Potentially game changing WWII technologies - if they had matured more quickly

Fang_Farrier

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
If you want to look at the difference which side of the front line you were on, then the field of the autistic spectrum is a good one.

Leo Kanner left Germany in 1924, having served in WW1 in the medical services, but would probably have died as he was Jewish. However his defining work on autism was published in 1943 in the USA, widely read and acted upon.

Hans Asperger, published his defining work in 1944, it was not even translated into English until 1991, Aspergers as a distinct diagnosis only came into being in 1992.
 
The later (Spitfire) wing design allowed for four 20mm guns, but often only two were installed for reasons that I am not clear on (some sources say due to problems with the outer guns freezing at high altitude, but I would want to see an authoritative reference for that). The .50 guns went into the unused 20mm bays, and the four .303 guns were removed to compensate for the increased weight of the .50s. This latter bit suggests to me that the reason that only two 20mm guns were installed in many cases may have had something to do with weight and the effects this had on speed and altitude, but that is just speculation on my part.
Would need to dig through my references at home, but the key issue was, I believe, the increased weight of the uprated Merlins on the Spitfires after the Vc precluding four Hispanos. Some of the Vc squadrons in the Desert Air Force did favour four Hispanos - I think it was No.2 Sqn SAAF in particular that flew four-cannon Vcs well into 1944 - but they did have a solid ground attack aspect to their tasking on many occasions.
 
That's one theory, and one myself and a few other historians have issue with. I'm not saying hey were laser accurate, They did have problems. but the Video you're thinking of seems to over egg the situation. The US had only a short time with the rounds, and if you wish to go down that route I've got a document that declares the Bazooka utterly useless because they couldn't hit a target with it, despite trying all day.

Yet, there's plenty of Germans who are -1x Wunderpanzer, to both weapons. This would indicate a brief play with said weapon doesn't show its true potential.

17APDS had problems, but the UK and mostly the Canadians, had them all fixed by early 1945.
I have seen nothing to indicate that the 17pr SVDS was substantially fixed by those dates. The CAN pot sabot round was not developed until 1946. The field modification of rubber sleeves (Spec. 2508 ) was approved 1951, and was applied to marks 1,2 and 3 of the 17pr shot of British manufacture only (It was also not necessary when the projectile was mated to the 77mm cartridge). The implication here is that the Canadian ammunition from 1946 onwards was quite accurate, even if it missed the war, and British ammunition was not. Why else issue the modification?

That said, one thing I have never advocated is that the 17pr sabot was useless. The most common engagement range for a tank in NWE was just over 300yards, which would have been well within the bounds of acceptable accuracy even for 1944 ammunition. My point has always been that there are, however, liabilities with the ammunition which makes it suitable for certain situations only, as opposed to the more general reliability of the 76mm tank design, that the inevitable focus one finds online on penetration figures do not tell the whole story, and that at the ranges commonly encountered, the 76mm would often have been as capable of not even more capable of killing the target. This is before one looks at the quality control problems. Bad ammunition obviously made its way to France, if the statement by Col Cole of the Ministry of Supply at Isigny is taken at face value. The US and UK had entirely different paradigms on what would be acceptable in a tank. I don’t argue that the British one was wrong, but that it was far from unassailably right, and that the US paradigm was just as justifiable.

Didn't the Krauts have basic night vision optics towards the end on their Jagdpanthers?
On the Panthers. They were removed after the initial field tests as useless. It’s another of the gripes I have about a lot of wargamers, they look at what the Germans it into the line and the Allies didn’t and conclude that the German scientists were more advanced. I strongly advocate that the reality is that the Germans were not more advanced, they were more desperate, and they would put into the line technologies which the Western Allies would not think suitable for field use. You can see photos of infra-red optics on a Soviet BT-7, tested many years before the Panther IR came along. The US similarly held trials in 1942 of a Sherman which not only had infra red lights, but also an intertial navigation system to help tank crews navigate the deserts of North Africa, night or day. The technology theoretically worked, but it did not meet the desired standards of ruggedness and effectiveness, so unlike the Germans, the Soviets and Americans never fielded the things. Same with the target lead calculators the US tried on some TDs. They worked, but you can imagine the fun of maintaining what were basically clockwork machines on a vehicle bouncing around cross-country. Aviation geeks can likely loom at Meteor vs 262 on a similar basis.
 
The US similarly held trials in 1942 of a Sherman which not only had infra red lights, but also an intertial navigation system to help tank crews navigate the deserts of North Africa, night or day. The technology theoretically worked, but it did not meet the desired standards of ruggedness and effectiveness, so unlike the Germans, the Soviets and Americans never fielded the things. Same with the target lead calculators the US tried on some TDs. They worked, but you can imagine the fun of maintaining what were basically clockwork machines on a vehicle bouncing around cross-country. Aviation geeks can likely loom at Meteor vs 262 on a similar basis.
Link?
 
Ah. I found an image of a suitable page from said boo showing the mechanism for the target lead calculator.
 
I have seen nothing to indicate that the 17pr SVDS was substantially fixed by those dates. The CAN pot sabot round was not developed until 1946. The field modification of rubber sleeves (Spec. 2508 ) was approved 1951, and was applied to marks 1,2 and 3 of the 17pr shot of British manufacture only (It was also not necessary when the projectile was mated to the 77mm cartridge). The implication here is that the Canadian ammunition from 1946 onwards was quite accurate, even if it missed the war, and British ammunition was not. Why else issue the modification?
I have seen you're reply, and I'm desperately trying to find my sources. I *think* its somewhere in the 163 page document from Kew, which I've not yet had a chance to sit down and make notes on, and its not high on my prioirty list. But watch this space (Hopefully)!

That said, one thing I have never advocated is that the 17pr sabot was useless. The most common engagement range for a tank in NWE was just over 300yards, which would have been well within the bounds of acceptable accuracy even for 1944 ammunition.
Trouble is, your Myths of American armour video is online. You spend a good ten minutes pointing out the 76mm was better, or more efficient. Equally you keep saying how inaccurate it was. While these are at long ranges, the shortest range you mention in that segment was 500m (Or yards, I forget which). Yes these comparisons were in very specific cases, but in a talk you can't really stress these nuances and it gives the wrong impression.
You keep on getting quoted at people talking about 17lbr APDS. It's happened here on ARRSE for example. You said it yourself, 'Books have a very long half-life.' This is very correct, but so do Youtube video's.

You do however make one point, which goes a long way toward describing why the Firefly got its reputation, it was actually there. It's funny how sub-optimal tanks like the Firefly and Panther Or downright terrible ones like the T-34 get all the big reputations.
 
I think it worth mentioning the developments made in industrial production. Towards the end of the war, warships could be fabricated in different pieces, with yards working on different parts that came together for final fabrication. This allowed the number of escort vessels in the Atlantic to be built up to not only cause the Wolfpacks to withdraw, but to secure the lifeline to build up for the Normandy landings.

Likewise the Liberty ships.

More merchant ships and more escorts would have turned the tide sooner.
 
I think it worth mentioning the developments made in industrial production. Towards the end of the war, warships could be fabricated in different pieces, with yards working on different parts that came together for final fabrication. This allowed the number of escort vessels in the Atlantic to be built up to not only cause the Wolfpacks to withdraw, but to secure the lifeline to build up for the Normandy landings.

Likewise the Liberty ships.

More merchant ships and more escorts would have turned the tide sooner.
There was a really good documentary on PBS America, on the building of Liberty Ships and how quick they could build them.
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
There was a really good documentary on PBS America, on the building of Liberty Ships and how quick they could build them.
Apropos of nothing. In 1967 following the death of my father in Colombia, the family sailed home on a Liberty Ship. Sailed up the Channel just about as Torrey Canyon ran aground.
 
I have seen nothing to indicate that the 17pr SVDS was substantially fixed by those dates. The CAN pot sabot round was not developed until 1946. The field modification of rubber sleeves (Spec. 2508 ) was approved 1951, and was applied to marks 1,2 and 3 of the 17pr shot of British manufacture only (It was also not necessary when the projectile was mated to the 77mm cartridge). The implication here is that the Canadian ammunition from 1946 onwards was quite accurate, even if it missed the war, and British ammunition was not. Why else issue the modification?

That said, one thing I have never advocated is that the 17pr sabot was useless. The most common engagement range for a tank in NWE was just over 300yards, which would have been well within the bounds of acceptable accuracy even for 1944 ammunition. My point has always been that there are, however, liabilities with the ammunition which makes it suitable for certain situations only, as opposed to the more general reliability of the 76mm tank design, that the inevitable focus one finds online on penetration figures do not tell the whole story, and that at the ranges commonly encountered, the 76mm would often have been as capable of not even more capable of killing the target. This is before one looks at the quality control problems. Bad ammunition obviously made its way to France, if the statement by Col Cole of the Ministry of Supply at Isigny is taken at face value. The US and UK had entirely different paradigms on what would be acceptable in a tank. I don’t argue that the British one was wrong, but that it was far from unassailably right, and that the US paradigm was just as justifiable.



On the Panthers. They were removed after the initial field tests as useless. It’s another of the gripes I have about a lot of wargamers, they look at what the Germans it into the line and the Allies didn’t and conclude that the German scientists were more advanced. I strongly advocate that the reality is that the Germans were not more advanced, they were more desperate, and they would put into the line technologies which the Western Allies would not think suitable for field use. You can see photos of infra-red optics on a Soviet BT-7, tested many years before the Panther IR came along. The US similarly held trials in 1942 of a Sherman which not only had infra red lights, but also an intertial navigation system to help tank crews navigate the deserts of North Africa, night or day. The technology theoretically worked, but it did not meet the desired standards of ruggedness and effectiveness, so unlike the Germans, the Soviets and Americans never fielded the things. Same with the target lead calculators the US tried on some TDs. They worked, but you can imagine the fun of maintaining what were basically clockwork machines on a vehicle bouncing around cross-country. Aviation geeks can likely loom at Meteor vs 262 on a similar basis.
Mi Dad was involved with testing British night vision devices on his tank in WW2.
In his Sqn War Diary (1st Fd Sqn RE) there's a reference to such in Italy 1944 and I've seen reference to Barr and Stroud Sherman fittings elsewhere.
However, anecdotally, I recall him mentioning an earlier episode in N. Africa although I haven't found reference in earlier Sqn War Diary (poss higher formation, 1st Armoured Div?).
He was driver for an officer testing the gear - presumably in the dark. Despite telling the officer they were rapidly approaching a building, said officer demanded he respond only to directions given by him.
Soo anyway... they took the corner wall away completely.
Unfortunately it was being used as the cookhouse and troops then had to eat with helmets on due to falling debris and Planty pater was rather unpopular.

Got an interesting photo of dads Shermans. Italy, closed down, drivers with commanders (incl. mi Dad) in turret on comms and what appears to be something other than a turret hatch in front of him, the other Cdr looking warry with the .30 cal although t's obviously taken during some sort of training (M3 red cross 1/2 track in attendance).
Can't get sufficient resolution on blowing up the image.
 
Mi Dad was involved with testing British night vision devices on his tank in WW2.
In his Sqn War Diary (1st Fd Sqn RE) there's a reference to such in Italy 1944 and I've seen reference to Barr and Stroud Sherman fittings elsewhere.
However, anecdotally, I recall him mentioning an earlier episode in N. Africa although I haven't found reference in earlier Sqn War Diary (poss higher formation, 1st Armoured Div?).
He was driver for an officer testing the gear - presumably in the dark. Despite telling the officer they were rapidly approaching a building, said officer demanded he respond only to directions given by him.
Soo anyway... they took the corner wall away completely...
I once saw a Scots DG Chieftain do something similar, when they practiced giving the driver's NV sight to the commander. Only they were crossing our No 8 bridge on Saltau at the time.

Tank ended up upside down in the Schwindlebeck...
 
All bollocks I'm afraid.
I would also add to that that we had no need to use an anti aircraft gun as our anti tank guns were far better than the Germans at the early part of the war. The Germans weren't so good, that's why they had to use the 88.
 

maguire

LE
Book Reviewer
Detecting Ene fighters via very low powered and short range radar would have been useful in the bombers blind spot ( or even an IR device which we had as far back in 1929 )
it was...until those dastardly Huns developed a way of detecting the radar emissions...

Monica (radar) - Wikipedia
 
I would also add to that that we had no need to use an anti aircraft gun as our anti tank guns were far better than the Germans at the early part of the war. The Germans weren't so good, that's why they had to use the 88.
The 88 was designed from the start to have an A/T capability built in.

in the 1939 & 40 campaigns it was used by Panzerjäger-Abteilung 8 's 1st Kompanie
8.8 cm Flak 18 (Sfl.) auf Zugkraftwagen 12t (Sd.Kfz. 8) its role was purely anti tank and bunker busting
 
So had the 25 pdr but that was not its primary role.

The point is that the German A/T was so poor that they had to re-role units from their primary role to do the job that other units should have done.
 
it was...until those dastardly Huns developed a way of detecting the radar emissions...

Monica (radar) - Wikipedia
The RAF may not have been initially fully aware of the dangers of active electronic warfare devices ... quite well covered in this broadcast .of the RAF Woodbridge incident .... BBC Radio 4 - Things We Forgot to Remember, Series 8, The Junkers of Woodbridge Airfield . ETA ... The broadcast contains some very sobering details of RAF casualty rates .
 
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I have seen nothing to indicate that the 17pr SVDS was substantially fixed by those dates. The CAN pot sabot round was not developed until 1946. The field modification of rubber sleeves (Spec. 2508 ) was approved 1951, and was applied to marks 1,2 and 3 of the 17pr shot of British manufacture only (It was also not necessary when the projectile was mated to the 77mm cartridge). The implication here is that the Canadian ammunition from 1946 onwards was quite accurate, even if it missed the war, and British ammunition was not. Why else issue the modification?

That said, one thing I have never advocated is that the 17pr sabot was useless. The most common engagement range for a tank in NWE was just over 300yards, which would have been well within the bounds of acceptable accuracy even for 1944 ammunition. My point has always been that there are, however, liabilities with the ammunition which makes it suitable for certain situations only, as opposed to the more general reliability of the 76mm tank design, that the inevitable focus one finds online on penetration figures do not tell the whole story, and that at the ranges commonly encountered, the 76mm would often have been as capable of not even more capable of killing the target. This is before one looks at the quality control problems. Bad ammunition obviously made its way to France, if the statement by Col Cole of the Ministry of Supply at Isigny is taken at face value. The US and UK had entirely different paradigms on what would be acceptable in a tank. I don’t argue that the British one was wrong, but that it was far from unassailably right, and that the US paradigm was just as justifiable.



On the Panthers. They were removed after the initial field tests as useless. It’s another of the gripes I have about a lot of wargamers, they look at what the Germans it into the line and the Allies didn’t and conclude that the German scientists were more advanced. I strongly advocate that the reality is that the Germans were not more advanced, they were more desperate, and they would put into the line technologies which the Western Allies would not think suitable for field use. You can see photos of infra-red optics on a Soviet BT-7, tested many years before the Panther IR came along. The US similarly held trials in 1942 of a Sherman which not only had infra red lights, but also an intertial navigation system to help tank crews navigate the deserts of North Africa, night or day. The technology theoretically worked, but it did not meet the desired standards of ruggedness and effectiveness, so unlike the Germans, the Soviets and Americans never fielded the things. Same with the target lead calculators the US tried on some TDs. They worked, but you can imagine the fun of maintaining what were basically clockwork machines on a vehicle bouncing around cross-country. Aviation geeks can likely loom at Meteor vs 262 on a similar basis.

The British used the M4 with the US 76 in Italy and found it perfectly good enough to deal with any German tanks.
 

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