Light Tank Mk IIA, A4

Light Tank Mk IIA, A4


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Light Tank Mk IIA, A4

The Light Tank Mark IIA was the designation given to twenty nine Mark IIs built by the Royal Ordnance Factory at Woolwich during 1931. The Mark IIA was similar to the standard Mark II, but with a modified fuel system that featured two fuel tanks – one armoured tank on the back of the tank and one on the right side track guard. The Mark IIA was given a No 1 Mark II turret, similar to that on the standard Mk II but with air vents protected by anti-bullet splash baffles on each side of the turret. The Mark IIA was built with the same two spring Horstmann suspension system as the Mark II, but many were later given the four spring system used on the Light Tank Mark III.

Names
Light Tank Mark IIA A4
Prototypes: A4E16 and A4E18

Stats
Production: 29 (1931)
Hull Length: 11ft 8in
Hull Width: 6ft 1in
Height: 6ft 9in
Crew: 2
Weight: 4.25 tons
Engine: 66 hp Rolls Royce 6-cylinder
Max Speed: 30mph
Max Range: 125 operational radius
Armament: One .303in Vickers machine guns
Armour: 10-4mm


M3 Stuart

The M3 Stuart, officially Light Tank, M3, was an American light tank of World War II. An improved version entered service as M5. It was supplied to British and other Commonwealth forces under lend-lease prior to the entry of the U.S. into the war. Thereafter, it was used by U.S. and Allied forces until the end of the war.

The British service name "Stuart" came from the American Civil War Confederate general J. E. B. Stuart and was used for both the M3 and the derivative M5 Light Tank. In U.S. use, the tanks were officially known as "Light Tank M3" and "Light Tank M5".

Stuarts were first used in combat in the North African campaign about 170 were used by the British forces in Operation Crusader (18 November – 30 December 1941). Stuarts were the first American-crewed tanks in World War II to engage the enemy in tank versus tank combat when used in the Philippines in December 1941 against the Japanese. [3] [4] Outside of the Pacific War, in later years of WWII the M3 was used for reconnaissance and screening.


Contents

Development Edit

Limitations of the existing 2-pounders were apparent even as the gun entered service and an effort was made to replace it with a much more capable weapon starting as early as 1938. The Woolwich Arsenal was entrusted with the development of a new gun with a calibre of 57 mm. Guns of this calibre had been employed by the Royal Navy from the late 19th century and manufacturing equipment was available. The gun design was complete by 1940 but the carriage design took until 1941. [ citation needed ] The production was further delayed by the defeat in the Battle of France. The loss of equipment – most of the heavy equipment of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) was left behind in France during Operation Dynamo – and the prospect of a German invasion made re-equipping the army with anti-tank weapons an urgent task, so a decision was made to carry on the production of the 2-pounder, avoiding the period of adaptation to production and also of re-training and acclimatisation with the new weapon. It was estimated that 100 6-pounders would displace the production of 600 2-pounders. [4] This had the effect of delaying production of the 6-pounder until November 1941 and its entry into service until May 1942.

Unlike the 2-pounder, the new gun was mounted on a conventional two-wheeled split trail carriage. The first mass production variant – the Mk II – differed from the pre-production Mk I in having a shorter L/43 barrel, because of the shortage of suitable lathes. The Mk IV was fitted with an L/50 barrel, with muzzle brake. Optional side shields were issued to give the crew better protection but were apparently rarely used.

The 6-pounder was used where possible to replace the 2-pounder in British tanks, requiring work on the turrets, pending the introduction of new tanks designed for the 6-pounder. The Churchill Marks III and IV, Valentine Mark IX and Crusader Mark III all began to enter service during 1942. The Valentine and Crusader both needed to lose a crew member from the turret. Tanks designed to take the 6-pounder were the troubled Cavalier, the Cromwell and the Centaur. When the Cromwell went into combat in 1944, it was armed with the Ordnance QF 75 mm gun, which was a redesign of the 6-pounder to take US 75 mm ammunition and more useful against general targets. The 6-pounder was also fitted to the AEC Armoured Car Mark II.

Although the 6-pounder was kept at least somewhat competitive through the war, the Army started the development of a more powerful weapon in 1942. The aim was to produce a gun with the same general dimensions and weight as the 6-pounder but with improved performance. The first attempt was an 8-pounder of 59 calibre length but this version proved too heavy to be used in the same role as the 6-pounder. A second attempt was made with a shorter 48 calibre barrel but this proved to have only marginally better performance than the 6-pounder and the program was cancelled in January 1943.

The 6-pounder was followed into production by the next generation British anti-tank gun, the Ordnance QF 17-pounder, which came into use from February 1943. As a smaller and more manoeuvrable gun, the 6-pounder continued to be used by the British Army for the rest of World War II and for about 20 years afterwards. A 57/42.6 mm squeeze bore adaptor was developed for the gun but was never adopted. The gun was produced in Canada and South Africa, where the Combined Ordnance Factories (COFAC) produced 300.

US production Edit

The idea of manufacturing the 6-pounder in the US was expressed by the US Army Ordnance in February 1941. The US Army still favoured the 37mm Gun M3 and production was planned solely for lend lease. The US version, classified as substitute standard as 57 mm Gun M1, was based on the 6-pounder Mark II, two units of which were received from the UK. Since there was sufficient lathe capacity, the longer barrel could be produced from the start. [6] Production started early in 1942 and continued until 1945. The M1A1 variant used US combat tyres and wheels. The M1A2 introduced the British practice of free traverse, meaning that the gun could be traversed by the crew pushing and pulling on the breech, instead of solely geared traverse, from September 1942. [7] The M1 was made standard issue in the Spring of 1943. A more stable carriage was developed but not introduced. Once the 57 mm entered US service, a modified towing point design was introduced (the M1A3) for US use. [8] Tractors for the M1 included the Dodge WC-63 1 1 ⁄ 2 -Ton 6×6 and the M2 Half-Track. [8]

Two-thirds of American production (10,000 guns) went to US Army Divisions in Europe. About one-third of production (over 4,200 guns) was delivered to the UK and 400 guns were sent to Russia through Lend-Lease. When the United States re-armed and re-equipped Free French forces for the Normandy landings, their anti-tank units received American-made M1s. Like the British Army, the US Army also experimented with a squeeze bore adaptor (57/40 mm T10) but the program was abandoned. American shell designs and production lagged behind the introduction of the gun once it was accepted for service and so, at first, only AP shot was available. The HE shell was not available until after the Normandy landings and UK stocks were procured to cover its absence. Its use by regular US Army front-line units was discontinued in the 1950s.

British service Edit

Anti-tank gun Edit

The 6-pounders (and the US-built M1 of which 4,242 guns were received) were issued to the Royal Artillery anti-tank regiments of infantry and armoured divisions in the western theatres (four batteries with 12 pieces each) and later in the war to the six-gun anti-tank platoons of infantry battalions. An air-landing battalion had an AA/AT company with two four-gun AT platoons. The Far East theatres had lower priority and different organisation, reflecting the lower tank threat. The gun was also employed by Commonwealth forces in formations similar to the British. The anti-tank ammunition was a basic Armour-Piercing (AP) shot, but by January 1943 an Armour-Piercing, Capped (APC) shot and an Armour-Piercing, Capped, Ballistic Capped (APCBC) shot was supplied. A High Explosive shell was produced for use against unarmoured targets.

The 6-pounder first saw action in May 1942 at the Battle of Gazala. It made an immediate impact on the battlefield as it was able to penetrate any enemy tank then in service. In the most celebrated action, the 6-pounder guns of 2nd Battalion, The Rifle Brigade (together with part of 239 Anti-Tank Battery Royal Artillery under command), destroyed more than 15 Axis tanks in the action at Outpost Snipe during the Second Battle of El Alamein. Over the next year, the Germans introduced much heavier tanks into service, notably the Tiger I and Panther. The standard 6-pounder shot was ineffective against the front armour at any range but proved effective on the less armoured sides and rear.

6-pounder gunfire accounted for the first Tigers disabled in North Africa two Tigers being knocked out by towed 6-pounder AT guns, while the 48th Royal Tank Regiment knocked out the first Tigers by the Western Allies in tank vs. tank action with their Churchill tanks, destroying two Tiger I (the same unit also knocked out the first Panther tanks by the Western Allies in May 1944 in Italy). The North Irish Horse disabled and captured Tiger 131 after the crew had abandoned it after it received several hits, most seriously a shot which struck the turret ring, making traverse impossible. The situation was somewhat improved by the development of more sophisticated ammunition in the form of the Armour-Piercing, Composite Rigid (APCR) shot and the Armour-Piercing, Discarding Sabot (APDS) shot, which was available from 1944 and made it effective against the frontal armour of Tiger Is and Panthers.

In the Royal Artillery regiments, the 6-pounders were joined by the 17-pounders starting in 1943 in infantry units, the gun remained the sole AT gun in service until 1951, when it was finally declared obsolete and replaced by the 17-pounder in the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR).

Tank gun Edit

The first tank to go into action armed with the 6-pounder gun was the Mark III version of the Churchill tank, in the Dieppe Raid of August 1942. They were deployed to North Africa six, as KingForce, were in action at El Alamein in October (destroying five tanks and three AT guns for the loss of one Churchill).

Molins gun Edit

The Royal Navy used the 6-pounder extensively in Motor Gun Boats during World War II (especially the Fairmile D). The gun was mounted on a hydraulic-powered mount and fitted with a power loading system developed by the Molins Machine Company Limited, permitting a six-round burst at one round per second. The guns were all the early short-barrel (43 calibre) type and fired exclusively HE (high-explosive) ammunition, at much lower muzzle velocities than for AP (armour-piercing), because of the use of flashless propellant for night operations. The naval designation was QF 6-Pounder Mk IIA nearly 600 of these weapons were made.

The Molins autoloader was also deployed on a small number of Royal Air Force de Havilland Mosquitos of Coastal Command, which were referred to as the "Tsetse" (after the Tsetse fly). Officially the QF 6-pdr Class M Mark I with Auto Loader Mk III, it was based on the long-barrelled (50 calibre) gun. It was fully automatic, with a cyclic rate of fire of about 55 rounds per minute with 21 rounds carried. It was intended for use against U-boats and fired solid shot that could penetrate their hulls through 2 ft (61 cm) of water from 1,400 m. The weapon was used to sink a U-boat and, on one occasion to shoot down a Junkers 88 aircraft during an attack on IJN submarine I-29 off Cape Penas. It was replaced in 1943 by the more versatile but less accurate RP-3 3-inch Rocket Projectile. [9]

US service Edit

In spring 1943, following the experience of the North African Campaign, the Infantry branch of the US Army recognised the need to field a heavier antitank gun than the 37 mm M3. The Ordnance QF 6-pounder was introduced into US service as the 57mm M1, following standard US nomenclature.

The introduction was made in the face of objections by the US Army Infantry Board, which believed it to be too heavy. The Ordnance Board, on the other hand, felt that a more powerful weapon should be introduced the Airborne and Cavalry rejected it.

According to the Table of Organisation and Equipment (TO&E) from 26 May 1943, a regimental antitank company included nine 57 mm guns and each battalion had an antitank platoon with three guns, giving a total of 18 guns per regiment. Dodge WC-62/WC-63 6×6 1½ ton trucks were issued as artillery tractors in place of the 3/4 ton truck used with its predecessor the 37mm. Because of the unexpected adoption into service, the only ammunition type in production in the US was the AP ammunition. [10]

By mid-1944, the M1 was the standard antitank gun of the US infantry in the Western Front and outnumbered the M3 in Italy.

Preparation for the D-Day invasion of Normandy highlighted an additional need. The Airborne Command had rejected the 57 mm M1 in the summer of 1943, claiming that it was unfit for airlanding by glider due to its weight and the TO&E of February 1944 still had airborne divisions keeping their 37 mm guns. To increase firepower, the 82nd and the 101st airborne divisions were re-equipped with British-manufactured 6-pounders on the narrow carriage Mk III designed for glider use – 24 in AA battalion, and 9 in each glider infantry regiment – for the Normandy airdrops. [11] In the fighting after the Normandy landings, the paratroops used them against German armour near St Mere Eglise and Carentan. However, few tanks were encountered and they were mostly used for support, which made the lack of an HE shell more significant.

The British 6-pounder with the MK III carriage was also used by 442 AT Company as part of the glider invasion force assigned at that time to the 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment, First Airborne Task Force, during Operation Dragoon the invasion of Southern France.

Limited availability of different ammunition types limited the efficiency of the gun in the infantry support role. Only after the Normandy Campaign did the HE round reach the battlefield although before then US units were sometimes able to get a limited amount of HE ammunition from the British Army). [10] The canister shot was not seen in significant amounts until early 1945. Some British stocks of APDS were supplied to the US units, although APCR and APDS rounds were never developed by the US.

From July, US anti-tank units encountered the Panther tank, which was vulnerable to the 57 mm only from the sides. Towed anti-tank guns were less effective in the hedgerow terrain, where mobility suffered but, when the Germans went on the offensive in August, they were effective in defence with infantry. [12]

Subsequently, the guns were officially introduced under the TO&E from December 1944. According to the TO&E, a division was issued 50 pieces: 8 in the divisional artillery, 24 in the AA battalion, and 18 in the glider infantry regiment parachute infantry regiments did not have anti-tank guns. The British guns were referred simply as 57 mm guns.

Towards the end of the war, towed anti-tank units were out of favour due to their lack of mobility compared to self-propelled guns and the 57mm was used by infantry battalions. However, with few tanks to contend with, some units that would have been equipped with the 57mm were instead deployed as rifle companies or only with the Bazooka. [13] The M1 went out of service in the US soon after the end of the war.

Other operators Edit

In addition to being used by the US, UK and other Commonwealth forces, the M1 was supplied under the Lend-Lease program to the Free French Forces (653), USSR (400) and Brazil (57). Guns captured by the Germans were given the designations 5.7 cm PaK 209(e) and 5.7 cm PaK 202(a). [ citation needed ] The Israel Defense Forces employed the 6-pounder in the 1950s in brigade-level anti-tank battalions and battalion-level anti-tank platoons (the latter formations were disbanded in 1953). By late 1955, the Israel Defense Forces possessed 157 pieces and 100 more were purchased from the Netherlands in 1956, too late to enter service before the Suez Crisis. Some of those are described as "57-mm guns, nearly identical to the 6-pounders and firing the same ammunition", which apparently makes them US-built M1 guns. [14] The gun was also used by the Pakistani Army numerous examples can still be seen as "gate guards" outside army bases in Pakistan. The Irish Army acquired six 6-pounder anti-tank guns in the late 1940s. The US 57 mm M1 gun is popular with modern-day cannoneers, as there is a relatively good supply of shell casings and projectiles. The gun is also reportedly still in active military use with some South American countries, and in coastal defence emplacements of outlying island garrisons of the Republic of China Army.

During the Biafran War, from 1967 to 1970, both the Nigerian Federal Army and the Biafran armed forces, including some Biafran vessels, used the 6-pdr gun. [15]

  • Mk 1: limited production version with L/50 barrel.
  • Mk 2: first mass-production version. Shortened L/43 barrel was adopted due to the shortage of suitable manufacturing equipment.
  • Mk 3: tank version of Mk 2.
  • Mk 4: L/50 barrel, single baffle muzzle brake.
  • Mk 5: tank version of Mk 4.
  • Molins Class M gun: 6-pounder gun fitted with automatic loader built by the Molins company, a manufacturer of cigarette making machines. It was mounted on the Royal Navy Motor Torpedo Boats and in the RAFMosquito planes, which were referred to as the "Tsetse".
  • 57 mm Gun M1: US-built version although based on Mk II, it had the "original" L/50 barrel.
  • Mk 1
  • Mk 1A: different axle and wheels
  • Mk 2: simplified design
  • Mk 3: modified for use by airborne troops
  • M1
  • M1A1: US wheels and tyres
  • M1A2 (1942): improved traverse mechanism, allowing free traverse
  • M1A3 (1943): modified towing hook the first version to be adopted by the US Army
  • M2 (1944): caster wheel added to the right trail, relocated trail handles, new utility box
  • M2A1 (1945): improved elevation gear

Tank gun versions of the 6-pounder were used in Crusader Mark III, Cavalier, Centaur Mk I and II, Cromwell Mk I to III, Valentine Mk VIII to X and Churchill Mk III and IV, and also in the Canadian Ram Mk II and the prototype American Light Tank T7E2. The Deacon wheeled and the experimental Alecto Mk II self-propelled guns also mounted the 6-pounder. Another experimental vehicle armed with the 6-pounder was a 'Firefly' tank destroyer, based on the Morris Light Reconnaissance Car. [16] The only mass-produced vehicle mounting the 57 mm M1 was the M3 Half-track based 57 mm Gun Motor Carriage T48 (also known by its Soviet designation SU-57). The production of the T18E2 armored car, known as Boarhound in its limited British service, was stopped after 30 units were built. A project for a tank destroyer armed with the M1—the 57 mm Gun Motor Carriage T49—was cancelled after a single pilot vehicle was built. Similarly, the wheeled 57 mm Gun Motor Carriage T44, based on Ford 4×4 ¾ ton cargo carrier chassis, was cancelled after brief testing. [17]

Ammunition was of the fixed type made up of projectile - with a tracer in the base - a charge in a brass cartridge and a percussion primer. A drill round made of weighted wood was also used. [18] Propellant was cordite or NH. The latter being more compact than cordite had a piece of packing between the propellant and base of the projectile.

Available ammunition [note 2]
Type Model Weight Filler Muzzle velocity
(L/43 guns)
Muzzle velocity
(L/50 guns)
British ammunition
AP Shot, AP, Mks 1 to 7 2.86 kg
(6 lb 5 oz)
- 853 m/s
(2,800 ft/s)
892 m/s
(2,930 ft/s)
APC
(from September 1942)
Shot, APC, Mk 8T [note 3] 2.86 kg
(6 lb 5 oz)
- 846 m/s
(2,780 ft/s)
884 m/s
(2,900 ft/s)
APCBC
(from January 1943)
Shot, APCBC, Mk 9T 3.23 kg
(7 lb 2 oz)
- 792 m/s
(2,600 ft/s)
831 m/s
(2,730 ft/s)
APCR
(from October 1943)
Shot, APCR, Mk 1T 1.90 kg
(4 lb 3 oz)
- 1,082 m/s
(3,550 ft/s)
APDS
(from March 1944)
Shot, APDS, Mk 1T 1.42 kg
(3 lb 2 oz)
- 1,151 m/s
(3,780 ft/s)
1,219 m/s
(4,000 ft/s)
HE [note 4] Shell, HE, Mk 10T approx. 3 kg
(6 lb 10 oz)
820 m/s
(2,700 ft/s)
US ammunition
AP AP Shot M70 2.85 kg
(6 lb 5 oz)
- 853 m/s
(2,800 ft/s)
APCBC/HE APC Shell M86 3.30 kg
(7 lb 4 oz)
Dunnite
34 g (1.2 oz)
823 m/s
(2,700 ft/s)
HE
(authorised in March 1944)
HE Shell T18 / M303
Canister
(in production from January 1945)
Canister Shot T17 / M305

The zone of dispersion of the gun was 90% in 4 by 3 ft (1.22 by 0.91 m) at 800 yd (730 m). [19]

Estimated armour penetration (versus vertical armour) [20]
Type 100 m
(110 yd)
500 m
(550 yd)
1,000 m
(1,100 yd)
1,500 m
(1,600 yd)
2,000 m
(2,200 yd)
British ammunition
AP 135 mm
(5.3 in)
112 mm
(4.4 in)
89 mm
(3.5 in)
70 mm
(2.8 in)
55 mm
(2.2 in)
APCBC 115 mm
(4.5 in)
103 mm
(4.1 in)
90 mm
(3.5 in)
78 mm
(3.1 in)
68 mm
(2.7 in)
APDS ** 177 mm
(7.0 in)
160 mm
(6.3 in)
140 mm
(5.5 in)
123 mm
(4.8 in)
108 mm
(4.3 in)
US ammunition
AP
(52 cal gun)
135 mm
(5.3 in)
112 mm
(4.4 in)
89 mm
(3.5 in)
70 mm
(2.8 in)
55 mm
(2.2 in)
APCBC 110 mm
(4.3 in)
98 mm
(3.9 in)
85 mm
(3.3 in)
73 mm
(2.9 in)
64 mm
(2.5 in)

** The statistics for British APDS rounds are not clear about which length of barrel fired the projectile.

AP in use as a tank gun, penetration was 81 mm (for Mark 3 gun) and 83 mm (Mark 5) at 500 yards and target at 30°. [21]


Production of the Matilda

The very first models formed a sort of pre-series. They were equipped with several features which would disappear with the production Mark II version. First, the suspension had three return rollers. They were replaced later by track skids, to ease production and maintenance. The turret was equipped (on the right) with a set of three smoke grenade launchers, in fact, modified Lee Enfield mechanisms. On the left side of the turret was placed a set of leather belts, meant to suspend a large protecting, rolled canvas. Later, these were replaced by a simpler metal tubular structure.
When the war broke out in September 1939, only two Matilda IIs were serviceable. The other deliveries were pressed into service quickly after training.
The same year, another order was placed to Ruston & Hornsby. In 1940, John Fowler & Co. of Leeds was also contracted, and later, in 1941-42, so were London, Midland and Scottish Railway, Harland & Wolff (Belfast, the famous shipbuilder of the Titanic), and, eventually, the North British Locomotive Company in Scotland. Production ended in August 1943 after a total of 2,987 units. It was a relatively costly tank and difficult to manufacture, requiring some special skills.


Usage in battles

The M24 Chaffee is a very good tank with a fairly interesting play style. Instead of being permanently stationed at a single point and continuously firing at an enemy, this tank offers impressive manoeuvrability and speed which allows it to perform impressive flanking manoeuvres. The M24 can travel at around 38 km/h forward and -25 km/h backwards. Its reverse speed is very good if a quick getaway by going backwards is needed. Thus, this tank excels at "peek-a-boo" tactics in which one hides behind a rock or other large piece of cover and repeatedly inches out to fire at an enemy.

An extension of this "peek-a-boo" tactic is to also use the tank's mobility for "scoot-and-shoot" tactics by firing and then moving to another firing location so as to prevent enemy tanks and tank destroyers from accurately guessing range. This can be difficult, however, as you must be very versed in your own tank's ballistics to make shots as you will have to estimate range on the fly. Don't think this means firing on the move - if you are going faster than 16 km/h (10 mph), the stabilizer will not allow for accurate shots, and it is only a vertical stabilizer.

Do not: Continuously shoot at a tank without backing up/moving. The vehicle's armour is very thin and will most likely be destroyed if it stays in one position and does not stop changing positions. Always try to get the first shot off in a head-on attack. Typically, the best shell to use is the M61 shell but it can also be beneficial to have M72 shells as well.

Another way to go around is to flank the enemy. If attacking with a more direct approach, keep hidden behind a building or boulder and pop out every now and then to take a shot at the enemy. Also, prioritize targets who are busy fighting others and cannot retaliate. Usually, after the first shot, it may disable their tank depending on what it is. Disabling the enemy tank's crew, tracks, engine, etc. allows for retaliation without the risk of any incoming enemy shells.

  • Sd.Kfz.234 series: The M24, although agile, is still not the fastest tank at its rank. When your opposite team has Germany, you might want to reconsider the option of capping a point straight away, since the German Sd.Kfz.234 series are very likely to be there first. The Sd.Kfz.234/2 (also known as the Puma) is a turreted 8-wheel vehicle with a small profile, extremely high on-road speed and a powerful 50mm gun. But it cannot turn in place, has a very slow turret traverse and only 8mm of side hull armour, so a good tactic is to circle with it and utilise your stabiliser, fast turret and the piercing .50 cal. In an intense tank "dogfight", you might miss your shots. Don't worry, your reliable .50 cal got you! It can penetrate the sides, or even the front of the puma easily. The Sd.Kfz.234/3 and Sd.Kfz.234/4, although being equally deadly, are turretless. You can use some quick turns to avoid their guns or tear through the thin armour plate protecting their gunners with your .50 cal.
  • KV-1, KV-IB, KV I C 756 (r): The famous KV series can cause a bit of troubles too. They are well know for their well-protected hull and turrets. The M24 can manoeuvre to point-blank range, line up your gun so it's pointing dead flat at the armour and fire. The 104mm penetration of the M61 shell should punch a hole in the KV's armour with ease. If you are close enough but do not have the space to manoeuvre, shoot their gun barrel to prevent them from getting a shot off, then go for their turret ring or the vertical part on their gun mantlet, which is only 90mm. For the KV-1B, do not try and fire at its turret from the front and side, as they are 105mm thick and will never get penetrated. For the KV I C 756, aim for the cupola (50m) or the gun mantlet (50mm) to knock out the turret crew or the gun breech. Don't shoot at anywhere else, the shell won't penetrate.
  • Churchill Mk I, Churchill Mk III, Pz.Kpfw. Churchill: The Churchills, with their complex hulls and sturdy turrets, can be quite hard to kill at range. Again, maneuver as close to them as possible, the idea distance being no more than 200m. If they are angling their hull but facing their turret at you, only go for the turret. For the Mk I Churchills, aim at the near-vertical part of their rounded cheeks to ensure successful penetrations. For the Mk III and the German Churchill, also aim for their flat turret which is at most 89mm. The shell should go in easily and knock out most, if not all of the crew. Only when you are facing their hull without any angles should you shoot the hull, otherwise shoot the turret only, as their big tracks can easily get in front of the frontal hull. The side hull have multiple layers of armour, some of which are weirdly angled and can absorb plenty of shells.
  • M4A2 / A4: these Sherman tanks are widely used by over 3 nations that spread across both the Allied and the Axis side, so no matter which nation you play they can be quite tough to destroy in the hands of a skilled tanker. Given the rather weak penetration of your short 75mm gun, their hull can be almost impossible to penetrate when angled, hull down or 300m away. For a M4A4, there are 2 apparent bulges on the upper front plate, a penetration through there is a guaranteed kill most of the times. But in case the opponent covers them up or when it's a M4A2, aim for the middle parts of the gun mantlet or the turret armour unprotected by the mantlet, you can at least make them defenseless.

Pros and cons

  • Decent mobility: good top speed and great turning ability
  • Uses the same gun as the 75mm Shermans: various shell types, great penetration & damage and excellent gun depression. M61 shell can one shot common tanks like the T-34 series, M4A1, Cromwell or even the KV-1.
  • Fast turret traverse allows it to track agile targets easily
  • Low profile allows it to easily hide behind small bushes or rocks, increasing survivability
  • Equipped with a vertical plane stabilizer, allowing for more accurate shots on the move or shoot-n-scoot tactics
  • Pintle mounted HMG allows for air defense and some anti tank ability (eg. GAZ trucks, SU-76, ZSD63)
  • 13 smoke grenades allow escaping from dangerous situation for many times
  • Effective even in uptiers if used for flanking shots or hunting soft targets
  • Very fast reverse allowing it to retreat from danger quickly
  • Low survivability: all-round thin armour and closely packed crews. Can get one-shot by common guns like 75mm M3, 76mm F-34 and 75mm Kwk 40
  • Acceleration is rather sluggish, especially on soft terrains
  • On-road top speed is still inferior to some wheeled vehicles like the Sd.Kfz.234/2
  • Shells drop dramatically at long distances, making distant / moving targets hard to shoot at
  • Reload time is pretty slow for a light tank
  • Low ammo count can be a problem in long games or RB/SB matches

The first tanks were so loud that it was impossible to communicate via radio instead they used carrier pigeons! The Mark I was the world’s first combat tank made by the British Army during World War I. it was developed to be able to cross trenches, resist small arms fire, travel over difficult terrain, carry supplies, and to capture fortified enemy positions.


MMS Classic Models – Listing by Nation

One of the really great Model Manufacturers around is MMS Classic Models – they produce some really high quality World War 2 vehicles and guns for 20mm scale (I believe they are nominally very accurate 1/76th scale on par with Milicast and Cromwell – but don’t quote me on that). Anyway on their site they list all their packs numerically rather than by Nation or any other logical order – this drives me mad!

So I’ve done my own listing sorted by Nation and then logically within each Nation by type of pack.

This all came about because I was trying to figure out if MMS did a nice Pzkpfw 38t model (they don’t unfortunately). So in the end I’ve put this list up in the hope it is of use to someone else other than just me! The Russian 57mm ZIS-2 ATG, for example, is one of the nicest gun models you’ll find in this scale.

Item Description is followed by the MMS Pack Number (IR = Restricted Range, G = Gun Range, CV = Civvy Street, A = Accessory Range, Everything else the standard Classic Vehicle Range) and followed by the pricing as displayed on the MMS Website on 01 October 2010. This is the list as of 01 October 2010 – there will have been new packs added since:


The "Italian Tune-Up"

The "Italian Tune-Up" is a common fix for a range of automotive problems, including a clogged catalytic converter. Many drivers simply don’t push their vehicles hard enough to heat the catalytic converter to its most-efficient temperature—between 800 °F (426 °C) and 1,832 °F (1,000 °C)—leading to premature failure.

Running a vehicle harder than usual for a few miles (e.g. multiple hard accelerations) may heat up the converter adequately and burn off performance-robbing deposits in the intake, cylinder head, exhaust, oxygen sensors, and catalytic converter.


Hungarian armor part 4 – Toldi II, Toldi IIA, Toldi III

Last time we left the Toldi tank when first 80 pieces of Toldi I were manufactured. Toldi I was basically the original Toldi design, based on the Landsverk light tank, armed with a modified 20mm AT rifle. These 80 Toldi vehicles had serial numbers H301 to H380. After that, the type was redesigned to Toldi II.

Toldi II tanks were practically identical to the late Toldi I series. The main difference however was the fact that unlike Toldi I, Toldi II tanks were built from parts, manufactured exclusively in Hungary. That finally solved the issues with German supply chain to Hungarian army’s satisfaction. Another change was the upgrade of the radio from type R-5 to R-5a. These vehicles were manufactured partially in parallel to the older Toldi I model (using German parts) roughly from March 1941 to the end of 1941. 110 Toldi II tanks were manufactured, 68 of which were made by Ganz (H423-H490) and 42 by MÁVAG (H381-H422). By the end of 1941, the Hungarian army owned 190 Toldi I and Toldi II tanks in total – because of the continuous upgrades with locally-built parts, later on these tanks were practically identical (the only way how to distinguish them was the old frame antenna of the Toldi I tank and the new straight antenna of Toldi II, but both models were soon upgraded to the R-5a standard and this feature disappeared).

Here, a Toldi II (possibly in Russia):

Technically, the first combat use of Toldi tanks happened when Hungary invaded the Romanian territory of Northern Transylvania. On 5.9.1940, Hungarian units crossed the border and advanced into the heart of the former Romanian territory, transferred to Hungary in the Second Vienna Award. While no real combat happened (Romania was basically strongarmed by Italy and Germany to back off), for Toldi tanks it was a disaster. The region was important politically, but its infrastructure was (literally) medieval. The tanks had huge issues traversing the broken and unkept roads and trails: the German engines proved to be completely unreliable and were breaking down all the time, the torsion bars were breaking down and the fact the Hungarian tank drivers were green did not help either. Losses mounted and the Hungarian army command was silently *facepalming*, when reading the reports. Some of the tank breakdowns were also quite pointless, caused by the fact that in the confusion, the maintenance crews filled the tanks with winter oil instead of the summer one, causing them to overheat and in some cases seize altogether.

As a result of this failure, the army units were reorganized in October 1940. Each motorized division was now to have a tank batallion, but the upgrade plans (everything was to be read in May 1941) proved to be not realistic and arrangements had to be made (such as reducing the number of Toldi tanks in cavalry divisions etc.). In April 1941, 54 Toldi I tanks were used in aggression against Yugoslavia. They faced little resistance (as Yugoslavia had very few real anti-tank weapons) and there were no losses amongst the Toldis or crews (the only armored losses were a couple of Csaba armored cars, shot up by Yugoslavian 37mm AT guns), but the operation showed two things:

- the issue with the supply chain chaos did not disappear, although it was reduced somewhat. There still were issues with German parts breaking down, this was only fixed by the end of 1941 when they were replaced for Hungarian ones

- the armor of the tanks was proved to be too thin and could be damaged even by machinegun gun fire. The fact that no Toldi tank was lost was a mixed blessing. On one hand, all the crewmen survived. On the other hand, the voices pointing out the insufficient armor were dismissed – and those, who realized the future of armored combat watched in fear as the two most powerful armies in the world clashed in a titanic struggle, that would reshape the face of the world forever.

Hungarian forces were committed to Operation Barbarossa on 28.6.1941. Some time before however, an army unit called “Carpathian group” was formed in Hungary under the command of Lt.Gen. Ferenc Szombathelyi, consisting of two Corps-level units (VIII.Corps and “Mobile Corps”). The Mobile Corps, commanded by Maj.Gen. Béla Miklós had 81 Toldi tanks, 84 Csaba armored cars and 60 CV-35 tankettes.

As soon as the Hungarian forces crossed the borders, the supply chain and breakdown issues appeared yet again and a portion of Toldi tanks was not available yet again. From 9.7.1941, the Mobile Corps was officially a part of the German Gruppe Süd. The advance was not easy and the Hungarian soldiers were harassed by Soviet ambushes all the time and losses mounted. The terrain was also harsh, forcing the command to supply some of the units via air, because the trucks couldn’t get thru. Even the Toldi tanks finally met their match. On 13.7.1941, the 3rd Company of 9th Tank Batallion (1st Motorized Infantry Brigade) got into a nasty fight with the Red Army near Antonovka. Unit commander Tibor Karpathy’s Toldi was hit by an AT gun, killing the driver and forcing other tanks to come out and attempt to rescue it. In the ensuing melee, six Toldi tanks were hit and eight of their crewmen were killed, an ominous sign of things to come.

By mid July, 7 tanks were too heavily damaged for field repairs. The Italian CV-35 tankettes proved to be terribly obsolete. On 24.7.1941, the Hungarian army was assaulting Tulcsin. Its right flank was covered by Romanian troops, but a Soviet counterattack routed them, forcing the command to deploy two tankette companies to close the breach in lines. It was a disaster: the tankettes got stuck in the mud and their engines stalled, forcing the crews to dismount and handcrank them. In the end, only one platoon managed to retreat, other 18 crewmen were killed, their tankettes destroyed.

The biggest enemy the Toldi tanks faced in late 1941 were however not the Soviets, but their own repair possibilities. Only a month after the start of the operation, the repair units had to be significantly reinforced by sending skilled civillian workers from the factories to the front. The engines, unreliable even in best conditions, turned out to be a catastrophy on the front lines: within days, 41 Toldi tanks were listed as non-operational and only 10 of them were damaged by enemy fire, the rest was caused by engine breakdowns. The losses mounted despite the best efforts of the workers to keep the Toldi tanks running: on 5.8.1941, out of the original 81 tanks only 57 were in working condition, 14 could be repaired in the field, but the rest had to be sent back to Hungary for full factory refit. In late July, 14 new Toldi tanks were sent to the front, but because of the chaos in railway supply chain, they arrived at Krivoy Rog only 12.10.1941. The long trip took a toll on them too: two vehicles had to be sent straight back to the factory via the same train without even taking a shot at the enemy.

By the end of October, Hungarian forces suffered significant losses: 855 men fell, 2845 were wounded and 830 were either MIA or captured. 95 Toldi tanks (80 percent!) were not operational: 62 were later repaired, but 25 were completely destroyed. The losses of the CV tankettes were however almost 100 percent and by the end of 1941, the tankettes were officially removed from service. Facing such losses, Hungarian army (after German permission) pulled their armor units behind the lines for a refit in November.

What the army officers feared earlier had become true. The early months of Operation Barbarossa showed that the day of the light tank as a viable armored unit was over, its lacking armor and weak armament making it obsolete when facing a well-armored medium tank. Another huge issue for the Toldi I and II tanks were the unreliability of the engine.

In October 1941, the Hungarian armored forces were again reorganized to correspond to the German unit classification (Division system). Basically from the current brigade units, two armored divisions were formed: the 1st AD and 2nd AD. There was not enough armor to equip a full division though, so the Germans had to help by supplying the Hungarians with Panzer 38(t) and Panzer IV tanks, only 17 Toldi tanks were present. By that time, they were completely outclassed. The 30th Tank Regiment (a part of the 1st Division) was first used in combat again on 18.7.1942 near Uriv (Stalingrad theater of operations). The fighting around river Don was very tough, with the Hungarian army, facing the lack of pretty much everything being forced to use tanks less as the armored hammer the German doctrine intended and more for infantry support.

Within one month, only 5 combat-ready Toldi tanks remained. The 1st Division went thru some tough fighting in September and October 1942, it had to be pulled out in early December for refit and rest only to be practically annihilated during the January 1943 Soviet offensive – 147971 men were lost and 80 percent of vehicles and guns were destroyed, only three Toldi tanks returned to Hungary. The Hungarian army as an offensive force ceased to exist.

While the Hungarian army was fighting its last major battle in the east, it was clear to the Hungarian technicians (well, to pretty much everyone), that the Toldi as it was was completely obsolete and pretty much finished. That’s why they sought a way to improve its performance. There were actually two ways: to improve the armor and to improve the gun. Hungarians pursued the latter.

The new improved Toldi variant was called 42M Toldi IIA. The main reason for its existence was the fact the original Toldi was outclassed even by Soviet light tanks, that were resistant to its 20mm tank rifle. In order to improve that, the designers tried to replace the weapon with something more powerful. In 1942 a prototype was made, where the rifle was replaced by a 37/42M MÁVAG tank gun. It basically was a shorter version of the original 40mm 37M gun (you might remember it from the Straussler V-4), which in turn was a licensed 40mm Bofors. It was a 40mm L/45 with muzzle velocity of 800 m/s and the rate of fire 16 rounds per minute. The shell (originally meant for the Bofors AA guns) could penetrate 64mm of armor (30 deg slope) at 100 meters (in WoT terms it’s 74mm PEN) and 30mm of armor (same slope) at 1000m.

The machinegun was also replaced by a later model belt-fed Gebauer 34/40A.M. Since the new gun took a lot of space in the turret, the designers moved the radio station to the box behind the turret. The designers also thought about making the armor thicker, but in the end decided against it, because the vehicle was unreliable as it was and the worn-out engines couldn’t handle additional weight. However, some vehicles did carry additional side armor, the so-called “Schurzen”.

Despite the prototype being available in 1942, the conversion process was incredibly slow. 80 vehicles were converted (mostly from Toldi II tanks) to carry the new gun, but due to unexplicable delays, the whole program was really slow – the conversion started in early 1943, but ended as late as 1944. Why was it so slow when the army desperately needed tanks and took everything it had at that point, we have no idea.

After the 1st Division was wiped out at Stalingrad, a new 1st Division was formed back in Hungary, with three tank batallions. This division was deployed in Hungary with its command structure being in Budapest. 2nd Division was also formed (deployed in Kecskemet, with its elements being also deployed in Slovakia). Both divisions formed 1st Armored Corps. The Toldi tanks (both II and IIA) were deployed as parts of medium and heavy tank companies. However, the units suffered from lack of training – the high command allowed only a limited number of Toldi tanks to be used as training vehicles, the rest had to be preserved for frontline use. While this tactic seemed suicidal, the Germans were facing similiar problems and had similiar orders in place. In April 1944, the 2nd Division was deployed to East Galicia to fight the advancing Red Army and suffered heavy losses. When it was deployed, it had 83 Toldi tanks of all versions. By the end of the operation, only 14 remained. 1st Divison fought the Russians in Poland (near Warsaw) and lost all of its 5 Toldi tanks. In mid June 1944, the army had 66 Toldi I, Toldi II and 63 IIA tanks. From September, these units were used to defend Hungary from the enemy. By that time, even the modernized Toldi IIA had no chance whatsovever against the newest medium and light tanks. They were decimated in droves and in December 1944, the 2nd Division in Budapest only had 5 Toldi tanks left. Toldi tanks appeared sporadically on front lines until the end of the war in single pieces.

After the war was over, the Soviets captured the few remaining pieces and took them to Kubinka for testing. One of them remains there to this day.

Characteristics – Toldi IIA

Crew: 3
Weight: 9.35 tons
Engine: Büssing NAG L8V/36 TR 152hp
Maximum speed: 48km/h
Armor (hull): 13/13/6
Armor (turret): 13/13/6
Armament: 40mm 37/42M gun, 8mm Gebauer MG

The ultimate evolution of the Toldi tank was the Toldi III. It was an attempt to increase the armor of the Toldi tank as an answer to the battle needs of the Hungarian army.

However, the designers were severly limited in the attempt to increase the protection by two factors. First was obviously the weight (as in the Toldi IIA case, there was only so much the engine and final drive could handle). Second was the ground pressure – Toldi had relatively thin tracks and if too heavy, the terrain passability would suffer too much. Ganz company proposed a Toldi variant compromise with the increased armor: 35mm in the front (both turret and hull), 25mm turret sides and 20mm hull sides. Apart from the fact the armor was now thicker, the turret (armed with the same gun as Toldi IIA) was made longer. The army was not satisfied, but despite the refusal, Ganz privately built two prototypes in Spring 1942 (or rather converted them from exiting Toldi IIA tanks). Between June 1942 and March 1943, the prototypes were tested. Ganz was ready to produce 40 vehicles of this type, but the army approved only twelve, that ended up in various states of assembly. Here’s where the literature on this type varies. Some sources state that all 12 were finished, while other sources (mostly Hungarian themselves) state only 3 were ever finished from September 1943 to 1944. What is clear however is that the project had lower priority than the Toldi IIA conversions. It is unclear, whether Toldi III ever saw action.

Characteristics – Toldi III

Crew: 3
Weight: 9.45 tons
Engine: Büssing NAG L8V/36 TR 152hp
Maximum speed: 47km/h
Armor (hull): 35/20/10
Armor (turret): 35/25/6
Armament: 40mm 37/42M gun, 8mm Gebauer MG

In World of Tanks

I think it’s pretty clear how Toldi might appear in WoT. Toldi I/II/IIA might appear as a tier 2 light tank with the Toldi III might appear as tier 3. It would seem logical for Toldi III to appear as an optional hull for the Toldi tank (when such feature is implemented), but the problem is, if that happens – there will be a gap on tier 3 with nothing to fill it, as the Turán tank (Turán I anyway) is more like tier 4 material by itself. Either way, since reliability plays little role in World of Tanks, with 18 hp/t it should be a fairly agile and fast vehicle.


Watch the video: Senya Playing with Power Wheel Tank Funny Story about TANK