A series of assumptions: a Britwank on a budget?

Didn't make their tanks supertanks but it made them more advanced in some areas than Western Armour. It was just a bit of a shame they offered "monkey models" to their third world customers, which is what a lot of the Western attitudes to Soviet Armour are based on.
According to Cryhavoc101 the export models were the best the Soviets had:
It seems to be a common refrain that 'Monkey Model' tanks were supplied to the Middle Eastern allies of Russia using paper mache for armour etc.

This was not true - aside from lacking some of the more advanced electronic systems the tanks from an armoured and gun POV were state of the art as the Russians were keen to impress their allies etc.

The ones the Israelis captured were top notch versions of Soviet armour

When the first Syrian 72s were deployed against the Israelis in the early 80s the Syrians had been told that the L7 105mm gun could not defeat the T72 across the frontal arc

So it was somewhat embarrassing when the 'Star of David' sabot rounds (named for the shape of the hole they made) started poking holes in them.

Several M48s where subsequently knocked out in 1982 and several of those tanks including both the remains of the dead and at least 1 POW were shipped by the Syrians directly to the Russians.

They found that those M48s carried the latest Sabot 'Star of David' rounds (M111 'Hetz') and got to test them on their latest T72.

They were horrified. (Sorry only link I could find)

The T72 was supposed to have made nearly all of NATOS tanks (with the exception of the Latest Leo2 and British Chieftain) obsolete due to the L7 105mm (which armed the majority of NATOS 'Tank estate') no longer able to reliably defeat the T72 across the frontal arc giving warsaw pack forces in Eastern Europe a massive advantage not just in the quantity of their tanks but the quality as well.

But here was proof that this was not the case.

They found that this round could reliably punch a hole through the upper hull mantle (but not the front of the turret) at battlefield ranges.

There was also evidence that the M111 'Hetz' was co-developed with the West Germans!

The Russian Engineers very quickly developed a new armour plate made of an improved laminate and by the Mid 80s had incorporated the new design into production of subsequent T72s and developed field kits to upgrade the existing fleet.

The first of the new tanks went to their allies in the middle east and this included the Iraqis who were in the midst of their war with Iran

The L7 and it round was once again rendered obsolete - newer ammo continued to challenge the T72 and in the late 80s another even better T72 was deployed but by this point the Leo 2 and M1A1 with their 120mm Smoothbores beign depoyed in ever increasing numbers made the exercise a pointless one.

But there were periods in the 80s where the NATO tank 'Estate' would have been found wanting in the face of the main Warsaw Pack MBT

It was these T72s that were so effective verse the L7 in the mid 80s that got slaughtered by M1A1s just a few years later in 91
Armor was generally better than comparable Western tanks because of size, although they didn't have an answer for Western tank guns until the T-64 and T-72 introduced the composite armor in the 1970s.
Bougnas mentioned a few pages ago that NATO 120 mm HEAT even in the 1960's could penetrate 480 mm of armor- the T-64A and T-72 only had 450 mm, so that would imply the Soviets never had an answer for Western tank guns.
 
According to Cryhavoc101 the export models were the best the Soviets had:


Bougnas mentioned a few pages ago that NATO 120 mm HEAT even in the 1960's could penetrate 480 mm of armor- the T-64A and T-72 only had 450 mm, so that would imply the Soviets never had an answer for Western tank guns.
In the 60s aside from a relative handful of US tanks only the British tanks had 120mm from the Mid 60s onwards (Conqueror not withstanding)

The majority of the NATO tank estate was L7 105mm or worse!

This only really started improving in the 80s with the introduction of the M1A1 and Leo 2 but even then there still remained a large number of 105mm armed tanks
 
The T72 that the Germans tested after unification was found to be immune to all NATO AT rounds across it's frontal arc. This was found in 1991, just as the first Iraq War was occurring. The US Army at the time hew-haaed the idea and ignored it. The tanks they encountered in that conflict were not the most advanced versions of the T72, they were in fact "monkey models". They lacked the same armour, the same ammunition and the same FCS that the Warsaw Pact were issued, which was what the Germans based their opinion on. In 1992 the US Army tested the Warsaw Pact issued vehicles and discovered their error. They immediately developed new APFSDS rounds for their guns, just as the Germans did. The T72 that the Germans tested had ceramic balls inserted into the turret walls which increased their hardness and their impenetrability. The Iraq T72s did not.
 
I've been thinking about the TTL version of the CVA.01 which has gas turbines instead of the steam turbines of OTL because it aught to be cheaper to build, cheaper to run and require less frequent refits. However, this ship will still need auxiliary boilers to generate the steam for its powerful BS Mk 6 catapults. Will the need to build, man and maintain them cancel out much of the advantage of changing the propulsion system from steam to gas? That is especially in regard to the higher availability rates expected from the gas turbine CVA.01, because the auxiliary boilers providing the steam for the catapults would have to be be re-lined in frequent and lengthy refits.

I can vaguely remember Eric Laithwaite demonstrating a linear induction motor in 1974 during that year's Royal Institution Christmas Lectures and the the British Hovertrain project that was cancelled in 1973 used linear induction motors.

Therefore, could Britain have developed an EAMLS between the cancellation of the OTL CVA.01 and the building of the TTL CVA.01?

Some asides...
  1. When I looked the Christmas Lectures up on the internet to find the dates, I discovered that Carl Sagan did the 1976 lectures (which I remember) and that the 1973 and 1975 lectures were presented by David Attenborough and Heinz Wolf respectively, which I don't remember.
  2. According to the Wikipaedia article on Eric Laithwaite he was involved in the creation of the Magnetic River a maglev device that was demonstrated in the "Q's Laboratory" scene in the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me.
 
Soviet tanks as supertanks myth has to die as well. Soviet tanks were different, thats all, from Western Tanks. Their armour was less than Western tanks but they made up for that we reactive armour towards the end of the Cold War. That made their superb for use in that environment. When they were used outside of it, those advantages were seen as disadvantages.
Oh I fully agree, the Soviets made their own mistakes and compromises OTL.
They really fucked up the powertrains of their 1970's triad with the unreliable 5TD in the T-64, the decent but rather big V-46 in the T-72, and the GT-1000 in the T-80 that consumed more fuel and was larger than the AGT-1500 in the Abrams. The transmission used in the T-64 and T-80 was meant to minimize size but had the problem that increasing power seriously would result in the engine bay size ballooning up, preventing the GT-1000 from getting useful equipment. High reverse speeds could have been very easy to achieve with an extra planetary gear, and the tank engines lacked many features available on other AFV engines in the USSR, such as proper turbochargers, intercoolers and so on. This meant that the Soviets missed the major powertrain upgrades that NATO developped which allowed the latter to keep excellent mobility at over 50 tonnes. The irony is that they had excellent options with the UTD-45 and UTD-40 modern diesels developped in the 1950s that were more compact than the V-2 derivatives used in the T-72 yet were powerful-the latter did 1000hp and 1100hp with a supercharger.

The Soviets, either because of technological limitations or a desire to preserve precious tungsten, underdevelopped their APFSDS rounds even though they were the first to adopt them. Until the mid 1980s they all relied on steel rods with very small tungsten carbide cores and a bad tip design, while British APDS had big tungsten alloy cores for the Chieftain and later 105mm rounds. This allowed the British to keep pace with the Soviets for some time even though they used fundamentally inferior ammo types and weaker guns. Once the West moved to APFSDS, it very quickly developped long rod monobloc tungsten alloy or DU rounds that allowed for example the L7 to actually outmatch composite 125mm rounds.

The Soviets also started with a night vision advantage by having passive IR, but by the late 70s NATO deployed longer ranged image intensifiers/passive IR and in particular thermal optics, that the Soviets seldom used. The Soviets also failed to introduce composite side skirts the way NATO did which meant that their tanks were now protected in a narrower arc than Western ones, which was the reverse before the 80s.

Armor wise, they actually remained moderately competitive against kinetic threats but since their early composite arrays (until 1985) relied on two or three layers of steel with glass textolite in-between, they were somewhat less weight-efficient than more modern NATO arrays, and they chose in later tank versions to sacrifice CE protection by using more steel and less textolite, which made ERA more relevant. Base arrays lagged behind Western arrays against CE, as the former could only reach 500mm at best and the latter 600-800mm or more. Meanwhile NATO shaped charges increased in power more quickly than Soviet ones, so Soviet base armor was weakening faster than in NATO.

It also didn't help that the Soviets introduced three non-standard tanks and used a bazillion different arrays between each variant at any given time. This meant that after 1977 or so you could see T-72s with the more modern 60-105-50 array while T-64s produced after that date could still feature the older 80-105-20 array. The T-72B and T-80U were the only tanks to feature truly modern arrays with a lot of steel layers and flyer plates, introduced in 1985, but T-64BVs and 80BVs produced after that date retained older arrays. The T-64 had no raison-d'être after the T-72 entered service and could have the same features. The T-80 was an interesting update but was a warmed-over T-64 that wasn't justified a decade after the former entered testing. There was no real Soviet equivalent to the Leopard 2 and Abrams in terms of being a clean-sheet design free of most 1950's and 60's roots.


According to Cryhavoc101 the export models were the best the Soviets had:

Bougnas mentioned a few pages ago that NATO 120 mm HEAT even in the 1960's could penetrate 480 mm of armor- the T-64A and T-72 only had 450 mm, so that would imply the Soviets never had an answer for Western tank guns.
In the 60s aside from a relative handful of US tanks only the British tanks had 120mm from the Mid 60s onwards (Conqueror not withstanding)

The majority of the NATO tank estate was L7 105mm or worse!

This only really started improving in the 80s with the introduction of the M1A1 and Leo 2 but even then there still remained a large number of 105mm armed tanks
120mm HEAT was only found on the Rh 120 which was deployed with the Leopard 2 and the M1A1 and onwards, in the 1980s. I meant that it wouldn't have been difficult to design HEAT of comparable or greater power for the Chieftain's L11 in the 1960s. Unfortunately the British were too focused on HESH which was very easy to counter and less practical at long ranges.

The T72 that the Germans tested after unification was found to be immune to all NATO AT rounds across it's frontal arc. This was found in 1991, just as the first Iraq War was occurring. The US Army at the time hew-haaed the idea and ignored it. The tanks they encountered in that conflict were not the most advanced versions of the T72, they were in fact "monkey models". They lacked the same armour, the same ammunition and the same FCS that the Warsaw Pact were issued, which was what the Germans based their opinion on. In 1992 the US Army tested the Warsaw Pact issued vehicles and discovered their error. They immediately developed new APFSDS rounds for their guns, just as the Germans did. The T72 that the Germans tested had ceramic balls inserted into the turret walls which increased their hardness and their impenetrability. The Iraq T72s did not.
Only K-5 equipped tanks were a major issue for the latest 120mm rounds actually. WP and export tanks often had older steel grades and/or lacked the "Kvartz" composite array in the turrets which limited CE protection.
 
I've been thinking about the TTL version of the CVA.01 which has gas turbines instead of the steam turbines of OTL because it aught to be cheaper to build, cheaper to run and require less frequent refits. However, this ship will still need auxiliary boilers to generate the steam for its powerful BS Mk 6 catapults.

Could the hot exhaust gases from the turbines be used to heat water for the cats rather than fitting steam boilers?
 
The T72 that the Germans tested after unification was found to be immune to all NATO AT rounds across it's frontal arc. This was found in 1991, just as the first Iraq War was occurring. The US Army at the time hew-haaed the idea and ignored it. The tanks they encountered in that conflict were not the most advanced versions of the T72, they were in fact "monkey models". They lacked the same armour, the same ammunition and the same FCS that the Warsaw Pact were issued, which was what the Germans based their opinion on. In 1992 the US Army tested the Warsaw Pact issued vehicles and discovered their error. They immediately developed new APFSDS rounds for their guns, just as the Germans did. The T72 that the Germans tested had ceramic balls inserted into the turret walls which increased their hardness and their impenetrability. The Iraq T72s did not.
Yes and No

T72 like any tank that has been in production and front line service for such a period went through a process of improvements - particularly during the 80s mainly the early T72M1 which was designed to defeat the M111 and by extension latest US M735 APFSDS rounds introduced in the early 80s.

The frontal glacis went from a 3 layer laminate in the upper frontal hull of 200mm to a 5 layer 200mm laminate + 16mm 'bolt on plate' plate added to the glacis

Subsequent developments in NATO 105mm Ammunition as well as the massive increase in the more powerful 120mm gun armed NATO tanks obliged subsequent development of the T72M1, the T72B (of which there are several versions right up into the noughties and beyond)

The tanks supplied to Russia's middle eastern allies were not 'Monkey models' in that they were downgraded versions of the Warsaw pact tanks with paper Mache for armour - when issued they were the very latest in then soviet composite armour - many but not all the Iraqi T72s were built or upgraded to this standard since the 1982 "Peace for Galilee" operations where L7 105mm Sabots were killing Syrian T72s across the frontal arc to T72M1 standard - which were proof verses mid 80s latest 105mm gun ammo.

Therefore the Iraqi T72 tanks that were massacred in 1991 were a mixed bag but where possible they would have been upgraded to the m1 standard.

The Russians went to great lengths to ensure that their 'allies' in the middle east were not embarrassed at the hands of the Western tanks as had been the case with earlier Soviet tanks - which died in droves (and how much of that was due to better Israeli operators?) during 67 and 73

Iraqi T72s in the early 80s were happily killing Iranian Chieftains (again much of that was down to Iranian incompetence) and as we saw (other than the shock of new 105mm ammo the T72s) in the Syrian army were killing M48 and able to match the Israelis (their infantry even managed to knock out Merkava 1s).

The B models, which were deployed by the pact forces in the very late 80s, which were not present in Iraq, had vastly improved protection over the T72M1 with a further improved Laminate design and KONTACT1 ERA bolted on.

So T72 development had been quite rapid in the 80s driven by necessity as the threat from NATO weapons was found to have periodically improved, however the Iraqi T72s had, unfortunately for their crews, fallen behind this threat/protection improvement curve by the time of the Battle of 73 Easting.
 
Could the hot exhaust gases from the turbines be used to heat water for the cats rather than fitting steam boilers?
IIRC that's what @Riain did. However, a boiler is a boiler regardless of its heat source and will still need to be re-lined several times during the life of the TTL CVA.01.
 
120mm HEAT was only found on the Rh 120 which was deployed with the Leopard 2 and the M1A1 and onwards, in the 1980s. I meant that it wouldn't have been difficult to design HEAT of comparable or greater power for the Chieftain's L11 in the 1960s. Unfortunately the British were too focused on HESH which was very easy to counter and less practical at long ranges.
The British (as I understand it) were reliant on APDS for AFV killing and not the HESH/HEP round which they used for everything else (buildings, fortifications, IFV/APCs, light vehicles, and troop concentrations) - and only use HESH/HEP if they had it loaded and no time to unload or if they had run out of APDS when up against another tank

So while HESH/HEP is perhaps not as effective an AT round as HEAT might have been I would argue that HESH/HEP until laminate/composite armour found in early T72 and later ERA, was effective

My understanding is that against the then tanks of the day HESH/HEP would effectively wreck an AFV even without penetrating it.

Also its relatively slow trajectory means the round is more likely to impact on the top of the tank negating any sloping effects - this was the case with the unfortunate blue on blue during the 2nd Gulf war where a HESH round was 'dropped' into the tanks open hatch

And against other 'non-AFV' targets the then HESH/HEP round was a better GP round than HEAT (no one is going to be happy to be hit by HEAT over HESH/HEP but you get my point)

I would note that 'special' HE ammo has been introduced for US and German tanks for targets where HEAT was found to be not effective enough during the more recent Middle Eastern conflicts where AFVs are used for direct infantry support missions.
 
The British (as I understand it) were reliant on APDS for AFV killing and not the HESH/HEP round which they used for everything else (buildings, fortifications, IFV/APCs, light vehicles, and troop concentrations) - and only use HESH/HEP if they had it loaded and no time to unload or if they had run out of APDS when up against another tank

So while HESH/HEP is perhaps not as effective an AT round as HEAT might have been I would argue that HESH/HEP until laminate/composite armour found in early T72 and later ERA, was effective

My understanding is that against the then tanks of the day HESH/HEP would effectively wreck an AFV even without penetrating it.

Also its relatively slow trajectory means the round is more likely to impact on the top of the tank negating any sloping effects - this was the case with the unfortunate blue on blue during the 2nd Gulf war where a HESH round was 'dropped' into the tanks open hatch

And against other 'non-AFV' targets the then HESH/HEP round was a better GP round than HEAT (no one is going to be happy to be hit by HEAT over HESH/HEP but you get my point)

I would note that 'special' HE ammo has been introduced for US and German tanks for targets where HEAT was found to be not effective enough during the more recent Middle Eastern conflicts where AFVs are used for direct infantry support missions.
HESH is arguably worse than HE-Frag against most buildings though, and poor against infantry in the open or behind non-concrete cover. You can very cheaply counter it on tanks by using anything that breaks the smoothness of the armor plates: ribs, spare grousers and track links, the Germans designed 5mm plastic ribs that were sufficient. It's also completely useless against tanks with spall liners, and that was the case on Soviet tanks since the T-55 thanks to the anti-radiation liners.
 
boiler is a boiler regardless of its heat source
I have some colleagues who would have some interesting words for you if they read this. ;).

Producing steam for the catapult is a much smaller job than for the turbines. For starters, continuous flow is probably not necessary and you need fewer units. If you do not need to be boiling steam quite so regularly then the boilers can be shifted to a lower burn cycle or even shut down occasionally. More likely you would have several smaller units that would produce steam, then most of them would be shut down. They could be turned on in stages when needed to top off the system. This all reduced the wear on the units which can pretty drastically increase the time between refit. Preheating the water with the exhaust gas also reduces the fuel load and the required maintenance. Additionally, more modern materials (ceramics) are also more resistant to heat and corrosion than earlier ones. They still need to be maintained but not as often.

All this means that while boiler maintenance is still likely to be necessary the savings from comparing a steam system to supply the catapult and the steam system to drive the ship are still pretty massive.
 
HESH is arguably worse than HE-Frag against most buildings though, and poor against infantry in the open or behind non-concrete cover. You can very cheaply counter it on tanks by using anything that breaks the smoothness of the armor plates: ribs, spare grousers and track links, the Germans designed 5mm plastic ribs that were sufficient. It's also completely useless against tanks with spall liners, and that was the case on Soviet tanks since the T-55 thanks to the anti-radiation liners.
Again a different round to HEAT and in the Rock, paper, Scissors world of ammo types the lest effective of the 3 verses armoured targets!

And again HESH was never indeed to be a first option AT round but a Multi Purpose round - even in the 60s

If your argument is that it is obsolete verses todays tanks or even those introduced in the last 30 plus year then - no argument from me

But the British kept it - even when upgrading to the L30 on Challenger II - over HEAT

There must have been a reason for it!
 
Horst.png

Any info on the Super Horstmann that seems to be displayed here?
 
Do we prefer rifled barrels because we love HESH so much or do we use HESH because we love rifled barrels so much?
I have yet to read any explanation for the decision for HESH over HEAT other than the British practice of using APDS for Anti tank work and HESH for everything else and from L7 105mm, through L11 120mm to the current L30 the system has been APDS/APFSDS and HESH

The US version of the L7 105mm had a HEAT round from 1966 but the British continued to use HESH in that gun as far as I am aware - I cannot see any British HEAT ammo

And its not like the British did not make use of HEAT weapons (in fact one of the first users of HEAT) - Swingfire for example was in use from 1966 and had a 7kg HEAT warhead

Maybe if Chieftain had more users in the 60s and 70s and maybe more Israeli input (unlikely I know) we might see a HEAT round adopted?
 
I have yet to read any explanation for the decision for HESH over HEAT other than the British practice of using APDS for Anti tank work and HESH for everything else and from L7 105mm, through L11 120mm to the current L30 the system has been APDS/APFSDS and HESH

The US version of the L7 105mm had a HEAT round from 1966 but the British continued to use HESH in that gun as far as I am aware - I cannot see any British HEAT ammo

And its not like the British did not make use of HEAT weapons (in fact one of the first users of HEAT) - Swingfire for example was in use from 1966 and had a 7kg HEAT warhead

Maybe if Chieftain had more users in the 60s and 70s and maybe more Israeli input (unlikely I know) we might see a HEAT round adopted?
I assume it originally came from HEAT and rifled guns not mixing well (I know there's workrounds) and now we've always done it that way so we can't possibly change it.
 
It might be purely the fact that the British prioritized APDS for AT work and did not bother to replace HESH with an alternative multipurpose round. However many users of the L7/M68 switched to HEAT instead of HESH once former latter was available after 1966.
 
IIRC that's what @Riain did. However, a boiler is a boiler regardless of its heat source and will still need to be re-lined several times during the life of the TTL CVA.01.

I have some colleagues who would have some interesting words for you if they read this. ;).

Producing steam for the catapult is a much smaller job than for the turbines. For starters, continuous flow is probably not necessary and you need fewer units. If you do not need to be boiling steam quite so regularly then the boilers can be shifted to a lower burn cycle or even shut down occasionally. More likely you would have several smaller units that would produce steam, then most of them would be shut down. They could be turned on in stages when needed to top off the system. This all reduced the wear on the units which can pretty drastically increase the time between refit. Preheating the water with the exhaust gas also reduces the fuel load and the required maintenance. Additionally, more modern materials (ceramics) are also more resistant to heat and corrosion than earlier ones. They still need to be maintained but not as often.

All this means that while boiler maintenance is still likely to be necessary the savings from comparing a steam system to supply the catapult and the steam system to drive the ship are still pretty massive.

I think the re-lining refits are for the 'firebox' bricks (or whatever) and the boiler cleanings are for the soot and crap that comes from burning heavy fuel oil in a 'firebox'. On 8 June 1982 while in the war zone HMS Hermes withdrew for a day to have her boilers cleaned, which I imagine to be cleaning off all the soot and crap from the water tubes in the actual steam plant.

In TTL CVA-01 & 02 won't have a 'firebox' burning heavy fuel oil to boil water to turn a turbine to drive the ship. It will have 6 Olympus Marine GTs burning marine diesel, these will actually drive the ship and the heat from the GT exhaust will pass through a much smaller heat exchanger to make steam for the catapults and other stuff. There will be no 'firebox' where heavy fuel oil is burnt to make heat, the heat will be made inside the GTs which will be swapped out when need be, and while the Olympus is known to be a 'smoker' I imagine this is a fraction of the crap buildup of heavy fuel oil and in any case this cleaning was done in a single day in wartime conditions in 1982.
 
@Cryhavoc101 @Bougnas @Mike D given this TL is about the stories of how and why pieces of kit entered service in the political and budget constraints of the time how would you propose all of this technical stuff enter service? We know that the Chieftain was conceived as a 40 ton Centurion with the 120mm gun derived from the Conqueror, so the Horstmann suspension was fair enough in 1956 and 1959 I suppose. We also know that RR designed a 24 litre V8 engine for the 40 ton Centurion but the 1957 NATO policy on multi-fuel engines meant this was dropped and a new engine developed, the much loved Leyland L60, so it's pretty easy to decide not to develop the L60 which transforms the Cheiftain.

But what about all the other stuff? I understand some was looked at in studies and others were even developed for trials, but when all factors were included especially value for money, how do you get them introduced in the face of Defence Reviews, currency devaluation, oil shocks, minority governments, detente and all the other stuff?
 
To be honest, I'm not sure there's a realistic reason for the UK to introduce a HEAT round in your timeframe - HESH is used as a gucci HE round more than an armour penetrator (certainly against other tanks) and I'm not sure HEAT is any better as a HE substitute. The L11 on the Chieftain has a series of very good APDS-T and APFDS rounds to take on T-whatevers, HESH is for BMPs and BRDMs and realistically it's more than good enough for that. If anything you'd maybe want a better HE round to take on infantry in cover, but until the L11 is found wanting against targets of that sort (which is going to be the 1990s and the Gulf War at the earliest unless 3rd Shock Army rolls) and by then the British Army is already looking at CR2 and L30 - now that's a gun that could be so much better if the UK government could occasionally put their hand in their pockets for anything other than the absolute bare minimum of R&D (top attack HE/Frag and working to improve APFSDS beyond the initial round, for example).
 
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