Ok, here is the remainder of the set.
AV-5x/6x Series Armoured Vehicles
AV60 Tracked Logistics Vehicle
AV60’s were the standard heavy logistics vehicle for the 2nd half of WW2 - being relatively simple vehicles they were produced en mass from early-1943 onwards. Maids of all work they were used for general logistics, transporting infantry, as gun tractors, as well as mobile workshops and field kitchens. they were particularly useful in the fighting in Italy where the mountainous country, blown bridges and bombed out roads made the flexibility of all-terrain mobility especially advantageous. They could carry a combat-loaded infantry platoon or up to 25 tonnes of stores/ammunition.
AV61 Heavy Gun Tractor
Used from mid-1943 onwards as the motive power for the largest artillery pieces in the DCFI armour (including the Krupp 210 and M2A1 240mm Howitzers), the AV61 had an extended cab to enable carriage of the gun crew as well as space on the back of the vehicle for 2x standard ammunition pallets. Collaboration with the Allis Chalmers company enabled use of a common cab section to those of that company’s M4 and M6 High Speed Tractors.
AV62 Armoured Ambulance
The AV62 was developed as a large Armoured Medical Vehicle that could serve either as an evacuation vehicle for battlefield casualties or as a Mobile Aid Station behind the lines as a first point of triage/treatment for casualties prior to forwarding to field hospitals. In the ambulance role the AV62 could carry up to 6 stretcher patients and the same number of walking wounded. With Canvas annex attached to the vehicle in a stationary role it could provide primary triage and treatment services to up to 20 casualties simultaneously.
AV63 - Self Propelled Artillery (Heavy Calibers: M2A1 155/45, M115 203/L25, Krupp 210, M2 240/L35)
Design and Development
The AV63, perhaps the most successful Self-Propelled Artillery piece developed during WW2, came into being off the back of the unsuccessful inclusion of the M2/L45 155mm Howitzer on the initial tranches of AV57 SPGs, showing that a larger and more stable chassis was required for the effective mounting of heavy and super-heavy artillery calibers. A new gun mounting and vehicle body was developed for the 6 road wheel variant of the AV5x/6x chassis for SPG service, a rather ‘naked’ looking design compared to many other SPGs throughout the war, but highly stable and mobile. Over 500 were constructed for the DCFI alone, effectively superseding towed heavy artillery in it’s mechanised formations. 155mm variants were also purchased by the British, Australian and Canadian armies, and adopted by such states as West Germany, Belgium, France and Israel post-war. Weapons carried included;
- M2 155mm/L45
- M115 203mm/L25
- Krupp 210mm ‘Morser’ (100 supplied from Germany in 1919/20 as war reparations - 24 mounted on AV63 Chassis by 1944/5)
- M1 240mm/L35
A 10 round ready-use rack was provided on the vehicle, with further rounds being sourced from AV53 armoured logistics tracks which were paired to each gun, ensuring there was never a shortage of shells and propellant. Operated by a crew of 8, an AV63 section consisted of the gun vehicle, a resupply track and an APC for the gun crew - four such groupings making a troop and 12 a full battery.
After a successful introduction to combat operations in the invasion of Sicily, the type was introduced to all mechanised Heavy Regiments of the RFAC, seeing service in all theatres throughout the remainder of the war. Particular notariety was gained in it's contributions to the reduction of the Gustaf Line and Sigfried Line defences. It also served in the DCFI’s Border Wars with Argentina and Chile, as well as in Korea and Vietnam before gradually being reconstructed to modern specifications for only 155 and 203mm systems in the mid-70's, upgraded with computerised fire-control systems, mechanical tweaks and other improvements. AV63s continued to serve in frontline artillery regiments until relegated to second and third line reserve by newer turreted 155mm SPGs in the late 1980s.
AV64 Pioneer Combat Bridging
AV64 'Pioneer' Combat engineering vehicles utilised the pre-existing deployable bridge mechanism from the Valentine and Covenator ABLVs. The same vehicle, fitted with Mine Rollers/flails, Fascine racks, Bulldozer blades and other attachments found fame as part of the 5th Pioneer Regiment - DCFI’s contribution to General Percy Hobarts 79th Armoured ‘Funnies’ Division.
AV65 'Medium' AAA
AV65s built on the capability of the AV59 Light AAA Tracks by mounting twin 57mm pom-pom guns in a well armoured, high-angle turret. These vehicles were also used in a ground role once its proximity-fused fragmentation rounds had been refined for a more general purpose effect - this was particularly useful in Korea against the Communists 'human wave' assaults. AV65s from 1944 until the mid-70’s.
AV66 Assault Gun
Design and Development
The AV66 ‘Padre’ (DCFI adopted the British tradition of Ecclesiastical titles for mechanised close-support artillery) came about as a joint replacement for the AV-S and Crusader Assault Gun conversions in use with DCFI Forces. ODOM engineers took the opportunity to design a vehicle capable of mounting the FQF90/L56 gun rather than the FQF75, allowing equal aptitude and effect in the Assault Gun and Task Destroyer roles. It began to replace legacy platforms during the latter half of 1943 and served admirably until the end of the war. It’s firepower, range and armour protection was more than comparible to other large tank destroyer types used by the Soviets and the Germans.
Directly replacing AV-S and Crusader-derived vehicles unit-for-unit meant a massive upgrade in firepower and capability for the Assault Gun Regiments of the Royal Falkland Horse Artillery (RFHA), and as such their performance against tanks, emplaced guns and prepared defences improved markedly. They saved many lives in the fierce battles in Sicily, as well as performing admirably in France, Belgium, Holland and Germany against tanks and the heavy defences of Hitlers ‘Fortress Europe’. A few were converted to the British 20pdr in the last days of the war for combat testing of the new weapon, but by that stage there was little Nazi armour left for them to shoot at. Their most memorable action was during the battle of the bulge when the vehicles of C battery, 8th Field Regiment, RFHA were sent to support a company of American Infantry defending a river crossing near the village of Poteau. Dug-in and camoflaged on a wooded plateau overlooking the crossing, the defenders were repeatedly attacked by Artillery, Panther tanks and troops of the 20th SS Panzer Grenadiers over the course of 36 hours. During those frenetic engagements, the battery of ‘Padres’ and their American chaperones destroyed 14 enemy tanks and damaged a dozen more, blunting the power of the SS attacks, whilst simultaneously breaking up the infantry with high explosive fragmentation rounds from their 90mm guns. In reply the Germans killed or disabled 5 of the 12 defending Assault Guns; a costly win for the Allies but a necessary sacrifice. the Yanks and their DCFI fire support won the day and the crossing point remained in Allied hands, the Germans diverting (unsuccessfully) to try and find another route west before they ran out of fuel.
AV66’s continued to serve the DCFI well into the 1950’s in home service during the many engagements of the border wars against Chile and Argentina. They were’t sent to Korea but were rearmed with 105mm guns and on duty with the the BAOR in Germany until being replaced by 155mm-armed 'Zealot' Assault Guns during 1951/2. Increasingly obsolete in the face of man-portable anti-tank and support weapons, the last battery of AV66 vehicles were retired in 1959.
Hope you enjoy these - there will be other variants/sub-variants as my ORBAT representations develop but (for the moment) those i've displayed here will suffice.
As usual, Constructive comment/advice etc is very much appreciated.
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