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Best Soldiers Tank of WW2 - W Europe & N Africa 39-41

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  • #61
    This thread looks likes a slam dunk, but a remark by Rommel that the Allies' tanks until mid-1942 had short gun ranges.

    From a tanker's perspective I think range of main gun would be a factor right up with armor protection. I may have missed but I did not see a comparative range among the lead contenders, and I cannot find a website that lists the main gun ranges.
    Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

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    • #62
      Originally posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post
      This thread looks likes a slam dunk, but a remark by Rommel that the Allies' tanks until mid-1942 had short gun ranges.
      That may have been true in N Africa, when comparing either 50mm on the PzIII vs the 2pdr, but certainly not in France. In France, the German and Czech 37mm weapons were ineffective against the A10, A12, Somua S35's and Char B1bis at most ranges, while those tanks 2pdrs and 47mm guns could knock out any German tank at any normal combat range.

      Originally posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post
      From a tanker's perspective I think range of main gun would be a factor right up with armor protection. I may have missed but I did not see a comparative range among the lead contenders, and I cannot find a website that lists the main gun ranges.
      The difficulty is in finding one trusted site that can give you all the information. Even trusted sites can have differing facts.

      German, French and Czech data: http://www.panzerworld.com/armor-penetration-table
      British 2pdr: http://www.wwiivehicles.com/great-br...ion-tables.asp
      German 37mm: http://www.wwiivehicles.com/germany/guns/37-mm.asp

      Simply put, Allied tank guns generally had the longer range, up to and including the Battle of France, while German guns certainly out ranged the 2pdr in N Africa.
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      • #63
        You've missed two important data sets, Nick. Italian tank gun ranges, and the range HE could be fired by either Axis or CW forces (tanks were often used as mobile artillery).

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        • #64
          Originally posted by broderickwells View Post
          You've missed two important data sets, Nick. Italian tank gun ranges, and the range HE could be fired by either Axis or CW forces (tanks were often used as mobile artillery).
          True, but I was just giving examples that there is not one trusted site that gives all the info afaik .

          Armor and Gunnery by Bird and Livingston has all the AP details of the relevant guns, but I don't know if it is on the net.

          As for the 2pdr its lack of available HE was an oversight, and details on the A10's howitzer are scarce. However, it could fire a 20 Ibs HE round, as compared to Mk IV's less than half 9.75 Ibs round, so was probably far more effective.
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          • #65
            Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
            That may have been true in N Africa, when comparing either 50mm on the PzIII vs the 2pdr, but certainly not in France. In France, the German and Czech 37mm weapons were ineffective against the A10, A12, Somua S35's and Char B1bis at most ranges, while those tanks 2pdrs and 47mm guns could knock out any German tank at any normal combat range.



            The difficulty is in finding one trusted site that can give you all the information. Even trusted sites can have differing facts.

            German, French and Czech data: http://www.panzerworld.com/armor-penetration-table
            British 2pdr: http://www.wwiivehicles.com/great-br...ion-tables.asp
            German 37mm: http://www.wwiivehicles.com/germany/guns/37-mm.asp

            Simply put, Allied tank guns generally had the longer range, up to and including the Battle of France, while German guns certainly out ranged the 2pdr in N Africa.
            Thanks for the info. Surprising, someone has not lined up comparative ranges for different periods of state of the art tanks.

            What was a 'normal combat range'?

            Owe you a rep.
            Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

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            • #66
              Don't forget the Germans also had 47mm Czech antitank guns as well. Bob Crisp in "Brazen Chariots" talked about problems with armor piercing rounds. They worked fine out to, say, 500 yards and then the projectile tended to break up on impact. At around 1000 yards, the projectile worked fine again. My memory has a hole in it on whether he was talking about British Two Pounder rounds or American 37mm rounds. Trying to hit an Axis tank at 1000 yards in Libya and Egypt must have been hard.

              Pruitt
              Last edited by Pruitt; 07 Jan 17, 10:33.
              Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

              Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

              by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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              • #67
                Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
                Don't forget the Germans also had 47mm Czech antitank guns as well. Bob Crist in "Brazen Chariots" talked about problems with armor piercing rounds. They worked fine out to, say, 500 yards and then the projectile tended to break up on impact. At around 1000 yards, the projectile worked fine again. My memory has a hole in it on whether he was talking about British Two Pounder rounds or American 37mm rounds. Trying to hit an Axis tank at 1000 yards in Libya and Egypt must have been hard.

                Pruitt
                Sounds like a similar problem to the 'shatter gap' that plagued the US 76mm M1 gun.

                There is a factor in desert warfare, that is rarely considered, and that is haze. This is why in the deserts, effective combat ranges could be shorter than expected, even if the ground were flat.
                Originally posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post
                Thanks for the info. Surprising, someone has not lined up comparative ranges for different periods of state of the art tanks.

                What was a 'normal combat range'?

                Owe you a rep.
                Ta.

                Normal combat ranges in NW Europe tended to be the same, regardless of time period. Due to farming methods, villages and woodland, vision tended to be 500-800 meters, before obstacles usually prevented further line of sight.

                UK intel: http://www.merriam-press.com/asurvey...ugust1944.aspx

                USA intel: http://www.merriam-press.com/dataonw...gagements.aspx

                Although the statistic examples of the two listed books above are well below the necessary 1000 that could give a likely probability, they do give an insight that vision wins over firepower, concerning tank on tank.
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                Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

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                • #68
                  Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
                  Sounds like a similar problem to the 'shatter gap' that plagued the US 76mm M1 gun.

                  There is a factor in desert warfare, that is rarely considered, and that is haze. This is why in the deserts, effective combat ranges could be shorter than expected, even if the ground were flat.

                  Ta.

                  Normal combat ranges in NW Europe tended to be the same, regardless of time period. Due to farming methods, villages and woodland, vision tended to be 500-800 meters, before obstacles usually prevented further line of sight.

                  UK intel: http://www.merriam-press.com/asurvey...ugust1944.aspx

                  USA intel: http://www.merriam-press.com/dataonw...gagements.aspx

                  Although the statistic examples of the two listed books above are well below the necessary 1000 that could give a likely probability, they do give an insight that vision wins over firepower, concerning tank on tank.
                  That was our intelligence estimate on the Soviet tanks having a range of 1000m on its main tanks during 1970's-1980's because of limiting factor of terrain and built-up areas in West Germany, Belgium, NL, France.

                  However, when we took on the Iraqis' Soviet Tanks in the First Persian Gulf War, our M1's were taking out their Republican Gds T-72's at 3000+ meters, and as one captured Iraqi platoon leader recounted, we were waiting for the American tanks when the tank on my right exploded, then the tank on the left exploded from shots well beyond our firing range.

                  Rommel must have been speaking from his desert experience.
                  Last edited by R.N. Armstrong; 07 Jan 17, 05:31.
                  Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

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                  • #69
                    Balck in his memoirs recalls an interesting discussion:
                    "Following the campaign in France, Hitler had encouraged equipping the PzKpfw III with the long-barrel 50mm main gun rather than the short-barrel 35mm gun, and the PzKpfw IV with the long-barrel rather than the short-barrel 75mm gun. I remember listing in on a conversation between General von Schell and Colonel General Fromm when they decided contrary to clear guidance to use the short-barrel guns, because it was more difficult to move through forests with the longer guns. They believed that the tube of the main gun should never extend beyond the edge of the tank's hull. The consequence was that our tank guns at Moscow could not penetrate the Russian armor. When we refitted our Panzers with longer-barrel guns during the winter of 1941-1942, the Russian tank superiority ended. That by itself might have produced different results at Moscow."
                    Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

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                    • #70
                      Originally posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post
                      Balck in his memoirs recalls an interesting discussion:
                      "Following the campaign in France, Hitler had encouraged equipping the PzKpfw III with the long-barrel 50mm main gun rather than the short-barrel 35mm gun, and the PzKpfw IV with the long-barrel rather than the short-barrel 75mm gun. I remember listing in on a conversation between General von Schell and Colonel General Fromm when they decided contrary to clear guidance to use the short-barrel guns, because it was more difficult to move through forests with the longer guns. They believed that the tube of the main gun should never extend beyond the edge of the tank's hull. The consequence was that our tank guns at Moscow could not penetrate the Russian armor. When we refitted our Panzers with longer-barrel guns during the winter of 1941-1942, the Russian tank superiority ended. That by itself might have produced different results at Moscow."
                      He's clutching at straws. The number of operation Wehrmacht tanks was 200 maximum at any of the main loci of German concentration. That the primary tank killers was their artillery is also ignored. But the biggest problem is the Wehrmacht couldn't supply the necessary fuel or ammunition to the tanks it fielded during this battle. Consequently, Balck is talking out of his donkey.

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                      • #71
                        Originally posted by broderickwells View Post
                        He's clutching at straws. The number of operation Wehrmacht tanks was 200 maximum at any of the main loci of German concentration. That the primary tank killers was their artillery is also ignored. But the biggest problem is the Wehrmacht couldn't supply the necessary fuel or ammunition to the tanks it fielded during this battle. Consequently, Balck is talking out of his donkey.
                        I think that was his point. Artillery would not have been the primary tank killer and more tanks would have survived to be on 'any of the main loci of German concentration'.
                        Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

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                        • #72
                          Originally posted by broderickwells View Post
                          But the biggest problem is the Wehrmacht couldn't supply the necessary fuel or ammunition to the tanks it fielded during this battle. Consequently, Balck is talking out of his donkey.
                          For a sense in the flavor of the 'greatest problem', Guderian’s attack on the locus to Orel and Tula beginning on Sept 30, 1941, as his memoirs note:
                          “We had at last been given 100 tanks as replacements for our panzer divisions. Unfortunately 50 of these were misdirected to Orsha and therefore arrived late. Nor did we receive adequate supplies of fuel.”

                          [ed. Nonetheless the attack began] “On Oct 1, XXIV PzK took Sevsk. We had succeeded in breaking through the enemy front. The advance was energetically pursued, so far as the fuel situation would permit.” …

                          “Two miles to the north of Sevsk, which we had already captured, I found Colonel Eberbach, the gallant commander of the panzer brigade of the 4th PzD. When I asked him whether the advance could be pursued as far as Dmitrovsk, he replied that he could. In consequence I order that the divisions go on, even though the generals had previously informed me, incorrectly as sit turned out, that the advance could not be continued owing to lack of fuel.” [Underline mine]


                          On October 5, Guderian flew to the HQ of XXIV Panzer Corps at Dmitrovsk. “General von Geyr complained about the poor state of our fuel supply; the future extent of our movements was ultimately dependent upon this. Unfortunately captured fuel stocks were small. But as we had occupied Orel airfield I sent an urgent request to the commander of Air Fleet 2 that he fly us in the needed quantity, approx. 100,000 gallons ….” [Guderian would do what the Red Army did in late 1944 and 1945 when its tank armies ran out of fuel: airlifted in fuel and pooled their armor strength in advanced forces with priority for existing fuel.]

                          On Oct 6, “4th PzD was attacked by Russian tanks to the south of Mzensk and went through some bad hours. This was the first occasion on which the vast superiority of the Russian T34 to our tanks became plainly apparent. The division suffered grievous casualties. The rapid advance on Tula which we had planned had therefore to be abandoned for the moment.”

                          “During the night of Oct 6-7 the first snow of the winter fell. [Note Guderian’s stall began with “the vast superiority of the Russian T34”, then “the first snow of the winter”.] It did not lie for long and, as usual, the roads rapidly became nothing but canals of bottomless mud, long which our vehicles could only advance at snail’s pace and with great wear to the engines.” [I would add--and greater expenditure of fuel.]

                          To be continued
                          Last edited by R.N. Armstrong; 16 Jan 17, 08:52.
                          Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

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                          • #73
                            “The 4th PzD’s task for Oct 9 was to take Mzensk. Descriptions of the quality and, above all, of the new tactical handling of the Russian tanks were very worrying. Our defensive weapons available at that period were only successful against the T34 when the conditions were unfavorable. The short-barreled 75 mm. gun of the Panzer IV was only effective if the T34 were attacked from the rear; even then a hit had to be scored on the grating above the engine to knock it out. It required very great skill to maneuver into a position [which required more fuel] from which such a shot was possible. The Russians attacked us frontally with infantry, while they sent their tanks in, in mass formations, against our flanks. They were learning. The bitterness of the fighting was gradually telling on both our officers and our men. General von Geyr brought up once again the urgent need for winter clothing of all sorts. … I decided to visit the 4th PzD at once and find out for myself what the situation was. On the battlefields that had been fought over during Oct 6 & 7 the commander of the battlegroup that been there engaged himself described the course of the fighting to me. … The damage suffered by the Russians was considerably less than that to our own tanks.”

                            “Back in Orel, I found Colonel Eberbach …. For the first time during this exacting campaign Colonel Eberbach gave the impression of being exhausted, and the exhaustion that was now noticeable was less physical than spiritual.”

                            “Preparation made for the winter were utterly inadequate. For weeks we had been requesting anti-freeze for the water coolers of our engines; we saw as little of this as we did of winter clothing for the troops. The lack of warm clothes, was, in the difficult months ahead, to provide the greatest problem and cause the greatest suffering to our soldiers….”

                            On Oct 11, “…heavy street fighting took place in XXIV PzK’s area in Mzensk, to the northeast of Orel, into which town the 4th PzD had fought its way; the division could not receive support quickly enough on account of the mud. Numerous Russian T34’s went into action and inflicted heavy losses on the German tanks. Up to this time we had enjoyed tank superiority, but from now on the situation was reversed. The prospect of rapid, decisive victories was fading in consequence.”

                            On Oct 22 the attack by XXIV Panzer Corps through Mzensk failed owing to insufficiently close cooperation between the artillery and tanks. A second attempt was made in the area of 3rd PzD to the northwest of Mzensk, with all the available armor, and on this occasion succeeded.”

                            tbc
                            Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

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                            • #74
                              “Second Panzer Army was now ready to advance on Tula. … The strength of the advancing units was dependent less on the number of men than on the amount of petrol on hand to keep them going. As a result of this the bulk of the akts still at the disposal of XXIV PzK was massed together under command of Colonel Eberbach and, together with Inf Rgt Gross-Deutschland,formed the advance guard which was not set in motion towards Tula.”

                              On Oct 28, “Owing to a lack of fuel, Eberbach allowed one battalion of Inf Rgt G-D to ride on the tanks.”

                              “On Oct 29 our leading tanks reached a point some 2 miles from Tula. An attempt to capture the town by a coup de main failed owing to the enemy’s strong anti-tank and anti-aircraft defenses; we lost many tanks and officers.”

                              By mid-November, “In XXIV PzK the frost was unpleasantly in evidence, since the tanks could not move up the ice-covered slopes for lack of the requisite calks for the tanks. General von Geyr did not believe that he would be able to mount an attack before Nov 19. To do so at all he would need the return of Panzer Bde Eberbach and fuel for four days; at present all that he had was one day’s supply. My opinion was that he should attack on the 17th of November….” [Remember this General was incorrect about his fuel situation earlier.]

                              “On November 18th Second Panzer Army launched the attack which had been ordered in Orel on the 13th.”
                              Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

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                              • #75
                                Guderian wrote on Nov 21st: “The icy cold, the lack of shelter, the shortage of clothing, the heavy losses of men and equipment, the wretched state of our fuel supplies, all this makes the duties of a commander a misery and the longer it goes on the more I crushed by the enormous responsibility which I have to bear, a responsibility which no one, even with the best will in the world, can share.” [Underline mine]

                                On Nov 27, Guderian drove to the 4th Panzer Div and spent the night at XXIV PzK HQ. “Colonel Balck, who was then with the department of the OKH that handled Panzer Troops, accompanied me on this drive. I asked him to describe what he had seen to the Commander-in-Chief of the Army.” [Bold is mine-to denote that Balck was there.]

                                The greatest problem was the estimate and planning for the operation.

                                The Red Army begins it counteroffensive on Dec 5, a greater problem from the enemy.
                                Last edited by R.N. Armstrong; 16 Jan 17, 08:53.
                                Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

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