Allied use of zimmerit

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
Never mind adding armour, I vaguely recall hearing somebody describe their run through Europe in a Cromwell and leading his troop in a ditch-hopping escape from some unexpected German chaps who gave him a hot reception.

Apparently, his tank was the quickest out of his squadron and the best jumper. Turned out that his tank was actually a training vehicle with thinner armour. However, as the crew had fought their way through from Normandy into Holland(?) in that tank and seen many of their fellows taken out, they decided to keep their Cromwell Light rather than exchange it for a regular Cromwell.

I think the story-teller might have been Bill Bellamy, but I don't know.
Thinner armour or different composition?

I know that the US used to make mild steel training tanks as late as the M48.
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
Thinner armour or different composition?

I know that the US used to make mild steel training tanks as late as the M48.
I believe it was mild steel, not armoured steel. The link in the post above this probably tells us.
 
Which I think brings us back to the ‘home-made’ armour extras. Any tankman worth his salt would not run away from a fight with another tank (barring huge extremes). Well-trained infantry/AT crews with the balls to get close are another matter. Fear of the magnetic mine leads to adding stuff like rubber strips, largely useless as they might be.
with the advent of the Panzerfaust, the Germans pretty much gave up on the Panzernacker.
effective, but tended to result in a posthumous Iron Cross for the heroic landser deploying it Against switched on tanks providing mutual support with infantry.

On the Eastern Front, infantry thrown explosives remained a viable option in the Russian tank wave attacks - see the widespread adoption of old bedsteads to Russian tanks, not, contrary to popular believe to protect against Faust’s, but to give stand off that rendered thrown mines and satchel charges fairly ineffective.
 

HE117

LE
The Navy used something called Plastic Armour to up grade merchant ships.. it was basically tarmac applied to hulls. It was apparently used on tanks as well..

 
Cromwell drivers quickly figured out they could fiddle with the governor on their rather fine Meteor engine and gain a very impressive turn of speed for a tank. With the governor disabled, they could hit speeds in the high 40’s.
Spoil sports eventually fitted a lower ratio drive to the Cromwell to protect the suspension and tracks from such misbehaving.
 
I believe it was mild steel, not armoured steel. The link in the post above this probably tells us.
IIRC the Covenanter Cruiser Tanks Armour was that bad, the 1200 odd built were only used for training purposes.
Much the same as the Mkll tank in WW1, was designed as a training tank and built in mild boiler plate. At the moment I can't find which battle, but the Mklls were used in a battle and were torn apart.
 
IIRC the Covenanter Cruiser Tanks Armour was that bad, the 1200 odd built were only used for training purposes.
Much the same as the Mkll tank in WW1, was designed as a training tank and built in mild boiler plate. At the moment I can't find which battle, but the Mklls were used in a battle and were torn apart.
Arras, apparently.


The Mark II incorporated minor improvements over the Mark I. With the Army declaring the Mark I still insufficiently developed for use, the Mark II (for which orders were first placed in July) would continue to be built, but would be used only for training.[17] Due to this intended role, they were supposedly clad in unhardened steel, though some doubt was cast on this claim in early 1917.[21] Initially, 20 were shipped to France and 25 remained at the training ground at Wool, Dorset in Britain; the remaining five were kept for use as test vehicles.

As the promised Mark IV tanks had not arrived by early 1917, it was decided, despite the protestations of Stern (see below), to ship the 25 training vehicles in Britain to France,[21] where they joined the other 20 Mark IIs and 15 Mark Is at the Battle of Arras in April 1917. The Germans were able to pierce the armour of both the Mark I and Mark II tanks at Arras with their armour-piercing machine gun ammunition.
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
IIRC the Covenanter Cruiser Tanks Armour was that bad, the 1200 odd built were only used for training purposes.
Much the same as the Mkll tank in WW1, was designed as a training tank and built in mild boiler plate. At the moment I can't find which battle, but the Mklls were used in a battle and were torn apart.
In Light Dragoons by Mallinson, there's a well-known picture of a regiment of Covenanters on parade. KGVI may have been there. It was captioned Covenanter tanks ready for shipment to our Russian allies or something.

In fact it was 15/19H (destroyed at Assche 18 May 40, brought straight back into the OrBat from a cadre as a Motor Machine Gun Regiment cos there were no tanks, then effectively a training regiment until D-Day, shipping tranches of BCRs to anyone and everyone). Mallinson describes Covenanter as too sh¡t ever to be sent into battle, and none ever left the UK.
 
In Light Dragoons by Mallinson, there's a well-known picture of a regiment of Covenanters on parade. KGVI may have been there. It was captioned Covenanter tanks ready for shipment to our Russian allies or something.

In fact it was 15/19H (destroyed at Assche 18 May 40, brought straight back into the OrBat from a cadre as a Motor Machine Gun Regiment cos there were no tanks, then effectively a training regiment until D-Day, shipping tranches of BCRs to anyone and everyone). Mallinson describes Covenanter as too sh¡t ever to be sent into battle, and none ever left the UK.
This Mallinson you quote, is that the same Mallinson who wrote a series of books about a young Cavalry Officer in the 1820s??
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
This Mallinson you quote, is that the same Mallinson who wrote a series of books about a young Cavalry Officer in the 1820s??
Yes. Infantry subaltern, transferred and made CO of 13/18H, became something at the MOD which gave him official access to the archives, now also has a handful of histories to his name. We share a Regimental Association.
 
The Navy used something called Plastic Armour to up grade merchant ships.. it was basically tarmac applied to hulls. It was apparently used on tanks as well..

IJN used rolled up hammocks and mattresses to protect the bridges of their ships
 
IJN used rolled up hammocks and mattresses to protect the bridges of their ships

"Given that the IJN crews were hot-bunking at the time, this soon led to manning problems, although it was deemed an honour to die for the Emperor."
 
The Navy used something called Plastic Armour to up grade merchant ships.. it was basically tarmac applied to hulls. It was apparently used on tanks as well..

Something I've been working on for a year or two. Originally I was planning a short article on it, then thought "As I'm going on a n archive trip I'll just see what they have on it".
At which point I entered the rabbit hole, and I lost a year of research time. I suddenly realised this, dumped all the docs and got on with work on the spigot book. PA and some other work of the DMWD will be going into the book after the Spigot book. PA, I'll wager is one of, if not the most important inventions of WWII, but is almost unheard of. The numbers behind it, and the savings to the US and UK economy are simply staggering. It turns up in the most surprising of places, and even hangs around until the early 50's.

IJN used rolled up hammocks and mattresses to protect the bridges of their ships
Which would do bugger all good, and I suspect its more appearance of protection, than actual effect.

All the Cruiser tanks were unutterably sh*t, they were all left behind in North Africa and scrapped when Italy was invaded.
Seriously, do you get your history from the back of a cornflakes packet, which is written by Hobart or something?
As we have covered many, many, many times before. British armour and guns of WWII were not shite! The statement on Cruiser tanks for example, what class of tank started this thread?
 
Seriously, do you get your history from the back of a cornflakes packet, which is written by Hobart or something?
As we have covered many, many, many times before. British armour and guns of WWII were not shite! The statement on Cruiser tanks for example, what class of tank started this thread?

Historical actual factual… it was deemed by the head shed that all the Cruiser tanks in North Africa were so unutterable crap, they were all written off charge as unfit for service and left behind in North Africa for the Invasion of Sicily and latterly Italy. They were used to the end in North Africa because they were there, but we never bothered with them after that except to use their spare chassis for secondary vehicles.


'Cruiser' tank as a definition had de factor become obsolete with the Cromwell that had the same armour and gun as 'Medium' tanks like a Sherman. The stupid definition persisted until 1946. After all, the very much stand its ground and pick a fight with a Tiger heavy hitter Comet was supposedly a 'Cruiser' tank.
 

HE117

LE
Which would do bugger all good, and I suspect its more appearance of protection, than actual effect.
I dunno.. I don't have any research or evidence to back this up, but I suspect that the bedding etc was being used behind the existing armour to reduce spalling... From my own experience, fragmentation from the rear of armour along with general cr@p being chucked around by explosions is a major contributer to the injury burden. Anything you can do to capture this is generally a good thing. Matting and other thick material will capture and slow down fragments as well as reducing blast effects by a significant amount.

It was standard practice to hang rope curtains around the insides of fortress walls and gun turrets in the Victorian period for exactly this purpose, and I suspect this was added to by using the sailors hammock rolls in time of war. Rope curtains were also widely used in ammunition factories to kill the blast from things such as cordite presses and NG plants which were at high risk of exploding.

I used to get stroppy at folk for not clearing our the back decks of their WMIK and Jackal wagons and for stressing the importance of sweeping out empty brass.. I had to explain the likely trajectory of an empty case if the vehicle hit an IED...!
 

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