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British Aorg Report On Tank Effectiveness In Wwii


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#21 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 02 September 2017 - 1116 AM

Cromwell doesnt get enough credit for its mobility, it might not have been much use in Normandy but it was in the rest of the campaign. Fletcher relates in one of his books that when the Meteor engine was on test in a Crusader, it demonstrated its airborne heritage and the text tank flew off the road, thankfully with no serious injuries. It was just too camn fast to hold the vehicle on corners apparently.

 

It arguably was in its best role assigned to recce regiments.



#22 Markus Becker

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 0531 AM

M3 Stuart was well liked. They called it Honey because it was so reliable, or at least compared to British types.


Yes, no and yes. They did not call it 'honey' though, that was a purely American expression at the time. Nick mentioned that in ... Myths of American Armor I think.

#23 Rich

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 0921 AM

Sounds to me this was operational analysis before they had computers powerful enough to come up with sensible conclusions. Maybe they should have got Solly Zuckerman on it.

 

I don't know Benn, but Ronnie Shephard I do know and he was head and shoulders above Zuckerman in terms of analytic capability. Zuckerman is known because of his access to Churchill, but his actual contribution to wartime MOR was negligible - his "Transportation Plan was mostly responsible for countless civilian French deaths without much military result.



#24 JWB

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 1135 AM

 

Sounds to me this was operational analysis before they had computers powerful enough to come up with sensible conclusions. Maybe they should have got Solly Zuckerman on it.

 

I don't know Benn, but Ronnie Shephard I do know and he was head and shoulders above Zuckerman in terms of analytic capability. Zuckerman is known because of his access to Churchill, but his actual contribution to wartime MOR was negligible - his "Transportation Plan was mostly responsible for countless civilian French deaths without much military result.

 

Transportation Plan was a failure? Or just his part of it?



#25 Dark_Falcon

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 1152 AM

 

M3 Stuart was well liked. They called it Honey because it was so reliable, or at least compared to British types.


Yes, no and yes. They did not call it 'honey' though, that was a purely American expression at the time. Nick mentioned that in ... Myths of American Armor I think.

 

 

A large part of winning is just showing up and despite their flaws that was something the Stuart, Lee/Grant, and Sherman always did: they showed up and they worked.



#26 Markus Becker

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 1307 PM

"Get their firstest with the mostest." The guy who said this was a dick but he got that right.

#27 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 1333 PM

 

Sounds to me this was operational analysis before they had computers powerful enough to come up with sensible conclusions. Maybe they should have got Solly Zuckerman on it.

 

I don't know Benn, but Ronnie Shephard I do know and he was head and shoulders above Zuckerman in terms of analytic capability. Zuckerman is known because of his access to Churchill, but his actual contribution to wartime MOR was negligible - his "Transportation Plan was mostly responsible for countless civilian French deaths without much military result.

 

 

He did good work on postwar nuclear strategy though. It was his efforts that made sure the British Army was not denuded under an effort to copy the American reliance on Davy Crockett, which they tried to talk us into. He also put some good work into operational analysis of attacks on U boats with resulted in depth charges being set for shallower depths, which had good results. He also proved that the convoy's could be expanded with any further escorts, which kind of flew in the face of all reason but actually seemed to reduce the number of sinkings of merchantman.

 

What precisely was wrong with the transportation plan? Because looking at DDay, it clearly had a positive outcome in reducing German reinforcements. Or was there was wider plan previous to this that ive ignorant of?



#28 R011

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 2045 PM

 

M3 Stuart was well liked. They called it Honey because it was so reliable, or at least compared to British types.


Yes, no and yes. They did not call it 'honey' though, that was a purely American expression at the time. Nick mentioned that in ... Myths of American Armor I think.

 

 

Nick was mistaken.  there is contemporary British sources that they called the Stuart "Honey" almost as soon as the first ones got to the dock in Egypt.    Robert Crisp's memoir Brazen Chariots published in 1944, in particular mentions this.

 

"Ronsons" for Shermans is less well attested, though.  The slogan usually quoted is post-war, but a similar slogan was used some years before the war and Ronson was a popular brand of lighter.  IDK if there are any contemporary uses of the term and I don't recall seeing it myself until the eighties.



#29 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 0152 AM

 

 

M3 Stuart was well liked. They called it Honey because it was so reliable, or at least compared to British types.


Yes, no and yes. They did not call it 'honey' though, that was a purely American expression at the time. Nick mentioned that in ... Myths of American Armor I think.

 

 

Nick was mistaken.  there is contemporary British sources that they called the Stuart "Honey" almost as soon as the first ones got to the dock in Egypt.    Robert Crisp's memoir Brazen Chariots published in 1944, in particular mentions this.

 

"Ronsons" for Shermans is less well attested, though.  The slogan usually quoted is post-war, but a similar slogan was used some years before the war and Ronson was a popular brand of lighter.  IDK if there are any contemporary uses of the term and I don't recall seeing it myself until the eighties.

 

I think some tanknetters looked into this before, and although there were some adverts prewar in magazines, they seemed in the main to be in US magazines, so quite how the British learned of it is not very clear.  OTOH, perhaps magazines had a wider circulation then than they do now. And it WAS an Empire after all.



#30 Panzermann

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 0439 AM

Ronson was maybe a known brand of lighters in the UK and a few travelling british men remembering adverts they had seen in the USA would be enough to start such a nickname. Though I thught "Ronson" was an american nickname?

 

 

 

That the M3 light tank was immediately liked in 7th army comes as no surprise. They were new and they were much more reliable than anything british craftmanship produced.



#31 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 0511 AM

Im not sure it was British craftmanship that was the problem. There were few issues in our aircraft. There was few in our warships for the most part. Tanks fell between the stools of the Army not really wanting them and wanting to play with cavalry, and the politicians that could see the advantages of a smaller army but not wanting to pay to transition towards it. Add in a few misconceived ideas (independent) a few choice ego's (Fuller) and no real utility for them in colonial policing, its all very explicable. We didnt transition towards having to defend Europe until about 1938. Thats very late in the day to start building tanks or develop a sensible doctrine to use them in. Germany started 5 years earlier.

 

If you look at Matilda, yes it was slow, yes the engine installation was not the best choice, but it was in many respects the best armoured and gunned tank in Europe in 1940. The big problem was there was only ever 14 of them in Europe...

 

Yes, A9, A10 and the Crusader were abortions that should have  been avoided. But Valentine seemed to be well liked. So for that matter (when they got the reliability sorted out) was Churchill. I spoke to a crewman of one at one of the Bovington shows and he seemed happy enough with it.

 

 

One can point to the astonishing fact that for most of the war, Britain was outproducing Germany in tanks. We could afford to throw away bad one that being the case.



#32 Markus Becker

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 0831 AM

I don't think it was craftsmanship/manufacture either but design. The secret of success of early war American tank design was new tank, same as before. The M4 was heavily based on the M3, who was heavily based on the M2. The British had done that too with the same result. Unlike other British tanks the Valentine was highly reliable right from the start and stood up well to difficult environments like the Western Desert and Russia. The new tank had a lot of components from earlier tanks and a commercial engine. From a bus I think.

#33 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 0840 AM

Well the running gear was the same on the A9 and the A10, which were complete pants and kept shredding tracks. For whatever reason it seemed to work in valentine, so they clearly had the bugs worked out.

 

We were really damn good craftsmen. I know there is a running joke about the British making unreliable things, and as as the 1970s that might have some truth.  But basically if that were true for the war, it really doesnt explain how our aviation industry worked. I suspect 'adequate oversight' probably has quite a lot to do with it. There appears to have been no Lord Beverbrook as a minister of tank design or manufacture.



#34 Manic Moran

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 1130 AM

It was David Fletcher who questioned it. In his words, "to us, honey is sticky stuff made by bees that you get in the health food store." Brazen Chariots' Crisp observes that his driver hung out with the Texan civilian rep who came with the tanks too much, so it seems reasonable that in his unit, at least, the Yank started it.

#35 Rich

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 1213 PM

It was David Fletcher who questioned it. In his words, "to us, honey is sticky stuff made by bees that you get in the health food store." Brazen Chariots' Crisp observes that his driver hung out with the Texan civilian rep who came with the tanks too much, so it seems reasonable that in his unit, at least, the Yank started it.

 

Yep. Crisp clearly stated his driver was “plainly under the influence of the nearby Texan”. The “Texan” was one of the number of U.S. Army technicians who had arrived with the tanks in order to train the British crews.[1] Therefore, it was an Americanism adopted by the British.


[1] Crisp, pp. 16-17.



#36 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 1222 PM

So basically, the British did call it that? I think thats the important point, not where they actually got the term from.

 

I mean, Humphrey Bogart called his tank Lulu Belle, who are we to judge. :D


Edited by Stuart Galbraith, 04 September 2017 - 1222 PM.


#37 Rich

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 1256 PM

 

He did good work on postwar nuclear strategy though. It was his efforts that made sure the British Army was not denuded under an effort to copy the American reliance on Davy Crockett, which they tried to talk us into. He also put some good work into operational analysis of attacks on U boats with resulted in depth charges being set for shallower depths, which had good results. He also proved that the convoy's could be expanded with any further escorts, which kind of flew in the face of all reason but actually seemed to reduce the number of sinkings of merchantman.

 

What precisely was wrong with the transportation plan? Because looking at DDay, it clearly had a positive outcome in reducing German reinforcements. Or was there was wider plan previous to this that ive ignorant of?

 

 

You mean he kept the Davy Crockett out of the British arsenal? The man was obviously mad as a hatter... :D

 

Zuckerman's "Transport Plan" as he first called it, was directed at 79 marshaling yards (he added 14 more a few weeks later) in France and the Low Countries, which he insisted had to be hit by 500-lb GP bombs of greater to inflict maximum cratering. However, it was pointed out to him that the yards he chose as targets were all in the center of, or in close proximity to, urban centers heavily populated by French, Belgian, and Dutch civilians...a notion he pooh-poohed. Then, the Ninth Air Force and RAF TAF pointed out that it might be better to strike at the railroads between the yards, causing congestion in the yards before striking them, so at least more locomotives and cars could be damaged...a notion he pooh-poohed, claiming the narrow rail lines were too hard a target and too easily repaired. Then, the tactical air forces suggested that bridges and viaducts were a good target and were harder to repair, given that damaged yard section could be repaired easily by filling a few craters and laying replacement track. He pooh-poohed the idea, claiming bridges were too small a target and so would require large numbers of heavy bombers to damage them. After a few demonstrations on bombing accuracy of bridges by light and medium low-level attacks, he finally, reluctantly gave in on that and agreed to add bridges to the target list.

 

Then General Spaatz pointed out a more valuable use of the heavy bombers was probably striking the German fuel production plants...yet another idea he pooh-poohed as impractical.

 

Finally, the Eighth Air Force Bombing Accuracy OR group, after being asked to analyze the target list, pointed out that the analysis of their Bombs and Fuzes Subgroup was that 100-lb GP bombs were more practical for hitting the yards, since it would produce more cratering area and three times the craters as an equivalent 500-lb GP load per aircraft, three to four times better chances of direct hits on locomotives, which was required for assured destruction by either bomb type...and Zuckerman pooh-poohed the ideas again, insisting on the 500-lb bombs.

 

Remember, he was a biologist and not a physicist.

 

It turned out that unless the yards were crowded with trains they were remarkably resistant to damage and easy to repair. The 500-lb bombs caused immense collateral damage in the cities and towns adjacent to the yards, resulting in somewhere between 6,000 and 20,000 civilian deaths. Allied tactical air forces soon discovered that cutting rail lines was relatively easy, since short and long bombing errors made little difference when attacking a long, straight rail section...and the dozens of cuts complicated German efforts to get repair trains to the worst blockages. The bridges too became the more important choke point, since simple damage required lowering train weights and speeds, and a destroyed bridge was almost impossible to repair in the context of the campaign length.

 

In other words, everything Zuckerman pooh-poohed was correct and he was wrong. It worked, mostly because the elements he initially refused to agree to were tried anyway and were found to work, and so carried out. The yard attacks eventually had a cumulative effect at reducing operational locomotive strengths since the repair facilities associated with them were destroyed or damaged, but it was the cumulative effect of the rail and bridge cuts that actually strangled the rail movements.



#38 Rich

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 1304 PM

Ronson was maybe a known brand of lighters in the UK and a few travelling british men remembering adverts they had seen in the USA would be enough to start such a nickname. Though I thught "Ronson" was an american nickname?

 

 

There is zero use of the word related to tanks in anything other than postwar memoir and for the semi-official nickname of the tank flamethrower conversions. The closest prewar advertising slogan was a British one not used in the U.S. The Ronson was an expensive, high-end table or pocket cigarette and cigar lighter in the U.S. The "everyman lighter" was the Zippo. If an American tank crewman was going to come up with such a name it would have been more likely to be "Zippo" than "Ronson".



#39 cbo

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 1319 PM

Did the Germans use the "Ronson" term? Perhaps it was more natural for them to associate something American with an expensive, high-end product?



#40 Markus Becker

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 1337 PM

I doubt it. Would Germans from the 30s and 40s be that familiar with US cigarette lighter brands? ... Tommykocher(=tommy cooker) that's what they were called.




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