Well no.Don Juan wrote:Not really. Formations ideally have to spend a considerable mileage training before they go into action, and when tank numbers are limited low overhaul lives and restricted overhauls have an effect on training. I expect the fact that e.g. 5 RTR had pretty much redlined their tanks even before they had gone into action during Rommel's first offensive was due to them (or 3 RTR) expending the overhaul life of their vehicles during training.MarkN wrote: When war comes, military equipment is expendable. That includes tanks. Military equipment is often destroyed or 'lost' long before ETO - just look at all the British pantsers left in France in 1940!
Off the top of my head...
5RTRs pantsers were "overhauled" (early at about 50% ETO - so probably better description would be a thoroughly serviced) before they left the UK. 3RTR had NOT overhauled their pantsers before departure - not because of training committments but because of the command structure they had been under the previous 3 months - but the majority of the pansers still had used up only about 50% time to ETO. In Egypt they swopped pansers so that 5RTR and became an all A13 regiment, 3RTR an all A10 regiment. The supposed "fact" is actually a falsehood. Then, ...
3RTR was sent to Greece with 2 squadrons of effectively zero hour A10s and 1 squadron at about 50% ETO. On arrival they were entrained to the forward area and then parked up just outside the town and didn't move. When hostilities commenced, the pantsers fell out at such a rate that they were utterly ineffective. All 52 lost long before the ETO had any relevance. There was also 7 A13s in Greece which were practically brand spanking new. Managed to last a bit longer than the A10s, but were broken and useless long, LOOOOONG before ETO.
5RTR was sent to Cyrenaica with 1 squadron of effectively zero hour A13s and 2 squadrons at about 50% ETO (ex 3RTR). They also took over the 7 A13s of HQ 3ArmdBde which were brand spanking new. The movement forward destroyed the ex 3RTR and ex HQ 2ArmdBde pantsers: about 10 out of 35 being useable on arrival at destination. Of the 'overhauled' ex 5RTR beasts, 13 out of 14 were useable on arrival as were 5 of the 6 A10CS.
Pantser life was not expended during training. It is falsehood that they arrived in Egypt so knackered as to be useless. They proved useless for other reasons which had little or nothing to do with ETO.Don Juan wrote: The more varied and extensive the training is (e.g. including a combined arms element) the more mileage that will be expended. That the British experienced multiple mass breakdown events in the desert indicates that overhauls were important.
Don Juan wrote: The point I made about Hobart was that like seemingly all British armoured commanders, he had not foreseen this would happen, as he had barely thought about it.
Hobart was training his division to manouver in the Western Desert to defend Egypt. He was not training them to motor to Tunisia. Op COMPASS was designed to go as far as Tobruk only - less than 100 miles over the border. How can Hobart be criticised for this given the context?
Why does your analysis discount the battles of the Somme?Don Juan wrote:This isn't true. After the initial battles on the Somme, ....MarkN wrote:And, to add to the almost irrelevance of the overhaul system in wartime, the early British pantsers could barely make a 50 mile march without needed major maintenance work.
1st Armoured Division's first task was to get to the Somme pronto, seize and secure 3 bridgeheads ASAP with a single armoured regiment - later amended to "Immediate advance of whatever elements of ... division as are ready is essential. Action at once may be decisive; tomorrow may be too late". That was issued as the Queen's Bays were unloading at Pacy! The enemy was described as "the mangled remains of six panzer divs". Of the 27 or 28 Cruiser Tanks the Queen's Bays unloaded at Pacy, about 3 made it forward to take part in the attack about 60 miles up the road! It was a similar story for 9L and 10H.
You said it wasn't true. I made a mistake. It was about 60 miles not 50 miles!
Really?Don Juan wrote: I estimate that many of the surviving A13's of 1 AD racked up over 1000 miles before they were abandoned.
Interesting use of the word "surviving". Is that your way of saying your only counting the handful which hadn't broken down long before?
The units had the RAOC support that they were supposed to have. I'll be the first to argue that the level of RAOC support at regimental level was absurd - a product of peacetime colonial policing thought not big war worries. It was one of the contributors to repeated mechanical failure. But again, nothing to do with the overhaul question.Don Juan wrote: There was at least one journey (down to Le Mans) that was over 200 miles in a single day, and another (from the Le Mans area to Cherbourg) that was 180 miles in a single day. These mileages were achieved despite a total lack of RAOC support,
I do not see any journey over 200 miles down to Le Mans in a single day except those on flat trucks pulled by a steam loco. Crocker's 'success' in getting 15 Cruiser Tanks to Cherbourg is hardly something to crow about considering the majority of the other 170-175 Cruiser Tanks didn't make it having broken down long, long before. Nothing to do with overhaul.
Whether it was sent to Pacy to train or not is irrelevant. It was thrown away by commanders at the very highest level with a series of incompetent decisions. It would have been lost in exactly the same way if it had had a perfect training run-in.Don Juan wrote:Well, this is a counterfactual, maybe correct, maybe not. When the 1st Armoured Division was ordered to France at the beginning of May, the assumption was that it was to travel to the dedicated RAC "AFV Area" at Pacy-sur-Eure and continue its training. Even at the beginning of embarkation it was not completely clear that the division would have to be plunged straight into action. The fate of the 1st Armoured Division was highly circumstantial e.g. if the French had held at Sedan, its deployment would have been completely different.MarkN wrote:The 1st Armoured Division was thrown away in France by the very highest ranking officers through utter incompetence. Officers who had not the slightest clue as to how the Division should be employed, what it was (and was not) capable of and who had more interest in saving face and the old-boy network than offering meaningful resistence to the German advance. What I'm saying is, you are quite correct in your appreciation of what didn't occur before it deployed, but even if it had been perfectly trained, it would have resulted in the very same outcome.