Inside the Hatch: Stridsvagn m/42 part 2

Here is part 2 of the Chieftain’s look at the Swedish Stridsvagn M/42 tank.

Inside the Chieftain’s Hatch: Panther Part 1

The Chieftain’s Hatch: Signal Flags

hatchlogo (1)Nicholas “The Chieftain” Moran from World of Tanks writes about the history of tank signal flags.


Tier I tanks used to come with “Signal Flags” as part of their basic radio system. Threads on the forum, reddit, etc. have asked, “Did WoT make this up? Did tankmen really use flags?”

Sure enough, the answer is ‘yes’ (in semaphore, as in the photo above). In a time when the “intercom system” could be as technical as kicking the driver to indicate which way you wanted to go, communications with the world outside the tank was even more difficult.

Just because tanks were coming standard with radios didn’t mean that signal flags would be obsolete. In early 1941, Armored Force was trying to come up with its own visual signals guide, and that March approved the signals as found in Field Manual 17-5:

“Disregard my movements:” Flag Stationary
“Do as I do:” Raise and lower flag repeatedly
“Assemble:” Wave flag in large circles
“Form extended column:” Wave flag from font to rear, as determined by direction in which signaller’s vehicle is facing
“Form extended line:” Wave flag from side to side, as determined by direction in which signaller’s vehicle is facing
“Form column:” “Extended Column” signal, followed immediately by “Assemble” signal
“Form line:” “Extended line” signal, followed immediately by “Assemble” signal

Full article here.

The Chieftain’s Hatch: Equipping the Force, Part 5

chieftains hatchNicholas “The Chieftain” Moran has posted the fifth part of his series of articles on the history of US tank development during WW2.  In the is post he compares and contrasts the difference in opinions between Army Ground Forces and Ordnance regarding tank development.


Now that that salvo is over, let’s have a gander at the whole lot, and compare/contrast with Ordnance’s view of things.

It is interesting to compare the line just above, “The agency controlling the using arm should likewise control the actual development program”, with the position of General Barnes over at Ordnance: “For these reasons, it is necessary for the Ordnance Department to take a strong lead over the using services in the development of new equipment and then to get the help of those using services in determining where the weapon best fits into battlefield operations.”

Put simply, they are mutually exclusive propositions. In effect, you have the scientists saying “If we just let the using arms come up with the equipment needs, nothing ‘new’ or revolutionary would ever be developed”, and you have the using arms saying “Stop focusing on hypothetical wonderweapons, and put all your energy into this thing we know we need right now.”

Full article here.


The Chieftain’s Hatch: Equipping the Force Part 4

chieftains hatchNicholas “The Chieftain” Moran has posted part 4 of his series of articles on the history of US tank development during WW2.  This segment tells the story up to the end of the war with particular focus on T23, T28, T29, T30 and T26E3.


Last of the T23

In order to insure a completely fair evaluation of the T23 tank, Army Ground Forces had proposed in the spring of 1944 to equip the 785th Tank Battalion and expose the tank to extended field service tests in this country. Army Ground Forces was convinced that the tank was not satisfactory but did not want to be in a position of overlooking any advancement which the electric drive might accomplish. Ordnance had claimed that all the initial deficiencies found had been corrected in the ten production models, which were tested by the Armored Board in the summer of 1944. But again results were very disappointing. It was found, for example, that 300 man-hours of maintenance were required for each 100 hours of operation. The track and suspension system was inadequate; the cooling system was easily clogged with dust and prevented satisfactory operation in high ambient temperatures or dusty conditions; no steering or braking was possible if the engine failed, and finally the tank could not be operated satisfactorily at slow speeds without imposing a heavy burden on the traction motors. The Board listed 26 urgent deficiencies in this vehicle. Army Ground Forces approved the Board’s recommendation for a correction of these deficiencies and stated that if they were corrected two battalions would be equipped with the tank and sent to the theater. It was also found in the field test of the tank by the 785th Tank Battalion that the armored engine compartment grilles could not withstand even 20mm fire from the ground or plunging fire from aircraft.

Full article here.

The Chieftain’s Hatch: Equipping the Force Part 3

chieftains hatchNicholas “The Chieftain” Moran has posted part three of an article based on his archive digging regarding US armor in WW2.  This article series looks at Army Ground Forces and how they determined with vehicles and tanks should be developed and fielded during the war.  Part three includes the period from fall of 1943 to the end of the war.  Vehicles discussed include the T23, T25, T26, the M6 and M4A3E2 “Jumbo.”

Click here to read “The Chieftain’s Hatch.”


The Chieftain’s Hatch: Equipping the Force Part 2

chieftains hatchNicholas “The Chieftain” Moran has posted part two of an article based on his archive digger regarding US armor in WW2.  In particular, this article looks at Army Ground Forces and how they determined with vehicles and tanks should be developed and fielded during the war.


Situation in March 1942

When Army Ground Forces was established, many of the basic decisions for the tank program had already been made by other agencies of the War Department and the Ordnance Department. At this time, the Armored Force was a semi-autonomous command which played an important part in developing its equipment. Although it came nominally under the control of Army Ground Forces, it continued to exercise many of its powers by direct contact with the Tank Automotive Center in Detroit.

The M3 medium tank was in current use, the M4 medium tank was in production but had yet to see a battlefield. Development of the Medium Tank M7 was also well under way. This had been conceived in 1941 as a 16-ton vehicle, mounting a 37mm gun, and was classified as a light tank. Successive changes requested by the Armored Force had resulted in a tank of 25 tons, mounting a 75mm gun, which thus approached the weight class of the M4 (33 tons) and was reclassified as a medium tank. During 1942 Armored Force enthusiasm for the M7 tank was quite pronounced.

All of these tanks had been developed primarily for the purpose of exploiting break-throughs and conducting operations in the traditional cavalry manner. First of all, their sponsors wanted speed and mobility, with mechanical reliability a necessary corollary. Sufficient fire power was only needed to subdue enemy infantry and minor strong points, and armor was required only to withstand enemy small arms. These tanks had narrow, high-speed treads. Unit ground pressure was not a serious factor because it was contemplated that slashing tank tactics then advocated would not be possible through soft, marshy terrain. [Chieftain’s Note: As you will recall, Armored Force, not AGF, are the folks who created tank doctrine and tank manuals, we’ve gone over in the past the position of Devers and AF on the matter of what they expected medium tanks to do against tanks. That AGF had this interpretation need not be an accurate reflection of what AF thought]

Read the full article here.


Chieftain’s Hatch: How Suitable was T29? Pt.1

chieftains hatchTank researcher Nicholas Moran has posted a new article in his “Chieftain’s Hatch” web forum.  The post is a description of an Armored Board report from 1948 concerning future requirements of the heavy tank program.


After the war, the US heavy tank program was in full swing. However, there was still some debate as to just what the heavy tanks would look like, or even what it is they were going to do. As a result, though it was accepted that the T28 and T29 series tanks were dead ends, they still provided some kernels for thought on the matter. Armored Board decided to put a more detailed writing down as to where the heavy tank program should go, if at all. Specifically, “to secure sufficient information on the employment of heavy tanks to form an intelligent basis on which future requirements for heavy tanks in the US Army may be determined.” The report was dated 30th June 1948.

This is a fairly long report, so I’m going to split it up into two parts. One the more philosophical outlook as to just what heavy tanks were supposed to be doing and the second, next week, will be on the practical matters relating to tanks of the T29 class in particular. Extract follows:


By current definition the term Heavy Tank includes those from 56 to 85 tons. The United States first developed a tank (Heavy Tank, M6) in this weight class in 1942; however, it failed to meet service requirements and was not produced. The German Mark VI (Tiger) appeared in 1943 followed by the Mark V (Panther) and a heavier more powerfully armed version of the Mark VI (The Royal Tiger). The Russian 50-ton KV, new in 1941, was succeeded by the Josef Stalin series in 1944. The Josef Stalin -3, a vastly improved fighting vehicle of the heavy tank class, weighs approximately 60 tons, is armed with a 122mm gun and as early as the summer of 1945 had been produced in considerable numbers.

Read the full post here.

The Chieftain’s Hatch: The Super Pershing

chieftains hatchWargaming’s resident tank expert “The Chieftain” has posted a new article on the T26E4, commonly called the Super Pershing.  Using materials unearthed from the archives, the article explains how the extra long 90mm gun of the Super Pershing (T15E2) was found to be unsatisfactory by army testers.

The exploits of the T26E4 in Europe are well known. Indeed, there is much anticipation for the release of the HD model of the tank in the upcoming update.  It is, of course, known that the Super Pershing we all know and love was not an entire success, not least because the ammunition its T15E1 rifle used was single-piece and incredibly unwieldy. It is also known (albeit slightly less so) that an improved version of the T15E1 was developed, the creatively named T15E2, and that was designed to use split-piece ammunition, supposedly to fix this problem. Yet when M26’s replacement was developed, M46, it still retained the shorter 90mm M3-based gun. What happened?

Read the full article here.

The Tank-Infantry Battle of Munoz, Philippines by Harry Yeide

chieftains hatchThe Chieftain’s Hatch section of the World of Tanks website has posted an article on the Tank-Infantry Battle of Munoz, Philippines by guest writer Harry Yeide.  Mr. Yeide is the author of several books on US armored forces in WW2, including The Infantry’s Armor, The Tank Killers, and Steeds of Steel.  Earlier this year we published an interview with Mr. Yeide.


General Douglas MacArthur intended to invade Luzon, the Philippine Islands, right where the Japanese had conducted their main landings in 1941, and for the same reason: The Lingayen Gulf provided direct access to the central plains and Manila. He gave the task to Lieutenant General Krueger and his Sixth Army, supported by the air and naval forces of the Southwest Pacific Area. Once ashore, Sixth Army’s I Corps was to protect the beachhead’s left flank while XIV Corps drove south to Clark Field and then Manila.

General Tomoyuki Yamashita, the Japanese commanding general, did not intend to defend the central plains-Manila Bay area with his 260,000 troops because American superiority in armor and mobility would have its greatest advantage there. He sought only to pin down MacArthur’s forces in order to delay Allied progress toward Japan.

Read the full article here.