Alternative History Armoured Fighting Vehicles Part 3

...and the re-armed M1921. A bit of a hulking monster for not much bang but a good enough re-use of an obsolete vehicle...

View attachment 651297
This looks good, too. I had initially been thinking more along the lines of the M1921's original cylindrical turret, but this is probably a better representation of what a conversion in 1932 would look like.
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This gives a good idea of the size of the tank and the turret. The gun here is the original Hotchkiss 6-pdr, which was the same gun and mounting as on the British WWI heavy tanks. It was shoulder-stabilized and could be moved up and down as well as left and right inside the turret mantlet.
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This is the tank, possibly the same vehicle, with a 75 mm M1920 pack howitzer in the same turret design. The barrel is on top and the recoil cylinder on the bottom. I don't know how this gun was mounted and aimed within the turret.

Like the difference between the British 18-pdr and 25-pdr guns, the US 3-inch M1902 gun and the 75 mm M116 howitzer had very similar but not identical shells.
- 75 x 272 mm with 87 mm rim, firing 6.8 kg shell at 380 m/s
- 76 x 273 mm with 88 mm rim, firing 6.8 kg shell at 518 m/s

My version of the M116 howitzer here uses the 3-inch case, which matches the existing stock of 3-inch field, mobile, and tank guns. I don't know if the difference in muzzle velocity was due exclusively to the shorter barrel (L/18 vs L/27) or due to reduced chamber pressure and a lighter loading.
 
This looks good, too. I had initially been thinking more along the lines of the M1921's original cylindrical turret, but this is probably a better representation of what a conversion in 1932 would look like.

This gives a good idea of the size of the tank and the turret. The gun here is the original Hotchkiss 6-pdr, which was the same gun and mounting as on the British WWI heavy tanks. It was shoulder-stabilized and could be moved up and down as well as left and right inside the turret mantlet.

This is the tank, possibly the same vehicle, with a 75 mm M1920 pack howitzer in the same turret design. The barrel is on top and the recoil cylinder on the bottom. I don't know how this gun was mounted and aimed within the turret.

Like the difference between the British 18-pdr and 25-pdr guns, the US 3-inch M1902 gun and the 75 mm M116 howitzer had very similar but not identical shells.
- 75 x 272 mm with 87 mm rim, firing 6.8 kg shell at 380 m/s
- 76 x 273 mm with 88 mm rim, firing 6.8 kg shell at 518 m/s

My version of the M116 howitzer here uses the 3-inch case, which matches the existing stock of 3-inch field, mobile, and tank guns. I don't know if the difference in muzzle velocity was due exclusively to the shorter barrel (L/18 vs L/27) or due to reduced chamber pressure and a lighter loading.

My thoughts were that the new open topped turret would better facilitate the maximum effectiveness of the howitzer’s high elevation fire. I am also working on a suitable halftrack APC based on the US 1931 M1 armoured car.
 
My version of the M116 howitzer here uses the 3-inch case, which matches the existing stock of 3-inch field, mobile, and tank guns. I don't know if the difference in muzzle velocity was due exclusively to the shorter barrel (L/18 vs L/27) or due to reduced chamber pressure and a lighter loading.
Usually both, higher chamber pressures tend to require longer barrels to make use of them.
 
I am planning to introduce five new vehicles in 1932.

4. Armored halftrack
I need a vehicle to carry infantry for the Fusilier Regiments that are part of the mechanized Cavalry Brigades. The German Maultier half-track concept used existing trucks with a suspension derived ultimately from the Vickers light tanks and light dragons and very similar to the T16 carriers. I think it would technically (maybe not fiscally) be possible to put a vehicle like that, with an armored body, into production in the early 1930s.

...and here is my take on a 1932 halftrack APC. It is based on the OTL US 1931 M1 6x4 Armoured Car and will be somewhat familiar to those who followed the old Cupola Dreams thread as I adapted it from a design I did there.

Edit: The nose of my halftrack may look slightly long but it is, in fact, the same length as the later M3/5 half tracks which were themselves influenced by the M1 Armoured Car. The spare wheels, which were on both sides, were attached on free spinning mounts as an aid to stop the vehicle bottoming out. The biggest drawback was that, like many of its German counterparts, the front wheels were not powered and therefore only assisted in steering rather than being an additional source of traction.

1932 Halftrack APC.png
 
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300px-American_M1_Armored_Car.jpg
300px-BA-3_soviet_armoured_car.jpg
300px-BA-27M_in_the_Kubinka_Museum.jpg
250px-SovietArmouredVehicle.jpg


The Cunningham M1 scout car bears a very strong resemblance to the Soviet line of 6x4 armored cars on the Ford-Timken light truck chassis. Everything I've seen indicates that John Cunningham & Sons in Rochester were making their own chassis and certainly their own engines. It's still 1932, so there's very little apparent reason to go with a gun larger than a Browning M2.
...and here is my take on a 1932 halftrack APC. It is based on the OTL US 1931 M1 4x6 Armoured Car and will be somewhat familiar to those who followed the old Cupola Dreams thread as I adapted it from a design I did there.

Edit: The nose of my halftrack may look slightly long but it is, in fact, the same length as the later M3/5 half tracks which were themselves influenced by the M1 Armoured Car. The spare wheels, which were on both sides, were attached on free spinning mounts as an aid to stop the vehicle bottoming out. The biggest drawback was that, like many of their German counterparts, the front wheels were not powered and therefore only assisted in steering rather than being an additional source of traction.

View attachment 651506
What is the rear tracked suspension from? It looks like two road wheels on leaf springs. The contact patch for the track unit looks very short, but I imagine it uses the Whippet strategy of sinking in to extend the contact patch.
This is closer to the size and suspension I was thinking of, but the engine does create an issue. The Opel Blitz 3.6, including the Maultier and the Sd. Kfz. 4, had a 220 ci V-6 making 75 hp. For the Sd. Kfz. 4, this comes out to about 10 hp/ton. The Cunningham armored car had Cunningham's 479 ci V-8 making 132 hp. For the armored car, this put the PWR at about 25 hp/ton and the top speed at 55 mph; a half-track version would be slower.

It looks like the cargo compartment on the Cunningham is about 7 feet long, so I am concerned that it might struggle to fit even 8 troops on side benches. On the flip side, the Maultier Schutzenpanzerwagen here has a 12 foot rear compartment and could probably fit up to 15 troops considering WWII load factors, so I don't need a vehicle that big. I am looking for about 10 troops plus equipment, which I think the M3 halftrack is about the optimal size for with a 9 foot compartment.
 
300px-American_M1_Armored_Car.jpg
300px-BA-3_soviet_armoured_car.jpg
300px-BA-27M_in_the_Kubinka_Museum.jpg
250px-SovietArmouredVehicle.jpg


The Cunningham M1 scout car bears a very strong resemblance to the Soviet line of 6x4 armored cars on the Ford-Timken light truck chassis. Everything I've seen indicates that John Cunningham & Sons in Rochester were making their own chassis and certainly their own engines. It's still 1932, so there's very little apparent reason to go with a gun larger than a Browning M2.

What is the rear tracked suspension from? It looks like two road wheels on leaf springs. The contact patch for the track unit looks very short, but I imagine it uses the Whippet strategy of sinking in to extend the contact patch.

This is closer to the size and suspension I was thinking of, but the engine does create an issue. The Opel Blitz 3.6, including the Maultier and the Sd. Kfz. 4, had a 220 ci V-6 making 75 hp. For the Sd. Kfz. 4, this comes out to about 10 hp/ton. The Cunningham armored car had Cunningham's 479 ci V-8 making 132 hp. For the armored car, this put the PWR at about 25 hp/ton and the top speed at 55 mph; a half-track version would be slower.

It looks like the cargo compartment on the Cunningham is about 7 feet long, so I am concerned that it might struggle to fit even 8 troops on side benches. On the flip side, the Maultier Schutzenpanzerwagen here has a 12 foot rear compartment and could probably fit up to 15 troops considering WWII load factors, so I don't need a vehicle that big. I am looking for about 10 troops plus equipment, which I think the M3 halftrack is about the optimal size for with a 9 foot compartment.

Yup, in retrospect my halftrack is a little on the stumpy side. I still like it being based on the Cunningham M1, so let me do a quick rework and expand the cargo/troop compartment to 9 foot. I will also up gun to a single M2 plus 1-2 M1919 MGs. Standby...
 
The Cunningham M1 scout car bears a very strong resemblance to the Soviet line of 6x4 armored cars on the Ford-Timken light truck chassis. Everything I've seen indicates that John Cunningham & Sons in Rochester were making their own chassis and certainly their own engines. It's still 1932, so there's very little apparent reason to go with a gun larger than a Browning M2.

What is the rear tracked suspension from? It looks like two road wheels on leaf springs. The contact patch for the track unit looks very short, but I imagine it uses the Whippet strategy of sinking in to extend the contact patch.

This is closer to the size and suspension I was thinking of, but the engine does create an issue. The Opel Blitz 3.6, including the Maultier and the Sd. Kfz. 4, had a 220 ci V-6 making 75 hp. For the Sd. Kfz. 4, this comes out to about 10 hp/ton. The Cunningham armored car had Cunningham's 479 ci V-8 making 132 hp. For the armored car, this put the PWR at about 25 hp/ton and the top speed at 55 mph; a half-track version would be slower.

It looks like the cargo compartment on the Cunningham is about 7 feet long, so I am concerned that it might struggle to fit even 8 troops on side benches. On the flip side, the Maultier Schutzenpanzerwagen here has a 12 foot rear compartment and could probably fit up to 15 troops considering WWII load factors, so I don't need a vehicle that big. I am looking for about 10 troops plus equipment, which I think the M3 halftrack is about the optimal size for with a 9 foot compartment.

Yup, in retrospect my halftrack is a little on the stumpy side. I still like it being based on the Cunningham M1, so let me do a quick rework and expand the cargo/troop compartment to 9 foot. I will also up gun to a single M2 plus 1-2 M1919 MGs. Standby...

Take 2 on the 1932 halftrack. I have extended the rear cargo/troop compartment to approximately 10 foot and changed the tracked running gear to a Universal Carrier-esque arrangement which, being longer, should give better ground traction. The main armament has also been upped to a M2 50 Cal...

1932 Halftrack APC.png
 
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Take 2 on the 1932 halftrack. I have extended the rear cargo/troop compartment to approximately 10 foot and changed the tracked running gear to Universal Carrier-esque arrangement which, being longer, should give better ground traction. The main armament has also been upped to a M2 50 Cal...

View attachment 651638
This one looks really nice, and the suspension will have some good congruence with the Vickers Light tanks I'm planning to use.

4.5inchHowitzerTowedByDragonTractor1933.jpg

This picture is of the Vickers Light Dragon, based on the Vickers Light Mark II. I'm looking more at the Light Mark III tank, so the suspension on the halftrack does fit. The picture gives us a good idea of the size of the suspension units and how many people could fit in the back of one of these halftracks.
 
Here's one that has been nagging for a while. It's a bit crude, but I'm no good at Paint:
In 1938, the Norwegian government realized it was woefully unprepared if any real conflict erupted in Europe. Being a very poor nation at the time, a public appeal went out for donations in materials, time, and money to strengthen the countries defenses. Word of this soon reached the Norwegian Diaspora worldwide, and various fraternal organizations began to contribute to the effort.
The Norwegian Army processed only a few armored cars, and a single tank. Even though more tanks were desired, they were very expensive and funds were deemed better suited spent elsewhere. However, in late 1938, a group of Norwegian American discovered that large numbers of tanks had been mothballed by the US Army since the beginning of the Great Depression. They contacted the War Department with the hopes of having some of them declared surplus and available for purchase. Long story short, the War Department agreed to sell twenty M1917 6-Ton tanks to the Norwegian government as "Scrapped Machinery," at a price of $200 each. As such, the weapons were removed, as were the engines. The hulls were delivered to the Diamond Iron Works in Minneapolis, where the were refitted as much as possible an made ready for sale. The work was done on a short budget, and a lot of ingenuity was shown in the work. Originally equipped with a 4 cylinder, 40HP Buda engine, the tanks were repowered with 85hp V-8 Ford engines pulled from scrapyards and wreckers across the Midwest. Gun mounts were modified to accept the standard M29 Browning machine gun, which were in Norwegian service at the time. Funds accumulated from donations were enough to purchase three commercial Browning .50 HB machine guns from Colt, which were installed in the "best-of-the-best" machines.
Snosko Side.jpg










Six machines were given a much more radical set of modifications. New girder sections were created that moved the track frame assemblies out from the hull by approximately 14 inches on each side. Then, in a practices that was by that time somewhat common in the northern US and Canada, 36" long cleats of white oak were bolted to the track links to create an extra-wide track. The cleats, 2" thick by 6" wide, featured sharpened pointed bolt heads to give grip on icy surfaces. With these extra wide tracks, the ground pressure of the machines was reduced to 2.5psi - barely a third of the machines original pressure. This, along with the increased power of the Ford engine, meant that the already nimble M1917 was able to cross over deep snow and soft, marshy terrain with near impunity. It was christened the M1939, but was quickly given the moniker of Truge (snowshoe).

M1939 Tank .png
 
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Here's one that has been nagging for a while. It's a bit crude, but I'm no good at Paint:
In 1938, the Norwegian government realized it was woefully unprepared if any real conflict erupted in Europe. Being a very poor nation at the time, a public appeal went out for donations in materials, time, and money to strengthen the countries defenses. Word of this soon reached the Norwegian Diaspora worldwide, and various fraternal organizations began to contribute to the effort.
The Norwegian Army processed only a few armored cars, and a single tank. Even though more tanks were desired, they were very expensive and funds were deemed better suited spent elsewhere. However, in late 1938, a group of Norwegian American discovered that large numbers of tanks had been mothballed by the US Army since the beginning of the Great Depression. They contacted the War Department with the hopes of having some of them declared surplus and available for purchase. Long story short, the War Department agreed to sell twenty M1917 6-Ton tanks to the Norwegian government as "Scrapped Machinery," at a price of $200 each. As such, the weapons were removed, as were the engines. The hulls were delivered to the Diamond Iron Works in Minneapolis, where the were refitted as much as possible an made ready for sale. The work was done on a short budget, and a lot of ingenuity was shown in the work. Originally equipped with a 4 cylinder, 40HP Buda engine, the tanks were repowered with 85hp V-8 Ford engines pulled from scrapyards and wreckers across the Midwest. Gun mounts were modified to accept the standard M29 Browning machine gun, which were in Norwegian service at the time. Funds accumulated from donations were enough to purchase three commercial Browning .50 HB machine guns from Colt, which were installed in the "best-of-the-best" machines.
View attachment 651646









Six machines were given a much more radical set of modifications. New girder sections were created that moved the track frame assemblies out from the hull by approximately 14 inches on each side. Then, in a practices that was by that time somewhat common in the northern US and Canada, 36" long cleats of white oak were bolted to the track links to create an extra-wide track. The cleats, 2" thick by 6" wide, featured sharpened pointed bolt heads to give grip on icy surfaces. With these extra wide tracks, the ground pressure of the machines was reduced to 2.5psi - barely a third of the machines original pressure. This, along with the increased power of the Ford engine, meant that the already nimble M1917 was able to cross over deep snow and soft, marshy terrain with near impunity. It was christened the M1939, but was quickly given the moniker of Truge (snowshoe).

View attachment 651648

I love it!!

Many moons ago, before my military service, I was an Alpine Ski Instructor and this little gem reminds me of the piste-bashers that used to ram over the snow fields preparing the runs. Stick a blade on the front and a flattener on the back and voila!! Awesome, what a great idea!! 😎😎😍😍👍
 
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I love it!!

Many moons ago, before my military service, I was an Alpine Ski Instructor and this little gem reminds me of the piste-bashers that used to ram over the snow fields preparing the runs. Stick a blade on the front and a flattener on the back and voila!! Awesome, what a great idea!! 😎😎😍😍👍
Thank you, always nice to get praise from the Maestro. I had trouble finding any scaled drawings of the M1917, so it's a bit loosy-goosy for my taste, dimensionally. I just eyeballed the .50 mount. I do like it there, and I'm confident there's room in the turret for one.
Now, if I could find a decent drawing of a 37mm Bofors anti-tank gun at the same scale...
 
Thank you, always nice to get praise from the Maestro. I had trouble finding any scaled drawings of the M1917, so it's a bit loosy-goosy for my taste, dimensionally. I just eyeballed the .50 mount. I do like it there, and I'm confident there's room in the turret for one.
Now, if I could find a decent drawing of a 37mm Bofors anti-tank gun at the same scale...
next time just ask here

M1917
2e3e6aac8d891ea463bdac4f1538a66f.jpg
 
next time just ask here

M1917
2e3e6aac8d891ea463bdac4f1538a66f.jpg
No, no, I found a M1917 like that one on the-blueprints. - thanks, though. That's like the one I used - it just doesn't have a scale, though. I hate having to break out the calipers to do it myself. It's not impossible, but I'm lazy.
 
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Thank you, always nice to get praise from the Maestro. I had trouble finding any scaled drawings of the M1917, so it's a bit loosy-goosy for my taste, dimensionally. I just eyeballed the .50 mount. I do like it there, and I'm confident there's room in the turret for one.
Now, if I could find a decent drawing of a 37mm Bofors anti-tank gun at the same scale...

You may already be fully aware but scaling is less of an issue than you may think so long as you have the accurate dimensions of the original piece of equipment/vehicle. The ratio between say, the length of your M1917 tank and the length of an M2 HMG, has to remain constant regardless of size of the drawings on your screen. In other words, if the full-sized M2 is say 1/3 the length of a full-sized M1917 then your drawn image of the M2 needs to by 1/3 the length of your drawn M1917, Just find out how far it is out and use the Paint resize tool to reduce or expand accordingly. A word of advice though, always start from images that are not that radically out of scale as detail is inevitable lost or blurred in the resizing process.

I always produce my drawings to the same relative scale (don't ask what that scale is as it will be dependent on how big you particular monitor displays the image). It's enough that all my images are in scale with each other which makes the whole cutting, swapping and pasting process much easier.

I will post you better image of a M1917 and M2 in my standard scale.

Please keep those great ideas coming!! 👍
 
Well, I found what I was looking for...

The twenty M1917's were delivered to Norway in February of 1939. Once unloaded, the entire contingent formed an impromptu parade and drove from the dockyards through downtown Oslo to the Royal Palace, where they were inspected by King Haakon VII personally. They remained at the palace in Oslo for three days, where they became an instant attraction for the local residents. While well received by the public, the army was less certain of the usefulness of the machines. One main problem is they just didn't know what to do with the things in the presumably defensive battles that war would bring. The parade though downtown assured that they were not in any way a military secret, which in some ways worked out for the best. The German Ambassador was unimpressed, stating that a "pack of slow, worn-out tractors is no concern of ours," while the Military Attaché said that the M1917's were "quite impressive, as scrap iron goes."
Soon, the Norwegian Army transferred the machines to various bases throughout the country and began to develop their tank doctrine. Immediately, it was found that the regular M1917 tanks - rechristened the M39 in Norwegian service - were fairly capable machines on snow covered roads, but rapidly became stuck if the snow became more than 1m deep. The six tanks equipped with the wide track extensions - the Truge - were something else, altogether. While slow, they were able to traverse any depth of snow encountered. The wide tracks gave them exceptional stability on slopes, and the combination of traction and flotation allowed them to climb ski slopes and pack trails for skiers. Indeed, though the winter and spring of 1939, a tactic was developed of using the Truge as armored snow tractors. One Truge could tow a field cannon and limber (the wheels replaced on the artillery replaced with skis), up to three sledges for supplies, or an entire squad of rifleman on skis as they clung to ropes behind the machine. By spring thaw, some interesting notions of rapid deployment of ski troops supported by the Truge were in the works. Indeed, during the summer an additional six machines were converted to the Truge configuration.
Trials continued over the summer and fall, and in late 1939 an experimental vehicle was put together for trials. Dubbed the M39/K, it was a standard Truge with the turret removed and a Bofors 37mm Anti Tank gun mounted to a platform over the engine, facing backwards. It soon acquired the nickname "Birkebiner", after the historical rescuers of the heir to the Norwegian throne, who in 1206 carried the young Haakon Haakonson to safety on their backs as they skied though the forbidding Norwegian winter...
Birkebiner.jpg
 

Driftless

Donor
Interesting thought.

The service life of the planks probably isn't great for the long haul, but if one splits or gets torn off, head off to the woodpile for a replacement and save the wrecked piece for the cookstove. Also, the Norwegians wouldn't be thinking of trekking across the Russian Steppes or the width of Frace to Germany either. The bolts might raise hell with paved streets, but maybe not so bad with the buffer of the planks? Plus, if their intended use is over snow and bog, no problem
 
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