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Title: British tank production, 1934-1945
Author: Coombs, Benjamin
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis examines the governmental, industrial and strategic factors that influenced British tank production from 1934 until 1945 against the wider context of the British war economy arid the tank programmes of Canada and the United States. The changing organisational structure of controlling the British tank programme has been reviewed alongside the mutual considerations of war planning for the armed forces generally. A central theme of this research has been to provide a history of war production by highlighting the specific demands placed upon individual firms against the different pressures of war, such as the threat and effects of bombing and shortages of skilled labour and components. This study has shown that the priority for aircraft production, together with the immediate requirement to provide large numbers of tanks to the army during the first half of the war, meant that the initial problems associated with British tank design were unavoidable. The transformation from quantity to quality tank output during the second half of the war was achieved by the introduction of new tank designs, improvements in assembly efficiency, and by accepting greater numbers of Lend-Lease tanks to supplement General Staff requirements. This reliance upon American armour originated from the first orders during 1940 until the end of the war, although British over dependency was demonstrated when both nations contracted their respective tank programmes prematurely during 1944. The Canadian tank programme greatly assisted British efforts to supply the Russian authorities with the preferred Valentine tank, which was necessary to achieve their operational doctrine of standardised equipment. Finally, the post-war British tank programme inirrored the pre-war arrangement of Vickers- Armstrongs and the new state controlled Royal Tank Arsenal, whilst the civilian tank firms transferred to their core industries to supply the re-emerging peacetime markets.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available