Joined: April 6th, 2010, 8:25 pm

September 13th, 2018, 3:43 pm #11

Gareth,

No crew in their right mind is going to cover their vehicle with anything that prevents it moving instantly (camo nets possibly excepted). The reference is also to 'field fortifications' and in a military context that means structures on the ground. As I mentioned in my first post, I believe this reference is about overhead cover for the tank emplacements and having read through my copy of the book in question, it carries no inference that the tanks had anything built directly onto them.

Regards,
John
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Joined: July 22nd, 2018, 11:32 am

September 13th, 2018, 8:09 pm #12

Hallo again John,
the line to be read is: "Other Centurions were covered by massive over head field fortifications", so in a literal sense you are correct.
Fact is, that according to the author these gigantic constructions in whatever form existed, they didn't get their nickname for nothing. I'm sure you'll agree that there's more to Stonehenge than an old pile of rocks.
I also tend to lean toward the static roof emplacement but "wooden it" be a delight if we were both proved wrong.
I shall leave you to ponder over the "right mindedness of tank crews" concerning their mobility with this: https://forum.warthunder.com/index.php? ... -and-pics/& , plus a couple of my personal "Elephant House" favorites:


Source: https://www.worldwarphotos.info/wp-cont ... y_1944.jpg


Source: https://ww2db.com/image.php?image_id=17670


Source: https://www.worldwarphotos.info/gallery ... t-okinawa/

I know these are WW2 pics but it's all about the "what if ?" aspect.

Regards,
Gareth

P.S. (to all):  I have tried smilies etc. to lighten my posts somewhat, but I'll leave them out from now on as I don't think that the 'little fella's are quite up to it (wink)
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Joined: April 18th, 2005, 3:05 pm

September 13th, 2018, 8:47 pm #13

You are putting way too much thought into this. 
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Joined: July 11th, 2005, 1:07 pm

September 13th, 2018, 9:08 pm #14

Why ‘Elephant House’ ? Maybe because a Centurion tank has a long trunk? 

I think we are just talking strongly built field fortification which when built could resemble a largish hole in the side of a hill with or without a camo net over the entrance.  The size was big purely because a Centurion was big. We could all seen one in a photo and not recognised it for what it is. 

As for ‘massive’, this could mean anything without taking into account the known exaggeration that takes place with stories.

Regards
Andrew
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Joined: July 22nd, 2018, 11:32 am

September 14th, 2018, 10:35 am #15

@Andrew, why "Elephant Houses" ? Because they were termed so by the author in the Osprey booklet. Take a look at one of the skyline dug-in Centurions in Korea at that time and picture a field fortification over it. I for one am inclined to believe this "story". I would also like to stress to you that allthough I enjoy a laugh, I am primarily seeking information ... not asking you a riddle. I am neither into reasons for not working a problem or bickering about their existence.

@Gary, I've been building diorama's for most of my life and I can honestly say that not one of them has been easy. Too much thought ?... maybe you're right, there again my military modelling projects do go back some 500 yrs.
One of the best parts I find though is trying to figure out how things were made and what the scene/atmosphere would be like if you were there yourself. A hypothetical mind game so to say.
Of course pictures are helpfull and sometimes necessary but (as here) not always available. Tell you what, let me try one of my mind games on you.
You have been put in charge of building ONE of these "simple" overhead shelters, the type of timber etc. I'll leave up to you, but before you pick up your tool box think about this ... The specifications are:
  • It must be built on solid ground and be capable of withstanding the normal given elements of the country (slight earth movement, searing heat, strong winds, rain and arctic temperatures).
  • It must offer adequate protecting against enemy artillery (122 and 152mm).
  • It must not collapse or burn due to a near miss or indirect hit.
  • It must per se survive the impact of a single direct hit.
  • If it is to partially collapse at all then it must be so constructed as not to hinder the exit of the tank.
  • It must not give way or shift under it's own weight.
  • It must be easy to repair and not overcomplicated.
  • It must be brought into position quickly (preferably at night) as to reduce the engineers exposure to enemy fire.
  • The roof must be high enough to clear the turret hatches.
  • It must be camouflaged in such a way as not to attract enemy fire.
  • A clear allround field of vision is to be afforded at all times.
  • It must not hinder the main gun or MG's arc of fire.
Right then, time to pick up that tool box and get cracking.

Good Luck,
Gareth.

P.S. Oh by the way, I don't want to put you under any undue stress at all, but you do realise that if any one of these things are not complied to that you could very well be held responsible for the deaths /injuries of the crew.
Now then, where's that blasted silly wink button ...
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Joined: July 11th, 2005, 1:07 pm

September 14th, 2018, 1:42 pm #16

Gareth
Your misinterpreting my comments.

My question / answer was not why you called them ‘Elephant houses’ but why the troops called them Elephant houses.

Nobody is doubting they were built. The Korean War saw extensive field fortifications on the front line so building one for a Centurion doesn’t seem anything different. They built many bunkers that meet your above list of specifications but for troops not tanks and that’s the only difference, the Centurion. 

Obviously the troops found them interesting because they commented on them. Then again being  stuck on a barren hill for days/weeks nearly anything would seem of interest. 

Maybe I’m reading it wrong but your writing in a very passive/aggressive and condescending style.  Nobody’s against you,I and the others have just been trying to add flesh to the bones of your OP with discussion on the subject to answer your question.
 Regards 
Andrew 
Ps again I have no idea why the different font styles and sizes but have seen it the posts of others. 
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Joined: April 6th, 2010, 8:25 pm

September 14th, 2018, 5:25 pm #17

Gareth,

I'm with Gary - you are putting way too much thought into this. You 'want' it to be true.

You've seen the phrase 'elephant house' and connected it with the boxes fitted to an elephant's back for people to travel in.

Zoos have 'elephant houses' too - it's where they keep the elephants.

I am confident that the reference is meant to describe the emplacements with overhead cover that protected the Centurions. They would have been large, imposing and therefore worthy of comment (if only because surrounding troops would be concerned about them attracting artillery fire).

As I previously stated, 'field fortification' is a military term for earthworks and ground defences. It wouldn't be used in relation to anything fitted to a vehicle.

Regards,
John
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Joined: July 11th, 2005, 1:07 pm

September 14th, 2018, 5:51 pm #18

I see. 
Gareth is thinking this ( hence the Hannibal  reference)  324C7218-73B7-4F23-B739-65AC4FF292BF.png
And everyone else is thinking these 
B5CA44AB-6899-434E-957B-AD08B0BB6191.jpeg
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Joined: April 24th, 2005, 12:23 am

September 15th, 2018, 1:29 am #19

The Elephant Hosue is possibly a throwback term from the WW2 Burma campaign where they made some structures to protect key equipment including the M3's during the Box battles. I have seen the term used in that context.
Al
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Joined: July 22nd, 2018, 11:32 am

September 15th, 2018, 8:38 am #20

Thank you very much again, Al. This is food for thought in more ways than one ...
If this is the origin of the term, I wonder if they considered making them in a prefabricated form in case of a Jap attack. Something that could be slung by an ARV on the back of a truck in case of a bug out. Of couse the kit in question would have to be securely stored at all times but think about the time saved in packing and unpacking the stuff.

Adapting this train of thought back to the overhead cover for Centurions in Korea, maybe they were no more than a sturdy bedstead framework that was pushed into position by an ARVE or a Cent with a dozer? This leaves open the question of anchorage but maybe this could be provided by the weight of the tank itself in one way or another.
It is always better to change positions occasionally and a "prefab" could be just the thing. If damaged in anyway, it could be driven straight out of position and dumped. It would also make cam and repair work far easier.
Without actual photographic evidence it's hard going, especially (as I'm fairly sure) that these things were not too popular and therefore didn't stand the test of time. Still, from my drawing board at the moment I'd say "the windmills are yielding".
Finally for those who are or have become interested in additional overhead protection for modern AFV's, I would like to offer you this info: http://www.g2mil.com/tankroofs.htm

Regards Gareth
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