Main HQ First Cdn Army
30 Jul 45
CW REPORT NUMBER 18
REPORT ON THE BADGER (RAM) FLAME THROWER
1. The Badger (Ram) Flame Thrower was used with good success in ops in NW Europe, beginning with Op VERITABLE. A brief resume of the development and emp of this weapon is given here, along with a description of the eqpt.
2. In Aug 44 armd personnel carriers (SP armed and art eqpts with their guns removed) were used to carry the inf in the successful "Break-in" and "Break-through" attacks towards FALAISE.
3. Following this additional armd personnel carriers were produced, using Ram tks with main armament and turret removed (Kangaroos). The cross country performance of this veh was so impressive that it was decided to equip a number of them with flame throwers.
4. A requirement was presented to CMHQ to mount a Wasp Mk II flame thrower on a stripped Ram tk.
5. Work on the fitting of the Wasp to the Ram continued in the UK in Sep 44 at CBW, and it was found that an installation could be made satisfactorally.
6. A brief description of the eqpt as it then existed, later to be called Badger (Ram) flame thrower, follows.
7. The Wasp gun was mtd in the bow MG posn. To do this required the enlargement of the normal opening in the armour. The maximum vertical articulation of the gun was 28°. Of this, 8ș was depression and 20° was elevation. This allowed the gnr to engage ground targets 20 ft in front of the tk. Traverse was 30°, 15° to the right and to the left.
8. It was found necessary to instal the gun cowling and ignition block upside down, in order to obtain the required vertical articulation.
9. The tk assembly in this installation consisted of one 40 gal and one 60 gal fuel tk (as normally sup for the Wasp Mk II). These tks were set in cradles some 15-in above the floor - the 40 gal tk on the near side of the drive shaft housing and the 60 gal on the off side.
10. Two COČ bottles and the master gas valve assembly were sited between the 40 gal fuel tk and the rear of the bow gnr's seat. The evaporator or heat exchanger, as normally used in the Wasp when mtd on the universal carrier, could not be used as the Ram tk engine is air cooled. It was found that during warmer weather there was sufficient heat in the piping system to evaporate satisfactorily the liquid COČ. It was later found unsatisfactory in the colder weather. Although experiments were made to op an evaporator by hot oil and also by electrical heaters, it was later decided to use nitrogen in place of COČ.
11. At this stage it has been est that additional fuel tks could be installed if desired, but that it would involve complicating the design and hence hold up early availability to the fd. It was decided to try the eqpt with the more easily produced 100-gal capacity.
12. The veh consisted of the Ram tk less its main armament, turret and amn bins.
13. It was realized that an MG mounting would be required, and that some protection in the form of a cover and/or a turret would also be needed. In order not to delay the provision of the eqpts it was decided to get the Badger into the fd immediately without MG or turret. It was planned to give a few selected users an opportunity to try out the eqpt in the incomplete state and report on the further modifications required. It was then planned to make some modifications in the fd and have the maj parts made up in the UK.
14. During Nov 44 the first of the Badgers arrived on the continent. Certain modifications were made at 4 Cdn Tps Wksp.
TRG AND OPS
15. It was then decided that 2 Cdn Armd Bde and the Lake Sup R (Mot) of the 4th Cdn Armd Div would be trained in the use of the Badger. A further object of the trg was to est and finalize the design for the Mg mount, turret and top cover.
16. Delays occurred in getting on with the trg due to the great volume of repair work of high priority as a result of the fighting from NORMANDY to the SCHELDE. A further delay was imposed by the destruction by a V-2 of the inert gas plant in ANTWERP. A local source of nitrogen was found and used in place of the inert gas until a new plant could be obtained.
17. In the meantime, SD 11 CMHQ was kept infm of progress, and a design using a flat cover of armour plate bolted to the turret ring and incorporating a Ram bow MG cupola was made and production of 36 tops started.
18. Trg continued during Jan and Feb 45 before Op VERITABLE, and by the start of the op both Rams had well trained crews. The units were very enthusiastic about the performance of the Badger, particularily the cross country performance, manoeuvrability and additional protection.
19. 2 Cdn Armd Bde had had no experience with Wasps, and as armd corps personnel they were very keen on having a top and a turret. The Lake Sup R (Mot), which by this time was one of the most successful users of the Wasp, felt that while a top and turret were desirable, their experience with the Wasp had proved that there were many occasions when successful attacks could be made with the eqpt as it stood. It was therefore decided to try out the Badgers without the turret and tops in Op VERITABLE.
20. The decision of the Lake Sup R (Mot) proved sound, and they carried out several very successful ops. A brief report on the use of the Badgers in two ops is shown at Appendices 'A' and 'B'.
21. In the meantime turret and tops from CMHQ arrived in the theatre. 5 Cdn Armd Bde asked for six Badgers just before the crossing of the IJSSEL RIVER. Although only five days remained, the Badgers and tops were collected and moved fwd to the bde wksps, the tops and turrets mtd and the crews trained. In spite of the handicap five Badgers took part in several very successful flame actions after the crossing of the IJSSEL.
22. In the Cdn Army's attempt to use an armd flame thrower against the Germans, we have been forced by lack of time and circumstances beyond our control to use two improvisations, ie, the Wasp and the Badger. The Wasp, although limited by its cross country performance and manoeuvrability, was most successful. The Badger was an improvisation made in the fd to get a better cross country performance and more protection. The few that got an op trial were emp very successfully. Neither type meets our requirement for a first class armd flame thrower.
23. The characteristics required in a good armd flame thrower will be considered in a later report.
(W R SAWYER) Lt-col
GSO I CW
Time of Signature 1500B hrs
Extension Main 584
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