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Thread: Blood, Toil, Tears and sweat.... in a half-track. - UK MEC AAR

  1. #21
    Compulsive CommentatAAR stnylan's Avatar
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  2. #22
    The Last Days of Peace

    As the Spanish Civil War drew to a close, the British Army began a reevaluation of its weapons during the war. The Cruiser Mk Is of the 4th Armoured Brigade (attached to 7th Indian Division) proved to be woefully inadequate against infantry, so it was decided that its larger cousin, the Mk2, should be redesigned before it entered production.

    A cruiser Mk II prototype

    Though the redesigned Cruiser would prove to be woefully inadequate during the second world war, nevertheless, this was widely regarded as the stepping stones to Britain's much more succesful designs.

    Throughout 1938, signs of war began to appear. First, Hitler annexed Austria on March 12, 1938. Chamberlain sent a protest with the Germans, but refused to send anything with any stronger terms. More hawkish elements of the Conservative Party, however, began to reassert themselves, citing Hitler as a possible threat to Britain's intrests in Europe. Then, in June, events in the far east took the world completely by surprise:


    The Japanese had won the Sino-Japanese war, and had put in place a puppet government. The KMT had been utterly crushed by the Japanese in a little over a year. Chiang had been shot, and suddenly, Britain's possessions in the far east seemed threatened by an ultra-agressive Japan. Chamberlain sent a message strongly condemning this action to Japan, but the backbenchers had had enough. On the 5th of July, led by Winston Churchill, a former First Lord of the Admiralty, the backbenchers began demanding a radical change in the government's spending policies.

    Faced with a parliamentary revolt, Chamberlain was forced to amend the budget, tacking on a significant increase in army, navy and air force expenditure for the 1938-39 fiscal year. Also, because of the poor state of the British Army (which, in September 1938, during the height of the Sudetenland crisis, nominally consisted of 20 Divisions, but really only had 12 active ones, mostly based in India and the Middle-East), it was decided that the British Army would get the first pick.

    The army had been developing new, revolutionary doctrines of fighting a mobile war with limited resources. To that end, the army had developed a new "flying battery" doctrine, where Royal Artillery batteries would be the first completely motorized units in any force, in order to allow them to move at the same speed as the infantry and the tanks. This had the same effect as Self-propelled artillery, which had been explored by the army but dismissed as impractical at this point, but without the hassle of a tracked vehicle.


    British R&D, end of 1938

    The army's rearmament was further encouraged by the Sudetenland crisis. Many, were considering responding in stronger tersm, but the Chief of the Imperial General Staff, Sir Edmund Ironside, advised against it, citing the poor (or rather, nonexistent state) of the British army as a reason not to.
    The Army also used its extra resources in order to start re-organizing its "nominal" divisions into proper fighting forces. The 6th, 7th and 8th infantry divisions were therefore converted to the 1st, 7th and 2nd Armoured Divisions respectively. In each division, 2 Brigade was converted to an armoured Brigades, whilst a brigade remained an infantry brigade.

    The 6th, 7th and 8th Infantry divisions being converted to armoured divisions
    The army also began investigating the possibility of equipping all infantry divisions with mechanized transports. Because the British army lacked a vehicle which could carry an entire Rifle section of 10 men, developed a system where each rifle section would be carried in two vehicles - one Loyd Carrier, and one Universal Carrier. The Loyd would carry the 7-man Rifle team, whilst the Universal Carrier would carry the 3-man Bren team. Meanwhile, the army asked the major vehicle manufacturers to come up with a design for a personel carrier in which at least 10 men could fit.


    The Loyd Carrier

    By May, the British 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Infantry divisions had been converted to Mechanized formations.



    By June, with a new 6th Infantry Division being created from volunteers the British Army in the UK had expanded to 9 divisions.
    Last edited by Tomdidiot; 26-05-2008 at 18:59.

  3. #23
    Human Enewald's Avatar
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    Britain has divisions???

    that's a surprise... a mean one...

    attack the boors!

  4. #24
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    I am impressed by the British purchasing chaps in the US, managing to buy those M3s before America has even invented them!
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  5. #25
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  6. #26
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Pip
    I am impressed by the British purchasing chaps in the US, managing to buy those M3s before America has even invented them!

    They are British, so that shouldn't surprise you!
    "That's right, Adolf. The British are coming." - The Eleventh Doctor
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  7. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by El Pip
    I am impressed by the British purchasing chaps in the US, managing to buy those M3s before America has even invented them!
    Yah, they got the blueprints and design notes Basically, erm, yeah... for the purposes of this AAR, the M3 was invented in 1938 *Complete cop out for a mistake*

    Basically, I chose the M3 because I'm not creative enough to design a halftrack, the Brits didn't really build one (the UC does not count!), and I sure as hell ain't copying a French or German design (for obvious reasons - the French because they're french, and the Germans because I'm going to be fighting them)


    EDIT: I've changed the halftrack the Brits brought to the M2, which was around in 39'
    Last edited by Tomdidiot; 25-05-2008 at 13:16.

  8. #28
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tomdidiot
    Yah, they got the blueprints and design notes Basically, erm, yeah... for the purposes of this AAR, the M3 was invented in 1938 *Complete cop out for a mistake*

    Basically, I chose the M3 because I'm not creative enough to design a halftrack, the Brits didn't really build one (the UC does not count!), and I sure as hell ain't copying a French or German design (for obvious reasons - the French because they're french, and the Germans because I'm going to be fighting them)


    EDIT: I've changed the halftrack the Brits brought to the M2, which was around in 39'

    Why does the UC not count? It's no halftrak, but still.
    "That's right, Adolf. The British are coming." - The Eleventh Doctor
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  9. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by trekaddict
    Why does the UC not count? It's no halftrak, but still.
    Because you can't fit a section of troops inside. Besides, it's a reconnaissance vehicle, not a transport.
    Last edited by Tomdidiot; 25-05-2008 at 13:57.

  10. #30
    Lord of Slower-than-real-time El Pip's Avatar
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    Loyd Carrier? It was larger and certainly big enough to carry a section of men. Unless that's slated as the replacement for the M2?
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  11. #31
    The Lloyd can only carry 7-8 men, and is rather small.

    Though hmm... maybe I should change the APC it to an elongated Lloyd

  12. #32
    Lord of Slower-than-real-time El Pip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tomdidiot
    The Lloyd can only carry 7-8 men, and is rather small.
    Loyd carrier is driver and 8 men. A British squad is 8 men, perfect fit. Throw in a few UCs for fire support and a few other Loyds towing AT guns etc and job done.
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  13. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by El Pip
    Loyd carrier is driver and 8 men. A British squad is 8 men, perfect fit. Throw in a few UCs for fire support and a few other Loyds towing AT guns etc and job done.
    A modern day British Rifle Section is 8 men, but a WWII-era British Rifle Section had 10 men.

    Rifle Section

    * Rifle Group
    o Corporal
    o 6 Riflemen

    * Gun Group
    o Lance-Corporal
    o Bren Gunner
    o Assistant Bren Gunner

    Which gives me an idea (goes back and changes)

    The changed version of the "half-track" purchasing deal is reproduced below:


    The army also began investigating the possibility of equipping all infantry divisions with mechanized transports. Because the British army lacked a vehicle which could carry an entire Rifle section of 10 men, developed a system where each rifle section would be carried in two vehicles - one Loyd Carrier, and one Universal Carrier. The Loyd would carry the 7-man Rifle team, whilst the Universal Carrier would carry the 3-man Bren team. Meanwhile, the army asked the major vehicle manufacturers to come up with a design for a personel carrier in which at least 10 men could fit.


    The Loyd Carrier
    Last edited by Tomdidiot; 26-05-2008 at 19:01.

  14. #34
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  15. #35
    The Phoney War
    OR: Yay! Finally the Mechs almost see some action!

    Throughout 1939, Britain continued the Mechanization of her armed forces. However, in March as Hitler marched into the rest of Czechsoslovakia, in clear violation of the Munich agreement, Britain still had only 9 fully equipped Mechanized or Armoured Divisions present in the United Kingdom. In order to increase the amount , the Imperial General Staff decided to begin a reshuffling of the divisions, which saw territorial battalions being moved from their parent territorial divisions into regular army divisions, in order to form 2 extra infantry divisions, the 7th and 8th. Each of the regular divisions (1st-6th ID) were to transfer 3 battalions, one from each brigade, to the new 7th and 8th divisions. Each division would also receive 3 territorial battalions, 2 (deemed the most combat-ready) from each of the territorial army's 12 first line divisions

    On the 1st of September, when Hitler invaded Poland, only 3 territorial divisions had been mechanized, leaving Britain with 14 active, fully-equipped divisions (along with 60 divisions of French cannon-fodder infantry and around 10 Commonwealth divisions against well over a hundred German divisions. And of the 14 divisions, 3 were territorial divisions, who had only recieved their equipment in the previous two weeks!

    The 42nd "East Lancashire" territorial division receives its full complement of Lloyd Carriers to make it the first fully mechanized territorial division in the British Army. The 43rd "Wessex", and 44th "Home Counties" would receive their Lloyd Carriers over the next two weeks

    Britain declared war on Germany on the 3rd of September, after Hitler refused to listen to an ultimatum sent by the foreign office. Britain immediately made preparations to dispatch all 11 of her regular divisions to France as an expeditionary force.


    Lord John Gort, Commander of the British Expeditionary Force

    Major-General Bernard Montgomery, commander of the British 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized), proposed a plan for an offensive before the end of September against the weak German forces around the Saar. The British Expeditionary Force, reinforced with mobile French units, would be on the left, striking through the Eifel and heading towards Cologne and Frankfurt Meanwhile, the French 7th Army (diverted from guarding the Belgian border), would be on the right of the attack, protecting the British Expeditionary striking towards Manheim as part of a feint to fool the Germans into believing that "Sledgehammer" was directed towards Nuremburg and Munich. Once the British captured Cologne, extra French divisions (also from the Belgian border) would arrive to strengthen the allied position.


    General Bernard Montgomery's plan

    Though initially unconvinced, the French, reluctantly agreed to the plan, after Montgomery's Corps Commander, Lieutenant-General Harold Alexander presuaded them that this attack would divert most of the fighting off French soil, and onto German soil. The French agreed, but asked that the date be fixed at September 25th, to allow them to move troops to the area.

    Unfortunately, a week before Operation Sledgehammer was scheduled to begin, Poland surrendered, and Hitler immediately began diverting forces to the Western Front. The French Generals panicked, and immediately halted all French movements.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi..._In_Warsaw.jpg
    German troops parading in Warsaw

    The British army therefore moved back from positions opposite the Saar, into rear areas.


    A Loyd Carrier from the British 4th Infantry Division training in France, October 1939

    Author's note: I do role-play my divisions a fair bit - it makes them feel more precious to me, and means I'm less likely to commit them into a battle where I know I'd lose them.


    The British Army's active units at the start of the Second World War
    1 ID (1 Gds Bde, 2Bde, 3 Bde)

    2 ID (4 Bde, 5 Bde, 6 Bde)

    3 ID (7 Bde, 8 Bde, 9 Bde)

    4 ID (10 Bde, 11 Bde, 12 Bde)

    5 ID (13 Bde, 15 Bde, 17 Bde)

    6 ID (14 Bde, 16 Bde, 22 Bde)

    7 ID (23 Bde, 24 Bde, 25 Bde)

    8 ID (29 Bde, 30 Bde, 31 Bde)


    1 AD (1 ArmBde, 4 ArmBde, 18 Bde)

    2 AD (2 ArmBde, 7 ArmBde, 19 Bde)

    7 AD (3 ArmBde, 8 ArmBde, 21 Bde)


    Territorial:
    Fully equipped
    42 "East Lancashire" ID (125 Bde, 126 Bde, 127 Bde)
    43 "Wessex" ID (128 Bde, 129 Bde, 130 Bde)
    44 "Home Counties" ID (131 Bde, 132 Bde, 133 Bde)

    Forming, in order of equipment priority (Game terms: In the build queue):
    48 "South Midland" ID (143 Bde, 144 Bde, 145 Bde)
    49 "West Riding" ID (146 Bde, 147 Bde, 148 Bde)
    50 "Northumbrian" ID (149 Bde, 150 Bde, 151 Bde)
    51 "Highland" ID (152 Bde, 153 Bde, 154 Bde)
    52 "Lowland" ID (155 Bde, 156 Bde, 157 Bde)
    53 "Welsh" ID (158 Bde, 159 Bde, 160 Bde)
    54 "East Anglian" ID (161 Bde, 162 Bde, 163 Bde)
    55 "West Lancashire" ID (164 Bde, 165 Bde, 166 Bde)
    56 "London" ID (167 Bde, 168 Bde, 169 Bde)

    Reserve (Not building yet):
    9 "Highland" ID (26 Bde, 27 Bde, 28 Bde)
    12 "Eastern" ID (35 Bde, 36 Bde, 37 Bde)
    15 "Scottish" ID (44 Bde, 45 Bde,46 Bde)
    18 "East Anglian" ID (53 Bde, 54 Bde, 55 Bde)
    23 "Northumbrian" ID (68 Bde, 69 Bde, 70 Bde)
    38 "Welsh" ID (113 Bde, 114 Bde, 115 Bde)
    45 "Wessex' ID (134 Bde, 135 Bde, 136 Bde)
    46 "North Midlands" ID (137 Bde, 138 Bde, 139 Bde)
    47 "London" ID (140 Bde, 141 Bde, 142 Bde)
    59 "Staffordshire" ID (176 Bde, 177 Bde, 178 Bde)
    61 "South Midlands" ID (182 Bde, 183 Bde, 184 Bde)
    66 "East Lancashire" ID (197 Bde, 198 Bde, 199 Bde)

    Authour's Notes: All brigades are assigned to their historical units at the start of the war. Except for 68 Bde, 142 Bde, 149 Bde (Not formed), and those of the armoured divisions, and the 7th infantry and 8th infantry divisions.
    Another Note: These are all the MEC units I'm building until 1941 (I will be building a few more ARMs, though). Wish me luck

  16. #36
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    You need more Armoured Divisions if you are to beat the Hun.
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  17. #37
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    German shall triumph over French. Run and swim back to your homes!

  18. #38
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enewald
    German shall triumph over French. Run and swim back to your homes!

    I gather you are talking about Operation Dynamo?
    "That's right, Adolf. The British are coming." - The Eleventh Doctor
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  19. #39
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    By far the best ARR on these forums! Let the tanks roll!
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  20. #40
    Lord of Slower-than-real-time El Pip's Avatar
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    The British Army is small but quite well formed (not perfectly formed yet ). I forsee a busy role for those Mec. divisions racing around North France/Belgium plugging holes in the defensive line and making the odd tactical counter-attack, unless you can bulk out your force or are a far better player than I (not hard admittedly)
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