The Churchill Tank Discussion Thread (under moderators beady eyes)

#1
Question for tankies and REME types.

Why did the Churchill have so many small road wheels? Even compared with the Sherman next to it, the Churchill seems to have just about twice as many. Modern tanks only have 6 or so per side. There must have been a reason why it was designed that way.

I remember making an Airfix model of one as a kid, and it were a right bastard to get them all lined up :)
 
#2
Who doesn't like head? :)

It's a regional thing in the UK. London in particular prefers beer with no head. Up north, beer with no head is revolting.

Got to a German pub. It's all head and wastage. Can't pour a beer without it pissing down the sides of the glass, deliberately. But tastes delicious.
If you were in BAOR, every bar they'd pour a beer, half froth scrape it off with a paddle thing, top up with more froth, scrape, top up and flog it.
I really like Alt bier.
 
#3
Question for tankies and REME types.

Why did the Churchill have so many small road wheels? Even compared with the Sherman next to it, the Churchill seems to have just about twice as many. Modern tanks only have 6 or so per side. There must have been a reason why it was designed that way.

I remember making an Airfix model of one as a kid, and it were a right bastard to get them all lined up :)
Ask Vauxhall motors, they designed it.:mrgreen: If you go on youtube The Workshop Diary's (Tank Museum), they've got a Churchill mklll in for a major service, engine out etc.
 
#4
If you were in BAOR, every bar they'd pour a beer, half froth scrape it off with a paddle thing, top up with more froth, scrape, top up and flog it.
I really like Alt bier.
Indeed so. I just scraped into BAOR with the end of it in 94, posted in during 93. But mostly "BFG" for me, which seemed to be much the same. And a few times as a STAB in the late 80s.

The guy that owned Hannen Alt lived over the back fence of my MQ in Willich. He would invite the squaddies on the patch into his little estate for a party once a year. I never made it, always on duty or whatever, but it was apparently a major-league piss-up.
 
#5
Indeed so. I just scraped into BAOR with the end of it in 94, posted in during 93. But mostly "BFG" for me, which seemed to be much the same. And a few times as a STAB in the late 80s.

The guy that owned Hannen Alt lived over the back fence of my MQ in Willich. He would invite the squaddies on the patch into his little estate for a party once a year. I never made it, always on duty or whatever, but it was apparently a major-league piss-up.
I do feel, it's a shame that British Forces today are going to miss the joys of Germany. I feel the three years I spent in Germany were possibly the most informative (women) years of my life.
 
#6
If you were in BAOR, every bar they'd pour a beer, half froth scrape it off with a paddle thing, top up with more froth, scrape, top up and flog it.
I really like Alt bier.
I think it’s to do with the beer. Any German (or Czech) boozer that served Pilsner bier would do this. I think there is an expression that equates to “pilsner must run like a tap to be fresh”. Before the European wide Pilsner epidemic of the 1960s most beer would be bottled, or served “ vom fass “ from the local brewery. In that respect, the Germans, like the Brits, were no different.
Then came gas dispense, keg beer, delights in U.K. like Carling and Double Diamond. The Germans were not above this, but the crucial difference would be the British pub-goer would demand a pint, whereas the continent is happy to see a head on a pint. To a point, which could vary from pub to pub.
Brits liked their gassy new beers like the old beers they had before (sort of flat, there are variations in regions like the famous Yorkshire head), the continent prefer (on the whole) effervescent beer with a head, which can be seen to be more attractive.
Another reason for this is hopping, and where is is used in the continent. All hop types strive for a balance of aroma and bitterness. A head forced on a beer will lead to a bitterness up front, followed by a malt character. Beloved of Yorkshiremen, and the Germans. Next time you have a slurp of German draft beer with a big head, have a mouthful of the foam. Bitter, but the beer isn’t.
Lesson over, class dismissed.
 
#8
Question for tankies and REME types.

Why did the Churchill have so many small road wheels? Even compared with the Sherman next to it, the Churchill seems to have just about twice as many. Modern tanks only have 6 or so per side. There must have been a reason why it was designed that way.

I remember making an Airfix model of one as a kid, and it were a right bastard to get them all lined up :)
Speaking as a holder of an engineering degree rather than a tanker my first thoughts would be that they allowed for a more comfortable ride and better stability over rough terrain (thus, speed and manoeuvrability), that the vehicle could continue to manouvre despite losing a number of roadwheels (i.e. harder to score a mobility kill) and - critically - it would allow the vehicle to overcome quite steep obstacles, and when cresting them fall back to the horizontal and allow main armament to bear more quickly.

Now I think about it this is probably why there are a fair few invasion photos of Churchills driving over seawalls and the like from landing beaches and not many of other tanks doing the same (unless it is over a Churchill Ark, in most cases I've seen in books and the like).

However, I await someone who actually knows what they are talking about to provide a more comprehensive answer.
 
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#9
Speaking as a holder of an engineering degree rather than a tanker my first thoughts would be that they allowed for a more comfortable ride and better stability over rough terrain, that the vehicle could continue to manouvre despite losing a number of roadwheels (i.e. harder to score a mobility kill) and - critically - it would allow the vehicle to overcome quite steep obstacles.

Now I think about it this is probably why there are a fair few invasion photos of Churchills driving over seawalls and the like from landing beaches and not many of other tanks doing the same (unless it is over a Churchill Ark, in most cases I've seen in books and the like).

However, I await someone who actually knows what they are talking about to provide a more comprehensive answer.
My initial thought was as above, torsion bar suspension must be easier/cheaper to make and maintain. Despite my best efforts I never broke a torsion beam vehicle.
 
#13
My initial thought was as above, torsion bar suspension must be easier/cheaper to make and maintain. Despite my best efforts I never broke a torsion beam vehicle.
I imagine that modern undercarriage design has not followed the Churchill pattern but gone with the roadwheel layout that is common on modern tanks for several reasons:

  • Vehicle size/weight
  • Main armament physics (i.e. stability under recoil of modern MA calibres)
  • Main armament stabilisation (i.e. accurate firing on the move at speed - stability)
  • Advances in metallurgy (i.e. materials)
  • Advances in suspension and running gear design born of advances in metallurgy
  • Design convention
  • Advances/revision of consolidation in battlefield role/deployment/tactical doctrine
  • A few other things that I thought of when I started this post but which had fucked off out of my head at this point. Watch for edits!
  • Like this one: design for durability/survivability versus maintenance, particularly in the field. WWII tanks don't seem to have factored in ease of repair and maintenance, either in workshops or under fire, whereas modern thought is to design in ease of servicing alongside survivability and fighting efficiency, particulary with regard to major repairs away from workshops.
  • Re: doctrine. The move away from separate infantry-support tanks and tank destroyers to MBTs influencing design.
 
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#14
I imagine that modern undercarriage design has not followed the Churchill pattern but gone with the roadwheel layout that is common on modern tanks for several reasons:

  • Vehicle size/weight
  • Main armament physics (i.e. stability under recoil of modern MA calibres)
  • Main armament stabilisation (i.e. accurate firing on the move at speed - stability)
  • Advances in metallurgy (i.e. materials)
  • Advances in suspension and running gear design born of advances in metallurgy
  • Design convention
  • Advances/revision of consolidation in battlefield role/deployment/tactical doctrine
  • A few other things that I thought of when I started this post but which had fucked off out of my head at this point. Watch for edits!
Might have to move this, NSP!
Firing on the move - forget it. If I was crew I would take stability/ operability over gun. Once your vehicle stops, you are dead.
 
#15
Might have to move this, NSP!
Firing on the move - forget it. If I was crew I would take stability/ operability over gun. Once your vehicle stops, you are dead.
Yeah - that was my point; with the advent of stabilised main armament running gear design would have had stability on the move as part of the design thought as well as vehicle speed/manoeuvrability.

WWII tanks didn't in the main have stabilised MA so running gear design in the more innovative engineering teams would have thought about how to get the vehicle stable whilst moving, even if at very low speed, to give the crew an advantage, however small, over the opposing crew who had to come to a dead stop and wait for the suspension to recoil before finalising the lining up of the sights and stomping on the pedal.

Modern tanks incorporate all sorts of technology that wasn't available in Churchill's design era - such as the ability to cause an enemy crew to evacuate the vehicle as a pink mist via the engine compartment from 3km away whilst advancing over rough ground at 30mph*.





* There's a story behind this comment.
 
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#16
I imagine that modern undercarriage design has not followed the Churchill pattern but gone with the roadwheel layout that is common on modern tanks for several reasons:

  • Vehicle size/weight
  • Main armament physics (i.e. stability under recoil of modern MA calibres)
  • Main armament stabilisation (i.e. accurate firing on the move at speed - stability)
  • Advances in metallurgy (i.e. materials)
  • Advances in suspension and running gear design born of advances in metallurgy
  • Design convention
  • Advances/revision of consolidation in battlefield role/deployment/tactical doctrine
  • A few other things that I thought of when I started this post but which had fucked off out of my head at this point. Watch for edits!
There is one point, like the Matilda ll the Churchill was also designed as an Infantry tank. Matilda travelled at @12 to14 mph. The Churchill 15mph, they both were good hill climbers.
Churchill mk1 had the usual 2 pounder gun in the turret, unusually it had a 3in Howitzer in the hull where the hull machine gun would be.
 
#18
There is one point, like the Matilda ll the Churchill was also designed as an Infantry tank. Matilda travelled at @12 to14 mph. The Churchill 15mph, they both were good hill climbers.
Churchill mk1 had the usual 2 pounder gun in the turret, unusually it had a 3in Howitzer in the hull where the hull machine gun would be.
Another good point vis tactical doctrine. Name a current service tank that is an "infantry" tank. As I had in my original points: change in tactical doctrine (governing design).

If I remember rightly Matilda II main armament was elevated by means of the gunners shoulder in a form of butt pad, almost like a rifle, and this gave a very rudimentary form of stabilisation by dint of the natural rise and fall of the gunner in response to the rise and fall of the vehicle when under way,
 
#19
^ I've pinged a mod to see if this line of discussion can be taken to its own thread as it has potential to develop and is nothing to do with taking happy snaps.
 
#20
Another good point vis tactical doctrine. Name a current service tank that is an "infantry" tank. As I had in my original points: change in tactical doctrine (governing design).
No arguments there, all through from the first innings tanks were to support infantry. Percy Hobart did try to change things. He even wrote a book on it. The Germans read it, "ooh that's a good idea". British went nope won't work, Our Percy got pushed out of the way. (Lance Corporal in his local Home Guard unit).
 

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