Inside the Chieftain’s Hatch: SOMUA S35 part 1

The Chieftain has posted a video on the French WWII era Somua S 35.  Enjoy.

The Chieftain’s Hatch: Bigger Turret, Less Room

hatchlogoOver at the World of Tanks website, tank researcher Nicholas “The Chieftain” Moran has posted an article on Sherman tank turrets and guns.  Specifically, he found some archival materials about an attempt to put a 75mm gun into the T23 turret (this is basically the same turret as the 76mm armed Sherman tanks).  Oddly enough, they found that the 75mm gun did not fit.  While this may seem counter-intuitive since the T23 turret was larger than the 75mm gun turret, the answer lies in the shape of the turret and the placement of the trunnions.  The Chieftain uses this example to make the larger point that up gunning a tank turret is more than just a simple case of  making sure the turret ring is big enough and jamming in a new gun.


One of the problems with Firefly was that the turret was a little cramped.

The 17pr is not a small gun to cram into a turret bustle measured in inches. US Army Ordnance had a crack at putting the somewhat smaller and lighter 76mm into the same turret, and Armored Force found it unsatisfactorily cramped and rejected it.

Another lesser-known issue for Firefly is that in order to be converted, the tank had to be the 75mm one with the smaller turret. This is partly why the 75mm Sherman remained on the production lines even after the US Army decided to switch to the 76mm. But it raises the question: why did they mandate use of the 75mm tank? Surely the 76mm turret, bigger as it was, would have been a better match, and reduce the limitations the Firefly was under. How could the British miss this?

Read the full piece here.

Inside the Chieftain’s Hatch: Centurion Part 2

Part 2 of the Chieftain’s look at the British Centurion tank.

Inside the Chieftain’s Hatch: Panther. Part 2

In the second part of the legendary German Panther tour, Nicholas Moran talks about the features of the commander’s cupola and gunner’s position.

The Chieftain’s Hatch: A Bigger Kitty

Over at the WoT forum, Nicholas “The Chieftain” Moran has posted a new article about the development of the Tiger II tank.  Excerpt below, read the full article here.

hatchlogo (1)VK 45.03. Tiger III. Tiger II. Tiger Ausf B. And they’re all the same tank. Even after reading and re-reading the books on King Tiger’s development (Notably the Jentz/Doyle one), I’m still a little confused, though perhaps a little less than some. You’d think that a country with a reputation of organization such as Germany would have had a system which was easier to decipher, but as Hilary Doyle intimated in Operation Think Tank, the various companies all competing for contracts tended to be as much interested in the money as they were their patriotic duty to see the war won. Doubtless the winds of fortune changed as the company leadership leaned upon their patrons in the political hierarchy which had no small role in the development of vehicles by the middle of the war. Anyway, since the VK 45.03 premium tank is now on sale, let’s have a look at the background.

Inside the Chieftain’s Hatch: M3 Grant part 2

Nicholas Moran of World of Tanks gives a look at the inside of the M3 Medium.  We have been looking forward to this one.

The Chieftain’s Hatch: Marines via Australia

hatchlogoOver at the World of Tanks website, Nicholas “The Chieftain” Moran has posted an article written by historian Ken Estes about the career and experiences of WW2 era Marine tanker Lt. Col. Rowland Hall.


Anzac Day is a day of solemn commemoration in Australia and New Zealand. The last time I touched upon this was two years ago, with a bit of background, and then an overview of one of the feats of arms of the Australian forces: The Defense of Tobruk.

Those of you who have seen the miniseries The Pacific might remember an episode set in Melbourne. Australia’s role wasn’t just to send manpower and equipment to fight for the Crown. The country had a similar role in the South Pacific as the UK did in Europe: A bulwark to hold on the edge of the theater, a staging and training area for future operations, and a place for some R&R.

Some time ago, Ken Estes sent me an article for the Hatch: the reminiscings of Marine officer Rollo Hall. Rollo’s writings do not focus on Australia per se — they are his view of the war as a whole and of the development of the Marine Corps tank force, but the amount of words he wrote about his time in Australia is indicative of just how important the country was to the prosecution of the war for the US, both in practical terms for combat training, as well as the morale effect of cameraderie with allies. This should give something of a holistic view of the general environment. So, I hand the keyboard over to the late Rowland Hall.

Read the full article here.

The Chieftain’s Hatch: Turan III Prototype

Over at the World of Tanks forum, researcher Nicholas “The Chieftain” Moran has posted a new article on the history of the Hungarian Turan III prototype.


t21testThe Turán started with an acknowledgement that the Toldi light tanks (which were basically Swedish Landsverk L-60s) weren’t really suited for a general tank role on the modern battlefield. After a bit of hunting, the Hungarians ended up talking with Škoda.

In 1938, Škoda took a crack at what was effectively a “heavy light tank,” the S-II-c. The family resemblance to the older S-II-a (later the LT Vz 35) should be obvious, though with 3cm of armor and the 47mm Vz 38 gun, the vehicle now came in at some 16.5 tons. A bit of tweaking later, and the 16.7-ton T21 was born. These ended up being developed for series production as the T2, with an order of 200 being placed for Romania before Germany put a hold on that sale.

Read full article here.

Inside the Chieftain’s Hatch: AC 1 Sentinel

Nicholas “The Chieftain” Moran has posted a new video examining the Australian AC1 Sentinel tank.

Over at the Chieftain’s Hatch section of the WoT forum, member “Bonesaw” has posted links to a couple documents concerning the Sentinel that readers may find of interest.

Australian War Ministry Official Histories – The Role of Science and Industry: Chapter 14 Armored Fighting Vehicles by D.P Mellor.

Australian Cruiser tank mark -1 instruction book (Provisional)

The Chieftain’s Hatch: Patton Troubles

Over at the WoT forum, Nicholas “The Chieftain” Moran has posted a second article about the issues encountered during the early testing of the M46 “Patton” Medium Tank.


Last week, we saw how Armored Board was not entirely happy with the T40 medium tanks which they had received for testing. Bearing in mind that the M46 entered production before Armored Board had even started testing T40, the testing was as much just to prepare Fort Knox for things to keep a particular eye out when they finally did get some M46s to play with. Some defects had been noticed by Aberdeen before Fort Knox received the vehicles, and some modifications incorporated. Some.

M46 #12 as it arrived. This tank survived the testing process. Note the name painted on the side.

These new M46 tanks showed up in the very beginning of 1950, Fort Knox immediately ceased the T40 testing program, parked the four vehicles, and set about the four M46s they received. The first thing they did was break them in gently, running about 200 road miles, and not exceeding 2,200 rpm. Then the testing started. Over the course of the test, the four tanks ran the following distances.

Read the full article here.