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

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  • Gooner
    replied
    Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
    You did say this initially .
    You certainly sounded as if you thought the Pz III was better in combat than the Matilda. Your comment in the first quote makes it sound capable to the T-34 as well?
    Head to head the PzIII H with APCR was better than the Matilda. Compared to the T-34 it had three-man turret with commanders cupola, excellent vision aids and a radio in every tank.


    As for Matilda vs Pz III, I know of no battle where these tanks were the only units involved, and the Heer was generally superior to the British tactically at this time.
    The Germans had better equipment making the better tactics possible.

    As for the T-34, the sudden demand for a Panther more than suggests that the III was not up to the task of dealing with the T-34. In fact, if you look at the initial design (VK 30.01 (D)) to counter the T-34, they look very similar indeed.


    https://www.the-blueprints.com/bluep...01_d-63853.jpg
    Though interestingly the T-34 the Soviets wanted before being so rudely interrupted looked more like this

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  • R.N. Armstrong
    replied
    Parenthetically, it may interest some how Balck reported his method:

    "Whenever possible, the attack should be initiated in the rear of the enemy tank unit. Three times this Winter the division's Panzers started to attack the enemy in the rear at the same time that the enemy started to attack. [At this point is the losses posted above.] ....

    "When our Panzer attack unexpectedly encountered an enemy position, usually the enemy was forced and seduced to immediately conduct fragmented and unplanned counterstrikes. These cost the enemy high losses, if one skillfully let them close in. The first successful attack on 19 December 1942 [battle against 5th MC] was followed by strong, fragmented, and unconcentrated Russian counterstrikes in which 30 enemy tanks were knocked out in comparison to one Panzer loss as a total write-off." [So, these 30 tanks added to the 35 tanks in the initial fight give a reported 65 tanks loss by 5th MC.]

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  • R.N. Armstrong
    replied
    Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
    As for Matilda vs Pz III, I know of no battle where these tanks were the only units involved, and the Heer was generally superior to the British tactically at this time.
    In the Chir River battles between 8-19 Dec 1942, Balck's 11th PzD has the following panzer situation in its war journal for 14 Dec: 18 Pz III (long), 3 Pz III (short), 6 Pz IV (long), and 1 PzIV (short).

    During this period, the 11th PzD engaged the Red Army 5th Mech Corps which was equipped totally with Lend-Lease Matildas and Valentines.

    This is the battle in which Balck recalled his 25 panzers knocked out 65 tanks with no loss during a conference in 1979.

    However, in Jentz's Vol. II, he quotes a report, "Experience in Combat Against Tanks by Generalleutnant Balck, commander of the 11. Panzer-Division, dated 12 March 1943": "On 8 December 1942, 39 tanks were knocked out near Sowchos Nr. 79 without losing a single Panzer as a total write-off [This fight was against the Red Army 1st TC which had T-34s], and on 19 December, 35 tanks were knocked out in comparison with two write-offs for us [This fight was against the Red Army 5th MC]."
    Last edited by R.N. Armstrong; 20 Jan 17, 07:21.

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  • Nick the Noodle
    replied
    Originally posted by Gooner View Post
    Err... I didn't say that. The major clash between the PzIII and the Matilda was in the latter stages of Battleaxe - it was a draw.

    Though I expect many T-34s were indeed lost to the PzIII short.
    You did say this initially .

    Originally posted by Gooner View Post
    How did the PzIII score so low?
    Bob Crisp reckoned one was worth three Cruisers, with the right ammo could put a hole in the Matilda when the reverse wasn't true and had better fightability than the early T-34s.
    You certainly sounded as if you thought the Pz III was better in combat than the Matilda. Your comment in the first quote makes it sound capable to the T-34 as well?

    As for Matilda vs Pz III, I know of no battle where these tanks were the only units involved, and the Heer was generally superior to the British tactically at this time.

    As for the T-34, the sudden demand for a Panther more than suggests that the III was not up to the task of dealing with the T-34. In fact, if you look at the initial design (VK 30.01 (D)) to counter the T-34, they look very similar indeed.


    https://www.the-blueprints.com/bluep...01_d-63853.jpg

    Leave a comment:


  • Gooner
    replied
    Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
    If H's were able to deal with Matilda's fairly easily,
    Err... I didn't say that. The major clash between the PzIII and the Matilda was in the latter stages of Battleaxe - it was a draw.

    Though I expect many T-34s were indeed lost to the PzIII short.

    Leave a comment:


  • Nick the Noodle
    replied
    Originally posted by Gooner View Post
    I was talking about the H with the bolt-on armour addition and short 50mm. With the APCR ammunition it should puncture a Matilda at short range.
    If H's were able to deal with Matilda's fairly easily, 1941 T-34's with their maximum of 45mm armour should have been even easier prey. History records otherwise.

    Leave a comment:


  • Gooner
    replied
    Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
    If you are talking about the best III of this period, the J with the KwK 38 firing rare APCR, you might be right. However, the most important III of this period is the F, which was available for the Battle of France. At any range, the 3.7cm gun will almost certainly bounce off the A12. Likewise, the A10 had similar armour, but a more powerful gun to the Pz IIIF, and proved to be more reliable as well.

    The Pz III is scoring very well on best general tank for this period, currently in first place, just ahead of the Pz IV.
    I was talking about the H with the bolt-on armour addition and short 50mm. With the APCR ammunition it should puncture a Matilda at short range.

    Leave a comment:


  • Nick the Noodle
    replied
    Originally posted by Gooner View Post
    How did the PzIII score so low?
    Bob Crisp reckoned one was worth three Cruisers, with the right ammo could put a hole in the Matilda when the reverse wasn't true and had better fightability than the early T-34s.
    If you are talking about the best III of this period, the J with the KwK 38 firing rare APCR, you might be right. However, the most important III of this period is the F, which was available for the Battle of France. At any range, the 3.7cm gun will almost certainly bounce off the A12. Likewise, the A10 had similar armour, but a more powerful gun to the Pz IIIF, and proved to be more reliable as well.

    The Pz III is scoring very well on best general tank for this period, currently in first place, just ahead of the Pz IV.

    Leave a comment:


  • panther3485
    replied
    Originally posted by Gooner View Post
    How did the PzIII score so low?
    Bob Crisp reckoned one was worth three Cruisers, with the right ammo could put a hole in the Matilda when the reverse wasn't true and had better fightability than the early T-34s.
    I think at least partly because of the period being covered here; 1939-1941.
    Over that time bracket the PzKpfw III was armed either with the 3.7cm KwK L/46.5 or the 5cm KwK38 L/42.
    The Pz III with 5cm KwK39 L/60 did not enter combat until early 1942, IIRC (commenced on the production line in December 1941).
    Last edited by panther3485; 19 Jan 17, 07:35.

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  • Gooner
    replied
    How did the PzIII score so low?
    Bob Crisp reckoned one was worth three Cruisers, with the right ammo could put a hole in the Matilda when the reverse wasn't true and had better fightability than the early T-34s.

    Leave a comment:


  • R.N. Armstrong
    replied
    Originally posted by broderickwells View Post
    Balck did not abandon his artillery during his Chir battles - he would have noted this in the diary as it made up a significant component of his division. He merely omits to mention their presence.

    At Kursk, are you suggesting the Red Army did not set up large minefields and AT fronts designed to interact effectively, and with tanks providing reinforcements on key sectors?
    Of course, I did not claim Balck "abandoned" his artillery, he used what little was available in a blocking or shielding force for his armor maneuver. However, at Balck's Chir River battles it was his tanks that did all the tank killing. In the 65-0 kill ratio he did it with tanks that moved along the Soviet 5th Mech Corps column from behind when they came out of night laager. Page 271, English edition of Balck's memoirs, "Twenty-five German tanks had shot up sixty-five Russian tanks without a loss." [You forget I have the 11th PzDiv war journal for the fights in December 1942.]

    Additionally, in an interview on April 13, 1979, Balck said, "On the whole long Chir front we had almost no artillery. In such a situation, one must not be misled into tying down a division along such a long front. Instead, one must remain completely mobile and attack wherever it's necessary."

    At Kursk, the Germans could not find, nor create, a weak spot to push their tank forces through. In Nebolsin's recent unit history of the 2nd GTA (which was on the northern face), he noted "Of the total number of 139 tanks that were irrecoverably lost, 101 were destroyed by fire as a result of shell hits; 21 were destroyed by artillery fire; 9 were knocked out of action by enemy air strikes; 1 blew up in a minefield, and 7 tanks were lost for other reasons."
    Last edited by R.N. Armstrong; 19 Jan 17, 07:50.

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  • broderickwells
    replied
    Originally posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post
    Agree, in the beginning with under-gunned tanks, the Germans had to rely on artillery to screen the flanks and protect the tanks, as Rommel did a Flavion in the invasion of France. And, the anti-aircraft guns, 88's, were necessary to penetrate tank armor at a distance in the desert and up close against thick armor in Russia. In the expanses of Russia during Barbarossa, the Stukas were use as artillery support for the armor pincers because the artillery could not keep up.

    When the Germans had up-gunned their tanks they operated, or tried to operate, more independently like Balck at Chir River. However, at the Kursk salient, in both the northern and southern face, particularly the northern, the German panzers were not fought as you suggest.
    Balck did not abandon his artillery during his Chir battles - he would have noted this in the diary as it made up a significant component of his division. He merely omits to mention their presence.

    At Kursk, are you suggesting the Red Army did not set up large minefields and AT fronts designed to interact effectively, and with tanks providing reinforcements on key sectors?

    Leave a comment:


  • broderickwells
    replied
    Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
    A tarred and gravel road that was well compacted would have solved most or all of that for trucks using it. Even just pouring gravel on the surface and compacting it in with a road roller would have made a huge difference.
    When gravel is easy to come by, not a problem. However, substituting gravel for anything else means fuel/food/ammunition does not make it forward to the troops. Germany had too few trucks with inadequate fuel reserves and no spare manpower to extract the gravel to have even done a fraction of what was necessary. Couple this to a very deep dirt layer before bedrock is struck and the problems never end.

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  • T. A. Gardner
    replied
    Originally posted by broderickwells View Post
    Nice idea, pity about the rasputitsa.
    A tarred and gravel road that was well compacted would have solved most or all of that for trucks using it. Even just pouring gravel on the surface and compacting it in with a road roller would have made a huge difference.

    Leave a comment:


  • R.N. Armstrong
    replied
    Originally posted by broderickwells View Post
    I think you misread me. German artillery was the main killer of Soviet tanks. The Germans, as a rule much preferred to feed their tanks through breaches in an infantry defensive line (as did the Red Army), or rather an ill-formed infantry screen. Panzer divisions could chose any one of a number of roads to advance along and would usually bypass serious resistance, especially later in the campaign as their heavy support was frequently either some distance back or abandoned for lack of transport.
    Agree, in the beginning with under-gunned tanks, the Germans had to rely on artillery to screen the flanks and protect the tanks, as Rommel did a Flavion in the invasion of France. And, the anti-aircraft guns, 88's, were necessary to penetrate tank armor at a distance in the desert and up close against thick armor in Russia. In the expanses of Russia during Barbarossa, the Stukas were use as artillery support for the armor pincers because the artillery could not keep up.

    When the Germans had up-gunned their tanks they operated, or tried to operate, more independently like Balck at Chir River. However, at the Kursk salient, in both the northern and southern face, particularly the northern, the German panzers were not fought as you suggest.

    Leave a comment:

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