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Rnd 3 Grp A - Tanks Mk I-V (Britain) vs Christie Mediums 28/36/T3 (USA)

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  • #91
    A general comment: I do not attach much significance to what the majority of any body thinks about something. Just because someone or something gets a gazillion "Likes" on Facebook does not mean that it matters.

    So just because many people thinks "first" is significant, does not mean they are right. It just means that the majority thinks that way. The point of being on a site like this is - in my opionion - to challenge such views, as it is one way of creating interesting debate and move collective knowledge forward.

    On "best" being the same as "first"

    .
    .. an opinion that would seem to be far from being shared by everyone here.
    As per above - it is doesn't matter what most people think. If it did, the earth would still be the flat place in the center of the universe.

    I don't believe the British rhomboids influenced French tank designs much if at all. However, I do believe the early British experiences must have provided the French with some useful information about working with tanks, and that their being able to see some of the lessons the British were learning the hard way cannot have been completely without benefit for them. Of course, there were a lot of things they could either best get, or only get, from 1st hand experience but an awareness of how the British were going still had some value for them IMO.
    People believe in a lot of things

    All I am asking, is that people point to some actual effect in terms of significance and influence of the Rhomboids being first. As far as I can tell, Nick is the only one who have produced anything in that direction.

    Comment


    • #92
      Originally posted by Dibble201Bty View Post
      So what is Paul's argument based on?

      Remember! As with the phile/Phobia remarks, it cuts both ways.

      Paul
      Point is, the "first" isn't a valid argument in terms of significance and influence unless you can show that being first did something. So far, I haven't seen anyone showing that, except for Nicks latest post.

      If you cannot see the difference, thats OK

      Comment


      • #93
        Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
        Bold is mine.
        Wiki will do in this case

        Following the appearance of the first British tanks on the Western Front, the Allgemeines Kriegsdepartement, 7. Abteilung, Verkehrswesen ("General War Department, 7th Branch, Transportation"), was formed in September 1916.

        The project to design and build the first German tank was placed under the direction of Joseph Vollmer, a reserve captain and engineer.:
        Good job - wondered how long it would take someone to actually try to look for some effect of the first appearance of the British tanks

        As for the effect it had on the Germans, the transportation branch of the War Department existed before British tanks appeared as it was part of the setup of the General Wardepartment in 1914 (source). A7V was in fact the abbreviation for the department.

        The tank-building project was initiated in November 1916 with a low priority, which is one reason why the first vehicle didn't appear until October 1917.

        So how influential was the rhomboids on German tank development? One look at the A7V would suggest the answer to be "not much". A look at the giant K-Wagen would suggest the answer to be "some", as it did in fact have the all-round track and protruding sponsons in common with the Rhomboids.

        The rhomboids did have some significance for the German use of tanks in the sense that they salvaged and used a number of British tanks which made up the bulk of their puny armoured force in WWI.

        But of course, the influence and significance the Rhomboids had on German tank development is dwarfed by that of the Christie on the development of the tank as such, a fact which should be pretty obvious.

        Comment


        • #94
          Originally posted by cbo View Post
          "A general comment: I do not attach much significance to what the majority of any body thinks about something. ... "
          In this I think we are somewhat of like mind. I have rarely been a person who is significantly swayed by what the majority think about something. If the majority position does not, in my view, align with the evidence I will tend to take a different position. That is, of course, when speaking for my own personal opinion or position on a subject or issue.

          On the other hand, if I found myself in the role of overseeing or running an election or an opinion poll I would pay a great deal of attention to what the majority of voters might be likely to think, and why. Essentially, that's what I've been doing here.


          Originally posted by cbo View Post
          " ... Just because someone or something gets a gazillion "Likes" on Facebook does not mean that it matters. ... "
          Outside of Facebook it's likely to have absolutely zero significance. Within the ranks of Facebook users, it may have some significance for some individuals; perhaps most for the person who posted the item being "liked"? Group or peer approval seems to give some people quite a thrill or at least, for many, some satisfaction. And it does seem to be a basic and common human social need. I'm sure there must be something in the social sciences that explains this.


          Originally posted by cbo View Post
          " ... So just because many people thinks "first" is significant, does not mean they are right. It just means that the majority thinks that way. ... "
          Correct and totally agreed; except that I would have put it slightly differently, thus:

          " ... just because many people think "first" is significant, does not necessarily mean they are right. It just means that the majority thinks that way. ... "
          ... because in a substantial percentage of cases they will be right (if only by chance on some of those occasions) and I'd like to be completely clear about that possibility in a general sense.


          Originally posted by cbo View Post
          " ... The point of being on a site like this is - in my opionion - to challenge such views, as it is one way of creating interesting debate and move collective knowledge forward. ... "
          Agreed absolutely and I think you are doing an outstanding job of that role, on this thread and some others.
          I think it is often also helpful if another person at the same time assumes the role of "devil's advocate".


          Originally posted by cbo View Post
          " ... On "best" being the same as "first"
          .. an opinion that would seem to be far from being shared by everyone here.
          "As per above - it is doesn't matter what most people think."
          It can matter a great deal if a person has their eye on poll outcomes. Whenever we have poll threads, many members will post not only to declare their own position but also with the aim of influencing the opinions of others. In this context therefore, what "most people think" starts to become rather important, wouldn't you agree?


          Originally posted by cbo View Post
          " ... People believe in a lot of things "
          ... and often, with no logical or sound reasoning behind it but in this case I thought I had arrived at my belief with at least some sound reasoning or logic. Concrete proof would have been much nicer, of course.


          Originally posted by cbo View Post
          " ... All I am asking, is that people point to some actual effect in terms of significance and influence of the Rhomboids being first."
          A very reasonable request.

          IMO, influence is more likely to bear that kind of fruit (scant as it may be) for us here than significance; because many members believe that the simple fact of being first is significant in its own right and therefore would probably not strive to produce much of anything beyond that. And even Nick himself who has produced a modicum of fruit, said in an earlier post, "first is first" or words to that effect IIRC.
          Last edited by panther3485; 29 Aug 14, 23:06.
          "England expects that every man will do his duty!" (English crew members had better get ready for a tough fight against the combined French and Spanish fleets because that's what England expects! However, Scotland, Wales and Ireland appear to expect nothing so the Scottish, Welsh and Irish crew members can relax below decks if they like!)

          Comment


          • #95
            While leafing through some litterature on French armour, I came across a 1917 project by St. Chamond which actually utilizes the same rhomboid shape as the British tanks.

            It has a huge commanders cupola - in fact more like a conning tower. At the front, between the track horns they've found place for a 75mm gun and each sponson holds two revolving machinegun turrets. Makes you wonder what size crew they were contemplating! Driveline was petrol-electric like the St. Chamond tank that was actually produced.

            As far as I can see, it remained a paper project.

            Comment


            • #96
              Originally posted by cbo View Post
              Good job - wondered how long it would take someone to actually try to look for some effect of the first appearance of the British tanks

              As for the effect it had on the Germans, the transportation branch of the War Department existed before British tanks appeared as it was part of the setup of the General Wardepartment in 1914 (source). A7V was in fact the abbreviation for the department.

              The tank-building project was initiated in November 1916 with a low priority, which is one reason why the first vehicle didn't appear until October 1917.

              So how influential was the rhomboids on German tank development? One look at the A7V would suggest the answer to be "not much". A look at the giant K-Wagen would suggest the answer to be "some", as it did in fact have the all-round track and protruding sponsons in common with the Rhomboids.

              The rhomboids did have some significance for the German use of tanks in the sense that they salvaged and used a number of British tanks which made up the bulk of their puny armoured force in WWI.

              But of course, the influence and significance the Rhomboids had on German tank development is dwarfed by that of the Christie on the development of the tank as such, a fact which should be pretty obvious.

              The rhomboids were the right shape for the WW1 battlefield. They were wrong for future wars. This is because you need to analyse what was actually required to win in WW1. The rhomboids were probably much superior over very rough ground in the specific time frame to consider best actual tank at that time, especially considering the ground fought over.

              The Schneider, A7V and Saint-Chamond were failures. This was due to their lack of manoeuvrability at a tactical level, specifically due to their overhang. WW1 was generally conducted at a tactical level, with the lines of trenches rarely changing. An inability to get a few hunded yards from A to B was a major failing.

              My knowledge of WW1 is less than dubious, but I believe The International was a US design, or at least used US automative components. This may prove that the rhomboid design was correct at that time, but lacking what could be considered the main importance of a tank, ie the cavalry/pursuit role.

              Only the rhomboids and FT-17's were actually capable over such poor ground, just like the Churchill in WW2.
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              • #97
                There was the Whippet, but it held the armament in a non-rotating barbette.

                Comment


                • #98
                  Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post

                  The rhomboids were the right shape for the WW1 battlefield. They were wrong for future wars. This is because you need to analyse what was actually required to win in WW1. The rhomboids were probably much superior over very rough ground in the specific time frame to consider best actual tank at that time, especially considering the ground fought over.

                  The Schneider, A7V and Saint-Chamond were failures. This was due to their lack of manoeuvrability at a tactical level, specifically due to their overhang. WW1 was generally conducted at a tactical level, with the lines of trenches rarely changing. An inability to get a few hunded yards from A to B was a major failing.

                  My knowledge of WW1 is less than dubious, but I believe The International was a US design, or at least used US automative components. This may prove that the rhomboid design was correct at that time, but lacking what could be considered the main importance of a tank, ie the cavalry/pursuit role.

                  Only the rhomboids and FT-17's were actually capable over such poor ground, just like the Churchill in WW2.
                  Good post; and certainly IMO a very valid point about the mobility factor of the British Mks I-V over the really bad, broken and often rain-soaked ground of the WW1 battlefield. Indeed, in certain places and at certain times the ground was so bad that it seems no tank ever made would have successfully crossed it; and there were numerous occasions when the British tanks became hopelessly bogged even with wider 'spudded' tracks.

                  Considering the first designs fielded by the French and Germans - Schneider, St Chamond and A7V - of all these types the British Mks I-V must have stood the best chance of being able to tackle the atrocious ground that tended to lie between their own lines and those of the enemy.

                  Mulling this whole thing over for the last couple of days, I was reading a book foreword by Richard M. Ogorkiewicz (who, I believe should not require much introduction among the tank faithful here), where he writes about what was arguably the first really successful large-scale tank breakthrough; Cambrai in November 1917; when many of the British Mk IV tanks used fascines to aid in crossing the wider trenches.

                  Although the British proved unable to exploit the breakthrough, and their tanks began to suffer serious losses after the first day (mainly from German artillery IIRC), the success of the breakthrough in itself does appear to be generally regarded as the first substantial vindication of the tank as a weapon. It would seem to me that this first large scale success can be chalked up as a credit to the British tanks, and contributes to their significance.

                  Of course, this is not to say that the French FT-17, for example, could necessarily not have achieved similar or even better results. However, IIRC the FT-17 did not go into battle for the first time until May 1918 and the type simply was not being made available for action at any time during 1917. So the British rhomboidals in November 1917 would unquestionably have been the best tanks available for the job, IMO.
                  Last edited by panther3485; 31 Aug 14, 00:28.
                  "England expects that every man will do his duty!" (English crew members had better get ready for a tough fight against the combined French and Spanish fleets because that's what England expects! However, Scotland, Wales and Ireland appear to expect nothing so the Scottish, Welsh and Irish crew members can relax below decks if they like!)

                  Comment


                  • #99
                    Originally posted by broderickwells View Post
                    There was the Whippet, but it held the armament in a non-rotating barbette.
                    Yes; a better design for crossing bad ground than either the Schneider or the St Chamond but again, not made available for combat until 1918 IIRC?
                    Last edited by panther3485; 31 Aug 14, 00:12.
                    "England expects that every man will do his duty!" (English crew members had better get ready for a tough fight against the combined French and Spanish fleets because that's what England expects! However, Scotland, Wales and Ireland appear to expect nothing so the Scottish, Welsh and Irish crew members can relax below decks if they like!)

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post

                      The rhomboids were the right shape for the WW1 battlefield. They were wrong for future wars. This is because you need to analyse what was actually required to win in WW1. The rhomboids were probably much superior over very rough ground in the specific time frame to consider best actual tank at that time, especially considering the ground fought over.
                      Good point, but the Rhomboids also failed in very rough ground like Ypres in 1917. And the need to use fascines also points some limitations in trench crossing, even if the Rhomboids were ahead of other tanks at the time.
                      Rhomboids also performed their best on "good ground" like Cambrai. And when tanks really came into their own, the war had become a lot more mobile (which in WWI terms means that it moved - a bit ). Initially because the Germans had pushed beyond the old trench lines into allied held territory, later because the Germans were being driven back. In that type of war, the Whippets and the FT-17s were more suitable than the big Rhomboids as the latters mobility advantages were not needed.

                      Also, the rhomboidal shape was not in itself an advantage - the WWII Churchill had the same trench crossing ability as the WWI Rhomboids.

                      On a side note, I think the smart part about the Rhomboids was the fact that on hard ground they only touched the ground with a small section of their track, making less friction and easier steering. If you look at a rhomboid, the front part of the track is elevated far over the ground, but the rear also rises slightly. Once it hit the dirt and started to sink in, more track came into contact with the ground, reducing ground pressure. The WWII Churchill did something similar.

                      My knowledge of WW1 is less than dubious, but I believe The International was a US design, or at least used US automative components. This may prove that the rhomboid design was correct at that time, but lacking what could be considered the main importance of a tank, ie the cavalry/pursuit role.
                      Development of the International or Tank Mk VIII started in the summer of 1917, so its design was still rooted in the trench war and the limited experience with the British Rhomboids. It was design by comitte including both US and British members and the US was to deliver most the mechanical bits while the British were to deliver the metal plates, armour, structural parts, tracks as well as the armament. Assembly was to be in completely new factory built in France.
                      If you look at the International, it was moving a bit away from the classical rhomboid design as it sported a rather substantial superstructure with machineguns. The Medium Mk B and C designed in 1917-1918 showed a similar development while the Mk D sported a turret and a lowered track and thus can be said to have finally departed from the rhomboid shape. Few were made of their type, of course.

                      It suggests to me that by 1918-1919 it was evident, that the Rhomboids were not suitable machines for modern war - you could say that they were specialized for a very narrowly defined mission of braking into the trench systems of 1915-1916. Something they could only do succesfully if the ground wasn't too soaked and too damaged by shells.
                      As the Rhomboids went to war, other solutions to the problem of braking into trench systems had been devised, as the British/Commonwealth, French and German armies would show in 1917 and 1918. Tank support in the process was usefull, but not necessary. What was needed and what the Rhomboids lacked in particular was the ability to move beyond the trench line and keep the battle rolling (FTs and Whippets and probably German LKs were better at this).

                      Bottom line - for me at least - is that the Rhomboids were becomming obsolete almost as soon as they hit the battlefield, they had only limited succes in dealing with the morass that was the Western Front and they were far to specialized to influence anything beyond 1918.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by cbo View Post
                        On a side note, I think the smart part about the Rhomboids was the fact that on hard ground they only touched the ground with a small section of their track, making less friction and easier steering.
                        But the problem of the Rhomboids was that they did not have sprung suspension, at all, and no proper steering

                        Even the Whippet's 8 mph was only possible on the smoothest grass fields due to unsprung suspension, and its crude steering setup, that was the first ride where you could throw a track in a turn at 'high' speed

                        The way to the Future was that of the Holt, that at least had something to be less of a boneshaker.

                        That's the way of the St Chamond, A7V, FT-17 and every other tank after 1919

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Marathag View Post
                          But the problem of the Rhomboids was that they did not have sprung suspension, at all, and no proper steering

                          Even the Whippet's 8 mph was only possible on the smoothest grass fields due to unsprung suspension, and its crude steering setup, that was the first ride where you could throw a track in a turn at 'high' speed

                          The way to the Future was that of the Holt, that at least had something to be less of a boneshaker.

                          That's the way of the St Chamond, A7V, FT-17 and every other tank after 1919
                          Doesn't matter what the mechanical failings were of the Rhomboids, they were undoubtedly a success in WW1, especially when compared to the St Chamond, A7V and Schneider CA1. The FT-17 was a very good tank, but a very late comer to WW1. That said I believe the FT-17 to be the father of the modern tank, the Mks 1-5 being the grandfather.
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                          • Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
                            Doesn't matter what the mechanical failings were of the Rhomboids, they were undoubtedly a success in WW1, especially when compared to the St Chamond, A7V and Schneider CA1. The FT-17 was a very good tank, but a very late comer to WW1. That said I believe the FT-17 to be the father of the modern tank, the Mks 1-5 being the grandfather.
                            The FT-17 was Homo erectus. The Rhomboids were Lucy.

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                            • Originally posted by broderickwells View Post
                              The FT-17 was Homo erectus. The Rhomboids were Lucy.
                              more like Ardipithecus.

                              Like the Rhomboids, you have squint really hard and have a good imagination to see it in the modern examples

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                              • As a history buff, I will go with the Mark I-V

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