Author Topic: Aussie Post War Armour and what I'm going to do with my Tamiya M-41  (Read 1211 times)

Offline Volkodav

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I have been toying with what to do with the Tamiya M-41 I have just bought as well as other existing kits, including a M-10 Wolverine (17pdr) and a M-18 Hellcat I acquired from Old Wombat last Christmas and have come up with what I believe to be a plausible scenario.
Backstory revolves around the (delusional / common sense) decision, spurred by combat experience in WWII and then the Korean conflict, to mechanise the regular army and CMF, including a plan to acquire a suitable platform to replace the various WWII vintage tanks and tank derived armoured vehicles used by the CMF armoured units in real life. 

Late war plans for one regular and two reserve tank brigades, each of five regiments, equipped respectively with Centurions and Comets, never eventuated.  A single regular tank regiment with Churchills (later replaced with Centurions) was formed from an armoured car Squadron (equipped with Staghound armoured cars), while the various CMF squadrons and regiments were equipped variously with dwindling numbers of M-3 Grants, Matildas, Staghounds and 17pdr AT guns into the 50s. Despite the shock of Korea, that reaffirmed many of the lessons of WWII, Australia continued with the fiction that light or "Jungle" infantry, supported by the bare minimum of armour and artillery, was all that was needed.

My alt history sees the shock of Korea initiate the emergency acquisition of surplus equipment to reequip the CMS armoured and AT units, in addition to the raising of a regular armoured brigade to recast the Australian Regular Army as an Armoured Division instead of just an Infantry Brigade.  Key to this plan was the eventual local production of an armoured chassis to re-equip most if not all light and medium armoured units by the early 1960s.
•   Phase 1 - select and order a modern tank to form the bulk of the planned tank brigade.
•   Phase 2 - the order of the most suitable surplus equipment available to re-equip existing CMF and remaining regular units. Factors in determining suitability; cost, ease of supporting locally (inc. commonality with existing platforms), reliability and suitability to be modernised for service into the early 60s.
•   Phase 3 - develop a modernisation plan for the acquired surplus equipment so it can remain effective for a decade.  Ensure the modernisation program develops the required knowledge and skills to facilitate the local production of replacement vehicles to enter service from the late 1950s.
•   Phase 4 - design and introduce into service an armoured, self propelled, tank destroyer / assault gun to replace towed AT guns in the infantry battalions.
•   Phase 5 - licence produce a modern light AFV family of vehicles (FOV)
•   Phase 6 - licence produce a modern Universal tank and associated FOV.
•   Phase 7- modernise the vehicles acquired in Phase 1 for further service in the CMF.

The Phase 1 tank was the British Centurion of the latest mark, intended to equip five regiments.

The acquisition of surplus vehicles in Phase 2 to cover:
•   A light tank to equip the army’s regular cavalry regiment, the cavalry (reconnaissance) squadrons of the CMF and reconnaissance platoons of the armoured and mechanised infantry battalions - M-24 Chaffee
•   A medium tank to replace the M-3 Grant in the CMF tank units – Comet (and maybe M-4 Sherman)
•   A heavy (or infantry) tank to replace the Matilda in the support company tank platoons of the infantry battalions – Churchill VII and VIII (an interim measure as the tank brigade was formed)
•   A light, turreted tank destroyer to complement the light tanks in the cavalry – M-18 Hellcat
•   A medium, turreted tank destroyer to equip the CMFs AT regiments and independent AT squadrons (replacing the cavalry’s towed AT guns) – M-10 and M-10C 
•   A heavy, turreted tank destroyer to equip the army’s tank destroyer regiment – M-36B2 Jackson
•   25pdr SPG – Yeramba (SPG converted from M-3A5 Grant hulls)
•   A load carrier / tractor supporting mechanised units – converted M-3A5 and M-10
•   Recovery and support versions of major types.

Phase 3 saw the modernisation and standardisation (where possible) of the surplus equipment:
•   M-10, M-10C, M-36B2, Yeramba and other M-3 conversions were standardised mechanically on the Detroit GM 6-71 and HVSS suspension.
•   All M-10 and M-18 were standardised on the 17pdr gun, then up gunned again with the 20pdr as the Centurions were converted to 105mm from 1960.
•   The M-36B2 was fitted with the QF 20pdr in the early 50s, then it in turn was replaced with the L7 105mm from the late 50s.
•   Comets received minimal modernisations to standardise ancillary equipment where possible while the M-4s received the common drive train and suspension, along with the 77mm HV gun of the Comet.
•   The remaining Churchills were converted into support vehicles and were replaced within the infantry battalions by light tanks and the new SPG AT.
•   MGs were standardised on the M-1919 .30cal MMG and the M-2 .50cal HMG

Phase 4 was an indigenous Australian design that looked suspiciously like the late war German E-10 casemate tank destroyer.  It was a replacement for the towed 6pdr AT guns and was armed with the 77mm HV from the Comet, it arrival, as well as the light tanks for reconnaissance, allowed the retirement of the Churchill. – Working name, Echidna.

Phase 5 was the selection of the M-41 Walker Bulldog to be built under licence as a replacement for the M-24.  It was fitted with the same 77mm as the Comet and Echidna and a TD version armed with the 20pdr was developed, which was subsequently upgraded with the L7 105mm (modified with muzzle brakes etc.) that replaced the M-10, M-18 and eventually the M-36.  The M-44 was adopted as the replacement for the Yerumba and the M-42 Duster was introduced as well.  It was also developed into a ATGW carrier for Malkara, while the M-75 APC was also introduced and built in some numbers.
 
Phase 6 is fantasy realm, the Universal Tank I choose is the Conqueror 😉

Phase 7, the Centurions are modernised with improved armour, L7 and possibly diesel engines to supplement and partially replace the Comet in the CMF.

Offline Old Wombat

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Re: Aussie Post War Armour and what I'm going to do with my Tamiya M-41
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2018, 11:00:40 PM »
Neat! :smiley:

Doesn't fit in with my RAM-verse but, then, I wouldn't expect it to. ;)
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Offline Volkodav

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Re: Aussie Post War Armour and what I'm going to do with my Tamiya M-41
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2018, 12:22:58 PM »
I should provide an ORBAT.
1 Corps (1 Regular and 2 Reserve (CMF) Divisions of similar composition)

•   1 Division (Capable of deploying either a single armoured division or 3 independent, fully supported armoured or mechanised brigades)

o   1 Division HQ
o   1 Divisional Aviation Group (fixed wing CAS, Battlefield Air Superiority, ISR, Tactical Transport)
o   1 Divisional Artillery Group (Heavy, Rocket, Heavy AA)
o   1 Divisional Engineer Group (including Pioneer and construction battalions)
o   1 Divisional Support Group (Signal, Provost, Field Hospital, Field Ambulance, Movement)
o   1 Divisional Cavalry Regiment
o   1 Divisional AT Regiment
o   3 Brigade HQs
o   5 Tank Regiments
o   4 Mech/Armd Infantry Battalions
o   3 SPG Regiments
o   3 Light Aviation Regiments
o   3 Armoured Engineer Regiments
o   3 Brigade Support Battalions

2 Corps (Special and enabling capabilities for 1 Corps)

•   1 Special Forces Group

o   1 Special Air Service Regiment
o   1 Commando Regiment
o   1 Special Forces Aviation Regiment

•   1 Airborne Brigade

o   1 Parachute Regiment (1 regular and 2 CMF battalions)

•   1 Marine Brigade

o   1 Marine Regiment (1 regular and 2 CMF battalions)

•   1 Cavalry Brigade

o   Amphibious Light Cavalry Regiment
o   Armoured Amphibious Assault Vehicle Regiment
o   Light Cavalry Regiment (Airmobile)

•   1 Artillery Brigade

o   1 towed field regiment
o   1 light AA regiment
o   1 motorised rocket battery
o   1 towed medium battery

•   1 Support Group

o   1 Signals Regiment
o   1 Engineer Regiment
o   1 Movement Regiment

Believe it or not, I don't believe this would require many, if any, more personnel than the real ADF of the time.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2018, 12:25:02 PM by Volkodav »

Offline Rickshaw

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Re: Aussie Post War Armour and what I'm going to do with my Tamiya M-41
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2018, 03:26:37 PM »
Conqueror?  Considering the problems the RAAC had in moving initially Churchills and then later Centurions around Australia because of the light construction of the roads, railways and bridges, I somehow doubt the utility of having a heavy tank.   Nowadays they have enough problems moving their M1s.   Australia was never designed to make their life easy.  I cannot imagine what trying to move a heavy tank outside of Oz would have been like 60 years ago, let alone nowadays.

I can see the utility of having an SP AT Gun, mounting first a 6 Pdr and then later the 17 Pdr.  One of the big problems encountered in Korea was getting the infantry's 17 Pounders up the ridges.   I could also imagine the replacement of the 17 Pdr by a recoilless rifle and an ATGW.  The M41 is an excellent chassis for all that.  Personally, I like the Archer like mounting - backwards over the engine deck.  It was not found by the British to be a huge disadvantage when introduced in NW Europe.   It provides a way of increasing the armour protection without a significant increase in weight.  I'd also add a light armoured roof to ensure overhead protection for the crew and gun from airbursts.

As far as an MBT is concerned, the M3/M4 is more than adequate for most of the 1950s, followed perhaps by the Centurion.  The Comet is a dead-end.  It would be orphaned by the Centurion and it's utility would be limited.   While the Centurion offers problems, moving it around the continent and outside it, it's utility offsets that.  If backed by a large enough number of light tanks to protect the unit's flanks, it could work quite well.  It'd need to re-engined with a diesel.

For the light tank, a diesel powered M41 would work quite well.  It's gun is adequate and the 76mm M4 would be a good predecessor to work with.

The biggest problem of course would be getting the Government willing enough to spend the money that would be required.   As the infantry was limited for most of the 1950s and earily 1960s to only four battalions - one deployed to Korea/Malaya, one getting ready to be deployed, one having returned and a fourth "resting" on ceremonial/training duties in Oz - you would need to increase their numbers considerably.  The  RAAC would need to be increased as would all other supporting services if the strength is to increased to a Division.  The Government was more interested in spending what dosh it had, on the civil economy.

Offline Jeffry Fontaine

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Re: Aussie Post War Armour and what I'm going to do with my Tamiya M-41
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2018, 04:37:45 AM »
Maybe consider a modified M41 hull for an armoured utility vehicle and anti-tank gun prime mover?  Something that would look like the M39 AUV that was based on the M24 Chaffee hull
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Offline elmayerle

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Re: Aussie Post War Armour and what I'm going to do with my Tamiya M-41
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2018, 10:29:06 AM »
For the light tank from the late-50's time frame, perhaps put the US experimental T-92 into production?

Offline Rickshaw

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Re: Aussie Post War Armour and what I'm going to do with my Tamiya M-41
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2018, 12:35:15 PM »
For the light tank from the late-50's time frame, perhaps put the US experimental T-92 into production?

The T92 is an interesting design but I suspect it's utility is limited to being purely a light tank.   The M41 has the advantage that it could and was converted to other uses relatively easy.  The T92 because of the size of it's hull would have been limited in that respect.   Also 'cause it wasn't adopted in large numbers by the US Army, the Australian Army would have been a bit apprehensive with being landed with an orphan.

It is a bit of shame that the British Army basically decided to go with a wheeled light tank - the Saladin armoured car in the mid-1950s.   It wasn't until the adoption of the Scorpion that they corrected that decision in the mid-late 1960s.

An ideal light tank would be reasonably well armoured, equipped with a reasonable sized gun, be amphibious and have a good turn of speed.   Nothing in the West met those requirements (the Sheridan was badly over-gunned) until the advent of the Scorpion IMO.  The AMX-13 came close, except for the amphibious capability.

Offline Volkodav

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Re: Aussie Post War Armour and what I'm going to do with my Tamiya M-41
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2018, 01:13:57 PM »
M-3 more than adequate or the 50s?

The M-3 was found to be inadequate for operational use as a medium tank in the mid 40s, its reliable chassis on the other hand was still useful.

Came across an interesting line when researching this topic, apparently post war all retained M-3s and derivatives, were upgraded with M-4 VVSS suspension, so my HVSS upgrade is not a stretch.

The entire idea of this post was keeping close to original plans and existing equipment types while keeping costs in mind, hence the prefered Centurion, Comet and Churchill acquisitions, supplemented by surplus M-10 and M-36 (possibly also M-4) making up most of the CMF and non tank armour instead of the british options, i.e. various Cromwell and Valentine base verhicles. 

The GM 6-71 was the engine of choice because it was perfectly good enough and the engine used by the RAACs large M3-A5 fleet and Merlin for the Cent and Comet.  Yes a diesel would be better but this is the engine they had, maybe an upgrade later in life.

17pdr AT gun and its ammunition was produced in Australia so was a no brainer to replace the various 76mm guns. 77mm HV was the gun on the Comet, which under initial plans was to have been the most numerous single type in the post war RAAC (10 full regiments), thus made more sence than the 76mm on those vehicles that couldn't take a 17pdr.  20pdr was the gun on the Cent and as it was comparable with the 90mm it makes sence to replace the later for the sake of standardisation, and then replace both with 105mm L7 in a straight swap.

When licence building a light tank it made sence to use one of the existing in-service calibres, same as when designing the SPG AT, where possible you stick with what you have.  As it was licence built maybe the M-41 could have had a diesel, who knows.

The Conqueror is just cos!  Its big, is awsome, and the thought of a whole brigade of them is pretty cool.  Real justification, RAAC, although larger than in real life realises that a future enemy is likely to have lots and lots of what ever the Soviets give them, so a peer to the T54/55 and IS3 just doesnt cut it, the RAAC want something that can hit and take hits other tanks can't, something that can support and enable all the lighter AVFs that the hordes of T-55 would otherwise wipe out.  The eventual replacement for the Conqueror is locally built Chieftain and then Challenger.  As for rapid mobility, thats what the light tanks are for, and they will work because if a Cent or Conqueror is too heavy then other MBTs will struggle too.

The only type that doesn't really fit is the M-18 but its cool and I like it.  My thinking is the FOV principle using the M-39 Armoured Utility Vehicle as a gun tractor and Universal Carrier replacement, making the M-18 worth having too. 

I realise Australias political types would never have forked out the upfront dosh to buy this equipment but looking holistically it would have been a sensible response to the perceived threats of the time and the many reviews that looked to address them.  The usual process was ignore the warnings then enlist/conscript/pressgang a stack of young blokes as infantry and throw them at the problem (that had been identified one or two decades earlier) with whatever gear could be scrounged.  Multiple defence reviews and plans identified what Japan would do if they entered hostilities with the British Commonwealth, yet there we were in 1942, literally grabbing blokes off the street in Sydney to make up numbers to send to Kokoda, when it was known what was needed to defend Malaya and hence Singapore in the 1920s.

Late WWII and the early post war years there was a great awareness of the errors of the past and plans put in place to prevent them occuring again.  Well into the 70s the majority of people in authority had living memory of the darkest days of 1942 and the effort and cost to get through it.  The problem was political expediency, distraction and handing off our defence to powerful friends, paying for it, in the long run, through the blood of our young.


Offline Volkodav

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Re: Aussie Post War Armour and what I'm going to do with my Tamiya M-41
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2018, 01:15:07 PM »
For the light tank from the late-50's time frame, perhaps put the US experimental T-92 into production?

Looks sexy but doesn't help me wiff my M-41  ;)

Offline Rickshaw

  • "Of course, I could be talking out of my hat"
Re: Aussie Post War Armour and what I'm going to do with my Tamiya M-41
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2018, 06:03:58 PM »
I think I didn't adequately explain myself about the M3 as a choice.  I actually meant that it should be used in conjunction with the M4.  The M3 would be a perfectly adequate chassis for various specialised uses, the M4 would be adequate as an MBT during the 1950s.  Afterall Australia didn't really face a threat to it's territory.  In particular I'd like to see the M3 developed as an APC, it has more than sufficient internal room to carry a section of infantry.

My comments about re-engining the various vehicles was more as a later in life upgrade.  The Centurion and the M41 suffered from poor range and a tendency to burn with their petrol engines.   A diesel engine would cure both problems.  The Israelis most notably did it for the Centurion.   As the Meteor in the Centurion consumed ~12 gallons of petrol per mile traveled, it was definitely a fuel hog.

My comments about the Conqueror still hold true.  Having discussed the difficulties that 1 Armd. Regt. had in transporting a single Centurion from Pucka to Canberra in the late 1950s, where they were required to offload it from it's road transporter before every bridge and culvert, drive the tank over/through the stream and then reload it onto the transporter, I cannot imagine it would be easier to move a tank that was significantly heavier.   It was easier to move MBTs by ship than by road or rail.

Yes, the Conqueror would have been a nice progression however, the threat of JS3s/T10s just wasn't there.   The Centurion was more than adequate to face T34/54/55/59 which it was likely to face.  Armies need to justify their equipment purchases and without a threat, there simply isn't a need  There was no need for the Conqueror unless you can convince the Indonesians or the various Insurgents to adopt JS3s/T10s?

The Comet was as I suggested, an orphan.  The design had been superseded by the Centurion.  The RAAC was correct to pass it by for the Centurion.   It used an odd calibre gun, outmoded suspension and was lightly armoured in comparison. 

Offline Volkodav

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Re: Aussie Post War Armour and what I'm going to do with my Tamiya M-41
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2018, 07:17:13 PM »
We are basically on the same page ref the M-3 platform being used for various support vehicles etc and the M-4 being a perfectly good enough medium tank.  Where the Comet, and hence its 77mm, comes in is that it was the vehicle selected to equip ten regiments of the two CMF armoured brigades.  The army without a doubt would have loved to standardise on the Centurion but failing that the Comet was cheaper and perfectly good enough.


I realise that the M-4 has its advantages as well but the Comet is what was asked for.  The thing is with my notional M-10 and M-36 acquisitions, as well as the use of M-3 hulls and engines the Sherman would undoubtedly also have a place providing support to the units using said vehicles, OP tanks etc. As I suggested in my earlier post some CMF unit could receive Shermans instead of Comets, maybe even to the extent of one entire Bde having Shermans, and the other Comets.

Offline Rickshaw

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Re: Aussie Post War Armour and what I'm going to do with my Tamiya M-41
« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2018, 11:41:14 AM »
The M4 was an excellent MBT at war's end, as the Israelis proved into the 1960s-70s.  The M3 was an excellent choice for specialised armour and we had at war's end over several hundred of them, which with upgrading could be basically brought up to M4 standard.  I can imagine them being fitted with the alreading adopted M4 VVSS suspension and then progressing to the HVSS as it became available and finally a new engine.   Even in it's gun tank variant it would have been perfectly adequate to train the CMF in MBT use.

The Comet was an also run.  With the M4, there was no need for the Comet until the Centurion arrives on the scene (and truth be known, the Centurion was a bit over the top, it just wasn't needed for the threats that Oz faced in the 1950s-60s.).  What was needed was a replacement for the Matilda, which soldiered on in CMF use until the mid-1950s downunder.  The M3 or even the M4 could perform that task quite adequately.   If you could come up with an adequate substitute for the 'tilly, which had a larger gun, you'd have it made.

What I would really like to see is an amphibious tank - something that could swim ashore in the islands to the North and be able to fire a large enough HE shell to make the enemy take notice of it.   However, it was pretty much a vehicle which was abandoned after the war by everybody except the USMC (although we did have an armoured regiment of the CMF in the 1940s which was equipped with LVTs which had a near disaster during a deployment).   Perhaps Wombat can build one?


Offline Jeffry Fontaine

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Re: Aussie Post War Armour and what I'm going to do with my Tamiya M-41
« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2018, 05:30:56 AM »
One item that I hope you can improve upon with your M41 project is the cupola for the TC.  Try to find a suitable replacement that allows for complete rotation of the cupola within the space provided. 

I destroyed one of my M41 turrets trying to fix that issue and taking the cautious approach for the next attempt. 
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Offline Volkodav

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Re: Aussie Post War Armour and what I'm going to do with my Tamiya M-41
« Reply #13 on: July 30, 2018, 07:40:04 PM »
The M4 was an excellent MBT at war's end, as the Israelis proved into the 1960s-70s.  The M3 was an excellent choice for specialised armour and we had at war's end over several hundred of them, which with upgrading could be basically brought up to M4 standard.  I can imagine them being fitted with the alreading adopted M4 VVSS suspension and then progressing to the HVSS as it became available and finally a new engine.   Even in it's gun tank variant it would have been perfectly adequate to train the CMF in MBT use.

The Comet was an also run.  With the M4, there was no need for the Comet until the Centurion arrives on the scene (and truth be known, the Centurion was a bit over the top, it just wasn't needed for the threats that Oz faced in the 1950s-60s.).  What was needed was a replacement for the Matilda, which soldiered on in CMF use until the mid-1950s downunder.  The M3 or even the M4 could perform that task quite adequately.   If you could come up with an adequate substitute for the 'tilly, which had a larger gun, you'd have it made.

What I would really like to see is an amphibious tank - something that could swim ashore in the islands to the North and be able to fire a large enough HE shell to make the enemy take notice of it.   However, it was pretty much a vehicle which was abandoned after the war by everybody except the USMC (although we did have an armoured regiment of the CMF in the 1940s which was equipped with LVTs which had a near disaster during a deployment).   Perhaps Wombat can build one?

Actually the reading I have just done suggests the opposite, the M-4 was good enough, with its great strength being its reliability and the shear numbers it was available in while the Comet was as good in most ways and notably better in others, i.e. obstacle climbing, speed, lower silhouette and an outstanding gun that was powerful and extremely accurate.  The Cromwell was the Sherman equivalent while the Comet was something better again, not suggesting it was perfect, or that it couldn't have been improved upon, but rather that it was a good tank, with good mobility, good reliability, good armour, very good speed and a great gun.

Offline Rickshaw

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Re: Aussie Post War Armour and what I'm going to do with my Tamiya M-41
« Reply #14 on: August 08, 2018, 12:47:13 PM »
I've been thinking about this.

Basically I see Australian armour being divided into two streams - Infantry support and Armoured "cavalry" type operations.

In the former, there is, at war's end, the Matilda.  An excellent gun tank but by mid-war, it's 2 Pdr was obviously starting to be found wanting.  The creation of an independent HE round for the 2 Pdr. meant it's usefulness continued until war's end.  After that though, a replacement was needed.   I would have the Armour Corps basically hand over the Matilda to the Infantry.  They don't want it, it has good armour but a poor gun.

The Infantry find themselves with an old gun tank with a gun which is well, rather worn out and too light to support them in assaulting enemy strong points.  So, they decide that they would create a Stug-tilly.   They had 6 Pdr AT guns and 17 Pdr AT guns.  The Matilda is too small to take a 17 Pdr.   It could take a 6 Pdr.  This would allow the infantry to take their AT guns with them and use them in the assault.  I would use the same thinking as was used to create the British Archer - place the 6 Pdr in a fixed casement firing over the back of the vehicle.   Despite it's appearance as primarily a defensive weapon, the British used the Archer successfully in the assault during the campaign in NW Europe.  I see the Australian infantry doing similar with their Matildas.

When Korea occurs, the Tilly is well, a bit slow but it can climb the Korean ridges and is well suited to the static sort of warfare encountered in that war.  It allows the infantry to use their AT weapons more successfully than they did in real life (which BTW were 17 Pdrs).   However, the Matilda is reaching the end of it's life, so the infantry is looking for a replacement.

In the meantime, the Armoured Corps has settled on the M4 Sherman as it's main battle tank.  It is a natural progression from the M3 Grant/Lee which preceded it.  The M3 is still a useful vehicle, however, being basically the same chassis as the M4.  The M4a3e8 with HVSS is a very useful vehicle with an adequate gun and becomes the main tank for the Armoured Corps.  The M3s are used as the basis for various specialised vehicles, including SP guns/ APCs/Assault vehicles/etc.

The M4 lasts until the early 1960s, when it is replaced by the Centurion.  The M4s are then changed into the chassis for various specialised vehicles, replacing the M3s.   The Armoured Corps, seeking a modern light tank decides to adopt the M41 Walker Bulldog.   This is a new design with considerable potential in it.

The Infantry, seeking to replace their Matildas decides the M41 chassis would be a good design for their assault vehicle.  Initially, they try and put a 17 Pdr on it but decide to use a 106mm Rcl instead.  Again, firing over the rear of the vehicle.  The 106mm exhausts over the front of the vehicle from a fixed casement initially but that is eventually replaced with a turret mounted weapon.

In the 1970s, seeking to improve their vehicles, the Armoured corps copies the Israelis (and other armies) and replaces the Meteor engines and gearboxes of their Centurions with Diesels.  They also replace the Centurions' 20 Pdrs with 105mm L7 guns.  They do the same for the M41 replacing their engines and gearboxes, as does the Infantry.  This gives both vehicles at least another 10 years of service life.

By the 1970s, the 106mm Rcl armed M41s need updating, apart from their engines and gearboxes.  The Infantry start thinking about ATGWs.  They initially adopted the SS11 back in the early 1960s but found them difficult to use.  The British offer Swingfire and the Americans TOW.  Infantry decides on TOW - primarily because of cost and replace 50% of their 106mm Rcl M41s with a TOW launcher - initially a simple casement with a post launcher and then later the hammerhead of the M901.

In the late 1970s-early 1980s, the search is on for a new MBT to replace the Centurions which are starting to get a bit long in the tooth.   The Leopard I is decided upon and they replace the Centurions.   The Centurions are given to the Infantry as an infantry support tank who appreciate their heavier armour.  The Leopards are found to be excellent gun tanks except in the Top End where the crews find them difficult to man because of heat and humidity.  Eventually a new air conditioning system is added to the turret.

The Centurions replace the M41 in Infantry service, where their heavier armour is appreciated but the TOW equipped M41s remain in service until replaced by MICVs.

How does that sound?

Offline Volkodav

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Re: Aussie Post War Armour and what I'm going to do with my Tamiya M-41
« Reply #15 on: August 08, 2018, 06:43:52 PM »
 :smiley:

Offline Volkodav

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Re: Aussie Post War Armour and what I'm going to do with my Tamiya M-41
« Reply #16 on: August 08, 2018, 09:02:43 PM »
Great minds (or is it raving lunatics) think alike, I have been thinking quite a bit about organic armour in the Infantry and enhanced Matildas serving into the 60s.

The basic structure in the ORBAT of the Royal Australian Regiment (RAR) is the addition of an armoured support Company in each Battalion, consisting of an Infantry Tank / Direct Fire Support Platoon,  an Anti Tank Platoon, an Indirect Fire Support Platoon, a Reconnaissance Platoon, an Air Defence Platoon and a Mobility Support Platoon (incorporating a RAEME aid detachment).  Each Platoon would have three or four Sections (dependent on whether the parent Battalion had three or four Rifle Companies), each of two vehicles. The Mobility Platoon would have two AVRE, two Bridging tanks, two ARVs, two Fitters Vehicles and two ambulances.

The initial tank would be the Matilda Medium Tank as locally produced in Australia from mid 1941, incorporating an GM6048D, improved suspension and a cast turret based on that of the Churchill incorporating a 6pdr then later the rebored 75mm gun.  It would be replaced with either early model Centurions or possibly Meteor powered Black Princes (another Australian production version I am thinking of), then later Centurions (or Conquerors), Chieftains, then Challengers, as they cascaded out of the Tank Brigade.

The TD would be a westernised E10 with a 77mm HV and US MGs. This was specifically a replacement for the towed 6pdr guns with RCL and Bazookas etc. being deployed in new Company FS Platoons and Platoon FS Sections.  This vehicle would be replaced with S Tanks in the mid to late 60s, which would be continually upgraded and remain in service through to today.

I recall reading somewhere that the L9 demolition gun on the AVRE was originally designed as the replacement for the 95mm CS gun, so am considering that there would be a 95mm CS Matilda Medium and it would be replaced by a 165mm Black Prince then Centurion, then eventually maybe a turreted 120mm mortar.  The thing that doesn't make sence to me with this story is if the 165mm was a replacement for the 95mm, why is its range so much shorter, or was there a different charge for longer range.


Rec, easy, Chaffee, replaced by Walker Bulldog.  Then either upgraded M-41s or maybe even Leopards cascaded from Cavalry, eventually a suitable cavalry vehicle with an auto cannon and ATGM.


SPAAG, Duster easy.

Offline Logan Hartke

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Re: Aussie Post War Armour and what I'm going to do with my Tamiya M-41
« Reply #17 on: August 09, 2018, 01:55:33 AM »
If you don't expect to face an armor threat, but want an HE thrower for the Matilda in the existing turret ring (and potentially the existing turret), then I'd recommend the 75mm gun from the M8 HMC. It's still in use today, so you never have to worry about running out of ammunition!



The Matilda's turret ring was 54", the M8 HMC's was 54.4". That's pretty close, so I wouldn't worry about the fit. If you wanted to use the original turret, but wanted a bit more armor, then there's always the modified one used in the LVT(A)-5. That has overhead protection and greater all around visibility.



Those would be cheap, existing pieces and would be readily available from Korea until today.

For M41 variants, I have a couple of proposals. You want to put TOWs on the M41, why not just go with the M41 Cazador? Proven combination of existing components that would be available from at least 1979.



For direct fire infantry support, put the 165mm L9 demolition gun in a Kanonenjagdpanzer-style casemate on the M41 chassis and upgrade it with Raketenjagdpanzer Jaguar appliquι armor and side skirts later in life.



Hope that helps!

Cheers,

Logan

Offline Volkodav

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Re: Aussie Post War Armour and what I'm going to do with my Tamiya M-41
« Reply #18 on: August 09, 2018, 07:02:55 PM »
It does  :smiley:

Actually thought about the Kanonenjagdpanzer in L7 and L9 versions but when I opted for the S Tank I dropped it.  The Churchill turret ring diameter is also similar to the M-8s and Matildas meaning the 95mm and L9 are both options for 1950s upgrades.


On the M-8 turret, I had thought of an M-3 variant with the M-8 turret replacing the 37mm and a 6pdr replacing the 75mm.

Offline Jeffry Fontaine

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Re: Aussie Post War Armour and what I'm going to do with my Tamiya M-41
« Reply #19 on: August 10, 2018, 01:07:17 AM »
Maybe the M24 Chaffee turret?  A bit more room to work with inside.  Plus it is a full turret with a roof.
"Every day we hear about new studies 'revealing' what should have been obvious to sentient beings for generations; 'Research shows wolverines don't like to be teased" -- Jonah Goldberg

Offline Rickshaw

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Re: Aussie Post War Armour and what I'm going to do with my Tamiya M-41
« Reply #20 on: August 10, 2018, 02:13:17 PM »
I recall reading somewhere that the L9 demolition gun on the AVRE was originally designed as the replacement for the 95mm CS gun, so am considering that there would be a 95mm CS Matilda Medium and it would be replaced by a 165mm Black Prince then Centurion, then eventually maybe a turreted 120mm mortar.  The thing that doesn't make sence to me with this story is if the 165mm was a replacement for the 95mm, why is its range so much shorter, or was there a different charge for longer range.


According to Hogg, the 95mm was based originally on a much shortened 25 Pdr barrel and mounting.  As a consequence, it had a separate loading round, which allowed the charge to be easily changed before the case was loaded, just as the 25 Pdr's could be.   The result was that like it's artillery ancestor, the range could easily be altered, before firing, without necessarily changing the elevation of the weapon.   He always described the 95mm gun, particularly in it's ill-fated infantry version as a bit of an abortion.  Despite several thousand being produced it never saw any operational use, arriving too late after mortars had taken over it's role as an infantry support weapon.

The 165mm gun, however was a new design and the British tankers wanted to get rid of separate loading for the gun, so opted for a fixed case round, with only one charge in it, which meant it's range was pretty well only alterable by elevation.   As the gun was intended to be fired in direct mode only, it meant it could be loaded faster and you didn't have the problem of loose charge bags floating around inside the fighting compartment.

As the L7 165mm gun fires only a HESH round, muzzle velocity isn't a big factor in it's ability to penetrate armour or concrete.  Therefore, having a fixed round makes considerable sense.   As it's range is only intended to be under 2,500 metres and in direct sight, speed of loading is more important than having variable ranges.


A picture of the US Army version of the 165mm demolition gun round, which illustrates the one piece nature of it, with it's "case" being permanently attached to the round.

The funny thing is, only 15 years or less later, the British Armoured Corps was quite happy to accept separate loading for the 120mm gun on the Chieftain and came to praise it for it's ease of loading... 
« Last Edit: August 10, 2018, 02:23:18 PM by Rickshaw »

Offline Old Wombat

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Re: Aussie Post War Armour and what I'm going to do with my Tamiya M-41
« Reply #21 on: August 11, 2018, 12:03:00 AM »
"This is the Captain. We have a little problem with our engine sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and, ah, explode."

Offline Rickshaw

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Re: Aussie Post War Armour and what I'm going to do with my Tamiya M-41
« Reply #22 on: August 11, 2018, 12:22:35 PM »
Interesting.  Very interesting, Guy.  I see what you've done there, you've mated a Stug III hull top to an M41 lower hull.   Apart from the flat face, it is reasonably well sloped.   I note you've also extended the Stug III structure.   The Stug III was always a little bit cramped.   So, what are you planning to arm it with?

Offline Volkodav

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Re: Aussie Post War Armour and what I'm going to do with my Tamiya M-41
« Reply #23 on: August 11, 2018, 03:10:25 PM »
 :smiley:

Offline Old Wombat

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Re: Aussie Post War Armour and what I'm going to do with my Tamiya M-41
« Reply #24 on: August 11, 2018, 03:16:37 PM »
Interesting.  Very interesting, Guy.  I see what you've done there, you've mated a Stug III hull top to an M41 lower hull.   Apart from the flat face, it is reasonably well sloped.   I note you've also extended the Stug III structure.   The Stug III was always a little bit cramped.   So, what are you planning to arm it with?

Not mine, mate. It's Glenn's over on WIM. ;)
"This is the Captain. We have a little problem with our engine sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and, ah, explode."