Saturday, 29 December 2012

ww2 troop carriers and armoured cars

What was the best ? Well it was easily the Sd.Kfz. 251 - the amount of armour that was put on that chassis is amazing. It was the perfect support vehicle for the tanks and for or all its weakness and outdated nature, the M3 Stewart was OUTSTANDING in its intended role, due to its rugged reliability and excellent performance. Sort of the same principle as the success of the Swordfish. A vehicle that to all appearances seems hopelessly outdate, but still   a stellar job regardless.

Later in the war, the Chaffee was absolutely outstanding in just about every regard as a Recon AFV.

On a related note, I've always thought the Soviet T60/T70 "looked" great for a recon AFV, but I've not heard about it being used much in that regard.   (see this blog)
The M3 was a successful design and it was used in every theatre of the war. It was the first American AFV to see combat when it was sent to the 8th Army in July '41. By Operation Crusader there were 163 M3s in British service. The M3 model was modified in British service with the introduction of British pattern smoke dischargers, extra sand shields and removal of the practically useless sponson machine guns (the machine guns were removed in the M3A1).
The Soviet Union received 1676 M3 Stuarts and while the advantage of gyroscopes was appreciated, the high silhouette was criticised and the hull machine guns were openly mocked. :note: The Soviets' delivery was not all Guiberson diesel engined models as some histories state; as only 500 M3 (Diesel) were made as well as 211 M3A1 (Diesel).

The M3 was obviously a big success as over 14,000 were built. The M3 Light Tank was a tank though so surely it cannot be included in this post, or else we would have to include the M5 Light Tank which was quite clearly a superior design; having many minor improvements as well as better armour protection while maintaining the same speed. Redundant M5s were converted to T8 Reconnaisance Vehicle in '44 by removing the turret and replacing it with a gun ring mounting for a Browning .50 cal. The M24 Light Tank 'Chaffee' was probably the best light tank of the war and was produced in enough numbers to merit a mention (4,415 vehicles by wars end) but it cannot be compared to the Sd.Kfz.251; for the simple reason that it was light tank armed with a 75mm M6 cannon and the Sd.Kfz.251 was a troop carrier half-track.

I don't mean to be annoying but really, half-tracks, recon vehicles and light tanks would have to be kept seperate for comparison.

On the German side, I've heard good things about the PzII Lynx, and a variety of wheeled recon vehicles they used, but dont know the details. File:Humber Mk 4 Armoured Car.jpg