Effects of more standardized British tank for WWII.

This site does propose essentially this, albeit only in French and it also tackles other subjects like pre-WW1 French military or some WW2 Wallied PODs.
http://sam40.fr/

There were plenty of options for France to perform better in WW2, better positionning before the Battle and better reactions during the Battle being rather "easy" because they don't require money or excessive time but just being somewhat smart. The vulnerability of the Ardennes was understood both by some officers as early as 1937-38 and later on by French intel services just before the attack so this could have been addressed with some preparations and better training and alert by troops here. The Breda part of the French plan was the least liked and pretty much only Gamelin supported it so it could have been scrapped, saving the best French Army to be used in reserve, ideally near the Ardennes where it originally was.

Trusting the radio a bit more and being less indecisive in general would have allowed the French to react more quickly and maybe get enough forces in the path of the Sickle to eventually stop it before things became too bad.

RE procurement and industrial build up, there were several opportunities to choose better designs and get advice/equipment from French or foreign engineers and industrials in the US and UK, which would have allowed for faster and better manufacturing methods and better fuel production and refinement methods to be used (the latter was relevant as France didn't have access to enough of the decent quality fuels the British and Americans had access later on, which limited engine performance and prevented the use of some of the better engines. This is a relatively straightforward way to get improvements without having insanely advanced engine tech). France itself had some decent base in some areas for proper radio comms and even a modest radar network.
The Belgians and to a lesser extent the Dutch not waiting until the 11th hour forcing all those powerful mobile units to make a dash for the Dyle

Had they opted to join the Allies earlier then the Allies would not have to have rushed the job and probably have had some of the more mobile units in reserve.

Basically I am blaming the Belgians for the whole mess LOL
 
To be fair, nobody but the British and US had access to as good fuels.
Soviets got around it by using lots of displacement

The Mikulin AM-35 was 2847 cubic inches for 1350hp at 2050rpm with 95 octane, something RR or Allison could do with 60% of the displacement
The Hispano-Suiza 12Y was 2197 cubic inches for 1100hp at 2400 rpm with 100 octane, the best grade they had access to in 1940 in decent amounts.
The DB-601 in Germany was 2070 cubic inches for 1350HP, but that was spinning at 2700rpm, with 87 octane. At lower rpm levels, it was 1085hp at 2400rpm. The other thing was that the Germans used fuel injection. not as much a power adder, as a reliability adder
So what's going on?
Another thing that is overlooked, the cooling system. I believe the French could have done better with a different radiator setup,
along with a glycol-water mix .
I believe they stuck with pure 100% glycol that also limited power, more than the engines mechanical limits. They needed larger radiators to do the job than the US or British
Hispano-Suiza engines, at least the ones before the 12Z, were very light engines. The early Merlin/V-1710/DB 601 will easily be 30-50% heavier. Lighter engine usually meant that growth of power was limited. The Soviet VK-105PF was also much heavier than HS 12Y, and was offering 20-30% more power; people at Klimov even reduced the bore on the -105 so the block can be thicker/heavier, and thus stronger. RR Peregrine was heavier than HS 12Y and did same power, despite being 21L engine.
High compression ratio also blocks power growth in a supercharged engine, unless one can afford reliability problems, so we see Merlin being king of the boost with 6:1 CR, while Soviets were reducing the CR of Mikulin's engines from 7:1 in AM-35A all down to 5.5:1 in AM-42 (2000 HP with ~2 ata, on Soviet fuel, no water injection). The featherweight HS 12Y with 7:1 CR can't compete here.

V-1710 went to 1500+ HP on 97% gylcol coolant. It took a 2-stage supercharged V-1710 (year 1944) to beat 1200 HP at 20000 ft of the AM-35A of 1940/41.
 
Last edited:
The Ram (a good medium tank) relied (sensibly) upon USA components.

For the Sentinel:
Mr. Moran's views are valuable but what he forgets is that most soldiers in WWII were smaller than him and there was no ergonomics available when designing the Sentinel. The Sentinel was, for the first attempt at a Tank a good design. Sure it could have been better but it was a first attempt. So some leeway should be given. Now, what I was proposing was that the British take over the Sentinel design. Of course they'd apply their own rationale to it but essentially it would stay that same - a design that was easily upgraded to accept larger, more powerful guns than most other tanks.
 
Mr. Moran's views are valuable but what he forgets is that most soldiers in WWII were smaller than him and there was no ergonomics available when designing the Sentinel.
As far as ergonomics go, the M4 Sherman hit a Home Run, with only slight demerits for the early small hatches on the hull, and lack of loaders hatch.

But Major Moran is invaluable, since he has been able to get in so many different AFVs. He normally points what is a problem from his size, and what is just poor layout, like with the Churchill or Firefly
 
Mr. Moran's views are valuable but what he forgets is that most soldiers in WWII were smaller than him and there was no ergonomics available when designing the Sentinel. The Sentinel was, for the first attempt at a Tank a good design. Sure it could have been better but it was a first attempt. So some leeway should be given. Now, what I was proposing was that the British take over the Sentinel design. Of course they'd apply their own rationale to it but essentially it would stay that same - a design that was easily upgraded to accept larger, more powerful guns than most other tanks.
Something he routinely mentions in his videos. However he has been in many different tanks of the sentinels vintage. And thus is able to compare them. The Sherman, Panzer III and Panzer IV rate highly, while Comet, and Sentinel rate very low due to small hatches, cramped interiors, poor internal arrangement. Its one thing if he were a big guy and got into the sentinel. Its another entirely if he has been in dozens of tanks and still rates sentinel as cramped.
 
Something he routinely mentions in his videos. However he has been in many different tanks of the sentinels vintage. And thus is able to compare them. The Sherman, Panzer III and Panzer IV rate highly, while Comet, and Sentinel rate very low due to small hatches, cramped interiors, poor internal arrangement. Its one thing if he were a big guy and got into the sentinel. Its another entirely if he has been in dozens of tanks and still rates sentinel as cramped.
I am basing my views on having known Mr. Moran for several years and his comments purely in the Sentinel videos. He is a purist and if something doesn't agree with his purist views he makes it known. Sentinel was a good design from the criteria that I made clear.
 
Another vehicle which stands out is the Canadian Ram tank. Again, armed initially with a 2 Pdr gun and then a 6 Pdr gun, it went onto prove the concept of the modern APC as the Kangaroo. It was built using standard M3/M4 track suspension but built in Canada.
The Ontario Regiment's official history notes that the Ram was generally seen as a downgrade from the Churchill Mk IVs the regiment had previously been training with. Apparently it was rather cramped (which is saying something if it's being negatively compared to the Churchill on that basis).

edit: on a side note, post war the Dutch used some Ram mkIIs that had been up-gunned to the QF 75mm, which is probably an easy conversion given that the QF 75mm is just a bored out 6 Pdr.
 
Last edited:
Honestly, the crusader was good enough until 42, especially for what the brits needed.

Hobble along on the Crusader while designing a better Cromwell scheduled for 43.
 
For a true standardized jack of all trades British medium tank, let's go back to when the UK actually had that same idea.

Adopt the Vickers Medium Mk III in 1930, and keep evolving the concept from there.

Alternatively:
Britain is visited by the Italian Ideas Fairy (TM) and accordingly builds a Vickers 6 ton upscaled to the 13-15 ton range. So Basically an M13/40, but with better steel, more advanced construction techniques, belt fed machine guns, a 2 pounder, a better engine, and a Horstmann suspension in place of leaf springs.

After the fall of France they get working on a bigger version to provide an answer to the Panzers III and IV, and they settle on a 26 ton version (like the Italian P40, but again, British-ified) armed with something like the QF 13-pounder 9 cwt.
Though I think I'd now recommend something more like the Vickers Model 1931 over a WWI museum piece as the armament for the P40 equivalent.
 
Honestly, the crusader was good enough until 42, especially for what the brits needed.

Hobble along on the Crusader while designing a better Cromwell scheduled for 43.
real Achilles heel in the powerplant. They need something reliable in the engine, and with the tracks. Then the ergonomics
 
real Achilles heel in the powerplant. They need something reliable in the engine, and with the tracks. Then the ergonomics
In fairness to the Liberty engine Nuffield pushed their version too far but it was ancient technology costing far too much in man hours to make. When the Crusader was relieved of it's turret weight and employed as a 17 Pounder gun tow vehicle and that towed gun kept the speed down, it worked fine all through 1944 and 45.

On another tack. The Covenantor has been decried as awful but they did sort out the problems by the end (and no, it was not because of the front radiator). Had they got the detail right at the beginning and the RAF had not unnecessarily hogged all the aluminium; the reduction in weight by keeping the wheels in the original aluminium instead the OTL heavy steel would have allowed either extra performance or extra armour and the turret was expected to go to the 6 Pounder (and thus the ROF 75mm) making quite a small fast cruiser tank with a usable punch. Neatly packaged.
 
Except every other tank managed to have steel wheel sets.
Terrible reliability, no matter if it cooked the driver or not, poor ergonomics, like the hatch set to guillotine the TC.

A tank so bad, never fired a shot in anger, a waste of steel, and worst of all, they had to keep running the 2 pdr production line to put guns in these tanks that would never leave the UK, rather than making 6 pdrs for fewer tanks that would actually see combat, like the A.13 mkII and A.15. Fast? Yes it was, when the tracks didn't fling off.

They got bit bad by having an huge order off the drawing board. Building more A.10 tanks would have been better. At least those were capable of fighting, and would have been sufficient for training.
 
In fairness to the Liberty engine Nuffield pushed their version too far but it was ancient technology costing far too much in man hours to make. When the Crusader was relieved of it's turret weight and employed as a 17 Pounder gun tow vehicle and that towed gun kept the speed down, it worked fine all through 1944 and 45.

On another tack. The Covenantor has been decried as awful but they did sort out the problems by the end (and no, it was not because of the front radiator). Had they got the detail right at the beginning and the RAF had not unnecessarily hogged all the aluminium; the reduction in weight by keeping the wheels in the original aluminium instead the OTL heavy steel would have allowed either extra performance or extra armour and the turret was expected to go to the 6 Pounder (and thus the ROF 75mm) making quite a small fast cruiser tank with a usable punch. Neatly packaged.
Let's not glide the lily - Covenantor was awful. Liberty engine was a bed of roses when compared with Medows flat 12. Tank needs aluminimum parts to perform = major design flaw. Neither gun nor armor were up to standard of the day.
 
real Achilles heel in the powerplant. They need something reliable in the engine, and with the tracks. Then the ergonomics
But does it work well enough to hobble along until 43? Or hell, even until 42 when you start getting large numbers of lend lease M3 and M4's available? Absolutely.

This POD does nothing to address the reasons France fell, and presumably much of the UK's ground commitments in 1940 and 41 are primarily in North Africa, which put a logistical constraint on operations anyway.

Even 3000 crusaders, and using everything else for spare parts and logistics probably gets you through until your Cromwell-wank starts rolling off the lines.
 
ut does it work well enough to hobble along until 43
No.
LMS just had no idea what they were doing for tank building. They were certainly no Baldwin or Pressed Steel Car like in the US.

If the British need things with tracks for training, let English Electric and LMS keep building the A.13 MkIIA for training, along with existing Mk IV Lights , while Nuffield and Leyland make the new Crusaders.
No need for 1700 tanks, enough for over six armored divisions, to never fire a shot. Waste of Steel and Guns.
 
Why couldn't the British Army proclaim all tank ergonomics match or exceed the A9/10? As has been endlessly proclaimed, the interior mantlet needed to go. I wonder if the Slo-Mo suspension could have been improved by replacing the additional rocker mounted small wheels with a single larger wheel? Then, extend the hull enough to stuff a third bogie into the system. A fuel tank in the crew compartment in the A10 is dangerous. If you extend the hull, put the third fuel tank behind the crew compartment in the engine bay. New tracks and track pins are fairly easy to replace once you learn of their issues. Could the engine bay accomodate a second engine as in Matilda? Yes, it would be tight, with concomitant service issues. The best solution would be a de-rated Kestrel or Peregrine for 250-300 hp for starters. The CS A10 used a geared elevation training system. Use that with an external mantlet to substantially increase crew room in the turret. As with any increase in numbers of tanks, more experimental variants could have been attempted. Heck, buy 50-100 Vickers 6 Ton tanks for training duties. Have the controls set up as the A9/10 for this duty. This is becoming an optimized tank, not standardized. It does provide a list of ideas.
On Mr. Moran, he has provided many of us with views of the interiors and ergonomics of many tanks we could not otherwise visit.
 
A fuel tank in the crew compartment in the A10 is dangerous
True, but not alone.
The Panzer MkIV had it along the floor of the hull, split for clearance for the drive shaft.
The T-34 and KV had tankage in the sides of the hull. disel give a little protection, but anything going thru that armor will set off a partially filled fuel tank, no matter what hydrocarbon it is.
Still, rather have tankage on the other side of a bulkhead
 
Top