the PM to drive the tank named after him, the challenger to drive a Tiger.

For further reading I suggest you find HMSO publications called, The Great BritishTank Scandal, and its follow up, The Universal Tank. I boughtthese two books at bovington and they really open my eye's to how much we needed the lend lease agreement with america, and how petty the people in power were, when all should have had a comon goal. comet production was delayed, because of arguments over whether, the shortend 17lber should be fitted, as it would slow cromwell production,hardly a sellar design in itself, as much of its armour was bolted on, and we had the firefly shermans.

British tanks were hard to maintain. People forget that, monty fought his battles with mostly shermans and grant tanks, and  it was the influx of american production, that cured the spares problems, Matilda, Valentines and crusier tanks required alot more effort to keep in the field, either more complicated suspension, or alot more wheels to grease, than Stuarts Grants or Shermans. grease mixed with sand makes a paste that is very erosive, so less moving parts the better.

Its all history now and open only on congecture, but I'm fairly certain that had Monty to rely on only British built tanks he would have become just another sacked general

From the farce that was british tank design in the 30's and 40's came what I think are the best MTB's in the world, Centurion, Chieftain, and Challenger, none of these tanks are as fast as other Nato MBT's or the tanks they are likely to face, but they were built to kill all other tanks they might face, with  crew protection, and survivability in mind, and when it takes longer to train a fighting crew, now, than it takes to build a tank, that  is one of the most important aspect of tank design

I think most will dispute that British tanks were undergunned at the start of the war, though agree that their gun development did not advance sufficiently quickly

It's difficult to compare US and British tank design efforts. Though the US was woefully behind in tank design in 1939, they had a couple of years to bring themselves up to speed and organize their war machine. The British had to replace their losses in France and fight in the Mediterranean. The British also had to expand their army from an imperial police force and expeditionary force secondary to the Royal Navy.

No matter that US tanks were more reliable or maintainable than British tanks, they still had issues and were not perfections of designs.

Though it may have been a bigger turret than some British ones, the Sherman turret was still cramped.
After 25 miles operation in the desert, the air filters would be need emptying of "a concrete" formed of oil and dust
Early multibank engines had carburettors at the bottom that could only be reached by lifting the engine.
The Whirlwind radial engine put a permanent draught through the crew compartment and had to be handcranked to clear fuel-pooling in lower cylinders before starting.

While very useful the Firefly was still an extemporized solution to a lack of production and as Cromwells and Comets became available they were used to replace the 75mm and 17pdr Shermans.

Tigger3 #6 Posted 27 October 2012 - 03:47 PM

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View PostChObAm, on 27 October 2012 - 11:43 AM, said:

Oil fires burn very slowly, once its ignited, so oil sumps leaking wouldn't have been the cause of tanks brewing up, british tanks were undergunned at the start of the war, into 1942 due to restraints put on the designs that they had to fit  the railway gauges, the abillity to be taken through tunnels on flat cars, so the turret size couldn't fit a bigger mounting.

Apart of course from the 2 pdr which was the standard British tank gun in 1939 through to 1940 when it was better than the German standard tank gun the 37mm (it still outclassed the majority of German tank guns in 1941 for anti tank use).

You do know how big the British tanks were in the early years? tunnel size was of no relevance to tank design in 1939 or indeed in 1942 unless you include such monsters as the TOG's or Nellie.

A much more pressing problem was lack of money to develop tanks pre-war and when Britain did start to re-equip it was too late to get its designs into production and units in time for the Battle of France. The only British armoured div landed after the Germans had attacked and had crews who had not been trained on the new cruisers or 2 pdrs (having been trained in a motley collection of old tanks mainly mounting 3pdrs).

Lack of a decent engine to power heavier tanks also limited what could be done in size and weight limits. It was not until the Meteor engine was developed that a good power to weight ratio could be provided.

British tanks themselves were no more likely to brew up than any other nations at the time and most fires were caused by penetrating hits igniting the propellant not the fuel.

The slowness on re-gunning with the 6pdr was a mistake but at the time (the 6 pdr was developed in 1939 and due to be in service in 1940 but events meant that a need for lots of good enough gun's took precedence over fewer much better guns, this impacted on tank development).

British tanks were poorly designed, by egomaniac's that wanted the next fighting vechile to be build in their factories, rather than look to the good of the country, some CEO's and politians, hid from the government how poor the designs really were, and came to a head in parliament, when  Churchill was chanellanged to a duel, the PM to drive the tank named after him, the challenger to drive a Tiger.

Got a source or reference for that as by the time the Brits faced the Tiger they knocked out 3 in one week with 6pdrs (2 by towed guns and one in a Churchill).

The Churchill's faults were never hidden, in fact the manufacturer took pains to have designers and workmen with Churchill units to identify faults and rectify them quickly, a pamphlet was issued to each unit explaining the Churchill having faults and that they were being rectified (which of course they were).

The biggest disaster of British tanks was the Covenanter which was so unreliable on introduction it never became operational and only used as a training tank (bear in mind that it was still more reliable than the Panther for its first year in combat), the Covenanter was ordered off the drawing board (as were many other pieces of equipment) at a time when Britain was desperate for tanks. It's production though should have been halted to allow Cromwells to be produced (to hell with the contractual obligations) which were waiting for production line space.

For further reading I suggest you find HMSO publications called, The Great BritishTank Scandal, and its follow up, The Universal Tank. I boughtthese two books at bovington and they really open my eye's to how much we needed the lend lease agreement with america, and how petty the people in power were, when all should have had a comon goal. comet production was delayed, because of arguments over whether, the shortend 17lber should be fitted, as it would slow cromwell production,hardly a sellar design in itself, as much of its armour was bolted on, and we had the firefly shermans.

The Comet was developed to mount the 77mm (originally supposed to be the Vickers 75mm HV but Vickers failed in that gun), Challenger production was delayed and over taken by the Sherman Fireflys. The Cromwell itself proved to be reliable, fast and good enough even if not outstanding for its time. Bolted armour was as much a lack of production ability to produce welded armour vehicles (the Covenanter's problems were compounded by having heavier riveted armour than the original designs welded armour).

British tanks were hard to maintain. People forget that, monty fought his battles with mostly shermans and grant tanks, and  it was the influx of american production, that cured the spares problems, Matilda, Valentines and crusier tanks required alot more effort to keep in the field, either more complicated suspension, or alot more wheels to grease, than Stuarts Grants or Shermans. grease mixed with sand makes a paste that is very erosive, so less moving parts the better.

Bit of a generic all encompassing remark, Matilda II did take more to maintain than some others along with the Churchill but they were very reliable, if more wheels equals more maintenance then Cruiser A13 Mk I - III requires less than a Stuart and Crusader requires less than a Sherman (as would the Cromwell and Comet). The desert was a destroyer of any nations tanks, spares supply was the problem.

Its all history now and open only on congecture, but I'm fairly certain that had Monty to rely on only British built tanks he would have become just another sacked general

Roughly 50-50 British to US tanks used in north Africa, British tanks like the Churchill could also take more punishment and go places where the Sherman could not, the Cromwell and Comet had much better speed and cross country ability than the Shermans while also being lower. So relying on just British designs but in the same numbers would probably have a similar outcome.

From the farce that was british tank design in the 30's and 40's came what I think are the best MTB's in the world, Centurion, Chieftain, and Challenger, none of these tanks are as fast as other Nato MBT's or the tanks they are likely to face, but they were built to kill all other tanks they might face, with  crew protection, and survivability in mind, and when it takes longer to train a fighting crew, now, than it takes to build a tank, that  is one of the most important aspect of tank design


Kyphe #7 Posted 28 October 2012 - 12:01 AM

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Financial politics is always a corrupting factor in military procurement, the US for example had made more of the Sherman than they would ever field in combat but there was constant political pressure to make more and more of them rather than switching to an up gunned T23 or T25 design, much of the resistance to this switch was that people in positions of influence had a vested financial interest in keeping production as it was and reaping steady profits on a proven design and supplying endless amounts of spares and ammo to those tanks.

A switch to another tank risked loss of profits to competitors.

France was the worst example of this with outright corruption being evident right from the outset of tank development back in ww1.

Britain suffered greatly in the run up to ww2 and in the opening years of ww2 yes there was several links to the railways, the most significant was that unlike Germany Russia and the USA Britain had no real industry producing heavy goods vehicles with heavy load chassis, suspensions, powerful high torque engines and strong gears, the reason is that all heavy loads in the UK went via the extensive rail network, in fact their were laws restricting the loads that could be carried by road.

this meant there were only a handful of manufacturers like vickers who could actually produce a tank at all let alone build one in any quantity, before you can build a new tank you have to develop the tools necessary to build that tank, it is a huge undertaking and the Brits did not have the time, so they did what they always do, make do with the tools they had and build a tank within those limitations, yes there was lots of bloody political conniving by people wanting to get lucrative manufacturing contracts, there were constant attempts to get the firefly project shut down by supporters of the challenger. but it would not have mattered who got what as non of them were in a position to make something that could take on a panther on an equal footing till late in the war.

If the brits had the infrastructure they could have been churning out 17pdr armed centurions or something similar in bulk by 1944, as unlike the USA everyone in the UK knew what was going to be needed, and they knew the Sherman was already an obsolescent platform and that the fireflys and comets were an interim solution at best which they would gladly have skipped.

Mezzou #8 Posted 29 October 2012 - 07:21 PM

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View PostDraconder, on 20 October 2012 - 05:07 PM, said:

Hello everyone

I am looking forward to when the Britist tanks will be coming out and I like reading all your conversations regarding what the Brits will have in terms of tanks, power and consumables of fine Earl Grey. I have been reading an interesting book called Tank Men by Robert Kershaw which talks about the lives of those men fighting in those machines of all nations and one thing that I found interesting was reading every nations downsides regarding their fighting machines.

In World of Tanks many vehicals have a downside, some factions have some universal weakness no matter how trivial such as ammo being more prone to exploding ect. I like these weaknesses, it gives a sense of tactics that must be used to defeat certian opponents. Which leads me to my question to you all for this thread.

What weakness do you think the British tanks should have universally?

The British commonwealth tanks were not amazing, they were pretty shoddy for the most part compared to the tanks the likes of America, Germany and Russians were bringing to the field and the Brits seemed to be always playing catchup up until near the end of the Second World War. Ironic since they were the ones who pioneered it during World War 1.

Crews complaigned about their tanks breaking down and how every morning and evening they had to botch them to keep them running. What was common for the British tank crews was the oil that leaked constantly and caked the floors of their tanks and this proposed a fire risk. That's why if I had to put a universal weakness for the British tanks it would be that their engines would be more vulnable to their engines catching on fire more than other nations.

thats rather incorrect, if you argue like this you should also mention that russian tanks broke down even faster, the IS3 gun killed more crew members than enemy tanks, almost all IS models were failures and had flaws all over the place, german tanks had serious engine problems so did other nations

anonym_kL7qtn3e52MB #9 Posted 31 October 2012 - 10:25 AM

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Historically the Brittish tanks had 2 weaknesses in the beginning of the war.

One was "role specific". Seperate AT and infantry support tanks (multi-role would become the standard).

And

Rivetted hull instead of cast/welded. This caused great crew casualties (*the rivets would spall and kill crew inside the tank)

Tigger3 #10 Posted 31 October 2012 - 02:10 PM

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View PostCostarring, on 31 October 2012 - 10:25 AM, said:

Historically the Brittish tanks had 2 weaknesses in the beginning of the war.

One was "role specific". Seperate AT and infantry support tanks (multi-role would become the standard).

And

Rivetted hull instead of cast/welded. This caused great crew casualties (*the rivets would spall and kill crew inside the tank)

But both types generally had good AT guns early war and poor HE (don't forget the Germans also had AT and infantry support tanks)

Matilda II possibly the best tank in 1939-40 was not riveted.

Now the German Panzer 35(t) and 38(t) were all riveted and the Panzer III and IV were welded sections bolted together. Riveting was a standard method for all countries at the start of the war, Britain lacked the expertise in sufficient numbers to weld so it was slow to switch over (the Covenanter was supposed to be welded).

Kyphe #11 Posted 31 October 2012 - 05:26 PM

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yes unlike US tank and TD doctrine British infantry and cruisers were both intended to fight tanks, infantry tanks were slow and heavy armored cruisers were thin skinned and long legged designed to flank recon and exploit breakthroughs, it was the anti infantry role which they were less adept at due to the lack of a good HE shell from the standard 2pdr tank gun, relying instead on MGs.

tanks of the interwar and early war were either cast or riveted I think welding technology evolved during the war enabling nations to do things they previously could not.




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