From the Vault: British Report on Panzer II

We recently received images of a document by the British Department of Tank Design from early 1943 showing the results of tests they performed on a captured German Panzer II.  The goal of the tests were to obtain information on the reliability and performance of the German tank, which was captured in Libya.  The report notes that the tank had been put through a good bit of use before being captured, with the odometer showing over 7000 miles.  Despite the condition of the vehicle, the report notes that “the machine behaved extremely well and little serious mechanical trouble was experienced.”  This is an eleven page document, the individual pages can be viewed in the image gallery below.

 

ARDEC Report on 76MM Gun M1A1 and M1A2

76mm ammoFor those looking for a detailed report on the effectiveness of US 76mm tank guns, check out this new technical report from ARDEC, the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center.  Released in January of 2018, this document is a 58 page PDF and is a rather thorough examination of the topic.  Download the report here.

Report Abstract:

This report provides an analysis of the U.S. anti-tank technology during World War II. A ballistic analysis is used to corroborate the battlefield history and gain an understanding of the physical and technological factors that spurred the development of the M1 series 76-mm Gun and family of ammunition.

The technical manual (TM) 9-1907 was published 23 September 1944, but it was missing performance data for the 76-mm hyper-velocity, armor-piercing (HVAP) shell and any information for performance of the U.S. anti-tank capabilities against the German Panther tank. Battle history indicates there was a technological capability gap against upgraded Panzer armor. This report attempts to use hand calculations and modeling and
simulation (PRODAS) to fill in the information that is missing in TM 9-1907. The analysis offers the reader a greater engineering comprehension of the challenges faced between June 1944 and May 1945 and the circumstances necessitating the rapid fielding of the 76-mm HVAP shell after German capability upgrades were encountered in the European Theater of Operations from Normandy to the Battle of the Bulge (June to December 1944).

From the Vault: French Super Light Tank

Here is a two page article from the Jan-Feb 1963 issue of ARMOR magazine that takes a look at the French ELC light tank project.  This vehicle never entered serial production and it does not appear that much information has been published about this odd little vehicle in English (the wikipedia page for this vehicle references mostly foriegn language sources.)  This vehilce is roughly comparable in time frame, role and mission to the US M56 Scorpion and M50 Ontos.  Click on the images below to view the article page.

 

From the Vault: The Rarden Cannon

Today we present an article from the Jan-Feb 1974 issue of ARMOR magazine looking at the British Rarden cannon.  The Rarden gun was introduced in the early 1970’s and  would go on to be one of the most important pieces of ordnance in British armored formations, being the primary armament of the FV510 Warrior IFV, as well as reconnaissance vehicles Fox, Scimitar and Sabre.  The author of this piece, F. W. A. Hobart, is known primarily as a writer of books on small arms.  While still in service with UK forces, the Rarden is considered outdated and is slated to be replaced by a 40mm weapon.  The article is posted below as individual images.  For those wanting to view the Jan-Feb 1974 issue of ARMOR, click here.

 

From the Vault: Tank Effectiveness: Conqueror, Conway and Charioteer

Fans of British early Cold War armor may find this item entertaining.  Sent to us by author and researcher P. M. Knight (see his excellent histories of WWII British armor here), this is an archival document from the British Army Operational Research Group.  The report is dated June of 1954.  The topic of the report is the combat effectiveness of the Conqueror, Conway and Charioteer tanks.  As might be guessed, this report is pretty theoretical since these vehicles never saw combat.  We take these sorts of reports with a grain of salt, especially when they come to the conclusion that the Charioteer has “an effectiveness of unity against this Russian tank (the IS-3)”.

The report is posted below as a series of pictures.  We have also posted the images as a PDF that can be downloaded here.

From the Vault: General Patton and the Sherman gun debate

One of the most enduring discussions regarding WWII armor revolves around the 75mm gun of the M4 Sherman tank.  Was it good enough?  Should the US Army had replaced it sooner with the 76mm gun?  While browsing through some old issues of ARMOR  magazine, we found this letter to the editor that we thought was worth sharing.  Written by Colonel George Eddy JR, son of Brigadier General George G. Eddy, he relates how his father got into an argument with General Patton over the 75mm gun issue.  This letter appeared in the March-April 1974 issue of ARMOR and it raises a few questions.  First, it must be acknowledged that this is second hand information.  Obviously, George Eddy Jr. was not a witness to this event.  As far as we know, there was not much “discontent” with the M4 after the combat experiences in North Africa.  We would be curious to know if there is any other record of this incident.  It’s worth pointing out that General George Eddy should not be confused with the more well known WWII XII Corps commander General Manton S. Eddy.

George Eddy letter

From the Vault: The Turtle Series of Armored Vehicles

From the January-February 1965 issue of ARMOR come this rather intriguing article by the late Robert Icks concerning a proposed series of vehicles called the Turtle Series by the NDRC.  The NDRC (National Defense Research Committee) was set up during WWII to promote and coordinate scientific research related to defense technology.  Some of the most successful programs they helped fund include the Manhattan Project, the DUKW, the proximity fuze and radar technology.  It seems they also proposed a series of tank designs, none of which ever got beyond the mockup stage.  Click on the page images below to read the full article.