||Technology in Australia 1788-1988
Table of Contents
I Colonial Origins
II First World War
III Between The World Wars
IV The Second World War
i Optical Munitions
v Tropic Proofing
V Post-second World War
VI After The Joint Project
VII Science And Decisions At The Top
VIII Armed Services Technology
IX New Tasks And Projects
X Transfer Of Research And Development
ArmourAustralian development of a cruiser tank was begun at the time that military supplies from Britain were cut-off. In the absence of a suitable model to copy, the Army issued its own specification, calling for a 25-30 ton vehicle, having a speed of 30 miles per hour and mounting a 2 pounder gun. A Section of the Directorate of Armoured Fighting Vehicles was created to manage the development. Restricted facilities for rolling heavy armour-plate led to an adventurous decision to cast the hull in one piece from chrome-silicon-manganese steel. Supported by the flaw detection techniques developed by MSL, this technology produced an effective and economical result.
Finding a suitable engine for the tank caused some difficulty, compounded by the absence of a heavy automotive industry. Heavy Diesel engines were unavailable and such unusual alternatives as a Wasp single-row radial aircraft engine and a hybrid consisting of three banks of Cadillac cylinders mounted on a common crankcase in Y-formation (proposed by Professor A. F. Burstall) were considered. These, with their transmissions, were evaluated and the latter chosen.
First automotive trials of the AC-1 version, started in January 1942, were most successful, but gunnery trials were less so because the 2 pounder was obsolescent. As the need for tanks was urgent, however, production was instituted without proceeding through the pilot model stage and by June 1943 fifty-eight units had been produced and passed.
In the meantime an AC-3 version, mounting a 25 pounder gun, then the most powerful armament of any Allied tank, was under development, with a re-designed Cadillac engine system. A prototype appeared in February 1943 but did not go into production. By mid-year quantities of American General Grant tanks were arriving in Australia and all tank manufacture was cancelled. The AC-1 tanks that had been produced were used for training purposes by the Army under the name of Sentinel.
Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Australia. Army. Directorate of Armoured Fighting Vehicles; Munitions Supply Laboratories (M.S.L.)
People in Bright Sparcs - Burstall, Prof. A. F.
© 1988 Print Edition page 933, Online Edition 2000
Published by Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, using the Web Academic Resource Publisher