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  • #16
    Originally posted by DogDodger View Post
    I don't have a reference, which is why I'm asking. For what it's worth, I did unsuccessfully look through Death by Design, The Great Tank Scandal, Universal Tank, and Mr. Churchill's Tank for any mention of infantry being added to the British TO&E because of the M4, or for some kind of force ratio comparison between the M4 and Churchill. From a cursory web search (I don't have anything concerning British TO&E, so correct me if I'm wrong) the motorised infantry battalion was added to the armoured brigade in 1940? That would seem to discount both Sherman and Churchill from having any effect on that organizational change? Is this what you're talking about?

    For the record, I'm of course not saying the Churchill wasn't a useful tank. Adding an infantry battalion to make a unit comparable to another because of specific tank types would be interesting, and I'm trying to track that down. Thanks for any info.
    Pulled out Buckleys book and was not too far out with what I said in my last post here (bottom page 77) about the inadequacy of the M4 in the close support role.

    Also pulled out G Forty's book The British Army Handbook, and found the extra kit required for an Armoured Brigade plus 37 Officers and 782 men. This includes 9 platoons of infantry in half tracks or White scout cars, 3 scout platoons in carriers, 3 AT platoons with Loyd towers and two MG platoons in carriers. Tank Brigades would have had a few M3 Stuarts for recce instead. Armoured brigades are that much more expensive. I'm pretty sure the 3 armoured divisions (7th, 11th and Guards) would have liked to upgrade one of their lorried battalions to armoured infantry with the kit allocated to Armoured brigades, and the additional soldiers may have prevented some useful divisions from being broken up as replacements for others (eg 50th Infantry).

    That is why the Sherman is not as cost effective as the Churchill. You have a cheaper outlay, but the additional costs make the Sherman a more expensive proposition at the end of the day.
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    • #17
      This is turning out to be the most difficult category for me to rank. I'm having a hard time finding generic numbers on cost of tanks and likewise for total MH to construct. I have costs for american tanks in dollars, german tanks in RM and russian tanks in rubles, but its impossible to find conversion rates for rubles, and I have found nothing for brit tanks. Also, I'm not sure how to rank these tanks once I do have workable numbers to play with.

      I planned on doing this category last so I could compare my relative scores for each tank to rheir relative costs. Now I'm not sure thats the best way...ugh!
      "In the absence of orders...find something and kill it!" Lt. General Erwin Rommel, 1942

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      • #18
        Originally posted by smallvillekalel View Post
        This is turning out to be the most difficult category for me to rank. I'm having a hard time finding generic numbers on cost of tanks and likewise for total MH to construct. I have costs for american tanks in dollars, german tanks in RM and russian tanks in rubles, but its impossible to find conversion rates for rubles, and I have found nothing for brit tanks. Also, I'm not sure how to rank these tanks once I do have workable numbers to play with.

        I planned on doing this category last so I could compare my relative scores for each tank to rheir relative costs. Now I'm not sure thats the best way...ugh!
        IMO, attempting to evaluate costs in terms of currencies is a dead-end street. The approach I intend to use is to look at relative quantities of resources used, not their currency costs. Starting with:

        Quantities of steel, copper, rubber etc
        Man/hours required for production
        Other resources used such as electricity, water

        Even so, reliable figures for these may not be readily available for all the tanks in the poll, so it's not going to be easy whichever approach we take. I guess the most crude method would be to look at the relative weight of each tank (a ballpark guide to quantities of materials as ratios of the different types of materials may vary somewhat but with the possible exception of rubber perhaps not too much); and complexity combined with assembly method and whatever we can find regarding manufacturing techniques might give us an indication of man/hours if specific figures cannot be found?

        At least, that's the approach I intend to take. Not easy, but certainly I see more hope of getting somewhere with that, than trying to do it based on currencies.
        "Chatfield, there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"
        Vice Admiral Beatty to Flag Captain Chatfield; Battle of Jutland, 31 May - 1 June, 1916.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by smallvillekalel View Post
          This is turning out to be the most difficult category for me to rank. I'm having a hard time finding generic numbers on cost of tanks and likewise for total MH to construct. I have costs for american tanks in dollars, german tanks in RM and russian tanks in rubles, but its impossible to find conversion rates for rubles, and I have found nothing for brit tanks. Also, I'm not sure how to rank these tanks once I do have workable numbers to play with.

          I planned on doing this category last so I could compare my relative scores for each tank to rheir relative costs. Now I'm not sure thats the best way...ugh!
          On reading Into the Vally (not a spelling mistake ), Dick Taylor mentions that each ton costs about 1000 in 1939 monies. Simple tanks will cost less, as will tanks with long production runs as ease of manufacture becomes implemented as time goes on.

          Keeping with the Valentine, the first few cost 14900 ie about 1000 per ton. By the time you get to the Mk IX with the 6pdr, cost is less than 6000 per tank.

          Further, you will find that different raw materials are cheaper for each participant. An example is tungsten. Hitler ordered that all tungsten needed to be used for machine tools only (42 iirc) due to its scacity. The British had relatively large amounts, enough to 'waste' this material on APDS ammunition.

          Probably the only near reliable method is to determine manhours required to complete a vehicle. Even then US factories would still have an edge I expect with their greater skill in mass manufacturing, thus lowering the cost of their afv's.



          Edit: Another useful rule of thumb is too look at the quantities produced overall, or quantities produced per year. Useful designs will tend to have longer production runs and/or greater output.
          Last edited by Nick the Noodle; 04 May 12, 06:25.
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          • #20
            Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
            Pulled out Buckleys book and was not too far out with what I said in my last post here (bottom page 77) about the inadequacy of the M4 in the close support role.

            Also pulled out G Forty's book The British Army Handbook, and found the extra kit required for an Armoured Brigade plus 37 Officers and 782 men. This includes 9 platoons of infantry in half tracks or White scout cars, 3 scout platoons in carriers, 3 AT platoons with Loyd towers and two MG platoons in carriers. Tank Brigades would have had a few M3 Stuarts for recce instead. Armoured brigades are that much more expensive. I'm pretty sure the 3 armoured divisions (7th, 11th and Guards) would have liked to upgrade one of their lorried battalions to armoured infantry with the kit allocated to Armoured brigades, and the additional soldiers may have prevented some useful divisions from being broken up as replacements for others (eg 50th Infantry).

            That is why the Sherman is not as cost effective as the Churchill. You have a cheaper outlay, but the additional costs make the Sherman a more expensive proposition at the end of the day.
            Nick, thanks for looking into that for me. I realize that the armoured and tank brigades differed with respect to organic infantry, but all the evidence I can find indicates that the change (i.e., the addition of the motorised battalion to the armoured brigade) occurred in October 1940, long before M4 or Churchill were designed, let alone before they were engaged in battle or even before the good Churchills were accepted. The assertion was that the Churchill was more efficient in battle because the British saw fit to add infantry to Sherman units, and if true that would be very interesting and salient to this category. To this point, I simply haven't found any evidence of that. I'm still working my way through a decision on this topic, but I fear I'll have to disregard the infantry attached to armoured brigades, since that occurred before either tank was even fielded.

            I got the Vally book a few weeks ago, but am going through Rude Mechanicals now. What do you think of it, btw? It looked pretty good when I leafed through it. Thanks.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by DogDodger View Post
              Nick, thanks for looking into that for me. I realize that the armoured and tank brigades differed with respect to organic infantry, but all the evidence I can find indicates that the change (i.e., the addition of the motorised battalion to the armoured brigade) occurred in October 1940, long before M4 or Churchill were designed, let alone before they were engaged in battle or even before the good Churchills were accepted. The assertion was that the Churchill was more efficient in battle because the British saw fit to add infantry to Sherman units, and if true that would be very interesting and salient to this category. To this point, I simply haven't found any evidence of that. I'm still working my way through a decision on this topic, but I fear I'll have to disregard the infantry attached to armoured brigades, since that occurred before either tank was even fielded.

              I got the Vally book a few weeks ago, but am going through Rude Mechanicals now. What do you think of it, btw? It looked pretty good when I leafed through it. Thanks.
              Without digging out Buckley aggain, iirc there were supposed to be 8 tank brigades. Only 3 could be equipped in time so the rest were to be fulfilled by Shermans, and called armoured brigades. Monty said that he would not differentiate between the two types of formations, despite the obvious inferiority of the M4 for the assault role. Armoured infantry made up the deficiency. That's from memory, and if anyone has differing info please post.

              Into the Vally is pretty good. It lacks combat accounts, and I personally would have liked more info on their impact on the Eastern front. However, from a technical pov it covers almost all the bases, and includes the varients such as the Bishop, Archer and Scissors. As such its recommended, and not just because its about the only book on the Valentine. Certainly much superior to his book on the Comet.
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              • #22
                Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
                Without digging out Buckley aggain, iirc there were supposed to be 8 tank brigades. Only 3 could be equipped in time so the rest were to be fulfilled by Shermans, and called armoured brigades. Monty said that he would not differentiate between the two types of formations, despite the obvious inferiority of the M4 for the assault role. Armoured infantry made up the deficiency. That's from memory, and if anyone has differing info please post.
                I am still having trouble with this concept. I don't argue the facts you present just how this translates in to a more efficient tank in the Churchill. You state "However, the fact remains the Shermans could not do the Churchills job, while the latter could and did do the M4's both in the West and East." and I wonder why a tank with thinner armor should be expected to do the same job as a heavier tank. The British don't have enough Churchills so they are putting the M4 in a role it is not best suited for. Why should it be as efficient in this role? How does this justify a manpower comparison?

                When we remember the higher maintenance needs of the Churchill, that it possessed an engine that was underpowered for the Churchill's size and prone to problems (Smithers, Rude Mechanicals) it would seem to me the Churchill demands higher resources, especially with your rating in the category of Running/Maintenance/Repair.
                John

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by JBark View Post
                  I am still having trouble with this concept. I don't argue the facts you present just how this translates in to a more efficient tank in the Churchill. You state "However, the fact remains the Shermans could not do the Churchills job, while the latter could and did do the M4's both in the West and East." and I wonder why a tank with thinner armor should be expected to do the same job as a heavier tank. The British don't have enough Churchills so they are putting the M4 in a role it is not best suited for. Why should it be as efficient in this role? How does this justify a manpower comparison?

                  A Sherman (Armoured) Brigade has an additional 800+men compared with a Churchill (Tank) Brigade, due to the attached armoured infantry battalion. It also has 50+ more vehicles in the form of carriers and Half-Tracks. Britain was suffering from a manpower shortage, the RN and then the RAF getting priority of new recruits. Those 800+ men would be better as infantry for a regular division, rather than making an Armoured Brigade equal to a Tank Brigade. The transport could also have been used to upgrade 1 infantry battalion per armoured division to armoured infantry as well.

                  Originally posted by JBark View Post
                  When we remember the higher maintenance needs of the Churchill, that it possessed an engine that was underpowered for the Churchill's size and prone to problems (Smithers, Rude Mechanicals) it would seem to me the Churchill demands higher resources, especially with your rating in the category of Running/Maintenance/Repair.
                  Concerning maintenance, 1942 Churchills were unreliable. So unreliable in fact that engineers from the factory were sent with the tanks to N Africa. By Tunisia and Kursk 43, most of the problems were sorted, with breakdowns in Soviet units lower than T-34's and T-70's when travelling 100's of km's under their own steam. By June 44, there were no reliability issues although maintenance was still higher, as all the grousers needed to be oiled each day. A British report iirc stated that compared to the Sherman, if you include maintenance, the Cromwell was 95% as effective in this regard as the M4, while the Churchill is 90%. Oddly enough, Churchill squadrons were (theoretically) 18 tanks, while M4's were 20, ie the total maintenance etc would have been the same for each brigade concerning the tanks. Once you add in the other kit, the Armoured Brigade becomes more expensive in terms of maintenance, and also supplying those extra men with food, fuel and ammo etc.

                  Was the engine that underpowered? Its BHP was relatively low at 350, but its torque, and the tanks superior transmission system, meant it had the power low down where it could outclimb and cross difficult terrain that the enemy did not expect. Steamroller Farm, Longstop Hill and the Reichswald are obvious examples where the tanks tactical mobility proved decisive in winning these battle. However, the Churchill did have a low road speed, there is no denying that .

                  The Churchill appears lacklustre on paper, its battlefield performance suggests anything but.
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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
                    A Sherman (Armoured) Brigade has an additional 800+men compared with a Churchill (Tank) Brigade, due to the attached armoured infantry battalion. It also has 50+ more vehicles in the form of carriers and Half-Tracks. Britain was suffering from a manpower shortage, the RN and then the RAF getting priority of new recruits. Those 800+ men would be better as infantry for a regular division, rather than making an Armoured Brigade equal to a Tank Brigade. The transport could also have been used to upgrade 1 infantry battalion per armoured division to armoured infantry as well.
                    This doesn't constitute waste or bad manpower distribution does it? These men are still being used to kill Germans. The vehicles are taking troops to the front to kill Germans. I don't see how this equals inefficiency. Britain had an inability to produce enough tanks and relied on the M4 in a role it was not ideal for. Britain had a manpower shortage and had to short their infantry divisions. Britain chose to supplement the Sherman brigades with an infantry battalion. All this equals inefficiency of the M4? It seems it all points to how Britain used the M4. Did the US have the same issues? If you compare US units to British units of similar size what support is necessary?

                    Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
                    Concerning maintenance, 1942 Churchills were unreliable...
                    I trust you factored that in then.

                    Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
                    ... A British report iirc stated that compared to the Sherman, if you include maintenance, the Cromwell was 95% as effective in this regard as the M4, while the Churchill is 90%. Oddly enough, Churchill squadrons were (theoretically) 18 tanks, while M4's were 20, ie the total maintenance etc would have been the same for each brigade concerning the tanks. Once you add in the other kit, the Armoured Brigade becomes more expensive in terms of maintenance, and also supplying those extra men with food, fuel and ammo etc.
                    I have trouble with this method of comparison.

                    Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
                    ...Was the engine that underpowered?
                    As I said I was reading that from Rude Mechanicals. If you feel the author misinformed then so be it. I will compare when I have read more. He does not feel that "...Churchill was the simple and robust tank that the soldiers demanded. To keep it in action called for considerable exertions by all five crew members." Granted it is the early Churchill he speaks of but I find it hard to understand the complex calculations you had to have done to put this tank in first place for this category with a history like this. He goes on to say that the engine "was not nearly powerful enough to push 40 tons of steel at any respectable speed and the strain naturally led to over-heating." (p. 60.) Overheated engines break down, start fires and need to be replaced. Underpowered engines use more fuel than engines better paired with the load they push.

                    I'm still looking to read more on the Churchill.
                    John

                    Play La Marseillaise. Play it!

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by JBark View Post
                      This doesn't constitute waste or bad manpower distribution does it? These men are still being used to kill Germans. The vehicles are taking troops to the front to kill Germans. I don't see how this equals inefficiency. Britain had an inability to produce enough tanks and relied on the M4 in a role it was not ideal for. Britain had a manpower shortage and had to short their infantry divisions. Britain chose to supplement the Sherman brigades with an infantry battalion. All this equals inefficiency of the M4? It seems it all points to how Britain used the M4. Did the US have the same issues? If you compare US units to British units of similar size what support is necessary?
                      Essentially, if you need 800 extra fighting men to do the same job with tank A compared to tank B, then there is a waste of resources in using tank A.

                      While there is no doubt imo, that the M4 was a better machine for the envisaged 'armoured role', it just rarely happened.

                      Originally posted by JBark View Post
                      I trust you factored that in then.
                      .
                      The Churchill may have been the toughest beast at El Alamein, but that is all it really was at that time. Tunisia is a different story. That effected my vote.

                      Originally posted by JBark View Post
                      I have trouble with this method of comparison.
                      No problem. If a person is not too sure on what to vote for here, numbers produced is always a good guideline.

                      Originally posted by JBark View Post
                      As I said I was reading that from Rude Mechanicals. If you feel the author misinformed then so be it. I will compare when I have read more. He does not feel that "...Churchill was the simple and robust tank that the soldiers demanded. To keep it in action called for considerable exertions by all five crew members." Granted it is the early Churchill he speaks of but I find it hard to understand the complex calculations you had to have done to put this tank in first place for this category with a history like this. He goes on to say that the engine "was not nearly powerful enough to push 40 tons of steel at any respectable speed and the strain naturally led to over-heating." (p. 60.) Overheated engines break down, start fires and need to be replaced. Underpowered engines use more fuel than engines better paired with the load they push.

                      I'm still looking to read more on the Churchill.
                      When the Churchill was first fielded in N Africa, I suspect even the Panther D would look reliable next to it. Only some outstanding feats in Tunisia saved the tank, and the first reliable Churchills were probably sent to the Soviets.

                      The best book on the Churchill is probably this. As good as Armored Thunderbolt imo.
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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
                        Without digging out Buckley aggain, iirc there were supposed to be 8 tank brigades. Only 3 could be equipped in time so the rest were to be fulfilled by Shermans, and called armoured brigades. Monty said that he would not differentiate between the two types of formations, despite the obvious inferiority of the M4 for the assault role. Armoured infantry made up the deficiency. That's from memory, and if anyone has differing info please post.
                        Thanks for the book review. I'll be looking forward to reading it. According to Smithers, by late 1940 Martel realized that the British "armoured divisions did not contain too few tanks; they contained too many...Two armoured brigades would attack, possibly side by side. An ordinary division would follow behind and take over the captured positions. Its leading troops would be under order of a divisional HQ a long way back and not subject to the armoured division's commander...A far better organization would be to give the armoured General sufficient foot and guns, especially antitank guns, of his own so that he might run the whole battle and not merely a part of it." The armoured brigades were reworked in October 1940 to include a battalion of motorised infantry.

                        On the other hand, army tank brigades "would be obliged to work closely with infantry of the traditional kind...[F]ive infantry divisions would each absorb an army tank brigade as part of the divisional establishment." Likewise, Fletcher notes that "...where cruisers [sic] tank regiments were formed into armoured brigades, normally in armoured divisions, infantry tank regiments (or battalions as they preferred to think of themselves) were grouped in independent army tank brigades with no divisional associations. A contemporary document described the role of a tank brigade as 'a supporting arm to assist infantry onto a position'. The brigade would consist of three regiments (or battalions) with the usual sprinkling of supporting arms, which would be attached to infantry brigades for specific operations..." (emphasis added)

                        So it seems that armoured and tank brigades were used for different purposes, and since the tank brigades were intended to be attached to infantry units, organic infantry would be superfluous? It seems from these authors that the army tank brigades were analogous to the US Army's separate tank battalions, which were attached to different units as missions required. Did Buckley come to the conclusion that the Churchill was more effective because its formation didn't have infantry added to them in October 1940, or was that pieced together on our own?

                        Originally posted by JBark View Post
                        As I said I was reading that from Rude Mechanicals. If you feel the author misinformed then so be it. I will compare when I have read more. He does not feel that "...Churchill was the simple and robust tank that the soldiers demanded. To keep it in action called for considerable exertions by all five crew members." Granted it is the early Churchill he speaks of but I find it hard to understand the complex calculations you had to have done to put this tank in first place for this category with a history like this. He goes on to say that the engine "was not nearly powerful enough to push 40 tons of steel at any respectable speed and the strain naturally led to over-heating." (p. 60.) Overheated engines break down, start fires and need to be replaced. Underpowered engines use more fuel than engines better paired with the load they push.
                        Early Churchills were horrible in reliability, but this was in part because of Vauxhall's inexperience with tanks and the short gestation period they were allowed. They eventually turned it into a very worthwhile fighting machine, and even in North Africa, Fletcher asserts that "fears about their cooling systems--which had been specifically designed for European climes--proved to be unfounded." Later Churchills were definitely good tanks to be inside, but I'm concerned that we may be drawing irrelevant conclusions on the vehicles' relative efficiencies when comparing formations that were designed with different purposes in mind? Thanks.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
                          Essentially, if you need 800 extra fighting men to do the same job with tank A compared to tank B, then there is a waste of resources in using tank A.
                          I don't see where you have proved that and if it is true I don't see where you have proven that it offsets the maintenance requirements of the Churchill. Further the term "waste" might be accurate if the men were not directed at the enemy but this is not the case, they are. Shifting men from one unit to another is not what I would call "waste."

                          Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
                          No problem. If a person is not too sure on what to vote for here, numbers produced is always a good guideline.
                          I don't see how that works here but numbers ceetainly do work for winning wars, don't they?

                          Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
                          The best book on the Churchill is probably this. As good as Armored Thunderbolt imo.
                          Thanks, I may be giving it a look soon.
                          John

                          Play La Marseillaise. Play it!

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                          • #28
                            Winner---T-34


                            Highly effective (16)M4 Sherman
                            Good (12)M13/14, Type-97, BT-7, M3 Grant, 38t, PzIII, Valentine
                            Fair (8)Churchill, Cromwell, PzIV,
                            Somewhat wasteful (4)Crusader, Matilda II, IS-2, Char B1bis, S-35
                            Very wasteful (0)KV-1, Panther, Tiger I, Tiger II


                            The Tiger and Panther series were ridiculously expensive and could have lent their resources to better projects. KV-1 production was difficult even for the superior production methods of the soviets.
                            "In the absence of orders...find something and kill it!" Lt. General Erwin Rommel, 1942

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by JBark View Post
                              I don't see where you have proved that and if it is true I don't see where you have proven that it offsets the maintenance requirements of the Churchill. Further the term "waste" might be accurate if the men were not directed at the enemy but this is not the case, they are. Shifting men from one unit to another is not what I would call "waste."
                              Churchill squadrons were 18 (or 15) tanks strong. Sherman units were 20 tanks strong. Churchill units were 90% smaller, and thus each unit required the same amount of maintenance overall.

                              If you need an extra 800 men to do the same job with tank A, than one with tank B, then there can be said to be a waste of resource. Remember that we are talking about one of the two main roles of a tank (according to A Jolly), and certainly as a tank for the (tradtional armoured division role, the M4 has the edge.

                              Originally posted by JBark View Post
                              I don't see how that works here but numbers ceetainly do work for winning wars, don't they?
                              If it is decided that a tank is going to be built in vast numbers, it must have some value to that side. For example, the Matilda was probably a better all round tank than the Valentine, but the latter was far more simple, quicker to build, and cheaper. When you have lost all your armour in France 40 and need to build up your tank forces these elements take on a greater importance.

                              Originally posted by JBark View Post
                              Thanks, I may be giving it a look soon.
                              Equal to Armored Thunderbolt imo.

                              Originally posted by DogDodger View Post
                              Thanks for the book review. I'll be looking forward to reading it. According to Smithers, by late 1940 Martel realized that the British "armoured divisions did not contain too few tanks; they contained too many...Two armoured brigades would attack, possibly side by side. An ordinary division would follow behind and take over the captured positions. Its leading troops would be under order of a divisional HQ a long way back and not subject to the armoured division's commander...A far better organization would be to give the armoured General sufficient foot and guns, especially antitank guns, of his own so that he might run the whole battle and not merely a part of it." The armoured brigades were reworked in October 1940 to include a battalion of motorised infantry.

                              On the other hand, army tank brigades "would be obliged to work closely with infantry of the traditional kind...[F]ive infantry divisions would each absorb an army tank brigade as part of the divisional establishment." Likewise, Fletcher notes that "...where cruisers [sic] tank regiments were formed into armoured brigades, normally in armoured divisions, infantry tank regiments (or battalions as they preferred to think of themselves) were grouped in independent army tank brigades with no divisional associations. A contemporary document described the role of a tank brigade as 'a supporting arm to assist infantry onto a position'. The brigade would consist of three regiments (or battalions) with the usual sprinkling of supporting arms, which would be attached to infantry brigades for specific operations..." (emphasis added)

                              So it seems that armoured and tank brigades were used for different purposes, and since the tank brigades were intended to be attached to infantry units, organic infantry would be superfluous? It seems from these authors that the army tank brigades were analogous to the US Army's separate tank battalions, which were attached to different units as missions required. Did Buckley come to the conclusion that the Churchill was more effective because its formation didn't have infantry added to them in October 1940, or was that pieced together on our own?
                              I think we may be looking too hard at the detail, and what happened in practise. Armoured and Tank brigades were to be used in the same way (according to Montry), and if one unit needs additional assets to do the same job, then the tanks in that unit can be considered of less combat value.

                              As for armoured formations in general, the British don't really appear to know what they were doing much of the time, concerning both kit and OOB, until July 44 imo. From memopry, early Armoured divisions had too many tanks (5 regiments of tanks to 4 battalions of infantry), and one had 6 regiments of light tanks, with just one battalion of motorised infantry. Then there was the issue of deploying the tanks properly, ie with infantry support. Until El Alamein, tank units in N Africa had been charging the enemy on site, getting shot up in the process. It took too long to pair tank regiments with infantry battalions, and this did not happen until after the initial combats in Normandy 44.

                              Concerning Armoured Brigades, I've done some digging, and it should be stated that not all had motorised infantry attached. The 8th Armoured brigade had the 147th (Essex Yeomanry) Royal Artillery Field Regiment as part of its formation instead, and armed with 25pdrs. Guns are very ammo hungry, and while less men would be required to man these weapons than an armoured infantry battalion, the supply requirements would still be greater than a Churchill brigade. Further, the 25pdrs would limit the mobility of this formation.

                              Originally posted by DogDodger View Post
                              Early Churchills were horrible in reliability, but this was in part because of Vauxhall's inexperience with tanks and the short gestation period they were allowed. They eventually turned it into a very worthwhile fighting machine, and even in North Africa, Fletcher asserts that "fears about their cooling systems--which had been specifically designed for European climes--proved to be unfounded." Later Churchills were definitely good tanks to be inside, but I'm concerned that we may be drawing irrelevant conclusions on the vehicles' relative efficiencies when comparing formations that were designed with different purposes in mind? Thanks.
                              As I said earlier, Monty intended to use such units in the same way, regardless of kit, and said so himself. Shermans were really too fragile to be in the assault role, and had additional kit as a result. That is an example where an initially cheaper tank may not be as good as an investment as one with a greater initial cost.
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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by smallvillekalel View Post
                                Winner---T-34


                                Highly effective (16)M4 Sherman
                                Good (12)M13/14, Type-97, BT-7, M3 Grant, 38t, PzIII, Valentine
                                Fair (8)Churchill, Cromwell, PzIV,
                                Somewhat wasteful (4)Crusader, Matilda II, IS-2, Char B1bis, S-35
                                Very wasteful (0)KV-1, Panther, Tiger I, Tiger II


                                The Tiger and Panther series were ridiculously expensive and could have lent their resources to better projects. KV-1 production was difficult even for the superior production methods of the soviets.
                                Thanks David. All recorded.
                                "Chatfield, there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"
                                Vice Admiral Beatty to Flag Captain Chatfield; Battle of Jutland, 31 May - 1 June, 1916.

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