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Best Commanders Tank - Europe 12/44-5/45

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  • #76
    In my opinion, the single most useful engineering tank of WW 2 was this (not the tank, but the attached bulldozer blade)



    That blade is more useful than a pile of fascines or a small bridge like the Churchill AVRE sometimes carried.
    With a bulldozer blade you can make a road where one doesn't exist. You can fill ditches and make fords for otherwise unfordable small water obstacles. You can clear wrecks from a road. It has far more uses than just about any other combat engineering implement around.

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    • #77
      Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
      In my opinion, the single most useful engineering tank of WW 2 was this (not the tank, but the attached bulldozer blade)



      That blade is more useful than a pile of fascines or a small bridge like the Churchill AVRE sometimes carried.
      With a bulldozer blade you can make a road where one doesn't exist. You can fill ditches and make fords for otherwise unfordable small water obstacles. You can clear wrecks from a road. It has far more uses than just about any other combat engineering implement around.
      Of course, if you are going to choose a tank dozer, then the Centaur is the better option. It has a superior power to weight ratio and has neutral steering, ie it can turn on the spot. Further, it uses an obsolete afv to good effect, a superior use of resources.


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      • #78
        Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
        It was found that the most important element in a tank fight was observation, and not armour nor firepower, which were actually relatively unimportant. The ranges a more powerful gun can kill the enemy is greater, but the results were the same for almost any tank in the same situation, regardless of type. This is because defensive tanks will simply let the enemy come into effective range before putting in a potential kill shot.
        As for your "gun is not important" argument, you just need to read a little bit about the direction WWII armour development was going in 1944-45 to know that sufficient firepower was essential. Why the 77mm gun on the Comet? Why the 17-pdr on the Sherman? Why the 76mm on the Sherman? Why did the US want 17-pdr armed Shermans? Why the 90mm on the M26? Why the 85mm on the T34/85... and so forth.

        As for you "observation is important" argument, of course observation is important. It is also an issue that is best viewed as a feature of the complete system, i.e. what observation devices are available to the crew as a whole and how do they interact. Prime example being the Panther having a good commanders cupola, but the gunner only having his telescopic gun sight, which together made for a less effective target aquisition system than the Sherman which had an inferiour cupola but a combination of gun sights that made target aquisition much faster.

        Which leads me to your next argument:

        Concerning observation, the Churchill tank was equipped with probably the best commanders cupola of WW2. It was certainly good enough for the British to convert Shermans to be equipped with this type, and included a range finder as well as all round vision. Most elements were copied by the US with their next design, with the main exception in that the portal was wider.
        Lets start with what cupola the Churchill had.I'm pretty sure it would be either the ARV No. 1 Mk. I or No. 1 Mk. II. It was a rotating cupola with 7 fixed episcopes and one extendable episcope, 8 in all. It had a split hatch , leaving a 40cm opening. At some point, probably January 1945, the cupola got a fitting, so you could mount a pair of binoculars inside the cupola and look through two of the episcopes. There was no "range finder".

        The cupola was not unique to the Churchill, it was used in later versions of the Cromwell and in the Comet and I'm sure they would happily slap one on a Sherman, if the opportunity arose.

        Seems the major criticism of this cupola was the small opening. That problem was corrected in the No. 2 version with its 55cm opening and that cupola was also designed to allow the use of periscopic binoculars from inside the tank. Still no "range finder", though. The No. 2 version does not appear to have seen service in WWII as the early Centurions used the No. 1 version.

        All-round vision cupolas were not a new thing, the Germans had used them all through the war and the Soviets and US tank designs incorporated them in 1944 onwards. The German late war type as seen on the Panther had 7 episcopes and was not that different from the British type in terms of observation provided.

        In other words, the magic Churchill cupola argument is a red herring. Other tanks in this time frame including the choices we have here had the same cupola or something not that dissimilar.

        Further, much of this time period sees the troops fighting a hard slog, where for much of the time, the main allied tank, the Sherman, was road bound. This was especially true for the last armoured offensive in the West. OTOH, Churchill's could turn enemy positions, simply because they could cross bad ground.
        Stating that the Sherman was "road bound" is simply nonsense. All comparitive tests between Shermans and Churchills show the differences in off-road mobility to be very small. Where the Sherman failed was if it was equipped with the rubber tracks with flat blocks (T41 or T51) which had very little grip and occasionally, the inherent limitations in the Cletrac steering could cause problems on steep hills and ice.

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        • #79
          The problem with the Centaur is all you've done is convert a tank into a construction bulldozer. A Cat D9 is a better choice at that point. It's geared for low speed and lots of power and torque versus a tank conversion.
          Aside from that, the idea of the bulldozer tank is that it's part of a combat unit and can fulfill its role as a gun tank as well as a bulldozer.

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          • #80
            Originally posted by Michele View Post
            This time I'll leave the Sherman, and choose the Comet. Probably some of the previous discussions about quantities and availabilities has influenced me, otherwise I would have gone with the Sherman's numbers. The Comet is a good solid tank, with better performance than those big lumbering monsters that may be useful in their niche but not for general (i.e., a commander's) purposes, and with very good reliability, on par with the Sherman. So the Comet it is.
            As said previously, I love the Comet. But I maintain the same argument.

            I feel that those choosing the Comet are viewing each time frame as a vacuum.

            If the Sherman was the clear choice as best commander's tank in 11/44, what has changed in the last few months that would require a new tank?

            Nothing. The bigger gun argument matters post war. During the final months, German armor became even less common, making the Sherman's 75mm more relevant. BTW, does anyone have any info on the ratio of 75mm to 76mm equipped Shermans during the final months?

            Anyway, as a commander, the last thing I would want is the logistical nightmare of re-equipping my army with a new tank for just a few months of combat when the current model is serving quite well.

            However, if it seemed the war would drag on into 46, that's a different story.
            ALL LIVES SPLATTER!

            BLACK JEEPS MATTER!

            BLACK MOTORCYCLES MATTER!

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            • #81
              Originally posted by cbo View Post
              As for your "gun is not important" argument, you just need to read a little bit about the direction WWII armour development was going in 1944-45 to know that sufficient firepower was essential. Why the 77mm gun on the Comet? Why the 17-pdr on the Sherman? Why the 76mm on the Sherman? Why did the US want 17-pdr armed Shermans? Why the 90mm on the M26? Why the 85mm on the T34/85... and so forth.

              As for you "observation is important" argument, of course observation is important. It is also an issue that is best viewed as a feature of the complete system, i.e. what observation devices are available to the crew as a whole and how do they interact. Prime example being the Panther having a good commanders cupola, but the gunner only having his telescopic gun sight, which together made for a less effective target aquisition system than the Sherman which had an inferiour cupola but a combination of gun sights that made target aquisition much faster.

              Which leads me to your next argument:



              Lets start with what cupola the Churchill had.I'm pretty sure it would be either the ARV No. 1 Mk. I or No. 1 Mk. II. It was a rotating cupola with 7 fixed episcopes and one extendable episcope, 8 in all. It had a split hatch , leaving a 40cm opening. At some point, probably January 1945, the cupola got a fitting, so you could mount a pair of binoculars inside the cupola and look through two of the episcopes. There was no "range finder".

              The cupola was not unique to the Churchill, it was used in later versions of the Cromwell and in the Comet and I'm sure they would happily slap one on a Sherman, if the opportunity arose.

              Seems the major criticism of this cupola was the small opening. That problem was corrected in the No. 2 version with its 55cm opening and that cupola was also designed to allow the use of periscopic binoculars from inside the tank. Still no "range finder", though. The No. 2 version does not appear to have seen service in WWII as the early Centurions used the No. 1 version.

              All-round vision cupolas were not a new thing, the Germans had used them all through the war and the Soviets and US tank designs incorporated them in 1944 onwards. The German late war type as seen on the Panther had 7 episcopes and was not that different from the British type in terms of observation provided.

              In other words, the magic Churchill cupola argument is a red herring. Other tanks in this time frame including the choices we have here had the same cupola or something not that dissimilar.



              Stating that the Sherman was "road bound" is simply nonsense. All comparitive tests between Shermans and Churchills show the differences in off-road mobility to be very small. Where the Sherman failed was if it was equipped with the rubber tracks with flat blocks (T41 or T51) which had very little grip and occasionally, the inherent limitations in the Cletrac steering could cause problems on steep hills and ice.
              1. You really need to read my posts more carefully. I did not say the gun was unimportant. I said it was relatively unimportant compared to observation. That's an important distinction.

              Sources:
              http://www.merriam-press.com/dataonw...gagements.aspx
              http://www.merriam-press.com/asurvey...ugust1944.aspx

              2. Other tanks did use the same cupola as the Churchill. Doesn't stop that cupola being the best. As for the Gunner only having his telescopic sight, you are wrong. The loader also had one as well.

              3. I did not say the Sherman was road bound. I said it was considered more road bound than its German counterparts by US troops.

              Source:
              http://www.merriam-press.com/uniteds...equipment.aspx

              Further, when the Australians compared Shermans vs Churchills, they went Churchill after a 'jungle' test, due to superior tactical mobility. The A22 pulling the M4 out of a river probably helped in that judgement, as did superior levels of armour.

              I've sourced the reasons for my opinions, perhaps you might try the same .
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              • #82
                Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                The problem with the Centaur is all you've done is convert a tank into a construction bulldozer. A Cat D9 is a better choice at that point. It's geared for low speed and lots of power and torque versus a tank conversion.
                Aside from that, the idea of the bulldozer tank is that it's part of a combat unit and can fulfill its role as a gun tank as well as a bulldozer.
                I think you hit the nail on the head there, maybe it is time for one last thread in this thing?

                What impresses me is how unimpressive all of the WW2 ARVs were.
                Yeah, yeah, I know, it was another brand-new concept, but still.... they were all just a bunch of drek to my modern, skeptical eyes.
                "Why is the Rum gone?"

                -Captain Jack

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                • #83
                  Originally posted by Gixxer86g View Post
                  As said previously, I love the Comet. But I maintain the same argument.

                  I feel that those choosing the Comet are viewing each time frame as a vacuum.

                  If the Sherman was the clear choice as best commander's tank in 11/44, what has changed in the last few months that would require a new tank?
                  Nothing "requires a new tank". But the question isn't "what new tank is required". The question is "what is the best tank" from the perspective of the commander (armor strategist).
                  Under this point of view, the thing that has changed is, simply, that a new, better tank is now available - better than last month's best tank. So that's the new... "best tank".

                  That said, I understand your point about additional logistical problems. That would be a reasonable argument for staying with the Sherman, from the commander's POV. But everything considered (including the fact that the Western Allies' supply pipeline, albeit under strain, was immensely better than anyone else's), I think the Comet is worth the additional difficulties.
                  Michele

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                  • #84
                    Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                    That blade is more useful than a pile of fascines or a small bridge like the Churchill AVRE sometimes carried.
                    With a bulldozer blade you can make a road where one doesn't exist. You can fill ditches and make fords for otherwise unfordable small water obstacles. You can clear wrecks from a road. It has far more uses than just about any other combat engineering implement around.
                    It depends how quickly you want to cross that water obstacle, surely.

                    Comment


                    • #85
                      Originally posted by Michele View Post
                      Nothing "requires a new tank". But the question isn't "what new tank is required". The question is "what is the best tank" from the perspective of the commander (armor strategist).
                      Under this point of view, the thing that has changed is, simply, that a new, better tank is now available - better than last month's best tank. So that's the new... "best tank".

                      That said, I understand your point about additional logistical problems. That would be a reasonable argument for staying with the Sherman, from the commander's POV. But everything considered (including the fact that the Western Allies' supply pipeline, albeit under strain, was immensely better than anyone else's), I think the Comet is worth the additional difficulties.
                      Of course, my opinion is in hindsight. I suppose from the POV of a commander at the point when the Comet became available, the end was still uncertain. Making it a desirable choice.

                      But still, I would stick with the Sherman. And when I say "the Sherman", I mean the platform in all it's available forms. The Comet just doesn't offer anything substantial enough to support the change in logistics. It certainly was a great tank, one of my favorites of the war.

                      If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
                      ALL LIVES SPLATTER!

                      BLACK JEEPS MATTER!

                      BLACK MOTORCYCLES MATTER!

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                      • #86
                        Originally posted by Gooner View Post
                        It depends how quickly you want to cross that water obstacle, surely.

                        So long as the gap isn't wider than the bridge...

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                        • #87
                          Originally posted by Gixxer86g View Post
                          " ... <snip> I suppose from the POV of a commander at the point when the Comet became available, the end was still uncertain. Making it a desirable choice. ... <snip> ... "
                          That was my thinking and part of the reason I voted Comet. However, your position makes sense too.
                          "England expects that every man will do his duty!" (English crew members had better get ready for a tough fight against the combined French and Spanish fleets because that's what England expects! However, Scotland, Wales and Ireland appear to expect nothing so the Scottish, Welsh and Irish crew members can relax below decks if they like!)

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                          • #88
                            Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                            So long as the gap isn't wider than the bridge...
                            Then the Baily Bridge (again British) is called in. The best combat bridging system of the day.

                            Paul
                            ‘Tis said his form is tiny, yet
                            All human ills he can subdue,
                            Or with a bauble or medal
                            Can win mans heart for you;
                            And many a blessing know to stew
                            To make a megloamaniac bright;
                            Give honour to the dainty Corse,
                            The Pixie is a little shite.

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                            • #89
                              Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                              The problem with the Centaur is all you've done is convert a tank into a construction bulldozer. A Cat D9 is a better choice at that point. It's geared for low speed and lots of power and torque versus a tank conversion.
                              Aside from that, the idea of the bulldozer tank is that it's part of a combat unit and can fulfill its role as a gun tank as well as a bulldozer.
                              One good point and one flawed one. Cat D9 is well after WW2, about a decade or so. I assume you mean a D7 or D8, although when concerning bulldozers, I know next to nothing about them.

                              However, any tankdozer variant, ie a tank with an attached blade, will be less agile than a standard tank. This is most tanks don't have them as standard. Further, the turretless A27L will be a smaller (more difficult) target, and able to focus on what was required. It also uses an obsolete platform, thus a superior use of resources.
                              How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
                              Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

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                              • #90
                                Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                                So long as the gap isn't wider than the bridge...
                                Churchill Ark(s)?

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