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American Tanks

Volume 393: debated on Tuesday 2 November 1943

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27.

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware of the large number of American Sherman tanks lying unused in this country; and whether he will arrange to equip British units with these tanks in preference to less reliable British tanks?

The American tanks in this country are intended for the equipment of British Forces or for the accumulation of the necessary reserves. Naturally I do not propose to give information about the equipment of British formations which might be of value to the enemy but I may say that I do not accept the implications of either part of the hon. Member's Question.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the large numbers referred to in the Question are arrived at after making allowances for reserves on the most generous scale, and am I to understand that there are not sufficient armoured units to be furnished with these American tanks?

The hon. Member is repeating the implication which I expressly refused to accept, namely, that there are tanks in this country which are being wasted.

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether we are to infer that he is satisfied that the British tanks in use in this country are better than the Sherman tanks?