Author Topic: Commonwealth Group Build Profiles  (Read 1174 times)

Offline Jonesthetank

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Commonwealth Group Build Profiles
« on: November 28, 2023, 05:30:54 PM »
Thought I'd better throw my hat into the ring for this one.

Currently planning on a mix of profiles for the Commonwealth GB.

Cheers

Mark

« Last Edit: January 18, 2024, 01:04:51 AM by Jonesthetank »

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Re: Placeholder for some profiles
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2023, 01:39:33 AM »
Looking forward to
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

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Offline Jonesthetank

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Re: Placeholder for some profiles
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2024, 12:24:31 AM »
Right,  after much ado, not helped by my laptop dying and me having to recover the contents of the hard drive, I have put together some profiles for each of the Commonwealth founding nations.

Hope you like them ;)

Cheers

Mark

Offline Jonesthetank

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Re: Placeholder for some profiles
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2024, 12:35:53 AM »
Australia   

The Australian Army had operated sizeable numbers of M3 Stuart light tanks in the Pacific but had gradually opted to deploy only Matildas for frontline operations.  In 1944, the opportunity to test the new M24 Chaffee light tank led the Australian Army to request 60 vehicles for use by the reconnaissance squadrons of the frontline armoured units.  By the time of the Borneo landings, sufficient M24s had been delivered and integrated into the armoured units involved.  The M24s saw action throughout the Borneo campaign, proving very useful in their role, although under-armoured compared to the Matilda.



The M24 fleet was being prepared to join 10th Australian Division as part of Operation Downfall, with trials being undertaken to fit the type with wading kit, dozers and other add ons.  The end of the war saw the halting of these experiments.

Post war the M24s continued in their reconnaissance role, supporting the M3 fleet and the subsequent Centurions.  Limited army budgets in the 1950s meant the M24s were kept in service, despite the army’s attempts to find a replacement.  It was only the involvement of Australia in the Vietnam War that saw this change.
The army was interested in replacing the M24 with the newer M41 but was tempted by the arrival of the M551 Sheridan, which seemed to offer much more capability than the M41.  Trials in Australia saw the army ponder the M551.  Specific improvements would be required, which Cadillac Gage were willing to undertake, as the US Army trials had picked out similar requirements.  Eventually the army agreed to order 64 M551s, with deliveries beginning in 1967, which was later pushed back to late 1968.  In the meantime, the armoured reconnaissance units had to struggle on with their aged M24s and the Saladin armoured cars.



By the time the M551s were delivered and declared ready for service, US Army operations in Vietnam with the type saw the Australian Army opt not to deploy the type to the conflict in Southeast Asia, citing the lack of need for an armoured reconnaissance force.

It was during this same period that Australia decided to evaluate another recce type.  Following the Canadian example, the Australians trialled the M113 Lynx C&R vehicle.  The trials were deemed successful enough for the army to place an order for 52 vehicles, which would supplement the larger M551s.  The Lynx was chosen because of its logistical similarity to the standard M113, which Australia used in large numbers.




Both types served faithfully through the 1970s and 1980s and would see combat duties in 1991 in Kuwait as part of the Australian contingent of the CANZAC force, operating alongside British units during Operation Granby.  For operations in Kuwait the Lynxes were fitted with additional armoured panels, while the M551s were upgraded with US support.




The Gulf War was the last hurrah for both types, as the Army was considering replacements, settling on the GM Canada built ASLAV.  With the ASLAV entering service from 1995, the surviving M551s and Lynx were gradually retired, with the last of each type being stood down in 1996.

Offline Jonesthetank

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Re: Placeholder for some profiles
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2024, 12:43:21 AM »
Canada   
Canadians in the desert

To support British and Commonwealth forces in North Africa, Canada offered to deploy 2 divisions to the theatre, 1st Infantry Division and 5th Armoured Division.  It was decided to relieve the stress on existing tank supplies in North Africa by sending new Ram II tanks direct from Canada to equip 5th Armoured.  These were delivered “the long way round”, arriving via the Cape route and into the Red Sea, unloading in Egypt.  They were fitted for desert operations, sand shields, additional stowage etc, before being issued to the front line units.


Following a work up period, both divisions were declared operational and joined the Allied order of battle just after the Battle of Alamein, joining the pursuit of the retreating Axis forces.  The division fought across Egypt and Tunisia, supporting 1st Canadian Infantry Division, as well as other allied units.
With the Axis surrender, the Canadians were withdrawn to Egypt for re-equipping, prior to their participation in the invasion of Sicily.


Fox Heavy Reconnaissance Car– 4th Reconnaissance Regiment (4th Princess Louise Dragoon Guards) 1st Canadian Infantry Division
1st Canadian Infantry Division was also deployed to North Africa, and like 5th Armoured, was equipped with Canadian made vehicles.  In keeping with the standard tables of equipment, the 4th Princess Louise Dragoon Guards, the divisional reconnaissance regiment, was equipped with GM Fox armoured cars and Otter light reconnaissance vehicles. These saw use throughout the Canadian involvement in the campaign being joined by a mix of British types to make good losses. 


Ford Lynx – Three Rivers Regiment, 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade, 1st Canadian Infantry Division
Despite the deployment of 5th Armoured, it was decided that 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade would deploy as an integral part of the 1st Division.  Like 5th Armoured, the three tank regiments were equipped with Ram II tanks.  Lynx scout cars were used for a range of roles throughout the brigade during the whole campaign.


RCAF Super Sabre
Even as production of the Canadair Sabre was underway, a successor was already being considered.  As Canadair had built up a relationship with North American Aviation, casual discussions regarding a Canadair built version of the new F-100 Super Sabre were begun in 1954, with RCAF representatives joining the discussions in 1955. 

An agreement to build the Super Sabre in Canada was reached in 1956, with production commencing in 1957. The RCAF had decided that the Super Sabre would fulfil the fighter bomber role, while the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter would be adopted as an interceptor.  Discussions over equipping the Super Sabre with the Orenda Iroquois engine were eventually dropped, as fitting the Iroquois would require substantial redesign of the Super Sabre fuselage, so instead Orenda would build the J-57 engine under licence, which would also benefit the later CF-101 project.

Four squadrons of the RCAF would be equipped with the Super Sabre, nos 421, 427, 434 and 439, with all four initially serving in West Germany, until a re-shaping of the 1st Air Division saw 421 and 434 squadrons returning to Canada, their place in Germany being taken by 2 CF-104 squadrons. 



By the late 1960s another change in RCAF priorities saw the Super Sabres concentrated from four squadrons to two, with new CF-5s taking their place in the other two.  The surviving Super Sabres were tasked with tactical strike operations based in Canada but could be deployed to Europe when necessary. 


The Super Sabres were gradually phased out from 1982, as the new CF-18 took over all combat roles within the RCAF, with the final retirement of the Super Sabre being officially dated as 30 November 1983.

Offline Jonesthetank

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Re: Placeholder for some profiles
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2024, 12:49:46 AM »
New Zealand   
The post war RNZAF was equipped almost exclusively with British designed aircraft, a fashion that continued into the mid 1960s.  The De Havilland Vampire filled the fighter role with the force through the 1950s, but had suffered considerable attrition.  Discussions regarding a replacement for the Vampire began in earnest in 1957, when the RNZAF placed its order for Canberra bombers. The RNZAF evaluation team in the UK was asked to look at all possible British fighter types, either in service or due into service within the next 2 years.  From this varied selection one aircraft shone out, the Hawker Hunter.  Negotiations between Wellington and London ensued, with an eventual order for 18 Hunter F6s and 3 T7s.

Deliveries began in 1959, lasting through to 1961.  The aircraft were issued to 14 Squadron RNZAF, allowing 75 Squadron to be equipped with the new Canberras.
Through the 1960s and 1970s the Hunters served faithfully, with the RNZAF opting to purchase a top up order of 8 more F6s from RAF stocks in 1974.  It was during the 1970s that the RNZAF opted to refit their Hunters to FGA9 standard, with strengthened wings and a braking parachute. This work was undertaken in New Zealand, with help from Hawker Siddeley.  At the same time the Hunters were fitted to carry the AIM-9 Sidewinder missile, giving them a useful air to air capability.
 
The delivery of new F-4 Phantoms in 1970 had seen 75 Squadron relinquish their Canberras.   The new F-4s wore a new USAF inspired camouflage scheme, which the RNZAF decided to adopt for the Hunter fleet as well.  The RNZAF would have liked to replace the Hunter with the F-4 as well, but budgetary constraints meant that the Hunter was retained and would go on to have a very long service life.

During the 1980s the Hunters were rotated through an upgrade program, dubbed Project Kahu, which saw them fitted to carry new advanced weapons systems, most notably the AGM-65 Maverick.  To support the new weapons, additional electronics systems were installed, which was reflected in the enhanced cockpit layout.  During Kahu the RNZAF took note of the upgrades that the Swiss had applied to their own Hunters and adopted the AN/APR-9 RWR system and AN/ALE-39 flare system, mounted in an extended cannon link collector pack.  The final part of the Kahu project was a new paint scheme, with the Hunters adopting the same low viz Euro 1 scheme as the Phantom fleet.

By the late 1980s it was apparent that the Hunters were long overdue for retirement, despite their popularity with RNZAF pilots.  The RNZAF eventually opted to replace the Hunter and the Phantom with the F-18C Hornet.  During the wind down period the Hunters were given an all-over green paint scheme, well matched to their low level support role. 

It was not the last scheme they would carry though.  As a celebration of their final retirement in 1990, four aircraft were marked in an all-black scheme with special markings and made a countrywide tour. 

With the tour complete, the Hunters were finally stood down after 31 years of sterling service.

Offline Jonesthetank

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Re: Placeholder for some profiles
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2024, 12:56:56 AM »
South Africa
B-24

As World War Two came to a close, the South African Air Force began the process of shaping the force for the post war environment.  Maritime patrol would be a major requirement for the SAAF, needing to protect the strategic shipping lanes round the Cape.  While the SAAF had selected the Sunderland for this role, it was felt that a long range landplane would also be required.
 
SAAF units in Italy had been operating the B-24 Liberator, and its crews were keen to point out the benefits of the type.  This coupled with a shortage of other British made suitable types, saw the SAAF request Liberators from the USAAF.  18 aircraft were provided from unused aircraft stocks in Europe and ferried to South Africa by USAAF and SAAF crews.

Initially the B-24s were flown in their original configuration, but over time were retrofitted to make them more suitable for their maritime patrol role.  The dorsal and ball turrets were removed, and a chin radome was fitted, mounting an ASV radar.  In this revised configuration the fleet soldiered on into the late 1950s, until they began to be replaced by new Avro Shackletons from 1957.  Final handover was completed in late 1958 and the B-24s were retired.


BTR-60
The expansion of the South African Marines saw the force begin to consider roles undertaken by other naval infantry units. Landing operations using amphibious vehicles was investigated, but a lack of local AFVs saw this idea stalled. 

However, SADF operations in Namibia saw the capture intact of some 40 Soviet built BTR60 APCs.  These were transported to South Africa and were placed into storage, pending scrapping.  The Marines learned of these vehicles and requested them for use by the corps.  After some negotiation, 31 BTR60s were transferred to the marines. Before issue, the vehicles needed updating to meet SADF standards. 

The original radios and internal communication systems were replaced with SADF standard equipment and the BTRs were painted in overall SADF khaki brown and carried the appropriate tactical markings.  Unlike most other vehicles in the SADF, the BTR-60s were marked with full colour markings of the marine brigade, as well as the SAN ensign, to show their unit affiliation.

After the upgrades, the BTRs were issued to the newly formed landing unit.  Training for the vehicle crews was undertaken, followed by integration training with the marine infantrymen who would ride the BTRs into battle.

With the unit now declared ready for battle, the armoured marines were deployed for operations.  Initially they were used for landings along the Namibian coast, close to the Angolan border, often catching guerilla groups by surprise, as SADF troops appeared in areas that none had been seen before. 

These initial operations showed the disadvantage of the Soviet designed KPV-1 turret.  To counter this, the BTRs were cycled through an upgrade programme, where the original turret was removed, and the standard Ratel-20 turret was installed in its place.  This gave the BTRs considerably better firepower and made the job of commanding the vehicles considerably easier. 

During the escalation period, as SADF troops clashed with Angolan and Cuban forces, the armoured marines were deployed on numerous occasions, making landings along the Angolan coast. These operations were designed to be hit and run raids, as the South Africans could not easily support landings in the longer term, especially as Angolan and Cuban aerial forces became more adept.  Some raids were successful and the arrival of heavily armed marines in armoured vehicles caused panic among Angolan troops.  Others were not, and the armoured marines suffered losses they could ill afford. 

To give the marines a measure of fire support, 6 BTRs were refitted with the turret from the Eland armoured car.  The 90mm main gun gave the marines a reasonable anti tank weapon, as well as the ability to fire HE ammunition for fire support.

With the withdrawal of SADF troops from Namibia, the marines were re-deployed to South Africa, but retained their BTRs. 

Since the transition to majority rule, the marines have undertaken many exercises, with SADF troops from other branches, as well as with neighbouring nations.  The BTRs have been kept operational, but numbers have dwindled.  Current plans will see the remaining BTRs replaced by amphibious Badger IFVs by the end of 2024.

Offline Jonesthetank

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Re: Placeholder for some profiles
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2024, 01:04:04 AM »
Irish Free State
Renault FT

With the Civil War raging, the Irish National Army realised it needed a wider range of equipment. Despite the historic tension between the nations, Britain was quick to support the Irish government, offering small arms, artillery, and armoured vehicles. 

The National Army wanted tanks to support their armoured car fleet but felt that the massive rhomboids were not appropriate.  Britain had a reasonable number of Renault FT-17s in storage, which they were happy to pass to the Irish.  After some discission, the National Army opted for 18 FT-17s, plus 6 more for use as spares.  10 of tanks mounted the Hotchkiss machine gun, while the other 8 carried the 37mm Puteaux gun.

Dublin was already in pro-treaty hands by the time the FT-17s were delivered, but the new tanks saw action during the operations to liberate the major towns held by the anti-treaty side.  Their role was often symbolic, as anti-treaty forces had no weapons capable of stopping them.  When used against anti-treaty barricades and fortified positions, the tanks often caused panic amongst their opponents.

As the Civil War moved into the guerilla war phase, the FT-17s were of little use, as they were too slow for cross country advances, but the National Army did use the 37mm armed tanks on a number occasions to support infantry operations.

After the Civil War, the FT-17s remained in service, mainly used for training and parades. They remained in use into the 1930s, when they were finally replaced by new Vickers 6-ton tanks.  Despite being officially retired, at least 6 were brought back into use during the Emergency Years (as World War Two was known in Eire) but were finally and properly retired again in 1945.

Two FT-17s remain in Ireland, one is on display at Curragh Camp, the other is held by the Cavalry Corps in its historic vehicle collection and is regularly seen during Cavalry Dat parades.

Sopwith Snipe
Aircraft played only a small part in the Irish Civil War.  After the war, the Irish Army Air Corps was expanded with the purchase of aircraft from the UK.  Among the combat capable aircraft purchased were 8 Sopwith Snipe fighters.  These complemented the Bristol F2Bs and Airco DH9s then in service.

The Snipes were well liked by their pilots for their speed and agility, but three were written off in accidents in quick succession in 1925.  The remaining 5 served with the Air Corps until 1931, when they were replaced by 10 Gloster Gamecocks purchased from the RAF.

Vickers 6 Ton
To replace the aging FT-17s, Ireland opted to purchase 8 Vickers 6 Ton tanks in 1934.  These were standard pattern single turret vehicles, mounting a 47mm 3-pounder gun.

The tanks were mainly used for training until the Emergency years, being used to allow infantry units to become familiar to working with tanks.

With the outbreak of war, the tanks, like the rest of the army, were placed on alert in case of any attacks on Irish soil.  The Vickers saw considerable use during the Emergency, as they represented the largest tank force within the Republic.

By 1945 the Vickers were essentially worn out by their heavy use during the war years.  Ireland looked for alternatives to replace them and were happy to snap up 24 M5 light tanks from British Army surplus.  These new tanks replaced the Vickers in 1946.

Dingo - Korea
Postscript. Ireland had left the British Commonwealth in 1949.  However in 1950 Ireland was quick to offer troops to the UN Force in Korea.  After discussions between Dublin, Washington and London, Ireland agreed to equip an artillery battery, which would join Commonwealth troops in Korea.  After training on new 25-pounder guns in the UK, the Irish contingent sailed for Korea in 1951.

The Irish first saw action during the Battle of Kapyong, where their guns worked alongside 16 Field Regiment Royal Regiment of New Zealand Artillery in support of 3rd Battalion Royal Australian Regiment and 2nd Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, who were in heavy combat with Chinese forces.  The Irish were commended for their gunnery during the battle.

For political reasons the Irish battery was placed under Canadian command after Kapyong, as this was more palatable than serving directly under British command.  The Irish gunners joined 25th Canadian Brigade and served alongside the Canadian gunners of 2nd Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery for the remainder of the war.

For forward observation missions, the Irish gunners received Dingo scout cars from British stocks, which they would operate until the war’s end.


Offline Jonesthetank

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Re: Commonwealth Group Build Profiles
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2024, 01:07:32 AM »
Newfoundland
Daimer Arm Car


During World War Two, the Royal Newfoundland Regiment was represented overseas by 166th (Newfoundland) Field Artillery Regiment and 59th (Newfoundland) Heavy Artillery Regiment.  The remainder of the regiment had remained home based on defence duties.

Post war, as the debate over Confederation began to build, the Royal Newfoundland Regiment began to reshape for peacetime roles.  As Newfoundland still came under British command, London was happy to offer new equipment to the regiment from British Army stocks.  To equip an armoured car company, the regiment was provided with Daimler armoured cars and Daimler Dingos.

The vehicles were delivered in 1946 and saw use with the armoured car company until 1950, after Newfoundland joined the Canadian Confederation.  Following confederation, the regiment came under Canadian command, and it was decided that the regiment would return to a solely infantry formation, which resulted in the Daimler armoured cars being retired.

Hartop Jeep
Newfoundland’s primary police force was the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary. However, for rural policing, a secondary force was established in 1935, the Newfoundland Rangers. Modelled on the RCMP, the Rangers were stationed across rural Newfoundland, operating mainly on foot, horseback or boat.

After WW2 the Newfoundland government opted to provide some vehicles for the Rangers. 30 surplus Willys jeeps were purchased and were fitted with an all-weather hardtop, as protection from the harsh weather that Newfoundland could suffer.

The black painted jeeps were a common sight in Newfoundland’s small towns, marking the presence of law enforcement.

With Confederation, the Rangers were disbanded and replaced by units of the RCMP.  The jeeps were also transferred and served on until replaced by newer vehicles.

Offline Jonesthetank

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Re: Commonwealth Group Build Profiles
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2024, 01:13:10 AM »
India
The career of Amar Singh

Amar Singh was among the small group of Indian pilots who served with the RAF in Europe. He enlisted in the Indian Air Force in 1938 and was transported to the UK for flight training. 

After gaining his wings, he went on to fly Blenheims with 107 Squadron, followed by a tour in North Africa with 55 Squadron, flying Blenheims and Baltimores.
Posted back to the UK, he rejoined 107 Squadron, now equipped with Mosquitoes, and flew with the unit to the end of the war.
Returning to India in 1946, he re-joined the RIAF.

The new commander of the RIAF, Air Marshal Sir Thomas Elmhirst, shaped the force as a mainly tactical one, placing fighter bombers and low-level attack aircraft at the forefront of the force’s needs.  To this end the RIAF was quick to form squadrons equipped with Spitfires, Tempests and Mosquitoes.

Amar Singh was a natural choice for command of one of the new Mosquito squadrons, as he was one of only a very small number of Indians with experience of flying the Mosquito. Promoted to Squadron leader, he took command of the newly formed 20 Squadron IAF. 

With the partition of India, the IAF was thrown into combat operations.  Amar Singh led from the front and on one mission in 1948 he gained ever lasting fame.  While taxiing out for a mission in his FB.VI Mosquito, one engine failed. Singh decided he had to lead his men, so hurried to the only other aircraft ready for flight, the squadron’s unarmed, bright yellow, T.III Mosquito, dubbed the Yellow Peril.  During the mission Singh made numerous dummy attacks on Pakistani positions, encouraging his men, while commanding the squadron in situ.  For his bravery he was awarded the Vir Chakra.

Following the Partition War, he led 20 Squadron until 1950, when he was given command of 10 Squadron, which had been designated as the new night fighter unit of the IAF. Concerns over Pakistan’s Lancaster force had prompted the purchase of Mosquito NF36s to act as a counter to possible night attacks.  Amar Singh led the unit until 1953, when he was posted to higher command college.

Vampire NF54s replaced the Mosquitoes in 1956, but the growth of the PAF, especially its B-57 fleet concerned the IAF.  A more capable night/all-weather fighter was needed, but options were limited.  In the end the IAF opted for the Vautour IIN aircraft, purchasing 18 in 1961.    10 Squadron was the first unit to be equipped with the Vautour, being declared operational on the type in 1963.

In March 1965 Group Captain Amar Singh returned, now in command of 14 Group IAF, which included both his former squadrons.  With the outbreak of war with Pakistan in August 1965, all the units of the group were in action.  In typical style Singh managed to get into the action, flying as co-pilot aboard a Vautour IIN on at least one nocturnal mission during the war.

Following the 1965 War, Amar Singh was promoted to Air Commodore, leading the group until 1967, when he was promoted to Air Vice Marshal and moved to IAF Headquarters.

Amar Singh finally retired from the IAF in 1973, after an illustrious 35-year career.  His Yellow Peril Mosquito was preserved after its retirement from IAF service and is now held by the IAF Museum.  Amar Sign died in July 2002 at the age of 85 years.

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Re: Commonwealth Group Build Profiles
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2024, 01:15:59 AM »
 :smiley: :smiley:
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it.

Offline Jonesthetank

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Re: Commonwealth Group Build Profiles
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2024, 01:16:47 AM »
Pakistan
Avro Lancaster BVII (FE)

After independence, the new Royal Pakistan Air Force was quickly thrown into a war with India.  The split of equipment between India and Pakistan had left the RPAF at a numerical disadvantage.  The first commander of the RPAF, AVM Allan Perry-Keene, realised that Pakistan could not compete with India on a quantitative scale, so would need a tactical advantage.

To this end he led the RPAF to acquire a long-range bomber force, initially a small number of Halifax bombers were purchased, but these were followed by a larger number of RAF surplus Lancasters. 

From 1949 until 1957 the RPAF operated 2 bomber squadrons equipped with Lancasters.  The presence of the bombers forced India to dedicate specialist aircraft to counter them, most notably night fighter units.

During their service the Lancasters were not called to action but gave the PAF a sizeable strategic advantage over the IAF.

From 1955 the PAF began to take delivery of the Martin B-57 from the USA, allowing the older bombers to be gradually stood down.

Tu-16 (H-6)
Following the 1965 war with India, the PAF began to consider more capable bomber aircraft, as the B-57 had proved excellent in a tactical role but lacked range and bombload for a truly strategic role. Various types were considered but options for the PAF were limited.  The US would not supply B-52s but might consider the supply of B-47s.  Britain was not keen on supplying Victors or Vulcans, leaving the PAF out of luck.  This situation continued into the late 1960s.

The PAF had built up a strong relationship with China, purchasing large numbers of Shenyang F-6 fighters.  This led to discussions over the supply of Xian H-6 long range bombers.  China was resistant at first, but eventually relented to a PAF request for 20 H-6s.  Negotiations over price were still ongoing at the outbreak of the 1971 war with India, causing discussions to temporarily stop.

After 1971 an arms embargo slowed supplies to Pakistan, but this was not recognised by China, which allowed the completion of negotiations.  China would provide the PAF with its bombers.

Deliveries began in 1973, but the work up period with the new type was protracted, as the new crews slowly learned the capabilities and foibles of their new aircraft.  It was not until 1975 that the PAF declared the H-6 fleet operational.

Since delivery the H-6 fleet has been kept up to date with support from China, keeping the airframes ready for action.  While the PAF has been involved in numerous skirmishes with the IAF since 1971, the H-6s have not been called to action.  The PAF maintains that the H-6 fleet is not nuclear armed, but many observers believe that this is not true and that the H-6s could deliver atomic weapons if required.

The fleet is now rather old, and the PAF is still considering if they should look to replace the aging bombers with newly built aircraft, this time in the shape of Xian H-6K bombers.

Offline Jonesthetank

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Re: Commonwealth Group Build Profiles
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2024, 01:20:58 AM »
Sri Lanka
Vampire FB5

The Royal Ceylon Air Force initially ordered 5 Vampire T55s from Britain, to allow formation of a jet squadron.  On the prompting of their RAF and IAF advisors, the RCyAF increased this order to include 12 single seat Vampire FB.52s.  The Vampires were the only combat aircraft possessed by the RCyAF until 1968, when 14 Hunters were purchased from the UK.  With the arrival of the Hunters, the Vampires were relegated to jet training duties.

In 1971 the Vampires were recalled to frontline service as the RCyAF was thrown into action against JVP guerillas during the island wide insurrection. Following the 1971 uprising the Vampires returned to their training role before being phased out of use in 1973.

Centurion
Although peaceful for much of the time, Sri Lanka had suffered many uprisings, mostly along ethnic lines between the Singhalese and Tamil communities.  Following the JVP uprising of 1971, the Sri Lanka Army began to discreetly acquire more equipment form a range of sources.  From India the army purchased 40 Centurion Mark 7 tanks, that the Indians had recently retired in favour of the locally made Vijayanta. These were delivered in 1975 and issued to the newly formed 3rd Armoured Regiment Sri Lanka Armoured Corps.

With the outbreak of the Civil War the Centurions were seen in action on many occasions.  Although prone to mechanical breakdown, they were well armoured and capable of breaching LTTE positions, which they did on numerous occasions.  The Centurions were upgraded during their service lives, receiving the infra red fighting equipment as used by the UK, as well as improved radios and a Chinese made 12.7mm heavy machine gun mounted ahead of the commander cupola.  As the fighting intensified and the LTTE became better equipped, the Centurions began to suffer losses, that the SLAC struggled to make good.  With numbers dwindling and the SLAC taking more T55s and Type 69s into service, the Centurions were relegated to static defence roles, where their firepower was often decisive.

By the end of the Civil War 18 of the original 40 Centurions remained in use, with at least 9 more held in non-operational state, mainly missing parts or with unrepairable engines.  The Centurions were officially retired in 2010, with 4 being saved for museums and gate guards, while the remainder were scrapped.

Su-25
The need to combat the LTTE insurrection led the SLAF to purchase attack-oriented aircraft.  From China came A-5 Fantans, while from the Soviet Union the SLAF was able to purchase 10 Sukhoi Su-25s, 9 single seat models and 1 Su-25UB trainer.

Delivered in 1990, the Su-25s were operated by 5 Squadron, flying attack missions in support of the Sri Lanka Army and interdiction of LTTE positions.  During the war the type proved difficult for the LTTE to deal with, as its armour made it difficult to destroy using light anti-aircraft weaponry. The delivery of SAM-7 MANPADS changed this and at least 1 Su-25 was shot down by the LTTE.

At the end of the Civil War, the SLAF opted to keep the Su-25s, but now rotates the remaining airframes in and out of storage, to preserve flying hours.

Offline Jonesthetank

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Re: Commonwealth Group Build Profiles
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2024, 01:26:49 AM »
Ghana
Wasp- Navy

The purchase of the frigate Black Star by the Ghana Navy prompted discussions over the acquisition of a light helicopter to operate aboard the ship.  Originally the helicopter was supposed to be used as a VIP transport for President Kwame Nkrumah, as the ship was also supposed to be his presidential yacht, but after his ousting in 1966, the navy decided that the Black Star would be a purely military vessel and that any helicopter should have a military role.

To meet the helicopter requirement Ghana opted to purchase 3 Westland Wasps from the UK. These were delivered in 1968, with one stationed aboard the Black Star, while the other two were kept ashore.

Despite being equipped for ASW operations, the Ghanaian Wasps were mainly used unarmed and were mostly employed for transport and SAR duties.  1 Wasp was lost in 1974 following a ditching incident, but its loss was made good in 1976, when Ghana purchased two more Wasps from the RN.

The Wasps survived until the Black Star was taken out of service for a major refit.  The Wasps served from the shore until 1987, when they were retired.  When the Black Star returned to service in 1988 the Wasp’s place aboard was taken by Agusta A109s.

Vickers MBT
Initial plans for the Ghana Army included an armoured car unit, but no further armoured vehicles.  The move to Africanise the force in the 1960s saw expansion, with the purchase of more equipment.  The desire to acquire tanks was deemed a low priority but would eventually come to fruition in the early seventies when Ghana placed an order for 48 Vickers MBTs.  These were delivered from 1975, allowing Ghana to form its first armoured regiment.

Since delivery, the Vickers have remained Ghana’s only tanks, although the army has purchased a range of other AFVs over the years.  All the MBTs were refurbished in the early Noughties and remain in service.  Ghana currently has no plans to replace the Vickers.

Offline Jonesthetank

  • Almost as dumb as I look
Re: Commonwealth Group Build Profiles
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2024, 01:29:10 AM »
Malaysia
DHC Beaver

The newly formed Royal Malaysian Air Force was primarily equipped for army support operations, with a range of transports and helicopters.  Alongside the Scottish Aviation Pioneers the RMAF opted to purchase 12 DHC-2 Beavers from Canada.  The STOL characteristics of the Beaver were well used by the RMAF, where the type proved very capable of operating in and out of small jungle strips.

The Beavers remained in service with the RMAF until 1986, when they were replaced by Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porters.

Jaguar Mark II
The Federation of Malaya Police spent much of its early years battling communist guerillas. The gradual move to a more civilian role in the late 1950s saw the force begin to acquire equipment more suited for traditional police duties. 

Given the involvement of Britian in Malaya, it was not surprising that much of this equipment came from the UK.  Among the vehicles purchased for the force were 40 Jaguar Mark II saloons, which were used as quick response vehicles.  The Jaguars remained in use until the late 1960s, when they were replaced with newer cars.

Offline Jonesthetank

  • Almost as dumb as I look
Re: Commonwealth Group Build Profiles
« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2024, 01:33:42 AM »
And finally, the "Mother Country"

United Kingdom   
B-32 SEAC

As the war in the Far East began to move toward the need for Britian to liberate Malaysia and the Dutch East Indies, the need for very long-range bomber aircraft was pushed to the fore.  Tropical trials with the Lancaster proved disappointing, so the RAF looked to the USA for options.  While the RAF would have preferred the B-29, these were a priority for the USAAF and could not be made available.  However, the USA was willing to provide the B-32 Dominator instead, which Britain accepted.

The first 30 aircraft arrived in India in 1945, with experienced B-24 crews being selected for conversion training to the new type.  By May 1945 the first missions were flown, giving the RAF experience of operating the type in action. Long range raids were flown from India, hitting targets in Burma.

By the time that Mandalay was liberated, the RAF B-32 force had formed into 2 squadrons, nos 99 and 215, which had passed their previous B-24s on to other units.  From the refurbished air base at Rangoon, the B-32s were deployed for raids against Japanese targets in Malaya and Sumatra, as well as raids into Thailand.

Japanese aerial retaliation against these raids was minimal, allowing the Dominators almost free rein, with mechanical failure and the tropical weather being the main adversary.

The B-32s saw heavy use in support of Operation Zipper, the landings in Malaya, through until VJ Day in November 1945.

At the end of the war the B-32s reverted to US control, and like many lend lease aircraft, they were wrecked in situ, to save the cost of returning them to the USA.

Hawker Tempest II - Tiger Force
The deployment of Tiger Force to the Far East included an option for long range fighters to defend the bombers.  A force of 60 Hawker Tempest Mk IIs were shipped from the UK to Okinawa to assist the bomber force.  The newly delivered aircraft were issued to Nos and Nos Squadrons, with a reserve of aircraft pooled to make good any losses.  First missions were flown in August 1945, escorting the Tiger Force bombers over the Japanese homeland.

By VJ Day, over 100 missions had been undertaken, with a low loss rate of only 11 aircraft.  With the end of the war, the Tempests were shipped back to India and after refurbishment were issued to the newly formed Royal Indian and Royal Pakistan Air Forces.

Red Arrows T-6C
Dwindling numbers of Hawk T1s meant that the Red Arrows were in need of a new aircraft.  In keeping with the make up of the existing team, it was decided that a training aircraft would be used, leaving the team with limited options.  Eventually the T-6C Texan II was chosen for the team, as this was the standard training type with the RAF. 10 new aircraft were delivered to the team in 2023, which will fly their first displays in the 2024 airshow season.

Offline Jonesthetank

  • Almost as dumb as I look
Re: Commonwealth Group Build Profiles
« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2024, 01:38:36 AM »
Phew!  It's been fun putting these many profiles together, but I will try and be a bit less productive for the next group build! ;D

As Greg has granted a 2 week extension, there are a few more British profiles I want to try and put together, based on the physical models of Dizzyfugu and on the Drake's Drum alternative history series of books.

Hopefully I can sneak them in before the closing date.

Cheers

Mark

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Commonwealth Group Build Profiles
« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2024, 01:57:09 AM »
 :smiley:
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it.

Offline Dr. YoKai

  • Was in High School when mastadons roamed the plains...
  • A notorious curmudgeon who is partial to...hemp!
Re: Commonwealth Group Build Profiles
« Reply #18 on: January 18, 2024, 04:03:45 AM »
Uhm....wow. A lot of nice color schemes and some neat back stories.

Offline Buzzbomb

  • Low Concentration Span, oft wanders betwixt projects
  • Accurate Scale representations of fictional stuff
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Re: Commonwealth Group Build Profiles
« Reply #19 on: January 18, 2024, 05:35:47 AM »
Some wonderful stuff.

Terrific Aussie topics and a good swathe of other very nice subjects  :smiley:

Offline apophenia

  • Perversely enjoys removing backgrounds.
  • Patterns? What patterns?
Re: Commonwealth Group Build Profiles
« Reply #20 on: January 18, 2024, 11:21:50 AM »
Fantastic stuff! And totally believable backstories as always  :smiley:

My absolute favorite would have to be your 5th Canadian (Armoured) Division 'Desert Ram'.

Why did that not happen? No doubt, the first Canuck off the boat at Alex would have instantly collapsed from heat stroke. But that wouldn't have stopped us from turning over a bunch of Rams to the Aussies for combat use in the Western Desert.

Loved your Newfie stuff too  :-*

My one regret is that your M551AU never got re-gunned with an L7 before retirement. Now that would make for one hell of a recce vehicle  ;)
Froglord: "... amphibious doom descends ... approach the alter and swear your allegiance to the swamp."

Offline GTX_Admin

  • Evil Administrator bent on taking over the Universe!
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Re: Commonwealth Group Build Profiles
« Reply #21 on: January 19, 2024, 01:29:47 AM »
My one regret is that your M551AU never got re-gunned with an L7 before retirement. Now that would make for one hell of a recce vehicle  ;)

A bit like this:

All hail the God of Frustration!!!

You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it.

Offline Claymore

  • It's all done with smoke and mirrors!
  • Alt Hist AFV guy with a thing for Bradley turrets
Re: Commonwealth Group Build Profiles
« Reply #22 on: January 19, 2024, 02:53:39 AM »
Great stuff!  :smiley:
Friendly fire isn't and suppressive fire rarely does!

Offline MAT

  • Newly Joined - Welcome me!
Re: Commonwealth Group Build Profiles
« Reply #23 on: January 19, 2024, 04:48:48 PM »
A lot of inspiration for future builds  :smiley: