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8th December 1925
Page 14
Page 14, 8th December 1925 — THE ARMY'S TRANSPORT NEEDS.
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

Points in the Discussion of an Important Paper Read Before the Institution of Automobile Engineers.

IN the issue of The Commercial Motor dated November 17th we gave a précis of the paper entitled "The Requirements of the Military Motor Vehicle," which has been read by Capt. R. K. Hubbard, 0.B.E., before some of the centres of the Institution of Automobile Engineers. On Tuesday, December Isk'this paper was read in London, and many

• points of interest arose in the discussion relative to commercial 'vehicles.

In his opening remarks the author touched upon the state of efficiency to which the training of the soldier has been brought, and the high quality of his arms, clothing and general equipment. The question might well be asked whether his transport had reached such a standard of quality—the author was inclined to the opinion that it had not. This paper did not deal with first-line transport, which is at present being developed and is by no means established on definite lines, but Capt. Hubbard was of the opinion that ft-mat-wheel drive for private cars is probably the beginning of the evolution of a satisfactory vehicle, having a high cross-country performance, suitable for carrying personnel and goods beyond the limit usually assigned to corps and divisional transport units.

Differences in Civilian and Military Work.

After the paper had been read, Major E. G. E. Beaumont, 0.B.E., opened the discussion. The paper, he said, took him back to 1914, during the early days of the expansion of the transport services of the Army. Many vehicles which had given a good account of themselves in the British Isles failed in military circumstances; two factors which accounted for this were doubtless the roads which had to be traversed and the constant change of driver.

Chassis frames might be satisfactory for civilian work, but the excessive strains and stresses imposed by travelling over roads in war areas was a constant cause of fracture. The speaker believed that in the next war, whenever it might be, the difference between military and civilian vehicle requirements would be just ai marked. In his opinion, great reliance would have to be placed upon special cross-country machines. In the course of the paper Capt. Hubbard outlined the various tests laid down as desirable for military vehicles, and Major Beaumont thought that the climbing test of 1 in 4/ without clutch slip, the speed of approach approximating the speed of the climb, was severe and not often to be met in civilian work ; the requirements as regards braking were similarly criticised.

The same speaker stated that in his view the requirements as to accessibility were those of the everyday world, and the best civilian vehicles would be the best military ones so far as this aspect of service was concerned. He also touched upon the number and position of water drain cocks. Major Beaumont raised the question of the type of wheel bearing preferred by the Army. In the course of the paper, it was suggested that four-wheel-drive vehicles might well be developed for the transport of 15-ton loads, but the speaker pointed out that it was not permissible to experiment in this direction in civil life.

Building for Overseas Markets.

Mr. L. A. Legros, ORE., advanced the view that whatever may be done in the development of military vehicles, the necessity for movement in advance or retreat must not be overlooked. In the former caze a belt of terrain studded with sltell holes has to be traversed, and ordinary vehicles fail when encountering such obstacles. Mr. Legros emphasized the desirability of high cross-country performance over virgin land and surfaces other than those of ordinary roads. The difficulty of sand entering the carburetter, he stated, was dealt with in a measure satisfactorily by himself very early in the history of motoring, and he saw no reason why In modern days the obstacle should prove insurmountable. He advocated the continuance of the War Office subsidy, in order to help to retain the features of design in civilian vehicles which are most satisfactory for military work. In the absence of such encouragement, there would doubtless be a tendency to overlook the requirements of the Army and to design for ordinary commercial purposes alone. Mr. Legros emphasized the necessity for obtaining more of the Colonial market before we are in a position to derive that experience necessary to Construct vehicles best suited for overseas work.

Major-General G. Davies, Director of Supplies and Transport, welcomed the opportunity of discussing the military motor vehicle with those representing the automobile manufacturers. Obviously, he stated, the nation could not hold stocks for financial reasons, and they were therefore dependent upon the manufacturers. Colonial requirements were similar, in his, opinion, to Army needs, and the subsidy scheme had, particularly in recent years, exceeded anticipations. The daily maximum mileage of an Army vehicle, given by the author as 100 miles, might even be exceeded. Major-Gene-Tel Davies dwelt upon the satisfactory service obtained from the modern 30-cwt. vehicle equipped with pneumatic tyres and upon the importance of standardization as an aid to simple administration in times of war.

Major C. Wheeler, 0.B.E., expressed himself as pleased with the views given in the paper, and described the reasonable demands made by Capt. Hubbard as a step forward in the relationship between manufacturers and the War Office.

Mr. W. E. Hogg treated the comparison of Colonial and military requirements at some length. The 30-cwt. subsidytype vehicle had proved itself satisfactory in many of the Colonies and Protectorates. In the speaker's opinion, few Colonies possessed roads good enough for vehicles having axle loads above those imposed by the 30-cwt. chassis. Tyre equipment was somewhat of a trouble, and in Nigeria 4-tanners had been used on steel tyres, but owing to chassis deterioration had been scrapped in favour of solids. In the same country the import of light American goods chassis had increased, and at one time the West African market for commercial motors was temporarily closed to manufacturers in this country owing to their vehicles being of a type prohibited by the law of the Colonies in question.

He stressed the necessity for an ample factor of safety in view of the conditions of overloading, in conjunction with trailer haulage which obtain in the majority of our possessions abroad. In the Gold Coast, he stated, private concerns had adopted the flexible six-wheeler for 2-ton loads, and he advanced the view that the Colonies required a reliable and economical vehicle of the track-laying type.

Commercial Future of the Six-wheeler.

Colonel J. M. Young remarked upon the suitability of the multi-wheel-drive machine for first-line transport work; one of the reasons why he favoured this type was that the sixwheeler has in all probability a commercial future in this country, but there is little hope in Great Britain for wide civilian use of the track type.

Mr. H. H. Carter referred to the improved attitude of the 'War Office to the motor vehicle manufacturer as evidenced by the paper in question. Dealing principally with the sixwheeler, Mr. Carter said that manufacturers had little hope of making large sales in this country of this particular type of machine, and, so far as he could see, short of an actual subsidy, the type would have to be encouraged for bus work or Dominion service. The high grade of comfort given by the six-wheeler is important for bus purposes, but a minor defect of the type is the wheelbase, which is too Tong for War Office requirements, as the vehicle has to cover undulating ground. He pointed out that in a matter of a few hours the propeller shaft could be shortened, the spring brackets moved forwards and the chassis frame members sawn as desired. In conclusion, he stated that he looked to the British Dominions as the best sales ground to encourage a type which would doubtless find a great sphere of utility in the time of war.

In replying to the discussion, Capt. Hubbard stated that in view of the small mileage covered by W.D. vehicles in times of peace the Army did not represent the best testing ground for types of wheel bearing. The author was of the opinion that the six-wheeler was a .little-tried type, but it possessed the advantage that it was comparatively easy to convert it to a half-track machine' whereas the • opposite could not be said of the semi-track type.

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