Author Topic: A34 Comet  (Read 11529 times)

Offline Feldmarschall Zod

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A34 Comet
« on: April 29, 2012, 07:07:24 AM »
A few days back,I visited what Jeffry Fontaine calls a McHobby Shop. Hobby Town USA. In the bargain bin was a Bronco A34 Commet going for $19.99. It is missing the D runners/sprues,two each. Those are the suspension parts.

I went and bought the thing. I am thinking about which kind of suspension to add to it. I would like to add  T34 like suspension. I was thinking of the Crusader series,or Cromwell. My concern is,will the Comet tracks fit onto a Crusader,or Cromwell sprocket. When I get home in about three weeks,I will have to test fit the Comet tracks onto the Crusader sprockets. I can always spread the Cromwell sprockets out if it is a question of width.

But the sprocket teeth of the Cromwell vs the Comet is another question. Jeffry Fontaine suggested maybe using the M41 suspension bits.
If all works out,I am thinking of a North African variant.
Every time you eat celery,an angel vomits in a gas station bathroom. Tanks rule. I know the load is late,but the voices tell me to pull over and clean the guns.

Offline dy031101

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Cruiser Tanks
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2012, 10:05:48 AM »
Going quick-and-dirty again, but I got thinking of it after the "No M4 Sherman" scenario being mentioned in the Ideas and Inspirations thread......

I know I should factor-in hull widening à la Avenger, but I thought the lack of return rollers can emphasize a up-gunned hull better.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2012, 07:20:30 AM by dy031101 »
Forget about his bow and arrows- why wait until that sparrow has done his deed when I can just bury him right now 'cause I'm sick and tired of hearing why he wants to have his way with the cock robin!?

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: A34 Comet
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2012, 06:42:18 PM »
Interesting.
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

Offline Feldmarschall Zod

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Re: Cruiser Tanks
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2012, 05:10:53 AM »
Going quick-and-dirty again, but I got thinking of it after the "No M4 Sherman" scenario being mentioned in the Ideas and Inspirations thread......

I know I should factor-in hull widening à la Avenger, but I thought the lack of return rollers can emphasize a up-gunned hull better.

Interesting combo. 8)
Every time you eat celery,an angel vomits in a gas station bathroom. Tanks rule. I know the load is late,but the voices tell me to pull over and clean the guns.

Offline dy031101

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Re: Cruiser Tanks
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2012, 07:21:44 AM »
Interesting.
Interesting combo. 8)

Should have added this to the subject heading: M46A2, US Army's last Christie-type tank.  ;D
« Last Edit: June 15, 2012, 07:23:22 AM by dy031101 »
Forget about his bow and arrows- why wait until that sparrow has done his deed when I can just bury him right now 'cause I'm sick and tired of hearing why he wants to have his way with the cock robin!?

Offline Feldmarschall Zod

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Re: Cruiser Tanks
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2012, 07:33:02 AM »
Interesting.
Interesting combo. 8)

Should have added this to the subject heading: M46A2, US Army's last Christie-type tank.  ;D
When I get home next time,I will have to see if an M46,or M47 turret will fit onto a Comet hull. ;)
Every time you eat celery,an angel vomits in a gas station bathroom. Tanks rule. I know the load is late,but the voices tell me to pull over and clean the guns.

Offline dy031101

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Re: Cruiser Tanks
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2012, 12:08:58 PM »
When I get home next time,I will have to see if an M46,or M47 turret will fit onto a Comet hull. ;)


Looking forward to further observation.

I am expecting a hull-lengthening and -widening similar to the Avenger to be in the order but am looking forward to your further observation.  ;)
« Last Edit: June 16, 2012, 10:54:02 AM by dy031101 »
Forget about his bow and arrows- why wait until that sparrow has done his deed when I can just bury him right now 'cause I'm sick and tired of hearing why he wants to have his way with the cock robin!?

Offline Feldmarschall Zod

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Re: A34 Comet
« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2012, 05:47:44 PM »
here are the measurements from a Comet hull,and M47 hull. They are in 1/35 metric.

Comet.
Hull is 6.5 M wide
3 M wide.
The turret race is 1.3 M in diameter.
 
The road wheels on the Comet are just under 80 CM in diameter..

The M47.
Hull is 6.4 M long
Hull is 3.4 M wide.
Turret race is 2 M in diameter.
Road wheels are 60 CM in diameter.


Here is the M47 turret on the Comet hull




The Comet hull will definatly be needed to wider and longer.
Every time you eat celery,an angel vomits in a gas station bathroom. Tanks rule. I know the load is late,but the voices tell me to pull over and clean the guns.

Offline dy031101

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Re: A34 Comet
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2012, 12:52:39 AM »
Here are pictures of the Avenger, another Cromwell-based tank destroyer armed with a 17 pdr, attached for reference purposes.

Found here.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2012, 01:12:10 AM by dy031101 »
Forget about his bow and arrows- why wait until that sparrow has done his deed when I can just bury him right now 'cause I'm sick and tired of hearing why he wants to have his way with the cock robin!?

Re: A34 Comet
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2012, 09:47:44 AM »
I know that WW2 vintage British tanks tend to be a bit small but I'm shocked at just how HUGE the M47 turret appears on the Comet hull. Especially interesting since I've always thought the turret of the M47 looked a bit small compared to its hull. Even more interesting since that turret was originally designed for the somewhat smaller T42.

Offline AGRA

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Re: A34 Comet
« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2013, 04:58:17 PM »
In the late 1950s, early 1960s there was a significant debate about the type of tank in Australian Army service. The army was converting from a “WWIII” Middle East role to a SEATO regional security in South East Asia role and was equipped with Centurion tanks acquired for the former. The argument based on ‘perception’ rather than any operational or scientific study was that a light tank was needed to provide mobility within South East Asia. At the time the Australian Army was given an operational mission to send a significant force as part of 28 Commonwealth Infantry Brigade to Thailand and the Plain of Jars in Laos. The Australian component, originally known as Operation Ambrose, included a medium tank squadron (Centurion), armd recce sqn (Saladins from the ARA A Sqn, 4/19 PWLH) and an anti tank sqn (106mm M40s from the ARA A Sqn, 2/14 QMI).

Because of the debate that heavier tanks couldn’t be used in theatre the British and American armies offered Australia alternative tanks. The British offered their force of Comet tanks that had been used by 1 RTR in Hong Kong up until 1960. When this unit was disbanded their 69 Comets were surplus to requirements and as a 33 tonne tank it was much lighter than the 53 tonne Centurion. The Americans sent a sales team to Australia and NZ for the M41 Walker Bulldog light tank which the Kiwis eventually brought (order for 24 reduced to 10 actually brought).

Part of the debate was a Joint Intelligence Bureau report that Thailand was unsuitable for tank warfare. The Australian Director, Armoured Corps at the time, Lt. Col. Ralph Eldridge, countered the report by asking JIB to nominate specific areas of Thailand unsuitable to tanks. He then found similar terrain in Australia and deployed Centurions there to prove they could operate in this terrain (which they did). The US was sparked by the Australian trials to do their own including actually in Thailand which overturned much of the ‘perception’ that tanks couldn’t be operated. Later trials in Vietnam showed that medium tanks (M48A3) could operate in 61% of South Vietnam in the dry season and 46% in the wet. Which is pretty amazing when one considers that about a third of South Vietnam is the Mekong river delta which is impassable to any land vehicle.

So what if the Australian armoured corps was unable to resist the light tank mantra? Comets or M41s or gawd forbid the self-harming M551 Sheridan? Comets is most interesting because it is a WWII generation tank and as a light weight medium tank at least has some decent armour so it wouldn’t be a death trap in theatre. The Comet, as long as it had a canister shell and could bash through jungle, wouldn’t be too much worse than the Centurion (though its thinner armour would mean more casualties from RPG penetrations). The fifth crew would help with maintenance and the hull MG would come in handy in some situations. The driver's position would be better protected but have worse vision to the flanks. The Comet would look cool with a brace of roof mounted .30 Brownings, surrounded by some diggers in greens with SLRs and the odd M60.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2013, 05:10:22 PM by AGRA »

Offline Weaver

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Re: A34 Comet
« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2013, 07:00:20 PM »
I've thought about an updated post WWII Comet a few times. My take:

1. Lose the bow MG and driver's direct vision hatch. Fit a slab of sloping armour in their place, roughly copying the external lines of the Centurion. Give the driver modern periscopes to compensate and use the bow MG gunner's space for extra storage.

2. Fit WWII German-style spaced armour outboard of the tracks and around the turret, in a scheme generally remeniscent of a late Pzkpw IV. This is mainly an anti-RPG screen, since shaped charges were the latest new threat to emerge in the timeframe.

3. Fit a modern commander's cupola with a remote-controlled MG.

4. Replace the 7.92mm BESA MG with a 7.62mm equivent IF that produces a logistics advantage.

5. I'm torn about replacing the engine. On the one hand, it's petrol, which is a generally bad idea, but on the other it was powerful and reliable, so maybe better the devil you know etc...? There's also the issue of total cost: tank rebuilds can end up like Trigger's broom* if you're not careful.

6. One big and not easily fixed (in the 1950s) problem with the Comet was weak belly armour, making it particularly vulnerable to mines. This would be particularly significant in a Vietnam-like COIN scenario. All I can see to do with that one is add some applique to the underside, but you're have to be careful about ground clearance. Maybe the suspension could be modified to compensate but there again, Trigger's Broom....


Incidentally Finland had Comets in war-reserve stocks until 2007!


*For the uninitiated, Trigger's Broom was from an episode of the UK sitcom Only Fools and Horses. Trigger (whose nickname is ironic: he's actually not very bright) remarks that he's had the same broom for 20 years, and it's been perfectly reliable, only needing 17 new heads and 14 new handles in all that time. It's a modern version of the Ship Of Theseus paradox, i.e. if an object has gradually had every component replaced by new ones, is it still the same old object or a new one?
« Last Edit: March 24, 2013, 07:14:55 PM by Weaver »
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Offline AGRA

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Re: A34 Comet
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2013, 07:10:37 PM »
1. Lose the bow MG and driver's direct vision hatch. Fit a slab of sloping armour in their place, roughly copying the external lines of the Centurion. Give the driver modern periscopes to compensate and use the bow MG gunner's space for extra storage.

If you were to wall over the direct vision hatch you would have to provide the driver some other means of relaxed forward vision. The big problem is the driver of the Comet doesn’t have a roof hatch he can stick his head out of on an adjustable seat. It has a side hatch for access only. So the direct vision port is the only means of driver vision other than the periscopes.

5. I'm torn about replacing the engine. On the one hand, it's petrol, which is a generally bad idea, but on the other it was powerful and reliable, so maybe better the devil you know etc...? There's also the issue of total cost: tank rebuilds can end up like "Trigger's broom" (seven new heads and four new handles) if you're not careful.

A powerpack change wouldn’t hurt just like when applied to the Centurion made them much better tanks. But at least unlike the Centurion the Meteor isn’t as stressed driving a much lighter tank about.

For an Australian 1960s Comet medium tank I would imagine upgrades to be limited to replacing the Besas with .30 Brownings. Replacing the cupola with a Centurion model and maybe the fire control system with a Centurion one as well (if they can fit it in). Plus of course a 77mm canister round if one doesn’t exist already. I think they would keep the hull MG crewman as a co-driver because of the limited view of the driver.

Offline Weaver

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Re: A34 Comet
« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2013, 07:29:03 PM »
1. Lose the bow MG and driver's direct vision hatch. Fit a slab of sloping armour in their place, roughly copying the external lines of the Centurion. Give the driver modern periscopes to compensate and use the bow MG gunner's space for extra storage.

If you were to wall over the direct vision hatch you would have to provide the driver some other means of relaxed forward vision. The big problem is the driver of the Comet doesn’t have a roof hatch he can stick his head out of on an adjustable seat. It has a side hatch for access only. So the direct vision port is the only means of driver vision other than the periscopes.

Fair comment - hadn't thought of that. Maybe the vertical strip of armour with the driver's port and the MG in it could be removed entirely and replaced by an armoured "wedge" with an early Panther style direct vision hatch in it..... (not convinced though...)

Or maybe you just put a cast wedge over the left 2/3 of the mantlet and live with the fact that it isn't perfect.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2013, 07:30:58 PM by Weaver »
"I have described nothing but what I saw myself, or learned from others" - Thucydides

"I've jazzed mine up a bit" - Spike Milligan

"I'm a general specialist," - Harry Purvis in Tales from the White Hart by Arthur C. Clarke

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Offline AGRA

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Re: A34 Comet
« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2013, 07:50:38 PM »
Maybe the vertical strip of armour with the driver's port and the MG in it could be removed entirely and replaced by an armoured "wedge" with an early Panther style direct vision hatch in it..... (not convinced though...)

If you did that then you could stick the periscopes through this new hull front plate and provide a conventional hatch in the roof that the driver can stick his head up through on an adjustable seat. But it’s a major rebuild of the vehicle but might be worth it if you are totally rebuilding the front hull like with a new drivers fitout for new engine and transmission and bow storage of ammo where the fifth crewman used to be. Cutting out the bow top plates might make it much easier to do all this work.

Offline Volkodav

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Re: A34 Comet
« Reply #15 on: March 24, 2013, 09:22:50 PM »
From memory the book Australian Armour by Major general Hopkins, states that plans for Australias post war army included a regular tank brigade with five regiments of Centurions and two CMF tank brigades each with five regiments of Comets.  With ten regiments worth of Comets an upgrade program would have been well worth while. 

Offline Rickshaw

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Re: A34 Comet
« Reply #16 on: March 25, 2013, 09:17:02 AM »
I wonder about that.  Spares for Comets would have been becoming increasingly difficult to source by the late 1950s.  The vehicle had been out of production for ~ fifteen years by 1960.   While the Charioteer was still in service in the Middle East and Finland, even they were finding it harder to maintain them.  Maintaining Centurions in Australian service particularly during the Vietnam War was difficult enough and it was still in production!   Many times, crucial spare-parts had be flown straight from UK stocks to Vietnam on commercial flights to keep the Centurions on the road.  Drive sprockets in particular were in short supply and often broken by the Jungle terrain.  The Australian Army since that has made been unwilling to accept into service vehicles which weren't in production and readily available.

Offline AGRA

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Re: A34 Comet
« Reply #17 on: March 25, 2013, 09:47:54 AM »
Maintaining the Comet in service into the 60s and 70s depends on how many tanks you want to support, and there is a big difference between a single squadron in Vietnam and ten regiments in Australia. While not in production the Comet uses the same core motor and transmission as the Centurion and has far many more surplus tanks to work from in the boneyard. The Centurion was no longer in production (ended 1962) by the time Australia deployed a tank squadron to Vietnam. The British army retained large stockpiles of Comets in the Middle East (Libya?) and in TA service up until the post Suez retraction and many of these could be supplied to Australia as spare hulks to support the regiments worth of runners from Hong Kong. The UK still had around 900 on the books in Europe and North Africa by 1960.

Obviously the Comet has shortcomings compared to the Centurion into the 1970s but this was not on the mind of those in the Army that wanted a light tank in 1960. If upgraded with the Centurion’s fire control system and using the same engine and transmission and with plenty of boneyard spares it could of course be made to work. Sustaining the Centurion Mk 5 was problem enough because it was still basically a 1940s standard tank in powerpack and radios with only a 1960s standard fire control system. A rebuild in the 60s with a fuel injection engine or diesel and cross drive transmission and new transistorised radios would have made a huge difference to both the Centurion and Comet.

Sustaining the Centurion was considered such an issue that 1 ATF CO Brig. Graham, despite being a major tank man, didn’t want them in theatre when they were deployed. He wanted more helos, incl. gunships, or a US sourced tank. There was even consideration to buy brand new M60s for use by 1 Armd Regt in Vietnam in place of the Centurion. One wonders why they didn’t just ask the US for 60 odd M48A3s on ABCA loan to sustain the deployment (half in Vietnam for operational use and half in Australia for training).
« Last Edit: March 25, 2013, 09:51:03 AM by AGRA »

Offline Rickshaw

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Re: A34 Comet
« Reply #18 on: March 25, 2013, 01:33:48 PM »
The Army has a real dislike for "odd ball" vehicles.  They did "rent" several M48s in Vietnam with mine-clearling rollers to help in removing the barrier minefield but they were returned to the US Army by IIRC 1970.   The Australian Army did look seriously at the M60 as a replacement for the Centurion in the competition that the Leopard eventually won.  The M60 lost out on several important levels such as the problems of getting sufficient numbers from the US to equip 1 Armd.Regt. in one tranche.  As the US Army was busy re-equipping as fast as possible with M60s, the entire production run was basically dedicated to their needs.  We were told we could have a small number of M60s but would have to wait several years and would more than like would get a larger number of later model M60s.  The idea of trying to support several different versions of the one tank didn't appeal to the Army.  Nor did the cost, which was substantially more than the Leopard and in the end that was the one which did it in.  Treasury which hated tanks (and has always tried to get rid of them, seeing them as useless "Koalas" ("Can't be exported and can't be shot at") was only prepared to pay a set amount which was insufficient to purchase enough M60s for operational needs (IIRC they needed sufficient for the Regiment plus a training squadron, Treasury was only prepared to purchase sufficient for the Regiment, which the Army found unacceptable).

Cannibalisaton is not the preferred management model for any military vehicle as it means it will be a diminishing resource.  The Australian Army during the 1960s was extremely resistant to it.  I have been told of how at one point about a third of the Task Force's trucks were immobilised because of a lack of spares and while many of the problems were minor and could have been addressed by cannibalising vehicles, the fear was it would leave Army with a large number of essentially useless vehicles.   A major effort was undertaken instead of stores being combed for them supply them.

So, you have an Army which is resistant to cannibalisation, taking on an out of production tank which had essentially limited life, dependent on cannibalising out of service vehicles to keep the others going? 

Offline AGRA

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Re: A34 Comet
« Reply #19 on: March 25, 2013, 04:33:30 PM »
The Army has a real dislike for "odd ball" vehicles.

The Comet wasn’t an odd ball it was an on issue medium tank in ABCA armies at the time. If the RAAC hadn’t proven that the Centurion was mobile in SEA conditions the Army would have brought them. Well we could hope they did because they would have been a lot more survivable and effective than the alternative: the M41 Walker Bulldog.

 
They did "rent" several M48s in Vietnam with mine-clearling rollers to help in removing the barrier minefield but they were returned to the US Army by IIRC 1970.

Yes this was equipment supplied under ABCA cross supply provisions. The same as a number of other assets used by Australia during the Vietnam war like M108 howitzers and Kiowa helicopters. The proposal was to just do the same with the M48 rather than bring Centurions into theatre.

RAAC was against it because their crews were not trained on them and it would delay the deployment considerably. M48A3 was superior in engine and transmission and much easier to drive compared to the Centurion but had an inferior fire control system for tank vs tank engagement.

The Australian Army did look seriously at the M60 as a replacement for the Centurion in the competition that the Leopard eventually won. 

Medium Tank replacement program inspired by Vietnam but not related in anyway to the challenges leading up to the deployment of the Centurions.

The So, you have an Army which is resistant to cannibalisation, taking on an out of production tank which had essentially limited life, dependent on cannibalising out of service vehicles to keep the others going?

The army only developed this resistance thanks to the experiences of the 1960s. It was not an issue at all in the consideration of the Comet and frankly the big argument in favour of using M48s. In an ideal world the Army would have had a new or rebuilt tank for use in Vietnam. The Comet was a real world contender for Australian Army Vietnam War medium tank. So if anyone wants to Whif it they can do so with a non-fictional back story.

Offline Rickshaw

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Re: A34 Comet
« Reply #20 on: March 25, 2013, 06:43:13 PM »
The Army has a real dislike for "odd ball" vehicles.

The Comet wasn’t an odd ball it was an on issue medium tank in ABCA armies at the time. If the RAAC hadn’t proven that the Centurion was mobile in SEA conditions the Army would have brought them. Well we could hope they did because they would have been a lot more survivable and effective than the alternative: the M41 Walker Bulldog.

By "odd ball" I meant unusual in Australian Army service.  I'm also unaware of any other than the British who actually adopted the tank (Burmese seems to ring a bell perhaps).  I'd hardly call it "on issue with ABCA armies".  One ABCA army perhaps.  And as has been noted, it was busily divesting itself of them.

The M41 wasn't that bad.  It acquitted itself rather well in combat against North Vietnamese MBTs.  Not bad for a light tank IMHO.   I still have severe doubts as to whether the Australian Army would have been interested in the M41 anyway.  It too was out of production, with all the consequent problems already mentioned.

Quote
They did "rent" several M48s in Vietnam with mine-clearling rollers to help in removing the barrier minefield but they were returned to the US Army by IIRC 1970.

Yes this was equipment supplied under ABCA cross supply provisions. The same as a number of other assets used by Australia during the Vietnam war like M108 howitzers and Kiowa helicopters. The proposal was to just do the same with the M48 rather than bring Centurions into theatre.

RAAC was against it because their crews were not trained on them and it would delay the deployment considerably. M48A3 was superior in engine and transmission and much easier to drive compared to the Centurion but had an inferior fire control system for tank vs tank engagement.

Interesting point which I've not heard before.  I have read ex-US Tankers wax lyrical about the M48 and they considered it's coincidence range-finder better than the Centurion's "primitive" (their words, not mine) ranging MG.  I am in no position I admit to judge either way and suspect that like many such matters either is as good as the other in competent hands, most of the time.

The M108s were US owned and along with the M109s, US operated, I believe.  I can't find a reference at the moment but I believe they remained under US ownership throughout their use in the first few years of the deployment.  They were never taken on charge, unlike the M48s.

Quote
The Australian Army did look seriously at the M60 as a replacement for the Centurion in the competition that the Leopard eventually won. 

Medium Tank replacement program inspired by Vietnam but not related in anyway to the challenges leading up to the deployment of the Centurions.

Yes.  Coupled with the increasing difficulties in maintaining the Centurions which we have already touched upon.

Quote
The So, you have an Army which is resistant to cannibalisation, taking on an out of production tank which had essentially limited life, dependent on cannibalising out of service vehicles to keep the others going?

The army only developed this resistance thanks to the experiences of the 1960s. It was not an issue at all in the consideration of the Comet and frankly the big argument in favour of using M48s. In an ideal world the Army would have had a new or rebuilt tank for use in Vietnam. The Comet was a real world contender for Australian Army Vietnam War medium tank. So if anyone wants to Whif it they can do so with a non-fictional back story.

Nothing stopping someone from Whiffing, I agree.  I am interested though, in exploring this, to me at least, hitherto unknown story of its possible adoption.

Offline AGRA

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Re: A34 Comet
« Reply #21 on: March 25, 2013, 07:54:48 PM »
I'm also unaware of any other than the British who actually adopted the tank (Burmese seems to ring a bell perhaps).  I'd hardly call it "on issue with ABCA armies".  One ABCA army perhaps.  And as has been noted, it was busily divesting itself of them.

I won’t respond to every point made in this last post because it seems very repetitive and like a lot of iron cast opinion with little founding. But to the issue with ABCA armies perhaps you don’t understand the terminology? It only needs to be on issue to one army within this partnership for it to be considered ABCA. Since the Comet was a British tank on issue to their Army and at that time (1956-60) Australia could benefit from ABCA for access to the Comet. The same mechanism by which Australia benefited in sustaining the Centurion in service.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2013, 07:57:54 PM by AGRA »

Offline Rickshaw

  • "Of course, I could be talking out of my hat"
Re: A34 Comet
« Reply #22 on: March 25, 2013, 09:37:47 PM »
Quote
ABCA Armies (formally, the American, British, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand Armies' Program) is a program aimed at optimizing interoperability and standardization of training and equipment between the armies of the United States of America, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, plus the United States Marine Corps and the Royal Marines. Established in 1947 as a means to capitalize on close cooperation between the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada during World War II, the program grew to include Australia (in 1963) and New Zealand (as an observer from 1965, with full membership in 2006).


So, why would Australia in the 1950s care about an agreement it was not even a party to?

Moreover, the agreement was originally on standardisation of Infantry Equipment, not tanks:

Quote
Originally, the role of ABCA was limited to issues of standardization for soldier equipment, training, and tactics. Following the September 11 attacks, a review by the Program's Heads of Delegations saw the Program modified to address the changing security environment and improve responsiveness, relevance, and focus on interoperability. The overhaul was completed by June 2004.

[Big Boys and Girls' Book of World Knowledge]
« Last Edit: March 26, 2013, 08:36:10 AM by Rickshaw »

Offline AGRA

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Re: A34 Comet
« Reply #23 on: March 26, 2013, 07:00:43 AM »
So, why would Australia in the 1950s care about an agreement it was not even a party to?

Moreover, the agreement was original on standardisation of Infantry Equipment, not tanks:


You really have to stop doing your own research!

ABCA Armies is what we call it today. But back in the late 1950s, early 60s, it was called the Basic Standardization Concept and it worked in the same way for Australia. Australia *joined the organisation* in 64 when it was renamed ABCA but before being a member Australia was a partner.

Kind of like we are now with NATO. Australia gets access to all the standardisation stuff and information flows but isn’t a full member with a voting seat at the big table and of course the security agreement.

Now I’ve sent you the source to my comments here by PM and you still insist on digging around the edges using factoids and your ignorance to try and shoot this down. Get over yourself. This stuff happened and it happened in the way I characterised.

Canister! On! FIRE! Australian Tank Operations in Vietnam
By Lt.Col. Bruce Cameron, MC (Ret.)
http://www.bigskypublishing.com.au/Books/Military/Canister--On--FIRE--Australian-Tank-Operations-in-Vietnam/975/productview.aspx

Offline Weaver

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Re: A34 Comet
« Reply #24 on: March 26, 2013, 08:06:16 AM »
Might I suggest turning down the heat and the personal comments please? The generally accepted rule is : play the ball, not the man.....
"I have described nothing but what I saw myself, or learned from others" - Thucydides

"I've jazzed mine up a bit" - Spike Milligan

"I'm a general specialist," - Harry Purvis in Tales from the White Hart by Arthur C. Clarke

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Offline dy031101

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Re: Cruiser Tanks
« Reply #25 on: June 20, 2014, 10:47:02 AM »
Interesting combo. 8)


Now with sideview and a sloped glacis:



From what I have gathered on Google, track return rollers seem to be beneficial to faster tanks.  Alright, I'll keep the return rollers then......
« Last Edit: January 20, 2015, 11:49:42 AM by dy031101 »
Forget about his bow and arrows- why wait until that sparrow has done his deed when I can just bury him right now 'cause I'm sick and tired of hearing why he wants to have his way with the cock robin!?

Offline dy031101

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Re: A34 Comet
« Reply #26 on: June 22, 2014, 05:21:13 AM »
Logan Hartke's comment actually got me thinking of mounting an US 90mm gun into an existing Comet turret:



Looks do-able if I once again move the trunnion forward (although the comparison is made by aligning the front end of their turret bustles since I don't know the recoil distances of both guns).  Gun elevation/depression is probably gonna suffer greatly though (my untrained intellectual exercise puts it within +10°/-4°)......

Or would a 90mm-gun-armed version of the Charioteer turret be a better way to go?
« Last Edit: June 22, 2014, 06:30:58 AM by dy031101 »
Forget about his bow and arrows- why wait until that sparrow has done his deed when I can just bury him right now 'cause I'm sick and tired of hearing why he wants to have his way with the cock robin!?

Offline Rickshaw

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Re: A34 Comet
« Reply #27 on: June 22, 2014, 09:38:14 AM »
As they felt they had to build a completely new turret to put a 20 Pdr on a Cromwell hull, to create the Charioteer, I think you'd have to do the same if you want to put a 90mm on a Comet hull.  While the Comet is slightly wider than the Cromwell,  it'd still be a very tight fit.  As it was with the Charioteer, they also lost a crew man (loader) in the process.   The Comet turret was pretty cramped even with just a 77mm in there.

Offline Volkodav

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Re: A34 Comet
« Reply #28 on: December 25, 2014, 01:26:20 AM »
Sorry about the old thread resurrection but in light of some recent reading and you tubing it came to me that I can't actually think of any reason why the Comet couldn't have been built instead of the Cromwell, or more to the point why the Cromwell couldn't have basically been everything the Comet was.  For that matter all the pieces needed were in place in time to have produced something like the Cavalier instead of the Crusader, such as the 6pdr gun and the recognized need to retain a three man turret.  Also, a HE round existed for the 6pdr but for some reason wasn't issued (but was used by the RN in the Molins gun) so if issued would have removed the need for the 75mm gun.  The 95mm CS was still available to support 6pdr gunned troops, although I  have never understood why, what was basically a cut down 3.7" AAgun barrel and a 25pdr breech, was fitted with a counter weight on the barrel, because it was breach heavy, when the weapon suffered from inaccuracy, poor dispersion and a lack of range, when lengthening the barrel would likely have addressed all these issues.

Basically all that was needed to fix the UKs cruiser tank problems was a bit of vision to skip one generation of cruisers in light of the actual opposition they were facing and likely to face, rather than always playing catchup and hoping the enemy weren't also improving their vehicles.

Also what AGRA and I have been discussing was two different procurements that were proposed at different times for the RAAC. The first was a mid 40s proposal to equip ten CMF regiments in support of five regular army Regiments of Centurions.  These vehicles, had they been acquired, would have been due upgrade or replacement by the late 50s.  The other proposal was from the late 50s early 60s was for a squadron of light tanks to support alliance operations in the far east. 

Offline dy031101

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Re: A34 Comet
« Reply #29 on: January 20, 2015, 11:48:18 AM »
Irish trial with 90mm recoilless rifle replacing the 77mm HV turret.

Lack of funds led to this seemingly-simplistic trial going nowhere...... but I do wonder if the project was started with the intention of keeping Irish Comets functioning as a tank (as opposed to tank destroyers that recoilless rifles tend to be associated with)......

If it was...... perhaps we'd have seen some armoured setup on the "finished" products?
« Last Edit: January 21, 2015, 04:51:20 AM by dy031101 »
Forget about his bow and arrows- why wait until that sparrow has done his deed when I can just bury him right now 'cause I'm sick and tired of hearing why he wants to have his way with the cock robin!?

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: A34 Comet
« Reply #30 on: January 21, 2015, 02:30:16 AM »
Interesting.
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

Offline dy031101

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Re: A34 Comet
« Reply #31 on: January 21, 2015, 02:25:13 PM »
COMRES-75, a experimental Comet variant armed with externally-mounted QF 20-pounder.

It doesn't look like there is a bustle-mounted magazine à la AMX-13...... or does it?

For a more COTS combination, perhaps the turret of AMX-13/90 or AMX-13/105 with applique armours?
« Last Edit: January 21, 2015, 08:55:59 PM by dy031101 »
Forget about his bow and arrows- why wait until that sparrow has done his deed when I can just bury him right now 'cause I'm sick and tired of hearing why he wants to have his way with the cock robin!?

Offline dy031101

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Re: A34 Comet
« Reply #32 on: January 24, 2015, 01:10:28 PM »
A slightly larger version, permitting a loader to be added to the crew, would have been ideal to upgrade the Comet with a ful bore 17pdr then a 20pdr and finally an L7 105mm.

Though one thing about relocating magazine to the hull and adding a loader is the question as to how big the turret ring will get.


For whatever it's worth, here is my attempt at visualizing an American-style oscillating turret on the Comet:



The turret ring will have to be able accommodate all that...... and I don't think that it can.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2015, 04:48:20 AM by dy031101 »
Forget about his bow and arrows- why wait until that sparrow has done his deed when I can just bury him right now 'cause I'm sick and tired of hearing why he wants to have his way with the cock robin!?

Offline Volkodav

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Re: A34 Comet
« Reply #33 on: May 07, 2015, 10:08:34 PM »
Just a thought, well totally improbable what if to be honest.  How about a hypothetical AC5 Sentinel is developed based on the Cromwell while the original AC1, 3 and 4 were evolved from the original cruiser concept and in particular (as I understand it) the Covenanter.  They are ordered into production but the planned automotive components are never delivered leading to the cancellation of the project after a couple (or even several) of hundred improved hulls (or hull front segments) have been cast. 

Post war the plan to equip two CMF brigades with Comets goes ahead but Korea raises concerns that the Comets armour in insufficient but the design of the hull makes increasing it problematic, at this point it is realised that not only do the AC5 hulls have significantly greater protection than the standard Comet glacis but that they were designed to use the automotive components of the Cromwell, Comet, Challenger etc. 

A hybrid Comet / AC5 is built and tested, proving very successful and affordable resulting in the entire Comet fleet being rebuilt using the Comet sized AC5 hulls, Comet turrets, drive trains suspensions and tracks. 

This could be modelled buy applying plastic card and putty over a Comet hull to make it look like a cast hull.

Offline Volkodav

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Re: A34 Comet
« Reply #34 on: June 15, 2015, 11:08:35 PM »
Post WWII Australia was quite committed to building new and further developing existing strategic capabilities deemed necessary from war experience, both for defence but even more importantly for economic development.
In this situation it is quite conceivable that a local tank production capability could have been determined to be critical to national defence, in particular if the proposed armoured force, of no less than fifteen tank regiments in one regular and two reserve brigades, was adopted. 

The Sentinel program had proven that Australia was capable of designing and building tanks, even with extremely limited resources available during the war, a post war industry would have been a much simpler, less urgent undertaking.  At the time there was also limited foreign exchange and the Centurion was very expensive, as well as being considered by some (incorrectly as it turns out) too large and heavy for operations in South East Asia and the Pacific.  A perfectly good enough medium tank designed to equip an army that never expected to have to fight the latest and greatest Soviet designs without the support of great and powerful allies, better armed and protected than the M-4, smaller, lighter, more mobile and cheaper (to buy and own) than the Centurion, more reliable and durable than previous British designs as well as the not so successful M-26/46.

In this situation it is not so much of a stretch to imagine Australia developing and producing an evolved Comet as much to build a strategically desired industrial capability, as to boost the capability for the army.  It would use common automotive components, suspension tracks etc. perhaps even the same turret and main armament but a modified / modernised hull constructed from newly developed armour production infrastructure.  The main visual difference would be a sloped nose and rearranged drivers position with periscopes, swivelling hatch and height adjustable seat.  A 20pdr would be nice but difficult and the 77mm HV would do until the T54/55 series was identified in the late 50s. 

Such a vehicle would progressively replace all of the WWII vintage and hopelessly obsolete Matilda IIs and Grants in the Militia / CMF as well as the not much better Churchills equipping the new regular army.  A full fifteen regiments, plus additional vehicles for training and strategic reserves, exports to NZ and other suitable customers (Israel?) would easily see about 1000 basic tanks being built, perhaps in multiple batches / improved marks, through the 50s.

A series of upgrades could be undertaken in the 60s and 70s, maybe even the 80s for reserve vehicles, giving all sort of fun configuration options.  Vietnam, Six Day War, Yom Kippur, even Lebanon in 82 with Blazer RA, perhaps an extreme version in Desert Shield / Storm.  New drive train, turbo diesel (MTU V10?) new gun, 105mm L7 probably too big, how about a 76/62 similar to what South Africa did with the Rooicat, or a 75mm ARES or even the 60mm HV gun?  Starts with Browning M1919, ends up with MAG58 and Browning M-2.  Could be evolved and retained as a cavalry tank with the latest surveillance systems in addition to updated optics and fire controls.

Thinking a Revell (Matchbox) 1/76 kitbash and if it looks good try a Bronco 1/35.

Offline Volkodav

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Re: A34 Comet
« Reply #35 on: December 13, 2015, 09:38:57 PM »
Just a thought, how about the IDF manages to secure large numbers of Comets, could they have upgraded them instead of the Shermans?

Offline Rickshaw

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Re: A34 Comet
« Reply #36 on: December 14, 2015, 08:36:58 AM »
Just a thought, how about the IDF manages to secure large numbers of Comets, could they have upgraded them instead of the Shermans?

Anything can be "upgraded".  Whether or not that upgrade is worth the effort and lucre is another matter.   The Sherman was upgradeable because it was cheap and readily available, not necessarily because it was a superior design.  The Comet, if as cheap and as available would be worth upgrading but it would have more limitations than the Sherman IMHO.  The flat plates of the glacis would render it more vulnerable in combat.  It's turret design would make it easier to accept a bigger gun but you'd need to cut away the corresponding area on the rear of the turret to allow it to be more easily loaded and fought.   Perhaps a French 105mm?

Offline jcf

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Re: A34 Comet
« Reply #37 on: December 14, 2015, 09:37:57 AM »
Just a thought, how about the IDF manages to secure large numbers of Comets, could they have upgraded them instead of the Shermans?

Anything can be "upgraded".  Whether or not that upgrade is worth the effort and lucre is another matter.   The Sherman was upgradeable because it was cheap and readily available, not necessarily because it was a superior design.  The Comet, if as cheap and as available would be worth upgrading but it would have more limitations than the Sherman IMHO.  The flat plates of the glacis would render it more vulnerable in combat.  It's turret design would make it easier to accept a bigger gun but you'd need to cut away the corresponding area on the rear of the turret to allow it to be more easily loaded and fought.   Perhaps a French 105mm?

... and due to the original emphasis on design for production and maintainability the Sherman was relatively easy to upgrade.
"Evil our grandsires were, our fathers worse;
And we, till now unmatched in ill,
Must leave successors more corrupted still."
Horace, 65BC - 8BC. Marsh translation.

Offline Volkodav

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Re: A34 Comet
« Reply #38 on: December 14, 2015, 12:08:34 PM »
I could see there would still be a place for the M51 with its 105mm but if there were sufficient Comets would they not have been a suitable alternative to the M50?  Throw in the logistic advantages of a common drive train with the Centurion, lower profile than the Sherman they would have been useful without being a logistic or technical burden. 

It is actually conceivable that Israel could have made a deliberate decision to acquire as many Comets as they could to supplement the Centurions, they could maybe even have moved to obtain as many Avengers, Challengers and even Cromwells as possible, as worst for parts and possibly as a pool for a full modernised FOV.

Just an idea, basically if anyone was going to modify, upgrade and operate the Comet in numbers, it would have to have been the Israelis.  The Sherman was to obvious vehicle for them to use and upgrade this is just a whiff that they some how managed to get large numbers of late type cruisers instead of Shermans and decided to make the best the could of them.

What, in the light of their other extensive and successful upgrades of other types of tank, would the Israelis have done with Comets, (or even Challengers, Avengers and Cromwell)?  Also just imagine if they acquired Conquerors. ;)

Offline Rickshaw

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Re: A34 Comet
« Reply #39 on: December 14, 2015, 01:59:20 PM »
Just a thought, how about the IDF manages to secure large numbers of Comets, could they have upgraded them instead of the Shermans?

Anything can be "upgraded".  Whether or not that upgrade is worth the effort and lucre is another matter.   The Sherman was upgradeable because it was cheap and readily available, not necessarily because it was a superior design.  The Comet, if as cheap and as available would be worth upgrading but it would have more limitations than the Sherman IMHO.  The flat plates of the glacis would render it more vulnerable in combat.  It's turret design would make it easier to accept a bigger gun but you'd need to cut away the corresponding area on the rear of the turret to allow it to be more easily loaded and fought.   Perhaps a French 105mm?

... and due to the original emphasis on design for production and maintainability the Sherman was relatively easy to upgrade.

I would say that was more by accident than design, Jon.  The M4 is not a magic design.  Without the massive stores availability, the M4 would have been as difficult as any vehicle to upgrade.

Offline jcf

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Re: A34 Comet
« Reply #40 on: December 15, 2015, 05:22:45 AM »
Never said it was a magic design, Brian and the design for mass production is one of things that allowed easy mass
production (55,000+) and field maintainability, thus the massive post-war stores availability.
"Evil our grandsires were, our fathers worse;
And we, till now unmatched in ill,
Must leave successors more corrupted still."
Horace, 65BC - 8BC. Marsh translation.

Offline Volkodav

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Re: A34 Comet
« Reply #41 on: December 15, 2015, 07:16:21 PM »
One thing I don't get about the Comet, or the entire A24/27/30/34 family is their vertical glacis and turret armour surfaces when the preceding A13 Covenanter and A15 Crusader both specifically specified sloped armour to increase its effective thickness for a given weight.  Logically the same principle should have applied to the Cromwell, irrespective of any other changes, or rather improvements, yes there may have been justification in terms of turret volume, but why take the retrograde step on the hull?

As an improvement on the things that worked on previous designs a sloped glacis (also present on the Matilda and Valentine) would have made sense.  Conceivably the Cromwell and definitely the Comet could have been designed with sloped armour and a bigger gun from the start (the Cromwell was apparently specified with a 17pdr before they worked out it wouldn't fit) making it a much better vehicle.  Then again it was never bad, it was reliable, fast, well protected and had a low profile (an advantage in open country but not so much in the hedgerows.

Offline Volkodav

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Re: A34 Comet
« Reply #42 on: February 23, 2017, 07:05:06 PM »
Just reread this topic because I now have a Bronco 1/35 Comet to play with (or to be honest keep in my stash and occasionally look at it).   Rereading my Antipodean Armour Fest topic too, getting lots of ideas and inspirations at the moment, just need to turn it into actual model building.

Offline tankmodeler

  • Wisely picking parts of the real universe 2 ignore
Re: A34 Comet
« Reply #43 on: February 24, 2017, 05:15:06 AM »
Just reread this topic because I now have a Bronco 1/35 Comet to play with (or to be honest keep in my stash and occasionally look at it).   Rereading my Antipodean Armour Fest topic too, getting lots of ideas and inspirations at the moment, just need to turn it into actual model building.
Given the reliability of the Meteor in the Comet, I can't see it being replaced until the mid 60s if the vehicle was still in service and then a nice 650-700 hp diesel package like the readily available AVDS-1790 would keep the spring in its step. The extra power and torque would also allow for significant upgrades.

- Replace the 77mm with a low pressure French 105 or the Cockrill LP 90mm or the HP French 75
- add a modern (for the 60s ) fire control system
- replace co-driver with more ammo, especially if 105 used.
- add applique spaced armour

Lots of power means lots of "scoot" with the enhanced "shoot".

Paul

Offline Volkodav

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Re: A34 Comet
« Reply #44 on: February 24, 2017, 05:02:42 PM »
If enough of them were in service in the 60s perhaps a common automotive upgrade could have been undertaken on the Comets and the Centurions.

Offline dy031101

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Re: A34 Comet
« Reply #45 on: June 14, 2018, 06:26:13 AM »
More info on the "Headless Coachman"
Forget about his bow and arrows- why wait until that sparrow has done his deed when I can just bury him right now 'cause I'm sick and tired of hearing why he wants to have his way with the cock robin!?

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: A34 Comet
« Reply #46 on: June 14, 2018, 03:07:00 PM »
Kind of surprised they didn't go for the L2 BAT or L6 WOMBAT 120mm versions.
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

Offline tankmodeler

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Re: A34 Comet
« Reply #47 on: June 14, 2018, 11:46:11 PM »
Kind of surprised they didn't go for the L2 BAT or L6 WOMBAT 120mm versions.
Reading the article and the permanently broke status of the Irish Defence Forces, I'm guessing that the Bofors 90mm was in stock and, as it says in the article, went back to the infantry. There was no money to buy _anything_ for the Comets, including any HE ammo once a fault had been found in the existing stocks.

Offline dy031101

  • Yuri Fanboy and making cute stuff practical- at least that's the plan anyway
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Re: A34 Comet
« Reply #48 on: June 15, 2018, 04:38:13 AM »
Kind of surprised they didn't go for the L2 BAT or L6 WOMBAT 120mm versions.

If the BAT series was an option, I kinda would have liked the BAT or MoBAT better than the WOMBAT as the former's vertically-sliding breech might make gun crew space planning simpler.

I would actually have, for this idea, liked the fact that the American 106mm is prolific enough that new ammunition is still being marketed, but not only does the American 106mm use a horizontally-hinged breech, it also lacks the back blast chute extension (which, as I recently start to suspect since we would want to make it as difficult for the recoilless rifle's back blast to enter the turret ring opening as possible without placing the breech out of reach from the designated loader, might be important)......
« Last Edit: June 15, 2018, 09:00:43 AM by dy031101 »
Forget about his bow and arrows- why wait until that sparrow has done his deed when I can just bury him right now 'cause I'm sick and tired of hearing why he wants to have his way with the cock robin!?

Offline Rickshaw

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Re: A34 Comet
« Reply #49 on: June 15, 2018, 02:17:42 PM »
There are significant differences between how the US 106mm RCL and the British 120mm RCL operate.  The 106mm has numerous holes drilled in the sides of it's cartridge case.  Into the case is placed a "liner" made of thin brass or plastic. When the round fires, it blasts holes through the liner and the gases exhaust sideways and then it is redirected rearwards.  The 120mm has a frangible base in the cartridge case, which fractures and disintegrates (it is usually made of plastic) and is blasted to the rear.

The first type - the 106mm - is simpler to build but it requires a stronger breech structure and it makes an autoloader hellishly more complex.   The second type requires a simpler breech mechanism and a longer breech exit.  Autoloaders are much simpler.

I've fired both styles of weapon (106mm and the 84mm Carl Gustav) and personally I prefer the British (actually German - Rheinmetall) system - it tends to be easier to reload.