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Post-WW2 tank design

Discussion in 'Post-World War 2 Armour' started by Ricky, Dec 5, 2005.

  1. Hoosier phpbb3

    Hoosier phpbb3 New Member

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    Ricky:
    Up to the advent of thermal imaging, night-vision and some of the modern optics, specialized munitions and wind-stabilization, I think a lot of the answer to your question comes back to tactics and deployment.

    Personally, I prefer the Centurian to the M-47, or anthing the Russians fielded at that time. Just something about that beast... I really like the turret shape, and no question the Brits were well-armed with their 17-pounders and later 105s. Great looking and lethal tank.

    As to it's superiority in Korea over US and Soviet tanks, I'll do some digging. I have some accounts of tank vs tank in the early days, but those Easy-8 Shermans had their hands-full with North Korean T-34s. Again, look at the terrain, tanks were often bottled-up on mountain roads and passes. Not the best scenario when thinking of tank country. I think they excelled as mobile artillery in many cases and were used as such. I know the T-26 and M-46 were a match for the T-34/85.

    Not to say the M-47 Patton couldn't get the job done either. Perhaps it is also a question of support and maint. issues relating to reliability in the field... in addition to those of speed, armor and armament. Also factor-in quality of crew-training.

    I'm not sure what you're lookin' for here Ricky. You want me to say that British tank-design--and the Centurian specifically--had it all-over anything the US of A or the Russians could field at that point in time? I would reply "on any given-day each could give the other a bloody nose."

    Depends on who gets the drop, the range and terrain, and the level of crew-training ultimately. Given the choice, I would have preferred the Centurian's Captain's chair.

    I always thought of the T-26, M-46 and M-47 as interim designs. The technology was changing fast. I think the M-60 should have come along at the time of the M-48. It was an evolutionary, rather than revolutionary process. Then the M1 Abrams changed everything... as did the Challenger Ricky!

    I've read the Pakistani's trained at Ft. Knox, Ky specializing in armor, and tactics I suppose, but the Indians butchered them in the first engagement. In the rematch, The Pakistani. M-47s destroyed a large number of Indian Centurians and evened the score in my mind.

    Fast forward to the '67 War with Israeli reserve units in Shermans and Centurians holding-off countless waves of Syrian T-62s. Was the Israeli Centurian the superior tank on the battlefield? I believe they had 105mm main-guns--a fine weapon--but I maintain it was the superior training, battle tactics, AND equipment that carried the day. Can't say enough about those heroic crews...

    Your turn.

    Tim
     
  2. Ricky

    Ricky New Member

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    This is true.

    I was hoping for a 'given equal crews' ideal, but that ain't ever realistic... :(

    All that Korea really proved AFAIK was that post-WW2 designs (of all nations) were superior to WW2 designs - which is a no-brainer, or at least should be. :wink:
    Similarly, the Middle Eastern wars have proved that better crews & tactics, especially those with better air suport, will win, almost regardless of the equipment used (provided there is not a HUGE disparity, like FT-17 vs T-80).

    Hell no! Well, it might be nice, but only if it were true. :wink:
    I was trying to work out who had the best Cold War tanks, but this became who went for the smartest AFV doctrine, and now I'm just not sure where I'm going...

    I agree here (at least, until the M60 appeared, when I would take that. Until the Cheiftain appeared, when I would take that - and spend a while kicking the engine in sheer bloody frustration).
    That kinda ruins the debate, don't it.
     
  3. Hoosier phpbb3

    Hoosier phpbb3 New Member

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    Ricky:
    You may have "hit the nail on the head" with your comment about doctrine.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Ricky's quote"
    "I was trying to work out who had the best Cold War tanks, but this became who went for the smartest AFV doctrine, and now I'm just not sure where I am going..."
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I think both the USA and Russia proved conclusively that numbers do indeed matter in their armor warfare doctrine. Overwhelm the enemy with vast numbers (quantity) and it will make-up for any deficiencies in the individual unit (quality.) This was certainly the case in WW2.

    The Germans on the other-hand, decided to build each MBT as a work of art, with parts not being interchangable, sometimes not even within the same Mark of design. Their tanks were complex to build, maintain, service, and keep in action. They were ultimately overwhelmed by lessor-quality Shermans and T-34s.

    I think this also dovetails nicely into the NATO--defense against the Soviet onslaught--strategy in Europe as well. I think the US realized it could not compete--or chose not to--with the vast number of Russian/Soviet AFVs.
    Their response was to develop the A-10 and Apache tank-killers to counter the Soviet tank threat.

    Alright, back to the issue of the Post-War Brits and tank design. I think the Centurian made-up for the lack of "quality" british tank-design during the Second World War. It appears they learned valuable lessons and made sure it was reflected in the Centurian.

    I still maintain the T-26, M-46 and M-47 were interim tank-designs. Better than the Sherman, with an improved main-gun. My biggest complaint was their high-profile. No idea how reliable or robust their powerplants might have been. I did like the shape of their turrets, and bustles. I never cared for the suspension design which contributed to the "too-tall" look about them.
    In my mind, the only thing the T-54 had going for it was the low profile. Nothing else about the tank was all that remarkable.

    So tell me Ricky...

    What made the Centurian so good?
    I maintain something seriously changed in the way the British awarded contracts and put forth design requirements in the post-war years. The Centurian was everything that British tanks were NOT in WW2. Sounds like they learned from their mistakes... and the Centurian was the result.

    Tim
     
  4. Oli

    Oli New Member

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    Well it wasn't just the real thing. Many many years ago I bought a set of wargame rules that came with card counters the same size as 1/300 models so that as you got more money(!) you could replace the counters with miniatures. According to the rule book the Centurion had EXACTLY the same statistics as T-54/55 (the rules were highly simplified - speed, firepower and armour). But in EVERY single game, no matter who used them, Centurions creamed the T-54/55s by about four to one. Didn't matter if it was a newbie playing them or an old hand, the results were the same...
    So there must have been a bit of "magic" in there that rubbed off from the real thing.
     
  5. Ricky

    Ricky New Member

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    I wish I knew...

    Well, the basic tank itself, it seems that we had finally found a decent suspension/engine package, worked out how to put decent amounts of well-shaped armour on it, and relaxed the width restrictions to allow for a decent gun. Oh, and most importantly it had plenty of scope for improvements/upgrades, which ensured a long service life.

    And, of course, we dropped the ridiculous infantry/cruiser classes and tried to make an MBT-style tank that could cover both areas. This, and the removal of the original width restrictions on AFVs is probably the most important point, working together with the fact that we had learned a heck of a lot and suddenly had the various pieces ready to hand to work with.


    I think that as well as being a sound basic design, and having good potential for upgrades, the reputation of the Centurion also benefitted from its crews - and its opponants.

    It saw action in Korea - against T-34s
    It saw action in the Middle East - against more poorly-trained crews
    It saw action in South Africa - against more poorly-trained crews
    It saw action in Vietnam - but the enemy only had a very few light/amphbious tanks
    It saw action in India - mostly against older tanks like the M4 Sherman

    So it did well in active service.

    However, this could also be said about the M60, the Cheiftain, etc etc.
     
  6. smeghead phpbb3

    smeghead phpbb3 New Member

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    the problem is there are no instances where soviet and western cold-war era tanks have enountered each other in equal circumstances; that is, where both armies have been equally well trained, supplied, and directed.

    on paper, heres a list of the most popular MBTS of the 50'-60's, as they were at cold-war stock production (not modified)

    Tank---------Armor---------Cannon------Speed-------Weight------Range

    EAST
    MBT's
    T-44 MBT----120mm--------- 85mm-------51kph------32 tons------300km
    T-54 MBT----180mm--------- 100mm----- 48kph------36 tons------360km
    T-55 MBT----200mm----------100mm----- 48kph------36 tons------360km
    T-62 MBT----242mm--------- 115mm------48kph------36 tons----- 450km

    Heavy Tanks
    IS-3----------220mm--------122mm-------37khp-------47 tons-----170km
    T-10M--------250mm--------122mm-------50kph------ 50 tons-----350km



    WEST
    MBT's
    Centurion----102mm-------77mm---------47kph------36 tons------200km
    M48 Patton--115mm--------90mm--------48kph-------47 tons------120km
    AMX-50------120mm--------100mm-------51kph------55 tons------170km
    M60 MBT----175mm---------105mm-------48ph-------49 tons------500km

    Heavy Tanks
    Conqueror---200mm--------120mm--------34kph------66 tons------153 km
    M103---------254mm--------120mm--------37kph-------58 tons------480km

    Personally, i think the Eastern tanks have the edge in speed and firepower, and also were generally lighter, simpler and built lower to the ground. Armor remains debatable as the West frequently upgraded most of their tanks... the above stock production does no justice to the capabilites of an upgraded centurion
     
  7. smeghead phpbb3

    smeghead phpbb3 New Member

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    by that token it seems that American Tanks should have altogether outperformed the British centurions and conquerors, in speed armor AND firepower... but i couldnt find any details on the Comet or Chieftain's specs as they were in 1967, maybe that would help the brits a bit??
     
  8. Oli

    Oli New Member

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    Centurion may have started with a 77mm (actually 76,2mm 17 pr), but it moved to an 83.4mm 20 pr (Mark II onwards in '50/'51?) then (most famously) the 105mm L7 from the Mark 5/2 onwards.
    Did AMX-50 see service? I thought it was built in small numbers and abandoned.
     
  9. Ricky

    Ricky New Member

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    smeghead, check my list back on page 1...
     
  10. smeghead phpbb3

    smeghead phpbb3 New Member

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    ooops sorry. i guess its the same thing :-?

    i just thought it'd be useful because it shows how the tanks compared in a specific period (all stats are meant to be taken from ~1963), and the discussion seems to be about pre-1980 tanks.

    Dont know. just included it because i couldnt find any info on cold-war stock AMX-30's, and thought comparing a French tank might be interesting
     
  11. Ricky

    Ricky New Member

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    By 1963 the Centurian had the 105mm gun, but was overall inferior to the new American tank, the M60.
     

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