Sir John Valentine Carden survives.

The general appearance of the A10 and the Valiant are pretty similar, especially the turrets. It wouldn't be hard to mistake the two. A sharp eyed officer could spot differences and report them however it is likely a big leap to assume brand new tank over new mark of an existing tank or simply an iterative design of new tank.
 
The general appearance of the A10 and the Valiant are pretty similar, especially the turrets. It wouldn't be hard to mistake the two. A sharp eyed officer could spot differences and report them however it is likely a big leap to assume brand new tank over new mark of an existing tank or simply an iterative design of new tank.
Even then if they noticed the difference the Germans could reasonably guess that it was just an improved A10, they would not know how much improved. Removing those extra turrets would not be much of a surprise. So far it just looks like an improved cruiser - the extra power and thus armour won't be noticed until the 37mm shots ping off then like they did off Matildas
 
Even then if they noticed the difference the Germans could reasonably guess that it was just an improved A10, they would not know how much improved. Removing those extra turrets would not be much of a surprise. So far it just looks like an improved cruiser - the extra power and thus armour won't be noticed until the 37mm shots ping off then like they did off Matildas
The A10 never had the sub turrets either UTTL or in OTL. The A9 did have them OTL but ITTL did not, all the more reason for them to all look similar and part of an iterative family at most rather than the leap the Valiant actually is.
 
View attachment 648063
This is the Valiant I (I explained wrong to @Claymore the versions, the Mark II will be the same except with the 6-pdr gun.
View attachment 648064
This is the Valiant I* cruiser variant, again, the Mark II* will be armed with the 6-pdr gun.
Allan
Thanks Allan. And it was Matilda II's that the Germans were mostly facing in France? If so, I see some differences from a front on view, but there's a lot of similarity in those profiles, I admit...
(And if the engines are the same, they're probably going to even sound similar/identical...)
 
How many tons of supplies are coming through Alexandria vs Tobruk and Benghazi. And remember the latter two ports aren't well-developed, so bringing railroading equipment through those ports will reduce the amount of supplies, which will slow the very build-up you're building the railways to speed up.

Building any but the most basic infrastructure is a peacetime operation, not a wartime one.
What on earth are you on about? The Western Desert Railway was built OTL. All the supplies from it came from the huge ports in Egypt along the (drumroll) railway. Along with water, petrol, food, ammunition and lots of other supplies.
 
What on earth are you on about? The Western Desert Railway was built OTL. All the supplies from it came from the huge ports in Egypt along the (drumroll) railway. Along with water, petrol, food, ammunition and lots of other supplies.
Before Operation Compass, the Railway terminated at Mersa Matruh. Now assuming they started building the railway on day 1 (of course, they wouldn't have, not knowing how successful it would be), and assuming a speed of 1.5 miles/day on average, you would have gotten to the base of Halfaya Pass two weeks ago, and would now be trying to negotiate the escarpment. Meanwhile,the army is actually at El Agheila, over 550 miles away. For such a rapid advance, building a railway simply isn't practical in the timeframe you have.
 
Before Operation Compass, the Railway terminated at Mersa Matruh. Now assuming they started building the railway on day 1 (of course, they wouldn't have, not knowing how successful it would be), and assuming a speed of 1.5 miles/day on average, you would have gotten to the base of Halfaya Pass two weeks ago, and would now be trying to negotiate the escarpment. Meanwhile,the army is actually at El Agheila, over 550 miles away. For such a rapid advance, building a railway simply isn't practical in the timeframe you have.
Not being psychic , no one would have expected the advance to be that rapid, so they would already have ordered the building of the railway, any distance is a long term help. Military minds would also be worried if they could advance that quick after a breakthrough , so could the enemy. A very good reason in their minds to want the railway to keep being extended at least until Tripoli was taken and the threat over.
 
Not being psychic , no one would have expected the advance to be that rapid, so they would already have ordered the building of the railway, any distance is a long term help. Military minds would also be worried if they could advance that quick after a breakthrough , so could the enemy. A very good reason in their minds to want the railway to keep being extended at least until Tripoli was taken and the threat over.
Well as I've noted, no matter what, they're still going to be at the escarpment, so it's not getting very far any time soon. And you can't very well start/extend railways from Tobruk/Benghazi/etc. as those ports are already pretty flat-out shifting supplies for the army itself.
 
The A10 never had the sub turrets either UTTL or in OTL. The A9 did have them OTL but ITTL did not, all the more reason for them to all look similar and part of an iterative family at most rather than the leap the Valiant actually is.
I would also add that the relative speed of the Italian defeat and destruction of 10th Army would very likely have resulted in the loss of a lot of intel and local analysis to the wider Italian armed forces not caught up in the disaster.

So while there would undoubtedly have been intelligence gathering etc on the British equipment it is also very likely that very little made it out of 10th Army.
 
We have to remember this is 1941, the Germans and Italians are allies, they dont share every small detail, they dont have a unified command, all the information has to go up the Italian chain till i gets to someone whom decides what gets to the Germans.
So probably not a quick journey, possibly not the info needed, possibly wrong conclusion as it's not likely to be raw data but Italian filtered reports........all a recipe for...we know the British have tanks....some might be new...some might be old...we dont know or can honestly say till we havevour own definite proof.
 
How useful would an extended railway have been in 1940- 1941? The British did not have complete control of the skies over the route. Trains are highly visible and very vulnerable to air attack. Even just strafing fighters can severely damage a locomotive. After all the effort and resources spent extending the railroad further West just how much more supplies would make it through? Would the British have to run the trains only at night and camouflage them during the day?
 
Before Operation Compass, the Railway terminated at Mersa Matruh. Now assuming they started building the railway on day 1 (of course, they wouldn't have, not knowing how successful it would be), and assuming a speed of 1.5 miles/day on average, you would have gotten to the base of Halfaya Pass two weeks ago, and would now be trying to negotiate the escarpment. Meanwhile,the army is actually at El Agheila, over 550 miles away. For such a rapid advance, building a railway simply isn't practical in the timeframe you have.
Or TLDR, “just Rommel it”? Throw some bullets and bully-beef in the back of the Tilly and tell the bugler to sound CHAAAARGE? Presumably Plan B if it all goes wrong is to leg it all the way back to MM and start again from scratch?
Rommel is always castigated for his lack of logistics planning and relying on shitty Italian ports but at least he had the excuse of limited capability. The Brits have no such excuse. Building the railway in no way obstructs the use of the forward ports, in fact quite the opposite. It doesn’t draw on front line troops, there is ample capacity back in Egypt and the sealanes and they have lots of supplies for railway building. Why on earth wouldn’t they build it forward as a cheap insurance policy? It’s not like Wavell is going to have his salary docked for infrastructure improvements.
Now of course they don’t HAVE to do it but it would seem silly not to.
How useful would an extended railway have been in 1940- 1941? The British did not have complete control of the skies over the route. Trains are highly visible and very vulnerable to air attack. Even just strafing fighters can severely damage a locomotive. After all the effort and resources spent extending the railroad further West just how much more supplies would make it through? Would the British have to run the trains only at night and camouflage them during the day?
Given that OTL the railway construction troops and the trains were bombed and strafed as a matter of routine, why would ATL turn out any differently ? From the link given earlier
‘It was obvious we could not afford to lose our locomotives at such a rate…. In any case the British Railways could not afford to hand locomotives out to us like children's toys to be destroyed in a week, and accordingly something had to be done about it…. All trains henceforth were provided with two anti aircraft teams, each occupying a wagon at opposite ends of the train, one being armed with machine guns of various types and the other with Bofors or Breda guns.’
there is also mention that later on the trains were fitted with barrage balloons, which must have been a puzzling sight for the Bedouin.
 
Or TLDR, “just Rommel it”? Throw some bullets and bully-beef in the back of the Tilly and tell the bugler to sound CHAAAARGE? Presumably Plan B if it all goes wrong is to leg it all the way back to MM and start again from scratch?
Um, what?

Rommel is always castigated for his lack of logistics planning and relying on shitty Italian ports but at least he had the excuse of limited capability. The Brits have no such excuse. Building the railway in no way obstructs the use of the forward ports, in fact quite the opposite. It doesn’t draw on front line troops, there is ample capacity back in Egypt and the sealanes and they have lots of supplies for railway building. Why on earth wouldn’t they build it forward as a cheap insurance policy? It’s not like Wavell is going to have his salary docked for infrastructure improvements.
Now of course they don’t HAVE to do it but it would seem silly not to.
You seem to have forgotten how bloody under-developed the ports are. There is a floating crane at Tobruk, but nothing at Benghazi, thus unloading of supplies too heavy to man-pack is reliant on a vessel's own cranes. Now I don't precisely know how strong a ships cranes are, but I'm pretty sure you can't unload a locomotive with one, which kind of limits how much use the railway is.
 
Last edited:
Um, what?


You seem to have forgooten how bloody under-developed the ports are. There is a floating crane at Tobruk, but nothing at Benghazi, thus unloading of supplies too heavy to man-pack is reliant on a vessel's own cranes. Now I don't precisely know how strong a ships cranes are, but I'm pretty sure you can't unload a locomotive with one, which kind of limits how much use the railway is.

And why pray tell would you be unloading locomotives anywhere but in Egypt? They would be extending the existing rail lines not building new ones starting from Tobruk or elsewhere. The point being made is that extending the current rail line further essentially costs nothing that cannot be spared from the front and incrementally improves the logistical situation. Just because it does not massively improve the logistical situation by tomorrow afternoon does not mean that long term thinking is useless.

If the thinking is that the fight will be done by the time any rail extension makes a large difference then I guess it's true that the war will be over by Christmas.
 
And why pray tell would you be unloading locomotives anywhere but in Egypt? They would be extending the existing rail lines not building new ones starting from Tobruk or elsewhere. The point being made is that extending the current rail line further essentially costs nothing that cannot be spared from the front and incrementally improves the logistical situation. Just because it does not massively improve the logistical situation by tomorrow afternoon does not mean that long term thinking is useless.

If the thinking is that the fight will be done by the time any rail extension makes a large difference then I guess it's true that the war will be over by Christmas.
Have you forgotten that between Egypt and Libya there's the Halfaya Pass? For road vehicles it's not such a problem, but railways require a very gentle slope. The steepest slope in Britain is Lickey Incline, which rises just 1 in 37.7, or 1.52°. Your railway engineers are going to be stuck at Halfaya pass well past the end of the campaign.

Now sure, you can work to extend the rail lines out of the Benghazi, but again, limited port capacity there means that supplies for that project will be competing with supplies for the rest of the army.
 
Have you forgotten that between Egypt and Libya there's the Halfaya Pass? For road vehicles it's not such a problem, but railways require a very gentle slope. The steepest slope in Britain is Lickey Incline, which rises just 1 in 37.7, or 1.52°. Your railway engineers are going to be stuck at Halfaya pass well past the end of the campaign.
Ask the US about this
220px-TehachapiLoop_usps.jpg

Done in 1876
 
Ask the US about this
220px-TehachapiLoop_usps.jpg

Done in 1876
Started in 1874. I didn't say it wasn't possible, just that it's not practical within the bounds of the campaign.

A better use of resources would be upgrading the ports themselves, maybe, if you can make a noticeable difference within the next six months.
 
Last edited:
Have you forgotten that between Egypt and Libya there's the Halfaya Pass? For road vehicles it's not such a problem, but railways require a very gentle slope. The steepest slope in Britain is Lickey Incline, which rises just 1 in 37.7, or 1.52°. Your railway engineers are going to be stuck at Halfaya pass well past the end of the campaign.

Now sure, you can work to extend the rail lines out of the Benghazi, but again, limited port capacity there means that supplies for that project will be competing with supplies for the rest of the army.
OTL a railway line was run from mersa brega matruh to about 2 miles outside tobruk, presumably through the halfaya pass or around it.
As it was done OTL, there must be a way of doing it.

edited - changed brega to matruh. Sorry, getting my mersa's mixed up.
 
Last edited:
OTL a railway line was run from mersa brega to about 2 miles outside tobruk, presumably through the halfaya pass or around it.
As it was done OTL, there must be a way of doing it.
Uh, Mersa Brega is just south of Benghazi, so I'm not sure what you're on about there. Still, they did eventually manage to get a line through the Halfaya Pass, but I don't know if it can be done in time to really aide the preparations for the drive to Tripoli.
 
Have you forgotten that between Egypt and Libya there's the Halfaya Pass? For road vehicles it's not such a problem, but railways require a very gentle slope. The steepest slope in Britain is Lickey Incline, which rises just 1 in 37.7, or 1.52°. Your railway engineers are going to be stuck at Halfaya pass well past the end of the campaign.

Now sure, you can work to extend the rail lines out of the Benghazi, but again, limited port capacity there means that supplies for that project will be competing with supplies for the rest of the army.
I'm confused , Halfaya Pass is a North -South route not East-West, since I'm under the impression the railway goes down the coast why would it go through the pass?
1620251908609.png
 
Top