British Army 'sanity options 2.0', 1935-43

Not much of explaining needed - thread about the workable options for the British Army in late 1930s and early 40s. Within the scope is organization, tactics, tech. All on technology of the day, but with a lot of hindsight.

To start the ball rolling - keep the minimum new-development calibre of tank and anti-tank guns at 57mm, IOW don't go to 47 and 40 mm.
 
Get the artillery branch and tank branch, put them in a room together but give the tank guys cricket bats and golf clubs and then say "Sort it out." in regards to HE being fired out of tanks.

Try and push for a more 'standard' tank instead of the dedicated Infantry/Cruiser split and allow the 2lber to have its HE shell in decent numbers (It actually had a bigger filler than what you'd think, a high velocity hand grenade it was not, but a bigger HE bursting charge than the German 37mm HE rounds they had and no one complains about that). This would also allow the CS tanks to do more than be a mobile smoke mortar.

Push for the need for a higher rate of fire weapon for the infantry, yes the SMLE is a very good gun but if you could iron out the bugs with the Farquar Hill Rifle instead and have that deployed....i'd take that any day.

Dust off the Birch gun and give that to the RA guys who're left bloodied after being walloped by a tanker wielding a golf club, and push for the development of something like the 5.5 or work with the RN and build a towed version using the RN's 4.5-inch gun for the artillery as a medium artillery weapon.

Oh and bofors guns, get them and share development with the RN, also the 3.7-inch AA, its got a far better fire control system than the RN's own HCAS, so share costs with them to develop that as a joint program.
 
Try and push for a more 'standard' tank instead of the dedicated Infantry/Cruiser split and allow the 2lber to have its HE shell in decent numbers (It actually had a bigger filler than what you'd think, a high velocity hand grenade it was not, but a bigger HE bursting charge than the German 37mm HE rounds they had and no one complains about that). This would also allow the CS tanks to do more than be a mobile smoke mortar.
If they are already going to Czechoslovakia for the Bren gun, maybe they can get the 47 mm AT gun, too.
Dust off the Birch gun and give that to the RA guys who're left bloodied after being walloped by a tanker wielding a golf club, and push for the development of something like the 5.5 or work with the RN and build a towed version using the RN's 4.5-inch gun for the artillery as a medium artillery weapon.
The original Birch gun had a Vickers Medium Mark II chassis, so best to stay away from that. My suggestion for early war (1939-41) armor would be a common battle tank similar to a Valentine, armed with a 47 mm AT gun, an SPH on the same chassis with a 25-pounder in a rear casemate like a Wespe, Hummel, or Marder, and potentially an SPAT, also on the same chassis, with either a 57mm gun in a light turret (like a Hellcat) or a 3"/~45 cal AT gun in a casemate. I would be looking for a gun more similar to the PaK 40 than the QF 17-pounder.
 
Buy the Vickers six ton tank. Design an equivalent (or buy the design for) the Czech 47mm tank/AT gun. And ask Vickers to design a replacement - proto Valentine.

Build larger carriers - maybe somewhere between the Universal and Oxford carriers. Personnel carriers and tracked artillery tractors.

And yes...radios.
 
Oh and bofors guns, get them and share development with the RN, also the 3.7-inch AA, its got a far better fire control system than the RN's own HCAS, so share costs with them to develop that as a joint program.
The problem with the 3.7 for the RN is that what the Navy (thinks it) needs isn't a dedicated heavy AA gun, it's a decent dual purpose medium gun - as opposed to the motley and diverse collection they actually had. They won't regard a 3.7 as packing enough punch for the anti surface role.
 
3.7 for the RN is that what the Navy (thinks it) needs isn't a dedicated heavy AA gun, it's a decent dual purpose medium gun - as opposed to the motley and diverse collection they actually had. They won't regard a 3.7 as packing enough pun

I'm not talking about the gun because you're right, they'd want something with an anti-surface role, what i'm talking about is the 3.7's fire control system the army came up with, it was a fully tacheometric system and was more advanced than the HCAS the RN used at its time of introduction. So you do a trade with the RN, that fire control in return for a share of the 40mm mounts that get produced in the UK ahead of schedule as the army had quite a few 40mm towed mounts pre-war (only 233 but still the RN had none). Get a factory to produce the mounts in the UK with Army and RN funding, a worthy return for an AA director.
 
An easy way for the Army to get a capable 6 pdr gun early enough would've been to piggy-back on the RN's 6 pdr 10 cwt program, whose series production started already in 1934. Should allow for all the British tanks and AT units to filed a capable, multi-purpose cannon before 1939, even if it is not 100% as capable hole-puncher as it was the OTL Army's 6 pdr (who cares anyway).
Move to a mid-power 3in gun as a next step, sorta what 77mm HV or the US 3in were capable for.
Big guns are incompatible with idea of them being used as big sniper rifles - another boon that should see tank turrets being more comfortable and more suitable for bigger guns.
Yes, I do like Tony Williams' write-up about the alternative Britsh interwar tank guns. I also like @allanpcameron 's idea of using the RN's pom-pom as a low-elevation weapon for AFVs.

Remember that the 25 pdr gun will also be very useful with a proper AP shot; also, don't go cheap with AP ammo in the 1930s, move to, at least, the APC and even beter shells before 1940.
 
maybe the RN/Army team up I suggested with regards to the FCS of the 3.7 could be in 'trade' for getting a decent number of the 10cwt 6lber? And yeah as you say its not going to be as good a hole puncher as the OTL 6lber the army used but it will be available in numbers and would still be a considerable overmatch for anything the Germans have, considering their best armoured tank was the Panzer III.
 
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If they are already going to Czechoslovakia for the Bren gun, maybe they can get the 47 mm AT gun, too.

The original Birch gun had a Vickers Medium Mark II chassis, so best to stay away from that. My suggestion for early war (1939-41) armor would be a common battle tank similar to a Valentine, armed with a 47 mm AT gun, an SPH on the same chassis with a 25-pounder in a rear casemate like a Wespe, Hummel, or Marder, and potentially an SPAT, also on the same chassis, with either a 57mm gun in a light turret (like a Hellcat) or a 3"/~45 cal AT gun in a casemate. I would be looking for a gun more similar to the PaK 40 than the QF 17-pounder.
There's lots to like in there.
In 1939/40, the Czech 47 would more than adequate as an AT gun for SPAT up to 1942. The French 47 AT was reportedly a little better. Either would have served very well in North Africa, and likely stopped Rommel well before El Alamein through lack of tanks [1]. He'd then be known for his defensive genius of 50mm AT with his few tanks on the long retreat from Halfaya to Tripoli.
There is a possibility that APDS would keep it competitive enough to skip the 6 pounder as an AT gun and move straight to the 17 pounder while tanks got either a 75mm or modified 17 pounder.

[1] He nearly ran out at times in OTL, facing only 2 pounders, so it should be more common to have very few and sometimes have none available. .
 
The French had a working HEAT shell too so that could be a useful avenue of research for any guns and yeah with the 25lber develop a APC round for it to deal with any tanks.
 
An easy way for the Army to get a capable 6 pdr gun early enough would've been to piggy-back on the RN's 6 pdr 10 cwt program, whose series production started already in 1934. Should allow for all the British tanks and AT units to filed a capable, multi-purpose cannon before 1939, even if it is not 100% as capable hole-puncher as it was the OTL Army's 6 pdr (who cares anyway).
Move to a mid-power 3in gun as a next step, sorta what 77mm HV or the US 3in were capable for.
Big guns are incompatible with idea of them being used as big sniper rifles - another boon that should see tank turrets being more comfortable and more suitable for bigger guns.
Yes, I do like Tony Williams' write-up about the alternative Britsh interwar tank guns. I also like @allanpcameron 's idea of using the RN's pom-pom as a low-elevation weapon for AFVs.

Remember that the 25 pdr gun will also be very useful with a proper AP shot; also, don't go cheap with AP ammo in the 1930s, move to, at least, the APC and even beter shells before 1940.
APC for the 2 pounder AT would have been very useful in the desert from 1941 as it should have been capable of dealing with the face hardened armour of Pazer 3s. Even if for logistical reasons it never got to the tanks, a few rounds per AT gun would have helped given Rommel's shortage of tanks. The 47mm AT/SPAT would have got there sooner, but capped 2 pounder would also get there.
 
APC for the 2 pounder AT would have been very useful in the desert from 1941 as it should have been capable of dealing with the face hardened armour of Pazer 3s. Even if for logistical reasons it never got to the tanks, a few rounds per AT gun would have helped given Rommel's shortage of tanks. The 47mm AT/SPAT would have got there sooner, but capped 2 pounder would also get there.

What might be the reasoning that 2pdr is still happens, for the needs of this what-if?
 
What might be the reasoning that 2pdr is still happens, for the needs of this what-if?
Well it was still a very good AT gun in 1940 but was used well after it's best before date due to a combination of bad planning and Dunkirk. An APC round would have been a relatively easy upgrade given the circumstances.

But then I'd much rather they'd gone for a better 47mm AT and either a 47 or 57mm for the tanks.
 
Ok, this is a pretty wacky idea, but pull an Italy and scale the Vickers 6ton up to 15 tons. Super simple to make and maintain, and should remain competitive through to mid-war, at which point they can be exiled to the Pacific.
 
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