Why C?

Discussion in 'RAC' started by RogerOut2, May 14, 2008.

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  1. Whilst sat in 46 degree heat on the patio outside the office canteen here in the desert of Abu Dhabi I was asked the question "Why have all British tanks since WW2 been called by names beginning with the letter C".

    To be honest I havent got a clue although I am sure there is a simple enough answer.

    So who's first then?
  2. Its just a tradition deriving from pre-WW2 Cruiser tanks I think. The Cruisers they had at the beginning of the war were replaced with Crusader, then Cromwell, then Comet, then Centurion, then Cheiftain, then Challenger. The weird thing is that Infantry tanks names didn't start with 'I' they had odd names like Matilda or Valentine, and then they called one type Churchill, even though 'C' was used for Cruisers. I would've rather have gone into battle in a tank called an 'Invader' or 'Intruder' then a Matilda!
  3. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    Matilda was a 1930's cartoon character, I believe a duck, Matilda allegedly waddled across the battlefield!
  4. Wasnt the first british tank called "little willie"?
  5. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    read the question Gren!
    never mind its immaterial, Arthur 3 Bums probably knows the answer!
  6. My apologies, its still early and my brain is still in bed.
  7. Ugly beat me to it. As he said, the question was about tanks since WW2. "Little Willie" was a prototype developed in 1915.

  8. I know, and i also apologised for it, give me break lads, im still wrecked and not with it.
  9. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    No kick him whilst he's still hung over!
  10. AlienFTM

    AlienFTM LE Book Reviewer

    Phew, saves me reposting what I posted then. But wtf?

    The reason Challenger was called Challenger was because the RAC found itself with some 1200 tropicalised Chieftain-derived Shir-Iran ("Lion of Persia") 2s * because the Shah had been deposed and there was no way these babies were going to the Ayatollah, so MOD decided that detropicalised (cos let's face it, we would never be depoying tanks outside of BAOR would we?), they would make a great replacement for Chieftain (and besides, they were already paid for - ish so Chieftain could be replaced on the cheap.

    Having decided to give Shir-Ian 2s to the RAC, the MOD thought it would be a good idea to ask the RAC what it should be called, cos let's face it, Shir-Iran 2 doesn't sound right. So on Regimental Orders one night, we were given the chance to vote for a name. My own preference, Cavalier, got outvoted, probably by the Chav Cav.

    Funnily enough, all the choices began with a C, but it was still as free a vote as you could hope for in the Army.

    * The original Shir-Irans were not going to be Chobhamed, but given the option, the Shah took it
  11. You reckon?? Na, probably not still, this is how it goes in me book!!! Just to remind you it's still being printed. Fact but, through my eyes. Maybe this is really how the first Tank names came about. Oh yes, Alien old friend.......without the 'Chav Cav' mate....there'd be no fecking RAC!!!!!!!!!!

    Okay so everyone knows that with WW1 came the advent of trench warfare and the machine gun, that efficient killer of men. This had the boffins at the War office scratching their heads in dismay. The trick of soldiers standing up and walking slowly towards the enemy didn’t work. Why? Well because that was exactly what the Hun expected them to do! “Bugger!” Said one boffin to another, “We’d better try something else!” Dismally that failed too, after all, just because the men now stood up and ran quickly at the Hun, didn’t make an iota of difference. The German machine guns were a hell of a lot quicker than the Infantry. “Bollox!” Exclaimed the boffin; “we’re in trouble if we don’t think of something new, and quick!” he said as he scratched his oversized bald head. His colleague, who had been thinking to himself, resignedly muttered, “ I wish I was as clever as that old twatt Leonardo Da Vinci!” The first boffin looked up and suddenly shouted; “ Bloody bugger! Of course! Didn’t he draw some sort of land machine to protect its crew?” They now scoured their reference library, eventually finding the design they sought. “Shite, we can’t build that, it looks so stupid that we’ll be laughed off the battlefield!” Said one to the other. His colleagues reply came; “I never said we’d build that,” he laughed, “all I want to do is steal the idea, modify the design to modernise it, and then when it’s finished tell the sceptics it was us, and ask who the fcuk was Leonardo da whatsisname any way?”

    Having thought carefully about their problem they threw down their pencils in disgust. “Jesus” said one, “how the hell are we going to do this? These flippers we’ve drawn will be as much use as tits on a fish for a land vehicle! We may as well take one of those new fangled American agricultural tractors designed by that fellow.. Holt, with its thingies, oh you know... tracks, that’s them, and use that!” He laughed. “Hey, that’s not such a bad bloody idea,” said his partner scribbling furiously with his pencil. “We’ll cover it in iron or steel plate which we’ll call armour, but what do we call the vehicle?” He intoned as the pair now stood at the urinals. His pal, glancing down nosily at his neighbours appendage laughed; “what you’ve got there is a little Willy!” “Bloody good name that!” retorted the other boffin thoughtfully. “The Boche would never guess what the fcuk it is from that name!” And the first prototype Tank, ‘Little Willy’ was born.

    When the trials were finished and the Admiralty had accepted the concept of a ‘Little Willy’, they decided that a machine named after a scientist’s penis was a little distasteful. So after due consideration and their knowledge being mainly to do with water, they hit on the name ‘Tank’, after all that’s what it looked like, a huge water tank! So it was, that in due course, the first Mark 1 ‘Mother’ Tanks rolled from the production line onto the French and Belgian battlefields, scaring the shite out of the Germans on the way.

    Since the Tanks inception, British ‘men in white coats’ seem to have struggled with the design of Tanks. Okay, we invented it and we built it! The ‘others’ have always ‘copied’ it. So why then, have we continually ‘bodged’ it? Well, we know what the three main characteristics of the Tank are, after all we thought of them! There’s firepower, protection and mobility, when all three are correctly balanced this leads to the ultimate battlefield characteristic of flexibility. To look at some of the fledgling designs that we’ve come up with, you could be forgiven for thinking that we didn’t have a clue!

    After the ‘Mother’ had taken to the field, it was quickly modified to increase its trench crossing and steering capabilities by, putting a huge pair of wheels on the back! This only met with limited success, after all, the ferocity of German artillery barrages that met the appearance of Tanks in an attack, soon ripped the wheels off! The boffins drew, modified and thought up all manner of things. Tanks suddenly became ‘Male’ or ‘Female’, the difference being that ‘Males’ had larger pieces of field artillery fitted, ‘Females’ on the other hand were armed with machine guns. Later in the war newer designs were built, the rhomboidal shape of the Tanks was lengthened by adding a ‘Tadpole tail’ which did, successfully increase the Tanks trench crossing ability. Tanks appeared one day, lumbering slowly forward, their ungainly shapes carrying, perched on top, huge bundles of wood. These were known as ‘Fascines’ and when a Tank approached a deep trench, the fascine would be rolled into the trench, and the Tank could drive safely across it. This was, the fore runner of the modern Royal Engineers AVRE with its demolition gun or ‘dustbin chucker’.

    The newspaper articles of the time hailed the Tank as ‘The War Winning’ machine! I, as a Tankie, do believe this even though the sceptics say that it was not. Let’s face it, imagine you are a German foot soldier in your trench. The continual barrage one morning lifts and, there before you trundles a huge metal box, heading straight for you spitting fire and lead in every direction, smoke belching from its exhaust. Crap yourself? I should think so! The Tanks may not have been much faster than walking pace but, unlike the Infantry, they couldn’t be stopped by machine gun fire. Then they are on your position, travelling up and down your trench line raking your previously safe haven with, thousands of unstoppable machine gun bullets. Behind them come the enemy Infantry, and there are thousands of them, they’ve come safely through your defences, and having now emerged from behind the cover of the advancing Tanks, they can’t wait to stick their bayonets right up your arrse!

    Now, while this mayhem was happening all along the front line, where were the Cavalry? Well, with the advent of WW1 they had, in the face of artillery and MG fire, found themselves literally blown from the battlefield. Certainly in many Tank actions, the reason for eventual failure of the attack was, that the cavalry were so sceptical about ‘breakthrough and exploitation’ that, they simply chose to remain undercover. The cavalry officers deemed Tanks as a ‘flash in the pan’, sat as they were, behind a wood out of sight, their officers were heard to say; “Let the Tanks cock this one up, we’ll rest a while, Rupert pass me another glass of port, there’s a good chap!” The Tanks speed did not match its ‘shock action’. The mechanical technology that existed at the time could not exploit the effect that Tanks could have on the enemy. Not to matter, the boffins were working on the ‘cavalry solution’.

    Once more the boffins were stood at the urinals.
    “Did you read in the Times, that the bally cavalry were sat on their arses again at the Somme?” asked one of the other, “ Oh yeah, they’re lazy barrstards all right!” Replied the other guy buttoning up his fly. “What do you say we come up with something that’ll really fcuk up the cavalry’s brains?” queried the first guy wiping his hands on his trousers. “Like what for example, a fast Tank?” Asked his chum. “God, but you are full of absolutely fantastic bloody ideas!” Enthused the first guy. Off they went and started to beaver away at their drawing tables. In due course one stood up from his work. He grabbed the other fellow by the arm pointing at his drawing and said; “Here James, take a look a look at this!” James, confused at the question said, “Oh all right, if I must,.... whip it out then!” The colleague, also confused now exploded, “WHIPPET! Fcuk me how do you think up these names? It’s perfect for this Tank… fast as a Whippet!” He slapped his pal, who was hurriedly re-buttoning up his fly, hard on the back. “You are great!” He continued, “Bollox, thought my luck was in!” Was James’ only mumbled comment.