Britain orders the 16 tonner Mk III tank into Serial production - how does this change British AFV development

In 1934 Britain had built 3 '16 tonner' medium tanks



However while the 3 prototypes were largely successful (granted it still had some suspension issues) it was never placed into serial production due to funding not being allocated by the government meaning that in 1937 when Britain was starting to consider rearming only the MkIV light tank design was ready for serial production - this at a time when the British Army had decided that light tanks were useless.

How might this tank or the version that went into serial production in 1934+ have impacted British industry's ability to deliver AFVs by the beginning of WW2
 
Does it replace the Matilda?
Because if it does then the Axis are going to have a easily time at Arras and in North Africa.
I think the OP's question is more along the lines of how additional experience manufacturing sizable tanks in the mid-30s would influence the 1937 military buildup, rather than asking whether these tanks would be of use in 1940.
 
What kind of production numbers do you have in mind, and over what period?
At least higher double figures possibly into the 100 and something numbers - which would have been pretty high for the time

The light tanks of the day were like a 10th the cost of a premium tank like the MKIII in 1934 so it was easy math for the treasury wallahs

Does it replace the Matilda?
Because if it does then the Axis are going to have a easily time at Arras and in North Africa.
No unless a Universal tank is developed which replaces all tank types

And to put this into context there was only 16 Matilda IIs (out of 23) with the 1st Tank Brigade at Arras along with 58 Matilda Is (out of 77) running on the morning of the counterattack.

I think the OP's question is more along the lines of how additional experience manufacturing sizable tanks in the mid-30s would influence the 1937 military buildup, rather than asking whether these tanks would be of use in 1940.
Totally what I meant.
 
Depending on how they were used and how many were bought, the EAF could develop a true combined force structure with infantry and self-propelled guns included. Personally, I would have bought Vickers 6 Ton tanks to allow more tanks in the system. The early lesson of the uselessness of MG turrets and in-turret mounted AA MG's would allow a better focus on the proper design. After several years development, this line would result in improved suspensions and tracks, a concentration of dual purpose main guns and improved engines. Keeping Carden alive would be at least as helpful for tank design.
 
I would just build more lights.....

Come 37 they would actually have tanks that worked in numbers even if they are light for training and even then they could be upgraded to remain useful a Light IV with a 15mm and 303 coax is still ok in 1940 if you know how to use it.
 
Does it replace the Matilda?
Because if it does then the Axis are going to have a easily time at Arras and in North Africa.
More likely the successor design to the 16tonner (based on considerable experience building, maintaining and training with it) replaces the Matilda II, or maybe even the successor to the successor.

I can’t help but think that would be a huge benefit since while the Matilda II seems to be a marvellous piece of industrial artisanship it looks like a horror to manufacture and maintain and the ergonomics are still pretty sketchy, even if they are much better than most French tanks.
More experience with actual full-fat tanks would have huge benefits in engines, suspension, transmissions, etc to say nothing of the actual production.

This would be I think a Valentine-weight vehicle but 4-6 years earlier, so it seems plausible that Vickers would then have something like the valentine but better and/or or bigger, and a little earlier?
 
I think the OP's question is more along the lines of how additional experience manufacturing sizable tanks in the mid-30s would influence the 1937 military buildup, rather than asking whether these tanks would be of use in 1940.
They would have enough Mediums to run, and to find out that the sub-turrets in the bow were not worth having, a better dual purpuse gun than the 3pdr was needed, and engines of more than 300HP were going to be needed for the future tanks if more than 14mm of armor was to be carried, and the tracks wore out quickly, a problem the Lights and Carriers didn't have
And see the opening on the side?

That was so a wounded man on a Stretcher could be evacuated. Nice thought, but....

The light tanks of the day were like a 10th the cost of a premium tank like the MKIII in 1934 so it was easy math for the treasury wallahs
more than what the three A6 Medium Prototypes cost, £16,000 Pounds, if my notes were right
 
I see a French problem. A bunch of 1934 vintage tanks going to war in 1940. Why build new ones when there are all these expensive old ones sitting around?
 
I see a French problem. A bunch of 1934 vintage tanks going to war in 1940. Why build new ones when there are all these expensive old ones sitting around?
I thought the OP's intention was more the experience the British Army and Industry would acquire building these and using them more than having them fight in France in 1940?
 
Sure it is. But HM Treasury is going to want to know why the Army wants new expensive toys every five years when the French already have a heap, the US has none, and the Germans are tooling around in light Panzer Is and IIs.

Doctrine seems to matter more than the hardware. And that seems to mostly consist of getting a third man and radio into the turret. Do more mediums achieve that?
 
The EAF was more valuable than any specific vehicle for doctrine. However, the Army could have ordered developmental series of 20+ tanks every 4-5 years after the Great War. By 1936, and knowledge of German rearmament, the Army would have a doctrine, and thus a blueprint for the next series of tanks, planning on large scale production. Someone should have realized one or two designs built throughout the industry were better than a half dozen differing models, some of limited utility.

The A6 Medium would be cheaperif built in larger production numbers, loss of MG turrets and if an in-production engine had been available. However, radios, additional armor and a larger main gun will raise the cost. The idea of the Valentine was to provide a reasonably sized and priced tank nearly equal to Matilda II. Still needed a better engine.
 
Those rivets look like a massive case of spalling if one gets hit.
Most British tanks up to the Covenanter had an inner mild steel box/framework of a few mm thick, that the Armor was attached to
Like on this Crusader
where the outside rivets didn't exactly match
what showed on the interior.

Now that was goot to stop spalling and rivet heads, it added a good amount of weight that did nothing to stop AP projectives
 
But HM Treasury is going to want to know why the Army wants new expensive toys every five years
It seems that in the late '20s, Treasury approved £220,000 Pounds for new tanks, but there were shenanigans and the £££ was directed into other projects.
The A6 was £16,000 each, the Light Tank Mk IV was from a separate Contract. UK should have had more tank than the crappy wanna-be Tankette in the Mk IV.
Over 1600 of those near worthless things
 
How would these influence the prototypes built to the A7 specification? It's a long time since I read Mechanised Force by David Fletcher but IIRC he was impressed by A7E3.
 
Please read the explanatory notes.

Army Estimates Vote 9.png


Notes:
  1. The table starts at 1925-26 because the Army Estimates before 1926-27 presented this information in a different way.
  2. These are British financial years which run from 1st April to 31st March. Therefore, 1925-26 is the financial year from 1st April 1925 to 31st March 1926.
  3. The information for 1929-30 includes the spending cuts introduced in a supplementary estimate.
  4. The information for 1936-37 includes the Supplementary Estimate of 6th July 1936.
  5. Headings with letters are known as "Heads" and headings with numbers are known as "Sub-Heads". Therefore MT Vehicles (Tracked and Half-Tracked) is Sub-Head C7.
  6. I didn't transcribe the "Sub-Heads" for Head A - Establishments for Research, Experiment and Design and Head B - Inspection of Warlike Stores.
  7. The notes for Sub-Head C1 - Guns & Carriages say, "Gun-mountings and transport vehicles for field and siege artillery, if of special pattern are included in carriages."
  8. There are no sub-heads for Guns, Small Arms and Ammunition in 1938-39 and 1939-40.
  9. Sub-Head C6 - Motor Transport Vehicles (Wheeled) first appears in the 1928-29 Estimates. It covers expenditure on, "All mechanically-propelled wheeled vehicles other than those operated by the RASC are included in Motor Transport (Wheeled). For provision of vehicles for the RASC see vote 6 H (P134 in 28-29)."
  10. Sub-Head C7 - Motor Transport Vehicles (Tracked and Half Tracked) includes expenditure on, "Tanks and other mobile machines on continuous or half-tracks, e.g. artillery dragons, tracked infantry transport and self-propelled mountings for artillery, are included in MT (Tracked and half-tracked)."
  11. The 1938-39 and 1939-40 Estimates have one sub-head for motor transport vehicles called, "Motor Transport Wheeled and Tracked"
  12. The 1938-39 and 1939-40 Estimates also combine the previous Sub-Heads C8, C9 and C10 in a single sub-head called Miscellaneous Warlike Stores.
 
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The average expenditure on Sub-Head C7 in the five financial years 1925-26 to 1929-30 was £510,880.

The average expenditure on Sub-Head C7 in the five financial years 1930-31 to 1934-35 was £367,000.

The difference is £143,880 a year. Which is enough to pay for 9 Medium Mk III tanks a year for a total of 45 tanks. That is if the actual cost does not exceed the estimated cost.

Does anyone know how many tanks were in a RTC Battalion in the first half of the 1930s?
 
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