You are an engineer at an Italian locomotive and tractor-making company in early 1943. The writing is on the wall for the Italian army in North Africa, with a lot of equipment having been lost and the enemy on the brink of kicking the axis out of Tunisia and then heading across the Mediterranean. In short, things are looking more than a little desperate.
However, all is not lost. Il Duce himself has stepped in and, with the assistance of the Germans, procured both some of their finest captured vehicles for use in the upcoming defense of the homeland. Since many of these vehicles have been... gently used, and the existing firms like Ansaldo are flooded with orders, your firm has been asked to work on them in order to bring them up to the standards demanded by modern warfare.
In addition to these vehicles, the Germans have also graciously agreed to sell weapons from their existing stock of captured equipment, as well as providing production licenses for some of their more modern equipment. You have also been given permission to work with local weapons manufacturers in order to modify existing artillery to suit your needs. Italian automotive and engine manufacturers are similarly available to help. Finally; your firm's experience in locomotives and tractors means that you can modify hulls and put together turrets and turret rings. You can also produce castings (although not very large ones) and weld armour plates.
Your job, which you have no choice but to accept, is to choose a vehicle from among the captured stock being offered for sale, and propose a series of plausible fixes in order to give it a fighting chance against the American and British equipment currently in the field (specifically light tanks and light anti-tank weapons).
It is not foreseen that any of these vehicles will be able to plausibly take on modern medium or heavy designs head-on. Instead, what is wanted are general, implementable improvements to the characteristics of the chosen vehicle. These improvements should be aimed at making these vehicles more useful in the initial battles which are foreseen taking place against airborne and landing forces, in general cooperation with infantry, and as scouts.
The submission should include one or more drawings or blueprints (at least a side view of the vehicle, but preferably a 3-point view and isometric view), a description of the modified vehicle, a description of how the modifications would be accomplished and a description of how the modifications would improve the design overall. The text of the submission should short and descriptive rather than long and exhaustive, and should not exceed 1000 words in total. Images may be photoshopped using existing pictures.
Judging will be done on the basis of plausibility and effectiveness, with innovative solutions being encouraged in order to get the most bang for buck out of the base vehicle. Beyond implementation, the fixes should prioritise combat effectiveness while also improving reliability, crew ergonomics, communication, mobility and protection as much as possible.
The foreign vehicles available for modification are:
Renault R35 (already in service) Hotchkiss H35/39 Somua S35 (already in use for training purposes) T-26 BT-5 T-28 (only available in very small numbers, so need to be extremely effective) Panzer II Ausf.C
The foreign weapons immediately available for purchase are:
15mm ZB-60 25mm Puteaux and Hotchkiss 3.7cm KPÚV vz. 34/Pak 34 (t) 3.7cm ÚV vz. 38/KwK 38(t)
3.7cm Pak 36 4.0 cm Pak 192 (e) 45mm M1937 (53-K) 4.7cm KPÚV vz. 38/Pak 38 (t) 47mm APX 7.5cm Pak 97/38 7.62 cm F.K.297(r) and 7.62 cm PaK 39(r) 8.8cm Raketenwerfer 43
Licenses are also available for the manufacture of foreign engines (Maybach HL62 TRM, Maybach HL120 TRM and Praga Typ TNHPS/II), periscopes, sights, radios, cupolas and automotive subassemblies. All foreign vehicle weapons, subassemblies and components are available for reverse engineering and manufacture.
IMPORTANT NOTE: This competition hasn't been finalised, and is waiting on your input! Vote to participate by giving this topic a 'controversial' (grapefruit-induced tears being the only currency of value), and if we get enough participants we'll pull the trigger. Ask any questions you want below, and when/if the competition goes forwards I will make a new thread for entries.
Edit: thanks to excellent feedback, the competition proposal has been somewhat edited. If you want an idea of what my mindset is here, read up on the battle of Gela (bearing in mind that the wikipedia entry is shite) and ask how much better the counter-attack could have gone if the Italian vehicles had been equipped with radios and had the ability to move faster than jogging speed.
Edit 2: since I failed to mention this above - this is not a one-man, one-entry sort of competition (although I'm not keen on the ten-men, one entry approach either).
If you have two good ideas then you can submit twice. The only rules are not to test my patience and to keep it within the bounds of good taste.
I'm very impressed by the technical expertise on this forum, and so I'd like your feedback on my theories about what a crew-less, robot tank would be like. I wrote about it here, on my blog:
I might edit the blog entry based on any feedback I get from you guys.
Is there any way Sherman tanks could be upgraded at reasonable cost to still have a role on the battlefield? Assume that your military will never fight with a world-class army (U.S., Russia, China, etc.) and instead will only fight with second-rate armies using 1990s technology at best, or with terrorists, or go on peacekeeping missions.
I'm thinking that the Shermans could have their turrets removed and modern autoloading turrets from other armored vehicles--like the 105mm Stryker gun, or the 40mm autocannon from the CV10, or the 30mm from the BMP-2 (would any of these fit in the Sherman's turret ring?)--could be dropped in, along with their sensors and computers. ATGM launchers could be installed as well. Explosive reactive armor bricks could be attached to the outside, as is common among modern Russian tanks.
Assume that your Sherman fleet is 1,000 tanks, in various states of (dis)repair, so you have enough spare parts to last for many years.
What do you guys think? Thanks.
Let us open a topic dedicated to the Optionally maned fighting vehicle.
What we know now is that we don’t know so much.
What is sure, the US Army :
- wants 9 men strong dismounted section ;
- doesn’t want to continue to share an IFV between two sections when mounted ;
- is awared that it’s complicated to fight with an IFV carrying a 9 men section.
Platforms showed available at AUSA 2018 were :
Griffin III from General Dynamic
CV90 from BAE
Lynx from Rheinmetall
Maybe a proposal from SAIC ?
My point here is the following : I have the strange feeling that there’s a misunderstanding.
During last years, US Army spend lots of money to study new manufacturing process, new designs... and today, when we are looking at news, all we see is old concept.
The Lynx is optimized to be a cost effective platform with proven components. But what is its upgrading capability to stay in services until 2070 ?
CV90 is very good but it got limitations too. It need a deep reworked of its hull.
The Griffin was introduced as the response to the Army call but in fact there’s no other tracked other platform in the GD catalog.
I may be wrong but I can’t see any real disruption.
What about monolithic forged hull ?
What about decoupled running gear ?
Are torsion bars still a solution for suspensions ?
I think, this is the very beginning of the story but it’s very strange.