British Self Propelled Rocket Artilleries

Tzoli

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My question:
Did the british ever developed or made designs or proposals of Self Propelled Rocket Artillery vehicles similar to the German Panzerwerfers, Soviet Katyushas and the US Calliope? Like mounting the Land Mattress or for an surface to surface use of Unrotated Projectiles on existing Tanks or weapon carriers?

I know of the British US Sherman Tulip but two missiles can't really be considered as a real SP R ART.
 

Rickshaw

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Yes. It was called LCT(R):



Carried up to 1,000 rockets.
 

Jemiba

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Kadija_Man said:
..
Carried up to 1,000 rockets.

But not very useful on the North German Plains, I'm afraid ! ;)
 

Tzoli

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Jemiba said:
Kadija_Man said:
..
Carried up to 1,000 rockets.

But not very useful on the North German Plains, I'm afraid ! ;)

Yep.

I'm looking like a Churchill or the Cruiser Tanks equipped with Missile launchers or artillery tractors/trucks with them if there were any proposals of such vehicles.
 

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Grey Havoc

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I believe there may have been at one least attempt at developing a self-propelled Z Battery projector, certainly there were mobile examples:

Mobile_Z_battery_1941_IWM_H_10791.jpg

Description:
IWM caption : Royal Artillerymen at a 'Z' Battery load 4-inch anti-aircraft rockets into a mobile launcher.
Comment : These are actually 3-inch rockets.
[IMAGE CREDIT: Imperial War Museum collections, via Wikimedia Commons]​
 

robunos

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From the book linked to above :-

"During this period, the Regiment [XII Manitoba Dragoons] began a series of experiments to improve the firepower of its Staghounds. The most critical need was for more HE firepower...The Regiment was also aware of attempts to mount aircraft rockets on tank turrets, known as 'Tulips', and decided to try the same approach on the Staghound. Some rockets and launch rails were obtained from an RCAF Typhoon squadron and mounted on a Staghound turret with two launchers on either side. Test firings and a demostration were conducted in November/December 1944. The rockets were not especially accurate at long range, and at short range the fuse often failed to detonate the warhead.
Canadian Military Headquarters [then] sponsored an effort in Britain by No1 Canadian Base Workshop to adapt The Land Mattress artillery rockets to the Staghound turret. This placed four rockets in box launchers on either siude of the turret. The main problem with this arrangement was that the backblast from the rockets was so severe that it damaged the rear mudguards."


cheers,
Robin.
 

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Tzoli

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Ahh something like this what I search, but I see the British did not have developed that kind of SP R artillery that the other nations with such weapons. What a shame.
Do these Rocket equipped Staghounds have some kind of official Designation?
 

Rickshaw

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I think you'll find that officially the Army's view was that when you had AGRA, you had no need for rockets.

The LCT(R) was different, the idea being that massive, simultaneous bombardment was required and the LCT(R) was the cheapest and most effective manner to achieve it during a seaborne landing. It was also promoted by the Navy, not the Army.
 

Jemiba

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IIRC, one of the main tasks of the LTC(R) was to deal with the landmines
at the invasion beaches. Just a myth ?
 

Rickshaw

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Jemiba said:
IIRC, one of the main tasks of the LTC(R) was to deal with the landmines
at the invasion beaches. Just a myth ?

They may have hoped they would but weren't expecting them to be 100% successful, hence the creation of the various "Funnies" intended to deal specifically with mines - rollers, ploughs and flails. The problem more than likely would have been that the rockets wouldn't have set the mines off, just thrown them around, which is what has always been found to happen with efforts to clear mine fields with artillery. Hence the invention of Conger, Giant Viper, MICLIC, etc., which are intended to create massive over-pressures which set the mines off.
 

CJGibson

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Speaking of massive overpressures to set off mines, did I dream about reading of a plan in the mid-90s to use surplus USAF F111s for mine clearance? They were to fly at high-speed and low-altitude over minefields in Angola to trigger the mines. Or had I been reading the Grauniad again?

Chris
 

Tzoli

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Kadija_Man said:
I think you'll find that officially the Army's view was that when you had AGRA, you had no need for rockets.

The LCT(R) was different, the idea being that massive, simultaneous bombardment was required and the LCT(R) was the cheapest and most effective manner to achieve it during a seaborne landing. It was also promoted by the Navy, not the Army.

AGRA?
 

Tzoli

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Kadija_Man said:
Yes. It was called LCT(R):

Carried up to 1,000 rockets.

Well technically yes an SP RART but is not a land vehicle but a ship. With this designation everything moving is an SP ART from Gunboats to Carriers.
 

xiaofan

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This may not be a self propelled system, but it is an British system.
 

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Tzoli

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The Land Matresses are well known and in the first post I noted them too as well as the UP system

I was thinking something like a Churchill or Crusader equipped with Rocket launchers like the Australians equipped the Matilda II with mortars with the case of Matilda Hedgehog:
matilda-hedgehog04a.jpg

But now I think about it it would be easier to modify this vehicle to accept the Land Mattress Rockets too!
 

Avimimus

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It is too bad this thread is only about British projects... I've always been curious about the rocket equipped T-70...
 

Tzoli

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Avimimus said:
It is too bad this thread is only about British projects... I've always been curious about the rocket equipped T-70...

Why not create a thread then? And what is wrong asking something that looks like missing from the allies side?
 

Rickshaw

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Tzoli said:
The Land Matresses are well known and in the first post I noted them too as well as the UP system

I was thinking something like a Churchill or Crusader equipped with Rocket launchers like the Australians equipped the Matilda II with mortars with the case of Matilda Hedgehog...

But now I think about it it would be easier to modify this vehicle to accept the Land Mattress Rockets too!

Only one Mathilda Hedgehog was built. The war ended before it could be used. As to equipping Mathildas with Land Mattress, the only place still usng Mathildas by that time operationally was Australia in the SW Pacific. The British had sent all theirs either to be melted down or to Australia. The Mathilda Hedgehog was, as you note, a mortar, not a rocket, by the way.
 

Rickshaw

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Jemiba said:
Tzoli said:

Army Group Royal Artillery

http://nigelef.tripod.com/maindoc.htm

AGRA - whereby an entire Army Group (consisting of several Corps) artillery was controlled by one FO and directed onto one target. It was, by all accounts terrifying to experience such a shoot - both as the FO and as the target. Literally, every gun in range, within the Army Group was placed under the FO's command and he would then direct it onto the required target(s). You didn't need bombardment rockets when several thousand guns, from Field through to Heavy Regiments all fired at your command.
 

JFC Fuller

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This is bit outside the time-frame you guys have been discussing but it is UK related. In 1974/5 the UK cancelled its involvement in the RS80 artillery rocket system following the expenditure of £4.5 million, this project apparently began in 1970. RS80 was a collaborative programme with Italy and Germany much like SP70 and FH70.

Prior to that the UK was working on its own system, possibly called "Foil" though I have no further information at this time.
 
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Tzoli

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Do somebody know the Official designation of the Land Mattress Rocket equipped M6 Staghounds???
 

Apophenia

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Tzoli said:
Do somebody know the Official designation of the Land Mattress Rocket equipped M6 Staghounds???

That Staghound Land Mattress installation was created by 1 Canadian Base Workshop, RCEME (as an alternative to the 60lb RP). As a depot level conversion, would it receive a special designation?
 

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If it was a static depot it might and should, if this was a depot that deployed in the field and moved then I doubt it, because anybody who moved in the field tended to burn lots of paperwork all the time rather then have ever expanding piles of classified trash ect... this is unfortunately why we lack so many records of a generally well documented war.
 

Rickshaw

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Sea Skimmer said:
If it was a static depot it might and should, if this was a depot that deployed in the field and moved then I doubt it, because anybody who moved in the field tended to burn lots of paperwork all the time rather then have ever expanding piles of classified trash ect... this is unfortunately why we lack so many records of a generally well documented war.

"Wartime Accounting" doesn't actually produce paperwork - at all.
 

Apophenia

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Sea Skimmer said:
If it was a static depot it might and should, if this was a depot that deployed in the field and moved then I doubt it ...

AFAIK, 1 CBW was static (somewhere in Kent) during that period. You might get lucky Tzoli ;D
 

Tzoli

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Apophenia said:
Sea Skimmer said:
If it was a static depot it might and should, if this was a depot that deployed in the field and moved then I doubt it ...

AFAIK, 1 CBW was static (somewhere in Kent) during that period. You might get lucky Tzoli ;D

To get the full designation name? :)
 

acorning

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Landmattress equipped a handfull of Light AA batteries in the final months of the war in NW Europe. Its short range and considerable dispersion meant that it was not taken on by the post-war army.

IIRC FOIL came about because there was some sort of advance in venturi design that was thought to reduce dispersion sufficiently to make MRLs worthwhile. RS-80 was ended because it became blindly obvious that MLRS was going to be much better - the pods were a game changer.
 

Tzoli

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acorning said:
Landmattress equipped a handfull of Light AA batteries in the final months of the war in NW Europe. Its short range and considerable dispersion meant that it was not taken on by the post-war army.

IIRC FOIL came about because there was some sort of advance in venturi design that was thought to reduce dispersion sufficiently to make MRLs worthwhile. RS-80 was ended because it became blindly obvious that MLRS was going to be much better - the pods were a game changer.

???
Am I the only one who feels this post is not meant here?
 

acorning

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Unfortunately a long time ago and I've no idea. However the files should be in NA Kew by now.
 

PMN1

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JFC Fuller said:
Hi,

My first post here. This is bit outside the time-frame you guys have been discussing but it is UK related. In 1974/5 the UK cancelled its involvement in the RS80 artillery rocket system following the expenditure of £4.5 million, this project apparently began in 1970. RS80 was a collaborative programme with Italy and Germany much like SP70 and FH70.

Prior to that the UK was working on its own system, possibly called "Foil" though I have no further information at this time.

Do you know who Foil was being developed by and which companies were involved in RS80?
 

Abraham Gubler

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Kadija_Man said:
AGRA - whereby an entire Army Group (consisting of several Corps) artillery was controlled by one FO and directed onto one target. It was, by all accounts terrifying to experience such a shoot - both as the FO and as the target. Literally, every gun in range, within the Army Group was placed under the FO's command and he would then direct it onto the required target(s). You didn't need bombardment rockets when several thousand guns, from Field through to Heavy Regiments all fired at your command.

This is a bizarre account.

The AGRA (Army Group Royal Artillery) was a brigade sized formation that was established mid-way in WWII to replace the HQ of the Commander, Corps Medium and Heavy Artillery (CCMHA) who became the Commander, AGRA (CAGRA). The realisation being that the various corps level general support artillery regiments needed an administration headquarters in addition to their operational one and the capacity to rotate between operations like other formations and be combined in effort under direction of the MGRA (Major General ,Royal Artillery: the Army level artillery commander). It had nothing to do with the combined artillery of an army group beyond the similarity in nomenclature.

It was also impossible for all of the artillery of an army group (six corps artilleries, 18 division artilleries) to be combined onto one target due to geographic separation. I don’t know of a single case in WWII where upwards of 20 divisions were concentrated within 10-20km of each other. Also when a Fire Mission was either planned or called for an AGRA it came through the fire direction centre of a corps so was called a “Fire Mission Corps”. No such thing as a “Fire Mission AGRA”. Fire Mission Corps remains the highest level of fire mission that I know of after Fire Missions Battery, Regiment and Division. Fire Mission Corps could however concentrate as much as 300-400 guns on a single frontage so was pretty fearsome.

Further the AGRA was not a unique concept being basically the same as the field artillery brigades in the US Army and the artillery divisions in the Red Army. And it certainly never supplanted rocket artillery. Multiple Rocket Launchers (MRL) have a welcome place in any army’s artillery that has access to them. The pre MLRS generation of weapons provided a more efficient way of providing concentrated fires over a short period of time compared to gun and howitzer artillery. There were drawbacks of course and they could not provide sustained fires or targeting flexibility. The MLRS generation did away with some of the drawbacks like the long time to reload and the lack of targeting flexibility. If you have a target or a fire plan that requires a large amount of fires to be laid onto a target in a short period of time the MRLs will be better at doing it than tube artillery.

To understand the importance of MRLs the name used to describe the RS-80 in most contemporary accounts was “Battlefield Saturation Weapon”. The idea being a single launcher could lay down in one salvo the same firepower of two or more regiments of tube artillery. A single M270 MRLS can laydown as many DPICM submunitions onto a target as 88 155mm guns…
 

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This sounds like a bit of confusion with the army level time on target concept, which was used from time to time by US and British forces and introduced around the time of the breakout from the Gustav line in 1944. It took around an hour to work out all the required calculations and and synchronize firing times. The targets were also typically very large themselves, like an entire fortified town and flanking defenses, with each battalion having a specific aimpoint. The main reason behind the invention of this tactic seems to have been that allied forces in Italy had been stripped of most heavy and all very heavy artillery to support Overlord.
 

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There is a picture in David Fletcher's 'Universal Tank' of a 1945 Coldstream Guards Sherman with a Typhoon RP on a rail on each side of the turret.

According to Fletcher, they were equivalent in size to a 75mm shell with a 60lb wahead. By trial and error the maximum range was around 800 yards but it would hit anything in the way at 400 yards and was quite effective.

They didn't get a chance to test them on a tank though........
 

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See Fletcher's book on the Firefly. Shows Fireflies fitted with 3" RPs and the setup was called 'Tulip'. I think it was used for bunker busting and must have been spectacular to watch.

Chris
 

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Abraham Gubler said:
This is a bizarre account.

The AGRA (Army Group Royal Artillery) was a brigade sized formation that was established mid-way in WWII to replace the HQ of the Commander, Corps Medium and Heavy Artillery (CCMHA) who became the Commander, AGRA (CAGRA). The realisation being that the various corps level general support artillery regiments needed an administration headquarters in addition to their operational one and the capacity to rotate between operations like other formations and be combined in effort under direction of the MGRA (Major General ,Royal Artillery: the Army level artillery commander). It had nothing to do with the combined artillery of an army group beyond the similarity in nomenclature.

It was also impossible for all of the artillery of an army group (six corps artilleries, 18 division artilleries) to be combined onto one target due to geographic separation. I don’t know of a single case in WWII where upwards of 20 divisions were concentrated within 10-20km of each other. Also when a Fire Mission was either planned or called for an AGRA it came through the fire direction centre of a corps so was called a “Fire Mission Corps”. No such thing as a “Fire Mission AGRA”. Fire Mission Corps remains the highest level of fire mission that I know of after Fire Missions Battery, Regiment and Division. Fire Mission Corps could however concentrate as much as 300-400 guns on a single frontage so was pretty fearsome.

Certainly bizarre, but some minor corrections, in WW1 he was CCHA, after that war he became CCMA. He was never CCMHA.

The CCMA commanded the corps' medium arty (only two regts 'organic'), and had a 'brigade staff', extra regts could be assigned. Generally these organic regts were probably most used by the CBO (part of the CCMA's staff), and neither the CCMA nor CCRA had the capability to order concentraions against opportunity targets (not least because the all important efficient communication procedures hadn't been invented), although they could obviously issue orders for deliberate fire plans, as had been done on a vast scale in WW1.

AGRAs were created about the same time that the 'Commander's Representative' system was introduced. This never needed or had an FDC, furthermore the modern terminology of 'Fire Mission * * *' wasn't used by UK in WW2. The order for a corps opportunity concentration was 'Victor Target, Victor Target, Victor Target'. An AGRA target was 'Yoke Target, Yoke Target, Yoke Target', but Yoke wasn't in the original Comds Rep procedures. Officially Army concentrations never existed, not least because there was no 'ACRA', he was a BRA ie a staff officer not a commander. In essence the CCRA, CRA, CAGRA appointed 'representatives' (including AOP pilots) who had the authority to order fire, not request it as in the US FDC system.

The difference between 'order' and 'request' is the key and not always properly understood, requests involved a lot more radio traffic and hence took a lot longer (never mind pontification by the FDC, although in UK arty HQs the BMRA worked fast). Orders were brief and slick, hence usable by AOPs.

http://nigelef.tripod.com/p_massfire.htm is helpful
 

JFC Fuller

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The project waned until 1962 when a third modification to the requirement extended the range of the nuclear warhead to 25,000 metres. The considerable range required was to be from a rocket motor once the ballistic launch had achieved high acceleration. The shell fillings that were considered included HE blast/fragmentation designs, sub-projectiles/flechettes, shaped charges, smoke, warhead-sown mines and non-lethal chemical weapons. Depending on the size of warhead a rate of fire of 4 to 7 rounds a minute was expected when mounted on a Chieftain.

To increase rate of fire further a multi-barrel rocket was proposed for mounting on an Abbot chassis. Twelve rockets would be fired from two multi-barrelled launchers mounted on either side of the vehicle. To give an amphibious capability a Stalwart would carry a single launcher with 36 rockets. A Bedford RL would carry a single barrel launcher with 24 rockets. A long wheel base Land Rover would carry a single barrel launcher and carry 2 rockets, with a total weight of 5,000 lb. it would have an airportable role. Quickfire faded into obscurity as the development of Swingfire progressed.

This sounds a lot like an early version of Foil - which according to Jane's reports from the late 1970s began in the early 1960s though the described launcher is very different to the one seen on the MICV chassis I posted here: https://www.secretprojects.co.uk/threads/british-chobham-armour-micv.13467/#post-199768

Source: https://www.shorlandsite.com/images/LandRoversMissilesElliott.pdf
 

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