Mechanical Issues of British/US Tanks during CRUSADER

Stefan very kindly pointed me to this old post by Rich on Feldgrau. I think it is quite interesting data regarding the mechanical issues that British repair workshops had to deal with in the desert.  Note that this only covers the workshops of 7th Armoured Division, not those of 1st or 32nd Army Tank Brigade. Number of jobs and tanks does not match, since some tanks had more than one repair required to become serviceable again.  What is very interesting to me is the low number of battle casualty Stuarts undergoing repair. There is also quite a lopsided workshop repair vs. evacuated ratio between the Crusader tank and the Stuart – maybe the fitters did not have the skills or tools to deal with the Stuarts?

From: Summary of Work, 7 Armd Div Workshops R.A.O.C., Covering Period 18 November-26 December 1941 (WO 169/3861: Appendix C to CRME/1915/AFV, February 1942)

I. Received Repaired Evacuated
Crusader 134 – 95 – 39
Cruiser Mk. IV 30 – 5 – 25
General Stuart 61 – 11 – 50
Cruiser Mk. I & II 17 – 2 – 15
Valentine 10 – 6 – 4

III. Summary of Common Repairs
(a) Crusader – Mechanical Faults
Engine Oil Filter Leak 7
Engine Oil Leak main gallery pipe 16
Water leak, pump 15
Water leak, hoses and gaskets 5
Main fan driving sprocket 29
Fan idler sprockets 2
Fan idler sprocket spindles 7
Compressors 12
2-pdrs, faulty 6
2-pdrs, changed 7
Gearbox and steering levers changed 5
Front suspension lever 3
– Total 120
– Battle Casualties 39

(b) Cruiser Mk. IV – Mechanical Faults
Gearbox adjusted 1
Engine overhaul 2
– Total 3
– Battle Casualties 2

(c) General Stuart [no mechanical faults noted]
– Battle Casualties 9

(d) Valentine – Mechanical Faults
Engine clutch 2
Suspension overhaul 1
Injection overhaul 2
– Total 5
– Battle Casualties 3

IV. Common Reasons for Evacuation [mechanical only, battle damage not transcribed]
(a) Crusader
Engine seized – gaskets burned out 4

(b) Cruiser Mk. IV
Brake drum 2
Engine clutch 8

7 thoughts on “Mechanical Issues of British/US Tanks during CRUSADER

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  6. It is interesting that the Crusader, which had a reputation for being unreliable mechanically, was something that the workshops could repair.

    The older Mk. I, II and IV also had lower repair rates. These would probably be the original issue vehicles from pre-war which were, by this time, pretty worn out and due for replacement.

    The Stuarts had radial engines which were radically different from the ‘normal’ engines in the other tanks. I would agree that unfamiliarity would result in more evacuees — probably with the notation US – GOKW (UnServicable – God Only Knows Why).

    OT joke: During a NATO exercise, an American major stopped beside an RHA M109 sitting on the verge of a road. When he asked if there was a problem, the driver responded with “Bloody thing is US”. It apparently took twenty minutes to calm the major down enough to explain that US meant UnServiceable.


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