Author Topic: New life for old tank chassis  (Read 570 times)

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Offline Rheged

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New life for old tank chassis
« on: March 19, 2017, 10:20:38 am »
NEW LIFE FOR OLD TANK CHASSIS

 
Being the story of how the Royal Marines overcame Treasury parsimony.

As with all of the best reports that might have more than a sliver of truth.....are you sitting comfortably?  Then I'll begin!

Once upon a time in an island off the coast of Europe, a little while ago, Her Majesty's Royal Marines were assigned a new task.   Following several disturbing reports from the Baltic members of NATO, and the Swedish  Government,  the policy decision was made to task the Royal Marine Artillery Group with coastal defence. However, the Treasury in their infinite financial wisdom  was not prepared to allocate extra funds for the tasking.  Undeterred, the Marine artillerists went prowling around RAF MU's, army storage depots and the dimmest, darkest corners of Royal Navy dockyards.

Given that the "new equipment/capital expenditure"  budget was nil, forays were made into the "maintenance of existing kit" moneys. The RN furnished Exocet and Harpoon launchers removed from recently decommissioned frigates,  the army a number of redundant Challenger  I  chassis and the RAF a drone and launcher system that had been trialled and manufactured in small quantities but never used.   The system that emerged was a two chassis weapons system, needing only two four ton trucks(one with a Hiab crane )  and a pair of Land Rovers to make it totally self sufficient.  The tank chassis were given code names  following UK procedure: following the "C" nomenclature rules, the units became the Chepstow  and the Caerleon.......as previous experimental vehicles had been coded Conway and Caernarvon these names seemed appropriate.

The Chepstow was a triple missile launcher, crewed by two marines, a driver and an operator.  The Caerleon was the radar unit crewed by three marines.  Mid course target acquisition was handled by two marines in a Landrover using the drone.  The two four ton trucks held a batch of missile
reloads and tents/food/personal kit.  The final Land Rover was manned by a battery commander, a driver and a radio operator.  This small group (11 marines, two NCOs and one officer) could get a useful coastal defence system anywhere in the UK within 48 hours.   Twenty such Chepstow/Caerleon systems were operational within six months of the initial tasking, and regularly moved around the coast to protect anchorages and other "sites of significance"

The  system has only brought to  full alert status in the UK on one occasion to date, when a converted passenger ferry on its final voyage   to a breakers yard was taken over by anti-nuclear protestors and sailed towards Sellafield on the Cumbrian coast.  Chepstow/Caerleon units at the gunnery test range at Eskmeals and Drigg nature reserve monitored the vessel until it was boarded by a Royal Navy anti-piracy unit training in the Irish Sea.

 It is known that four modified  Chepstow/Caerleon  units have exercised on West Falkland  in 2013 and 2015. Armour had been removed from the tank chassis to reduce weight, giving a vehicle with a lower ground pressure per square foot than a man in boots.  The transport element of the group was replaced by a third Challenger I chassis, equipped as a logistics vehicle and named a "Clydesdale" unit.

The sinking of the  frigate Santiago del Estero in 2015 may possibly be associated with the  deployment of Chepstow/Caerleon units.   Irredentist groups in the Argentine armed forces are believed to have seized the   frigate and two merchant vessels and sailed East from Puerto Madryn. The merchant vessels were intercepted by the Falklands guardship and returned peacefully with their crews and the armed men on board to Argentine Coastguard custody.   All that is known for certain is that the Santiago  suffered a catastrophic explosion at the waterline and sank immediately in deep water 20 miles off the West Falkland coast. Survivors claimed that they had sighted a small drone  some minutes before the explosion, which took them totally unawares. Floating ordnance left over from the 1982 conflict was blamed. The site of the sinking has been declared a "prohibited area" by the Royal Navy, a statement being released to the effect that "as a courtesy to the Government  and Armed Forces of Argentina, the site will be forever treated as if it were a war grave".

I would be fascinated to learn further details of these units, and their activities, or to see one of my compatriots on this site convert my report into a model or two.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2017, 12:03:15 pm by Rheged »
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Offline kerick

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Re: New life for old tank chassis
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2017, 01:59:38 pm »
Sounds like an interesting idea!
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Offline Weaver

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Re: New life for old tank chassis
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2017, 03:34:48 pm »
Given the background, you might imagine the Chepstow being nicknamed the 'Cheapskate' by the Marines.... ;D

It's a fun idea for a model of course, but if I was concocting a coastal defense system for the UK on the cheap in real life, there's no way I'd put it on a 60-ton tank chassis. I'd put it in 8x8'x40' or 8'x8'x20' container-sized loads and use road and rail transport to move it around the country.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2017, 03:58:04 pm by Weaver »
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Offline kerick

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Re: New life for old tank chassis
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2017, 06:09:47 pm »
That would make much more mobile. Interesting idea
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Offline PR19_Kit

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Re: New life for old tank chassis
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2017, 06:11:50 pm »

It's a fun idea for a model of course, but if I was concocting a coastal defense system for the UK on the cheap in real life, there's no way I'd put it on a 60-ton tank chassis. I'd put it in 8x8'x40' or 8'x8'x20' container-sized loads and use road and rail transport to move it around the country.


I'd sling four missiles under something like a Buccaneer, I'd call it a Sea Eagle or something similar............

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Offline Weaver

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Re: New life for old tank chassis
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2017, 07:54:23 pm »

It's a fun idea for a model of course, but if I was concocting a coastal defense system for the UK on the cheap in real life, there's no way I'd put it on a 60-ton tank chassis. I'd put it in 8x8'x40' or 8'x8'x20' container-sized loads and use road and rail transport to move it around the country.


I'd sling four missiles under something like a Buccaneer, I'd call it a Sea Eagle or something similar............

If you're fighting ships just off the coast, there's every chance your airfields have been put out of action. Another reason for the HGV-based Exocet carrier (which has been done in real life BTW) is that it can be concealed amongst civilian traffic and isn't readily identifiable until just before it fires. Rheged's idea of using a drone for targeting would make it even less conspicuous.

This is MBDA's own Exocet MM40 system:



http://www.mbda-systems.com/product/exocet-mobile-coastal-defence-system/

It's not vapourware either. These are in service in Greece:



« Last Edit: March 20, 2017, 09:23:34 pm by Weaver »
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Offline Rheged

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Re: New life for old tank chassis
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2017, 02:36:08 am »
To be honest, the only reason I started this was that I rather liked the idea of extending the tank "C" names  from Caernarvon and Conway (North Wales) to Caerleon and Chepstow (South Wales). If anyone wants to take this further, there's Corfe, Carysfort, Carlisle, Calshot and Carisbrooke all available for your projects.

I'd agree with Kit that  a Buccaneer with Sea Eagles, capable of approaching a potential threat at 4 foot   6 inches above the waves is enough to give anyone with evil intentions pause for thought.  Using stripped down tank chassis did allow a remarkably low ground pressure, and thus the West Falkland incident  but I'd agree that within the UK, HGV containerised equipment would probably be preferable.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2017, 02:43:25 am by Rheged »
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Offline Captain Canada

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Re: New life for old tank chassis
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2017, 05:17:25 am »
Neat read and those would make for some cool looking models. I like the idea of mobile coastal defences as well.

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Offline kerick

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Re: New life for old tank chassis
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2017, 04:08:54 pm »
The drone idea was not mine. Its in the first post.
If you had rugged terrain to defend then the tanks make more sense. Can't let the bad guys get a foothold on your own coast.
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Offline Weaver

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Re: New life for old tank chassis
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2017, 09:25:37 pm »
The drone idea was not mine. Its in the first post.
If you had rugged terrain to defend then the tanks make more sense. Can't let the bad guys get a foothold on your own coast.

Quite right: I've edited my post - sorry Rheged!

Also correct on the rugged terrain argument. It really depends on the range of the missiles: if they have a range of, say, 20 miles, then you really need them within sight of the sea to cover a decent stretch of coastline and that might involve driving them the last few miles off-road. On the other hand, if they have a range of 100 miles, you can afford to have them five miles inland on the nearest bit of hard road, and this also provides you with a greater area of land in which to conceal them.

The problem with the aircraft-based argument is that it depends on your having some degree of air superiority in order to allow the Buccaneers (or whatever) to do their job. However nobody is going to come to your coastline and attempt an amphibious operation without believing that they can gain air superiority for themselves, at least locally and temporarily. If you lose local air-superiority, because your aircraft are shot down or their bases bombed or the ships too well defended, having a good system of land-based AShMs that can be effectively hidden or protected still enables you to do considerable damage to the invasion fleet.

Strike aircraft with AShMs and land-based AShMs are as complimentary to each other in coastal defence as interceptors and SAMs are in air defence. The former have the range to engage targets at the earliest opportunity and the flexibility to deal with changing circumstances, while the latter are much cheaper to buy and operate and can therefore be deployed in larger numbers, and are also more resistant to the enemy's efforts to suppress them.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2017, 09:39:28 pm by Weaver »
Neophyte: Is Eris true?
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Offline chrisonord

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Re: New life for old tank chassis
« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2017, 04:02:48 pm »
I am liking these ideas, and so are the Honduras armed forces ;) Looks like they will be sending me plans for such a system for them. They will just have to wait until I have finished my Cartel projects though  :wacko:
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Offline Old Wombat

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Re: New life for old tank chassis
« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2017, 07:51:49 pm »
I am liking these ideas, and so are the Honduras armed forces ;) Looks like they will be sending me plans for such a system for them. They will just have to wait until I have finished my Cartel projects though  :wacko:
Chris

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