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Colin Williams

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About Colin Williams

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  1. The main effect of the bocage was to highlight poor Allied infantry-tank-artillery coordination at the level of small unit tactics. The bocage actually negated some of the advantages of German tanks and SPGs, particularly the longer effective range of their guns. This was brought home to the British in the "good tank country" covered by Operation Goodwood, which gave the Germans some excellent site lines for shooting up Shermans by the hundreds.
  2. Of course, at that point in time a brand new Crusader was probably less reliable than any other tank on the battlefield, worn out or not!
  3. It seems to me that the Central Powers strategy for 1915 was basically correct in concentrating offensive action in the East, bringing in Bulgaria, and knocking out Serbia. The Germans did have a tendency to let the Austro-Hungarians suffer more than necessary. A little more support for all of their allies may have paid dividends in 1918. Where Falkenhayn went off the rails was in taking the offensive in the west in 1916. Keeping the pressure on Russia could have led to an earlier collapse and kept Romania out of the war (or even brought them in as an ally). The Entente strategy for 1915 is
  4. This page has a complete list, unfortunately with only a few digitized on the site - http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/UN/UK/index.html Of course for the whole Commonwealth war effort one needs to read the Australian, New Zealand, and Canadian official histories as well as the semi/unofficial South African and Indian. IIRC everything for both Canada and NZ is available online.
  5. Regarding your French/British strategy. Doesnt this leave the Russians staring at defeat by 1916?
  6. It's December, 1914, and whether you are Falkenhayn, Joffre, Kitchener, Conrad, or Grand Duke Nicholas, the grand plans of summer have crumbled into defeat and stalemate. What do you do now to avoid defeat, revolution, or a hollow victory won at the cost of hundreds of thousands of dead soldiers from your country?
  7. I wouldn't say complete fantasy. Even after months of practical experience in NW Europe tank vs tank is still listed 6 out of 8 and qualified with an "if necessary".
  8. What about developing an armor piercing round or even HVAP? The British had an AP round for the 25 pdr that was relatively effective in the 1941-42 time frame. An APHE round from a 105 may have been decent compared to the standard rounds used in the 75mm.
  9. Assuming the Army couldn't go for more diesel engines, how about ditching the half-tracks? There were 500 in each light Armored Division and 733 in the heavies. Would it have weakened the armored divisions much to replace them with trucks? The gas savings would have been significant.
  10. The M46 and M47 could hold 232 gallons of fuel and the M48/M48A1 200 gallons, while the Shermans could hold ~160-175 gallons and M26 183 gallons. They definitely needed the larger fuel capacity. There was nearly an inverse relationship between gas mileage and weight for tanks at this time.
  11. During the exploitation after the victory at Falaise, the inability to provide forward units with sufficient gasoline severely limited the extent of the advance. Apparently an American armored division was supposed to use ~1000 gallons for each mile of an advance but reality was closer to 2000 gallons per mile, primarily because of the extra distance individual vehicles would travel for a given advance for the division as a whole. Estimates are that a tank would travel ~2 miles for each mile the division advanced, with some vehicles (supply trucks, recon, etc.) could travel ~7 miles for the sa
  12. I don't agree ith the assessment that the BA had "...essentially ceased to exist as a coherent force"; you are equating the BEF with the entire BA which it wasn't. More importantly, I don't see how the pre-war Regulars would have been able to "...conduct far more effective offensive operations in 1915 and 1916". The presence of more pre-war Regulars wouldn't have prevented the shell shortage of 1915 or been able to cope with the tactical constraints & conditions prevailing at Loos etc, and they would not have been able to provide the numbers for the Somme, so you'd still have been dependen
  13. I think all of these generals have been subjected to serious criticism in the standard historical works. Haig simply has the added benefit of having been commander of the BEF, so he gets most of the attention in the English language literature. That being said, there are some important distinctions to be drawn here. It seems to me that one of the most important characteristics of the generals who occupied high level positions for significant periods of time was a certain imperturbability. Simply put, men like Joffre, Haig and Falkenhayn could stand up to the pressure of sending thousands of
  14. Ken, The root problem was that the two war warnings issued simply made no mention of Pearl as a direct target. The 24 November warning only mentioned the Philippines and Guam, while the 27 November warning repeated them while adding only Malaya, Borneo, and American Samoa. That allowed Short and Kimmel - and their staffs - to assume the only threat to the Hawiaan Islands in the event of war would be sabotage. What made it so much worse was that for 12 days they treated the war warning seriously and put everyone in the field, but then decided since there was no threat of direct attack it was
  15. It's interesting that Brigg's early opinion of the Stuart as only suited for light tank work, despite its far superior reliability, essentially became official opinion within 8th Army through the course of 1942. By the 1st Battle of El Alamein the Stuarts were being segregated into the 4th Light Armoured Brigade, with the Crusaders staying with the Grants in the other armoured brigades. Considering the reliability issue and the shared/similar components between the Stuart and Grant, the Crusader must have proven itself the superior tank. I suspect (but don't know) that the Crusader II, with it
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