Register here

Author Topic: Sentinel ACIV  (Read 32048 times)

Offline Abraham Gubler

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 3559
Re: Sentinel ACIV
« Reply #30 on: January 27, 2013, 07:54:01 pm »
 
The problem for Sentinel was that it was launched at a time when the only physical enemy were the Germans in North Africa. Because of the rapid evolution of the AFVs in that conflict, it was always, like the other Allied tanks always going to be playing catch-up.

So that’s a problem facing every weapon system ever developed, everwhere.
 
While it had the potential to do so, the small numbers which were going to be produced were always going to be uneconomic.

Sentinel was planned for mass production through two new plants (one built in Sydney, one planned in Melbourne) using mass production items (motors, guns, etc.). Far from being a small production run of uneconomic vehicles.
 
Their costs would be disproportionately high and the costs of maintaining them so far from home would also be hight because of the lack of commonality with the other Allied AFVs which would have predominated in that theatre. The UK was never going to adopt it, both because of it's source and because it was cheaper and easier to source already built AFVs, like most other military materiale from either home or the USA. This was obvious even at the time, if the Australian Army had been willing to open its eyes.

It wasn’t obvious because there was no guarantee of supply to North Africa from both the UK and certainly the USA. Australia had more resilient lines of communication to North Africa that the Germans couldn’t interdict.
 
Because it was designed to counter the Germans' AFVs it was more difficult to manufacture than one which was designed to counter the real enemy which did eventuate - the Japanese. As their AFVs were light and had little armour, a much lighter vehicle could have been used but because the Army had decided on one designed for North Africa, the result was a vehicle that was expensive, both in material and manpower to produce.

Yet the Stuart light tank was proven to be inadequate in jungle operations and was replaced by the heavy Matilda. Tanks used against the Japanese in the Pacific Islands campaign very rarely encountered their tanks. But their anti-tank weapons and artillery were punishing to Allied medium tanks. But the tanks were also decisive in winning battles. Saying only light tanks were needed is a very amateurish tank argument.
 
Romantics might like to think we should have produced them but much more hard-headed men decided otherwise.

No one here is suggesting they should have been built after the stabilisation of war in 1943.
 
The same romantics still believe perhaps that it was likely that the Japanese were to invade or even directly attack in force the mainland. While it wasn't known with absolute surety at the time, the succession of invasion scares and defensive strategy arguments which occur had more to do with domestic politics than they did with the reality of both what the Japanese were capable of and what they actually did. The remote threat that the Japanese represented could be countered more cheaply and easily with imported AFVs. As the Lee/Grant and Matilda were obsolescent against the European enemy, they were ideal against the Japanese one.

So by your own words you think preparing to counter an invasion that you didn’t know “with absolute surety” was not going to happen is “romantic”? Please whatever you do in life, please stay away from risk assessment! An invasion is the worst thing that could have happened even if there was only a slim chance of it going ahead (and at the time there was strong indication it was very likely) justified the huge effort the Australian nation put into countering it:
 
Brown, Gary; Anderson, David (1992). "Invasion 1942? Australia and the Japanese Threat". Background Paper Number 6 1992. Department of the Parliamentary Library.
Horner, David (1993). "Defending Australia in 1942". The Pacific War 1942. Canberra: Department of History, Australian Defence Force Academy.
Stanley, Peter (2002). "He’s (not) Coming South": the invasion that wasn’t" (PDF). Conference Papers. Remembering 1942.
Stanley, Peter (2008). Invading Australia. Japan and the Battle for Australia, 1942. Melbourne: Penguin Group (Australia).
 
I think your claims that others are ‘romantic’ is as misguided as your attempt to pass yourself off as a combat veteran with your new alternate nick (Kadija Man was Rickshaw) while you were banned from posting.
 
I have several medals to show that indeed I have "humped this stuff downrange" on a two-way rifle range, thank you very much.

Military imposters make me sick. Applying hindsight to make calls against contemporary decision making is not so sickening, just plain dumb.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2013, 08:08:06 pm by Abraham Gubler »
"There is a tendency in our planning to confuse the unfamiliar with the improbable." Thomas Schelling

Offline Abraham Gubler

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 3559
Re: Sentinel ACIV
« Reply #31 on: January 27, 2013, 07:59:07 pm »
 
So the question becomes whether the more compact nature of the Meteor, combined with 20% greater power over and above even the Gipsy configuration would more than offset the need for a liquid over air-cooled system. I suspect it would have. incidentally, the ACIII may well have sacrificed the ability to clutch different engines in an out by effectively turning them into a common unit running through a common crankcase.

Even in the common frame mounting (Perrier) the engines could be clutched out. But without the full data on weight and so on it’s a hard call to make which would be better. Certainly the Cadillac and Gipsy Major engines were being manufactured in Australia in 1940 while the Merlin (and a potential Meteor) wasn’t until 1944-46. I would suspect however despite multiple motors maintenance in the Perrier arrangements would be much lower than a single Meteor. The Cadillac and Gipsy Major engines were well known as two of the most reliable motors in the world at the time and Meteor plus coolant system was a well-known fitter magnet.
"There is a tendency in our planning to confuse the unfamiliar with the improbable." Thomas Schelling

Offline Abraham Gubler

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 3559
Re: Sentinel ACIV
« Reply #32 on: January 27, 2013, 08:05:09 pm »
 
The idea of shipping Sentinels to North Africa or wherever the European theater would be presuming Japan stayed neutral, was unworkable. The supply line would be easily several months long, and at that time there simply was not the tonnage to spare. The smart thing to do would be supply Australian armor units in Europe out of British stocks, and supply Commonwealth units in south Asia with Sentinels or whatever.

The supply line to Egypt from Australia was actually much shorter and far less risker than from the UK to Egypt in 1940-42 It was 20,000 km from the UK to Egypt around the Cape of Good Hope through the U Boat infested Atlantic. From Australia (Sydney) to Egypt it is only 15,000 km through much safer waters.
"There is a tendency in our planning to confuse the unfamiliar with the improbable." Thomas Schelling

Offline Kadija_Man

  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ***
  • Posts: 1856
Re: Sentinel ACIV
« Reply #33 on: January 27, 2013, 10:09:21 pm »
The problem for Sentinel was that it was launched at a time when the only physical enemy were the Germans in North Africa. Because of the rapid evolution of the AFVs in that conflict, it was always, like the other Allied tanks always going to be playing catch-up.

So that’s a problem facing every weapon system ever developed, everwhere.

True but as Australia was operating invariably on second if not more often third-hand information about technical matters in the North African desert, it would have been worse.   We were at the end of the intelligence food-chain, with reports arriving months, often years after they had been digested in London or Washington.  Nor, unfortunately was our military bureaucracy noted for its speedy or necessarily wise decision making. 
 
Quote
While it had the potential to do so, the small numbers which were going to be produced were always going to be uneconomic.

Sentinel was planned for mass production through two new plants (one built in Sydney, one planned in Melbourne) using mass production items (motors, guns, etc.). Far from being a small production run of uneconomic vehicles.

Total numbers would still have been small.   Our demand for tanks was small as we did not have a disproportionate number of armoured units and formations which required them.  Therefore, unit cost would have been higher than a comparable vehicle imported from the US or even the UK, even taking into account transport costs.

Quote
Their costs would be disproportionately high and the costs of maintaining them so far from home would also be hight because of the lack of commonality with the other Allied AFVs which would have predominated in that theatre. The UK was never going to adopt it, both because of it's source and because it was cheaper and easier to source already built AFVs, like most other military materiale from either home or the USA. This was obvious even at the time, if the Australian Army had been willing to open its eyes.

It wasn’t obvious because there was no guarantee of supply to North Africa from both the UK and certainly the USA. Australia had more resilient lines of communication to North Africa that the Germans couldn’t interdict.

You're forgetting that until 1941, the entrance to the Red Sea was contested by Italy.  All it needed was for Germany to reinforce Ethiopia with Luftwaffe units and the Red Sea would have been closed.
 
Quote
Because it was designed to counter the Germans' AFVs it was more difficult to manufacture than one which was designed to counter the real enemy which did eventuate - the Japanese. As their AFVs were light and had little armour, a much lighter vehicle could have been used but because the Army had decided on one designed for North Africa, the result was a vehicle that was expensive, both in material and manpower to produce.

Yet the Stuart light tank was proven to be inadequate in jungle operations and was replaced by the heavy Matilda. Tanks used against the Japanese in the Pacific Islands campaign very rarely encountered their tanks.

I would contend that was a poor choice of vehicle for that terrain, not necessarily that the Stuart was a bad tank for use against the Japanese.  It would have been ideal for use on the continent, if the Japanese had ever  attempted to attack or invade.   Small, light, fast, well armed, reliable, it would have been a good vehicle considering the loading difficulties that narrow gauge railways in Queensland and central Australia had with heavier loads. 

Quote
But their anti-tank weapons and artillery were punishing to Allied medium tanks. But the tanks were also decisive in winning battles. Saying only light tanks were needed is a very amateurish tank argument.

But they did not have many of either.  AT defence was not given much emphasis by the Japanese.  If, as you suggest they were "punishing to Allied medium tanks" they would have been "punishing to Allied lighter tanks" as well, so it would have made no difference, now would it?
 
Quote
Romantics might like to think we should have produced them but much more hard-headed men decided otherwise.

No one here is suggesting they should have been built after the stabilisation of war in 1943.

Why build them before?  The allocation of resources would have slowed the build up of the small ships and aero industries.  By the time full production had started - mid-late 1942, the "stabilisation" would have just been around the corner.

Quote

The same romantics still believe perhaps that it was likely that the Japanese were to invade or even directly attack in force the mainland. While it wasn't known with absolute surety at the time, the succession of invasion scares and defensive strategy arguments which occur had more to do with domestic politics than they did with the reality of both what the Japanese were capable of and what they actually did. The remote threat that the Japanese represented could be countered more cheaply and easily with imported AFVs. As the Lee/Grant and Matilda were obsolescent against the European enemy, they were ideal against the Japanese one.

So by your own words you think preparing to counter an invasion that you didn’t know “with absolute surety” was not going to happen is “romantic”? Please whatever you do in life, please stay away from risk assessment! An invasion is the worst thing that could have happened even if there was only a slim chance of it going ahead (and at the time there was strong indication it was very likely) justified the huge effort the Australian nation put into countering it:
 
Brown, Gary; Anderson, David (1992). "Invasion 1942? Australia and the Japanese Threat". Background Paper Number 6 1992. Department of the Parliamentary Library.
Horner, David (1993). "Defending Australia in 1942". The Pacific War 1942. Canberra: Department of History, Australian Defence Force Academy.
Stanley, Peter (2002). "He’s (not) Coming South": the invasion that wasn’t" (PDF). Conference Papers. Remembering 1942.
Stanley, Peter (2008). Invading Australia. Japan and the Battle for Australia, 1942. Melbourne: Penguin Group (Australia).

Read them all.  None of them pay particular attention to the economic issues.  I recommend to you A.T. Ross, Armed &​ ready : the industrial development &​ defence of Australia, 1900-1945, Turton &​ Armstrong. Wahroonga, 1995.  Moreover, A.T. Ross discusses at length the issues surrounding the Sentinel and its troublesome gestation and its intended usefulness.

As the old adage goes, "amateurs study strategy, professionals study logistics" and by extension economics.

As to the surety or otherwise of a Japanese invasion, by late 1942 it was obvious the tide was turning and Japan was overstretched.   By then, nearly all Australia's combat forces had returned (bar one Division) from the Middle East.  They were battle-hardened, well trained and moderately well equipped for the very sort of battle an invasion would result in, one of manoeuvre in open countryside.  Something the Japanese had been shown to be rather badly trained and equipped for at Khalkhin Gol.  After the end of 1942, the Japanese were essentially on the defensive in the Pacific.   It was the invasion scare of 1943 and the Defensive Strategy controversy which left many Australians with the mistaken belief as to what Japan's intentions were.

There is a very good, short discussion in fact of that in the recent book, Craig Collie and Hajime Marutani, The path of Infinite Sorrow: The Japanese on the Kokoda Track, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 2012.  It is an excellent read in it's own right and places the Japanese aspect of the campaign into perspective very well.


Offline Abraham Gubler

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 3559
Re: Sentinel ACIV
« Reply #34 on: January 27, 2013, 11:10:40 pm »
 
True but as Australia was operating invariably on second if not more often third-hand information about technical matters in the North African desert, it would have been worse. We were at the end of the intelligence food-chain, with reports arriving months, often years after they had been digested in London or Washington. Nor, unfortunately was our military bureaucracy noted for its speedy or necessarily wise decision making.

That is unsubstantiated and incorrect. Australian technical intelligence of the battlefield was supplied via the Australian Army’s independent command chain. Far from being behind the times Australia was as well informed of tank developments which is why the Sentinel was redesigned and updated at a rate faster than the British tank program.
 
Total numbers would still have been small. Our demand for tanks was small as we did not have a disproportionate number of armoured units and formations which required them. Therefore, unit cost would have been higher than a comparable vehicle imported from the US or even the UK, even taking into account transport costs.

Small as in several thousand if full rate production had gone ahead in 1942-45 (planed rate of 70 per month)? Small by Soviet, American or British standards but not uneconomic which was your initial point. Gross cost may have been higher thanks to Australia having to pay for establishment of the production facilities - a cost not passed on via Allied production - but unit cost to build would be comparable. This is another unsubstantiated non argument.
 
You're forgetting that until 1941, the entrance to the Red Sea was contested by Italy. All it needed was for Germany to reinforce Ethiopia with Luftwaffe units and the Red Sea would have been closed.

Ahh so then how did the North African forces get their logistics from the UK? It certainly didn’t come via the Mediterranean or over land via the Sudan. It all came up the Red Sea, after having gone around the Cape, past Italy’s rapidly collapsing East African Front. Another non-issue, non-logical to if you’d bothered to think about it rather than leap at any factoid that may appear to batter my opinions.
 
I would contend that was a poor choice of vehicle for that terrain, not necessarily that the Stuart was a bad tank for use against the Japanese. It would have been ideal for use on the continent, if the Japanese had ever attempted to attack or invade. Small, light, fast, well armed, reliable, it would have been a good vehicle considering the loading difficulties that narrow gauge railways in Queensland and central Australia had with heavier loads.

More non issues. There are no loading issues associated with Queensland railways. Narrow gauge or Cape gauge isn’t toy trains they carry the same loads as other trains. Just that the rails are closer together so they can turn sharper corners and cost less to install.
 
But they did not have many of either. AT defence was not given much emphasis by the Japanese. If, as you suggest they were "punishing to Allied medium tanks" they would have been "punishing to Allied lighter tanks" as well, so it would have made no difference, now would it?

Actually it doesn’t work that way. Light tanks would – and did – suffer *more* punishment from Japanese anti tank defence because they have less armour. Another non issue, based on the semantics of the adjective I used!
 
Why build them before? The allocation of resources would have slowed the build up of the small ships and aero industries. By the time full production had started - mid-late 1942, the "stabilisation" would have just been around the corner.

Because there was no supply of tanks available from the UK for the Australian armoured units! How many times do we have to cover this same material just because you don’t get it? Australian armoured units can’t be equipped with aircraft or small ships. The air force and navy didn’t seem to have a problem before 1942 with their plane and ship supply. The RAAF was actually saying no to RAF suggestions of transferring US contracts. The Navy was building the AMS in numbers faster than they could crew. Of course in hindsight it would have been better for these two services to be building fighters and torpedo boats in Australia in 1940-41 but they didn’t want to because they didn’t think they had the need. You should be thankful the Army established new tank production capability that could later be used to sustain the large allied landing craft fleet because otherwise such capability wouldn’t have existed.
 
Read them all. None of them pay particular attention to the economic issues. I recommend to you A.T. Ross, Armed &​ ready : the industrial development &​ defence of Australia, 1900-1945, Turton &​ Armstrong. Wahroonga, 1995. Moreover, A.T. Ross discusses at length the issues surrounding the Sentinel and its troublesome gestation and its intended usefulness.
 
 As the old adage goes, "amateurs study strategy, professionals study logistics" and by extension economics.

Ross’s arguments about the Sentinel are loaded by hindsight. I actually worked with the man during the time he wrote this book so it’s hardly new to me. I quoted those sources to make fun of your ridiculous claims about how the invasion threat was just some political issue not something to be taken seriously. That you changed the context is no surprise.
 
As to the surety or otherwise of a Japanese invasion, by late 1942 it was obvious the tide was turning and Japan was overstretched. By then, nearly all Australia's combat forces had returned (bar one Division) from the Middle East. They were battle-hardened, well trained and moderately well equipped for the very sort of battle an invasion would result in, one of manoeuvre in open countryside. Something the Japanese had been shown to be rather badly trained and equipped for at Khalkhin Gol. After the end of 1942, the Japanese were essentially on the defensive in the Pacific. It was the invasion scare of 1943 and the Defensive Strategy controversy which left many Australians with the mistaken belief as to what Japan's intentions were.

LOL. So you’re claiming that the improved security situation in late 1942/43 should have determined defence equipment decisions made in late 1941, early 1942? In early 1943 decisions were made to stop the Australian counter invasion preparations. To assume that a year previous the Government and Army leadership should have been aware things would be much better in a year or so is ridiculous. But why stop at Australia? Surely by this rational Churchill was just blowing smoke when he declared that they would fight them on the beaches? How much wasted resources were put into counter invasion defences in the UK in 1940? In Rickshaw/Kadija world that was all wasted effort…
« Last Edit: January 28, 2013, 01:58:41 am by Abraham Gubler »
"There is a tendency in our planning to confuse the unfamiliar with the improbable." Thomas Schelling

Offline Pioneer

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 1590
  • Seek out and close with the enemy
Re: Sentinel ACIV
« Reply #35 on: January 28, 2013, 01:27:34 am »
A couple of years ago, I took my son and his mate to Puckapunyal Armoured Museum, where took this photo of them in front of a SentinelOne thing that stood out to the boys was its cast construction method and the thickness of its armour!   RegardsPioneer
And remember…remember the glory is not the exhortation of war, but the exhortation of man.
Mans nobility, made transcendent in the fiery crucible of war.
Faithfulness and fortitude.
Gentleness and compassion.
I am honored to be your brother.”

— Lt Col Ralph Honner DSO M

Offline Abraham Gubler

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 3559
Re: Sentinel ACIV
« Reply #36 on: January 28, 2013, 01:36:26 am »
A couple of years ago, I took my son and his mate to Puckapunyal Armoured Museum, where took this photo of them in front of a SentinelOne thing that stood out to the boys was its cast construction method and the thickness of its armour!   RegardsPioneer

Great photos. The boys look the right size to be 'hull beast' crew.  :D
"There is a tendency in our planning to confuse the unfamiliar with the improbable." Thomas Schelling

Offline JFC Fuller

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 3103
Re: Sentinel ACIV
« Reply #37 on: January 28, 2013, 01:41:40 am »
I would like to see a source about the ACIII engine allowing certain cylinders to clutch out; I have only seen this claim made for the original ACI clover leaf configuration, it easy to see how that would have worked as each engine ran through its own clutch before reaching the transfer case, obviously that is not the case on the ACIII configuration. The base Cadillac and Gipsy motors may have been reliable but generally speaking, combining a collection of smaller motors tends not to enhance reliability- though there are of course very reliable multi-bank engines. The Meteor became a highly successful tank engine and offered 20% + more power than even the proposed Gipsy configuration.

Offline JFC Fuller

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 3103
Re: Sentinel ACIV
« Reply #38 on: January 28, 2013, 01:43:23 am »
Pioneer,

Great photos, thanks for posting. The flat-fronted ACIII configuration without the bow-gunner looks even better. :P

Offline Abraham Gubler

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 3559
Re: Sentinel ACIV
« Reply #39 on: January 28, 2013, 01:54:27 am »
 
I would like to see a source about the ACIII engine allowing certain cylinders to clutch out; I have only seen this claim made for the original ACI clover leaf configuration, it easy to see how that would have worked as each engine ran through its own clutch before reaching the transfer case, obviously that is not the case on the ACIII configuration.

Bad use of language on my behalf there were no separate clutches but each engine unit could still be turned on and off separately despite being mounted on a single case.
"There is a tendency in our planning to confuse the unfamiliar with the improbable." Thomas Schelling

Offline Abraham Gubler

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 3559
Re: Sentinel ACIV
« Reply #40 on: January 28, 2013, 02:19:30 am »
Here's a very bad scan (not my fault) of a blue print of the planned AC3 production tank. Has quite  different turret shape to the AC1.
"There is a tendency in our planning to confuse the unfamiliar with the improbable." Thomas Schelling

Offline robunos

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 1724
  • You're Mad, You Are.....
Re: Sentinel ACIV
« Reply #41 on: January 28, 2013, 09:26:00 am »
Quote
...AC Mk 2 was a design study only for a very different tank...

Does anyone have any more on this design......?

cheers,
            Robin.
Where ARE the Daleks when you need them......

Offline Kadija_Man

  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ***
  • Posts: 1856
Re: Sentinel ACIV
« Reply #42 on: January 28, 2013, 10:55:57 pm »
Quote
...AC Mk 2 was a design study only for a very different tank...

Does anyone have any more on this design......?

cheers,
            Robin.

A.T.Ross describes AC II as having been a much lighter armoured vehicle than AC I, based around IIRC the use of commercial truck mechanical components for the drive train and armed with a 2 Pdr.  He believed it would have been a much more useful and more easily built vehicle than what became the Sentinel.  However, he also notes the difficulties where other such vehicles attempted to use such drive trains in their design.

Offline Kadija_Man

  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ***
  • Posts: 1856
Re: Sentinel ACIV
« Reply #43 on: January 29, 2013, 12:07:45 am »
True but as Australia was operating invariably on second if not more often third-hand information about technical matters in the North African desert, it would have been worse. We were at the end of the intelligence food-chain, with reports arriving months, often years after they had been digested in London or Washington. Nor, unfortunately was our military bureaucracy noted for its speedy or necessarily wise decision making.

That is unsubstantiated and incorrect. Australian technical intelligence of the battlefield was supplied via the Australian Army’s independent command chain. Far from being behind the times Australia was as well informed of tank developments which is why the Sentinel was redesigned and updated at a rate faster than the British tank program.
 
Total numbers would still have been small. Our demand for tanks was small as we did not have a disproportionate number of armoured units and formations which required them. Therefore, unit cost would have been higher than a comparable vehicle imported from the US or even the UK, even taking into account transport costs.

Small as in several thousand if full rate production had gone ahead in 1942-45 (planed rate of 70 per month)? Small by Soviet, American or British standards but not uneconomic which was your initial point. Gross cost may have been higher thanks to Australia having to pay for establishment of the production facilities - a cost not passed on via Allied production - but unit cost to build would be comparable. This is another unsubstantiated non argument.

It is noted in several works that a great deal of technical intelligence came from London to Australia, from the Middle East or Europe.  Be it on enemy aircraft, armoured vehicles or ships.  The AIF HQ in the Middle-East liased closely with their counterparts in the British HQ but those counterparts often produced only initial reports based upon their examination of captured equipment, whereas the War Office produced its own reports which were more wide ranging.   I don't have references to hand but I am sure I've read that in several technical books that "information received" was often months, sometimes years after the event.

Quote

You're forgetting that until 1941, the entrance to the Red Sea was contested by Italy. All it needed was for Germany to reinforce Ethiopia with Luftwaffe units and the Red Sea would have been closed.

Ahh so then how did the North African forces get their logistics from the UK? It certainly didn’t come via the Mediterranean or over land via the Sudan.

Well, to reach Sudan, they'd have to transit the entrance to the Red Sea anyway.  How did they do it?  By running the gauntlet.  Not that it was that much of a gauntlet I admit.  Air cover was provided from Aden by the RAF.  Even so, the Italians had several ships and submarines based in the Horn of Africa, as well as many aircraft.

Quote
It all came up the Red Sea, after having gone around the Cape, past Italy’s rapidly collapsing East African Front. Another non-issue, non-logical to if you’d bothered to think about it rather than leap at any factoid that may appear to batter my opinions.

A "rapidly collapsing East African front" that I would point out lasted until November 1941 (with the Allied campaign therein lasting from June 1940 to November 1941).   Didn't appear to all that rapid, really, although the final stages I admit, were pretty quick.  So, effectively we had a window of less than a month between the collapse of the Italians in the Horn of Africa to when the war with the Japanese began, when supplies were unlikely to be molested (except of course by the occasional German raider) in the Indian Ocean.

Quote

I would contend that was a poor choice of vehicle for that terrain, not necessarily that the Stuart was a bad tank for use against the Japanese. It would have been ideal for use on the continent, if the Japanese had ever attempted to attack or invade. Small, light, fast, well armed, reliable, it would have been a good vehicle considering the loading difficulties that narrow gauge railways in Queensland and central Australia had with heavier loads.

More non issues. There are no loading issues associated with Queensland railways. Narrow gauge or Cape gauge isn’t toy trains they carry the same loads as other trains. Just that the rails are closer together so they can turn sharper corners and cost less to install.

Wheel loading on trains and rail bed construction though, is.   Narrow gauge trains have much lower loading limits for that very reason.  The very reason why narrow gauge was adopted in Australia - cheapness - ensured that they could not carry as much load as either standard or broad gauge.   Such factors must be considered when undertaking such study.  The end result would be that twice as many flat trucks would be required, per unit load as only one medium tank could be carried as against two lighter tanks.   

Quote
But they did not have many of either. AT defence was not given much emphasis by the Japanese. If, as you suggest they were "punishing to Allied medium tanks" they would have been "punishing to Allied lighter tanks" as well, so it would have made no difference, now would it?

Actually it doesn’t work that way. Light tanks would – and did – suffer *more* punishment from Japanese anti tank defence because they have less armour. Another non issue, based on the semantics of the adjective I used!

BUT as I pointed out, AT defence was a lower priority with the Japanese because they had not encountered large numbers of armoured vehicles in their wars in Asia. Even when they had, as at Khalkhyn Gol, no higher priority was placed on it.  This meant that tanks were less likely to meet an AT gun or an Artillery piece which had been re-rolled to AT duties.  As these could be easily outflanked and overrun in the broad, open spaces of Australia than they could in the narrow confines of the Tropical Rainforests of the Pacific Islands, light tanks would IMO have been sufficient, if used in large numbers to attack and defeat Japanese forces - exactly as the Russians had done at Khalkhyn Gol.

The Japanese were not supermen.  They were in many ways even more fallible than most in their belief in their racial and moral superiority, which led them to be more rigid in their adherence to their set piece tactics.

Quote

Why build them before? The allocation of resources would have slowed the build up of the small ships and aero industries. By the time full production had started - mid-late 1942, the "stabilisation" would have just been around the corner.

Because there was no supply of tanks available from the UK for the Australian armoured units! How many times do we have to cover this same material just because you don’t get it? Australian armoured units can’t be equipped with aircraft or small ships. The air force and navy didn’t seem to have a problem before 1942 with their plane and ship supply. The RAAF was actually saying no to RAF suggestions of transferring US contracts. The Navy was building the AMS in numbers faster than they could crew. Of course in hindsight it would have been better for these two services to be building fighters and torpedo boats in Australia in 1940-41 but they didn’t want to because they didn’t think they had the need. You should be thankful the Army established new tank production capability that could later be used to sustain the large allied landing craft fleet because otherwise such capability wouldn’t have existed.

Tanks did come from the UK and in numbers.  Not directly from the UK but from British stocks in the Middle-East as the older Matilda and M3 Lee/Grants as they were replaced by newer vehicles.  M3 mediums also came directly from the USA.  The M3 was a potent vehicle compared to the Japanese tanks and performed more than adequately when deployed against the Japanese in Burma.

As for the establishment of the tank lines - you are partially correct.  However, as you yourself note, their value came not when they produced tanks but rather small craft.  Small craft which were the lynchpin of the advance through the islands.

Quote

Read them all. None of them pay particular attention to the economic issues. I recommend to you A.T. Ross, Armed &​ ready : the industrial development &​ defence of Australia, 1900-1945, Turton &​ Armstrong. Wahroonga, 1995. Moreover, A.T. Ross discusses at length the issues surrounding the Sentinel and its troublesome gestation and its intended usefulness.
 
 As the old adage goes, "amateurs study strategy, professionals study logistics" and by extension economics.

Ross’s arguments about the Sentinel are loaded by hindsight. I actually worked with the man during the time he wrote this book so it’s hardly new to me. I quoted those sources to make fun of your ridiculous claims about how the invasion threat was just some political issue not something to be taken seriously. That you changed the context is no surprise.

That is your opinion.  I beg to differ.  I note that you did not mention it, despite it having an extensive discussion of the very vehicle we are talking about.  Perhaps you merely disagreed with his conclusions?  I don't.

Quote

As to the surety or otherwise of a Japanese invasion, by late 1942 it was obvious the tide was turning and Japan was overstretched. By then, nearly all Australia's combat forces had returned (bar one Division) from the Middle East. They were battle-hardened, well trained and moderately well equipped for the very sort of battle an invasion would result in, one of manoeuvre in open countryside. Something the Japanese had been shown to be rather badly trained and equipped for at Khalkhin Gol. After the end of 1942, the Japanese were essentially on the defensive in the Pacific. It was the invasion scare of 1943 and the Defensive Strategy controversy which left many Australians with the mistaken belief as to what Japan's intentions were.

LOL. So you’re claiming that the improved security situation in late 1942/43 should have determined defence equipment decisions made in late 1941, early 1942?

The decisions in late 1941, early 1942 should have been made in light of the knowledge that Australia was not going to be "unprotected" and that the war in the Western Desert was looking more firmly to be moving towards the defeat of the Axis.   There are no sureties, I agree but what was required was calm consideration, not panicky decisions to build a tank which was not going to be required for the situation likely to be facing Australia in either the near for far future.

Quote
In early 1943 decisions were made to stop the Australian counter invasion preparations. To assume that a year previous the Government and Army leadership should have been aware things would be much better in a year or so is ridiculous. But why stop at Australia? Surely by this rational Churchill was just blowing smoke when he declared that they would fight them on the beaches? How much wasted resources were put into counter invasion defences in the UK in 1940? In Rickshaw/Kadija world that was all wasted effort…

The threat of invasion had receded by late 1942.  Bureacracy sometimes has an inertia all its own.

Offline Abraham Gubler

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 3559
Re: Sentinel ACIV
« Reply #44 on: January 29, 2013, 03:31:05 am »
 
It is noted in several works that a great deal of technical intelligence came from London to Australia, from the Middle East or Europe. Be it on enemy aircraft, armoured vehicles or ships. The AIF HQ in the Middle-East liased closely with their counterparts in the British HQ but those counterparts often produced only initial reports based upon their examination of captured equipment, whereas the War Office produced its own reports which were more wide ranging. I don't have references to hand but I am sure I've read that in several technical books that "information received" was often months, sometimes years after the event.

Of course most technical intel came from London they were involved in a lot more of the war than Australia! It’s also common for a lot of it to be late in reaching the required reader but that’s the nature of the beast not an exclusive Australian problem. But it’s a total non-issue to claim that marques of Sentinel would be behind the times because it was built in Australia and Australian’s didn’t know what was going on. They did and they updated the requirements for Sentinel accordingly on a similar if not better timetable than the British.
 
Well, to reach Sudan, they'd have to transit the entrance to the Red Sea anyway. How did they do it? By running the gauntlet. Not that it was that much of a gauntlet I admit. Air cover was provided from Aden by the RAF. Even so, the Italians had several ships and submarines based in the Horn of Africa, as well as many aircraft.

Why do you keep pushing this dead horse? The issue was lines of communication to North Africa from Australia were better than lines of communication to North Africa from Great Britain going around the Cape of Good Hope. Both lines have to pass up the Red Sea. Whatever is going on there effects both. You brought up the East African campaign as some deal breaker in my line of reasoning that Australia offered better supply lines. It didn’t so just give up already and allow the thread to move along.
 
Wheel loading on trains and rail bed construction though, is.

Which is why narrow gauge rails and beds in Australia and South Africa is built to standard gauge standards. The cheapness came in not having to make wider corners and all the required cuttings and the like. You quite clearly don’t know enough about railways to be making informed comment and are just making false arguments for an issue that didn’t exist. Breaks in gauge of course were (and are) a major impediment to Australian rail transport but loading weight is a non issue.
 
BUT as I pointed out, AT defence was a lower priority with the Japanese because they had not encountered large numbers of armoured vehicles in their wars in Asia. Even when they had, as at Khalkhyn Gol, no higher priority was placed on it. This meant that tanks were less likely to meet an AT gun or an Artillery piece which had been re-rolled to AT duties. As these could be easily outflanked and overrun in the broad, open spaces of Australia than they could in the narrow confines of the Tropical Rainforests of the Pacific Islands, light tanks would IMO have been sufficient, if used in large numbers to attack and defeat Japanese forces - exactly as the Russians had done at Khalkhyn Gol.

So your argument is light tanks were adequate for continental defence. But my point was entirely about the Pacific Islands Campaign. Your context jumping is legendary.
 
Tanks did come from the UK and in numbers. Not directly from the UK but from British stocks in the Middle-East as the older Matilda and M3 Lee/Grants as they were replaced by newer vehicles. M3 mediums also came directly from the USA. The M3 was a potent vehicle compared to the Japanese tanks and performed more than adequately when deployed against the Japanese in Burma.

These tanks didn’t exist in 1940 and were not available for Australia in 1941. This was when the decision to go ahead with the Australian Cruiser program was launched. At that time the British had said no tanks are available. Lend-lease, American entry into the way, rapid modernisation (and obsolescence of tank fleets), high risk of an invasion of Australia and two bloody years all changed this situation. Which was the context again of this point – why was the program launched in the first place.
 
I note that you did not mention it, despite it having an extensive discussion of the very vehicle we are talking about. Perhaps you merely disagreed with his conclusions? I don't.

Do you know what the word “context” means? I didn’t list that book because it was not about the issue under discussion. Which was your ridiculous claims that the threat of invasion to Australia in 1942 was a non-issue. Ross’s book is about Australian defence industry policy from 1900 to 1945! And it does spend quite some time talking about the great efforts put into place to counter the risk of invasion in 1942. But is not a strategic appreciation of the Pacific War in the Australian Theatre at this time or any other.
 
The threat of invasion had receded by late 1942. Bureacracy sometimes has an inertia all its own.
 

Well they still had the combat power to launch a full scale invasion of Darwin or Perth or somewhere in between by Japanese risk appetites. Of course with the full benefit of hindsight knowing their precarious state – strategic intelligence that only became fully apparent after the war – such an attack would have consumed the last of their offensive resources which they wanted to keep in reserve.
 
But I’m glad you’ve seen the light and reassessed your invasion threat assessment from “domestic political campaign” to something more realistic. I wonder how long the rest of your opinions will take to catch up to reality.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2013, 03:51:48 am by Abraham Gubler »
"There is a tendency in our planning to confuse the unfamiliar with the improbable." Thomas Schelling