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Oberon_706
Post subject: Re: Democratic Commonwealth of the Falkland Islands (DCFI) - FDPosted: July 26th, 2017, 12:21 am
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Nighthunter;

I'm currently revising the design of DCFI military vehicles that come before this in the timeline - hopefully, after I post them you see that the modern outlines of the AV50/60 vehicles make sense and aren't really too futuristic. Also, keep in mind that My inspiration for the AV50/60 series (the vehicle family based on the M24 Chaffee - of which the M19 anti-aircraft GMC and M42 105mm SPH are the most well-known iterations) were created at roughly the same time as I intended these to be, and have a very similar progression of design. The prototypes for America's first true APC, (the M75 APC of Korean War fame) also had their genesis in the last years of WW2, although they didn't enter production until 1952.

It has always been my intention to have the AU DCFI fielding vehicles, ships, aircraft and another tech that was a few years ahead of where/when it appears in reality.

Hope this clarifies things :)


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Oberon_706
Post subject: Re: Democratic Commonwealth of the Falkland Islands (DCFI) - FDPosted: July 26th, 2017, 1:15 am
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Time for a proper introduction of this vehicle series;

M34 Medium Tank Series (Reverse-engineered T-34)
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Design and Development
As a stop-gap until the AV-M/FA16 ‘Thunderer’ tanks came into service, the DCFI prepared a limited package of improvements to the reverse-engineered Soviet T-34 design (appropriated by DCFI Military Intelligence during 1940) for mass-production as a Lend-Lease Medium Cruiser tank. This vehicle was intended as a stop-gap for British Empire forces and allied nations whose forces had been decimated by the German advances through France and Low Countries during 1940. Derived from the basic T34/76 1940 design, the initial prototypes produced featured Konstantin Chelpan’s reworked V2 diesel engine, improved Christie suspension, thicker, face-hardened armour and a spacious three-man turret mounting the new FQF75mm (43 calibre) HV gun. As originally planned, the 'M34' (or ‘Cossack’ as it became known in British service) would be completely superseded by the fully developed product of the AV-M program (the FA16 Cheviot), but the initial production marks performed so well against the Germans on Crete and in Nth Africa that the British and Canadians simply requested construction of the interim design be continued apace. Acting on this request, the first Lend-Lease deliveries were made to British and Commonwealth Units in Egypt during January 1942, with the centre of production of the type shifting from the DCFI to Canada and the UK - applicable upgrades from the AV-M program being transferred into the M34 production lines as convenience dictated. Entering production in January 1941, over 10,000 M-34s were eventually built by three countries in six separate marks, becoming the British Commonwealth forces standard Medium tank for the remainder of the war (much to the frustration of the Americans). Operators included Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Canada, Great Britain, Free Czech and Free Polish forces (the free-french equipped themselves with American lend-lease equipment as a snub to the British for their belligerent actions against the Vichy French fleet and the deaths that resulted in 1940).

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Combat Action
The first production M34s to leave the DCFI went straight onto Nth African convoys as desperately needed replacements for equipment lost in the disastrous battle of France, and later in the initial battles against the Italians in Cyrenaica and Ethiopia. 2nd and 5th Royal Falkland Dragoons, DCFI’s first Tank Units in Egypt to equip with M34s, were assigned to the Greek expeditionary force 'Operation Lustre' in March 1941. British preferences for experienced tank unit’s to see direct combat with the Germans meant that the well trained but fresh DCFI tankers were held back from the front lines whilst more experienced formations in earlier tanks (A13/14, A10 and Vickers Lights) took on the Germans on the Yugoslav border and at the Thermopylae line. Kept back around the evacuation ports as the Lustre Force's armoured reserve, 2 and 5 dragoons were evacuated back to Crete and Egypt respectively without firing a shot when it was belatedly realised that the Commonwealth forces were totally outmatched by the tactics, material and numbers the Wehrmacht had brought to bear. The one advantage to this was that in not directly facing the M34 in Greece, the Germans weren’t privy to its design superiority until much later, when the terrain and the circumstances were more fully in favour of the Allies. However, C Squadron, 5th Dragoons did make great use of their 25pdr-armed tanks in the defence of Crete, teaming with British and Australian infantry to successfully repel the Germans from the eastern end of the Island, before advancing towards Maleme Airfield and the strategic western heights in a sweeping counterstroke that retook lost ground in the west and forced a German Surrender. The M34’s performed superbly, acting in an anti-infantry role with hastily delivered HE and Canister ammunition due to the total absence of opposing armour. (Coincidentally, these events in Greece and Crete delayed German Panzer commanders (including Rommel) encountering the new tanks until after they had fought their first battles against the T34 and KV1 in Russia and Ukraine. The M34s superiority was not completely obvious in Crete because the German Paratroopers and airmobile troops of 5th Mountain Division could only bring in light anti-tank weapons and no high velocity 75mm or 88mm guns were available to them)

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Back in Nth Africa, events had turned for the worse with the arrival of the Africa Korps and Rommel’s successful drive east whilst the depleted British were still reeling from the debacle of Greece and the successful but costly defence of Crete. By the time of Rommel’s first offensive, British armoured unit’s in Nth Africa and formations freshly deployed from the UK were beginning to re-equip with the new A15 Crusaders and the first of the American M3 Stuarts, allowing the remaining A10’s, A13/14’s and Vickers light tanks that survived Rommell's Blitzkrieg through Cyrenaica to be phased out of the front line. Still belligerently favouring British tanks over the M34 despite its ready availability and obvious potential against the Panzers meant that by the time General Auchinleck launched the indulgently named Operation Crusader in November ’41, British armoured units were still totally outmatched by the Panzers in all but battlefield manoeuvrability and speed. During Crusader the FA15s and M34s equipping DCFI units in XIII Corps plus the few FA16’s of 3rd Falkland Lancers (breaking out from the Tobruk Perimeter) put the British to shame, providing just as rude a shock to Rommel as the T34 and KV-1 were causing Guderian and Hoth's Panzer Groups in Russia. Their 65mm of sloped frontal armour was impervious to all but the German’s Flak 88 anti-aircraft Guns (even their shots mostly deflected off the frontal armour and turret of the M34) and largely compensated for the vulnerable British Crusaders and disappointing American lend-lease vehicles (M3 Grants and M5 Stuarts). Despite the eventual success of Op. Crusader and the retreat of the Germans to El Agheila (more due to Rommel's logistical overreach than British tactics) it had been an extremely costly episode and thus the writing was on the wall for the legacy British tanks. When Rommel again attacked eastwards in early 1942, the extensive material losses suffered by the British finally convinced them of the need to make changes. Prime Minister Winston Churchill urgently appealed to the DCFI for all available M34’s to be shipped at once to Nth Africa, to be supplied as the primary Medium tank of the now renamed 8th Army’s Armoured formations. Initial deliveries from the DCFI and newly retooled British and Canadian factories took too long to contribute in the short term but cascading of tanks from DCFI units reequipping with the FA16 meant that at least some British units were fielding M34s by the time Rommel struck at Bir Hakeim and Gazala during June ’42. Whilst the Africa Korps was eventually triumphant and Tobruk fell it was at an appalling cost to the Panzers and the Italian Ariete Division, the 8th Army coming away with acceptable losses and being able to make an orderly, fighting withdrawal via Mersa Matruh to the Alamein line (less the men and material lost at Gazala and in the fall of Tobruk). This tragic but salvageable situation was made bearable, largely by the superiority of the FA16 and the M34 with their effective armour and powerful FQF 75mm HV guns, now supplied in a longer L52 or L64 caliber, by far the best vehicle-mounted anti-tank guns in the desert at that time. This weapon was equally effective in delivering high explosive rounds against infantry and fortifications as it was when firing HV anti-tank rounds against armour.

By the Battle of Alam Halfa, the M34 (including the latest British and Canadian manufactured Mk.IVs) was fully fielded by all British Commonwealth Cruiser Tank units (save for the DCFI who had cascaded their M34s to British and allied units in favour of their own FA16 and FA19 tanks). Despite Rommel’s repeated and imaginative attacks the British line held under immense pressure, the M34’s showing their marked superiority over the PkW IIIs and IVs. While there were some fluid tank-on-tank actions along the desert approaches to the British positions, the majority of the Commonwealth Tanks were hull-down and fighting in place, their superior firepower and optics allowing them to engage the panzers at ranges from which the Panzers and Italian Semoventes couldn't hit back effectively. This greatly reduced allied attrition and enabled many vehicles to be saved behind the lines for later offensive operations. These amassed and now well-trained forces came into their own during the Battle of El Alamein some months later when the M34’s (Surviving DCFI examples now completely cascaded to British and other Commonwealth units) smashed through the German lines in 12 days of heavy fighting. Many tanks were lost to mines, emplaced anti-tank guns and direct fire artillery but overall their performance, especially against the German and Italian Armour was exemplary.

With Rommel on the retreat east and his armoured forces decimated the M34’s speed and cross-country mobility was shown to the utmost, galloping across the desert in pursuit of the retreating Africa Korps and fighting running battles with Rommel’s rearguard all the way to Tunisia. There they came face-to-face with the Nazi’s answer to their superiority in armour and firepower, the new PkW Mk.VI Tiger. Whilst heavily armoured and mounting the massive 88mm Kwk36 gun, the FQF75/L62s and standard QF17pdrs (now mounted by many of the British M34s in particular) were equal to the task of penetrating the Tiger at survivable distances. The range and power of the Kwk36 almost always allowed the Tiger to strike first but the superior numbers and speed of the M34s allowed them to come out on top. The first allied Tank-on-Tank kill of a Pkw VI Tiger was by the M34s of ‘Juno’ Troop/C Squadron Kings own Royal Hussars, on the approaches to the Mareth Line. The troop commanders tank was disabled within seconds of the Tiger being spotted, and one more M34 was lost before the remaining three tanks came within effective range, in the following minutes, two direct hits from the M34s (thanks largely to the Falklands triaxial gyroscopic gun stabilisation system) put an end to their enemy’s formidable resistance. A total of nine Tiger I’s eventually fell to Allied Tanks during the last days of the Tunisian Campaign, four to M34s, four to DCFI tanks and one to a lucky shot to the turret ring from a 6pdr-equipped Churchill of the 48th RTR. Of the casualties taken in return, the Tiger’s claimed some 18 M34s of all marks before the Nazi surrender in Nth Africa.

M34’s were now rolling off the factory floor in impressive numbers, with production also taking place in Great Britain (at the works of the Vulcan Foundry and the London, Midland and Scottish Railway) and in Canada (Canadian Pacific Railway’s Angus Shops, Montreal). this boost in output allowed M34s to equip the vast majority of frontline Commonwealth, Polish, Czech and Belgian armoured units (with the exception of the British Infantry Tank Regiments and some units reequipping with the new A27 Cromwell) by the time the Italian invasion began in September ’43. Other mass-produced tanks of the period such as the M4, Churchill, Vickers Valentine and M3/M5 Stuart were mainly equipping US forces or being supplied through the lend-lease program to the USSR.

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By the time the Allies landed in Normandy on June 6th, 1944, the M34 was a truly formidable machine, with the latest Mk. VI variants capable of mounting the FQF75/L70 (roughly analogous to the Panther's KwK 42 but with greater muzzle velocity) or the 25pdr/L36 gun, with upgraded suspension systems and armour protection that was almost doubled from the initial design (some 80mm of face-hardened armour at 60 degrees on the front glacis and across the frontal arc). Despite this, they were still vulnerable to the Nazi’s man-portable anti-tank weapons, mines and the proliferation of 88mm guns hidden in the hedgerows and sunken lanes of the Bocage. Between D-day and the final surrender of Germany some 2,500 M34’s were lost to all causes, out of the over 7,500 delivered to Europe. In all over 10,000 were constructed during the conflict, some 4000 of those in the DCFI, transported to the battle zone in the vital South Atlantic (via Ascension Island, St Helena and Gibraltar) and Indian Ocean (via Cape Horn, East Africa and the Suez Canal) convoys.

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Post-War
With the cessation of hostilities came rapid demobilisation and coupled with the gradual introduction of the new British Centurion, DCFI Cougar and American Patton tanks, the valiant M34’s were rapidly put to pasture. Whilst many were converted to battlefield support vehicles, most went to the scrapheap or onto training ranges as hard targets Despite this halocaust over 2500 tanks were repatriated to the DCFI, who remanufactured them using AV-M turrets mounting either the British QF 20pdr or later, the superlative L7 105mm gun. These were re-exported to nations rebuilding their militaries post-war, or creating a new defence force post-independence. Recipient nations included Australia, West Germany, France, The Netherlands, Belgium, India, Malaysia, Iran and most significantly, Israel. Whilst Israel’s initial M34 stocks came from the scrapheap or through the post-war black market in superseded combat vehicles, the DCFI signed an agreement in 1950 to supply 600 remanufactured M34s in a specially tailored configuration which became known as ‘Loḥem’ (meaning 'Warrior' in Hebrew). The Israeli examples were added to in the following decades with additional units purchased from Europe and upgraded to ‘Lohem’ standards. Over 1200 were eventually added to IDF stocks and these performed sterling work in defence of the tiny Jewish state as late as the Yom Kippur war in 1973, where the last of the L7-armed Lohem IVs of the 188th Armour Brigade faced off against the Soviet T55s and T62s of Syria and Iraq on the Golan Heights. It is not clear if any M34’s are still in ‘official’ service today but former Israeli, Indian and Greek examples did make it into the armies of several West African nations during the 1980’s, as well as to Bosnia, Kosovo and Yugoslavia where several were seen in combat during the violent Civil wars of the mid-late 1990’s, often alongside their T34 and SU100 cousins of former Soviet states. Some have also been seen in use by Loyalist Ukrainian militias during the Civil war in that country during the mid-2010’s. Many wartime configuration M34’s, as well as significant numbers of Post-war conversions survive today in museums and private collections, including several in the DCFI and Canada, three at the Bovington Tank Museum, two at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford and one at the D-day memorial and war cemetery above Sword Beach in Normandy.

[ img ]

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Last edited by Oberon_706 on February 16th, 2018, 12:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Sareva
Post subject: Re: Democratic Commonwealth of the Falkland Islands (DCFI) - FDPosted: July 26th, 2017, 2:57 am
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Now that's some quality work! :)

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Oberon_706
Post subject: Re: Democratic Commonwealth of the Falkland Islands (DCFI) - FDPosted: February 15th, 2018, 8:06 am
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Hi All,

Its been a while between posts, but i've got a few things in the works which will be posted in the next few weeks (hopefully... :roll: ).

I've updated the FA10 Infantry Tank sheet to include some new additions to the vehicle family, as well as some new camo schemes from periods during WW2. Of note are the 'Caunter' disruptive camo from Nth Africa as well as the new Logistics and APC vehicles which are detailed further below.
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FA10 Armoured Personnel Carrier

Holding a significant place in history as the worlds first, all-tracked Armoured Personnel Carrier, the FA10 APC was born out of a dual desire to expedite the speed and flexibility of armoured warfare, while rendering best possible protection to the infantry involved. The concept had been gestating for some years, beginning in the immediate aftermath of WW1 with the musings of the DCFI's General Gresley; in addition to the more famous thought bubble's of JFC Fuller, Bazil Liddell-Hart, Heinz Guderian and the USSR's Marshall Tukachevsky. These and other military theorists were trying to develop tactics and doctrine that could facilitate decisive battlefield effects without the monumental sacrifices of blood and treasure that had characterised much of the First World War. This theorising and research, paired with the cost-conscious way defence procurement operated in Great Britain during the 20’s and 30’s had resulted in the Carden-Lloyd/Vickers ‘carriers’; small, open-topped tracked vehicles that could carry 4-6 men (including the driver and hull gunner) plus a support weapon in the class of a heavy machine gun, anti-tank rifle or 3” mortar. Whilst the DCFI fully supported the crux of this idea - and other experiments such the Burford-Kegresse armoured halftracks - the result didn’t entirely meet the desired baseline capability - that of speedily carrying a combat-loaded infantry section into battle under armour and onto their target positions, across all terrains - with minimal exposure to defensive fire.

(X-5 APC Prototype - to be inserted at a later date...)

Renewed experimentation in the Falklands began during 1937 when it was realised that the A10 (Cruiser Tank Mk I) tank chassis and it's Carden-Lloyd suspension held significant potential as the basis for a family of tracked armoured vehicles. A variety of prototypes were built and field-tested over the next few years, culminating in the construction of a company-sized batch of the X-5 APC prototype - deployed to the Southern Pampas region in the border areas of the DCFI for unit-level experiments and tactics development in Mid-1938. These vehicles saw active service in the New Years border conflict with Argentina in 1938/39 where they performed extremely well - however it was felt that more concerted research and development of the concept was required before a vehicle was approved for series production.

In 1940, the aftermath of the battle of France - and particularly the battle of Arras - made the need for an Armoured Personnel Carrier capability unquestionable. The tank formations involved in that near-successful effort had been savaged for want of close infantry support and infantry units on foot had not been able to keep up with their tanks in a determined advance, let alone survive in the open long enough to be able to bring meaningful effect onto the enemy. With Italy’s expansionist aggression in North Africa looking likely to cause that open, barren wilderness to be the next major flashpoint of the conflict, the race was on to provide a survivable vehicle that would enable infantry to effectively partner with the tanks in that most open and manoeuvre-friendly of environments. ODOM, under M. Koshkins’ deputy, Daniel MacGregor (a Falklands native), began work on refining the design of the X-5 prototype for combat use. Several further test vehicles were trialled before a final design was settled on - a relatively simple armoured superstructure with a sloped frontal profile (40 degrees) concealing the engine and driving compartment, while the entire rear of the vehicle was dedicated to carriage of the embarked 10-man infantry section. In a completion of the transition away from the concept of an armoured truck on tracks to a genuine tracked fighting vehicle, both crew and infantry compartments were completely enclosed and armoured to a minimum of 25mm in order to protect against small arms and shrapnel. To protect the vehicles against oncoming light anti-tank fire, up to 40mm of sloped armour was used across the frontal arc. The commander’s hatch ring carried a pintle mount for either a .30 or .50 machine gun and the fighting compartment featured a large, bifurcating roof hatch enabling the infantry to fight from within the vehicle, or fire 3” mortars without dismounting. Entry and exit was made through a large rear opening with a counterweighted, drop-down ramp. Clusters of smoke grenade throwers were also mounted on the front of the vehicle to enable concealment in attack or withdrawal.

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The first deployment of the FA10 APCs in battle occurred in 1941 during Operation Brevity, where DCFI’s first experimental Mechanised formations, 4 Royal Falkland Grenadiers and 2 East Falkland Rifles, rode their new APCs into combat partnered with the tanks of 1 Royal Falkland Dragoons. This force also had attached self-propelled artillery, anti-tank guns, Recce troops and three fighter/Attack squadrons of the Desert Airforce in direct support. Codenamed ‘Zephyr Force’ by HQ, this truely ‘combined arms’ task-group was brilliantly successful in its part in the attack, but because of poor showings elsewhere, Operation Brevity was a failure, with only minor objectives completed and significant losses in men and equipment. The FA10 APC’s value in mobile warfare was however proven beyond a doubt and the types use grew throughout the next two years, prompting a massive reorganisation of the DCFI’s ORBAT and armoured doctrine to maximise its potential. Most of the existing motorised and standing infantry formations were transformed to be mounted in APCs, forming a new Unit type, Mechanised Rifle Regiments (equivalent to the Wehrmacht's Panzer Grenadier regiments but more heavily equipped). Larger formations were altered accordingly to accommodate these regiments, creating two Brigade and Divisional formations, Armoured and Mechanised Rifle. Armoured Brigades and Divisions had a tank to APC unit ratio of 2:1, while Mechanised Rifle Formations reversed this to be heavier in Rifles and lighter in tanks. These balanced and powerful all-arms formations revolutionised the effectiveness of DCFI’s deployed forces and contributed heavily to the winning streak achieved by Generals such as Alexander, Montgomery and Dempsey who at various stages had these highly capable DCFI formations under command.

FA10 APCs continued in use throughout the war although construction was curtailed in favour of the new AV50 APCs and their derivatives from late-1942 onwards. They were thereafter cascaded to partner nations and reserve units - finally being retired in the late-1940s.

FA10 Logistics Carrier

It became quickly evident during the middle years of the 1930's that the prevailing theories on the use of combined arms in warfare required a means of rapid, all-terrain deployment of supporting artillery, as well as ammunition and general logistics resupply. While experimentation in the DCFI with several prototype vehicles went on throughout the decade to develop the concept; it wasn’t until 1938 that the improved chassis of the FA10 was taken as the basis of what would become a series of artillery tractors and logistics vehicles that became known as the FA10-LT 'Loadmaster' series. Engine power was increased in line with improvements to the FA10 engine plant, and later the iconic V2 diesel engine. Artillery hauled by these vehicles were mainly heavy field pieces of the 7.2” and 155mm varieties, but they were also used to deploy DCFI's 9.2" siege howitzers, 203mm ‘long Tom’ and large ex-Imperial German Krupp 210mm, Skoda 305mm and Krupp 420mm heavy howitzers which were reserved for deployment at the Corps or Army level. They served as admirable stablemates to the Bedford Carriers, and 6-ton Half-Tracks which made up the bulk of the Falklands Royal Horse Artillery’s (FRHA) tracked motive power compliment. These vehicles were repurposed to special duties or retired to home and reserve service as 2nd generation vehicles of the AV50 series were issued into action during 1943/44. Postwar, many of the survivors lived on as converted bulldozers, agricultural tractors and forestry plant across the commonwealth.


FA10-L1: Tracked Logistics Carrier - regular cab (4 occupants)
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FA10-L2: Tracked Artillery Tractor - crew cab (8-9 occupants)
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FA10-L3: Tracked Recovery Vehicle - crew cab (8-9 occupants)
[ img ]

More to come. Please stay tuned :!:

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Hood
Post subject: Re: Democratic Commonwealth of the Falkland Islands (DCFI) - FDPosted: February 15th, 2018, 9:28 am
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Very nice work.

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Madscotsman
Post subject: Re: Democratic Commonwealth of the Falkland Islands (DCFI) - FDPosted: February 15th, 2018, 3:37 pm
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Very nice work. :)

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eswube
Post subject: Re: Democratic Commonwealth of the Falkland Islands (DCFI) - FDPosted: February 15th, 2018, 7:55 pm
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Well done. :)

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Oberon_706
Post subject: Re: Democratic Commonwealth of the Falkland Islands (DCFI) - FDPosted: February 15th, 2018, 10:41 pm
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Another Update.

I've further developed the AV-S family of Light Tanks, now referring to them in My AU as the FA7 'Pathfinder'
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AV-S/FA7 'Pathfinder' Light Tank

Design and Development
Collaboration with the Czech industrial heavyweights Skoda and CKD Praga in the early-to-mid 1930's helped the DCFI leap ahead in tank and armour technology development. One of the two outstanding results of this collaboration was the 38T, being a significantly better 'light tank' than comparable vehicles in production in England/Germany/USSR. The Falklands variant of the 38T (known as the FA-7) differed slightly from the Czech standard vehicles (which became the Pkw 38T after the German annexation of Czechoslovakia), benefiting from refinements developed by local Office of Defence Ordinance and Materiel (ODOM) engineers during 1937. FA7s first saw service in their Falklands guise during the 1938/9 New Years invasion by Argentina, when several regiments equipped with these vehicles were fielded to good effect. It was quickly discovered however that the tanks' standard QF 2pdr gun imposed severe limitations on the FA7's battlefield utility, particularly in its inability to effectively fire anything other than armour-piercing shot. This prompted further design reworking to produce the MK. IV, armed with the brand new Falklands FQF57mm gun, which could fire HE shot, and a reworked hull constructed of up to 50mm of sloped armour, producing a tank that was survivable in the face of German 37mm anti-tank fire. This up armouring and up gunning severely strained the tanks Czech-designed engine and suspension however, and by the time World War II broke out, strengthened suspension and an improved power-pack (a compact, 6-cylinder Diesel by The Falklands arm of Rolls-Royce - known as the Phoenix) was being fitted to a further refined FA7 Mk.V.


World War II
The AV-S’s first action in WW2 came in the Battle of France in 1940 as part of DCFI’s 3rd Falkland Armoured Cavalry Brigade (3FACB), equipped with FA7, A10-F and A13-F cruiser tanks. This force was deployed as part of the BEF in Belgium and Northern France. Here the Pathfinders’ lived up to their name, being employed with the 7th Falkland Lancers as the BEF’s Armoured Reconnaisance screen and with 3FACB as flank security on the near extremity of the BEF’s line in southern Belgium. Falling victim to indecisive leadership from the Allied High Command, the BEF was forced to withdraw from Belgium to prevent itself being cut off by the Panzers of Guderian and Rommel advancing through Northern France from Luxembourg and the Ardenne. 3FACB provided a valuable service as a brutally effective rearguard for the withdrawal, proving that tank-on tank, the Falklands machines were more than a match for their Panzer II, Panzer III and Czech 38T counterparts in the onrushing Panzer divisions. 3FACB later joined with the Infantry tanks of the combined Falklands and British Royal Tank Regiments in the near-successful counterattack at Arras on the 21st May, faltering and then being forced to withdraw when confronted by direct fire artillery and a screen of deadly Flak 88s. Some 20% of the 3FACB’s tanks were lost in this effort, primarily to air attacks by Stuka's, although it and another spoiling attack by the regrouped brigade on the northern flank of the SS Totenkopf Division the following day, persuaded the Germans to pause their advance and consolidate. This recess in the blitzkrieg gave the Allies time to regroup, set up a defensive perimeter around the remaining channel ports, and make good their evacuation from Dunkirk. Most of the remaining Light Tanks in the brigade were lost in this engagement and in the subsequent fighting withdrawal to Dunkirk, where all the divisions vehicles were eventually destroyed or abandoned anyway.

[ img ]

In the wash-up from the Battle of France, the ODOM design team back in the DCFI took a good look at the performance of the FA7 in battle conditions and found that there was plenty to smile about despite the losses experienced. Their tanks had proved to be more than capable against similar class vehicles and the armour protection stood up well against most of the nazi’s anti-tank arsenal. The main gripe of the returning tank crews with regards the FA7 in particular was to be expected; the 57mm/6pdr gun was great! But really a step too far, being far too big for such a comparatively small vehicle and thus creating difficult turret ergonomics. In response to these learnings, subsequent marks of FA7 tank excluded this gun and relied on a revised, long-barrelled QF 2pdr/L70, or, in a world first, a dual-feed 30mm Oerlikon machine-cannon, both weapons being capable of firing HE fragmentation or AP incendiary tracer ammunition and therefore being equally useful in infantry support or in engaging enemy light armour and support vehicles. These mid-war production FA7s served as the ideal mounts for the DCFI’s armoured Recce and Cavalry units, having sufficient armour to survive against anything up to a panzer III/IV armed with a long barrel 50 mm weapon, and being fast and nimble enough to run away from anything bigger. They were extremely effective in this role, seeing use in all theatres including the island-hopping campaigns against the Japanese in the South Pacific, where the Australians and New Zealanders preferred them over American M3/M5 tanks for their greater armoured protection and better weaponry (in this theatre they were armed with either the 30mm Hispanio cannon or a flame projector as the primary armament).

[ img ]

Replacement and repurposing
Gradually the FA7s featherweight status became an increasing Achilles heel for the DCFI in the North African fighting and they were ousted from front-line service by FA23 Sentinels and 6x6 Cougar Armoured Cars from mid-1943. The chassis was however, like the Nazi's Pkw 38s, useful for other purposes, and used in much the same way to produce a family of Assault Guns, Tank Destroyers and Self-Propelled Artillery vehicles, which were introduced from late-1941 and produced until 1944. These Assault Guns, and particularly the 25pdr or 105mm howitzer-armed Self-Propelled Guns superseded towed field guns/artillery and anti-tank weapons in the DCFIs Mechanised Rifle formations and remained in use until replaced by man-portable anti-tank weapons and APCs mounting Mortars and recoilless rifles in the late-1940s.

Assault Guns
As the Battlefield limitations of the FA7 became clear during the border clashes with Argentina, thoughts began to turn towards finding alternate uses for what was a well-designed chassis and engine that still had significant potential. One area that was found lacking in the DCFI order of battle was a ready supply of intimate fire support for dismounted infantry, and having seen the Nazi plans for what would become the Stug III Assault gun, the idea of a similar vehicle was seeded in the minds of DCFI's military engineers. Thus, as war in Europe loomed once again, the AV-S Assault Gun series was born.

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Initially, direct/indirect high explosive fire to deal with strongpoints/bunkers and emplaced anti-tank guns was the priority. Accordingly, the initial prototypes were furnished with the Standard Ordinance 25pdr field gun on a widened, lengthened and much strengthened chassis. This vehicle showed itself readily capable of accurate indirect fires out to 6000 yards, and line of sight fire out to 2500 yards without difficulty. As the fighting in Nth Africa heated up an additional variant, mounting the then brand new FQF75 high velocity gun was created and fielded exclusively for Anti-Tank support of mobile infantry formations. Both sub-types of assault Gun proved to be superlative creations; reliable, well armoured, possessing a low silhouette and plenty of firepower. They were built in substantial numbers from new. AV-S Assault Guns served with DCFI and other Commonwealth forces throughout the war, and lasted in home service with reserve and training units until the late 1940’s. Their DCFI service was exclusively in support of the RFAC's Infantry formations, be they mechanised or motorised. Usually, a battery of 12 guns would be assigned at a ratio of one battery for every 2 battalions, resulting in a brigade level commitment of 48 guns (24 AV-S AG 'Exarch' assault guns and 24 AV-S AT 'Cardinal' Tank Destroyers). As WW2 progressed the need for these guns waned as AV-50 series Mortar carriers, larger assault guns (such as those of the AV50/60 series) and the rise of the man-portable support weapon (in the shape of systems like the Falklands ATP4 Recoilless Rifle and the American ‘Bazooka’) rendered them surplus to requirements. In 1944 the remaining Tank Destroyer Variants were transferred to dedicated anti-tank units, whilst the Assault Gun variants were repurposed as Assault/Breacher vehicles for pioneer/engineer units. For this task they were fitted with a more powerful engine, stand-off armour over vital areas and the mounting points necessary for the mounting and manipulation of a variety of additional attachments including mine rollers and flame projectors which were available for fitment as the mission dictated. In this form these ‘funnies’ outlasted the conclusion of WWII and served on into the Border clashes of the 1950’s and the Korean War, before being retired in the late 50’s.

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Self-Propelled Artillery
As the FA7 was superseded by the A10-F and FA15 cruiser tanks as a first line fighting vehicle (something that happened relitively quickly after the types' combat debut in 1938/39), moves were made to make more profitable use of what was still a capable and reliable vehicle chassis. This produced a series of artillery vehicles including the Assault Guns and Tank Destroyers previously mentioned, and in late 1940, the AV-S FG (field Gun), a Self-Propelled Artillery piece armed with (at first) the British OQF 25pdr, and later the larger and more capable American M1A1 105mm Howitzer. These vehicles were an instant success in the highly mobile fighting in Nth Africa and were produced in quantity, some 2500 vehicles being constructed for the DCFI and it's Commonwealth partners before its replacement began to come on stream. Following the introduction of the AV56 from early 1943, displaced AV-S FGs were transferred to allied formations who lacked self-propelled Artillery support. These included the Free French, Poles and Commonwealth formations of IIXth Army fighting in Italy. In line with the Royal Horse Artillery's mid-war practice of naming thier Self-Propelled Artillery systems after ecclesiastical ranks or nomenclature, AV-S FGs were dubbed ‘Choirboys’ by the troops, supposedly because of their diminutive size and ‘loud voices’.

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pegasus206
Post subject: Re: Democratic Commonwealth of the Falkland Islands (DCFI) - FDPosted: February 15th, 2018, 10:48 pm
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realy nice work again Oberon

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adenandy
Post subject: Re: Democratic Commonwealth of the Falkland Islands (DCFI) - FDPosted: February 15th, 2018, 11:05 pm
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Very nice work Oberon...

Jolly well done old chap :)

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