Army Rumour Service

Register a free account today to become a member! Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site by adding your own topics and posts, as well as connect with other members through your own private inbox!

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

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
Penetration [snigger] isn't necessary to kill a tank. HESH just rattled bits off the inside, and a direct hit from a round from an SPG is going to do the same.
I read recently that the same applies to concrete embrasures over the beaches. Not easy to penetrate, but any hit caused spalling and damage/deaths, especially given how poor their concrete, like their steel, was
 

tiv

LE
The 3.7 was used against tanks and expected to be juding by these extracts from AA Command.

AA Command page 192: And how did the AA guns perform, in Kennedy's experience? Most memorable was an incident in which a 3.7in gun, it's muzzle lowered, had blown two tanks 'to smithereens. Used as such', reported Kennedy, 'it was undoubtedly a magnificent weapon.'

and page 204: HAA weapons, too, would have an important field artillery role against the Panzers - particularly the 3.7s, which had already demonstrated their anti-tank value in France.
 
I can't remember where I read it relatively recently. The reason Panther, Tiger 2 and variants used dovetailed armour was because of problems welding thick armour (istr it was face-hardened, which was the best the Germans could do to toughen it, but by late war they couldn't get exotic metals to alloy the steel anyway). So the design incorporated a dovetail between upper and lower glacis plate so that in the event of a big hit, the welds didn't simply give up and the whole glacis simply slide off.


Plenty of pictures of deconstructed German thanks on the Eastern Front after a stern conversation with a Russian 152mm SP gun
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
Plenty of pictures of deconstructed German thanks on the Eastern Front after a stern conversation with a Russian 152mm SP gun
Didn't help that the Germans packed their tanks with extra rounds, so that any penetration led to an internal explosion and a catastrophic failure.
 
Didn't help that the Germans packed their tanks with extra rounds, so that any penetration led to an internal explosion and a catastrophic failure.

indeed, always forgotten that by the fanbois.
just like the early Sherman, German tanks filled their sponsons and turrets with rounds.
flank shot on a Tiger or Panther generally produced a satisfying KABOOM! Usually Killing the entire crew.
 
A Panzer III could hold about 80 rounds of 5cm on a normal basis and the crew were often pressed to carry more, so the loader tended to be busy chucking out empties as fast as he could,while the co-driver kept a steady stream of fresh rounds going aft to the loader. One captured Pz III was found to have 89 rounds on board.
 
A Panzer III could hold about 80 rounds of 5cm on a normal basis and the crew were often pressed to carry more, so the loader tended to be busy chucking out empties as fast as he could,while the co-driver kept a steady stream of fresh rounds going aft to the loader. One captured Pz III was found to have 89 rounds on board.

This was the bad habit that led to much of the myth of the super inflammable Sherman.
in North Africa, the very cramped British tanks often had to yield the field because they ran out of ammunition. When the roomy Sherman turned up, crews quickly got into the bad habit of carrying large numbers of extra rounds stored loose on the hull and turret floors with predictable results.
 
Yes.

I agree with your argument that WW2 was won in the factories of the USA.

One of the positive externalities of the allied victory in WW2 was the ability to exploit captured German industrial technology.

Everyone is pretty familiar with Werner Von Braun and the Space program and swept wings for jet aircraft etc. Rockets and Jets are sexy things but industrial equipment maybe not so sexy. But was critical to the result.

Here is something I just learned about today. In 1950 the USA started the Heavy Press Program.

This was a strategic defence industry initiative instigated by the USAF based on the massive extrusion presses that German industry possessed in WW2 and the US didn't.

The machines the US built cost $257 million in 1950 dollars and are still being used today.

Wiki has these photos of a titanium bulkhead for an F-15 Eagle before and after getting the 50,000 ton press treatment.

View attachment 385331


I assume that these presses will be used to fabricate parts for the latest F-15ex variant.

We are delving into alt-history here. I thoroughly enjoyed John Birmingham's Axis of Time trilogy. One of the cleverest aspects of Birmingham's work is his acknowledgement of the difficulty of creating 2020 mil tech with 1940's industrial tech.

100% agree. I happen to live in the general area where the Uranium enrichment was done in WW2. For work, I was going between two locations that took me past the site of the K-25 gaseous diffusion plant yesterday. The plant’s been decommissioned for years and has been mostly torn down now, but the site is enormous. Apparently it was the world’s biggest building at the time of construction and employed 12,000 people. 25,000 people were required to build it. They built 10 miles of railway to get materials in, and a similar amount of track within and around the facility. The track runs by the road, and as I drove by, I imagined how busy that line would have been in 1944. It’s weird, the track top is rusty, indicating no trains for years, but the bed is well maintained, no weeds/overgrowth, the crossings all have modern signage. The railway is good, but the plant has gone.

The electrical switch yards are enormous, with power lines coming in from all over. One line will come from where I live, about 50 miles away. The hydroelectric plant on Douglas Dam delivered about 120MW in 1943. The need was so urgent that the dam was built in one year between February 1942 and March 1943. Bearing in mind that the USA was not dragged into the war until late 1941, to commit to doing all this in three months shows remarkable agility.

The K-25 plant involved building a 4-story building half a mile long. Over 5 million square feet. They started work in late 1943, and it was producing enriched Uranium by April 1945. The cascading of the 50 stages took a bit longer, and in July they had enough for the Trinity test. Operational use in early-mid August.

All of which cost less than the B-29 that delivered the weapons.
 

Mufulira

War Hero
The 3.7 was used against tanks and expected to be juding by these extracts from AA Command.

AA Command page 192: And how did the AA guns perform, in Kennedy's experience? Most memorable was an incident in which a 3.7in gun, it's muzzle lowered, had blown two tanks 'to smithereens. Used as such', reported Kennedy, 'it was undoubtedly a magnificent weapon.'

and page 204: HAA weapons, too, would have an important field artillery role against the Panzers - particularly the 3.7s, which had already demonstrated their anti-tank value in France.
[/QUOTIIRC standing on shore at The Turks and Caicos and being shown the dark blue line of a deep channel that WWII U-Boats used for stealthy access to the E coast of USA -- the colonial gov't installed a bty of AA 3.7 's on Grand Turk to make it hazardous for U-Boats to surface and air their smelly bits and pieces. According to my mentor the 3.7 had a fairly lengthy reach and would have a lethal effect on a conning tower or any other bit of exposed U-Boat.
 
This was the bad habit that led to much of the myth of the super inflammable Sherman.
in North Africa, the very cramped British tanks often had to yield the field because they ran out of ammunition. When the roomy Sherman turned up, crews quickly got into the bad habit of carrying large numbers of extra rounds stored loose on the hull and turret floors with predictable results.
They also found that crews tended to carry a lot of flammable waste in the hull (oily rags, grease and oil containers, contaminated clothing and so on,that should have been dumped or stowed properly in external bins so they had to compel crews to stick to proper cleaning regimes and get the flammable stuff out. All it took was for a simple ignition source to start smoke filling the hull,fed on oily rags and waste, and a crew would have to either bale out or try and fight it on the move.
 
They also found that crews tended to carry a lot of flammable waste in the hull (oily rags, grease and oil containers, contaminated clothing and so on,that should have been dumped or stowed properly in external bins so they had to compel crews to stick to proper cleaning regimes and get the flammable stuff out. All it took was for a simple ignition source to start smoke filling the hull,fed on oily rags and waste, and a crew would have to either bale out or try and fight it on the move.

true too. The report noted they were even carrying cans of petrol inside the tanks for making brews!
upside was the addition of lots of external hull and turret bins to British tanks and the staff requirement for the BV - first fielded in the Centurion
 
Last edited:
One particularly tragic thing that comes to my mind is lifejackets that keep the head out of the water and protected from waves, immersion suits, and lift rafts that keep survivors out of the water.

Two thirds of the Royal Navy's fatalities in World War Two survived ships being sunk, only to drown or die of hypothermia whilst awaiting rescue. Similarly, shipwrecked merchant seaman, embarked personnel or civilians, and downed aircrew suffered.

The post war Talbot committee found that lack of knowledge (both individual training and knowledge of water happens to the human body in water) and the lack of equipment were both to blame. Lifejackets were made of Kapock (not sure of the spelling) which became heavy if contaminated with oil on the water. They provided to splash protection to the face, and did nothing to help the survivor who was unconscious or who fell asleep. Modern naval lifejackets all have face protection and keep the survivor at a 45 degree angle - ie head out of the water.

There were no survival suits to prevent the body losing heat from contact with the water, and the Carley floats offered little protection.

It was not just sailors and mercant seaman being lost - a huge number of Battle of Britain pilots succumbed to hypothermia, and I suspect aircrews suffered to same problem throughout the war.
RAF aircrew had to be ordered to fly without collar and tie because smartness was killing them. In the early Channel Fight stages of the Battle of Britain, a number of pilots' bodies were recovered from the water, and they had succumbed not to hypothermia, this being June and July 1940, but had been choked when their collars were immersed in sea water.
 
This was the bad habit that led to much of the myth of the super inflammable Sherman.
in North Africa, the very cramped British tanks often had to yield the field because they ran out of ammunition. When the roomy Sherman turned up, crews quickly got into the bad habit of carrying large numbers of extra rounds stored loose on the hull and turret floors with predictable results.

So not enough ammo and you become a defenceless target when it’s exhausted. Too much ammo and you reduce your survivability in the event of a hit.

What’s the “right” amount? How is the same problem dealt with today?
 
So not enough ammo and you become a defenceless target when it’s exhausted. Too much ammo and you reduce your survivability in the event of a hit.

What’s the “right” amount? How is the same problem dealt with today?
With a similar solution; 'wet' stowage. Not infallible, incredibly, as a CR2 RTR crew sadly (re)discovered a couple of years ago.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
With a similar solution; 'wet' stowage. Not infallible, incredibly, as a CR2 RTR crew sadly (re)discovered a couple of years ago.
If that was the range incident, it was shown that the crew weren't exactly following the rules. If it's the blue-on-blue then hatches being open were a contributory factor.
 

Mr Tweedy

Old-Salt
I read somewhere that we could have considered using the Brit AAA - I think it was 3.7" - in the same way the Hun re-purposed the 88mm from flak to anti armour - but the RA wouldn't even consider it due to an inability to be flexible.

They nearly got to try it (sort of). The Tortoise Heavy Assault Tank was equipped with the 32 pounder QF gun which was an adaption of the 3.7" AA gun. There is one of the (very few) examples in the Tank Museum in Bovington.
 

Latest Threads

Top