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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Forum Resources > Armchair Attacks! > Greatest/Best Tank of WW2

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Greatest/Best Tank of WW2 An archive of the WWII Forum's Greatest/Best Tank mini-contest.

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  #46  
Old 07 Jul 12, 07:16
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July 7 update

The polls are progressing steadily.

As of this date (7 July) 80 members have participated in the polls (at one level or another). This is starting to approach my originally hoped-for number and I am pleased with that. We have about three weeks left before the polls close.

The breakup is as follows:

Total number of members participating - 80
Poll with highest participation - Firepower (47)
Polls with lowest participation - Maintenance and Transport (34 each)
Number of Level 1 participants - 64
Number of Level 2 participants - 16


To all those who have voted

Thank you for your participation.
If you have not yet voted in all 12 polls, could you please check which ones you have missed and vote in those also. If you are not sure where you got to, please have a look either in the polls themselves or against your name in the attached Excel spreadsheet.


Level 1 participants: If you would like to have a dabble at level 2 and make some placings, feel free to have a go. You do not have to do the level 2 thing in all 12 polls; just the ones you are comfortable with. If you're not sure about anything just ask. Friendly support is ready and waiting for you.


Level 2 participants: Please make sure that you have, at the very least, made your 'primary vote' (#1 tank) in the ACG poll at the heads of all of the 12 polls. If you have not yet completed your placings for the remaining 20 tanks in all 12 and would like to do so, please complete them when you can. However, if you are not confident enough to make placings on all of the polls and would like to leave some of them as a primary vote only, that's OK too. As with level 1, friendly support is available whenever you need it.


After the polls close, I will spend a little time on the calculations and then give a summary/analysis of the results.

If anyone is not sure they understand how the averages (for unfilled cells) are going to be completed, or any other aspect of the process, please ask for clarification.


See you all at the end!
Attached Files
File Type: xls Greatest Tank Poll Results.xls (163.5 KB, 5 views)
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Last edited by panther3485; 07 Jul 12 at 07:51..
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  #47  
Old 19 Jul 12, 18:10
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Honest opinion of how I would like the poll to end.

There are three levels that tanks can be viewed at imo - strategic, operational and tactical.

At the strategic level the T34 should be winning. It was exactly the right tank for the Soviets, and given that the Eastern front was the most important as far as the land conflict went, a cheap as chips tank that can be produced in numbers by relatively unskilled labour is very important. Its impact on the Heer is undeniable, as was its influence of subsequent German design. The T34 is the most important tank of WW2.

At the operational level, the M4 trumps imo. It was totally designed for manoeuvres at the highest level. Transportable, reliable, and maintainable, it was a true marathon runner. Probably the best tank for an armoured division for most of WW2, especially due to an excellent weapon mix availabilty.

At the tactical level we are looking for something more than just a tank being available. We are looking for a game changer, a tank whose attributes are able to actually determine if a battle could be won, rather than numbers employed. Few tanks can prove this, and the Tiger 1, Matilda 2 and KV-1 are some of the few examples. Of all the tanks employed in WW2, only the Churchill, with both the armour to withstand the basic AT weapons employed by the enemy, and the tactical mobility to exploit weaknesses in the enemy line, fulfills this attribute continuously.

Therefore, I would personally hope the T34 would win this poll, followed closely by the M4. The M4 is a better tank in many ways than the T-34, but the T-34 was there much earlier, and achieving far more 2 years earlier when it was more important.
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  #48  
Old 26 Jul 12, 10:00
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Thursday 26 July update ...

I have temporarily stickied the 'Greatest/Best Tank of WW2' poll threads, at this point just a few days before the polls close. This will make it easier to locate the threads for those members who might wish to:
  • Complete their voting across the 12 polls, if they have not already done so
  • Go from Level 1 to Level 2 on one or more of the poll threads (if you're not sure what that means, please read post #1 at the beginning of this thread)
  • For Level 2 participants, make any last minute alterations / adjustments to their ratings of the tanks they did not give first place to on any of the polls
In addition, there are some loose ends to be 'tidied up' with a few members who have participated at Level 2 but have left one or two details incomplete. I will be contacting these members by PM to hopefully fix up those small items. If you think this may apply to you, you may contact me first if you like.

Finally, any members who have not yet voted at all but might still want to, have just 5 days left to do so and grouping the poll threads together temporarily with make it easier for those people too.

Easier for me as well

Doing my final scorekeeping and calculations, posting a short summary on each poll thread and putting everything together for a more in-depth summary and analysis of the results on this master thread will also be facilitated.
After all this work has been completed, the poll threads will be unstickied again and allowed to drop off the first page naturally, with time, as new topics are posted.

So far, 83 members have participated in these polls and I would like to thank every one of them for helping to make it worthwhile.


Best regards to all,
panther3485
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Last edited by panther3485; 26 Jul 12 at 10:31..
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  #49  
Old 26 Jul 12, 10:15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
Honest opinion of how I would like the poll to end.

There are three levels that tanks can be viewed at imo - strategic, operational and tactical.

At the strategic level the T34 should be winning. It was exactly the right tank for the Soviets, and given that the Eastern front was the most important as far as the land conflict went, a cheap as chips tank that can be produced in numbers by relatively unskilled labour is very important. Its impact on the Heer is undeniable, as was its influence of subsequent German design. The T34 is the most important tank of WW2.

At the operational level, the M4 trumps imo. It was totally designed for manoeuvres at the highest level. Transportable, reliable, and maintainable, it was a true marathon runner. Probably the best tank for an armoured division for most of WW2, especially due to an excellent weapon mix availabilty.

At the tactical level we are looking for something more than just a tank being available. We are looking for a game changer, a tank whose attributes are able to actually determine if a battle could be won, rather than numbers employed. Few tanks can prove this, and the Tiger 1, Matilda 2 and KV-1 are some of the few examples. Of all the tanks employed in WW2, only the Churchill, with both the armour to withstand the basic AT weapons employed by the enemy, and the tactical mobility to exploit weaknesses in the enemy line, fulfills this attribute continuously.

Therefore, I would personally hope the T34 would win this poll, followed closely by the M4. The M4 is a better tank in many ways than the T-34, but the T-34 was there much earlier, and achieving far more 2 years earlier when it was more important.
Some fair and insightful comments there, Nick. Let's see how that fits into the grid of overall voter opinion on these 21 tanks.
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  #50  
Old 26 Jul 12, 16:46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
There are three levels that tanks can be viewed at imo - strategic, operational and tactical.
Can you explain how you mean these to be applied to AFV's?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
At the strategic level the T34 should be winning. It was exactly the right tank for the Soviets, and given that the Eastern front was the most important as far as the land conflict went, a cheap as chips tank that can be produced in numbers by relatively unskilled labour is very important. Its impact on the Heer is undeniable, as was its influence of subsequent German design. The T34 is the most important tank of WW2.
I appreciate the view and opinion but when I look at the M4 and its use in the PTO, MTO, ATO, and ETO and the Eastern Front I have to wonder what could have a more strategic influence. Could you explain?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
At the tactical level we are looking for something more than just a tank being available. We are looking for a game changer, a tank whose attributes are able to actually determine if a battle could be won, rather than numbers employed. Few tanks can prove this, and the Tiger 1, Matilda 2 and KV-1 are some of the few examples. Of all the tanks employed in WW2, only the Churchill, with both the armour to withstand the basic AT weapons employed by the enemy, and the tactical mobility to exploit weaknesses in the enemy line, fulfills this attribute continuously.
While the Churchill was a tough tank with some positive virtues what I know of it so far was that it had mechanical issues early on and suffered not being able to take a HV gun. It seems to me that it is a lack of foresight in the design process to not see the need for a turret, or a turret that could accept a HV gun by the time the Churchill was on the drawing board. I realize the mechanical issues were worked out but in a discussion of game changers wouldn't a better service record, maintenance wise, be imperative?
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  #51  
Old 29 Jul 12, 19:34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBark View Post
Can you explain how you mean these to be applied to AFV's?
Absolutely .
At a tactical level tanks can influence a battle on either of the following attributes:
Sometimes, it just needs a tank to be there when it really matters. Examples include Valentine tanks working in the Soviet winter when the enemy tanks don't, the morale factor of a single KV-1 tank supporting an infantry attack, or just having a reliable and available machine in numbers, eg M4 or 38t.
At other times, a tanks specific attributes can help turn/influence a battle, even a campaign. Churchill tanks at Longstop Hill is a prime example.

At an operational level, we are looking for a tank that can turn a tactical success into a campaign victory. As far as tanks are concerned, this means looking at your means of providing mobile firepower. Manstein always considered destroying enemy artillery as his main priority, and if units are able to do this, then they are in the enemies rear. Tanks such as the M4, later T-34's and Cromwells are well placed to perform this role.

At the Strategic level we are considering how to win the war, any war. Tanks are important here. Montgomery said that tanks are the means to carry firepower around the battlefield, and the Soviets had already taken that very much to the Nth degree. The Soviet Union was vast, and the ability to transmit firepower to its furthest reaches was very much towards the top of Stalins thoughts. The tank can do this. Germany was a nation surrounded by foes. Tanks were part of the means to enable her to win a war quickly. Britain decided to use firepower rather than manpower to win land wars. Tanks fit that bill. It would not surprise me if Britain had more tanks per combat soldier on average than the US, Soviets or German at most times during WW2.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JBark View Post
I appreciate the view and opinion but when I look at the M4 and its use in the PTO, MTO, ATO, and ETO and the Eastern Front I have to wonder what could have a more strategic influence. Could you explain?
Yes .
The US was the main arsenal of the Allies in WW2. They built one main medium. Therefore it was used everywhere. This does not necessarily imply it was good or bad, but only that it was the only available tank.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JBark View Post
While the Churchill was a tough tank with some positive virtues what I know of it so far was that it had mechanical issues early on and suffered not being able to take a HV gun. It seems to me that it is a lack of foresight in the design process to not see the need for a turret, or a turret that could accept a HV gun by the time the Churchill was on the drawing board. I realize the mechanical issues were worked out but in a discussion of game changers wouldn't a better service record, maintenance wise, be imperative?
As far as the Churchill's mechanical record was concerned, the tank was very poor in 42, fairly good in 43, and then extremely close to the M4 from 44 onwards (let down by extended time to grease the grousers). As an example, during the 5th Guards Tank Army drive to Prokhorovka, only 1 Churchill broke down due to mechanical problems on the 300km (c200 mile) 2 day march, which was a lower percentage figure than the T-34's, T-70's and BA-64 AC's that was also part of that army.

As far as the gun is concerned, the QF 75mm was more than adequate against most targets, and the 6pdr was a very good holepuncher. When a Panther decides to run from two 6pdr Churchills, hide in a barn, and then commit Seppuku rather than face the oppostion, then you know the Panther's crew may be frightened.

No tank was perfect in WW2. I just contend the Churchill was less imperfect than any other.
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  #52  
Old 29 Jul 12, 23:18
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I think I see a few areas for disagreement but I will discuss other matters for now.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
Yes .
The US was the main arsenal of the Allies in WW2. They built one main medium. Therefore it was used everywhere. This does not necessarily imply it was good or bad, but only that it was the only available tank.
To be honest I don't think you agree with that. Couple it's qualities with the fact that the US was supplying the world the need to build just the one was paramount. It was the only available tank? Britain wanted it, they had others. USSR wanted it, they had plenty of others. Canada wanted it, they could have chosen something else. I think the US could have built other tanks if they wanted to but didn't, they had a great one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
As far as the Churchill's mechanical record was concerned, the tank was very poor in 42, fairly good in 43, and then extremely close to the M4 from 44 onwards (let down by extended time to grease the grousers).
Surprising considering how you rate it in Production and Resources but no need to go over that one again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
As far as the gun is concerned, the QF 75mm was more than adequate against most targets, and the 6pdr was a very good holepuncher. When a Panther decides to run from two 6pdr Churchills, hide in a barn, and then commit Seppuku rather than face the oppostion, then you know the Panther's crew may be frightened.
One incident in combat is hardly valuable in assessing a tank's abilities, certainly when comparing an outnumbered tank in circumstances of limited description

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
No tank was perfect in WW2. I just contend the Churchill was less imperfect than any other.
I will learn more. Can you tell me a few book titles besides Mr. Churchill's Tank?
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  #53  
Old 30 Jul 12, 09:05
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBark View Post
To be honest I don't think you agree with that. Couple it's qualities with the fact that the US was supplying the world the need to build just the one was paramount. It was the only available tank? Britain wanted it, they had others. USSR wanted it, they had plenty of others. Canada wanted it, they could have chosen something else. I think the US could have built other tanks if they wanted to but didn't, they had a great one.
The USSR accepted almost anything, and the M4 was certainly suitable for the exploitation role. Britain's government are on record that US tanks were generally superior than British ones in 1943, and Monty thought the M4 was all he needed as a tank for Normandy. By July 1944, the British government considered both the Cromwell and Churchill superior to the M4. Don't know about Canada, but I suspect they would have whatever the British would use.

Let's take the M4 for what it is, ie a rugged reliable design that could be uparmed throughout its life. It was not a match for a German one, but fortunately crew quality was more important than tank quality at a tactical level.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JBark View Post
Surprising considering how you rate it in Production and Resources but no need to go over that one again.
Considering I've already addressed this, I won't bother to repeat myself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JBark View Post
One incident in combat is hardly valuable in assessing a tank's abilities, certainly when comparing an outnumbered tank in circumstances of limited description

I will learn more. Can you tell me a few book titles besides Mr. Churchill's Tank?
How about two Soviet Churchills at Prokhorovka closing on 5 Panzer IV's and 4 Tiger 1's, setting a IV on fire and knocking out a VI? The Soviets suffered no fatalities. How about a Churchill being able to knock out a Jagdpanther frontally with HE before the SPG could close the range enough to use AP. Obviously there are more.

As for books, if you are on a budget, stick to David Fletchers book on the Churchill and the following link as far as production and models are concerned : http://www.wwiiequipment.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=66:ch urchill-infantry-tank-a22&catid=38:infantry-tanks&Itemid=56
Otherwise look towards memoirs imo, eg 6th Guards Tank Brigade by Patrick Forbes, Scots Guards 1919-55by David Erskine, Tank Tracks by Peter Beale and Tank Twins by Stephen Dyson are 4 from the top of my head .

The Churchill was far from perfect, but when a unit uses its influence with the PM himself to keep these tanks, then it was likely to be pretty good.
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  #54  
Old 30 Jul 12, 12:40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
Considering I've already addressed this, I won't bother to repeat myself.
Can't have you repeating yourself, heaven forbid.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
How about two Soviet Churchills at Prokhorovka closing on 5 Panzer IV's and 4 Tiger 1's, setting a IV on fire and knocking out a VI? The Soviets suffered no fatalities. How about a Churchill being able to knock out a Jagdpanther frontally with HE before the SPG could close the range enough to use AP. Obviously there are more.
Plenty of stories like this abound about all tanks. How much weight do they really carry?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
As for books, if you are on a budget, stick to David Fletchers book on the Churchill and the following link as far as production and models are concerned : http://www.wwiiequipment.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=66:ch urchill-infantry-tank-a22&catid=38:infantry-tanks&Itemid=56
Otherwise look towards memoirs imo, eg 6th Guards Tank Brigade by Patrick Forbes, Scots Guards 1919-55by David Erskine, Tank Tracks by Peter Beale and Tank Twins by Stephen Dyson are 4 from the top of my head .
I was hoping more books of the type Fletcher offers. Thank you though, if time allows I will give them a look.

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Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
The Churchill was far from perfect, but when a unit uses its influence with the PM himself to keep these tanks, then it was likely to be pretty good.
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  #55  
Old 31 Jul 12, 06:15
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Originally Posted by JBark View Post
Can't have you repeating yourself, heaven forbid.
I could always cut and paste my previous answer .

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Originally Posted by JBark View Post
Plenty of stories like this abound about all tanks. How much weight do they really carry?
Always good to check. Most German tank ace stories have proven to be myths or exaggerated for example.

Concerning the 5th Guards Tank Army at Kursk, the Churchills were under the overall command of Pavel Rotmistrov, but actually led by Alexander Fyodorovich Burda. Given that the Churchills did not have a decent HE round at Prokhorovka, but had thicker and better quality armour than the T-34 and a proven holepuncher against the Tiger in the 6pdr, I would suggest this was probably a dedicated tank hunting unit, especially given its commander, a top ten Soviet tank 'Ace' of WW2.

Oddly enough, losses of tanks suffered by the 5th Guards Tank Army on the 12th July were proprtionally the same at c58% for each unit iirc, whether T-34's, T-70's or Churchills. Tank speed, sloped armour or thicker armour appears to make no difference. Crew losses were heavier in lighter tanks however, and heavier tanks appear to have done more damage before being knocked out.

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Originally Posted by JBark View Post
I was hoping more books of the type Fletcher offers. Thank you though, if time allows I will give them a look.
The Churchill is simply not a popular enough tank for much ink to be spent on it. It has to be admitted that it is slow, looks underarmed and is fairly ugly. I would stick to David Fletchers book plus David Erskines Scots Guards, as the latter also includes info on Shermans in British employment as well and is good value for money.

Tank Tracks (I've already posted the on-line link) and Tank Twins are for the completest only. Both 'suffer' from the fact that while the early battles tend to be well detailed, latter battles are not. The best combat history is the 6th Guards Tank Brigade by Patrick Forbes imo, but it is a rare book, and tends to be very expensive.
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Last edited by Nick the Noodle; 31 Jul 12 at 06:22..
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Old 31 Jul 12, 06:26
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Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
The best combat history is the 6th Guards Tank Brigade by Patrick Forbes imo, but it is a rare book, and tends to be very expensive.
Naval & Military have got a reprint on sale at £17.50 ... I'm pondering on whether to push the button.
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Old 31 Jul 12, 11:58
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Naval & Military have got a reprint on sale at £17.50 ... I'm pondering on whether to push the button.
The books style of writing is exactly like those regimental histories by Patrick Delaforce, so if you like those I would say buy imo.

You can always ask Listy for a 2nd opinion.

http://www.naval-military-press.com/...ill-tanks.html
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Old 31 Jul 12, 13:02
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Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
I could always cut and paste my previous answer .
There you go.

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Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
Always good to check. Most German tank ace stories have proven to be myths or exaggerated for example.
I finally learned that lesson.

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Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
Concerning the 5th Guards Tank Army at Kursk, the Churchills were under the overall command of Pavel Rotmistrov, but actually led by Alexander Fyodorovich Burda. Given that the Churchills did not have a decent HE round at Prokhorovka, but had thicker and better quality armour than the T-34 and a proven holepuncher against the Tiger in the 6pdr, I would suggest this was probably a dedicated tank hunting unit, especially given its commander, a top ten Soviet tank 'Ace' of WW2.

Oddly enough, losses of tanks suffered by the 5th Guards Tank Army on the 12th July were proprtionally the same at c58% for each unit iirc, whether T-34's, T-70's or Churchills. Tank speed, sloped armour or thicker armour appears to make no difference. Crew losses were heavier in lighter tanks however, and heavier tanks appear to have done more damage before being knocked out.



The Churchill is simply not a popular enough tank for much ink to be spent on it. It has to be admitted that it is slow, looks underarmed and is fairly ugly. I would stick to David Fletchers book plus David Erskines Scots Guards, as the latter also includes info on Shermans in British employment as well and is good value for money.

Tank Tracks (I've already posted the on-line link) and Tank Twins are for the completest only. Both 'suffer' from the fact that while the early battles tend to be well detailed, latter battles are not. The best combat history is the 6th Guards Tank Brigade by Patrick Forbes imo, but it is a rare book, and tends to be very expensive.
Good stuff, thanks.
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Old 01 Aug 12, 04:28
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Conclusion: Looking forward to the ……….answer…..
ACG best tank…………of the member by the members…………….. as I noted at the start the conclusion would be very interesting and I (some)may not agree


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Old 01 Aug 12, 06:49
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Conclusion: Looking forward to the ……….answer…..
ACG best tank…………of the member by the members…………….. as I noted at the start the conclusion would be very interesting and I (some)may not agree


“Attack with aggression, but always have a plan of retreat”
I hope not to keep everyone waiting for too long and there should be a visible conclusion of some sort by the coming weekend. Time is a bit tight for me during the working week by I'll do my best.

I doubt that there is any method we could ever use, to reach conclusions that everyone would agree with. Such is the nature of the beast when we deal with opinions. Having said that, what we should see at the end of this process is the product of a 'collective' view as expressed by the members who participated in these polls.

I'm looking forward to it also.
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