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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Historical Events & Eras > World War II > Armor in World War II

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Armor in World War II Discuss all aspects & disciplines of World War II Armor here.

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  #1  
Old 23 Apr 17, 09:38
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Question Weird Tanks of WWII: Praying Mantis

Very unusual British design; looks like a Star Wars franchise vehicle and this was created 70 years ago!

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  #2  
Old 23 Apr 17, 09:46
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Also check out the British "dazzler tank" conceived to win battles by blinding the enemy with a flickering search light! At Bovington Tank Museum.

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  #3  
Old 23 Apr 17, 23:16
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Supposedly the Mantis would be able to fire over a wall, down into trenches, or into an upper floor of a building. Mortars were effective at the first two tasks and could often perform them without exposing themselves to return fire. Direct fire artillery, assault guns, and tanks could handle upper floors and the heavier guns could take care of the entire building.

While the CDL would dazzle the enemy's eyes, it would also mess up everyone's night vision on both sides.

Both of them do pass the "coolness" test (looks cool or sounds cool).
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Old 24 Apr 17, 02:56
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Originally Posted by NoPref View Post
Supposedly the Mantis would be able to fire over a wall, down into trenches, or into an upper floor of a building. Mortars were effective at the first two tasks and could often perform them without exposing themselves to return fire. Direct fire artillery, assault guns, and tanks could handle upper floors and the heavier guns could take care of the entire building.

While the CDL would dazzle the enemy's eyes, it would also mess up everyone's night vision on both sides.

Both of them do pass the "coolness" test (looks cool or sounds cool).
Technically, the Mantis should not be on here, as it was based on the chassis of a universal carrier, not a tank.

OK, you are all thinking, 'What a pedantic sod this clown is.'

Quite correct!
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  #5  
Old 24 Apr 17, 02:59
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Originally Posted by MonsterZero View Post
Also check out the British "dazzler tank" conceived to win battles by blinding the enemy with a flickering search light! At Bovington Tank Museum.

A lot of M3s (almost 500, I believe), were similarly converted, by the American Locomotive Company.
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Old 24 Apr 17, 04:40
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The CDL was not intended to dazzle the enemy. That it is still referred to as such today is a tribute to the effectiveness of British misdirection tactics in WW2. In mid war a team of camouflage and deception experts were tasked with the task of making the Suez Canal invisible to enemy bombers and minelayers. A tall order one might think. It was achieved by installing very complex systems of flashing, strobing and whirling lights along the canal which delivered a whole series of stimuli to the viewers brain so as to trigger disorientation and disablement including but not limited to inducing epileptic like fitting. A pilot subjected to these canal defence light systems was often so disorientated as to be completely unable to continue flying for at least half an hour often thinking for example that they were climbing when in fact they were diving.The lights were fixed not mobile, and whilst their existence was self evident their nature and mode of operation was kept very secret both during the war and for some years afterward.

Allocating the name Canal Defence Light to the type of tank shown was a double deception as it both confused the picture around the real Canal Defence Lights and concealed the real purpose behind these vehicles. This was to facilitate mass night time attacks by Allied armor by illuminating the battlefield to order. AFAIK the original operation for which they were intended failed to materialise but they were deployed in a number of others to provide "artificial moonlight" by projecting their search light onto the base of clouds to reflect downwards and provide the equivalent of very bright moonlight over a specified area of the battlefield.
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Old 24 Apr 17, 04:50
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Originally Posted by Doveton Sturdee View Post
Technically, the Mantis should not be on here, as it was based on the chassis of a universal carrier, not a tank.

OK, you are all thinking, 'What a pedantic sod this clown is.'

Quite correct!
How sad as well. A number of light tanks were built using the Universal Carrier chassis as a basis -- they were still tanks
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Old 24 Apr 17, 11:56
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The Preying Mantis was the end of a somewhat odd chapter in the development of British Armour - the concept of the one man tank or the mechanised infantryman.
In the 1920s a number of military theorists including Liddel Hart began to examine the idea that the army of the future should be entirely mechanised and armoured. The extended battlefield would the enveloped by "clouds" of mechanised infantrymen supported by various types of tank. The mechanised infantryman was not carried in an APC but had his own personal armour and motive power. They would be armed with automatic weapons.

Amongst those interested in the concept was RE Officer Major .Giffard Le Quesne Martel , DSO. MC who had already developed the first bridging tank and the bridge that would become better known as the Bailey Bridge. In 1925 at his own expense Martel developed four small one man tanks or tankettes to demonstrate the concept of the mechanised infantryman. These vehicles were known as Morris Martels

Extensive trials on Salisbury Plain showed that the concept was flawed. Just driving a tankette across country took most of the soldier's concentration, there was not enough attention left to chose a target and aim a weapon or effectively coordinate with other vehicles. A gunner/commander was needed which vitiated the concept of the mechanised infantryman.

Nevertheless the little Martels proved useful for carrying heavy infantry weapons forward and they gave rise to the development of the Carden Lloyd carrier and there fore the Bren, Machine Gun, Mortar and Universal carriers

Nevertheless the one man tank idea kept on surfacing with various ideas none of which proved viable.
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Old 24 Apr 17, 13:07
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How sad as well. A number of light tanks were built using the Universal Carrier chassis as a basis -- they were still tanks
Not quite. The MK I - VI series of Light Tanks, using Horstmann suspension, actually came first, from 1929 onwards. All had four ground wheels. The Carden Loyd tankette, which appeared in 1927, did also play some part in the development of the Universal, but utilized a totally different suspension.

The Bren carrier, from which the Universal evolved, used a similar type of suspension to the MK I - MK VIs, but with only three ground wheels, and was designed from the outset (in 1934), as a vehicle capable of carrying a machine gun, or of towing a light field gun. Vickers Armstrong, who produced the prototypes, were seeking to persuade the War Office to purchase some as replacements for the 'Dragon' artillery tractors then in use, and the War Office did indeed designate the first 69 purchased as 'Light Dragon Mk. IIIs.'

So no, they weren't tanks.
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Old 24 Apr 17, 13:40
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Take a look at some of the many export models sold around the world. Defining if something is a tank or not by its suspension is rubbish. There are many ways of defining tank but suspension isn't really one of them.
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Old 24 Apr 17, 14:44
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That thing really looks alien when it moves, the rising square and the aiming head. Yikes, what a creepy machine.
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Old 24 Apr 17, 16:12
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Take a look at some of the many export models sold around the world. Defining if something is a tank or not by its suspension is rubbish. There are many ways of defining tank but suspension isn't really one of them.
Firstly, I didn't suggest defining whether something is a tank in the manner you describe. I simply pointed out that the Light Tank series pre-dated the Bren/Universal Carrier, and that, therefore, your original statement, i.e.,

. A number of light tanks were built using the Universal Carrier chassis as a basis -- they were still tanks

was factually incorrect.

Secondly, as to looking at 'some of the many export models sold around the world' you will not find anything which evolved from the Universal Carrier, however hard you look.

Thirdly, I made what was intended to be a humorous remark, received an unnecessary and incorrect response, and simply corrected the error.

If you feel that your infallibility has been challenged, then I apologize, but I have always thought that factual accuracy should take precedence over personal ego.

However, land warfare isn't my primary interest, and therefore I will not bother to post on this thread again, if it causes such discomfort.
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Old 24 Apr 17, 16:50
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German Heuschrecke Panzer (Grasshopper tank)


This tank could remove it;s own turret and emplace it as an armored bunker with a fully rotatable turret with functional cannon, then later retrieve it and relocate.
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Old 24 Apr 17, 20:43
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German Heuschrecke Panzer (Grasshopper tank)


This tank could remove it;s own turret and emplace it as an armored bunker with a fully rotatable turret with functional cannon, then later retrieve it and relocate.
Praying Mantis-tank.

Tank that removes its own "head".

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Old 25 Apr 17, 09:44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mountain Man View Post
German Heuschrecke Panzer (Grasshopper tank)
This tank could remove it;s own turret and emplace it as an armored bunker with a fully rotatable turret with functional cannon, then later retrieve it and relocate.
I've seen this vehicle. The question is why? Self propelled artillery fires a few shots and drives away to change position in case of counter-battery fire. Why abandon the men to their own fate and drive away in a useless vehicle without armament? The position may become too dangerous for the vehicle to return, forcing the turret crew will escape on foot. When they escape on foot, generally they are picked off by enemy musketry.
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