Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Best Offensive Tank - Battle of France 1940

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Best Offensive Tank - Battle of France 1940

    Imagine you are a German Panzer General during the Battle of France, which single tank would you prefer to be equipped with, given the choice. Basically what was the best offensive tank used in this campaign.

    Unlike defensive tanks, you will need to factor in attributes such as reliability, fuel efficiency, range, weight etc, as well as firepower and armour.

    Somua S-35


    http://www.worldwarphotos.info/wp-co...erman_tank.jpg

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SOMUA_S35

    Char B1 bis


    http://www.littlewars.se/french1940/B1bis_3.jpg

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Char_B1

    Panzer IIIF


    http://orig15.deviantart.net/57de/f/...er-d4tobah.jpg

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panzer_III

    Panzer IVD


    http://www.tanks-encyclopedia.com/ww...s/Pz4AusfD.jpg

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panzer_IV

    Pz 38(t)


    http://www.tanks-encyclopedia.com/wp...Panzer_38t.jpg

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panzer_38(t)

    A10


    http://www.wwiivehicles.com/great-br...iia-a10-01.png

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cruiser_Mk_II

    A12


    https://servicepub.files.wordpress.c...photo-no-3.jpg

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matilda_II

    Other

    Just in case your 'best' is not listed.
    57
    Somua S-35
    12.28%
    7
    Char B1 bis
    5.26%
    3
    Panzer IIIF
    19.30%
    11
    Panzer IVD
    52.63%
    30
    Pz 38(t)
    5.26%
    3
    A10
    1.75%
    1
    A12
    1.75%
    1
    Other
    1.75%
    1
    How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
    Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

  • #2
    Easy; Mark IV.
    Even with thin armor it scores on weaponry and reliability.
    How many other tanks had more than one MG at that time? How many had a useful H.E. round? How many had the 5-man crew that you needed to shoot, move & communicate at the same time?

    Its best competition was the Mark III, and it's only advantage was a slightly smaller target area and a flatter-shooting gun... and is somewhat cheaper. It would do better in the multi-role category, but not by much.
    "Why is the Rum gone?"

    -Captain Jack

    Comment


    • #3
      This is a contest between the Pz III and IV. I went with the III due to it being available in larger numbers and being primarily used as the "gun" tank rather than in a support role like the Pz IV was at the time. I'd put the Pz 38t in second place to the Pz III.

      Comment


      • #4
        IMO at this point, it's between the PzKpfw III and the PzKpfw 38(t), with the PzKpfw IV and maybe also the PzKpfw 35(t) - with some possible reservations - up for honourable mentions.

        I'd consider the A-10 and S-35 too except for me, there are unresolved question marks regarding their mechanical reliability?
        "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!)

        Comment


        • #5
          Lemme see - mobility and speed, dual-purpose punch, protection, soft factors.

          PzIV, then PzIII, Praga, Skoda, Somua & PzII in that order.

          Comment


          • #6
            PzKpfw IV already has a significant lead in the polling but I voted for PzKpfw III here.
            Although Pz IV has a better dual-purpose armament - which is indeed a significant benefit - I lean in favour of the better all-round armour protection of Pz III; though 30mm is still not all that great even for 1940.

            Having said the above, it was close for me; and Pz IV will arguably be deserving if it wins.
            "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!)

            Comment


            • #7
              Of the tanks listed here, three have exceptional reliability, the Somua S-35, the Pz 38(t) and the A10. They also have a decent range of around 150 miles or so, making them the stand out tanks from a generals POV. All have better than average armour and weaponry compared to the standard Pz I's and II's, the main tanks of the Heer at this time.

              The Somua has the superior AT weapon of the three and the thickest armour. The gun also fired APHE and HE, making it a useful dual purpose weapon. It is let down by the one man turret, but with a top speed of 45 kmph, it's the fastest, despite the lowest power to weight ratio of the three.

              The Pz 38(t), is the lightest, and has least impressive gun and armour. Didn't stop Rommel considering it a very decent tank, and has the best power to weight ratio of the three, probably making it the most nimble of the three.

              The A10 has equal or superior armour to the Pz III's and IV's. Its 2 pdr was a superior AT weapon to the 37mm, while its 94mm howitzer fired a HE shell over twice the weight of the Pz IV's. It is also much lighter than both, and almost as fast (38 vs 40kmph).

              All three are equal or better than the III's and IV's on many important features, especially two usually overlooked; reliability and range. The Somua only fails against the III with its one man turret, but even then, combats between the two were one sided in favour of the French. Given that neither the III's or IV's were effective against the heavier French tanks, choosing a more nimble, cheaper and further reaching tank in the 38t would make more sense, than using III's and IV's. The A10 lacked a dual purpose gun, but the two available options are superior to the III's and IV's armaments in their primary roles. Otherwise, the A10 is equal or superior to the III's.

              Of these three best, I'll go A10. It has a proper three man turret, and the best HE round of the war at this time on any tank.
              How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
              Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

              Comment


              • #8
                Assuming that by offensive tank, we mean the tank best suited for large, decisive armoured operations, these are the main contenders in my view:
                • Somua S-35
                • Panzer IIIF
                • Panzer IVD
                • Pz 38(t)
                • A10


                For this type of tank, in I'd rate firepower and mobility the highest, protection not as important.

                In terms of firepower, these types of tank do need both a gun with both an HE and an AP capability. There were three ways of achieving this.

                1. You could use a dual-purpose gun firing both HE and AP. All the guns mentioned here could do that, but the 2-pdr A10 did not carry HE, apparently, and the HE fired by guns of 37 to 47mm caliber was not all that effective. On the other hand, the AP fired by the Panzer IVD had decent penetration, but fired with a muzzle velocity of a mere 385 m/s, it was not very good as an anti-tank weapon. The 3.7" howitzer carried in some A10s had no AP capability, but could fire HE and smoke at very low velocities (about 200 m/s), in fact it is often referred to as a "tank mortar". There seems to be a good deal of confusion as to whether it carried more than a few rounds of HE in France, if any at all.
                As a dual purpose weapon, the 3.7" howitzer, 7,5cm KwK 37 and the 2-pdr can be disregarded, leaving the field to the French 47mm SA35 carried by the Somua and the German and Czech 37mm guns. The 47mm wins HE hands down and beats the others in terms of ordinary AP performance. German tanks may have had some sub-caliber ammunition in June 1940 as a few rounds were flown in to anti-tank units some finding their way to the tanks, but it would've been very rare.

                2. You could mount large caliber HE firing weapon together with a small caliber high velocity AP weapon. That was the choice for the Char B1-bis, the US Medium M3 and the German Neubau-Fahrzeug, but not used in any of the tanks considered here.

                3. You could team up two tanks, one having the high-velocity AP firing weapon, the other the low-velocity HE firing gun. That is what the British did by mounted the 3.7" howitzer in some A10s to compliment the 2-pdr that equipped the bulk of A10s. The Germans did the same with the Panzer III and Panzer IV, using two different tanks. As a combo, the 2-pdr/3.7" A10 is hard to beat, assuming it had any HE to fire.

                The dual-purpose gun would always be my first choice, so the Somua is my pick for weaponry.

                As for mobility, the German and Czech tanks were way ahead of the Somua and A10 in terms of power-to-weight ratio. The 38t beat the rest by a considerable margin in terms of nominal ground pressure, the Somua and Panzer IV taking second and the A10 and Panzer III sharing third. But the big roadwheels of the 38t each carried a heavy load, placing it in third spot together with the Somua, far behind the Panzer III in second and the A10 and Panzer IV sharing first.

                On firm ground, the choice would be the 38t, when things start to get soggy, the Panzer IV.

                In terms of protection, the Somua is way ahead of the restand really the only one with protection that could consistently defeat some of the more common threats on the battlefield, perhaps struggling against the 2-pdr and the 3,7cm firing APCR. The rest were in danger of enemy anti-tank weapons at combat ranges up to about 500 meters. So Somua wins this one, the A10, Panzer III and Panzer IV making up the middle and the 38t loosing this round.

                In terms of fightability, the A10, Panzer III and Panzer IV have a considerable advantage in their three-man turrets. The two-man turret of the Panzer 38t being the second best thing while the 1,5 man turret of the Somua has to take last spot, particularily considering that the 38t had a four-man crew, allowing the radiooperator to concentrate on his work rather than dividing his time between radio traffic and assisting the commander.

                As for reliability, the Panzer III Ausf. F seems to have struggled a lot with transmission issues that weren't really solved until 1941. I'm not aware that the Panzer IV Ausf. D or the 38t should've had any undue mechanical problems at this time and the Somua as well as the A10 seems to have been fairly reliable as well.

                This is one hard to call!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
                  Of the tanks listed here, three have exceptional reliability, the Somua S-35, the Pz 38(t) and the A10. They also have a decent range of around 150 miles or so, making them the stand out tanks from a generals POV. All have better than average armour and weaponry compared to the standard Pz I's and II's, the main tanks of the Heer at this time.

                  The Somua has the superior AT weapon of the three and the thickest armour. The gun also fired APHE and HE, making it a useful dual purpose weapon. It is let down by the one man turret, but with a top speed of 45 kmph, it's the fastest, despite the lowest power to weight ratio of the three.

                  The Pz 38(t), is the lightest, and has least impressive gun and armour. Didn't stop Rommel considering it a very decent tank, and has the best power to weight ratio of the three, probably making it the most nimble of the three.

                  The A10 has equal or superior armour to the Pz III's and IV's. Its 2 pdr was a superior AT weapon to the 37mm, while its 94mm howitzer fired a HE shell over twice the weight of the Pz IV's. It is also much lighter than both, and almost as fast (38 vs 40kmph).

                  All three are equal or better than the III's and IV's on many important features, especially two usually overlooked; reliability and range. The Somua only fails against the III with its one man turret, but even then, combats between the two were one sided in favour of the French. Given that neither the III's or IV's were effective against the heavier French tanks, choosing a more nimble, cheaper and further reaching tank in the 38t would make more sense, than using III's and IV's. The A10 lacked a dual purpose gun, but the two available options are superior to the III's and IV's armaments in their primary roles. Otherwise, the A10 is equal or superior to the III's.

                  Of these three best, I'll go A10. It has a proper three man turret, and the best HE round of the war at this time on any tank.
                  Nick,where do you get the information from which leads you to conclude that the 3 and 4 had reliability issues?

                  The Somua is a non starter, it has a one man turret and that rules it out immediately no matter how good its other attributes are.
                  Even a Challenger 2 is no good with a one man turret crew.
                  It is a far more serious handicap than commonly given credit for.

                  The issue of range wasn't as important when traversing a first world nation with plentiful motor transport and a modern road infrastructure, tanks could and did fill up at civilian petrol stations.
                  Being short legged only really becomes a problem in vast wide open spaces such as the desert or the steppe.

                  The 4 could kill an A10 and vice versa but the A10 had to rely on MG fire to kill softies and as shown in the desert not a million years later this was a terrible disadvantage when confronting an ATk defence, this is not a good trait for an offensive tank to have.

                  The A10 was also too slow for sustained offensive action, at 16 mph for 30mm armour it was a cul de sac in tank design and unless the enemy were allergic to smoke their support version was worse than useless.

                  Tell me how a French TC in a Somua kept abreast of what was happening around him.
                  I have no doubt that a 47mm AP round smashing into a 4 would ruin its day but how did the TC keep tabs on where the other 4's are?
                  He had to pop up out of the turret to see what's going on, spot a tank then duck back inside,load the appropriate projjy, look through the sight to try and locate his target which has no doubt moved since he last seen it, this means he will have to pop out the turret again,spot it then duck back to his sight, all this and control his driver and possibly even his platoon or troop.
                  The proverbial one armed paper hanger comes to mind.

                  I believe there were a few HE rounds supplied to CS A10's, any idea how many per tank?

                  If you're going to vote A10 why not A12, it has much better armour,similar speed , a three man turret and the same armament and despite its reliability problems it seemed to keep going well enough?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Actually, I could have voted "other" and ask for a custom job.

                    Take the S-35 chassis & gun, and put a Mark III turret on it.
                    Or would that look too silly?
                    "Why is the Rum gone?"

                    -Captain Jack

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The A10 only served in France with 1st Armored division. Even then, they made up only a slim portion of the division's vehicles, and worse, most weren't even fully equipped for operation having been rushed into service straight from the factory. The CS version of the A9 and 10 often had no ammunition whatsoever for its 3.7" gun in France.

                      In action, 1st Armored Division proved almost completely ineffective, mostly because it was really just a hodgepodge of tanks without much in the way of support. The division's commander, Major-General Evans called it "(A) travesty of an armoured division. A formation with less than half its strength..."

                      So, the number of actions in which the A9, 10, and 13 fought was relatively small, and their effect on the campaign all but unnoticed. The Germans had, for all intents, already won the Battle of France decisively.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by flash View Post
                        I believe there were a few HE rounds supplied to CS A10's, any idea how many per tank?
                        Few to none, as discussed in another thread, and Fletcher asserts the weapon's short range made it questionable in the first place.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by DogDodger View Post
                          Few to none, as discussed in another thread, and Fletcher asserts the weapon's short range made it questionable in the first place.
                          Irrelevant. First, ammo load could be changed, and the 3.7" HE round was more than twice the weight of the German 75mm. Secondly, as an artillery piece, the 3.7" howitzer was known for its high rate of fire and accuracy. While ROF may suffer in a turret, its accuracy should not be. As for range, we only need to look at the Bishop to determine its limited elevation effect on range. We are essentially looking at just under half the artillery piece's normal, ie 3000m or more in this case. This is about the same as the Pz IV.

                          The original A10's 3.7" howitzer was replaced by a newer version, because the HE round was now 25 Ibs rather than 20 Ibs.
                          How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
                          Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
                            Irrelevant. First, ammo load could be changed, and the 3.7" HE round was more than twice the weight of the German 75mm. Secondly, as an artillery piece, the 3.7" howitzer was known for its high rate of fire and accuracy. While ROF may suffer in a turret, its accuracy should not be. As for range, we only need to look at the Bishop to determine its limited elevation effect on range. We are essentially looking at just under half the artillery piece's normal, ie 3000m or more in this case. This is about the same as the Pz IV.

                            The original A10's 3.7" howitzer was replaced by a newer version, because the HE round was now 25 Ibs rather than 20 Ibs.
                            No,sorry Nick old chum,very relevant indeed,the lack of HE rounds for what was the only gun in any armoured vehicle in the British inventory capable of firing them was a terribly serious handicap, how can it be anything else?

                            The claim that a company of sixteen tanks would be an effective unit , with one or two (not sure) being a CS version armed with smoke rounds and perhaps one or two HE rounds is quite simply ludicrous.
                            This is a thread aimed at trying to come to a consensus on what tank would be best at performing an offensive role in 1940 is it not?

                            Well, the only three tanks that proved they definitely could do that and without a shadow of doubt were the 38t, 3 and 4.
                            The proof is unfortunately in the pudding Nick.
                            Choose from one of these three and you won't go far wrong.
                            Last edited by flash; 21 Jan 17, 21:44.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
                              Irrelevant. First, ammo load could be changed, and the 3.7" HE round was more than twice the weight of the German 75mm. Secondly, as an artillery piece, the 3.7" howitzer was known for its high rate of fire and accuracy. While ROF may suffer in a turret, its accuracy should not be. As for range, we only need to look at the Bishop to determine its limited elevation effect on range. We are essentially looking at just under half the artillery piece's normal, ie 3000m or more in this case. This is about the same as the Pz IV.

                              The original A10's 3.7" howitzer was replaced by a newer version, because the HE round was now 25 Ibs rather than 20 Ibs.
                              The 3.7" close support howitzer in the CS tanks was not the same as the 3.7" howitzer of the Royal Artillery: Taylor notes that "The Ordnance QF 3.7" Mortar used as a Close Support (CS) tank gun was not actually a mortar; it was a breech loading howitzer, and was deliberately given this misleading designation in order to differentiate this weapon from the wheeled 3.7" Howitzer used by the RA and which had completely different ammunition."

                              But in any case, just how much historical revisionism are we permitted with these thought exercises? If we're to give CS tanks large loadouts of ammunition with which they may not have ever been supplied in order that can perform missions for which they weren't really intended, why not just issue 2 pounder tanks with the HE shells manufactured for the antitank gun and be done with it? German reports from France were decently happy with the 3.7 cm HE, and a Matilda II with even a small HE shell would be definitely worthy of reconsideration...

                              Comment

                              Latest Topics

                              Collapse

                              Working...
                              X