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  1. Just a thought, what about a WW1 addon? Ive always thought a Plan 1919 game would fascinating. That and having to multiplayer 4 people just to drive your MkIV kind of appeals to the sadist in me.
  2. I can certainly sympathize with the difficulty of getting access to a Challenger 1. I tried at one of the Beltring shows to gain access to the privately owned one, and was pretty much slapped down. As I understand from a friend, it wasnt much of a loss. It was a prototype that they managed to cadge a turret for and slapped it on top, and it was largely empty inside. Most of the others in the UK (and there isnt that many left now) are in military collections. And the MOD do have some strange regulations on security. For example, you can buy a Challenger 1 manual on ebay no problem at all. But if you reproduce it, supposedly it falls foul of some obscure security agreement we have with Jordan, and is technically a felony. Go figure. Chieftain is a better option. Ive lost count of how many of those seem to be in the hands of UK farmers. Even better, the fire control system on it is functionally identical for Challenger 1. I dont think a Chieftain Mk11 would be much shy of a Challenger 1 in an engagement.
  3. Thanks for converting these Kevin. Im gratified people are still having fun with this, they must be well over 10 years old by now.
  4. Without looking at the documents in English I couldnt give a better verdict, other than to say you have to be careful of assuming that someones rank gives a guide to the kind of access they had. If you want a good illustration of that, look at the works of Viktor Suvorov.... Its certainly interesting however, and I think you for it.
  5. I thought that might be the case. The only reason why I ask is that in 2002 a book called 'Cold War a Military History' by David Miller (pretty good book actually) came out with what it said were authentic warplans from the East German Archives. Unfortunately as it turned out these were, as with the Polish and I think possibly the Czech plans, wargames. They might show elements of what a Soviet warplan were, but were not actually the plans themselves. I gather there was some discussion over the article (on which Miller based a chapter of his book on) in the Parallel history archive, and the consensus was that people were putting too much confidence in the information than it warranted. Im not sure if this is a result of the same study, or actually the same study updated, but its worth illustrating that interesting though the maps in this are, they are likely to be studies. The Soviet warplan for Western Europe remains locked in an archive in Moscow, if it still exists at all. The nearest we get are map studies and wargames which are interesting, but its easy to get the two mixed up. I just thought I would highlight some caution on this, I was bitten this way myself back in 2002. Without being able to read it I cant comment on whether this is new information or not, maybe a new set of documents turned up, but ive not noticed any reference to that online. Most of the revelations these days seem to be in western archives.
  6. Just thought I would drop in to point out, Harold Coyle was interviewed (as part of the release of the new wargame series) recently, and gave his view on the tactical picture at the time, and how he views it subsequently. He himself points to it being unrealistic how the single nuclear attack on either side developed, and suggests the nuclear release would have been much more general out of the gate. I personally give it 3 days tops before it went nuclear. The British were optimistic and planned for a week of conventional warfare before it all came apart. But there we are, that's Brits being optimistic for you. :) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5U9xiAhIqg https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fwNW-Db41U In absolute fairness to Sir John Hackett, in either 'The Third World war' or the follow up 'The untold story' he delineates a pact theatre level strike scenario that over 30 decades later seems to fit with the evidence as it emerges. Widespread theatre level strikes, insertion of Spetsnaz to pinpoint missed targets, another general nuclear and conventional strike and then the big tank parade through Paris. Its realistic, and horrifying to read. Its rejected in the book by the Politburo for political reasons (it assumed the politburo had that kind of authority over the General staff on making of strategy) and the reason why the Birmingham attack is undertake is for political reasons and that the pact is losing. In actual fact that is not that different from Russian nuclear strategy today, read up on 'descalatory nuclear strike' and you will see what I mean. Limited release of such a kind is more realistic today than then I think. About the only distinction the Soviets would have made would be between Theatre and Strategic, and in the case of the British and French that was largely wishful thinking anyway. May I thank StKpPzBrig18 for the document above, has anyone seen an English version of the is document anywhere? The map there in I find particularly interesting.
  7. But its still not mounted in the turret front, which is the point im making. Yeah you could have mounted it on the turret top, but as you point out, the would make the whole area very crowded and untidy. A hit on the GPS would very likely take out the TOGs as well if it was sat there. You could of course mount it on the turret side. But that looked a bit of a dogs breakfast in Challenger 1 and I cant blame them for wanting to move it. It would in any case mean that mounting uparmour on the turret side would be very difficult. Where it is is not a great place, but Im not sure there is anywhere else that would be massively better. The loaders sight is actually very small. In photos with all the armour boxes off, you barely notice it at all. Mind you, I cant recall seeing one for the GPS either. I assumed most of the cavity for that would have been under the base of the CV580 sight.
  8. I ought to add something to the Thermal debate. Its true that the sight is in a strange place. The commander has an image intensifier (if memory serves) a Thales 580 sight that when built does actually have an option for fitting a thermal viewer. Im not sure why it doesnt have one already, and certainly the Desert Challenger (or C2E as its otherwise known) did indeed have a Leclerc thermal sight available to the commander. http://defenceforumindia.com/forum/land-forces/33024-challenger-2-challenger-2e-enhanced-export.html Which is presumably why they dont mount a gunners thermal sight at all on the mantlet in this version. So yeah, its an awkward solution. But bear in mind you are for the most part going to be engaging static targets with hesh at long range. In those circumstances you probably wouldnt need a thermal viewer and get away with an image intensifier to observe fall of shot. I think you end up with another thermal viewer for the loader when they mount the Independent weapons system anyway, so he could probably use that to figure out fall of shot depending on what system got mounted. Any other time (Using hesh at short range, using APFSDS), the gun is going to be in a fairly horizontal plain allowing observation of the target. I get the impression (im not certain of this) HESH even now isnt the prefered round for engaging moving targets, so most engagements if thats true are going to be pretty flat. As for why they mounted it where they did, its a good question. Im not convinced its quite the problem its stated to be, but there is at least 2 good reasons why its there. Firstly the TOGs in Challlenger1 was mounted externally, so maybe they got used to servicing it without having to enter the tank at all. And secondly there is the armour and gas seal to think of. Maybe they figured, better go large on the armour and mount the viewer on the mantlet. If you mount it in the armour, there is always the potential for a cavity. As they were apparently considering the possibility of top attack in the design, just bolting it onto the turret roof clearly wouldnt really do. It was always intended to fit a thermal viewer in Challenger2. It wasnt initially in Challenger1 (or at least Shir2) which is why the mounting position on it was rather bodged. Indeed the export model of Challenger1 when offered specified TOGS as an option. The layout is certainly different. But ive not read of it actually proving a problem in Iraq. The only incident ive found where the sight placement is an issue was when a friendly fire occured in Iraq, and a Challenger2 crewman outside the vehicle got hit by the COAX, when the gunner had the sight directly on an insurgent. But thats a problem most tanks might have at close range I expect. Incidentally, just remembered. They did mount a sight in the turret front armour on one of the turrets just before they started on designing Challenger2 (the one on Valiant and Mk7 is widely regarded as a design ancestor). That they did not do so in this case suggests to me they had a specific reason for not continuing with it. I must ask a friend about this. http://www.military-today.com/tanks/vickers_mk7.htm
  9. Just so you all know, the grate site is now back up. Make sure you thank all those who got it going again on the FFZ.
  10. Best Chieftain (automotively anyway) was Shir1/Khalid. When the Iranian order fell through there was something like 200 vehicles without a home. MOD would have been wise to have bought them, if only to have bailed out the manufacturers. Jordan got them instead. Also had a pretty good image intensifier sight on it for the commander. On the positive side Challenger1 was rather better than its press describes. Fire on the move was pretty much a joke (mainly due to the poor stab) but it was no less accurate than Chieftain from a static position, and the armour was pretty good. The thermal optical gunnery system on it was reputed to be actually better than mounted on the early Abrams, something its not really given credit for. A friend tells me they actually devised a way to mount a German MTU engine into Chieftain, supposedly someone suggested it as an option as an alternative to buying Titan. Supposedly it was impossible, but they managed to squeeze it into the original engine compartment. Amazing what you can do when you set your mind to it.... Got a video from Iranian TV showing their reengined and refurbished Chieftains somewhere. I really must up that on youtube one of these days. Still looks far inferior to Chieftain Mk11 Imho. That really was a good bit of kit considering how old it was.
  11. It depends who you talk to. Yeah, the initial versions were a bit underpowered, but the later versions were rather better, and actually fairly reliable when they ditched the multifuel mode (which Britain had stuck with, long after Nato gave up on the idea). In fact even some of the earlier models seem to have been quite good. A friend of mine swears that when he was using a Mk3 (in theory one of the more unreliable versions) and never had any problems with it, because he maintained it properly. Ultimately the Israeli Army wanted to buy Chieftain with the existing power-plant. That pretty much says all really. It worked fine, when it was properly maintained. Ironically I gather it was actually based upon a WW2 Junkers engine if I remember rightly. Chieftain has always had a very bad press, im not quite sure why. It was even cleaning the clocks of T72s when the Iraqis invaded Kuwait in 1990. And that was with the old L15 APDS rounds I strongly suspect.
  12. Nope. Its a common misnomer, but Centurion was actually laid down in specs and significant design months before the British Army encountered Panther. Someone proved that on Tanknet. If you look at it, it seems more inspired by Tiger, with a fusion of 'Cruiser' tank elements and Heavy tanks like Churchill. It was closest to Montys concept of a 'universal' tank, but thats only because A45, a heavier cousin based on Conqueror rolling gear, never got beyond the prototype. Even that version was very different from Mk2, in that it had thinner side armour and a totally different turret. Mk2 had the familiar Centurion turret, but it still didnt get the 20pounder till 1949 making the Mk3 we know and love. So very clearly the tank that fought on the Golan was the Cold war tank as envisaged, not the one to fight the 3rd Reich. The version that fought on the Golan was either built as, or was close to in modifications, the British Mk5/2. And that if I remember rightly didnt come out till somewhere around 1959. Ultimately Centurion is a Cold war Tank. There wasnt an awful lot left from the WW2 design if you look over the Mk1 in Bovington, other than basic layout and running gear design. its a bit like comparing the M48 to a T26. I mean yeah you can, but its stretching the point. That said, it would be fair to say there was a change in doctrine even between Centurion and Chieftain coming out. The WW2 influence didnt really die out till the late 50s, not until the inevitability of nuclear release made large forces rather unnecessary. For example, I think the British Army bought something like 1000-1500 Centurions of all marks. With Chieftain they only bought 900, and something like half of those ended up in war stocks in short order. Chieftain was just an elaboration of tenets of design that had been laid down in Centurion when you get down to it. Even the suspension has great similarities.
  13. Even prior to the new strategy emerging in the 1980s, of course BAOR did practice counteroffensive doctrine. But one must not get carried away and assume you are talking about hail mary style offensives. They were relatively short range counteroffensives to retake vital ground, or eliminate limited Soviet offensive salients. There would appear to be nothing compared to what 1 UK Div practiced (and did) in Iraq in 1991 before the mid 80s. One British tank commander told me they even had the defensive positions already sorted out. It was just a matter of deploying there. That all changed with Bagnall with a vastly more ambitious counter offensive strategy that developed through the 1980s, and Im convinced (others may disagree) that this had an effect on the ultimate design of challenger 2. Certainly I cant think of a British weapon system prior to the late 80s that specified fire on the move. Perhaps cheapness played a role, but more likely it was pragmatism. Why would they need a fire on the move capability? It would hardly be necessary when operating in a defensive or offensive overwatch. Yeah, slow moving defence tank sounds a dumb idea. Then you remember Centurion. Proved tailor made for defensive action on the Golan, which most commentators at the time judged was more likely to be the kind of action in West Germany in WW3 than the war in the Sinai. Its also worth pointing out that virtually unmodified Centurions took part in the offensive in the Sinai in 67, with a 30 mile range and (if I remember right) max speed of 24mph. The same mindset even persists in Challenger2, to an extent. I still dont think its a bad idea to go large on protection. What the hell, the Israelis seem to agree.
  14. Well, arguably the US Army AFV were more optimized for that kind of fight. I recall on tanknet them talking of engagements of 1500 metres of less in some areas. You only have to look at Fulda gap to realise their fights were going to be in far hillier terrain than up north. Perhaps not really appropriate to compare Korea to Fulda gap though. South Korea is still rather more boggy. UK armour (well since Centurion anyway) was optimised to fight on the North German plain, which is long visibility intersected with good defensive positions, either villages, forests of valleys. Its much more open than what you would find down south. Which rather fits its traditional role as part of the classic invasion route into Northern Europe. For that you didnt need high speed, just good armour and a good gun, preferably one with a good long range on it. When you get down to it, every British tank that made it into service was an elaboration of Chieftain. Mosts of the ones that did not (high mobility, lighter armour, 105mm gun) were invariably developed for export. Challenger2 is a puzzling mix of bits. Yes it was designed as the cold war was ending (I think the first tech demonstrator came out in 1991) but it clearly did have a similar mindset in tank design, ie, moderate mobility, heavy armour, long range gun and sights. But bear in mind it did have quite a bit of thought of the Persian army in it. The engine and drivetrain were to an extent a result of shir1 and and 2, so you can make a case that its ideally designed to fight in Iran. Assuming MOD remembered to buy some filters for it... One other thing to thow into the mix is an evolution in British strategy. Prior to 1981, the idea was to be the thin red line on the Rhine, ie walk backwards very slowly and hope the Soviets give up before we throw buckets of sunshine at them. Chieftain and Challenger1 are tailor made for this, with the fire contol and stab being really for fighting from static positions. Challenger2 was developed after a sea change in doctrine in NORTHAG, which was to be increasingly (and cohesively) a mobile counteroffensive doctrine. Which basically means AFVs with a capablity to fight on the move. Warrior didnt have this (and still doesnt till it has the update). Challenger2 however did, which fits because Warrior was largely laid down in design in 1980, before we started to think about doing things differently. So basically you have a tank with its armour and mobility optimised for standing up and fighting, and a fire control sophisticated to fight on the move. At least in the real thing anyway. Whether tactical doctrine really made change to emphaise the increased accuracy on the move I dont know, but the last RAC manual I saw emphased fire and overwatch rather than a cohesive mobile plan as in the US Army tank platoon manual. But as I say, my copy is rather old (1986). RAC doctrine would be rather limited by the Inablity of warrior to fire on the move I would think, but you would have to ask someone who was fortunate enough to do this for a living. I would be careful not to assume what will work for challenger in the game would work in real life though, and vice versa. Just my view. God I miss Tanknet.
  15. The actual tanknet name has been down for a while. It expired when Geoff died (he owned the right to the server name or something) and they were unable to gain it back because the server company decided to behave like dickheads and put it up for sale. As far as I know, they never acquired it again, and just used the 208 number. Colin suggests that he read on facebook its temporarily down, and should be back up soon. Lets hope so. I miss the old place rather more than I thought I would. http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php?topic=109847.0
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