Sir John Valentine Carden Survives. Part 2.

Take is easy! Remember this is a hobby and noone ( including you yourself) has any right to make you feel guilty for not updating!
Sorry, had an accident last Saturday, had operation on Wednesday to fix shoulder, so typing with left hand only. Not sure exactly recovery timetable. I have something written, but might leave it for a bit until I'm happier with it.
Give us permission to talk about food and weapon calibres, and we'll wait however long it takes you to make a fully effective recovery. :D
Best wishes, and maybe post a couple of sentences once a week to keep us updated, please, about how the shoulder is mending, if you feel like it. :)
Sorry, had an accident last Saturday, had operation on Wednesday to fix shoulder, so typing with left hand only. Not sure exactly recovery timetable. I have something written, but might leave it for a bit until I'm happier with it.
Sorry to hear about the accident, glad to hear you're on the mend.
Hope everything goes smoothly for you.
Sorry, had an accident last Saturday, had operation on Wednesday to fix shoulder, so typing with left hand only. Not sure exactly recovery timetable. I have something written, but might leave it for a bit until I'm happier with it.
Set up a buymeacoffee/ko-fi

I'm sure a lot of us will chuck you the equivalent to a bottle of calpol/pint of bitter to help ease your suffering and get you writing again!
Sorry, had an accident last Saturday, had operation on Wednesday to fix shoulder, so typing with left hand only. Not sure exactly recovery timetable. I have something written, but might leave it for a bit until I'm happier with it.
Well if you feel that's an acceptable excuse for the delay in entertaining us I suppose we will just have to wait.....
Get well soon, however I’ve learned from experience that the time you think it should take to heal stays the same whilst your body says your not as young as you used to be, so double it and add some and you won’t be disappointed
A question for the forum whilst Allan heals. It seems a major strategic decision / difference may be hte deployment of Western Allies trhough Iran into the USSR. OTL Stalintotally opposed deployments in the USSR , and he showed to his addoring fans that he was in control. Here , he may have little choice if it really comes to Oil vs Capitalist troops. Easy to forget that Allies troops fought after WW! in Russia agaist the Red Army , or at least securing the crumblng parts of White Russia. ( and hats off to the Czech Legion and their insane escape east - 55,000 out of 60,000 makig it - why has no one made a film of that?) . That was only 20 years prior and Soviets are going to be wary of Capitalist troops on thier soil. Will UncleJoe allow it? Can he survice politically if he does? Or militarliy if he doesn't?
sorry to double post. A thought. We know he probably will. But in '42 , USSR doesn't know or see the inherent weakness and "topping out: of the German war machine. He's goinb to be pretty desperate if that southern oil gets cut off for even a few months.
Just a quick health update. The operation on my shoulder seems to have gone well enough, though it will take a bit of physiotherapy to get it working properly. The problem however was the following week, where it was likely that the pain relief I was taking led to a bleeding ulcer. Had a endoscope which stopped the bleeding, then three units of blood, before I was released from hospital. My sister very kindly has taken me in, and so am currently being watched over and enabled to rest properly.
The thing I've noticed is that my tiredness means that I haven't really had the energy to read, research and write, which I had hoped to do whilst recovering. Hey ho! So sorry still, I did have this written this before my accident. So I'll post it, though it is slightly out of sequence with another update I still aren't quite happy with.
23 June 1942. Chertsey, England. New
23 June 1942. Chertsey, England.

With the Victor in full production, work on its successor was moving from the realm of ideas and requirements to reality. Sir John Carden had the lead on the design, but it was something of a novelty that it wasn’t solely a Vickers project.

The decision to concentrate the best of British designers to work together to design the tank was a logical conclusion of the work done on the Victor. The meteor engine derived from the Rolls Royce Merlin had provided the Victor with a powerful enough engine to provide the tank with good mobility. Along with a good gun, and effective armour, mobility completed the trinity of requirements for an effective tank.

The 88mm Flak guns captured in North Africa gave the basis for the formulation of what armour would be needed to protect the crew. Realistically six inches of armour was necessary, but a great deal of work had been done in examining the effectiveness of sloped armour. Experiments to produce the best shape for the tank to provide as much sloping as possible, while allowing the crew inside to work effectively, had been undergone. There had been some debate among the design team, but eventually an agreement had been achieved. The drawings therefore seemed quite radical, compared to some of the boxy types of tanks designed previously. Experience had also been involved when making sure there were as few shot traps as possible.

As it had been with the Victor, so it was again with its successor, which gun should it be armed with? The 17-pdr anti-tank gun was the preference of the Director of Artillery, who still believed that the tank’s main role was to destroy enemy tanks. All the fighting up until now however still pointed towards a gun that could deal both with enemy tanks and also fire a powerful High Explosive round. Vickers 75mm HV was to everyone else the obvious starting place, but realistically a new tank needed an even better gun, able to defeat the tank’s own level of protection.

So far, the team looking at the gun had examined various ideas, using a variety of guns as starting points. It had become clear that the 3.7-inch AA gun was the most obvious source for a new tank gun. A team of engineers had stripped a couple of older 3.7-inch guns back to basics to see what weight could be saved. They knew that they needed to get the muzzle velocity over 3000 ft/s to get the kind of kinetic energy required. There were all sorts of different types of ammunition being looked at, some of Sabot rounds were particularly promising. No matter what the ammunition was available, muzzle velocity was considered to be critical to the success of the gun.

Sir John Carden wasn’t a gun expert, and to some extent he was happy to leave the debate about the gun to those who knew more than him about. Carden’s expertise was much more around the mobility of the tank. To his mind, if the engine and the suspension were right, then the armour to protect the tank, and the gun to fight the tank would be in the right place at the right time.

All the way through the pre-war and early war years one of the most consistent requests from the Royal Armoured Corps (RAC) was for their tanks to be reliable and mobile. Looking at the Christie type suspension that Q Martel had promoted, it was clear that speed was something that it was good at providing. The drawback was the space it took up, and the difficulty of servicing the suspension if something went wrong. It was a pity that the suspension on the A13 and the Crusader had been paired with the Liberty engine. The Crusader and the American M3 (Stuart) Light tank actually were pretty well matched in terms of speed and armament. If the reliability of the Crusader hadn’t taken so long to sort out, it might have played a bigger role with the RAC.

Carden’s own ‘bright idea’ suspension in the A9 and A10 tanks had proven reliable enough, but suffered as the weight it was carrying increased. The suspension used on the Valiant coped well with the weight, but didn’t lend itself to speed or have much leeway in terms of improving it. The Horstman type suspension on the Victor was a pretty good compromise, providing the Victor with a pretty stable ride at reasonable speeds, and ease of maintenance. Carden however wasn’t entirely sure that follow on tank would cope with the same suspension as the lighter Victor.

This had brought him back to the Infantry tanks, the Matilda II and the Churchill’s suspension systems were both adequate for the Infantry Tank role they were designed for, where speed was not a priority. The fact that both were underpowered by their engines didn’t help. Carden had also examined the American options, and the Canadian/Australian solutions. None of which seemed right for the next tank. The temptation in wartime was always to try to use tried and tested systems so that new tanks could be brought into production in as quick a time as possible. With the Victor looking like the main British tank for the next two years, Carden wanted to make sure that the 1944 tank, the one most like to be at the forefront of an invasion of occupied Europe, was going to be sufficiently good so that the Army’s main battle tank would at least match the German opponent.

Starting with a blank piece of paper, Carden’s mind kept going back to his outing to see the F model Panzer III, which had been examined thoroughly in the last two years since its capture before Dunkirk. There had been long conversations about the type of torsion bar suspension used by the Panzer III. Brigadier George McLeod Ross, Deputy Director of Design Department had been promoting further examination of this type of suspension design, and he’d picked up on the work of Maurice Olley, who was at that point on the British Mission in the USA. He had been helping Packard to produce Rolls Royce Merlin engines. When his name had come up, Roy Robotham, who’d worked with Olley at Rolls Royce, they’d done work together during the mid-1920s on the serious problem with front wheel shimmy. That work had eventually, through Olley’s move to the USA, had brought General Motors, including Vauxhall, to introduce SLA (short/long arm) front suspensions.

Olley had been brought back from the USA and he and Carden had spent time together thinking through the issues around tank suspension based on the torsion bar, with the Panzer III as a starting point. When a some more Panzer IIIs had arrived from the Soviet Union, including one that had been damaged beyond repair, Carden and Olley had the chance to examine it in detail. As with anything, there were positive and negative consequences of using this type of suspension.

With some men from the RAC these consequences were examined in full. Carden had learned that the tank users were better placed to say what worked and what didn’t.