autogun

Military Guns and Ammunition

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This is intended for people interested in the subject of military guns and their ammunition, with emphasis on automatic weapons.

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The Foresight War Revisited: AFVs   Novel: The Foresight War

Started 16-Feb by autogun; 1686 views.
autogun

From: autogun

16-Feb

Tank design, including guns.

In reply toRe: msg 1
autogun

From: autogun

17-Feb

Tank design is probably the most criticised aspect of UK weapon development in WW2. In 1940 there was a decent (but slow) infantry tank in the A.12 "Matilda II" but it was too small to upgun. Everything else was also handicapped by railway gauge limitations with turrets too small to take a significantly larger gun than the 40mm 2 pdr (except by dropping the turret crew to two), and by inadequate engines until the 600 hp Meteor (based on the aviation Merlin) entered service. Only right at the end of the war did a decent but unremarkable tank - the A.34 "Comet" - get into service. The UK did not produce a first-class tank until the Centurion which was too late for the war. 

So there was lots of room for improvement, as proposed in the original TFW: a family of vehicles based on a compact design with the engine at the front next to the driver (see the Argentinian TAM tank) , leaving the entire back half of the vehicle clear for various turrets, LT mountings, personnel carrying etc. Followed up by something very like the Centurion.

Red7272

From: Red7272

17-Feb

autogun said:

Tank design is probably the most criticised aspect of UK weapon development in WW2. In 1940 there was a decent (but slow) infantry tank in the A.12 "Matilda II" but it was too small to upgun. Everything else was also handicapped by railway gauge limitations with turrets too small to take a significantly larger gun than the 40mm 2 pdr (except by dropping the turret crew to two), and by inadequate engines until the 600 hp Meteor (based on the aviation Merlin) entered service. Only right at the end of the war did a decent but unremarkable tank - the A.34 "Comet" - get into service. The UK did not produce a first-class tank until the Centurion which was too late for the war.

Well, it will involve throwing a number of babies out with the existing design constraints. Both the Cromwell and the Meteor date from 1940. Christie suspension is probably there to stay since torsion bars are still very new.  The Cromwell with a sloped glacis and a slightly better gun than the 75 mm would be an obvious candidate as a universal tank to replace the Matilda and Crusader designs. The usual candidate 3"/20 cwt can be used in that role 

autogun

From: autogun

17-Feb

Red7272 said:

The Cromwell with a sloped glacis and a slightly better gun than the 75 mm would be an obvious candidate as a universal tank to replace the Matilda and Crusader designs. The usual candidate 3"/20 cwt can be used in that role 

AIUI, the problem with the Cromwell was that the 77mm gun (which used the same cartridge case as the 3"/20cwt) was too big to fit into the turret - that's why the Comet was designed, it was the smallest tank which could take that gun.

Red7272

From: Red7272

17-Feb

autogun said:

AIUI, the problem with the Cromwell was that the 77mm gun (which used the same cartridge case as the 3"/20cwt) was too big to fit into the turret - that's why the Comet was designed, it was the smallest tank which could take that gun.

Which seems odd since the Comet is one inch wider than the Cromwell. Just specifying the 3" 20cwt as the gun early rather than the 6 pounder should resolve that. 

autogun

From: autogun

18-Feb

Red7272 said:

Just specifying the 3" 20cwt as the gun early rather than the 6 pounder should resolve that. 

They did, but then found it wouldn't quite fit...

Red7272

From: Red7272

18-Feb

autogun said:

They did, but then found it wouldn't quite fit...

So they made the tank 1 inch wider. I imagine telling them that in 1940 when they are designing the hull rather than 1942 will make all the difference.

autogun

From: autogun

18-Feb

Red7272 said:

So they made the tank 1 inch wider. I imagine telling them that in 1940 when they are designing the hull rather than 1942 will make all the difference.

I think there was rather more to it than that. However, the story of British tank development in WW2 (as recounted by David Fletcher in "The Great Tank Scandal" and "The Universal Tank") is a very sorry one of errors, confusion, missed opportunities and general incompetence.

Red7272

From: Red7272

22-Feb

autogun said:

I think there was rather more to it than that. However, the story of British tank development in WW2 (as recounted by David Fletcher in "The Great Tank Scandal" and "The Universal Tank") is a very sorry one of errors, confusion, missed opportunities and general incompetence.

They had the same turret ring diameter, so yes much stupidity was involved in the design. The 3"/20 cwt was probably too heavy to be elevated with the gunner's shoulder, which was the practice in 1940.

  • Edited 22 February 2021 4:30  by  Red7272
autogun

From: autogun

22-Feb

Red7272 said:

The 3"/20 cwt was probably too heavy to be elevated with the gunner's shoulder, which was the practice in 1940.

It was that practice which was at the heart of the British problem with turret sizes: for it to work, the gun needed to be balanced so that the trunnions were at exactly the gun's balance point. This meant that a lot of gun had to be in the turret, not leaving enough room for handling long rounds of ammunition.

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