Author Topic: Antipodean Armourfest!  (Read 8071 times)

Offline Volkodav

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Re: Antipodean Armourfest!
« Reply #30 on: July 20, 2015, 02:04:23 PM »
Yes I recall a series of articles on the multiple, hideously expensive camouflage uniform programs being run by the US Army in response to operational requirements in Afghanistan.  Apparently perfecting the digi-cam for one particular set of terrain made the troops stick out as if they were wearing fluoro in another type of terrain.  If I recall correctly the grey / green toned cam, while looking great, was actually the worst offender, particularly in the green valleys and in general the much cheaper, less advanced USMC cams were generally more effective.

Then again the basic AUSCAM pattern was developed by DSTO after a very long process involving the analysis of lighting, terrain and vegetation around Australia, across the seasons as far back as he 80s and its only just now being replaced.  Back in the day 3 RAR were issued trial sets of a lighter shade, closer to the later desert cam, that was also much more expensively tailored with leather straps and buckles etc.

Unless I am greatly mistaken the basic vehicle scheme has not changed since camouflage was adopted in the late 80s.

Offline Rickshaw

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Re: Antipodean Armourfest!
« Reply #31 on: July 21, 2015, 08:14:19 AM »
The colours and patterns have pretty much remained the same since the early 1980s.  They have fiddled a bit with digital cam for vehicle canvas covers and the like but it is still pretty much the same.

The diggers' uniforms have pretty much remained the same as well, with perhaps the major change the adoption of a "desert" scheme, which just swapped some of the colours around.    I remember being briefed on how they arrived at the patterns/colours.  CSIRO developed the world's first portable mass spectrometer and went bush with it, to take readings of various vegetation.  Quite world breaking work apparently.   That is why it suits arid Australia so well, as it was taken from arid Australian vegetation.

I note that the last few years in Afghanistan the British Army also realised that their two sets of cam weren't cutting it and adopted a mid-level cam, with more green in the uniform, to meld in better with the changing terrain where they were doing most of their fighting - in and around the inhabited valleys.   I remember seeing a news report on the change over and they showed how well their new cam uniforms worked by comparing them to the older ones.

Offline Volkodav

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Re: Antipodean Armourfest!
« Reply #32 on: July 21, 2015, 06:29:49 PM »
The colours and patterns have pretty much remained the same since the early 1980s.  They have fiddled a bit with digital cam for vehicle canvas covers and the like but it is still pretty much the same.

The diggers' uniforms have pretty much remained the same as well, with perhaps the major change the adoption of a "desert" scheme, which just swapped some of the colours around.    I remember being briefed on how they arrived at the patterns/colours.  CSIRO developed the world's first portable mass spectrometer and went bush with it, to take readings of various vegetation.  Quite world breaking work apparently.   That is why it suits arid Australia so well, as it was taken from arid Australian vegetation.

I note that the last few years in Afghanistan the British Army also realised that their two sets of cam weren't cutting it and adopted a mid-level cam, with more green in the uniform, to meld in better with the changing terrain where they were doing most of their fighting - in and around the inhabited valleys.   I remember seeing a news report on the change over and they showed how well their new cam uniforms worked by comparing them to the older ones.

Interestingly the desert cams don't look that different to the shade I remember for the trial cams issued to 3 RAR early on.

Offline Volkodav

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Re: Antipodean Armourfest!
« Reply #33 on: August 29, 2015, 09:04:12 PM »
Something that may be of interest, the M-24 trials in Borneo were an eye opener I never realised we did those.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nA7P8xco_UY

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Antipodean Armourfest!
« Reply #34 on: August 30, 2015, 05:04:21 AM »
Something that may be of interest, the M-24 trials in Borneo were an eye opener I never realised we did those.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nA7P8xco_UY

Some great footage there :)  I think you might mean Bougainville rather than Borneo though  ;)
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Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Antipodean Armourfest!
« Reply #35 on: August 30, 2015, 06:48:54 AM »
Of course, the M-24 trials might lead to an interesting scenario whereby the ARA acquired M-24s and then later upgrades them similar to the Norwegian NM-116:



 ;)
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Offline Rickshaw

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Re: Antipodean Armourfest!
« Reply #36 on: August 30, 2015, 12:50:09 PM »
Something that may be of interest, the M-24 trials in Borneo were an eye opener I never realised we did those.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nA7P8xco_UY

I've seen the original Army film of those trials.  Very interesting.  I remember the M24 coming out of the forest covered in leaves and what could be seen from inside the vehicle.   I found the Sheridan stuff in your video more interesting though.  First time I've seen the breech on the 152mm working.

Offline Volkodav

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Re: Antipodean Armourfest!
« Reply #37 on: August 30, 2015, 07:30:13 PM »
Something that may be of interest, the M-24 trials in Borneo were an eye opener I never realised we did those.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nA7P8xco_UY

Some great footage there :)  I think you might mean Bougainville rather than Borneo though  ;)

Yep that the problem with watching the video then deciding to post it hours latter.

I knew we had trialled Chaffees but had always thought it was done in Australia, I didn't realise we conducted trials in operational areas (or recently operational areas).

Offline Volkodav

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Re: Antipodean Armourfest!
« Reply #38 on: August 30, 2015, 07:34:39 PM »
Of course, the M-24 trials might lead to an interesting scenario whereby the ARA acquired M-24s and then later upgrades them similar to the Norwegian NM-116:



 ;)

Had we acquired sufficient of them they could have served in the CMF then Army Reserve for decades.  Cheap, reliable and still used by NATO, with a stack of off the shelf upgrades available, they would have well and truly outlasted the clapped out M-3s.  The 75mm gun would have been a decent DFS weapon for infantry support as well, it could have made for some interesting doctrine in the post war army.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2015, 07:36:33 PM by Volkodav »

Offline Volkodav

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Re: Antipodean Armourfest!
« Reply #39 on: August 30, 2015, 07:35:41 PM »
Something that may be of interest, the M-24 trials in Borneo were an eye opener I never realised we did those.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nA7P8xco_UY

I've seen the original Army film of those trials.  Very interesting.  I remember the M24 coming out of the forest covered in leaves and what could be seen from inside the vehicle.   I found the Sheridan stuff in your video more interesting though.  First time I've seen the breech on the 152mm working.

It was interesting, not to mention frighteningly complex by the look of it.

Offline Volkodav

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Re: Antipodean Armourfest!
« Reply #40 on: January 07, 2016, 09:48:09 PM »
Just read British Light Tanks 1927-45 Mk I-VI (New Vanguard) and was interested to see that the War Office was deliberately spreading tank production around industry to provide them experience in building armoured vehicles as part of gearing them up for the coming war. 

Also of interest was the Australian order for 10 Mk VIA in 1937 that, along with 4 older Vickers Mediums (a total of 14 tanks pre war), were run into the ground as training platforms upon mobilisation.  This meant there were no tanks available for deployment with the 2nd AIF and they were totally reliant on what was available in theatre upon arrival i.e. obsolete Mk IIBs provided to 6 Divisions Cavalry Regiment to supplement their Carriers (they later obtained captured Italian tanks as per the photo Greg posted on page 1 of this topic).

Last, there was a prototype Mk VI tank destroyer with a 2pdr in an open topped turret from 1935, that was extensively field tested by the 9th Lancers through 1938.  The type was rejected for service but it is not known why, possibly doctrinal reasons, however the reliability of the platform combined with a gun that was actually superior to the light anti tank guns used by other nations early in the war.

Now to work these facts into the thread.

With war on the horizon the decision is made to not only gear up British industry for the production of tanks but also industry within the dominions, as such Australia's Mk VI light tanks were locally manufactured and the versions selected was the 2 Pdr tank destroyer as well as the VIC but with M-1919 and M-2 Browning MGs instead of BESAs (maybe .303" versions of the Browning). 

This means the 2nd AIF Divisional Cavalry Regiments can be deployed with tanks rather than having to wait for the UK to supply them (if things worked out the Dominions could actually supply the UK allowing them to develop and deploy new designs sooner).  The obvious initial TOE would include a mix of light tanks and tank destroyers in addition to the usual carriers within the Divisional Cavalry Regiments, plus possibly separate / independent light tank and tank destroyer regiments. 

As Australia always intended to follow the UKs lead on the employment of armour it is perfectly reasonable to assume that Australia would form a separate Armoured Corps, including a Tank Regiment with a number of battalions operating both infantry tanks and light tanks, as well as mechanising Cavalry with light and cruiser tanks.  The obvious vehicles would be the Mk VI Light Tanks ( and tank destroyers)and the Matilda II for the RAAC and RATR while the cruiser tanks would be more problematical but I think an interesting option would either be an enlarged light tank or a license produced LT vz 38 with 2 Pdr tank gun.

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Antipodean Armourfest!
« Reply #41 on: September 13, 2018, 05:10:56 AM »
Any one with an interest in Australian tank history should read "Fallen Sentinel Australian Tanks in World War II" by Peter Beale.  Well recommended.
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Offline Volkodav

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Re: Antipodean Armourfest!
« Reply #42 on: September 13, 2018, 11:00:31 AM »
Any one with an interest in Australian tank history should read "Fallen Sentinel Australian Tanks in World War II" by Peter Beale.  Well recommended.


Yes I have it on Kindle, it was a very informative read though some people I know have questioned some of his conclusions.

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Antipodean Armourfest!
« Reply #43 on: September 13, 2018, 01:11:20 PM »
I agree that some of it is challengable and it could have used some better editing but ist still is informative re the various priorities the Govt of the day had to deal with and the reasoning why some things happened/didn't happen.

One whiff idea I liked from it was the idea of taking a captured German panzer to use as the basis for an Australian tank design... ;)
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Offline Rickshaw

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Re: Antipodean Armourfest!
« Reply #44 on: September 14, 2018, 01:34:58 PM »
I agree that some of it is challengable and it could have used some better editing but ist still is informative re the various priorities the Govt of the day had to deal with and the reasoning why some things happened/didn't happen.

One whiff idea I liked from it was the idea of taking a captured German panzer to use as the basis for an Australian tank design... ;)

OOh, ahhh, that could lead to some trouble if ever deployed against the Germans...  ;)