Plastic armour

Plastic armour, called plastic protection in the United States, was a type of vehicle armour originally developed for merchant ships by the British Admiralty in 1940. The original composition was described as 50% clean granite of half-inch size, 43% of limestone mineral, and 7% of bitumen. It was typically applied in a layer two inches thick and backed by half an inch of steel.

Plastic armour was highly effective at stopping armour piercing bullets because the hard granite particles would turn the bullet which would then lodge between plastic armour and the steel backing plate. Plastic armour could be applied by pouring it into a cavity formed by the steel backing plate and a temporary wooden form.

Development

At the start of World War II, British production of steel plate was inadequate to equip the merchant navy with armour that would stop the armour piercing bullets from German war planes. The main requirement was to protect the personnel within the bridges and gun emplacements. At the outbreak of war, a number of ship bridges had been encased in concrete. However, it was soon found that this shattered on impact, and created multiple secondary fragments. In many cases, concrete armour was worse than no armour.

Plastic armour was developed by a small team in the Admiralty in August 1940, and first fitted to merchant ships in October of the same year. This was done despite resistance from the Director of Naval Construction who felt that the Admiralty should not be developing armour. The armour was cheap and easy to install on ships, and the skills and equipment for installation came from the under-utilized road building industry.

Once installed on ships, plastic armour proved highly effective, when applied in sufficient thickness. Many anti aircraft guns such as the Oerlikon were fitted with only very thin plastic shields, which served mainly to improve the morale of the gunner. By some measures, it was as good as plate steel, and was widely adopted by allied ships.Fact|date=February 2007 In the United States, some 3,000 merchant ships and 1,000 other ships were equipped with it, and in Britain and the Commonwealth some 7,000 ships were fitted.Fact|date=February 2007

American production

In August 1943, American experiments on the general problem of protection against shaped charges were initiated, and by October of that year a plastic armour much lighter than the steel armour required for the same amount of protection was found. This armour, made by the Flintkote Company, was improved through a series of tests, and a modified armour of pure quartz gravel in a mastic of pitch and wood flour was designated HCR2. Tests were also conducted to test plastic armour's ability to protect ships from torpedoes with shaped charge warheads, but this project was abandoned due to the low probability of these weapons becoming a serious threat, and protection of armoured fighting vehicles and concrete fortifications became the priorities.

Tank protection

The original plan for tank protection with plastic armour was to produce HCR2-filled steel panels, small in size to reduce the area damaged by a single projectile, that could be fastened to an M4 Sherman in an emergency. To protect against the largest Panzerfaust, eight to twelve tons of plastic protection were required for an M4, while an M26 Pershing's greater base armour mean it required only 7.1 tons of additional protection to equal an M4 with 11.7 tons of plastic protection. This was a 34% increase in weight for an M4, but only a 16% increase for an M26, and the panel for the M26's turret was only 10 3/4 inches thick compared to 13 3/4 inches for the M4. New panels made of welded steel armour, half an inch thick on the sides and three-quarters of an inch thick on the faces, were designed, but their construction was incomplete at the end of World War II. As a result of increasing tank losses to shaped charge weapons, another type of panel that could enter production in only a few weeks was designed. This new type of panel used 1 1/2-inch mild steel instead of armour steel, and had a 2-inch plate of 21ST aluminium alloy backing the face plate for reinforcement. One set of this armour was completed and tested just after the end of World War II with the result of being considered quite satisfactory, although less so than the panels made of armour steel.

References

* Terrell, Edward: "Admiralty brief: The story of inventions that contributed to victory in the Battle of the Atlantic", Harrap 1958
* White, Merit P.: "Effects of Impact and Explosion", 1946


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • armour — /ahr meuhr/, n. Chiefly Brit. armor. Usage. See our. * * * or body armour Protective clothing that can shield the wearer from weapons and projectiles. By extension, armour is also protective covering for animals, vehicles, and so on. Prehistoric… …   Universalium

  • Armour — /ahr meuhr/, n. Philip Danforth /dan fawrth, fohrth/, 1832 1901, U.S. meat packing industrialist. * * * or body armour Protective clothing that can shield the wearer from weapons and projectiles. By extension, armour is also protective covering… …   Universalium

  • Armour of God (film) — Armour of God Hong Kong film poster Traditional 龍兄虎弟 Simplified …   Wikipedia

  • Armour-piercing discarding sabot — A Phalanx Mk149 APDS discarding its sabot and petals Armour piercing discarding sabot (APDS) is a type of kinetic energy projectile fired from a gun to attack armoured targets. APDS rounds are sabot rounds and were commonly used in large calibre… …   Wikipedia

  • Armour of God — Infobox Film name = Armour of God caption = UK DVD cover director = Jackie Chan, Eric Tsang producer = Leonard Ho, Chua Lam writer = Jackie Chan, John Sheppard, Eric Tsang starring = Jackie Chan, Alan Tam, Rosamund Kwan music = Michael Wandmacher …   Wikipedia

  • Vehicle armour — For body armour see armour, for armoured forces see armoured warfare, for other uses see armour (disambiguation).Military vehicles are commonly armoured to withstand the impact of shrapnel, bullets, missiles, or shells, protecting the personnel… …   Wikipedia

  • Micro armour — (or micro armor) refers to small figurines made of lead, pewter, die cast metal or plastic, usually used for wargaming purposes. Variations of the name include: mini armour, mini armour, microscale, mini tanks, miniature armour, miniature armour …   Wikipedia

  • Mail (armour) — Chainmail redirects here. For other uses, see Chainmail (disambiguation). Maille redirects here. For one of several French villages, see Maillé (disambiguation). Maille redirects here. For the French mustard company, see Maille (company). Riveted …   Wikipedia

  • Composite armour — Plasan Sand Cat light (5t) military vehicle featuring integrated composite armoured body …   Wikipedia

  • Imperial Armour — is a series of rules supplements to the Warhammer 40,000 table top game, along with an associated range of vehicle size resin model kits. Both are produced by Forge World, a subsidiary company of Games Workshop.The Imperial Armour range and rules …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.