Section 4. TACTICAL an GENERAL Page 11

19. Would longer range have proved useful and, if so, in what circumstances? YES. In assaults on hedgerows, copses, entrenchments, edges of woods, on Forts (Fort NAPIN and Fort BARREY especially),across canals and rivers - in fact everywhere except in close street fighting and even then it would have helped when rounding corners. Provided the "rod" remained concentrated, a longer range is most desired.
20.Was there any difficulty in reversing the trailer?No. It is not a quick business but is quite easy.
21.Was ignition system or front of gun often damaged by enemy fire?No. Very rare. Possibly one or twice. This excludes of course complete "brew-up".
22. What type of shot was most used in action
(a) less than 1 sec. (b) 1 sec. (c) 1 1/2 secs (d) longer?
Almost always shots were 3/4 second. This is the most powerful and best. Very occasionally a long shot of over 2 seconds when burning a house or concrete defence FROM CLOSE UP
23.Does the Tank Commander or the Flame Gunner select targets and control fire?The Tank Commander. (Only very occasionally does the flame fire a shot ot two on his own).
24.Is it usual for the main armament and/or the Besa Gun to be used simultaneously with the Flame Gun?YES, ALWAYS
25. What is the relative importance of

(a) An accurate point of aim?

(b) A wide field of vision?
It is presumed that (b) also include wider arc of fire. Difficult to answer, as at present there is a small arc of fire and a small field of vision,- but there is accuracy and the commander can swing the tank as he has a wide field of vision.
If there is to be a wider field of vision but no increased arc of fire and a loss of accuracy, the gain would be little - if any. If there is to be a wider field of vision and a wider arc of fire, but a loss of accuracy, for the flame gunner there would be on the whole a gain as by practise the flame gunner would soon become accurate, if only by correction from initial shots. If there is also to be considerably longer range then accuracy would become more important again, if the enemy had any "morale" and tank killing weapons.

(Archive transcripts © Copyright Normandy War Guide)

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Archive: Analysis of operational use of Churchill Crocodile flame throwers in NW Europe, June-October 1944

Page: Page 11