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Thread: The Butterfly Effect: A British AAR

  1. #3161
    Lt. General merrick's Avatar
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    And there were tanks! Not terribly good tanks, it has to be said, but tanks none the less.
    (Sorry to see no TOG as yet, but you can't have everything)

    Interesting battle you've got shaping up - Martell versus Hobart, speed versus armour, theory versus practice, maybe style versus substance? Hobart has a fight on his hands - Martell's bottle-rocket mini-tanks are likely to appeal to the cavalry, not to mention the Treasury.

    Either your A13 spec was different to OTL, or Martell stretched it to the limit to come up with a two-man design. I've always thought the historical A13 was about the best of the early cruiser designs - decent performance, passable armour, proper crew layout and no silly mini-turrets. (Mini-turrets are one of those nice theoretical ideas that flat-out do not work in practice. The real case against them isn't shot-traps, it's that they take up way too much space, weight and man-power for what they offer. The 14-ton A9 had a crew of six!)

    The A10 is - or should be - conclusive evidence against the commercial-engine policy. All the performance of a Matilda with less than half the armour; it's a measure of the Army's desperation for something bigger than a MkVI that any were produced at all. A pity, really, since it had a decent layout and with a proper powertrain could have been a step away from the tinfoil cruisers. (Incidentally, unlike pretty much everything else, it apparently had a reputation for reliability, and its chassis and suspension were passed on to the Valentine, which likewise had reliability as about its only virtue.)

    Interesting to see what comes of the A14 - can it walk the line between big, slow and undergunned, and big, fast and flimsy?

    One thing I'll toss in. Apparently sometime around 1938 the Army ordered an LT38 (later and better known as the Pz38(t)) for evaluation, but rejected it on the grounds that the ride was poor and the crew compartment was too cramped. (The Germans showed what they thought of that objection by rearranging it to fit a fourth crewman). Comparing it to the (larger) cruisers, it has very similar armament and protection, a bit less off-road speed, but a very very solid and reliable suspension and drivetrain. Something to think about when you get tired of replacing thrown tracks?

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  2. #3162
    Major Ciryandor's Avatar
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    Yes to Spain indeed, and I think the fibbing off of Quezon would work a bit further by having Eisenhower also do some non-military duties... like his OTL speechwriting gig. Could serve as a means to develop tension and expound on why the Filipinos feel more than a bit naked with the isolationist views prevailing in America. Or would the isolationism just tell Japan that if they didn't tick off the US, they wouldn't be touched? Could be very interesting, IF the Army wins out on the war debate.
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  3. #3163
    Lord of Slower-than-real-time El Pip's Avatar
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    Duritz - As you say, the base is so low that almost anything to do with tanks is a vast improvement over OTL.

    I think though you underestimate Hobos chances, Martel wasn't that much more popular so they'd both face the same problems; the old guard just don't like armoured divisions and fast tanks, doesn't matter what type they are!

    Davout - Your song-mutating talents are, as always, a source of wonder to behold. Have you consider a career in re-wording songs from Buffy? I'm not sure such a thing is possible, but if it is you would be a shoe in.

    Le Jones - The A10 is a classic example of why engineers are taught that the phrase is "If it is right, it looks right" NOT the other way round.

    Kurt_Steiner - Britain always had pointy sticks, they were more than sufficient to stop an Italian tank.

    trekaddict - Japanese tanks. :shudder:

    Ohh and I saw this and thought of you;



    Kurt_Steiner - Japanese tanks are in fact so feeble they can be be defeated with a blunt stick.

    Arilou - Heathen.

    DonnieBaseball - Tough one, I'd guess so but there wouldn't be much in it. Once you de-navalise the Thorneycroft (no salt water filters, etc) and strip down a Merlin (no supercharger, etc) they're both fairly simple engines.

    The big advantage is that a Merlin tank engine is designed for 1000hp and almost constant full throttle (being an aero-engine) so asking it do 600hp in tank duty makes it massively reliable, the Thorneycroft was always designed for 500hp so is far more stressed in service.

    I think on balance the Merlin takes it though, OTL the Merlin was being developed for naval service (MTBs and so on) until the government forced RR to focus on aircraft engines for the RAF.

    On the gun, there was always the option of a Vickers 3pdr, an older design with a slower but heavier shell. As the 3pdr was the gun of the Medium Mk III it was obviously popular with a chunk of the tankers. If modernised it could have been better than a 2pdr, though by the time you've got a new shell and changed the barrel you may as well just design a new gun.

    Karelian - I think Martel's route is frankly too bloody minded and too tough on the poor tankers he sent out in death traps to prove his obsession. Frankly Walter Christie was an idiot, his basic concept was flawed and his designs a technological dead end. The US was right to ignore him (though that's not excusing what they did instead) and it was a dark day for British tankers when he turned up hawking around his tat.

    You are correct on the doctrine front and I hope that some experience from Spain and a few hundred exercises on Salisbury Plain and in Libya can bring Hobart's men up to a decent level in the next couple of years.

    Nathan Madien - I imagine the men of tanks will be clamouring for more porn long after the war in Spain is done and dusted with, so I suspect 2nd place will indeed have a longer career than first place.

    C&D - Two words; Ramming speed.



    Haarken - Thanks for the kind words.

    merrick - Hobo has the advantage that the Cavalry now answer to him so he can probably keep them under his thumb, not easily but with judicious picking of his senior staff he can keep his Corps with him. The Treasury however will be a different matter altogether.

    The A13 mentioned here is the E1 (i.e. the hull Christie shipped over) and apparently Christie though that was a decent enough design and did indeed have only a 2 man crew. The tank your probably thinking of is the production A13E3, which took Nuffield two years of work to produce, hence the OTL 1938 date for the tank, however the project was well under way by mid-1936 so had to be mentioned.

    The reliability problems of the British early cruisers were all down to one reason; speed. High speed stressed the engines (the power/torque curve of a bus engine doesn't suit that sort of work) and the god-awful Christie suspension shed tracks at high speed. The A10 and Valentine were slow so had no track problems and the engines were better suited, shifting a heavy vehicle at slow speed is pretty much the definition of a bus engine's job.

    So the irony is that Martel's cherished Christie suspension which he loved for it's high speed performance only actually worked reliably on slow tanks! That is why Hobart will be pushing for a dismissal of all this foreign rubbish and the use of a proper British system; Sidney Horstmann's torsion bar bogies.

    Ciryandor - My current plan is this; Ike was sent out as advisor but discovered there is not much happening as Smith wont pay for 'foreign' defence and Quezon hasn't got the money, hence he takes the speech-writing work just for something to do.

    As to the future, well what does Landon think of the Philippines? I've honestly no idea so I feel a few PMs coming on as I try and sort that one out.
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  4. #3164
    So you have the classic compromise:
    Thorneycroft for light tanks and Merlin for cruiser tanks. Light tanks use the 2 pdr gun; medium the 3 pdr. Tanks designated as heavy use the Christie suspension, are slow, very heavily armoured with the biggest gun they can find to fit in the turret.

  5. #3165
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    I can't wait for that episode.
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  6. #3166
    Major Ciryandor's Avatar
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    To answer you on the Philippines question:

    It is an open secret that Philippine plantations served as a major supplier of agricultural goods to the Americans during the inter-war period, and at very cheap rates at that, and that American companies used the country as a dumping ground so they could keep their factories in the United States running, but with an isolationist bent, and a need to keep the economy afloat, there would be an impetus to close the raw materials flow (unless absolutely necessary) and keep the dumping of low level manufactured items. Thus, foreign policy on the Philippines would focus on minimizing its net drain on governmental resources and maximizing trade agreements that would give Americans an advantage over other countries in selling their products.
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  7. #3167
    Finally I've got a LARM in the queue but I can't remember why, it's been a while since I had to actually play the game to advance plot!
    Very long time lurker here - heck I remember the Abyssian War.

    Still a great read and this quote above is priceless, I wasn't sure that this narrative had anything to do with the game any more but I hugely pleased that it does and wish you the best of British (luck).

  8. #3168
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ciryandor View Post
    To answer you on the Philippines question:

    It is an open secret that Philippine plantations served as a major supplier of agricultural goods to the Americans during the inter-war period, and at very cheap rates at that, and that American companies used the country as a dumping ground so they could keep their factories in the United States running, but with an isolationist bent, and a need to keep the economy afloat, there would be an impetus to close the raw materials flow (unless absolutely necessary) and keep the dumping of low level manufactured items. Thus, foreign policy on the Philippines would focus on minimizing its net drain on governmental resources and maximizing trade agreements that would give Americans an advantage over other countries in selling their products.
    Maybe the harder economic times means that the US Business lobby are even more keen to see an aggressive 'Open Door' policy in China?!?

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  9. #3169
    Major Ciryandor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duritz View Post
    Maybe the harder economic times means that the US Business lobby are even more keen to see an aggressive 'Open Door' policy in China?!?

    Dury.
    Possibly, but an Open Door policy that allows them to do business there, without regard for who's in charge. It would serve them no purpose to have the United States get embroiled in a conflict where as long as whoever wins can promise to keep trade open, would benefit from it.
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  10. #3170
    Lt. General merrick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Pip View Post
    The A13 mentioned here is the E1 (i.e. the hull Christie shipped over) and apparently Christie though that was a decent enough design and did indeed have only a 2 man crew. The tank your probably thinking of is the production A13E3, which took Nuffield two years of work to produce, hence the OTL 1938 date for the tank, however the project was well under way by mid-1936 so had to be mentioned.
    You are correct - I was thinking of the production A13. In fact, I didn't know the A13E1 even existed.
    So the irony is that Martel's cherished Christie suspension which he loved for it's high speed performance only actually worked reliably on slow tanks! That is why Hobart will be pushing for a dismissal of all this foreign rubbish and the use of a proper British system; Sidney Horstmann's torsion bar bogies.
    The Christie suspension was never used on slow tanks - the A10 & Valentine had the same coil-spring triple bogies as the A9 (which is why I was surprised to learn of the A10's good reliability record), the Matilda had something different and the Churchill something different again (standardisation? what's that?). The Christie suspension was only used on the A13/Crusader/Cromwell/Comet - which had high speed as a design aim. Oh, and the Tetrarch/Harry Hopkins, if they count as tanks.
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  11. #3171
    Lord of Slower-than-real-time El Pip's Avatar
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    Chief Ragusa - That is why it will certainly never happen, far too sensible and far too logical. Such a system just wouldn't be British!

    trekaddict - It has Space Spitfires too, what's not to like?

    Ciryandor - I can see the States Righters going that way, a fairly opportunistic and non-too moral bunch is my reading of them. President Landon though I'm not so sure about, certainly he's not going to be altruistic on the matter but he's no isolationist. The problem is I really don't know much about US politics and personalities, what were Landon's views on the Philippines and Far East in general? I've no idea.

    Simon1397 - There is still a game somewhere amongst all this tank porn and rambling diversions, but it is more of a result producing engine than something I try to slavishly follow.

    Glad to see you de-lurk though, finding another reader is always good to see.

    Duritz/Ciryandor - That is going to be an interesting one, had Al Smith lived and won I could see a deal where Japan respects US trade rights in exchange for deals on supplies of oil and strategic materials. In that scenario the China lobby being painted as "warmongers" looking to drag the country into a foreign war and destroy US jobs.

    However with President Landon I've no idea, something more interventionst perhaps? Any ideas, anyone?

    In any event there will be a far less favourable Congress, the States Righters contingent will be all too happy to sell almost anything to Japan as long as their state gets a cut.

    merrick -The A13 story is not a simple one, and frankly if I had been involved in the A13E1 I'd have tried to hush it up as well!

    The second part though you are correct and I mistyped, I missed out the word 'moving' from the phrase "only actually worked reliably on slow moving tanks". Whoops. I really should have worded that section better.

    And the Tetrarch/Harry Hopkins were heavy armoured cars at best, and they weren't even very good armoured cars. :shudder:
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  12. #3172
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ciryandor
    Possibly, but an Open Door policy that allows them to do business there, without regard for who's in charge. It would serve them no purpose to have the United States get embroiled in a conflict where as long as whoever wins can promise to keep trade open, would benefit from it.
    Quote Originally Posted by El Pip
    In any event there will be a far less favourable Congress, the States Righters contingent will be all too happy to sell almost anything to Japan as long as their state gets a cut.

    But that's the one thing the Japanese and their policy of autarky can not allow... it would happen no matter who was President because it comes down to a differing view of the world.

    The Japanese were obsessed with the idea of self sufficiency. The massive population explosion following the Meiji reforms meant they suddenly found themselves at the whim of the rest of the world for their daily needs. It was a massive change in thinking for a people who had shut themselves off for hundreds of years. We're not just talking rubber and oil here but the most basic of items, like foodstuffs. The amount of effort they put into increasing rice production is a story all of its own!

    It's the rationale for their Empire and it's all about self sufficiency. China was their ticket to self sufficency and all it's riches (industrial, mineral and markets) were theirs for the taking. The US having a policy on China implied that they didn't accept Japanese hegemony and were trying to muscle in (as indeed their business was). But Japan can not make a differentiation between US business interests and US military interest because their own society didn't make the distinction.

    The offer of large resource deals in return for access to Chinese markets would be viewed as an attempt to weaken Japan economically.

    Or, more plainly, the 'Open Door' policy of the US was viewed as an affront to Japanese Sovereignty and a sign of US racism.

    And so, moving across the Atlantic, I don't know what Landon's view of China was, or indeed what the view of the State's Righters were but if they are as pragmatic and self interested as they seem then they will want to please the Business lobby far more than Roosevelt was prepared to do. From my own reading it would seem that we could expect to see an increased response over China from the US.

    Just my two yen...

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  13. #3173
    Fat Cat Public Servant Sir Humphrey's Avatar
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    Yeah, but if your parachute troops were in a pickle, at least you could glide some light armor down to support them. I don't think it would be wise to try and push a A13 out the side of an aeroplane or waft it down via glider...
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  14. #3174
    What about other nations tank forces? Anything new or bussiness as usual?
    What are the French doing?

  15. #3175
    saw what you did there Davout's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Humphrey View Post
    Yeah, but if your parachute troops were in a pickle, at least you could glide some light armor down to support them. I don't think it would be wise to try and push a A13 out the side of an aeroplane or waft it down via glider...
    I don't know. I don't think that I would be happy if A13's were raining down on my head, if I was Jerry.
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  16. #3176
    Expensive way to make a bomb. Why not use anvils?
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  17. #3177
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    Dropping A13's to the Germans weakens their armoured forces, and strengthens Britains!

    Where as anvils may actually be of use to Jerry...

    Dury.
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  18. #3178
    Field Marshal Nathan Madien's Avatar

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    I agree with Duritz on Landon and Asia. If the Japanese threaten American business interests in Asia, I think the Landon Administration might be louder in her complaints.

    Quote Originally Posted by Duritz View Post
    Dropping A13's to the Germans weakens their armoured forces, and strengthens Britains!

    Where as anvils may actually be of use to Jerry...

    Dury.
    Good point. Just drop anvils on the French, then.
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  19. #3179
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    Maybe the obsolete cruiser tanks could be sold off for agricultural needs. You know, fitted with plows, towing equipment, seed sowing equipment etc. Maybe keep a machine gun to shoot the buzzards.
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  20. #3180
    saw what you did there Davout's Avatar
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    So much to talk about over the last week:

    - Iceland gets back at the UK for ruining its economy by sending an ash cloud. I am hoping Gordon Brown directs all the British tourists to gather at Dunkirk so that they could be evacuated by "the little boats" for the 70th anniversary;

    - Amy Pond and space Spitfires. It's a tough choice which one I want to know carnally first;

    - Nick Clegg PM with Labour holding the balance of power. O happy day!!!

    But I guess we will just have to settle for Spain. Time for an update.
    Fan of the Week 22 February 2010 - Role PlayAAR of the Month March 2014

    Indies -The AAR which refuses to sell out. Featured on Weekly AAR Showcase 21 July 2010 (Still writing Episode 4 "A New Hope" - the Flux will be with you)

    Marshal Nikolai Fedorovich Vatutin, Chief of Stavka, in Tukhachevsky's Army and the Politburo Admin thread and Update thread.
    Etienne Burke, son of Frederic Burke, Prime Minister of Belgium during the Great War 1904-1907 and son of Edmund Burke, Commerce Minister 1866-1886 and son of Patrice "Bulwark" Burke, Former Chief of Staff of Belgium, Edge of Europe - an interactive AAR of ThunderHawk3
    Adolf von Arnim-Boitzenburg, Proud Imperialist in Sonderweg oder Anderweg - An interactive AAR in the Hohenzollerns megacampaign

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