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The Us And The Destruction Of The British Empire


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Its really good. I thought with Al Murray, a British comedian, it was be just one long piss take. But if anything, his knowledge actually rivals James Hollands. I shouldnt be surprised, he did a good discovery channel programme called 'D Day to Berlin', but its still impressive.

 

I really ought to write in and get them to give their view on the '1943 landing in France' argument, im sure that would get the fur flying. :D

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But could you also blame it on the various socialist/Labor governments who so dramatically disarmed the British military between the wars? After all the nation that invented the tank, never fielded a good one until the very last days of the war. Also FDR was determined to see the Empire dissolved after the war.

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The problem is, it isnt true. The Labour Government of 1945 actually committed to Korea, committed Britain to developing the Atomic Bomb and the V Bomber Force that carried it, and here is the kicker, was instrumental in the formation of NATO. That is absolutely true, you can look it up.

 

Besides, as has been said before, the majority of Governments since 1945 have been Conservative. The much lauded defence boom in the Thatcher Government actually provided no new money best I can tell. It was all money to the army from the vivisection of the Royal Navy.

 

 

Valentine was good. Churchill has been continually underrated and later marks had armour as thick as a King Tiger. Cromwell was good with the caveat it would have been better a year earlier. And Comet was an excellent tank that in many ways was better than a Sherman. So im sorry Murph, I cannot agree. British tank designs had major issues, but we were actually outproducing the Germans in tanks for much of the war. Every cloud has a silver lining and all that.

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Churchill had similar "old fashion armor scheme" as Chi-To so I don't know why Churchill VII is being compared to the King Tiger now when King Tiger was sloped just like M4 was while both Churchill and Chi-To were not sloped.

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Because it was not certain at this point in tank history, that sloped armour was the way to go. It only looks that way in retrospect. It also ought to be borne in mind that many tanks we think of as wartime designs actually predated the war by some period, when sloped armour was hardly on anyone's drawing board before the T34 showed everyone the way forward.

 

Yes, the British knew about T34, they had trialed it from a batch of vehicles the Soviets gave them (the KV1 they gave them at the same time, non sloped, is still in the Tank museum). They knew by 1943 about Panther. But sloped armour reduced the internal volume of the tank. If you wanted to carry more shells, fuel, or even more crew, then flat sides made sense. Having a flat front plate made it easier to fit an MG and a driver episcope. It also (and this should not be marginalised) made it easier to mass produce tanks. Look how many Comets we made, 1100 or so, in the last year of the war, it clearly shows what advantages flat plate gave.

 

Yes, we could say the British were slow still doing that in mediums in 1944 with the Comet. But it made it a smaller vehicle and greater internal volume than it would have had if it was all sloped. As it turned out, Comet was highly successful, despite being for the most part flat plate. It was exactly the vehicle the army needed in the advance into Germany. I was present a tankfest display with a former Comet commander from WW2, and he didnt have a bad word to say about it. He might have had a lot to say about the way the Tank museum tuned the vehicle which was backfiring though. :D

 

Churchill, well its actually a prewar design concept. The first concepts were made before the war, the design was finalized during the battle of France, and the first prototype was built in 1941. It took several years to get right, because the early ones were dogs. But the the slab sides made it easier to adapt into alternative roles like AVRE's and Crocodiles.

Churchill gets a lot of flak for what it isnt (Fast mainly) but it proved exceptionally useful and versitile in the infantry support role, think of it as a British Stug and you are not far wrong. Similarlyou will not find a bad word written about the Churchill Crocodile.

 

And the Churchill VII was reliable, at last. Much as I respect the King Tiger, you will not find a single report about it that suggest it was not severely challenged in reliability. Besides, they built over 5000 Churchill IV's and the Germans built about 480 King Tigers. There was a price the German paid for being so fussy about having the very best.

 

Besides, are we really going to slight the British for building tanks with non sloped armour, when the Germans were still building them till the end of WW2 as well? For largely the same reasons I suspect.

Edited by Stuart Galbraith
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Then why did you make a strike on Chi-To about having "French and British 1930's armor scheme" while making reasons now in Churchill's case? It looks like inconsistency.

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Churchill had similar "old fashion armor scheme" as Chi-To...

Well, comparing one obsolete design with other, sure there are advantages of one or other. :)

Compared to tanks of same generation from US or USSR, both look very bad.

Edited by bojan
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Because it was not certain at this point in tank history, that sloped armour was the way to go. It only looks that way in retrospect. It also ought to be borne in mind that many tanks we think of as wartime designs actually predated the war by some period, when sloped armour was hardly on anyone's drawing board before the T34 showed everyone the way forward.

 

God, even Soviets attribute sloped armor to FCM 36.

Cristie tanks used sloped armor as did BT-2/5/7, armored cars used it in WW1 already. Benefits were known, especially vs full-bore AP of case or smaller caliber than armor thickness, where they were 50+% more than theoretical trigonometric calculation (that is mid 1930s finding already). But there were other problems, and a fact that it had to be welded for maximum efficiency was a problem for British.

 

 

 

Yes, the British knew about T34, they had trialed it from a batch of vehicles the Soviets gave them (the KV1 they gave them at the same time, non sloped, is still in the Tank museum). They knew by 1943 about Panther. But sloped armour reduced the internal volume of the tank. If you wanted to carry more shells, fuel, or even more crew, then flat sides made sense. Having a flat front plate made it easier to fit an MG and a driver episcope. It also (and this should not be marginalised) made it easier to mass produce tanks. Look how many Comets we made, 1100 or so, in the last year of the war, it clearly shows what advantages flat plate gave.

KV-1 had "intermediately sloped" armor (30deg angle for upper and lower plate). This was far cry from vertical plates.

Production of non-sloped vehicles was not any faster than sloped ones, except British had infrastructure and tooling and did not want to change during the war. Britain also had shitloads of problems with welding tank armor, which was another reason for going with vertical. As for 1100 produced in year, both US and USSR industries laugh at that,

Benefits of sloped sides disappeared during war actually, since guns increased in caliber and there was no way to make them effective on medium tanks. However remains of sloped sides stayed in use (Soviet heavies and US M48/60/103 series) as a means to actually increase hull space..

Unlike sides benefits of sloped front were clear to anyone since 1940-41 at least, some just never managed to do it properly during the war.

Great tank scandal, indeed.

Edited by bojan
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Churchill had similar "old fashion armor scheme" as Chi-To...

 

Well, comparing one obsolete design with other, sure there are advantages of one or other. :)

Compared to tanks of same generation from US or USSR, both look very bad.

Well, Churchill did seem quite a fine tank for a number of purposes. As well as comet. And I think Chi-To design would have done well as well overall. I'm just pointing out the inconsistency across different threads of discussion.

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Oh God, must we subscribe sloped armour to the French? Really? Cant we blame it all on the Finns or Americans or something?

 

Ok, so KV1 has one sloped plate on the vehicle, but that is does not a sloped armoured vehicle make. Even Churchill had the bow plate sloped. Come to that matter, even Matilda had a cast sloped from hull. Does that make it a sloped armour vehicle? Obviously not.

 

Yes, welding clearly was a problem. We employed shipbuilders and railway rolling stock companies to perform whats really shadow factory work. Well its down to personal opinion, I think the numbers of tanks we built need explaining if the decisions on how we build them did not play a part in it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_armoured_fighting_vehicle_production_during_World_War_II

 

Yes, but we were not the USSR or the US. We were a fragmented Empire subject to blockade, and we were still outproducing the Germans on tanks and combat aircraft for most of the war. TBH, as the number 2 producer of combat aircraft in WW2, I dont think the Soviets, or the Germans for that matter, really have a right to laugh about our output.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_production_during_World_War_II

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Then why did you make a strike on Chi-To about having "French and British 1930's armor scheme" while making reasons now in Churchill's case? It looks like inconsistency.

Well you show me a tank im wholly unfamiliar with with armour scheme you suggest is about half the thickness of Churchill. It has a prewar suspension and a 480hp engine, compared to the 600hp engine of the Cromwell. So its not fast, its not particularly well armoured, and it has a good gun, but not as heavy as the latest allied types.

 

Im not sneering at it, im suggesting it doesnt offer anything the sherman didnt offer 3 years earlier. That was ok when 75mm guns were world leaders, but it would probably be facing off against 76mm armed shermans and 90mm armed Pershings in any invasion of Japan. And no, I wouldnt want to take a Churchill up against a Pershing tank either. It is another thing entirely to go up against a Panzer IV with one, which still remained the most common German tank till the end of the war.

 

I meant no offense, and I believe you interpret some where there was none intended.

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Well, Churchill did seem quite a fine tank for a number of purposes. As well as comet. And I think Chi-To design would have done well as well overall. I'm just pointing out the inconsistency across different threads of discussion.

 

Obsolete =/= useful. Soviets kinda liked it, but as a design it was a horror.

 

Comet was at the last legs at the time of introduction. In practice it is not really significantly better than T-34-85 or 76mm armed Shermans and those became quickly really obsolete with first post war generation.

Edited by bojan
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I don't care about national pride or whatever. Inconsistency is inconsistency. You compared Churchill VII to Kingtiger as equal armor but said Chi-To was old style thus inferior. But then go make reasons for Comet's front hull when even Chi-To has more front. It's inconsistency, perhaps inspired by national pride. If one poster goes posting from that basis, then it gets assumed that other posters post from a similar national basis position, always applying a 1 up factor for one's camp of tanks over the other. Maybe that helps spur more exchanges. But I don't want to be viewed as just talking up Japan's tanks because Japan. It was a headache to get around when talking about Type 90 armor. And it puts what I percieve as doubt into what I say. I'm just saying it as it is and think asking for consistency isn't too much to ask for.

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Well, Churchill did seem quite a fine tank for a number of purposes. As well as comet. And I think Chi-To design would have done well as well overall. I'm just pointing out the inconsistency across different threads of discussion.

 

Obsolete =/= useful. Soviets kinda liked it, but as a design it was a horror.

 

Comet was at the last legs at the time of introduction. In practice it is not really significantly better than T-34-85 or 76mm armed Shermans and those became quickly really obsolete with first post war generation.

 

 

 

Obsolescent might be a better description. Obsolete is what it means, usless. Obsolescent is like the A10, its way out of date but still useful for killing people.

 

Yes, I believe I agree with you, Comet was in most respects as good a tank as the T34/85 and the later Shermans. For a nation that spent the mid war with tanks that were considerably inferior to everyone else, this is a significant step up.

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Well, Churchill did seem quite a fine tank for a number of purposes. As well as comet. And I think Chi-To design would have done well as well overall. I'm just pointing out the inconsistency across different threads of discussion.

 

Obsolete =/= useful. Soviets kinda liked it, but as a design it was a horror.

 

Comet was at the last legs at the time of introduction. In practice it is not really significantly better than T-34-85 or 76mm armed Shermans and those became quickly really obsolete with first post war generation.

Well Churchill was designed as an Infantry support tank. Not a tank for large scale fast manuevers over distance. Russians needed to cover a lot of ground when attacking. So Churchill would be not so good for that. In some situations, Churchill might be more suitable for support than IS-2 or IS-3.

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Ok, so KV1 has one sloped plate on the vehicle, but that is does not a sloped armoured vehicle make. Even Churchill had the bow plate sloped. Come to that matter, even Matilda had a cast sloped from hull. Does that make it a sloped armour vehicle? Obviously not.

 

Is Centurion not sloped armor tanks since only glacis and lower front were really sloped? Thing is, KV-1 front was sloped at 30deg as a means to increase protection. 30deg angle (and in practice it gave it about 20-25% more protection vs AP vs theoretical 15% - so 90-94mm effective armor) was a compromise between different requirements (such as using available machine park, various requirements of protection etc).

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I don't care about national pride or whatever. Inconsistency is inconsistency. You compared Churchill VII to Kingtiger as equal armor but said Chi-To was old style thus inferior. But then go make reasons for Comet's front hull when even Chi-To has more front. It's inconsistency, perhaps inspired by national pride. If one poster goes posting from that basis, then it gets assumed that other posters post from a similar national basis position, always applying a 1 up factor for one's camp of tanks over the other. Maybe that helps spur more exchanges. But I don't want to be viewed as just talking up Japan's tanks because Japan. It was a headache to get around when talking about Type 90 armor. And it puts what I percieve as doubt into what I say. I'm just saying it as it is and think asking for consistency isn't too much to ask for.

So lets get this straight, you really want to compare a British Heavy tank of which damn near 6000 were built, to a Japanese medium tank of which only 2 were ever built and never saw combat?

 

Ok, so you know what, I can happily class the Chi To as undoubtedly the best medium tank ever built. And in the end, what difference does it make? They failed to make enough of them to be of any use other than to online arguments 70 years later. For all the undoubted flaws of the Churchill tank, it proved absolutely essential on D Day, and in the Northwest European campaign, whether it was an out of date piece of crap or not.

 

You know what, lets take this argument to world of tanks where you can kick my ass and demonstrate the superiority of Japanese tank design. ive nothing more to offer you.

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Obsolescent might be a better description. Obsolete is what it means, usless. Obsolescent is like the A10, its way out of date but still useful for killing people.

 

Obsolescent at a time of introduction. Once T-54s appeared in numbers (and by mid-50s there was already shitloads of them), obsolete was a real word, since even side turret would be very, very tough for Comet's gun. Only side hull at sub 1000m range would be vulnerable in typical combat situations, and and only at relatively narrow band of angles. Unlike Comet saving grace for T-34-85 post war was that it got good HEAT ammo in early '60s enabling it to combat newer tanks frontally.

Also obsolete is not automatically useless, as there is very little military hardware that is totally useless. Sherman could be useful in Afghanistan even today, but it is obsolete nevertheless.

 

 

Yes, I believe I agree with you, Comet was in most respects as good a tank as the T34/85 and the later Shermans. For a nation that spent the mid war with tanks that were considerably inferior to everyone else, this is a significant step up.

 

 

Except Comet was too little too late. It's impact on war was minimal, unlike 76 Shermans and T-34-85s (T-34-85 was considered obsolescent at a time of introduction, in January 1944) and post war it was quickly obsoleted.

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....whether it was an out of date piece of crap or not.

As I have noted, obsolete =/= useless. I am pretty sure British tankers would be happier with IS-2, but Churchills (and almost any other fielded tanks) in the war did their job, as most often there was no other tanks to do it...

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Ok, so KV1 has one sloped plate on the vehicle, but that is does not a sloped armoured vehicle make. Even Churchill had the bow plate sloped. Come to that matter, even Matilda had a cast sloped from hull. Does that make it a sloped armour vehicle? Obviously not.

 

Is Centurion not sloped armor tanks since only glacis and lower front were really sloped? Thing is, KV-1 front was sloped at 30deg as a means to increase protection. 30deg angle (and in practice it gave it about 20-25% more protection vs AP vs theoretical 15% - so 90-94mm effective armor) was a compromise between different requirements (such as using available machine park, various requirements of protection etc).

 

The bow was, but the rest of it wasnt. It has far more in common with Comet than Panther. TBH, I dont think we really got what could be called a sloped armour design till we got Conqueror.

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....whether it was an out of date piece of crap or not.

As I have noted, obsolete =/= useless. I am pretty sure British tankers would be happier with IS-2, but Churchills (and almost any other fielded tanks) in the war did their job, as most often there was no other tanks to do it...

 

Im a big fan of the Js2, but from what I understand, it was made to do a completely different role, as heavy tank killer as well as infantry support role. The nearest we had to that was Sherman Firefly or Archer, or the unfielded Black Prince. We just didnt use armour that way. Perhaps should have done, yes, but our doctrine was completely different.

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Obsolescent might be a better description. Obsolete is what it means, usless. Obsolescent is like the A10, its way out of date but still useful for killing people.

 

Obsolescent at a time of introduction. Once T-54s appeared in numbers (and by mid-50s there was already shitloads of them), obsolete was a real word, since even side turret would be very, very tough for Comet's gun. Only side hull at sub 1000m range would be vulnerable in typical combat situations, and and only at relatively narrow band of angles. Unlike Comet saving grace for T-34-85 post war was that it got good HEAT ammo in early '60s enabling it to combat newer tanks frontally.

Also obsolete is not automatically useless, as there is very little military hardware that is totally useless. Sherman could be useful in Afghanistan even today, but it is obsolete nevertheless.

 

 

Yes, I believe I agree with you, Comet was in most respects as good a tank as the T34/85 and the later Shermans. For a nation that spent the mid war with tanks that were considerably inferior to everyone else, this is a significant step up.

 

 

Except Comet was too little too late. It's impact on war was minimal, unlike 76 Shermans and T-34-85s (T-34-85 was considered obsolescent at a time of introduction, in January 1944) and post war it was quickly obsoleted.

 

Well you say that, but lets look at it from the perspective of the crews. They spend most of the desert war in crusaders, they spend the Normandy campaign in Cromwells, and they finally get a tank that is at least as good as anything built in the USSR or American arsenals to invade Germany with. Yes, it was leaving it late, but it was early enough to take part in the Battle of the Bulge and finish the war. It made a difference to those crewing them, and it very likely saved lives. I know it did, I was privileged to hear one of the guys crewing them and he loved it.

 

I really dont mind so much what the effect on the war was, because by late 1944 it was a done deal anyway. The Abrams Tank could have turned up in January 1st 1945 and it would have made little real difference either. :D

 

And yet they were still using T34 it well into the 1950's, and in some units in East Germany, until the 1960's. And why not, it worked and was a good tank.

 

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Obsolescent might be a better description. Obsolete is what it means, usless. Obsolescent is like the A10, its way out of date but still useful for killing people.

 

Obsolescent at a time of introduction. Once T-54s appeared in numbers (and by mid-50s there was already shitloads of them), obsolete was a real word, since even side turret would be very, very tough for Comet's gun. Only side hull at sub 1000m range would be vulnerable in typical combat situations, and and only at relatively narrow band of angles. Unlike Comet saving grace for T-34-85 post war was that it got good HEAT ammo in early '60s enabling it to combat newer tanks frontally.

Also obsolete is not automatically useless, as there is very little military hardware that is totally useless. Sherman could be useful in Afghanistan even today, but it is obsolete nevertheless.

 

 

Yes, I believe I agree with you, Comet was in most respects as good a tank as the T34/85 and the later Shermans. For a nation that spent the mid war with tanks that were considerably inferior to everyone else, this is a significant step up.

 

 

Except Comet was too little too late. It's impact on war was minimal, unlike 76 Shermans and T-34-85s (T-34-85 was considered obsolescent at a time of introduction, in January 1944) and post war it was quickly obsoleted.

 

Im sorry I missed your bit at the top.

 

But by that point we were already introducing 20 pounder in Charioteer. Which was awful, but as far as a tank destroyer it was adequate, and 20 pounder proved viable against T55 in 1967. And Centurion III was already getting 20 pounder by 1950. Comet had already been moved down to the armoured recce role, where its nearest comparison would be any lend lease Valentines that might have survived, or T70 and T80 light tanks. Its speed made it useable in that role, but Im not pretending the 17pdr was still a viable gun into the 1950's against anything but T34's, because it wasnt.

Edited by Stuart Galbraith
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Yes, welding clearly was a problem. We employed shipbuilders and railway rolling stock companies to perform whats really shadow factory work. Well its down to personal opinion, I think the numbers of tanks we built need explaining if the decisions on how we build them did not play a part in it.

Um, because the decision was taken in 1941 to rely on American productive capacity for tank supply? If you haven't yet, you need to read Benjamin Coombs, British Tank Production and the War Economy, 1934-1945.

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