HC Deb 22 September 1943 vol 392 cc228-30W
Mr. Hammersley

asked the Minister of Production (1) what would be the saving in man-power and material if the production of all British tanks, other than those suitable for operation in the field, were discontinued;

(2) whether, in view of the large supplies of efficient American tanks now regularly arriving in this country, he will, in order to obtain the maximum economy in the use of the resources of the United Nations, discontinue the production of such British tanks as will not be battle-worthy when built, or are inferior in performance and specification to American tanks of a similar class now in large scale production?

Mr. Lyttelton

Production of medium tanks in this country is being concentrated on new types and on the adaptation of earlier types to new uses. The tank programmes of the two countries are arranged in consultation between the authorities on both sides of the Atlantic. Continuous consideration is given in both cases, to any opportunity for saving manpower and material.

Mr. Keeling

asked the Minister of Production what ratio the number of American tanks over 20 tons in weight received here during June, July and August bears to the number of battle-worthy tanks over 20 tons in weight produced here during the same period?

Mr. Lyttelton

I fear that I cannot give the figures for which my hon. Friend asks, since they might be of value to the enemy.

Sir G. Jeffreys

asked the Minister of Supply to what extent the production is being continued of types of tank which it is no longer proposed to use in action against the enemy?

Sir A. Duncan

No tanks are being produced of a type which it is not intended to use in action or for essential training of troops.

Mr. Stokes

asked the Minister of Supply whether the A27 tank has now completed its tests and has been passed operationally fit?

Sir A. Duncan

It would not be in the public interest to publish information of this kind about new types of equipment.

Mr. Hammersley

asked the Minister of Supply how many unbattleworthy tanks have been produced in this country since the beginning of the war?

Sir A. Duncan

I regret I cannot give any figure in reply to my hon. Friend's Question. The criterion of "battle-worthiness" is one of degree and differs with the constantly rising standards of armament, armour and reliability which we have from time to time set ourselves.

Sir G. Jeffreys

asked the Minister of Supply what is the present composition of the Tank Board; and whether he is satisfied with the designs which have emanated from the Board during the past year?

Mr. Keeling

asked the Minister of Supply what changes have been made in the Tank Board during the Recess; and for what reasons?

Sir A. Duncan

I append the names of the members of the Tank Board. It will be seen from this list that Mr. C. D. Gibb, C.B.E., has, in virtue of his appointment as Director-General for the Research and Development of Armoured Fighting Vehicles, become a member of the Tank Board. Tank designs do not emanate from the Tank Board but from the appropriate design section of the Ministry of Supply in co-operation with the manufacturers.

Following are the names

ChairmanCommander E. R. Micklem, C.B.E., R.N. (Chairman of the Armoured Fighting Vehicle Division, Ministry of Supply).

War Office

Lieutenant-General Sir Ronald Weeks, K.C.B., C.B.E., D.S.O., M.C. (Deputy Chief of the Imperial General Staff).

Major-General J. F. Evetts, C.B., C.B.E., M.C. (Assistant Chief of the Imperial General Staff).

Major-General R. Briggs, C.B., D.S.O. (Director, Royal Armoured Corps).

Major-General E. B. Rowcroft, C.B. (Director of Mechanical Engineering).

Ministry of Supply

Sir Graham Cunningham (Controller-General of Munitions Production).

Mr. A. J. Boyd (Director-General of Fighting Vehicles (Production)).

Mr. C. D. Gibb, C.B.E. (Director-General of Fighting Vehicles (Research and Development)).

Mr. Oliver Lucas.

U.S.A. Liaison

Colonel G. A. Green (Mr. Harriman's Office).

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