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Thread: British Use of Armour in the Pacific

  1. #1
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    Default British Use of Armour in the Pacific

    Anyone have any information on this? I know extensive use of armour that was otherwise considered obsolete was made in Burma. Most notably the M3 Lee/Grant. I assume they would have been very effective against Japanese infantry and even most IJA tanks...



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    Default Re: British Use of Armour in the Pacific

    The British and Commonwealth forces in Malaya had no tanks. The Japanese had a couple of hundred. This put the British and Commonwealth forces at something of a disadvantage, and helped redress the numerical inferiority of the Japanese forces.
    ..
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    Default Re: British Use of Armour in the Pacific

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    The British and Commonwealth forces in Malaya had no tanks. The Japanese had a couple of hundred. This put the British and Commonwealth forces at something of a disadvantage, and helped redress the numerical inferiority of the Japanese forces.
    The Japanes Operation U-Go.

    The battles of Imphal and Kohima.


    Both Lees and Stuarts were used to great effect in opening the Imphal-Kohima road during the U-Go campaign in Burma. A great tactic of the Japanese was to block roads and defend these positions with almost impregnable bunkers. The Lees were put to good use in busting these bunkers and forcing a way through the Japanses defences.

    The Lees, with their 75mm guns, made short work of the Japanese tanks (armed with 47mm guns), remnants of the 14 Tank Regiment which had stormed down the Malayan Peninsula to Singapore.

    After the British success at Imphal and Kohima, the tanks were used extensively in supporting assaults throughout the remainder of the Burma campaign.

    IIRC
    149th (Medium) Regiment Royal Armoured Corps were equipped with Lees.

    3rd Carabibiers and 7th Light cavalry equipped with Stuarts.

    Ghurkas advancing with Lee tanks to clear Imphal Kohima road:
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...halgurkhas.jpg

    Stuarts preparing to cross the Irrawady river:

    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_jVVU3JR5iW...s+Irrawady.jpg


    "Although God cannot alter the past, Historians can"


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    Default Re: British Use of Armour in the Pacific

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    Anyone have any information on this? I know extensive use of armour that was otherwise considered obsolete was made in Burma. Most notably the M3 Lee/Grant. I assume they would have been very effective against Japanese infantry and even most IJA tanks...

    One piece of jungle can look much the same as another, but this very much resembles the operations to clear the Imphal/Kohima road, and is typical of other pictures from that operation.
    Last edited by 32Bravo; 02-08-2009 at 04:04 AM.


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    Default Re: British Use of Armour in the Pacific

    Am unsure as to exact location on that road, but I have an instinct you're right, Nickdfresh.
    Am interested to see the longbarrel 37mm on the lead vehicle, which dates it as a later model, and possibly a diesel version M3.
    As I said earlier, that persistent yet vague memory insists a mixed bunch of 20 or less M3s ended up in Burma yet I would need confirmation of the exact numbers and models. The Asian Theater isn't one I have greatly studied over the years.
    Again, I can't help but think it would be interesting to know if any of the M3s in Burma have survived into the present day.

    Regards, Uyraell.
    Last edited by Uyraell; 02-08-2009 at 02:02 AM. Reason: grammatical.

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    Default Re: British Use of Armour in the Pacific

    Quote Originally Posted by Uyraell View Post
    Am unsure as to exact Again, I can't help but think it would be interesting to know if any of the M3s in Burma have survived into the present day.

    Regards, Uyraell.
    If any Lees have survived, they can probably be found at the Bovington Tank Museum, http://www.tankmuseum.org/home

    or the Imperial War Museum http://www.iwm.org.uk/

    If not, then at least you're likely to find the information you require there.

    The tanks were most likely left to rust in Burma, or used as targets on tank ranges.


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    Default Re: British Use of Armour in the Pacific

    The Kohima Battle
    Night 13/14 Apr also saw bitter fighting. At the FSD the Rajputs were forced
    from their trenches by direct hits from the 75mm guns opposite, so that A Coy
    at KUKI p. had to send one pl. forward to save the front positions….The Japs
    made a heavy rush attack at B Coy from the DC bungalow, and succeeded in
    penetrating into a shed on a small but important hillock when a Bren jammed.
    The pln. comd, Lt King, restored the situation by driving them out with grenades,
    but not before the Bren gunner himself picked up a shovel and cracked at his assailants with it...

    http://www.mod.uk/NR/rdonlyres/4C2B2...ww2_kohima.pdf

    http://www.answers.com/topic/battle-of-imphal
    Last edited by 32Bravo; 02-08-2009 at 05:40 AM.


    "Although God cannot alter the past, Historians can"


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    Default Re: British Use of Armour in the Pacific

    Many Thanks, 32Bravo,
    Most interesting information. I'd lost sight of much of that, mainly because my book collection ended up being out of my hands (long, long tale).
    I have very few references on Kohima nowdays, so am glad to see these.

    Regards, Uyraell.

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    Default Re: British Use of Armour in the Pacific

    So how come the British used so few tanks in the Pacific? Lack of resources?
    The fundamental problem of Democracy is that the majority of voters are idiots fueled by uninformed rage - and the Politicians do everything to cater to them.

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    Default Re: British Use of Armour in the Pacific

    Quote Originally Posted by Schuultz View Post
    So how come the British used so few tanks in the Pacific? Lack of resources?
    In a nutshell, yes!

    And take a look at the dates 1944.

    The allies had agreed on dealing with Europe first. Within that, the British had to conclude operations in North Africa, and then there was the follow-up through Sicily and Italy. Burma, was more of a containment operation. Yes, there were operations in the Arakan, and of course the Chindit operations, but these early ops were under-resourced and, as in North Africa, the British had to learn the techniques of, and train its people for, operations in this particular theatre. It wasn't until Bill Slim took command that things began to progress, and even with that, it was a long hard slog.

    Slim had planned on fighting the Japanese with a counter-strike, after they had exhausted themselves with their own offensive operations. His first opportunity to put theory into praciste, was the Battle of the Admin Box (as it came to be known) when the Japanese committed themselves to their A-Go offensive. This was the first truly successful operation for regular British forces during the Burma Campaign.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Admin_Box

    Capitalizing on the lessons learned from the Admin Box (i.e. to hold ground in an all-round-defence situation and resupply by air), Slim planned his counter-strike into Burma to follow-up after the defeat of the U-Go offensive at Imphaland Kohima.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U_Go_offensive

    Slim would never have been able to do this without the improved supply chain which not only included the Lee tanks which were of less value in European theatres, but also because of the ability to supply by air. And, of course, one of Slim's master strokes was to continue to attack through the monsoon - though the troops might not have thought so at the time.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China_Burma_India_Theater

    As I read more about the Burma campaign, I can't help admiring those troops of the British Indian Army who fought so hard and valliantly alongside and, at times, infront of the British troops.
    Last edited by 32Bravo; 02-09-2009 at 05:09 PM.


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    Default Re: British Use of Armour in the Pacific

    What I recently learned and what surprised me was that at the start of WW2, Egypt, Iraq and major parts of India were actually pro-German!
    That was less because of a shared ideology than a shared dislike for the British though, with the attitude being more like 'The enemy of my enemy is my friend'.

    The British obviously didn't give a **** and simply re-occupied India and Iraq, to whom they had previously granted 'constitutional independence', and eliminated the pro-German factions in India.

    Obviously this is relatively off topic, but I had just learned that and thought it was pretty interesting...
    The fundamental problem of Democracy is that the majority of voters are idiots fueled by uninformed rage - and the Politicians do everything to cater to them.

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    Default Re: British Use of Armour in the Pacific

    Quote Originally Posted by Schuultz View Post
    What I recently learned and what surprised me was that at the start of WW2, Egypt, Iraq and major parts of India were actually pro-German!
    That was less because of a shared ideology than a shared dislike for the British though, with the attitude being more like 'The enemy of my enemy is my friend'.

    The British obviously didn't give a **** and simply re-occupied India and Iraq, to whom they had previously granted 'constitutional independence', and eliminated the pro-German factions in India.

    Obviously this is relatively off topic, but I had just learned that and thought it was pretty interesting...
    It is, but aren't you the chap that makes wandering off-topic, an occupation?


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    Default Re: British Use of Armour in the Pacific

    A Full-Time one, too I really don't feel like opening a new thread for any bullshit tidbit of information I might have picked up somewhere, so I just put it in a thread that's at least remotely connectible to it and let the people there ignore it for what it's worth
    The fundamental problem of Democracy is that the majority of voters are idiots fueled by uninformed rage - and the Politicians do everything to cater to them.

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    Default Re: British Use of Armour in the Pacific

    Quote Originally Posted by Schuultz View Post
    A Full-Time one, too I really don't feel like opening a new thread for any bullshit tidbit of information I might have picked up somewhere, so I just put it in a thread that's at least remotely connectible to it and let the people there ignore it for what it's worth
    Yeah, right.

    About Schuultz Biography
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    Default Re: British Use of Armour in the Pacific

    Quote Originally Posted by 32Bravo View Post
    Yeah, right.
    You're right, I should've put a 'Full Time' in front of it. My bad.

    And yeah, the 'remotely connected' part was a lie. Maybe.
    The fundamental problem of Democracy is that the majority of voters are idiots fueled by uninformed rage - and the Politicians do everything to cater to them.

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