HC Deb 13 April 1943 vol 388 cc1040-2
19. Mr. Kendall

asked the Secretary of State for War whether the A. 27 tank has yet passed all its acceptance tests and whether he is yet able to say when it will be available in quantities for use in the field?

Sir J. Grigg

I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to the hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Ness Edwards) on 26th January.

Mr. Stokes

Is not this the tank to which my right hon. Friend was referring in September last? Surely he ought to be able to give an answer by now.

Sir J. Grigg

An answer was given, if the hon. Member will do me the courtesy of reading it.

Mr. Stokes

It was unsatisfactory.

Sir J. Grigg

Everything is unsatisfactory to the hon. Member. Everybody is out of step but he.

Mr. Stokes

Is my hon. Friend aware that all his answers are unsatisfactory?

20. Mr. Kendall

asked the Secretary of State for War the date on which a tank mounting a six-pounder gun first went into action in Libya?

Sir J. Grigg

The first opportunity to use these tanks in battle in any numbers was at El Alamein.

21. Mr. Granville

asked the Secretary of State for War the date on which his Department was first informed of the intention of the Germans to produce the Tiger tank, carrying an 88-millimetre gun of effective range of over 4,500 yards?

Sir J. Grigg

It is not in the public interest to disclose the date on which information about the Tiger tank was first received.

Mr. Granville

In view of the fact that experts from the Ministry of Production went to the desert to study these tanks on the spot, is the right hon. Gentleman able to give us an assurance that when we invade Europe we shall have tanks as good as this or better?

23. Mr. Reakes

asked the Secretary of State for War whether the report of the tests made at Farnborough in the autumn of 1941 on the A.22 tank can be made available to hon. Members?

26 and 27. Mr. Horabin

asked the Secretary of State for War (1) whether the report on the performance of the A.22 tanks at El Alamein sent in by the officer commanding the armoured fighting vehicles can be made available to Members;

(2) whether the report made to his Department by General Richardson on armoured fighting vehicles on the occasion of his visit to Egypt can be made available to Members of this House?

Sir J. Grigg

The answer is "No, Sir."

Mr. Stokes

Most unsatisfactory.

38. Mr. Reakes

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that the A.22 tank was designed with five gears to give a speed of 20 miles per hour; how many gears it now has and which of its former gears have been cut out; and what its present speed is?

Sir J. Grigg

I am aware that the Churchill was designed with a gearbox of five forward gears and one reverse. This gearbox was fitted to approximately the first hundred vehicles but was found unsatisfactory and was replaced by a gearbox with four forward gears and one reverse. The latter gearbox gives the same speeds as the original one. It is not in the public interest to give detailed information of the speed of tanks.

Mr. Hammersley

Is it not a fact that the latest tests of this tank show that it is quite in accordance with the expectations of the Army?

Sir J. Grigg

The latest and best test of all, in battle, shows that the tank is giving very good service.

Mr. Thorne

Does it not show that these tanks go too fast for the Germans?

Sir William Davison

Is it not a fact that men have lost their lives endeavouring to obtain information with regard to German tanks, and, therefore, is it advisable that we should give the Germans information about our tanks?

39. Mr. Stokes

asked the Secretary of State for War in what respects the A.22 tank is a development from the A.20; what was its originally designed weight; and what is its present weight?

Sir J. Grigg

All tanks embody components from earlier types. The A.22, while being similar to the A.20 in outward appearance, differs considerably in overall dimensions, type of hull construction and in the great majority of components. The present weight is not significantly different from the originally designed weight.

Mr. Stokes

Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that the A. 22 was not produced in six months from the drawing board?

Sir J. Grigg

The hon. Gentleman has developed that case at great length, and it has been discussed at great length. I am not going to be drawn into agreeing with him on any subject under the sun, if I can help it.

Mr. Stephen

Has it not been shown that the hon. Gentleman who put the Question has been right more often than he has been wrong?

Sir J. Grigg

That may be the hon. Gentleman's opinion; it is certainly not mine.

Mr. Stokes

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the difficult position in which he will put himself, because I am practically invariably right?

Sir J. Grigg

I am prepared to take that risk.

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