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

Funnily enough a week or two back, Tank Museum put up a pic on their Instagram feed of an assembly rig for Centurion. Because manufacture required lots of welding at just the right angle, rather than have the welder moving all over the hull, the rig rotated and the welder got every seam to be welded presented right in front of him (her in this photo) at just the right height and angle. See if I can find and post. Wait out.

Edit.

If you are doing electric arc welding you often use an inert "cover gas" to keep atmospheric oxygen (and perhaps nitrogen) away from the weld. This gas is usually heavier than air and so falls downward to cover the active welding zone. If you try welding upwards then the cover gas falls away from the weld and you don't get the desired effect. This means that you need to arrange the work area so that the work pieces are suitably placed below the welder to allow the cover gas to do its work of excluding air.
 
The Germans' use of the 88mm only came about because rounds from their anti-tank guns were just bouncing off the Matilda II.

This is incorrect. The Germans had started issuing 8.8cm guns to anti-tank units prior to the invasion of Poland. This followed the development of armor piercing rounds in late 1938 for the bunker-busting role. Combined with the use of 8.8 in the Spanish Civil War against armor (AP wasn't needed against T-26s, the basic HE round was plenty dangerous enough), the development of 8.8cm anti-tank organisations was unsurprising. The 1940 invasion of France saw Panzerjaegerabteilungen 525, 560 and 605 equipped with towed 8.8s with armored sheilds and tractors, and Panzerjaegerabteilung 8 had a number of armored self-propelled 8x8s for the role. Plus, of course, the Luftwaffe FlaK units also brought along some AP rounds, just in case. That said, of the several hundred 8.8s brought to France by the Luftwaffe, they claimed a total of nine enemy tanks killed for the whole campaign, so they weren't much of a factor. I don't have the kill claims for the 8.8 PaK units


For the French a three man turret for their tanks would've made a hell of a difference.

Wouldn't have hurt, but the French actually using radios would have made even more of a difference. The kicker is that the technology existed, the French just refused to use it.
 

Fang_Farrier

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
The same practise that caused British ships to explode at Jutland; leaving all the hatches in the supply pathway open and stacking charge bags in the turrets and corridors,to achieve a faster firing rate. The result was a flash fire that ran from the turret to the magazine and the ship blew apart.


And iirc still an issue in ww2. HMS Hood being a possible example
 

Chef

LE
Wouldn't have hurt, but the French actually using radios would have made even more of a difference. The kicker is that the technology existed, the French just refused to use it.

I'd forgotten about the radio issue or lack of issue. tee hee. (OT, It's what happens when one takes things for granted. In my mind all vehicles have comms as reliable as Clansman with the same sort of ranges. Bearing in mind I trained on SR 88s, 31 and 19 with the CCF you'd think I'd know better).

The suggestions I made are deffo doable with the available technology. Likewise strategy and tactics. Imagine the German blitzkrieg being met by an allied force of radio savvy troops* equipped with batteries of Birch guns, French tanks with radios, 3 man turrets and deployed en masse. That would have been a game changer. Throw in some TOG IIs for fun.

As Wavell's assessment in 1940 said the Germans were on to a loser from the start. It was just a matter of how long it took.

*Organised along the lines of the Experimental mech force of the 20s.
 
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I'd forgotten about the radio issue or lack of issue. tee hee. (OT, It's what happens when one takes things for granted. In my mind all vehicles have comms as reliable as Clansman with the same sort of ranges. Bearing in mind I trained on SR 88s, 31 and 19 with the CCF you'd think I'd know better).

The suggestions I made are deffo doable with the available technology. Likewise strategy and tactics. Imagine the German blitzkrieg being met by an allied force of radio savvy troops* equipped with batteries of Birch guns, French tanks with radios, 3 man turrets and deployed en masse. That would have been a game changer. Throw in some TOG IIs for fun.

As Wavell's assessment in 1940 said the Germans were on to a loser from the start. It was just a matter of how long it took.

*Organised along the lines of the Experimental mech force of the 20s.
4 and 7RTR's partly-successful blocking engagement at Arras would have been far more successful had the comms had been better. Likewise, if the comms at Arnhem had been better things 'might' have turned out differently.
 
Getting out of tanks in a hurry, as Cal Tanker, has often demonstrated, appears to have been of scant consideration to some designers. French tanks didnt appear to allow much of a chance to the crew in the hull of anything smaller than a Char B.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
If you are doing electric arc welding you often use an inert "cover gas" to keep atmospheric oxygen (and perhaps nitrogen) away from the weld. This gas is usually heavier than air and so falls downward to cover the active welding zone. If you try welding upwards then the cover gas falls away from the weld and you don't get the desired effect. This means that you need to arrange the work area so that the work pieces are suitably placed below the welder to allow the cover gas to do its work of excluding air.
Lost gas arc welding and it’s bloody good
 
(...) Wouldn't have hurt, but the French actually using radios would have made even more of a difference. The kicker is that the technology existed, the French just refused to use it.
Are you talking about the French not using radios they already had, or are you talking about the French not buying and installing more radios? At that time two-way radios were a scarce and expensive technology, particularly the transmitters. The manufacturing capacity for tubes was limited and required very specialised manufacturing processes.

I've read translated Soviet documents from early WWII, and while they recognised that radios were a key technology for making the most effective use of tanks, the cost and the very limited manufacturing capacity for tubes meant that they could only outfit a small proportion of their tanks with them.

From what I have read about France in 1940, command and control communications was their Achilles heel at all levels. They were prepared to re-fight WWI with updated weapons, but were not prepared for the faster pace of war which the new weapons and logistical support allowed.
 
Are you talking about the French not using radios they already had, or are you talking about the French not buying and installing more radios? At that time two-way radios were a scarce and expensive technology, particularly the transmitters. The manufacturing capacity for tubes was limited and required very specialised manufacturing processes.

I've read translated Soviet documents from early WWII, and while they recognised that radios were a key technology for making the most effective use of tanks, the cost and the very limited manufacturing capacity for tubes meant that they could only outfit a small proportion of their tanks with them.

From what I have read about France in 1940, command and control communications was their Achilles heel at all levels. They were prepared to re-fight WWI with updated weapons, but were not prepared for the faster pace of war which the new weapons and logistical support allowed.

The French appeared to be dismissive of radios per se.

General Gamelin’s HQ had no radios and only 2 telephone lines.

His British Liaison Officer described it as like ‘being in a submarine without a periscope’.
 

Yokel

LE
And iirc still an issue in ww2. HMS Hood being a possible example

No. HMS Hood (my Grandfather's ship until shortly before the Bismarck action) was lost because of her lack of deck armour, which was why she was turning. Unfortunately that split second a German shell penetrated and exploded in a magazine. There was some controversy over what happened next, but it seems likely that a Cordite explosion caused her main magazine to explode.

The 1967 fire aboard the USS Forrestal was also caused in part by trying to bypass safety procedures for the sake of speed.
 
Wouldn't have hurt, but the French actually using radios would have made even more of a difference. The kicker is that the technology existed, the French just refused to use it.


exactly.
the General Staff refused to use radios, relying instead on field telephones and despatch riders.
they were stuck fast in 1914.
 
No. HMS Hood (my Grandfather's ship until shortly before the Bismarck action) was lost because of her lack of deck armour, which was why she was turning. Unfortunately that split second a German shell penetrated and exploded in a magazine. There was some controversy over what happened next, but it seems likely that a Cordite explosion caused her main magazine to explode.

The 1967 fire aboard the USS Forrestal was also caused in part by trying to bypass safety procedures for the sake of speed.

at best she was a tougher Battlecruiser. She was vulnerable even to Prinz Eugens plunging fire.

while Admiral Holland was undoubedly a very brave man, his tactics were poor.
Prince of Wales had extremely strong armour, and the smart move was for her to lead the charge with Hood masking herself behind her until she closed into her zone of invulnerability then unmasked.
 
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Yokel

LE
at best she was a tougher Battlecruiser. She was vulnerable even to Prinz Eugens plunging fire.

while Admiral Holland was undoubedly a very brave man, his tactics were poor.
Prince of Wales had extremely strong armour, and the smart move was for her to lead the charge with Hood masking herself behind her until she closed into her zone of invulnerability stability then unmasked.

However, Prince of Wales was brand new and had teething problems both with her turbines and with her armament, and had sailed with civilian workmen aboard. One ship too old, the other too new.

If Holland had done as you say and she had been lost - what then?
 
The tank unit equipped with Char D1s had radios in all their tanks. They were forbidden from using them for fear of either German eavesdropping or the fear of Germans inserting false messages Into their net.

Even at that, the battle at Sedan could perhaps have been saved had the commander assigned to counterattack done so when the order was received over the telephone instead of waiting for the written orders to be hand-delivered by courier hours later.
 
However, Prince of Wales was brand new and had teething problems both with her turbines and with her armament, and had sailed with civilian workmen aboard. One ship too old, the other too new.

If Holland had done as you say and she had been lost - what then?

PoW did well enough, she was much better armoured than Bismarck. She held the advantage in a slugging match.
the problem was the poor tactics, Holland had heavy cruisers in attendance that were little more than passive observers, and his insistence on leading from the front while brave, was tactically foolish in ship with a well known disadvantage in a long range shooting match.

and what if she had been lost? She wouldn’t have gone quietly into the good night. A gunnery duel to the death would have left Bismarck grievously, probably fatally, wounded.
 

Yokel

LE
PoW did well enough, she was much better armoured than Bismarck. She held the advantage in a slugging match.
the problem was the poor tactics, Holland had heavy cruisers in attendance that were little more than passive observers, and his insistence on leading from the front while brave, was tactically foolish in ship with a well known disadvantage in a long range shooting match.

and what if she had been lost? She wouldn’t have gone quietly into the good night. A gunnery duel to the death would have left Bismarck grievously, probably fatally, wounded.

It is a principle of mine to not criticise the man on the spot from the vantage of over seventy five years of hindsight.

Prince of Wales had Gunnery problems (I think that one of her turrets was inoperable throughout the action), and damage to her electrical system put another one out of action. She took hits from German 15 inch shells.
 
Getting out of tanks in a hurry, as Cal Tanker, has often demonstrated, appears to have been of scant consideration to some designers. French tanks didnt appear to allow much of a chance to the crew in the hull of anything smaller than a Char B.
A few years ago, I was given the opportunity to drive a Sherman. Yes, I’m certainly a lot rounder now than, when I was serving on CVRT!
What I concluded was the crews back then, must have been physically smaller due to being brought up in the Great Depression. But saying that, getting into a Sherman’s one thing, but getting out in a hurry probably under fire, terrifying!! Also having looked at a Valentine and a couple of other Cruiser Tanks, for drivers having to bail out, in a hurry was the last thing on the designer’s mind!
How someone of say @California_Tanker physic would do back then, I’d dread to think.
 
It is a principle of mine to not criticise the man on the spot from the vantage of over seventy five years of hindsight.

Prince of Wales had Gunnery problems (I think that one of her turrets was inoperable throughout the action), and damage to her electrical system put another one out of action. She took hits from German 15 inch shells.


She also scored very telling hits on Bismarck. She opened fire @ 33,000yds and was quickly straddling the target, and would continue to straddle and strike telling blows while retreating and down to a few guns. Although she 'only' had 14" guns, they are more than a match for a 15" gun, and her arm,opur protection was outstanding, KG's were one of the best armoured Battleship designs, and she was 50% thicker armoured than Bismarck.

Hoods gunnery was awful, fired at the wrong target, then failed to correct fire once it was realised, Holland never noticed his heavy cruisers hadn't joined the party as instructed, got between the light and the enemy.
 

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