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Posted By: Sadurian Tanks 'n' Gunz. Modern military hardware - 14/11/20 12:14 PM
This thread was inspired by chat elsewhere that threatened to overwhelm and divert that poor innocent thread.

As it says on the tin; a discussion on military hardware. We were chatting about tanks and weapons of the Second World War, but any military hardware could be talked about.

I shouldn't need to say it but will anyhow; please DO NOT start getting political. This is about the hardware and its application, not the regimes behind it.
Posted By: vometia Re: Tanks 'n' Gunz. Modern military hardware - 14/11/20 01:04 PM
It's going to get shouty anyway, you know that. Someone will claim that Teh Tiger is teh awesome and I will have to point out it isn't, and that the MG42 fires literally eleventy billion times a second and is the best gun in the history of ever and I'll say it's kinda cool and interesting but fundamentally horrible, inaccurate and a liability. And then I'll start coming over all fangirly about Bren guns and have to post a picture of Vometia in Fallout 3 with a Bren:

[Linked Image]

and RL Vometia who's fatter with a RL Bren that's heavier:

[Linked Image]

I think we'd also concluded that the Comet was The Bestest Tank of its era and were still undecided on whether the Chaffee or Crusader was the cutest. Actually you said the Stuart and I silently disagreed because it has a head like a bucket.
There was no question on the Chaffee or Crusader being the cutest, it was the Matilda I and anyone who thinks otherwise is OBVIOUSLY a poo-poo head.
Posted By: vometia Re: Tanks 'n' Gunz. Modern military hardware - 14/11/20 01:14 PM
Oh, yeah, I find that one harder to argue with. And still thought that picture you posted of Sad Matilda outside of Bovington was really, well, sad.
Posted By: Topper Re: Tanks 'n' Gunz. Modern military hardware - 14/11/20 02:25 PM
Easy 8. Yes, its got paper for armour and Yes, it generally only carried a few hyper-verlocity rounds but it was there in such numbers, it was a war winner. I mean really, what COULD stand up to the late war German tank destroyers and tanks? The T34 also get a shout from me smile And the Cromwell but i agree the Comet was the best all rounder.
Posted By: Topper Re: Tanks 'n' Gunz. Modern military hardware - 14/11/20 02:26 PM
Originally Posted by vometia
It's going to get shouty anyway, you know that. Someone will claim that Teh Tiger is teh awesome and I will have to point out it isn't, and that the MG42 fires literally eleventy billion times a second and is the best gun in the history of ever and I'll say it's kinda cool and interesting but fundamentally horrible, inaccurate and a liability. And then I'll start coming over all fangirly about Bren guns and have to post a picture of Vometia in Fallout 3 with a Bren:

[Linked Image]

and RL Vometia who's fatter with a RL Bren that's heavier:

[Linked Image]

I think we'd also concluded that the Comet was The Bestest Tank of its era and were still undecided on whether the Chaffee or Crusader was the cutest. Actually you said the Stuart and I silently disagreed because it has a head like a bucket.


Your tracers seem to be losing velocity at a serious rate there laugh
Posted By: vometia Re: Tanks 'n' Gunz. Modern military hardware - 14/11/20 02:40 PM
Originally Posted by Topper
Your tracers seem to be losing velocity at a serious rate there laugh

Apparently Bren gunners preferred worn-out barrels! But apparently not quite that worn-out. On a slightly less flippant note, it was an extremely accurate gun, which isn't always helpful on full-auto, but it was apocryphally used as a sniper rifle ("apocryphal" as I'm not entirely convinced that the sudden change in its centre of gravity in the albeit tiny fraction of a second between pulling its trigger and firing was conducive to such things) but looking at the design it did have was what effectively a modern free-floated barrel which wasn't really inhibited by the way the gas system was implemented. Hard to say if it was designed with that in mind but it does have a lot of very clever features; I mean most of which were courtesy of the chaps at Brno who designed the Zb26(? I think), I'm not sure how much the guys at Enfield contributed beyond re-chambering it for .303 but it seems there were a number of changes there too.

Sorry, I sometimes get a bit nerdy when it comes to how stuff works. It's normally limited to programming, which is just as well because I'm a terrible shot.
Originally Posted by vometia
And still thought that picture you posted of Sad Matilda outside of Bovington was really, well, sad.

Yes; sad Matilda is... sad.

[Linked Image]
Posted By: Topper Re: Tanks 'n' Gunz. Modern military hardware - 14/11/20 03:14 PM
Originally Posted by vometia
Originally Posted by Topper
Your tracers seem to be losing velocity at a serious rate there laugh

Apparently Bren gunners preferred worn-out barrels! But apparently not quite that worn-out. On a slightly less flippant note, it was an extremely accurate gun, which isn't always helpful on full-auto, but it was apocryphally used as a sniper rifle ("apocryphal" as I'm not entirely convinced that the sudden change in its centre of gravity in the albeit tiny fraction of a second between pulling its trigger and firing was conducive to such things) but looking at the design it did have was what effectively a modern free-floated barrel which wasn't really inhibited by the way the gas system was implemented. Hard to say if it was designed with that in mind but it does have a lot of very clever features; I mean most of which were courtesy of the chaps at Brno who designed the Zb26(? I think), I'm not sure how much the guys at Enfield contributed beyond re-chambering it for .303 but it seems there were a number of changes there too.

Sorry, I sometimes get a bit nerdy when it comes to how stuff works. It's normally limited to programming, which is just as well because I'm a terrible shot.

Nothing wrong with Nerdy. Nerds are what make the world interesting and complex. All good things. I quite like the M1 Garand....
Posted By: Topper Re: Tanks 'n' Gunz. Modern military hardware - 14/11/20 03:15 PM
Originally Posted by Sadurian
Originally Posted by vometia
And still thought that picture you posted of Sad Matilda outside of Bovington was really, well, sad.

Yes; sad Matilda is... sad.

[Linked Image]

Bloody hell...You'd need a few stiches if you were in that when it got hit :O
Used as a range target to test the AP capability of newer AT rounds.

At the time it was used operationally, the 1940 France campaign, the Germans had to employ their medium artillery and the 88mm AA guns in direct-fire role to tackle it. The 37mm used both as German AT guns and tank guns in the Panzer III (the former Czech 35t and 38t tanks also had 37mm guns, but these were not the same as the native German ones) could not penetrate. This was not encouraging to the Germans facing it at Arras.

Looking at the thickness of the armour (max 60mm - the contemporary German Panzer IIIE had a maximum of 15mm, and the Panzer III series only reached a maximum 50mm even in the later marks), you can see why it was so resistant to AT fire.

That came at a cost, of course. The tank design triangle; Firepower-Protection-Mobility, definitely favoured the Protection corner at the expense of both Firepower (0.5" HMG) and Mobility (max 8mph, 6.4hp/ton).
Posted By: vometia Re: Tanks 'n' Gunz. Modern military hardware - 14/11/20 03:54 PM
I was wondering about the armour thickness: it did strike me that it looked surprisingly hefty and I was wondering if it was some sort of hollow box-form thingy or whatever you call it. But no. I was also wondering about the calibre of the shot and was a bit confused as even the two-pounder (40mm) would've probably gone straight through but 37mm would explain it.

The power-to-weight ratio is probably why the UK tank wrangling department settled on at least 10 bhp/ton, preferably 12. The Meteor was the ideal answer to that (giving the Cromwell a suspension-destroying speed of 40mph over even rough ground IIRC) and related to the biggest failings of the big Panzers which is that neither their engines not transmission could deal with the weight. Because they were never designed to. I suppose there's some irony in that German tanks now have big lazy 45-litre marine diesels powering them with no fuss and the British tanks have stayed with the approximately-Merlin-sized engine in spite of doubling in weight. Though the reliability problems aren't as bad... they need bigger engines.

Oh yeah, that nerd thing again: well someone has to I suppose. Also the Garand: I could never quite develop a liking for it but that may be as I've never handled one: I have at least fired Lee Enfields of various types (and as bad a shot as I am, it's enough to know they're much maligned), SLRs (my main memory is that the charging handle is actually painful: but it does double as a bottle opener), Sterling SMGs ("you can't hit a barn door with that", except it was the one gun I could actually aim properly; I suppose it's the one gun that is actually about the right size for me), M16s (space age, could aim it better than most rifles), a PPK (only memory is that it is *incredibly* loud) and some other stuff and faffed about with quite a lot more. But never a Garand.
Posted By: Topper Re: Tanks 'n' Gunz. Modern military hardware - 14/11/20 09:49 PM
Originally Posted by Sadurian
Used as a range target to test the AP capability of newer AT rounds.

At the time it was used operationally, the 1940 France campaign, the Germans had to employ their medium artillery and the 88mm AA guns in direct-fire role to tackle it. The 37mm used both as German AT guns and tank guns in the Panzer III (the former Czech 35t and 38t tanks also had 37mm guns, but these were not the same as the native German ones) could not penetrate. This was not encouraging to the Germans facing it at Arras.

Looking at the thickness of the armour (max 60mm - the contemporary German Panzer IIIE had a maximum of 15mm, and the Panzer III series only reached a maximum 50mm even in the later marks), you can see why it was so resistant to AT fire.

That came at a cost, of course. The tank design triangle; Firepower-Protection-Mobility, definitely favoured the Protection corner at the expense of both Firepower (0.5" HMG) and Mobility (max 8mph, 6.4hp/ton).


Really interesting stuff. I've always had an interest in WW2 history, especially DDay and onwards. I have an ancestor that was killed during operation Goodwood, probably by one of those 88's. Tanks are impressive but sooooooo vunerable. Guess thats why the British army is planning to get rid of them. Or so I heard.
Posted By: Topper Re: Tanks 'n' Gunz. Modern military hardware - 14/11/20 09:57 PM
Originally Posted by vometia
I was wondering about the armour thickness: it did strike me that it looked surprisingly hefty and I was wondering if it was some sort of hollow box-form thingy or whatever you call it. But no. I was also wondering about the calibre of the shot and was a bit confused as even the two-pounder (40mm) would've probably gone straight through but 37mm would explain it.

The power-to-weight ratio is probably why the UK tank wrangling department settled on at least 10 bhp/ton, preferably 12. The Meteor was the ideal answer to that (giving the Cromwell a suspension-destroying speed of 40mph over even rough ground IIRC) and related to the biggest failings of the big Panzers which is that neither their engines not transmission could deal with the weight. Because they were never designed to. I suppose there's some irony in that German tanks now have big lazy 45-litre marine diesels powering them with no fuss and the British tanks have stayed with the approximately-Merlin-sized engine in spite of doubling in weight. Though the reliability problems aren't as bad... they need bigger engines.

Oh yeah, that nerd thing again: well someone has to I suppose. Also the Garand: I could never quite develop a liking for it but that may be as I've never handled one: I have at least fired Lee Enfields of various types (and as bad a shot as I am, it's enough to know they're much maligned), SLRs (my main memory is that the charging handle is actually painful: but it does double as a bottle opener), Sterling SMGs ("you can't hit a barn door with that", except it was the one gun I could actually aim properly; I suppose it's the one gun that is actually about the right size for me), M16s (space age, could aim it better than most rifles), a PPK (only memory is that it is *incredibly* loud) and some other stuff and faffed about with quite a lot more. But never a Garand.


You have quite an interesting back story I suspect. I've never fired a real gun. I did play Airsoft for a few years though. Bought an M16 (M15 for copyright) and a full 1967 US army vietnam loadout. Happy days smile The Garand just always seemed.....meaty...unambiguous. The Sterling is cool. A sten that doesnt suck and doubles as a stormtrooper blaster. Whats not to like.
Gah - don't me started on getting rid of our (UK) tanks.

There was the possibility of getting rid of MBTs mooted at one point, but it was just a suggestion and will (hopefully) not be taken up. What has happened is the adoption of the Ajax; intended as a reconnaissance vehicle but which has now been earmarked to replace Challenger 2s in one of our three remaining tank regiments. The King’s Royal Hussars will become a 'medium' armour regiment.

The trouble with Ajax is that it is taller than Challenger 2, too wide to be transported by air, is less protected in its base form than the Warrior IFV, and uses a 40mm gun that trials have suggested will jam if used when travelling. The ammunition is also from a single external source (USA); our Ajax-equipped forces therefore need to rely on supplies from overseas with no domestic supplier. If the USA ever decides it does not agree with our Foreign policy (Suez anyone?) it could cripple our armoured forces by restricting or cutting ammunition supplies.

Getting rid of tanks would be a ridiculous decision (not that an armchair warrior in Whitehall won't make it). One of those ideas that sounds logical when you are fighting asymmetric conflicts against a low-tech enemy, but which is suicidal when fighting a near-peer enemy. Should the British Army need to be deployed to the Baltics or Ukraine, or if another Gulf War breaks out, tanks are going to be vital fighting units and we have too few of them as it is.
Posted By: Topper Re: Tanks 'n' Gunz. Modern military hardware - 14/11/20 10:25 PM
Hmmm....Its tricky.....I dont have enough up to date knowledge to comment to any degree.. As you say, in ideal tank on tank conditions, you need a good tank (obviously) but if future wars (the less the better) are going to be againts low tech adversaries probably in urban settings, do you need MBT's???
You don't need MBTs for low-tech enemies, but there is nothing to say that these will exclusively be the UK's military enemies for the future. It is worth training and preparing for overseas policing actions, but not at the neglect of our first-line forces developed to face peer enemies. We went down that route in the late C19th and the result was seen in Belgium in 1914. We then went down the same route in the 1920s and 30s, and 1939/40 showed what happened. We have wandered down that same old avenue again, and should the British Army be called upon to deploy, we better hope that the enemy are even worse equipped than we are.

Whilst trawling files in the UK archives at Kew, I came across a press clipping attached to a file. It was an announcement that Britain should never allow herself to be caught unprepared for war by letting her military forces deteriorate in peacetime. The announcement was by Queen Victoria in the late C19th.

Every single time we neglect the expensive forces intended to face peer enemies, the result is that we are caught on the back foot when war against such an enemy breaks out. Tanks aren't something you can suddenly re-introduce at a moment's notice. They need training and integration, logistical practice and experience. That takes years to attain. Worse is the neglect of the domestic tank industry. By allowing it to wither to a token rump f what it was, Britain is in real danger of not having a replacement for Challenger 2. The tank is already obsolescent (but not yet obsolete), and there are no replacement designs in the pipeline. We will either have to collaborate on a new design (and all efforts in that field have historically failed) or buy a foreign design 'of the shelf'. That will be the final nail in the UK tank industry's coffin, as well as becoming reliant on a foreign power for licences, support and training.
The Challenger was not a big export success and the british army did not order more. The industrial base for tank production in the UK is gone as far as I know.
KMW Nexter is working on the next Leopard and I guess that britain could join the effort. I think Rheinmetall is currently offering a comprehensive upgrade package for the Challenger 2. Its rifled gun needs to be replaced in order for it to be able to penetrate the frontal armor of current tanks. I don't see a market for a new british tank. The US industry will replace the M1A2 in the not too distant future and the market will be flooded with cheap M1s.
While MBTs are not needed to combat low tech insurgents they are quite useful. Canada is very happy with the performance of its Leopard Tanks in Afghanistan. MBTs were also very effective in urban combat in the battle of Daraa in the syrian civil war.
The main problem for MBTs are drones armed with missiles and loitering munitions like Israels Harop. The battle of Idlib between turkish proxies supported by the turkish airforce and artillery against the SAA provided lots of evidence for the thesis. More recently the battle for Berg Karabach saw the destruction of ca. 70 Armenian MBTs by drones. To the best of my knowledge the only air defense system with proven good performance against such drones is the TOR. Better laser warning systems with "decoy" projection, improved bomblet protection and inclusion of tracked close in air defense systems are basic requirements for the viability of the tank battallion under contested airspace.
Britain does have a few nukes, that is it. The european militaries are in a dismal state of preparedness. I am mostly familiar with the situation of the german army but the problems appear to be similar across the EU. Legacy hardware, little maintenance, hard to get spare parts. A lot of the maintenance relies on just in time delivery instead of stockpiling. It does not work well in peacetime and it won't get better when the supply chain gets hit.

"but if future wars (the less the better) are going to be againts low tech adversaries probably in urban settings, do you need MBT's"
I think the time of low tech adversaries is over. The cost of guided missiles has come down to a point where non state actors can and do employ them. The current trend is one back to peer competiton. The US Military is transforming rapidly away from counter insurgency to peer war capability. The Taiwan strait has become something like the new berlin wall and the change of administration in the US is not going to change the geostrategic factors putting the US and China on the path to conflict. We will see something like insurgencies but they will most likely take the form of proxy wars

I think the Bren is quite a good design but I don't like the 303 cartridge, it tends to jam. I don't own a 303 rifle but the cartridge seems to be less suited for loading strips like the ones on my K98 than 8x57
Posted By: virion Re: Tanks 'n' Gunz. Modern military hardware - 15/11/20 04:12 AM
Originally Posted by vometia
It's going to get shouty anyway, you know that. Someone will claim that Teh Tiger is teh awesome and I will have to point out it isn't, and that the MG42 fires literally eleventy billion times a second and is the best gun in the history of ever and I'll say it's kinda cool and interesting but fundamentally horrible, inaccurate and a liability. *snip*


I don't think many people would disagree. In the end Germany with their " Pyfekt , JA VOHL" MG42 lost. And there's a reason for it. For every 8 man squad armed with an MG42 2 more men had to follow them with ammunition.
In the meantime M1 Garands assisted with BARs (Or cal.30 on larger operations) could output similar firepower. Well, not similar but it allowed suppressing fire to be effective.

Also after the war Americans used some of the MG42 systems and ...nerfed them. Because of the above. That's how the M60 was born. Rambo exists because of it. We can salute the MG42 for giving us Rambo + a tragic backstory for our civilization and leave it here.

[Linked Image]

Originally Posted by Topper
Hmmm....It's tricky.....I don't have enough up to date knowledge to comment to any degree.. As you say, in the ideal tank on tank conditions, you need a good tank (obviously) but if future wars (the less the better) are going to be against low tech adversaries probably in urban settings, do you need MBT's???


The war between Russia and Ukraine kinda shown the "small, interventionist" style we were going for in EU isn't exactly the way the war of tomorrow might look. Interventionism doesn't work if 50k people rush you assisted by artillery and tanks. I took this conflict as an example cause it really was a wake up call in EU as far as I'm aware.

I'm not too familiar with the state of the EU military when it comes to the equipment itself. All tanks from the artistic point of view seem to be a copy-paste of the US Abrams ^^ We'll see if PL-01 inspires something more interesting. In Japan they work on giant Mechas, If I see an armored Mecha with a Gatling gun casually walking down the streets it will make my day.
Posted By: vometia Re: Tanks 'n' Gunz. Modern military hardware - 15/11/20 04:22 AM
The "tanks are obsolete" thing has been going on since well before I first developed an interest in them, and that was nearly 40 years ago. The UK does have a problem in that our manufacturing base has been largely trashed though I honestly have little idea how much is left. The alternative of "buy American!" that we always seem to end up with doesn't always have the best outcome: stuff often not as good as claimed (as a nation we do have a habit of talking down our own stuff while believing the hyperbole about someone else's) and the single-source-of-ammunition sounds idiotic, especially for a gun that sounds so ropey.

The rifled-vs-smoothbore thing is a controversy that will go on and on. I'm not sure how things currently stand but way back it was the case that tank-on-tank action was rare enough that e.g. the Cromwell's excellent 57mm AT gun was bored out to fire the fat lazy 75mm shells because HE was ten times more useful; if they needed something with more hitting power against tanks then a Firefly or something like that would be available (probably a bad example as they were usually assigned with other Shermans, but you get the idea). My understanding was the main reason for going down the smoothbore route was commonality of ammunition, because that idea has always worked out so well, thinking of the EM1/2 and Taden being an excellent modern weapons system of their time and having to be binned because the US Army wanted something ballistically identical to all WW1 battle rifles and of course we had to go along with it. Same story with e.g. the engines of '60s MBTs where the US and Germany said they must be multifuel then the Americans stuck with a petrol engine and the Germans with what is essentially a normal diesel, while the Chieftain coughed and spluttered with its bizarre and underpowered dual-fuel jobbie while the others looked on and said, "lol, how's that order book looking?"

Re small arms, the British Army tried more than once to replace the .303 but it didn't happen due to a mix of huge stockpiles and a lack of desire to spend money on rearming outside of wartime. AFAICT the jamming problem seems quite apocryphal and there were a lot of automatic weapons designed for it, whether via curly magazines like the Bren, Madsen, Berthier etc, belt-fed like the Vickers and Browning M1919 and others. In spite of quite definitely being an anachronism by WWII it worked well enough and from what I recall had pretty much identical ballistic performance to the Mauser 8mm. Which brings up an interesting point about ammunition commonality as locally-designed British tanks all used Mauser 8mm for their machine guns, as they were fitted with albeit British-made versions of the Czech MMG designs and someone made the decision that there was little benefit going to the bother of converting them to fire .303. And there wasn't: logistically it was never a problem. Really they needed look no further than the Vickers and Lee Enfield situation: while technically both fired the same .303 ammunition, firing Vickers .303s out of Lee Enfields would soon destroy their barrels. Which of course the squaddies did anyway as they'd heard they were more powerful. AFAIK they weren't, they just used a more streamlined bullet design to gain extra range.

Also re nukes, it's a shame that also went down the "buy American" route as we'd developed our own, having been locked out of the weapons programme for security breaches (er, remind me who leaked our Magnox reactor designs ultimately leading to fairly low-tech countries like NK being able to build them...?) which were actually better designs in some ways, i.e. being less prone to being affected by other nearby nuclear blasts. But admittedly secured by what was essentially a bicycle lock, and that slightly British thing of "er, did we say 1MT? Three is sort of about there, isn't it? Oops."
Posted By: vometia Re: Tanks 'n' Gunz. Modern military hardware - 15/11/20 04:31 AM
Originally Posted by virion
I don't think many people would disagree. In the end Germany with their " Pyfekt , JA VOHL" MG42 lost. And there's a reason for it. For every 8 man squad armed with an MG42 2 more men had to follow them with ammunition.
In the meantime M1 Garands assisted with BARs (Or cal.30 on larger operations) could output similar firepower. Well, not similar but it allowed suppressing fire to be effective.

Also after the war Americans used some of the MG42 systems and ...nerfed them. Because of the above. That's how the M60 was born. Rambo exists because of it. We can salute the MG42 for giving us Rambo + a tragic backstory for our civilization and leave it here.

I have a BAR Model D lying around somewhere (I'm really going to have to stop doing that!) Nice gun, only downside being the bottom-loading mag which limits it to 20 rounds; of course FN famously fixed that by making a minor change to the locking mechanism and grafting on a belt feed, so the mag-less BAR Model D became the now very familiar MAG/GPMG/M240-or-whatever-the-US-Army-calls-it.

The M60 was a sort of mix of the FG42 (paratrooper gun, using an almost Lewis-style gas-riven rotating bolt; not a success because 8mm ammunition was way too powerful to be fired on full auto out of something so light, probably being at least one motivating factor behind the development of the StG44) and the MG42, at least its belt feed. Sounded good on paper but was beset by multiple really terrible design decisions: the most conspicuous being that the bipod and most of the gas assembly went on the "quick-change" barrel and the carrying handle on the gun instead of the other way round, making spare barrels unnecessarily heavy and bulky,leaving the gun with nothing to support it while being changed and requiring an asbestos glove due to the lack of carrying handle (heard horror stories about people who tried not using one...) And the tendency of the entire trigger mechanism to just fall off leaving the gun in a runaway firing state and so on. I think they eventually got it right many revisions later but by that time someone had finally decided, why don't we just use the MAG like everyone else?
Posted By: Topper Re: Tanks 'n' Gunz. Modern military hardware - 15/11/20 09:45 AM
Originally Posted by Sadurian
You don't need MBTs for low-tech enemies, but there is nothing to say that these will exclusively be the UK's military enemies for the future. It is worth training and preparing for overseas policing actions, but not at the neglect of our first-line forces developed to face peer enemies. We went down that route in the late C19th and the result was seen in Belgium in 1914. We then went down the same route in the 1920s and 30s, and 1939/40 showed what happened. We have wandered down that same old avenue again, and should the British Army be called upon to deploy, we better hope that the enemy are even worse equipped than we are.

Whilst trawling files in the UK archives at Kew, I came across a press clipping attached to a file. It was an announcement that Britain should never allow herself to be caught unprepared for war by letting her military forces deteriorate in peacetime. The announcement was by Queen Victoria in the late C19th.

Every single time we neglect the expensive forces intended to face peer enemies, the result is that we are caught on the back foot when war against such an enemy breaks out. Tanks aren't something you can suddenly re-introduce at a moment's notice. They need training and integration, logistical practice and experience. That takes years to attain. Worse is the neglect of the domestic tank industry. By allowing it to wither to a token rump f what it was, Britain is in real danger of not having a replacement for Challenger 2. The tank is already obsolescent (but not yet obsolete), and there are no replacement designs in the pipeline. We will either have to collaborate on a new design (and all efforts in that field have historically failed) or buy a foreign design 'of the shelf'. That will be the final nail in the UK tank industry's coffin, as well as becoming reliant on a foreign power for licences, support and training.


And yet, at the start of WW2 the UK, France and to some extent Russia (KV1 for eg) had better tanks with apparently better production rates than Germany. It was to a degree, surprise and good leadership (and probably a lot of luck) that led to the success of the blitzkreig (or so I've read). War drives creativty and I think we saw that during WW2. I think if we ended up in another similar situation, we would see that same drive and creativity. AS long as we dont rely too heavily on code to fight our wars.... Or better still, focus on political and economic causes of conflict and prevent the bloody awful things in the first place. But how realistic is that really...
Posted By: virion Re: Tanks 'n' Gunz. Modern military hardware - 15/11/20 10:18 AM
Originally Posted by Topper


And yet, at the start of WW2 the UK, France and to some extent Russia (KV1 for eg) had better tanks with apparently better production rates than Germany. It was to a degree, surprise and good leadership (and probably a lot of luck) that led to the success of the blitzkrieg (or so I've read). War drives creativity and I think we saw that during WW2. I think if we ended up in another similar situation, we would see that same drive and creativity. AS long as we don't rely too heavily on code to fight our wars.... Or better still, focus on political and economic causes of conflict and prevent the bloody awful things in the first place. But how realistic is that really...


Not russia. Before the mass production of T-34 and it's variants, they were kinda screwed on this aspect. The same goes for France. Although you are right and their tanks were technically better than most of germans tanks apart from maybe the Panzer III ( and the german army was mostly PII /PI) they didn't use something that obvious as a radio. They were designed as infantry support vehicles and that's how they were deployed and behaved. Not too sure about UK state of tanks before 42.

The thing about leadership and lucke -> I would totally agree personally, read the same thing about the campaign in France. In Russia it was a bit different. I'm still not sure how the french just assumed sending 1 plane to scout the south of Belgium was not worth it but that's what they did and a gigantic german traffic jam went unnoticed laugh Their whole army was on 1 road for a few days and went unharmed. Like if that's not lucke not sure what is.

We'll see how it will go in the future wink In my opinion we'll go with the standard " Naaah, we don't REALLY have a war...." while the whole country just explodes.
As I have mentioned somewhere on these forums before; the best tank is the one you have available. If your Char B is sat motionless because its wheeled logistics train is stuck in the roads jammed with refugees, then for all that engineering makes it a vulnerable pillbox and not a tank. As Rommel demonstrated. The German tanks in Normandy were badly positioned and struggled to move due to interdiction of their logistical support - even a King Tiger in that situation is less effective than a Sherman which is properly supported and available at the Schwerpunkt. Good tactical use of the tanks you have is also essential, of course, and that depends on communication and training.

Obviously, employment of armour is a major factor in a tank's usefulness. Throwing unsupported tanks against AT gun lines will lose you whole battalions of tanks that could have been battle-winning in other circumstances, and the heaviest tanks need major modification before being effective in built-up areas (and then only when well supported by accompanying infantry).
Originally Posted by vometia
The "tanks are obsolete" thing has been going on since well before I first developed an interest in them, and that was nearly 40 years ago.

I found the first calls that tank were obsolete in a presentation from 1919. The argument that tanks are no longer useful on the battlefield has existed almost as long at the tank itself.
The BAR is too heavy and unwieldy for what it provides.
I would like to completely disagree with Vometia on the FG42. The initial versions required special steel that was in short supply and even the later redesigns could not be produced in large quantities. The wooden stock was its major weak point. It was hollow in order to make room for the recoil dampening system. If you can get your hands on a good reproduction (sadly no full auto), it is a great rifle and causes much less shoulder pain than the 98.
Of course the 303 didn't suffer the jamming issues in the Vickers gun. Beltfed weapons are immune to the kind of magazine chaos the form of the cartridge provokes. As far as I remember someone shot about a million rounds of 303 from a vickers gun (with lots of barrel changes) without a single jam. Curiously enough the water cooled Vickers is one of a few machineguns that can be legally owned by german citizens in germany.
There is a very nice swiss variant of the MG42, the MG51, which is very reliable and limited to approx. 1000 rounds per minute.

The tanks are obsolete thing has been going on a long time. Its about as longlived as the "battles never change anything" argument. There was a conference of proponents of said thesis in hastings of all places
BAE closed its tank facility at newcastle upon tyne in 2017. Britan can -to the best of my knowledge- not make new Tanks. They would have to build a new facility.
Posted By: vometia Re: Tanks 'n' Gunz. Modern military hardware - 15/11/20 04:27 PM
The original BAR is a bit of a weirdy in that it doesn't really fit the role of rifle or LMG very well. Though it looked cool in The Omega Man, along with the Swedish (Karl Gustav? I forget now) SMG. The Model D pretty much turned it into an LMG, and the MAG doesn't really need any introduction!

My opinion of the FG42 is admittedly exactly that: or perhaps "conjecture" is a better word. So I could be completely wrong about that; but having experienced the potentially lighter recoil of an SLR (though the 7.62 NATO is slightly higher velocity than the 8mm, it's also a fair bit lighter IIRC) I wouldn't want to try it on full auto even with a damper. I presume the mechanism was similar to the Bren, where the entire upper receiver could recoil about 2-3mm against a very stiff buffer spring. Nothing to do with the functioning of the gun, just to make it less argh to fire.

The one thing the .303 couldn't really do was push-through feeding, so belt-fed weapons had to use a rather more complex system where they'd carefully pluck the cartridge out of the belt, manoeuvre it into place and chamber it. The rather clockwork mechanism of the Vickers is quite a work of art. But magazine feeding wasn't a problem, the Bren being renowned for its solid reliability. I'm still a bit perplexed as to how the stripper clips worked with the Lee Enfield as common sense says that they "shouldn't" with their strange under-over-under-over-under arrangement. But they do.

Oh yeah, and the Vickers endurance test thing. I think it was a million rounds between 10 guns, the most prolific managing about 120,000 shots that evening. One of the biggest problems was obtaining enough coolant, with soldiers reportedly being ordered to "make water". The reports of the boiling water from the Vickers being used to make tea are very sadly nonsense as it would've contained rust, asbestos, cordite and, well, piss.

Edit: with regard to it being legal, I guess that's probably due to it being rather impractical. I mean unless motorbike-and-sidecar drive-bys start to become a thing. I used to work with someone who was an amateur sidecar racer. It's much more insane than I'd expected.

And firing rates: the Vickers was reduced from about 600 rpm in WW1 to about 450-500 in WW2. It seems the boosted firing rate was seen as unnecessarily profligate. Presumably by those who disapproved of the "let's fire a million rounds in one evening lol" publicity stunt.
Posted By: Topper Re: Tanks 'n' Gunz. Modern military hardware - 15/11/20 09:09 PM
Guns are obsolete...Gimme a few lines of code instead.
As far as I remember the dampening path for the FG42 is much larger than what the clever Czechs did for the Bren. Maybe some people from the factory at Brünn joined the FG42 development after the start of the occupation? They were often involved in the design of the most advanced rifles of the time. The SS renamed one of their most recent creations at the time of occupation the SS41. In my humble opinion the prettiest rifle ever made. Hard to get and I guess no ammo available these days. I wonder about the rights to the design. The locking mechanism reminiscent of a Tank is a thing of beauty and I would really like a 330 version.
"Guns are obsolete...Gimme a few lines of code instead."
Nah, they complement each other. Be a virtuoso in all things that come with Kali and find your opponent, then drop a bunch of good old 150mm shells on them. Combined arms is an evolving concept and encompasses C4ISR
"Edit: with regard to it being legal, I guess that's probably due to it being rather impractical."
Tempting thought. But we are talking about politicians. "Nazi stuff bad, lets limit it to guns produced prior to the third reich. Yeah. Most of these guns were water cooled, shall we ban the others? Whatever, just do it"
Posted By: Topper Re: Tanks 'n' Gunz. Modern military hardware - 16/11/20 01:56 PM
Yeah, but what if your 150mm ammo requisition is intercepted (via hacking skullduggery) and changed to a request for Flumps?.....It could happen.
Posted By: Topper Re: Tanks 'n' Gunz. Modern military hardware - 16/11/20 02:02 PM
Originally Posted by virion
Originally Posted by Topper


And yet, at the start of WW2 the UK, France and to some extent Russia (KV1 for eg) had better tanks with apparently better production rates than Germany. It was to a degree, surprise and good leadership (and probably a lot of luck) that led to the success of the blitzkrieg (or so I've read). War drives creativity and I think we saw that during WW2. I think if we ended up in another similar situation, we would see that same drive and creativity. AS long as we don't rely too heavily on code to fight our wars.... Or better still, focus on political and economic causes of conflict and prevent the bloody awful things in the first place. But how realistic is that really...


Not russia. Before the mass production of T-34 and it's variants, they were kinda screwed on this aspect. The same goes for France. Although you are right and their tanks were technically better than most of germans tanks apart from maybe the Panzer III ( and the german army was mostly PII /PI) they didn't use something that obvious as a radio. They were designed as infantry support vehicles and that's how they were deployed and behaved. Not too sure about UK state of tanks before 42.

The thing about leadership and lucke -> I would totally agree personally, read the same thing about the campaign in France. In Russia it was a bit different. I'm still not sure how the french just assumed sending 1 plane to scout the south of Belgium was not worth it but that's what they did and a gigantic german traffic jam went unnoticed laugh Their whole army was on 1 road for a few days and went unharmed. Like if that's not lucke not sure what is.

We'll see how it will go in the future wink In my opinion we'll go with the standard " Naaah, we don't REALLY have a war...." while the whole country just explodes.



It always surpised me that the UK actually had surplus capacity during WW2 hence the lend/lease thing with Russia. I remmember reading about the KV1 genesis and how when German observers saw it, they were extremly concerned. The Russians actually thought the observers where playing a game with them and felt sure that Germany would have something equally big and dangerous in production or in conception. Sending one scout plane is beyond stupid, totally agree.
Originally Posted by Topper
Yeah, but what if your 150mm ammo requisition is intercepted .....It could happen.


It could. The enemy could also in theory invent a superior air defense missile and a giant phased array to go along with it. So disband the airforce because it could happen?
Sabotage and disinformation have pretty much always been a part of war. A german unit managed to disguise as americans during the ardennes offensive and sent an american unit packing because they were supposedly about to be replaced at the front.
Nothing fundamentally changed when C3ISR became C4ISR. Computer networks added new ways to disrupt things but that simply constitutes an expansion of the tools of the trade. Cyber Warfare does not replace anything, it merely adds new options. I don't see how the presence of it would make artillery obsolete.
Russia has already tested decoupling its part of the internet from abroad. If you strike first, start by decoupling your network from the rest of the world.
To turn your argument around: What if your hacker farm becomes useless by a 20 Dollar grenade blowing up its electricity supply? Easy to repair. Lets up the game: What if a submarine (Losharik comes to mind) places shaped charges over all subsea cables connecting your nation with the rest of the world and someone triggers them? Let us leave the realm of mere theory: It has placed them, that is the reason for its existence.
I think that this whole idea of network centric warfare is somewhat naive. Look at what happened in Ukraine: Jamming. Forget about wireless networks in a peer war. Satellites will be shot down, the electromagnetic spectrum will bristle with noise. Is hacking a part of warfare now? Yes Does it make anything obsolete? No
Critical infrastructure should not have an IP address. I think that the most useful aspect of IT based attacks is to be found in measures short of war. Sabotaging the economy of the enemy while maintaining plausible deniability is a bigger threat than interference with the military supply chain. Of course there were successful malware attacks on military infrastructure like the Israeli Stuxnet sabotage of Irans centrifuges. They usually require spies at the place (no network connection) and in-detail knowledge of the facility.
In contrast something like a steel plant with its Windows CE based security hole of an operating system is a trivial target. The whole IoT pandemic of microcontroller infested networked devices makes everything from church bells to IP Cameras to milling machines available on the net. Often without the need to exploit security loopholes: The interfaces are HTML and show up by simply typing in the IP. No password required. Add naive employees susceptible to opening attachements to the mix and it becomes pretty simple for a state actor to take down most of an economy.
The military is not immune to cyber attacks, otherwise TSMC would not build a separate US Factory for backdoor free military chips, but it is much less vulnerable than industry. Pick the low hanging fruit, sabotage the enemies economy and don't even declare war in the first place. Economic coercion and bullying work most of the time
Posted By: Topper Re: Tanks 'n' Gunz. Modern military hardware - 16/11/20 06:21 PM
"I don't see how the presence of it would make artillery obsolete." smile It doesnt, just yanking chains. In that sort of mood today. Monday... Re the options to take me offline..... OK, I'd use a backup power supply (And employ better guards next time). Option two...I'd use satellite connectivity to connect to a range of well dispersed operators. Only need one operator and a laptop. Meanwhile, your Arty boys and girls are sitting on their hands, waiting for ammo. Eating flumps.
Originally Posted by Sadurian
You don't need MBTs for low-tech enemies, but there is nothing to say that these will exclusively be the UK's military enemies for the future. It is worth training and preparing for overseas policing actions, but not at the neglect of our first-line forces developed to face peer enemies. We went down that route in the late C19th and the result was seen in Belgium in 1914. We then went down the same route in the 1920s and 30s, and 1939/40 showed what happened. We have wandered down that same old avenue again, and should the British Army be called upon to deploy, we better hope that the enemy are even worse equipped than we are.

Whilst trawling files in the UK archives at Kew, I came across a press clipping attached to a file. It was an announcement that Britain should never allow herself to be caught unprepared for war by letting her military forces deteriorate in peacetime. The announcement was by Queen Victoria in the late C19th.

Every single time we neglect the expensive forces intended to face peer enemies, the result is that we are caught on the back foot when war against such an enemy breaks out. Tanks aren't something you can suddenly re-introduce at a moment's notice. They need training and integration, logistical practice and experience. That takes years to attain. Worse is the neglect of the domestic tank industry. By allowing it to wither to a token rump f what it was, Britain is in real danger of not having a replacement for Challenger 2. The tank is already obsolescent (but not yet obsolete), and there are no replacement designs in the pipeline. We will either have to collaborate on a new design (and all efforts in that field have historically failed) or buy a foreign design 'of the shelf'. That will be the final nail in the UK tank industry's coffin, as well as becoming reliant on a foreign power for licences, support and training.

Yup, totally agree. I was shocked too at the announcement of cutting one of the tank regiments. Even at three regiments that's too small a force. Once you're at two regiments, then people can make the argument of what is the point of continuing to have any at all.

Even here in the US there are voices beginning to be raised about getting rid of tanks altogether. The Marines have already made this decision. The Army OTOH has added another armored brigade to the force, and the A5 version of the M1 is still pretty potent. But the exponentially increasing lethality of ATGMs is pushing tanks into extinction.
A question for vometia
How did you obtain a permit for yor Bren in the UK? I have the impression that owning automatic rifles in the UK is quite difficult.

The Marines don't know what to do. Their new commander has said that landings against a peer enemy are not possible. They are trying to reinvent themselves, but some of it reads like a b-movie script. Marines hunting submarines, hidden jungle airbases,
Posted By: vometia Re: Tanks 'n' Gunz. Modern military hardware - 22/11/20 01:44 AM
It's deactivated. The process is quite comprehensive so while it looks the part, cycles and is intact enough that it can be taken to bits to see how it works, it'll never fire again. The process involves milling away at least half the bolt face at an angle of at least 45⁰ and weakening/destroying/removing all other load-bearing surfaces, in its case the locking block in the upper receiver (gone) and the gas piston (unscrewed from bolt carrier and discarded, and the part it screws into having slot cut along its length). The barrel has a slot cut in its underside for about half its length, has the bore drilled out and a steel rod inserted and welded in place, has a hardened steel pin blocking the entrance of the chamber and is then welded to the receiver to stop it being removed. Which I think is everything; the bolt still has the firing pin (albeit ground down with the bolt face), the trigger mechanism still functions as it did originally and so on. The BAR Model D and MG42/53 have undergone much the same procedure, in the case of the latter the rollers have been removed as the load-bearing components, barrel and bolt treated the same way as with the Bren.

The regulations have become significantly more stringent recently, mainly due to weak politicians and media pressure where it's wrongly claimed that the above can be reactivated in a back-street workshop in under half an hour, which is obviously nonsense unless they mean with a new bolt, receiver and barrel, in other words essentially an entirely new gun. Rather worryingly, this take was claimed to be true by a police "expert": not sure if he wasn't as expert as he claimed or if he was just lying. So the bolt and carrier have to be entirely destroyed, a facsimile welded in place and the trigger mechanism also filled with weld. It seems absolutely pointless except as an act of vandalism which will prevent people interested in the history of small arms from studying them. Existing deactivations are unaffected due to laws usually not being retrospective but they can't be "transferred" (i.e. sold, inherited or gifted) without being re-deactivated to the new specification.

My own opinions about the legal ownership of live weapons are rather ambivalent and I'm unable to reach consensus even with myself. I think the laws are much too draconian; on the other hand an e.g. .303 Bren gun is an exceedingly powerful military weapon and I think I would be a bit uncomfortable with the idea of it existing outside of a military armoury.

That said, I'm reminded of when I was younger and daft(er) and spent a while in the Army being made to do the graveyard shift patrol of this really, really creepy old Napoleonic fort. They have me a sub-machine-gun and no ammunition. I would sort of try to look as menacing as a scrawny teenager with an unloaded gun could manage as I walked though deserted moonlit courtyards and past various archways with impenetrably black inky shadows. No ghosts nor vampires accosted me so it seemed to have worked.

Edit: here's a photo I found of the Bren's innards (well, actually a previously owned one, but they're much the same) so you can hopefully see what I'm on about. I'd forgotten about the hammer/unlocking cam which also has part of its face ground away, the bit that would strike the firing pin.

[Linked Image]
Some eastern european salute versions had a simple stick welded into the barrel. Making the barrel shorter made the guns fully functional, so terrorists did just that.
Politicians were desperate to create an illusion of control after the paris massacre. Combine the will to symbolic political action with the absence of knowledge on guns and everything is present for more useless legislation
Someone confused these weapons with the more thoroughly modified german salute rifles and then these with the completely deactivated ones.
The result is phenomenal:
Decoration weapons now need to have their triggers welded, magazines welded and filled with epoxy resin, bolt carriers welded, bolt heads ground, barrels welded to the body, barrels drilled, barrels welded. Its a brick of steel that cannot be disassembled or used to demonstrate the function of the rifle. It lost most of its fun and educational value. Expected deaths avoided? 0 Probably someone will get hurt trying to disassemble one.
Also new regulations for live weapons. I had the pleasure of buying and moving a new heavy safe for my guns. Then there are those utterly dangerous large magazines. If you bought one (german law) before 2017, keep it. If you bought one a day too late it is a banned weapon and treated the same way as a complete assault rifle. Special permit on request, needs to be stored in a high security safe. If you don't own weapons and just the magazine and you bought it before 2017, store it on your kitchen table or whereever you like. Strictly speaking: If you have two magazines of the same type and you accidentally switch the one you are not required to store in the safe with the one you must lock there you are committing a crime.
When asked about it the parliamentarians say "We only do what the EU requires us to do" which is not true because the EU wrote nothing about the magazine thing and which becomes an outright lie considering that it was the german MEPs who started the EU firearms directive. Switzerland was forced to implement it, too. The threat was to kick them out of Schengen free trade if they said no. 36,2% of the voters would have risked free trade for keeping their gun laws. In other words: The EU forced millions of citicens of a neutral country to give up some of their rights. Fortunately the swiss are very liberal with special permits for semiautomatic rifles. The EU allows special exemptions, so almost everyone gets one.
All of this also represents compensationless devaluation of property. A good condition MP38 used to be worth as much as a car, now it cannot be sold (legally) anymore. All these pieces of history are marked for eventual destruction. Individual gun parts were legal here in germany. Only bolt head and barrel required a license. Now the receivers and triggers also count and need to be registered. Millions of individual parts are now illegal. 5 years of prison for buying a harmless brick of metal without a barrel.

As long as there are some checks for ownership (no history of violent crimes and no episodes of schizophrenia in the last 5 years) I don't mind civilians owning fully automatic rifles. Civilians are allowed to own planes and crashing a bombardier (interesting name) business jet into a crowd creates equivalent carnage. As these jets are often luxury items I don't accept the "but transportation is a legitimate use" argument. Allow the people to have some fun or build a prison state. Considering the amount of surveillance in london Britain seems to have chosen the second option. It's not just guns, even carrying knifes is now banned in many areas. The problem is that criminals just don't care. At least my gun permit allows me to carry a little knife in no-gun zones here in germany. That is about the only new law that makes sense. People with a gun license have never been sentenced for a violent crime, let them carry knives.

If I were the government, I would take a look at the used market for biomedical equipment. You can now get a lab better equipped than the soviet bioweapons program for a million euros. But nah, lets focus on imposing restrictions on legal gun owners. The illusion of security is so much easier to achieve than actual security.
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