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Old December 5th, 2012, 06:38 AM   #41
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Soviets.
Against Finland?
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Old December 5th, 2012, 06:47 AM   #42

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In many ways tank production was stifled by political and economic decisions. The 6lber anti tank gun was available in 1940-41, but the Dunkirk fiasco and subsequent threat of invasion meant that British industry could not re-tool to mass produce the new gun and there was not enough time to re-train soldiers to use it. The decision to retain the 2lber was forced upon politicians and soldiers and in retrospect it was a bad one. Tank designs continued to be based around the 2lber and retaining the 2lber in the desert campaign meant that more valuable 25lber artillery pieces had to double up as anti-tank guns. The real tragedy was that the superb 3.7" QF AA gun never had an anti-tank round designed for it.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 06:52 AM   #43

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Against Finland?
You asked who operated tanks in interwar period. Soviets did, in large numbers and they were developing appropriate doctrine for mass use of them.

As for combat use, they employed tanks in large numbers in Spain and against Japan. However both Winter war and Chalkin-Gol does not really count as interwar as WWII officially started in September 1939.

Their design was also well ahead of any competitors. At last at the time of beginning of WWII.

Only other country which developed their tank forces apart of Germans and Soviets was France. But they got their doctrine wrong, basically nullifying any advantage in tank design and numbers they had.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 06:55 AM   #44

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Germany also lacked a powerful engine at the start of the war
Yes, they lacked. What does it prove?
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Old December 5th, 2012, 09:30 AM   #45
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...they employed tanks in large numbers in Spain ...
I wasn't aware that Red Army tank crew fought in the Spanish Civil War but there were a few "volunteers"

Soviet Tank Operations in the Spanish Civil War by Steven J. Zaloga

I'm not sure it classifies as "operating" though

Quote:
...their design was also well ahead of any competitors. At last at the time of beginning of WWII...
You mean the T-34 ?

Quote:
...only other country which developed their tank forces apart of Germans and Soviets was France. But they got their doctrine wrong, basically nullifying any advantage in tank design and numbers they had.
Britain formed an experimental mechanized force in the inter war years, arguably the world's first armored division, but didn't proceed with the concept

IIRC Britain also pioneered to use of radios inside tanks
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Old December 5th, 2012, 09:35 AM   #46
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Yes, they lacked. What does it prove?
To paraphrase yourself:

"I believe bad German WWII tank design was for most part result of lack of good tank engines..."

The allies used stop gap solutions because of no adequate tank engine, the Germans built and operated poor tanks because of the same reason

The Germans did very well with poor designs of tank at the start of the war, but paradoxically did badly when the better tanks like the Panther were fielded
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Old December 5th, 2012, 11:03 AM   #47

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The British and the Germans had the same problem of having a deficient AT round for their main battle tank although with the German 37mm on the Pz3 they had at least some HE capability. In their case they developed a new tank, the Pz4 to carry a large calibre gun for high explosive rounds but they had the sense to make sure that had some AT capability so both vehicles had dual capability, the British idea was to remove the AT gun from one in four frontline tanks and instead equip it with a large capacity HE gun to support the other three.
It meant that when weapons improved the Germans already had a tested vehicle with a large turret ring capable of taking a larger gun without going back to the drawing board and waiting 2 years.

Basically we hadnt had the research funding or the imagination to come up with a gun that could do both jobs, the belief seeming to have been a jack of all trades weapon wouldnt be high capability at either.

As for the best tank of the desert i'm not sure, i have a sneaking liking for the Crusader but that probably more because it looked brilliant rather than any technical superiority.
Thanks for the info, Nemo!
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Old December 5th, 2012, 02:31 PM   #48

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2pdr was slightly better in penetration than German 37mm but both were obsolete already by the beginning of war.
The 2 pdr could penetrate all Axis tanks armour at normal combat range during the Battle of France

37 mm PAK 36 peneration at 500 yards, 31 mm/ 22mm at 1000 yards

2 pdr peneration at 500 yards, 37mm/ 27 mm at 1000 yards
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Old December 5th, 2012, 02:36 PM   #49

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I believe bad British WWII tank design was for most part result of lack of good tank engines. British relied on aircraft engines which are principally designed for totally different use..
One of the best tank engines developed in WW2 was the British Meteor engine, fitted to the Cromwell, Comet and Centurion. this was a development of the famous Merlin aero engine.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 03:40 PM   #50
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The Matilida II was one of the best tanks of the early war period, its 2pdr gun was better than the German 37mm fitted to their early war tanks and its armour was proof against the majority of Axis A/T weapons in this period. It's main failing was the size of the turret ring which meant it couldn't be upgunned later in the war.
I concur.
I knew personally a few WWII veterans which has been associated in one way or another with Matilda II. All of them prised Matilda II as one of the best tank during early WWII stage. Matilda I was another story. Lack of gun was a major issue as this limited Mark I to infantry support role only.

Matilda II speed of 26 km/hr (16MPH) on hard surface (14km/hr of road) was not drastically lower than Panzer III speed 40 km/hr on road and 20 km/hr off road. Armament was similar –excellent British 2 pounder vs good German 37 mm gun. German 37mm gun was ineffective against Matilda II front armour.
Armour on Matilda II (20-78 mm) was far better than Panzer III (5-70mm).


Gun comparison:

German 37 mm PAK36
Rate of fire 13 rounds/min
Muzzle velocity 745 m/sec
Projectile weight 0.685 kg
Kinetic energy at the muzzle 380192 kgm 2




British QF2-pounder
Calibre 40 mm
Rate of fire 22 rounds/min
Muzzle velocity 792 m.s
Projectile weight1.08 kg

Kinetic energy at the muzzle 677445 kgm 2


Overall, Matylda II was a better tank that it’s major opponent- Panzer III.
The Kinetic energy of Matilda II gun (crucial for armour pricing capability) was almost 2 times higher than German 37 mm PAK36 gun.

The only disadvantage was the of road speed which was 20 vs 14 km/hr.
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