Author Topic: What if the fall of Singapore didn't happen?  (Read 466 times)

Offline Volkodav

  • Counts rivits with his abacus...
  • Much older now...but procrastinating about it
Re: What if the fall of Singapore didn't happen?
« Reply #15 on: July 15, 2018, 06:32:28 PM »
Actually, and I was surprised to discover this, the Matilda I had armour protection that was second only to the Matilda II and were only be taken out by the 105mms.  Being armed with a .303" Vickers, cramped internal arrangements and mechanical unreliability, made it just better than useless in Europe, but as a cheap, mobile pill box, that was impervious to Japanese fire, operating in direct support of the infantry, it could have made a real difference, especially if operated in conjunction with the Matilda II.

I am not suggesting that these were ideal but rather am looking at what could reasonably have been expected to available and fit with the doctrine of the day.  The Matilda I was meant to be available in numbers to directly support the infantry, being impervious to enemy fire and able to close with and take out their support weapons, while providing suppressive fire.  Not the best concept for western Europe but would have worked just fine in the plantations in Malaya.  Also being cheap and looking like a tank, I could see Australian politicians loving the things and even arranging local production pre-war with the intent of issuing them on a scale of six or eight per infantry battalion as a replacement for the Vickers MMG.

The Matilda II would be much better and was available in the time frame.  Having a cast hull and turret it would even be a local production possibility for Australia, but maybe with local expediencies.  One thought that comes to mind is the Matildas engine bay was actually quite large and could probably have fit the GM 6046 (originally developed for the proposed US built Matilda II) and GM had facilities in Australia at the time that were producing DH Gypsy Major engines.  Then there is the possibility of Australian production of the 2pdr HE round that the developed in the UK but never issued, it would have made perfect sense for Australia.

Offline Volkodav

  • Counts rivits with his abacus...
  • Much older now...but procrastinating about it
Re: What if the fall of Singapore didn't happen?
« Reply #16 on: July 15, 2018, 06:50:14 PM »
If the actions of the Indian troops on Christmas Island are any indication, the lack of training & pro-Axis elements within their units may have limited/negated the presence of Indian troops in the defence of Malaya & Singapore at best. Of course, with an excellent intelligence network & a British intelligence officer among their spies, the Japanese were pretty well informed about Commonwealth forces & plans anyway.


Christmas Island Revolt: https://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/revolt-on-christmas-island-20120313-1uy5q.html

Interesting, I had heard of the Indian Legion, but not of this.  Thanks.

Offline Rickshaw

  • "Of course, I could be talking out of my hat"
Re: What if the fall of Singapore didn't happen?
« Reply #17 on: July 15, 2018, 07:32:57 PM »
Actually, and I was surprised to discover this, the Matilda I had armour protection that was second only to the Matilda II and were only be taken out by the 105mms.  Being armed with a .303" Vickers, cramped internal arrangements and mechanical unreliability, made it just better than useless in Europe, but as a cheap, mobile pill box, that was impervious to Japanese fire, operating in direct support of the infantry, it could have made a real difference, especially if operated in conjunction with the Matilda II.

I am not suggesting that these were ideal but rather am looking at what could reasonably have been expected to available and fit with the doctrine of the day.  The Matilda I was meant to be available in numbers to directly support the infantry, being impervious to enemy fire and able to close with and take out their support weapons, while providing suppressive fire.  Not the best concept for western Europe but would have worked just fine in the plantations in Malaya.  Also being cheap and looking like a tank, I could see Australian politicians loving the things and even arranging local production pre-war with the intent of issuing them on a scale of six or eight per infantry battalion as a replacement for the Vickers MMG.

The Matilda II would be much better and was available in the time frame.  Having a cast hull and turret it would even be a local production possibility for Australia, but maybe with local expediencies.  One thought that comes to mind is the Matildas engine bay was actually quite large and could probably have fit the GM 6046 (originally developed for the proposed US built Matilda II) and GM had facilities in Australia at the time that were producing DH Gypsy Major engines.  Then there is the possibility of Australian production of the 2pdr HE round that the developed in the UK but never issued, it would have made perfect sense for Australia.

Australia undertook their own production of their own, independently designed, base-fused round in 1942, starting to issue it in 1943.  It was designed, unlike the British designed nose-fused round, primarily to penetrate Japanese log bunkers encountered during the Battle of the Bridgeheads on the north coast New Guinea and in the Islands campaign.   The British designed round was intended to destroy materiale and AT guns, so it had a nose-fuse, which detonated on contact, the Australian round was designed to penetrate the bunker wall and then detonate inside the bunker.   So, we knew how to build HE rounds but it took at least 12 months to get them into the vehicles.

The 'tilley I was mechanically unreliable and would have been hell to crew in the tropics.  It would have worked as a mobile pillbox though.  It was a direct outgrowth from the British "ethos" (as against something as firm as a "doctrine") which held that it was the role of Artillery to suppress the enemy and allow the Infantry onto their positions.  This "ethos" was created during WWI. Armour's role was to promote the Infantry's advance across no-man's land and suppress the enemy's defences, directly engaging the enemy's support weapons (and if necessary, the enemy's own armoured forces).   Hence the creation of the 25 Pdr, whose round was designed to suppress the enemy's forces rather than destroy them like a heavier round like the 105mm would do.

The 'tilley II OTOH was mechanically reliable, well armoured and well armed - to meet opposing armour.  If they had their 2 Pdrs replaced with 3in support howitzers, which was a relatively easy conversion, they'd be a relatively effective vehicle.  The 3in had an adequate HE round but didn't have an effective AT round.  So it would a case of choosing which weapon you were going to use.  That was something I'd forgotten about, BTW.  :(

Offline Volkodav

  • Counts rivits with his abacus...
  • Much older now...but procrastinating about it
Re: What if the fall of Singapore didn't happen?
« Reply #18 on: July 16, 2018, 12:26:15 AM »
There has been quite a bit that I had forgotten, or had never realised that I have come across recently in relation to this and other topics.  For instance the 6pdr not only had better penetration than the 75mm used on British tanks (same ammo as the Sherman 75mm) it also had better penetration than the 3" the Brits used on the Churchill GMC.  Logically then, a local production Matilda II with a Churchill III or IV turret and 6pdr gun (GM 6046 and VVSS) would be a very affective medium tank and could have served the CMF post war well into the 50s with suitable mods.

Offline Old Wombat

  • "We'll see when I've finished whether I'm showing off or simply embarrassing myself."
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Re: What if the fall of Singapore didn't happen?
« Reply #19 on: July 16, 2018, 01:15:02 AM »
In a the jungle, if you didn't have to go too far too fast, perhaps, but the Matilda's lack of speed & inability to be up-gunned were major factors in their withdrawal from front line service everywhere except the SEA theatre.

Mind you, the Churchill, which replaced it, was, if anything, slower; it just had a bigger gun but, like the Matilda, it couldn't be up-gunned.

Both tanks did, however, possess the ability to traverse terrain that could stop other tanks.


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PS: Found this M41 pic while looking up some info on tanks in SE Asia.




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PPS: I'm just playing Devil's Advocate here, I'm liking your thought processes. ;)
« Last Edit: July 16, 2018, 01:20:11 AM by Old Wombat »
"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

  • "Of course, I could be talking out of my hat"
Re: What if the fall of Singapore didn't happen?
« Reply #20 on: July 16, 2018, 12:05:55 PM »
There has been quite a bit that I had forgotten, or had never realised that I have come across recently in relation to this and other topics.  For instance the 6pdr not only had better penetration than the 75mm used on British tanks (same ammo as the Sherman 75mm) it also had better penetration than the 3" the Brits used on the Churchill GMC.  Logically then, a local production Matilda II with a Churchill III or IV turret and 6pdr gun (GM 6046 and VVSS) would be a very affective medium tank and could have served the CMF post war well into the 50s with suitable mods.

David Fletcher in one of his books has a picture of an upgunned Matilda with what appears to be a Cromwell turret on it.  It required the hull to be built up with a new turret ring.  It featured large domed covers over the rivets.  It was judged "not worthwhile" as a viable upgrade to the base vehicle when Churchills were available.   It had a 75mm gun.   The problem appeared to be that you needed a new hull top with a ring spacer.

The British 75mm was basically a rebored 6 Pdr.  It used a 6 Pdr. mounting.  It had a slightly lower muzzle-velocity compared to the US 75mm from the M3/M4 (which was in fact an adoption from the French 75mm from WWI).  They both used the same ammunition.  Interestingly, the German 75mm L/24 used essentially the same ammunition as well and after el Alamein, the 8th Army was forced to remanufacture a large quantity of German ammunition as it's own stocks were running short (they had to change the fuses and the driving bands to ensure they fit the US 75mm rifles of the M3/M4s).

The 6 Pdr was an interesting design.  The original gun was slightly longer than the production version because the British lacked the lathes required to produce it, "as designed".  The shortening didn't really affect performance of the weapon.   The Americans produced the slightly longer version as their 57mm AT gun.   The 6 Pdr was quite a good weapon but circumstances after Dunkirk prevented it from being manufactured and the British had to rely on the 2 Pdr for about six months too long when the decision was taken to produce more of them and leave the 6 Pdr.   The 6 Pdr's arrival in the Western Desert was a great relief for 8th Army as the 2 Pdr was being outranged by the German tank guns.

Offline tahsin

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Re: What if the fall of Singapore didn't happen?
« Reply #21 on: July 16, 2018, 06:57:33 PM »
Let me get this straight. Rommel defeated the British tanks with 105 mm fire and not 88 as has been depicted for the last 70 years? Or Matilda I was supposed to be safe from all German fire aslong as it was not a 105 field gun on direct fire a la Great War? With the British thinking air defence guns would not be in?

Offline Old Wombat

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Re: What if the fall of Singapore didn't happen?
« Reply #22 on: July 16, 2018, 09:00:09 PM »
Let me get this straight. Rommel defeated the British tanks with 105 mm fire and not 88 as has been depicted for the last 70 years? Or Matilda I was supposed to be safe from all German fire aslong as it was not a 105 field gun on direct fire a la Great War? With the British thinking air defence guns would not be in?

They're talking about Japanese weapons &, as far as I'm aware, the Japanese didn't use the German 88mm.
"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

  • "Of course, I could be talking out of my hat"
Re: What if the fall of Singapore didn't happen?
« Reply #23 on: July 16, 2018, 09:55:47 PM »
Let me get this straight. Rommel defeated the British tanks with 105 mm fire and not 88 as has been depicted for the last 70 years? Or Matilda I was supposed to be safe from all German fire aslong as it was not a 105 field gun on direct fire a la Great War? With the British thinking air defence guns would not be in?

They're talking about Japanese weapons &, as far as I'm aware, the Japanese didn't use the German 88mm.

Yes and no.  The Japanese captured several 88mm guns from the Chinese.  However, they were land versions of the German Navy version of the 88mm.   They then copied this weapon, so they were using the naval version of the 88mm gun which predated the Germany Luftwaffe/Army version by about 5 years IIRC.  It was primarily employed in the defence of the Home Islands.  It was the Type 99 88 mm AA gun
« Last Edit: July 17, 2018, 02:37:46 PM by Rickshaw »

Offline apophenia

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Re: What if the fall of Singapore didn't happen?
« Reply #24 on: July 20, 2018, 04:47:53 AM »
Interesting about the Type 99 AA gun. Does anyone know if the 8.8 cm SK C/30 and FlaK 18 or FlaK 36 used the same 88x571mm round?
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