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Post Info TOPIC: DeMole was honoured


Legend

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DeMole was honoured
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In a number of recent threads I've seen a number of comments expressing regret that DeMole was not honoured for his tank design predating Tritton, Wilson et al. I was therefore surprised when broswing in a second hand bookshop in Haye on Wye today to find that in 1933 he was awarded the CBE for this. (For those unfamiliar with the British honours system the CBE Commander of the British Empire is about as high an honour as one can get short of being knighted). This was at the insistance of the then Australian prime minister. Just thought I'd bring a happy ending to your attention.

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Legend

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Don't forget too that he was awarded what was a substantial cash payout at the time, far in excess of what he originally asked for.

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Hero

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That great but how about CromptonAny word yet??


All The Best


Tim R.



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Legend

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The Commission decided that Crompton and Legros, his assistant, had not invented or discovered 'the special features subsequently featured in the tanks, and we cannot consider their services as of such an exceptional or extraordinary character as could alone justify an award in addition to their agreed salaries' [which had been characterised as 'substantial'].


Nevertheless, at a subsequent hearing they shared an award of £1,550.


Compare this with the £15,000 awarded jointly to Tritton and Wilson, the £987 awarded to de Mole, or the £1,000 awarded to Swinton.


Another unsung figure, or rather pair of figures, hitherto unmentioned on this site (as far as I am aware) yet, arguably, as significant as de Mole or Swinton, maybe even Crompton, are Macfie and Nesfield. It was, after all, as far as I can gather, Macfie who put Crompton, Tritton et al onto caterpillar tracks at a time when they were convinced of the value of the Big Wheel, as well as providing a design with upturned tracks (the only one apart from de Mole's before Mother).



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Brigadier

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All of this is incredibly interesting. I read an article a while back which seemed to imply the only thing he was paid was the cost he expended building his wooden model of the vehicle. It is really great that he was honored this way!!!

Have you ever noticed that, if you look at his design, and imagine a modern tank turret on top of it, it looks exactly like a genuine modern tank?

Also, I actually think his 'curve-track steering' would have been a novel implementation. Even into WWII tankers were having issues with tank steering, because in order to do a really hard turn, they would have to forcibly brake one track. Doing this over and over and over again would wear out the brake drums, until it could no longer turn at all. For this reason, some WWII tank convoys going up switchbacks in mountains would have to stop, and let another vehicle forcibly haul it around the corner, to save the brakes. This issue would not arrise if the tank simply had curve-track steering. (And the tracks could curve enough for it to make sharp turns). I read all this on an AFV forum, so if it is completely bogus, don't blame me

---Vil.

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Legend

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No, you're absolutely right, de Mole's design featured an incredibly ingenious system of 'bowing' the tracks to steer fairly gentle curves, although he also pointed out that for sharper turns one track could be slowed or braked as became normal usage later. I've always rather suspected that it would have been difficult to make it work without an undue level of complexity which might have been undesirable in a practical fighting machine. Nevertheless, it's a pity it wasn't tried, and it might have been made robust enough for battlefield conditions.


Certainly for normal usage it would have saved an awful lot of track wear, but I think the early tank pioneers saw the machine as virtually disposable anyway (hence an early crisis in terms of insufficient spares), thus they didn't really care much about track wear.



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Hero

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Well thatís the pitts, I am a firm Compton Fan, and He was and will ever be a genius to me. As far as Macfie and Nesfield are concerned, I am very interested in them as well; there tank design was quit incredible.


What do you have on them Roger ?. I have only a drawing and a little information from an old magazine article.


All the Best


Tim R.



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Hero

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By the Way Roger,

Welcome aboard Captian!!!!!


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Tim R.



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Legend

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Blimey, I hadn't noticed my promotion!


Rightly, IMHO, David Fletcher and John Glanfield have done an awful lot of work in highlighting dear old Col Crompton's role.


As for Robert Macfie, he was a very spiky character, an engineer, aviator, adventurer, who had seen Holts in the USA before the war, and joined the RNAS armoured car mob at Wormwood Scrubs in 1914. Right from the off he was promoting tracklayers, but as artillery tractors. Soon, however, he began to think of armoured tracked vehicles, and it was he who at the first Landships Committee meeting in February 1915 forcefully put the case for tracks. Crompton had turned up with a briefcase full of big wheel drawings, but he left that day a convinced track man.


In conjunction with the engineer Nesfield (with whom he had a spectacular falling out later), Macfie desgned a really quite advanced machine in mid-1915. I suspect that is what you have drawings of, as I have seen them listed in an old Tankette.


However, I have another reproduction of his drawing which I'll email you direct, as it's a large file, and you can let me know if it's the same.



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Legend

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Roger Todd wrote:


No, you're absolutely right, de Mole's design featured an incredibly ingenious system of 'bowing' the tracks to steer fairly gentle curves, although he also pointed out that for sharper turns one track could be slowed or braked as became normal usage later. I've always rather suspected that it would have been difficult to make it work without an undue level of complexity which might have been undesirable in a practical fighting machine. Nevertheless, it's a pity it wasn't tried, and it might have been made robust enough for battlefield conditions. Certainly for normal usage it would have saved an awful lot of track wear, but I think the early tank pioneers saw the machine as virtually disposable anyway (hence an early crisis in terms of insufficient spares), thus they didn't really care much about track wear.

The novel wire track suspension on the Medium D was specifically designed to bow (see landships by David Fletcher) Tere was a very good article on this tank and its suspension about thirty years ago - if memory serves me in an early Military Modelling. I'll try and dig it out but it won't be quick (one day I must sit down and try and index everything)

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Legend

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Bowing tracks
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I haven't found the article yet but did unearth the old Profile AFV publication on the Mediums A.B.C &D. The D wire suspension tracks were in part intended to overcome a problem with tank steering. On a conventional tank steering is achieved by either stopping one track which causes the tank to skid round or by changing the relative speed of the tracks that creates a less abrupt turn and avoids the tank having to stop in order to shange direction. The problem with both of these is that the track plates in contact with the ground 'point' fore and aft and friction and the resistance of irreguarities in the ground (bumps rocks etc) have to be overcome. The longer the tank and the more track in ground in contact with the ground the more effort is required (the problem is increased if the road wheels have no suspension as there is no give to allow the track to ride over bumps, they have to be scraped away by the movement of the tank). This can put significant stress on the framework of the tank, especially if the turn is attempted at any speed. [This might be a reason for the speed restriction on the Skeleton discussed in another thread]. A good power weight ratio may allow a tank to 'bomb along' at a fair old rate but only in a straight line, teurning may require a significant slow down. The Medium D was designed in 1916 to meet a 1919 requirement for a pursuit tank with a speed in the order of 20 mph (in order to initiate a 'blitzkrieg' movement following a breakthrough by the heavy MKVIIIs. The idea was that altering the relative speed of the tracks would initiate a turning movement and the tracks would flex or bow into the shape of the curve allowing a fast smooth turn to be made. It did work but the system was too prone to break down to be effective in an operational environment. The inventor of the system, Johnson, went on to develop a more robust version producing  Snake Track in which each piece of track was connected to the next by a ball and scocket joint allowing it to flex in almost any direction. A light infantry tank was built using this and achieved speeds in excess of 30 mph. It appears to have been sufficiently robust but by this time the War as several years over and no further investment was forthcoming. No more bowing tracks

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Field Marshal

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RE: DeMole was honoured
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I remmember in David F's british tanks 1915-19 some swimming tanks, was DeMole part of tht project, the name of the tank scapes me was it the MK.D only outfitted with some sort of balast tanks?


its in his book ill check today

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Legend

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eugene wrote:


I remmember in David F's british tanks 1915-19 some swimming tanks, was DeMole part of tht project, the name of the tank scapes me was it the MK.D only outfitted with some sort of balast tanks? its in his book ill check today

De Mole wasn't part of any of these projects. There were several amphibious tank projects at the time (1918-1922) some of which relied on pontoons or floats attached to the side of the tank.These included the Mark IX Amphibious [Duck]  (a Mk IX supply tank with a built up driver/commanders position and tubular floats); the Medium D** (this achieved boyancy by having an extended, mostly empty, hull) and the Light Infantry tank which was designed from the outset to be amphibious.  I have picked up an unconfirmed suggestion that a Medium A (Whippet) was experimentaly fitted with pontoons but not necessarily by the British ( a post war expeiment by the Japanese, the Americans?) If anyone can CRUD this  story I'd be grateful. The French post WW1 designed some amphibious tanks at least one of which sank on its maiden voyage.

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