Tactical innovation, CW armored forces

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Tactical innovation, CW armored forces

Post by Cult Icon » 15 Feb 2020 05:03

Prior to D-Day a special training and intelligence group is assigned to improve certain aspects of the CW armored forces. All CW divisions take special training courses prior to their assignment.

These actions accomplish improvements that historically took many months to fully resolve.

I. Improved tank- infantry communication systems

II. Improved tank -infantry coordination drills and cohesion-building.

III. The refitting of all CW Sherman tanks with 17-pounder guns

IV. Greatly increased numbers of tank chassis converted to Kangaroo troop carriers. The restructuring of all CW armored units to include an adequate,organic fleet of carriers. The 21st AG assembles a strategic reserve of carriers for special operations.

How would this effect the fighting and change the progress of the Normandy Campaign?

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Re: Tactical innovation, CW armored forces

Post by Orwell1984 » 15 Feb 2020 05:32

Your first two points discuss making efforts to improve the ability of armour to support infantry.
However your third point discusses replacing the main armament of the most common CW tank with a gun that has inferior HE explosive performance than the prior weapon thus making the tank a less effective infantry support weapon?
How do you reconcile this?

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Re: Tactical innovation, CW armored forces

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 15 Feb 2020 10:38

While you refer to CW units, I take it you include the American component of 21st Army Group as well. I think better US infantry-tank co-ordination would have been beneficial during the fighting in Normandy.

Tom

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Re: Tactical innovation, CW armored forces

Post by Richard Anderson » 15 Feb 2020 16:10

III. Is impossible, given that not "all CW Shermans" could be fitted with 17-pounder guns. There is also the problem that even if that could be done, due to the lack of a suitable HE round and limited ammunition stowage, the tanks would then not be tanks, but specialized antitank tanks. Who does the tanking?

IV. Is also impossible. The original Kangaroo APC were possible because the 105mm HMC M7 that equipped various of the RA Field Regiments for the invasion were planned to be redundant by late July. Otherwise there were some hundreds of Ram tanks in England that had not been converted to OP or gun towers, not nearly enough for the purpose.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: Tactical innovation, CW armored forces

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 15 Feb 2020 17:50

Richard Anderson wrote:
15 Feb 2020 16:10
The original Kangaroo APC were possible because the 105mm HMC M7 that equipped various of the RA Field Regiments for the invasion were planned to be redundant by late July.
Rich,

Wasn't the plan to give the M7 back to the US forces? I'm sure I read somewhere that the decision to "de-frock" the Priests had to be cleared with the US before they went ahead.

Regards

Tom

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Re: Tactical innovation, CW armored forces

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 15 Feb 2020 20:28

What is "CW"?

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Re: Tactical innovation, CW armored forces

Post by Richard Anderson » 15 Feb 2020 20:41

HistoryGeek2019 wrote:
15 Feb 2020 20:28
What is "CW"?
An abbreviation for Commonwealth.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: Tactical innovation, CW armored forces

Post by Sheldrake » 15 Feb 2020 20:50

Cult Icon wrote:
15 Feb 2020 05:03
Prior to D-Day a special training and intelligence group is assigned to improve certain aspects of the CW armored forces. All CW divisions take special training courses prior to their assignment.

These actions accomplish improvements that historically took many months to fully resolve.

I. Improved tank- infantry communication systems

II. Improved tank -infantry coordination drills and cohesion-building.

III. The refitting of all CW Sherman tanks with 17-pounder guns

IV. Greatly increased numbers of tank chassis converted to Kangaroo troop carriers. The restructuring of all CW armored units to include an adequate,organic fleet of carriers. The 21st AG assembles a strategic reserve of carriers for special operations.

How would this effect the fighting and change the progress of the Normandy Campaign?
This is applying 20:20 hind sight.

Prior to D Day the priority was D Day itself. Unless this went well there would not have been any "subsequent operations." The problems experienced inland were not really

Given that a disproportionate proportion of Allied casualties were from German mortars, expediting the development of mortar locating radars might have been better than any of the above.

The defrocked Priests only formed part of APCs that mounted the infantry that attacked in Op Totalize. Although Germans use of half tracked APCs is famous, the allies had far more Armoured carriers than the Germans. The Germans built around 21,000 APCs SPW sdklfz 250 and 251) The Allies had over 30,000 M2,M3 or M5 half tacks as well as 100,000 Bren carriers. The Allies did get the Panzer Grenadier idea. The motor battalion in British armoured brigades and American armoured infantry were mounted in half tracks and trained to work with their armour. In addition to the "defrocked Priests" British and Canadian infanrey were mounted in half tracks taken from artillery, and other units which were using them as command posts and for other purposes. It wasn't a failure of technology but tactical doctrine which hampered the use of APCs.

What is the evidence of poor coordination of tanks and infantry in British and Canadian troops in Normandy? The Americans needed to retrain for the particular problems of bocage country.

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Re: Tactical innovation, CW armored forces

Post by Richard Anderson » 16 Feb 2020 17:21

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
15 Feb 2020 17:50
Richard Anderson wrote:
15 Feb 2020 16:10
The original Kangaroo APC were possible because the 105mm HMC M7 that equipped various of the RA Field Regiments for the invasion were planned to be redundant by late July.
Rich,

Wasn't the plan to give the M7 back to the US forces? I'm sure I read somewhere that the decision to "de-frock" the Priests had to be cleared with the US before they went ahead.

Regards

Tom
Yes, I believe so, but I meant they were planned to be redundant by the British Army by late July. :lol: The plan was always to refit those units with 25-pdr.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: Tactical innovation, CW armored forces

Post by Sheldrake » 16 Feb 2020 21:30

Richard Anderson wrote:
16 Feb 2020 17:21
Tom from Cornwall wrote:
15 Feb 2020 17:50
Richard Anderson wrote:
15 Feb 2020 16:10
The original Kangaroo APC were possible because the 105mm HMC M7 that equipped various of the RA Field Regiments for the invasion were planned to be redundant by late July.
Rich,

Wasn't the plan to give the M7 back to the US forces? I'm sure I read somewhere that the decision to "de-frock" the Priests had to be cleared with the US before they went ahead.

Regards

Tom
Yes, I believe so, but I meant they were planned to be redundant by the British Army by late July. :lol: The plan was always to refit those units with 25-pdr.
Why the :lol: about the plan to withdraw the M7 from 21st Army Group?
The M7s deployed with the 3rd British and 3rd Canadian Division had high track mileage to start with and worn guns by the end of July 1944. Finding 105mm HE complicated 21 AG logistics. The Priests were only issued to those formations for the D-Day assault and withdrawn as soon as tactically sensible.

That situation did not arise in Italy where the 15 AG was an Allied formation and easier to support British units with 105mm guns M7 spares & tommy guns.

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Re: Tactical innovation, CW armored forces

Post by T. A. Gardner » 17 Feb 2020 06:35

Of the three in the OP.

Well before D-Day, both US and British / Commonwealth tanks already had good infantry - tank communications. Tanks were fitted with a field telephone in a box on the rear of the tank containing the phone.

Image

The British did this first with Churchill tanks in Italy and it caught on with other Allied AFV being fitted either in the field, or later at the factory.

I don't know if there's much you could do here. Both the US and CW pretty quickly made tank battalion / squadron assignments to infantry formations nearly permanent. The same tank unit would work with the same infantry unit.

Number 3 isn't happening. There aren't enough 17 pdrs to do it. Even if there were, it turns a Sherman into essentially a tank destroyer. You lose your HE firepower, lose the bow machinegun and crew member so you really hurt your tank units by making them specialist tank killers rather than general purpose units.

I doubt #4 could happen either. There's simply not enough vehicles to do it. At their best, the CW armored divisions had one regiment in both infantry brigades mounted in some sort of armored infantry transport. Most of the time they had a motor battalion or two that were. There simply aren't enough vehicles to go around unlike the US where the M3 was ubiquitous.
Aside from that, neither the US or CW had a battle doctrine calling for infantry to move into combat and fight from or with their APC's. Both saw these more like battle taxi's and the armor protection was mainly for splinters and such should the vehicle come under fire while moving the troops to their starting line.

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Re: Tactical innovation, CW armored forces

Post by Richard Anderson » 17 Feb 2020 07:09

Sheldrake wrote:
16 Feb 2020 21:30
Why the :lol: about the plan to withdraw the M7 from 21st Army Group?
Sorry, I was laughing at myself for confusing poor Tom...and now it seems I've confused you.

Yes, they were old and worn out. Yes it was always planned they would be redundant to 21 Army Group requirements.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: Tactical innovation, CW armored forces

Post by Richard Anderson » 17 Feb 2020 07:10

T. A. Gardner wrote:
17 Feb 2020 06:35
Of the three in the OP.

Well before D-Day, both US and British / Commonwealth tanks already had good infantry - tank communications. Tanks were fitted with a field telephone in a box on the rear of the tank containing the phone.
Not before D-Day they weren't...at least on U.S. tanks.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: Tactical innovation, CW armored forces

Post by Takao » 18 Feb 2020 00:19

Richard Anderson wrote:
17 Feb 2020 07:10
T. A. Gardner wrote:
17 Feb 2020 06:35
Of the three in the OP.

Well before D-Day, both US and British / Commonwealth tanks already had good infantry - tank communications. Tanks were fitted with a field telephone in a box on the rear of the tank containing the phone.
Not before D-Day they weren't...at least on U.S. tanks.
Not in the ETO anyway. But in the Pacific, tanks were using field modifications to mount field telephones to tanks at Bougainville, Cape Gloucester, and Kwajalien.

IIRC, it was around the Battle of Saint Lo that field telephones started appearing on US tanks.

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Re: Tactical innovation, CW armored forces

Post by Richard Anderson » 18 Feb 2020 04:17

Takao wrote:
18 Feb 2020 00:19
Richard Anderson wrote:
17 Feb 2020 07:10
T. A. Gardner wrote:
17 Feb 2020 06:35
Of the three in the OP.

Well before D-Day, both US and British / Commonwealth tanks already had good infantry - tank communications. Tanks were fitted with a field telephone in a box on the rear of the tank containing the phone.
Not before D-Day they weren't...at least on U.S. tanks.
Not in the ETO anyway. But in the Pacific, tanks were using field modifications to mount field telephones to tanks at Bougainville, Cape Gloucester, and Kwajalien.

IIRC, it was around the Battle of Saint Lo that field telephones started appearing on US tanks.
The 1st and 2d ID were the earliest in the ETO to make the modification, but as late as 25 July none of the tanks in the 2d AD were modified. "Extra" field phones were not all that common, so it took a while to implement the program and it was never a matter of every tank having a phone. It also wasn't always a good solution for the poor infantryman that had to stand exposed to use it and risk the tank suddenly turning or backing over him. Most units made do with the expedient of holding a tank back with the infantry HQ to provide radio communications to the rest and/or putting the infantry company commander in the same tank as the tank platoon commander.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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