Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

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Tom from Cornwall
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Re: Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 21 Nov 2013 19:14

Aber,

Good spot, mea culpa! I went back to original PDF and under a stamp I found that it was actually W.T.C.

That should make my search a bit easier... :thumbsup:

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Tom

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Re: Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 21 Nov 2013 20:00

Phylo,
So we have TWO references to both K5s and K6s....but plenty in lots of places for K5s being worn, going U/S, being tested, worked on, withdrawnlate August -> September and reissued other B vehicles instead of.etc., etc....
Hang on Tiger!!

We don't have a reference to them being "withdrawn" per se, what we have is a reference to a relatively large number being passed in a block to the Advanced Base Workshops on the Continent for repair.

We do have a few references to Austin defects in unit war diaries (but certainly no more than references to other vehicle defects), but we have found only one GT Company which handed them all in and was reissued other vehicles instead. We have also found references to units being issued "Austins" in September 44.

So, for example, we have references to 524 Coy RASC (Inf Bde) of 50 Division going into Normandy with Austin K5s, we have a film reference to them still having Austins in October 44 - we know from the unit war diary that it continued to have a vehicle strength of 77 in September, but what we don't know is if they were the original Austins still soldiering on, or new ones that had been issued on the Continent.
Be interesting to know how many NON-wading, NON-waterproofed K5s were sent to France in the same period...!
Absolutely. :)
I'd have loved to be a fly on the harbour wall THAT day, with K5s dropping like...well, flies!
I'll post up a couple of other lines about the success of Wading Trials here - there are references to some on the second page of the DMW W/P Committee Meeting from 5 May 44. These show that the Austin "wading problem" was by no means the only headache for the W/P Committee.

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Tom

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Re: Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

Post by phylo_roadking » 21 Nov 2013 20:11

Hi Tom....

In the meantime a new member at ww2talk has posted up the following...
The volume “Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, Vol 2 – Technical” (WO277/24) includes a section on fuels (pp211-3) - my edits in [ ] :
“The Grade III petrol which was in common use at the beginning of the War gave, on the whole, little trouble in both ‘A’ and ‘B’ vehicles. [ .....] “ It then goes on -

1942

MT 80 fuel, with a lead content of 3.6cc per imperial gallon, was substituted in 1942 for MT 87 for American tank engines, which necessitated modifications to reduce the compression ratio of certain American engines in use with British forces. Difficulties due to gum formation in the petrol system of vehicles became a troublesome factor, particularly with vehicles in store, and a great deal of investigation was carried out by REME in conjunction with RASC and RAOC Vehicle Storage Depots on this problem. Additives to the petrol were tried but without conclusive results. The effects observed were choked filters, sticking valves, corrosion etc.

1943

MT 80 petrol was introduced for British engines, and very soon reports poured into the DME War Office from various theatres of war of very serious troubles, the chief of which were burning of valves, mainly on ‘B’ vehicles and charging sets.


[Para on charging sets omitted]

In the case of ‘B’ vehicles, the trouble was mainly confined to certain makes and types for which modifications were made to exhaust valves and guides for operation on leaded fuel. Valves manufactured from an alloy steel containing 20% of chromium (instead of the usual 8%) were introduced as rapidly as possible to increase the life of engines between overhauls.

{Para on 80 octane petrol in AFV’s omitted]

It will be seen from the above that the whole problem of octane fuel values of petrol available for issue resulted in an immense amount of modification and additional maintenance work for REME, a serious interference with the operational functioning of small and ‘B’ vehicle engines and the additional complication of the supply problem in the field.”

Unfortunately none of this is more closely dated, nor are the vehicles most affected named, so I may be pointing up a blind alley !
This may be entirely apochryphal...or it may be pertinent. I wonder how we could find out if Austins were or weren't among those manufacturers whose products needed modification for MT 80?

It throws up some intriguing possibilites again; for instance...maybe the K5 engine ran "OK" on MT 80....but the contaminated HD30 issue was JUST enough to push it over the edge into overheating and serious valve/top end wear? Or maybe - Austins DID have to make modifications to the top end of the K5...just enough to suit MT 80...but THEN the HD 30 contamination was just enough to push - etc., etc...

I wouldn't wish having to push research back into 1943 on you, Tom, don't worry! :P It all just serves to illustrate how much we are at sea without the Austins' side of all this :(

Hang on Tiger!!

We don't have a reference to them being "withdrawn" per se, what we have is a reference to a relatively large number being passed in a block to the Advanced Base Workshops on the Continent for repair.
LOL I wasn't talking about them being withdrawn en masse, I meant that we've seen lots of little/brief entries here and there stating those VARIOUS things and issues about the K5 through late summer and early autumn '44 :wink: The point is - TWO entries that definitely mention the K6 along with the K5 as a "problem"....and lots of entries and reports of various sizes and relevances regarding the K5 alone ;) Don't sell your research short, you've turned up a LOT of period references to K5s....they're just spread between here and ww2talk! :P
I'll post up a couple of other lines about the success of Wading Trials here - there are references to some on the second page of the DMW W/P Committee Meeting from 5 May 44. These show that the Austin "wading problem" was by no means the only headache for the W/P Committee.
O I can just imagine! :lol:
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Re: Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 27 Nov 2013 21:03

Hi,

Just to clarify when the War Office identified an issue with MT80, the WO Directorate of Mech Engineering report for 17 Jan 44 includes the following passage:
M.T.80 fuel was introduced in North Africa in November, 1942, but was not brought into use in this country until March, 1943. Considerable complaints had been received from North Africa as to the effect of the use of this fuel on ‘B’ vehicle engines and more frequent top overhauls required as a result. Owing to the later introduction of the fuel in this country, user experience was not available at that time and in order to get the fullest experience in the shortest time, an intensive user trial was initiated in June, 1943, using R.A.S.C. vehicles.
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Tom

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Re: Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

Post by phylo_roadking » 28 Nov 2013 17:43

Tom...
...an intensive user trial was initiated in June, 1943, using R.A.S.C. vehicles.
Hmm! Certainly reads as if the problem was impactful enough to warrant such action - which as we know ended in some manufacturers having to modify their engines to lesser or greater degrees.

Are you going hunting after details of that trial? Might be interesting to find out if there's any mention of problems with....or specifically mention of NO problems with...Austins' products!
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Re: Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

Post by RichTO90 » 28 Nov 2013 19:28

phylo_roadking wrote:Hmm! Certainly reads as if the problem was impactful enough to warrant such action - which as we know ended in some manufacturers having to modify their engines to lesser or greater degrees.
Phylo, if you ever use the non-word "impactful" again, I shall crawl through the aether and strangle you in your sleep! I happen to work for the U.S. Government, which has apparently decided that is the favorite buzzword of this new century. Unfortunately, every time I see it, which is about a dozen times a day, I want to imitate poor Oedipus Rex and gouge my eyes out. Please, please, PLEASE! never do that to me again... :cry:

BTW, have you not noticed that what you have now inferred from your investigation is actually a much LARGER and more PERVASIVE problem than "1,400 Austins with crock engines"? :lol:

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Re: Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 28 Nov 2013 19:58

Rich,

Are you saying that the use of the word "impactful" is "not fit for purpose". :lol:
BTW, have you not noticed that what you have now inferred from your investigation is actually a much LARGER and more PERVASIVE problem than "1,400 Austins with crock engines"?
Surely that depends on the outcome of those trials in 1943! Perhaps they identified the problem and fixed it ready for OVERLORD. :idea:

Phylo,
Are you going hunting after details of that trial? Might be interesting to find out if there's any mention of problems with....or specifically mention of NO problems with...Austins' products!
Of course I am. :thumbsup: However, in the meantime, I can already tell you that according to the same source the "worst vehicle" (I'm assuming "worst" as measured by complaints from M.E.) was the Bedford. 8O

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Tom

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Re: Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

Post by phylo_roadking » 28 Nov 2013 20:53

The Bedford OY?

That might thus be where its later bulletproof reputation came from - the mods made earlier ;)
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Re: Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

Post by phylo_roadking » 28 Nov 2013 21:08

BTW, have you not noticed that what you have now inferred from your investigation is actually a much LARGER and more PERVASIVE problem than "1,400 Austins with crock engines"?
Surely that depends on the outcome of those trials in 1943! Perhaps they identified the problem and fixed it ready for OVERLORD.
Rich...possibly - possibly not; As Tom says, depends on what the trials showed...tho' we DO have those later, much more sanitised accounts of the problems etc. that MT80 threw up. It'll be interesting in seeing them "red in tooth and claw", as it were.

Put it this way - we've been discussing British tanks elsewhere, and British lorries (and now possibly other softskins too)....and I know how bad some British aircraft types were! And I could also mention British cars and British motorcycles...

Much as I would be the last person to point it up...that "much LARGER and more PERVASIVE problem" MIGHT just have something to do with that rather frequently-appearing word above! 8O :lol:
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Re: Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

Post by RichTO90 » 29 Nov 2013 16:56

phylo_roadking wrote:Much as I would be the last person to point it up...that "much LARGER and more PERVASIVE problem" MIGHT just have something to do with that rather frequently-appearing word above! 8O :lol:
Do you mean it might have been better if they had made greater use of American vehicles other than tanks, halftracks, and jeeps? I have always thought it remarkable that British sources say little about the Chrysler multibank and most seemed to find its peculiarities unremarkable, whereas the U.S. Army refused to touch it with a ten-foot pole.

Of course that presumes that the American larder truly was inexhaustible, which is far from the truth. As I have tried to make clear before, the American logistical transport problems were not just about numbers of truck companies, it was also about the lack of production of heavy trucks, the shortage of tires, the shortage of spare parts, the shortage of maintenance capability, the lack of co-drivers, and the excessive weight, distance driven, and the poor roads driven on. Which is why I have always said that focusing on the real or imaginary problems of 1,400 vehicles is meaningless in terms of assessment of long-haul logistical capabilities. The only thing that can give a reasonable picture of that is the weekly/monthly vehicle maintenance states and accompanying reports. Those are very well reported for the U.S. forces, along with the maintenance problems, so warts and all. However, the 21st Army Group logistical report reminds me too much of the British official histories, all problems neatly glossed offer and no evidence to support a contrary point of view. :wink:

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Re: Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

Post by phylo_roadking » 30 Nov 2013 16:53

I have always thought it remarkable that British sources say little about the Chrysler multibank and most seemed to find its peculiarities unremarkable, whereas the U.S. Army refused to touch it with a ten-foot pole.
Well....one might venture that it was no worse than some of their "own" peculiarities...! :wink:
Do you mean it might have been better if they had made greater use of American vehicles other than tanks, halftracks, and jeeps?
At this point JUST commenting on the well-known problems of the British automotive industry... ;)
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Re: Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 14 Dec 2013 22:41

All,

You will be delighted to hear that I have been back to Kew and trawled up a little high-level discussion about the 80-octane petrol trials conducted in the UK after complaints from North Africa.

It appears that the Ministry of Supply investigation was not limited solely to bench tests in its attempt to identify the specific cause of the defect. In parallel, the RASC conducted running trials of Bedfords, Austins, Fords and Scammell transporters.

This was from a War Office meeting in July 1943.

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Tom

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Re: Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

Post by Don Juan » 14 Dec 2013 23:43

RichTO90 wrote: Of course that presumes that the American larder truly was inexhaustible, which is far from the truth. As I have tried to make clear before, the American logistical transport problems were not just about numbers of truck companies, it was also about the lack of production of heavy trucks, the shortage of tires, the shortage of spare parts, the shortage of maintenance capability, the lack of co-drivers, and the excessive weight, distance driven, and the poor roads driven on. Which is why I have always said that focusing on the real or imaginary problems of 1,400 vehicles is meaningless in terms of assessment of long-haul logistical capabilities. The only thing that can give a reasonable picture of that is the weekly/monthly vehicle maintenance states and accompanying reports. Those are very well reported for the U.S. forces, along with the maintenance problems, so warts and all. However, the 21st Army Group logistical report reminds me too much of the British official histories, all problems neatly glossed offer and no evidence to support a contrary point of view. :wink:
I have to say that I'm not convinced from the thread so far that the problems with the Austins were even noteworthy as regards this particular vehicle, let alone with regard to the whole 21 AG logistics effort. It seems that history has made a mountain out of a molehill, though I suppose there is value in establishing that it was indeed a molehill.
"The demonstration, as a demonstration, was a failure. The sunshield would not fit the tank. Altogether it was rather typically Middle Easty."
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Re: Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 23 May 2014 20:36

A beautiful pair of Austin K5's :thumbsup:

http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205219264

Note their use by "Beach Group" units - I think I talked about this before. Not sure what the plan was for the Beach Units as the advance across France began. Some disbanded (esp. infantry) but what about the others? What was the expected loss rate amongst Beach Group vehicles?
I have to say that I'm not convinced from the thread so far that the problems with the Austins were even noteworthy as regards this particular vehicle, let alone with regard to the whole 21 AG logistics effort. It seems that history has made a mountain out of a molehill, though I suppose there is value in establishing that it was indeed a molehill.
Which is exactly what I tasked myself with discovering... :thumbsup:

Although I would argue that it is "lazy historians" that have followed Wilmot's path up the "molehill" :lol:

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Re: Unserviceable Lorries - Jul - Sep 44

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 01 Nov 2014 12:14

In light of the wider discussion about "A" and "B" Vehicle reliability, maintenance and repair in NW Europe that this thread (nd t'ther one about comparative reliability of British and American tanks) has generated, I thought the following entries in the war diary of No.3 Br Inf Tps Wksp REME in the run up to the launching of Op Market Garden might be of interest (WO171/2863):
9 September 1944
1300 Arrived Ath. Vehs parked and area prepared for work. Work drawn from 2 A Veh Park, by arrangements with C.REME 2 A Tps.

12 September 1944 Ath
Information received to effect that all “A” Veh repairs to be completed on a priority basis. Accordingly, work concentrated on “A” Vehs (mainly carriers).
Visit of DDOS 2 Army accompanied by ADOS 12 Corps reference priority of veh repairs.

14 September 1944 Ath
1700 Wks returns despatched. (Completed in week – “A” Vehs 36; “B” Vehs 32; Motor cycles 13; Tels Equipts 9; Instrs 8; MGs 1)

15 September 1944 Ath
1700 Visit of DADOS 12 and 30 Corps. Urgency of “A” Vehs further stressed. Forthwith, all resources of wksps concentrated on repair of “A” vehs. Working hours extended until dusk.

16 September 1944 Ath
All wksp repair concentrated on “A” Vehs. Record number of 39 “A” vehs completed in one day.

17 September 1944 Ath
0300 Message received from 2 A Veh Pk (verbal) that great effort to be made to complete all carriers, White Scout Cars, Halftracks and 3 tonners by midday.
1300 All vehs required completed with exception of a small no requiring major reps.
1700 2 A Veh Pk now collected vehs required.
1100 One Bedford Stores lorry caught fire. Cab completely burnt out. Stores undamaged.
Regards

Tom

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