Improve the Churchill tank.

Without these two (and the first is forgivable) British tanks would have had adequate tank killing guns moving seamlessly from the 2 Pounder in 1939/40 to the 6 Pounder in 1941/43 and then the 17 Pounder in 1944/5.
Honestly, even 18 pdrs would be a good enough tank gun, using the late '20s tubes that had liners, than the earlier wirewound guns for lighter weight.
That would be enough to handle any German Tank thru 1942.
Would have slightly less penetration than the new 6 pdr, but had a HE Shell that worked great in the last war
 
The Combined Operations Pilotage Parties (COPPists). Apparently operated all over Europe and in the Far East as well.
edgeworthy senior described it largely as a process of getting lost and having your reconnaissance reports ignored.
 
The role is understandable; to support the infantry advancing against dug in opposition. OK, similar to the German ( & Soviet eventually) assault gun. BUT, the early versions had only machine guns and the 2pr. Useful only against AFVs.
A feature not a bug.

The defence would be suppressed by an artillery barrage of 25 pounders and machine gun fire from the tanks. The tank gun was there to stop an armoured counterattack, not support the initial assault. The alternative is trying to get antitank guns forward across no-mans land.
 
I'm not convinced you need a huge gun, just better ammunition? From an earlier thread...

I'm no ballistics expert, so this is a SWAG but...

The OQF 75mm has a m/v of 620m/s with a 14.62lb* M61 shell

The QF 77mm has a m/v of 785m/s with APCBC and a penetration of 137mm at 500M. This is getting pretty close to penetrating a Panthers frontal armour of 80mm at 55 degree slope - roughly 140mm equivalent and will certainly make a mess of a Pzkpfw IV or Tiger.

The QF 6 pdr with L/43 barrel goes from 853m/s with AP to 1151m/s with APDS - an additional 300m/s.

I wouldn't expect the same gain from the 75mm, but with APCR/HVAP or APDS* could you reasonably anticipate an extra 150m/s or so, pushing it into 77mm territory?

*Note - the 17pdr APDS "core" weighs 7.7lb.
So, follow the route of 2pdr, 6pdr, 75mm (with some drivers to develop this) and end up with a gun that fits the OTL Churchill turret, even before any ATL changes, with a good HE shell and the potential to penetrate most Axis tanks with APCR/APDS.
 
And from the same thread...

It seems the University of New Mexico did some experiments in 75mm APDS starting in 1943. These seem to have been discontinued because HVAP was on the horizon and also due to issues with plastic sabots expanding with moisture; however, using a 57mm shell as a core, they got up to around 850m/s. This should certainly match the performance of 6 pdr AP - 112mm penetration at 500m. Would it have matched the 77mm for a similar m/v with APCBC? Seems unlikely, but I'm no expert.
But as APDS was used by the British in 6 pdr and 17 pdr flavours, I have to wonder why they didn't produce a 75mm version with a dural sabot, keeping the benefits of using HE shells but giving Sherman, Churchill and Cromwell crews more of a chance in tank v tank combat?
I can sort of see why the US didn't push for 75mm HVAP (Devers), but the British had more of a history of tank v tank combat and retained a certain number of 6 pdr Churchills fairly late in the war. They certainly had 6 pdr APDS in Normandy and it doesn't seem that much of a stretch to have 75mm versions for the tanks armed with either US or British 75mm guns. I'm not sure when they started development, but as per Wiki The Edgar Brandt engineers, having been evacuated to the United Kingdom, joined ongoing APDS development efforts there, culminating in significant improvements to the concept and its realisation. The APDS projectile type was further developed in the United Kingdom between 1941–1944 by Permutter and Coppock, two designers with the Armaments Research Department. I'd do a timeline if I was anything of a writer. :(
 
A feature not a bug.

The defence would be suppressed by an artillery barrage of 25 pounders and machine gun fire from the tanks. The tank gun was there to stop an armoured counterattack, not support the initial assault. The alternative is trying to get antitank guns forward across no-mans land.
In which case the British overestimated the ability of the barrage to suppress defences. Especially dug-in anti-tank weapons.

I could see a need for some of the Infantry tanks to have the capability to engage enemy armour. So a mix of 2pr and 95mm howitzer tanks in 1940 would be acceptable. However, as both the 13pr and 18pr guns could tackle AFVs as well as bring direct fire onto bunkers and other stubborn positions, it seems unnecessary.

I wonder if the thinking is another example of the rigid silo mentality induced by the different branches of the British army having to fight their corner during many years of cuts and retrenchment. The Royal Artillery could have demanded that only it should have guns that deliver HE?

IF that seems silly - remember the German artillery branch kept control of Stugs even from Guderian when he was granted control of Armour.
 
I wonder if the thinking is another example of the rigid silo mentality induced by the different branches of the British army having to fight their corner during many years of cuts and retrenchment. The Royal Artillery could have demanded that only it should have guns that deliver HE?
The argument for the Royal Artillery using the HE specific gun tanks was not service politics or tradition. It was that properly using HE in anything but direct short range fire involved skills specific to the artillery role and training. If one looks at the Royal Marines Armoured Support Group Ordnance QF 95-mm howitzer Centaur tanks (specific for the Overlord shore bombardment role but landed anyway and used in the NW Europe campaign) one can see the extra markings and sightings necessary for the task and the special training to use them. Of course tanks with an HE capable gun were used in an indirect fire task or long range direct fire when necessary, but without the proper skills and sighting. There is a reason why you don't give infantry a towed field gun or howitzer and let them play with it. Or give tinned soldiers a Sexton. They have excellent skills, but not the specific ones to the task.

Field guns like the 13, 18 or 25 Pounders have a useful HE capability but their arching trajectories and slow flight makes accurate range assessment vital including allowing for relative altitudes and atmospheric conditions. Not to mention variable charges. Tank guns are made to have a flat trajectory allowing a simpler faster laying of shot. Speed of action is vital in the tank v tank/ATG situation. Of course, when the hirsute bottomed illegitimates are within musket shot, they all could or can do direct AT fire.

There are arguments both ways but this was the basis for the argument for the Royal Artillery to control HE armour; other than tank armour organic close support.
 
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The argument for the Royal Artillery using the HE specific gun tanks was not service politics or tradition. It was that properly using HE in anything but direct short range fire involved skills specific to the artillery role and training. If one looks at the Royal Marines Armoured Support Group Ordnance QF 95-mm howitzer Centaur tanks (specific for the Overlord shore bombardment role but landed anyway and used in the NW Europe campaign) one can see the extra markings and sightings necessary for the task and the special training to use them. Of course tanks with an HE capable gun were used in an indirect fire task or long range direct fire when necessary, but without the proper skills and sighting. There is a reason why you don't give infantry a towed field gun or howitzer and let them play with it. Or give tinned soldiers a Sexton. They have excellent skills, but not the specific ones to the task.

Field guns like the 13, 18 or 25 Pounders have a useful HE capability but their arching trajectories and slow flight makes accurate range assessment vital including allowing for relative altitudes and atmospheric conditions. Not to mention variable charges. Tank guns are made to have a flat trajectory allowing a simpler faster laying of shot. Speed of action is vital in the tank v tank/ATG situation. Of course, when the hirsute bottomed illegitimates are within musket shot, they all could or can do direct AT fire.

There are arguments both ways but this was the basis for the argument for the Royal Artillery to control HE armour; other than tank armour organic close support.
Thanks for your post and information. I still think that as the Infantry Tanks (or German Stugs) were not intended to engage in indirect fire but solely line of sight direct support for the Infantry... then they are an Armored branch task. And that the role requires a CS capability of HE, not just smoke. As the early Stugs had of course. But British Infantry tanks didn't and should have.

The death charges of Matildas in the Desert War might not have occurred had half or more of them had a HE capacity.

But, I appreciate that the Gunners had a valid point too. Pity that British communications ( and Doctrine?) didn't lead to the tanks being able to get supporting suppression fire quickly enough to avoid the ambushes by 88s etc.

Or that the RA couldn't keep up with the tanks in Desert warfare, which highlights the need for an SP gun or CS tank accompanying the gun tanks

No easy answer I suspect.
 

McPherson

Kicked
In which case the British overestimated the ability of the barrage to suppress defences. Especially dug-in anti-tank weapons.

I could see a need for some of the Infantry tanks to have the capability to engage enemy armour. So a mix of 2pr and 95mm howitzer tanks in 1940 would be acceptable. However, as both the 13pr and 18pr guns could tackle AFVs as well as bring direct fire onto bunkers and other stubborn positions, it seems unnecessary.

I wonder if the thinking is another example of the rigid silo mentality induced by the different branches of the British army having to fight their corner during many years of cuts and retrenchment. The Royal Artillery could have demanded that only it should have guns that deliver HE?

IF that seems silly - remember the German artillery branch kept control of Stugs even from Guderian when he was granted control of Armour.
Politics trumps lessons learned.

The argument for the Royal Artillery using the HE specific gun tanks was not service politics or tradition. It was that properly using HE in anything but direct short range fire involved skills specific to the artillery role and training. If one looks at the Royal Marines Armoured Support Group Ordnance QF 95-mm howitzer Centaur tanks (specific for the Overlord shore bombardment role but landed anyway and used in the NW Europe campaign) one can see the extra markings and sightings necessary for the task and the special training to use them. Of course tanks with an HE capable gun were used in an indirect fire task or long range direct fire when necessary, but without the proper skills and sighting. There is a reason why you don't give infantry a towed field gun or howitzer and let them play with it. Or give tinned soldiers a Sexton. They have excellent skills, but not the specific ones to the task.

Field guns like the 13, 18 or 25 Pounders have a useful HE capability but their arching trajectories and slow flight makes accurate range assessment vital including allowing for relative altitudes and atmospheric conditions. Not to mention variable charges. Tank guns are made to have a flat trajectory allowing a simpler faster laying of shot. Speed of action is vital in the tank v tank/ATG situation. Of course, when the hirsute bottomed illegitimates are within musket shot, they all could or can do direct AT fire.

There are arguments both ways but this was the basis for the argument for the Royal Artillery to control HE armour; other than tank armour organic close support.
Training issues based on tube ballistics might have been an excuse to keep branch identity and it "might" have to do with a snobbery in that the British army artillery started as the "king's service" (meaning hired technicians and experts in "scientific warfare" and thus "Royal"), while the rest of "the mob" (louts) were raised from the Anglo-Saxon tradition of the "levees" that metastasized into where "gentlemen" raised companies of foot for war. and thus drafted and pressed men into the foot, while "gentlemen" provided the "horse" for the British army. This IS tradition and a deleterious one. The late 19th Century might see it evolve into the recruited long term professional volunteer soldier, but the seeds of branch politics go back 500 years at least.
Thanks for your post and information. I still think that as the Infantry Tanks (or German Stugs) were not intended to engage in indirect fire but solely line of sight direct support for the Infantry... then they are an Armored branch task. And that the role requires a CS capability of HE, not just smoke. As the early Stugs had of course. But British Infantry tanks didn't and should have.
The British Desert Army (see first comment) seems to have acquired a local identity and way of doing things in Egypt, some of which worked well in the desert and a lot which did not, that was at variant with Metro British army evolved lessons learned from France 1940, especially in the issues of armored shock action and combined arms drill with artillery, infantry and close air support. When Montgomery came out to Egypt with the new playbook based on those "lessons learned" and tried to get 8th Army to get on with the new way of doing things, several generals and a lot of colonels and majors did not get with the program. (Major-General Alexander Gatehouse and Major-General Charles Gairdner for example) which caused him no end of trouble during the Battle of El Alamein. Politics and tradition answers a lot of the questions of why the British desert army did some inexplicable things that make no combined arms sense in our 2020 collective rear view mirror.

The death charges of Matildas in the Desert War might not have occurred had half or more of them had a HE capacity.

But, I appreciate that the Gunners had a valid point too. Pity that British communications ( and Doctrine?) didn't lead to the tanks being able to get supporting suppression fire quickly enough to avoid the ambushes by 88s etc.

Or that the RA couldn't keep up with the tanks in Desert warfare, which highlights the need for an SP gun or CS tank accompanying the gun tanks

No easy answer I suspect.
See second previous comment. I will say that this problem of branch politics and service tradition still carries forward somewhat into France 1944 in that the incompetent RAF did not get with the program this time; ignoring Desert Air Force close air support lessons learned!

So the American army fight between McNair (artillery king of battle proponent who in that one particular is the Grigory Kulik of the American army.) and Devers (an artillerist who converts into tanks as the arm of shock action; i.e. CAVALRY is the service that decides battle. hence, the American version of the "Royal Artillery" (Federal troops) ) has its British army equivalent with a similar result on the battlefield (misuse of American tank destroyers in the McNair and Devers imbroglios.). Fortunately, the guys actually doing the fighting with some exceptions, ignore their "betters" and get on with what works. (Horrocks) and (Patton).
 
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Indeed the doctrine of the armoured advance being supported by artillery fell down when the artillery could not keep up nor maintain meaningful contact. There is a difference between organic close support HE armour and armoured HE. The latter is properly the RA task and the former the RAC one and into which it settled down. In the OP I can see an argument for the entire Churchill fleet to turret mount the 25 Pounder for all tasks.
 
What I find interesting about this thread is that the ground has already been gone over, numerous times in this forum. We have had threads covering more or less the same subject numerous times and yet nobody appears to have read what has been posted. I find that discouraging to say the least. In addition, it appears that all too often it is American posters, making the same posts which are incorrect about British views on the employment of combined arms operations. It is because they are unable to read plain English and instead treat the language as a something unusual? They keep making the same mistakes, about the same things which while they are obvious in hindsight, were not directly visible at the time by the participants.

The Black Prince was an abortion of a tank, according to David Fletcher. It was under powered and terrible to attempt to drive. He makes that clear in his several books on the topic. The man is not a fool yet we see it surfacing once more as the panacea to all sorts of ills according to some. It was a dead end. It was not worth bothering with because Centurion was obviously on the horizon.

The Churchill was an adequate tank. It wasn't great, particularly in it's earlier versions but it could do the job, as it showed in Tunisia. The Mark IV was the last of the first generation of it. After that, they started rebuilding them and they became a better vehicle. The Mk. VII was a good tank. It could cope with most Axis AT guns. It was better than the M4 Sherman in many ways and it was an excellent choice for an AVRE, much better than the Sherman which was also trialed in the role.

Then we have the Centurion. It was an adequate vehicle in it's initial versions and developed into a superb one although too late for action against the Germans.

Tanks in the British Army fulfill one of two roles. Infantry or Cruiser. Americans seem to have a hard time accepting the differentiation between the two. At war's start, Infantry tanks were intended to support the attack of infantry across no-man's land and to prevent the enemy counter-attacking with tanks of their own. The 2 pounder was quite an adequate AT weapon. It did have a HE round but it was not issued for various reasons to Armour before 1943. Artillery was the main means of delivering HE on the battlefield. It was intended to paralyse the enemy before the infantry and the I Tanks arrived. Churchills were the ultimate outgrowth of that development process. Cruiser tanks were lighter and faster than infantry tanks and intended to exploit any breakthrough. They were generally issued to cavalry units. They tended to have 2 pounders (at least initially) as well. They were meant to engage enemy armour units.

As much as anyone wants things to be different they have to come up with a clear POD and reasons for alternative development. The development that occurred did so because of enemy action. Without an enemy, it is hard to justify anything different happening.
 
The argument for the Royal Artillery using the HE specific gun tanks was not service politics or tradition. It was that properly using HE in anything but direct short range fire involved skills specific to the artillery role and training. If one looks at the Royal Marines Armoured Support Group Ordnance QF 95-mm howitzer Centaur tanks (specific for the Overlord shore bombardment role but landed anyway and used in the NW Europe campaign) one can see the extra markings and sightings necessary for the task and the special training to use them. Of course tanks with an HE capable gun were used in an indirect fire task or long range direct fire when necessary, but without the proper skills and sighting. There is a reason why you don't give infantry a towed field gun or howitzer and let them play with it. Or give tinned soldiers a Sexton. They have excellent skills, but not the specific ones to the task.
Each US Tanks or TD with a 75mm or larger had gear for indirect fire, and had training for such.
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1596899580108.png

With the Nazis, only Stugs and some of the SPGs had indirect sighting gear and training
 
The Mk. VII was a good tank. It could cope with most Axis AT guns. It was better than the M4 Sherman in many ways and it was an excellent choice for an AVRE, much better than the Sherman which was also trialed in the role.
US missed out on the M4A3E2 Jumbos not done sooner, and with 76mm, 90mm, and 105mm guns, depending on the type of close support needed
 

CalBear

Moderator
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First, need to get the Brass Hats to decide what an Infantry Tank was to actually do?
I mean 'Infantry' is right on the Tin, but what do Infantry need/want the Tank to do for them?

No particular order
Shoot machine guns at enemy infantry
Shoot HE in direct fire at bunkers and other enemy strongpoints, and infantry
provide Radio Link back to HQ
Throw Smoke to hide friendly movement
Defend against enemy tanks that are attacking friendly tanks and infantry
have enough armor to not be easily knocked out by common enemy AT guns and enemy tanks
have some AAA capability against enemy aircraft
be reliable enough to get to the battlefield in the first place

As can be seen, the existing Churchill didn't check many of those boxes, being undergunned with cannons firing only solid shot, and only the
first marks had the hull cannon that war really more a breechloading mortar for tossing smoke, little HE carried. Very unreliable until 1942

That the Churchill was very slow was not as much an impediment in combat as some might think.
And in a very nice nutshell it also demonstrates why the entire "infantry tank" concept was dumb. There is no way to get all of those onto a single platform, although the 1942 M4 came fairly close in most areas since its 75mm was effective vs the Pz III and even reasonable against the early Pz IV. AAA is an absolute specialty, probably always will be.

Best you can do, in WW II, is a good all around medium that either has enormous expansion/upgrade potential built into the initial design or that is acknowledged as being part of series of different platforms (not unreasonable example would be the M3 Lee, M4 Sherman, M26 Pershing, had the U.S. bit the bullet and accepted that 90mm's time had come).

Otherwise you wind up putting earrings and make-up on a pig.
 

McPherson

Kicked
What I find interesting about this thread is that the ground has already been gone over, numerous times in this forum. We have had threads covering more or less the same subject numerous times and yet nobody appears to have read what has been posted. I find that discouraging to say the least. In addition, it appears that all too often it is American posters, making the same posts which are incorrect about British views on the employment of combined arms operations. It is because they are unable to read plain English and instead treat the language as a something unusual? They keep making the same mistakes, about the same things which while they are obvious in hindsight, were not directly visible at the time by the participants.
1. The ground, to my mind, has never discussed the rationale behind the basic Churchill vehicle design from, a human ergonomics point of view. By any standard of functional man-machine interface the Churchill, in my judgement, like many a fighting machine on this forum, has not been addressed that way. Nor has its specifics, as virtues and deficiencies as to inside room to move about. hand things off among crew members (passing ammunition from the front carry boxes in the forward hull to the crew in the fighting compartment, as an example.), or the "turret monster", which is to say the basic inside "grab you and tear off an arm or leg" hazards inside the Churchill been shown as to be either a virtue or a hazard to the man-machine interface, nor has overall visibility, situational awareness, ease of gun feed or gun lay or engagement cycle time first round hit, been addressed in detail.

2. By 1. I mean the American understand this whole "ease of fightability of the system" concept. It is the British, whose reports I read, who do not seem to get the "Look, communicate, move, shoot, cycle". when it comes to anything remotely comparable to combined arms, even as a fighting unit. I even commented on that in some macros respects in posts; #16, #32, and #51 as to what I thought were the problems and the reasons why with the Churchill.

3. I am well aware of what system failure and success matrices are. If I am to judge by the Churchill's success, I would rate it as a decent mid-war British tank with a decent mechanical reliability and available for service upon contact with the enemy percentage rate, of about 80%. That is good. What I find substandard is what I have mentioned. It is not an easy tank to use as a fighting platform. It improves from Mark IV to Mark VII, but I flat out reject that it was ever as good as a Sherman as a tank.

4. Based on 3, how can I claim the Sherman was superior? Simple. The Sherman was several things the Churchill was not.
a. The Sherman was what the British would recognize as a "cruiser", or in American parlance "an exploitation tank"; that is a "cavalry or shock action" tank.
b. The Sherman mutated into just as many and as effective "funnies" as the Churchill and STILL could be used for its primary role as defined by a.
c. The Sherman chassis became the basis for tank destroyers, assault guns, self propelled artillery, kangaroos, armored engineer vehicles, Murphy knows how many field expedient hedgerow plows, bulldozers, mine clearers, and expedient engineer vehicles while still be able to flame throw, shoot and crunch stuff under its treads, depending on the Sherman.
d. The Churchill because of the way it was built and was intended to be used could be a "funny" but it lost its primary purpose in the process. It could not "tank" after it became a mine clearing vehicle or a wall breacher as easily as a Sherman. It was never intended to do so.

e. And besides, when the British tried for an early war replacement for a "main battle tank" or "universal" which they began to recognize as a tank role, that is what the Sherman defacto became, This actually is what the British army wanted... midwar.


f. They wanted a main battle tank. . a cruiser. Like the Sherman. Not the Churchill.

The Black Prince was an abortion of a tank, according to David Fletcher. It was under powered and terrible to attempt to drive. He makes that clear in his several books on the topic. The man is not a fool yet we see it surfacing once more as the panacea to all sorts of ills according to some. It was a dead end. It was not worth bothering with because Centurion was obviously on the horizon.
g. The point I made about the Black Prince was that it was an example of British tank designers being not clued in as to what the tank was supposed to do. It was in effect the British answer to the German Tiger I and it made about as little sense function wise.

The Churchill was an adequate tank. It wasn't great, particularly in it's earlier versions but it could do the job, as it showed in Tunisia. The Mark IV was the last of the first generation of it. After that, they started rebuilding them and they became a better vehicle. The Mk. VII was a good tank. It could cope with most Axis AT guns. It was better than the M4 Sherman in many ways and it was an excellent choice for an AVRE, much better than the Sherman which was also trialed in the role.
h. For an infantry tank, that is close support of infantry, the Churchill Mark I to IV as a direct support platform could outclimb and it could cross terrain a Sherman tank could not. this is true. As a part of the British combined arms drill, that is look, understand, cooperate with artillery, infantry and airpower in the total matrix, no way in Murphy's hell, was it as good as a Sherman. Not even the Mark VII was as good in the ergo as to the situational awareness and communications department; and it sure was never as good as an overall expendable individual fighting platform. The Churchill fulfilled an infantry close assault specialist niche, and that it did fairly well, but the Wallies could have won without it. Not so without the Sherman tank. The Sherman disappears and something like it (T-23/M25 or even the M7 for example), has to replace it in the hole it leaves behind. A main battle tank (cruiser) has to be there for the Wallies, as the T-34 was for the Russians. Tanks are attritional inside the combined arms matrix. Survive long enough to do its job across the entire battle matrix.

Then we have the Centurion. It was an adequate vehicle in it's initial versions and developed into a superb one although too late for action against the Germans.
i. Zu spät ist so gut wie nie. (Too late is almost never.)

Tanks in the British Army fulfill one of two roles. Infantry or Cruiser. Americans seem to have a hard time accepting the differentiation between the two. At war's start, Infantry tanks were intended to support the attack of infantry across no-man's land and to prevent the enemy counter-attacking with tanks of their own. The 2 pounder was quite an adequate AT weapon. It did have a HE round but it was not issued for various reasons to Armour before 1943. Artillery was the main means of delivering HE on the battlefield. It was intended to paralyse the enemy before the infantry and the I Tanks arrived. Churchills were the ultimate outgrowth of that development process. Cruiser tanks were lighter and faster than infantry tanks and intended to exploit any breakthrough. They were generally issued to cavalry units. They tended to have 2 pounders (at least initially) as well. They were meant to engage enemy armour units.
j. The Americans understood infantry tanks and cavalry tanks. They legislated it into their national law in the 1920 National Defense Act. They even incompetently tried to build to it with a whole series tanks that were optimized for cavalry exploitation and infantry close assault roles. The M3 was the scout, the M6 was the American abortion that could be compared to the Churchill in mission role, and the M4 was the American "cruiser". Guess which two worked well?

As much as anyone wants things to be different they have to come up with a clear POD and reasons for alternative development. The development that occurred did so because of enemy action. Without an enemy, it is hard to justify anything different happening.
k. Hard to say, that the Churchill was a result of enemy action. The British army did even not want it. They tried to KILL it in development.

l. One last comment on British attention to human ergonomics...


j. The British did understand ergonomics. (At least the end-users were aware when they tested the things and wrote up all the fail issues.). However when war happens and one needs a tank to do a job: one sends out a Grant/Lee or a Churchill Mark I to IV, and then fixes the bodges later. (Sherman and or Churchill VII).

McP.
 
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And in a very nice nutshell it also demonstrates why the entire "infantry tank" concept was dumb. There is no way to get all of those onto a single platform, although the 1942 M4 came fairly close in most areas since its 75mm was effective vs the Pz III and even reasonable against the early Pz IV. AAA is an absolute specialty, probably always will be.
I disagree that needing to do lots of things makes the con cept dumb, as any tank is going to need to do many of these things. Does say I ng itneeds to be fast and cheap like a cruiser make the concept less dumb?
 
I disagree that needing to do lots of things makes the con cept dumb, as any tank is going to need to do many of these things. Does say I ng itneeds to be fast and cheap like a cruiser make the concept less dumb?
Depends on what you want the tank to do.

There's a place for Scouting and Exploitation, where speed and smaller size is a bonus.
But small and light rules out many of the other things on that list.

But all should note, that the M3 Stuarts did well as 'Infantry Tanks' in the Pacific, given to poor distribution of Armor and AT Guns in the Japanese Army.
Besides the unnatural addictions to machine guns everywhere, the M3 had Radio, and peashooter 37mm had a very useful anti-personnel canister round.
About the only thing it couldn't do, was toss smoke, and lacked the telephone on the rear to talk with infantry

So a proper small US Infantry Tank early in the war, could have been an up armored M3 with an M8 75mm pack howitzer, with a proper top and TC cupola
 
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