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  • Originally posted by cbo View Post
    Agreed - most people would be surprised to learn just how much was tried for the first time in WWI and with WWI tanks.

    I was a bit sad to see the Christie go out in Round 3 - it was a hugely influential design. But I can see that I tend to emphasize influence on future technical developments quite a lot compared with some voters. Still, it lost out to the runner-up Rhomboids, so I guess you can say it did pretty well.

    The next in my top three was the T-34 which made it to Round 5 and lost to the winner - the FT-17, which also happened to by in my top three.

    I was - pleasantly - suprised that the Panther never made it beyond Round 1. Reflects well on the ability of the voters to discern between "best" and "significant and influential". It and the Tiger in Round 3 both fell to the T-34, so pairing may have something to do with it, but I still find it very positive that all the buzz about these German tanks did not unduly influence the outcome of the poll.
    Most surprising was that the Panzer IV made it so far. I had it loose to the Panzer III in Round 1, but I guess it made a lucky pairing with the Cromwell/Comet in Round 2 before falling for the Sherman in Round 3.

    And I remain somewhat baffled on how much emphasis voters put on the Rhomboids being first in battle
    The Panther would probably have lasted longer if it hadn't been paired against the T-34 in Round 1. However, regardless of the pairings I couldn't see it getting past half-way.

    As for the "first" thing, I do understand why people find it so compelling even though I do not always agree (necessarily); or in many cases I may only partially agree.

    Here's how I see it:

    Understanding the tanks helps with construction of the poll.
    Understanding what makes people tick helps with understanding some of the results.

    "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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    • I'd like to say thanks for putting on this campaign. I enjoyed it very much.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
        The Panther can never be seen to be a best tank because it has significant weaknesses in both of the primary roles of a tank.

        In the assault role, it simply has too much side profile (it's as tall as a Tiger 1 and even longer than that cat), without affording any better protection than Western designs. Indeed, the Cromwell is a far smaller target, only 5 tons over half the weight of the Pz V, but has superior overall side protection. Part of this is either down to thickness or spaced armour, and some of it is down to that none of the Panthers ammo was stored in armoured bins. Panthers were noted for burning quickly.

        In the exploitation role, the fact that the Panther is far more likely to need a new final drive unit before a Cromwell needs a change of lubricants speaks volumes (150kms vs 250kms).

        Further, the Cromwell is unlikely to be considered best tank of WW2, hence my use of it as an example of how flawed the Panther was.
        I would add to these flaws the fact that the Panther is going to overheat after approximately thirty minutes of hard riding and had limited visibility for its crew.
        John

        Play La Marseillaise. Play it!

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        • Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
          Agreed up to a point .

          The requirements for an afv in the East was different from that in the West, and remains true to this day. This is due to the vast distances involved and the nature of the terrain. Certainly the need for armoured cars was more of a priority than a tank, and the Russians were certainly buying and using French and British A/C's well before the advent of the tank. However, I would suggest mechanised cavalry rather than armoured warfare is the term best used to describe their use of afv's.
          The usage you describe reflect the two major roles of the modern tank - breakthrough and recce/pursuit. The Eastern Front (WWI) was was more diffuse of soldiers per mile and the front lines were less static, resulting in a more cavalry favourable environment. The Western Front, otoh, required a relearning of siege warfare and methods of breaking it. It wasn't so much the terrain as the number of soldiers per mile.

          Comment


          • I've read a lot about Panthers in combat now (history of 23rd, 3rd, GD).

            On the eastern front, they were overall unsuccessful in 1943 but they did much better in 1944. But their operational numbers were often low, which limited their use.

            The large scale total write offs of panthers in 1943 largely decline in 1944 even though the retreats are just as crisis filled.
            Zhitomir-Berdichev, West of Kiev: 24 Dec 1943-31 Jan 1944
            Stalin's Favorite: The Combat History of the 2nd Guards Tank Army
            Barbarossa Derailed I & II
            Battle of Kalinin October 1941

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            • Yea, something like this. The Soviets and the Germans tend to concentrate their armor in their attacking, rather than defending units.

              To make up for the defensive shortfall, they relied on anti-tank guns for the defense.

              A major difference in the east vs. west fronts (1943-1945) were the hundred plus 'destroyer' units. These groups of (20, 60 anti-tank guns) would be deployed to seal off entire areas. They were the bane of the panzers and were the core of their anti-tank defense.

              This was a casualty-intensive way of anti-tank defense though, as all these At guns (which doubled as infantry guns/light artillery) had to be manned.

              The kill claims of German panzers in the east were often evenly split between tanks and anti-tank guns. When these destroyer regiments/brigades were flanked by panzers and infantry, they often suffered badly with the large group of guns being knocked out or captured.

              The Western allies were much less reliant on Anti-tank guns, but rather countered panzers with their evenly distributed and large quantities of tanks and TDs.

              Originally posted by broderickwells View Post
              The usage you describe reflect the two major roles of the modern tank - breakthrough and recce/pursuit. The Eastern Front (WWI) was was more diffuse of soldiers per mile and the front lines were less static, resulting in a more cavalry favourable environment. The Western Front, otoh, required a relearning of siege warfare and methods of breaking it. It wasn't so much the terrain as the number of soldiers per mile.
              Zhitomir-Berdichev, West of Kiev: 24 Dec 1943-31 Jan 1944
              Stalin's Favorite: The Combat History of the 2nd Guards Tank Army
              Barbarossa Derailed I & II
              Battle of Kalinin October 1941

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
                The Christie design was excellent for afv's up to about 35tons. Once battle/medium tanks became heavier, eg M26/Panther/Centurion, it was an evolutionary dead end.
                True, if you look only at the suspension technology Christie employed. But the real revolution of his design was not the method he used but what used it for - individually sprung, large diameter wheels allowing the tank to move fast while maintaining cross-country mobility. In that sense, there is a good deal of Christie in every modern tank, many WWII tanks and most post-war tanks.

                The Rhomboid was the shape required for the battlefield at the time. Its significance was that it proved a tracked afv was a viable concept for the battlefield, and that armoured warfare was possible, something no other WW1 afv could have achieved, not even the FT-17.
                I dont really agree with that, but that probably does not come as a surprise to anyone

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                • Originally posted by cbo View Post
                  I dont really agree with that, but that probably does not come as a surprise to anyone
                  You don't agree with that in what way?

                  Here is an excerpt from “Renault F.T. Armor In Profile”, by Pierre Touzin & Christian Gurtner, translated from French by Stevenson Pugh. It seems to be unusually honest about the shortcomings of the Renault FT (at least the engine in the Rhomboid was right there in the tank and, if a new fanbelt could be installed to fix a problem, you didnt need to leave the tank to do it):

                  “Although the first four vehicles had been delivered to the Ministry in September 1917 it was not until March 1918 that the first were received by the Army. The first unit to be equipped was 501 Regiment de Chars de Combat which had three battalions. The first engagement in which Renault FT 17 light tanks took part was on 31st May 1918 during the battle for the Forest of Retz. This was a crucial point in the great German summer offensive and the light tanks, although committed in small numbers, contrary to the original concept of using them in massed attack, did well and, in addition to performing the invaluable service of stiffening the hard-pressed French Infantry, were credited with a major contribution to the final checking of the offensive. The fighting continued until 2nd July when the 501 Regiment was placed in reserve with the 10th Army. Later that month, on 18th July, 480 FTs were concentrated in the French counteroffensive at Soissons where they achieved the success of breaking the German line in the opening attack, without artillery preparation. Their advance that day of four miles could not be furthered, however, for the classic reason that no arm of exploitation yet existed other than the Cavalry who, once again, failed.
                  The tanks ordered from Berliet commenced delivery at the beginning of July 1918 and were followed soon after by those from the other constructors. From the time of the first engagements it became apparent that large base workshops were necessary to repair and overhaul great numbers of vehicles in order to alleviate the shortages resulting, for the most part, from the indecisions and delays at their introduction. As a result a vast tank park and workshops were established at Bourron, close to the Front in May 1918. This establishment achieved an output of between eight and nine tank repairs and overhauls a day with the assistance of specialist American workers.
                  From the beginning of September 1918, at the request of the Ministry for Armaments, which had not participated in setting up Bourron, tanks in need of overhaul were sent back to factories in the interior. One of the most common breakdowns was severed fanbelts which could not be changed inside the tank. This was a constant worry to the crews, especially on the battlefield and no remedy was found before the end of the war.
                  The 37 mm. gun was designed to fire a high explosive steel shell which was much superior to the common cast-iron shell charged with powder but, following development problems- and particularly bursting gun barrels during trials-General Estienne decided to use the classical cast-iron shell in service with the infantry. This proved entirely satisfactory.
                  On Armistice Day, 11th November 1918, the total light tank strength of the French Army was as follows: 1,991 tanks fit for combat, 369 under repair and 360 out of use-a total of 2,720. These equipped 27 battalions in nine regiments numbered 501 to 509. At the same date the number of light tanks ordered was 4,635 of which 3,177 had been delivered to the Ministry for Armaments.
                  None of the 1,200 light tanks ordered in the U.S.A. were delivered before the end of the war but a number of American units were equipped with the French FT and saw action in France.”

                  What I find interesting about this small account is that it describes how valuable the Renaults were at blunting the German offensive of 1918 and counter attacking. Certainly an admirable and invaluable accomplishment. However, I dont see any references to the Renault's being used against and enemy entrenched for a year or more with forests of barbed wire and pillboxes. Interestingly, there is a photo of an FT with fascines attached to the front to drop into trenches. Nor are these fascines the solid bundle of sticks like the Brits used, they are hollow -- sort of like a barrel of sticks. Maybe this work for the Renaults because they are lighter.
                  O Lord, bless this thy hand grenade, that with it thou mayst blow thine enemies to tiny bits, in thy mercy. And the Lord did grin. And the people did feast upon the lambs, sloths, carp, anchovies, orangutans, breakfast cereals, fruit bats

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Blair Maynard View Post
                    You don't agree with that in what way?

                    Here is an excerpt from “Renault F.T. Armor In Profile”, by Pierre Touzin & Christian Gurtner, translated from French by Stevenson Pugh. It seems to be unusually honest about the shortcomings of the Renault FT (at least the engine in the Rhomboid was right there in the tank and, if a new fanbelt could be installed to fix a problem, you didnt need to leave the tank to do it):

                    “Although the first four vehicles had been delivered to the Ministry in September 1917 it was not until March 1918 that the first were received by the Army. The first unit to be equipped was 501 Regiment de Chars de Combat which had three battalions. The first engagement in which Renault FT 17 light tanks took part was on 31st May 1918 during the battle for the Forest of Retz. This was a crucial point in the great German summer offensive and the light tanks, although committed in small numbers, contrary to the original concept of using them in massed attack, did well and, in addition to performing the invaluable service of stiffening the hard-pressed French Infantry, were credited with a major contribution to the final checking of the offensive. The fighting continued until 2nd July when the 501 Regiment was placed in reserve with the 10th Army. Later that month, on 18th July, 480 FTs were concentrated in the French counteroffensive at Soissons where they achieved the success of breaking the German line in the opening attack, without artillery preparation. Their advance that day of four miles could not be furthered, however, for the classic reason that no arm of exploitation yet existed other than the Cavalry who, once again, failed.
                    The tanks ordered from Berliet commenced delivery at the beginning of July 1918 and were followed soon after by those from the other constructors. From the time of the first engagements it became apparent that large base workshops were necessary to repair and overhaul great numbers of vehicles in order to alleviate the shortages resulting, for the most part, from the indecisions and delays at their introduction. As a result a vast tank park and workshops were established at Bourron, close to the Front in May 1918. This establishment achieved an output of between eight and nine tank repairs and overhauls a day with the assistance of specialist American workers.
                    From the beginning of September 1918, at the request of the Ministry for Armaments, which had not participated in setting up Bourron, tanks in need of overhaul were sent back to factories in the interior. One of the most common breakdowns was severed fanbelts which could not be changed inside the tank. This was a constant worry to the crews, especially on the battlefield and no remedy was found before the end of the war.
                    The 37 mm. gun was designed to fire a high explosive steel shell which was much superior to the common cast-iron shell charged with powder but, following development problems- and particularly bursting gun barrels during trials-General Estienne decided to use the classical cast-iron shell in service with the infantry. This proved entirely satisfactory.
                    On Armistice Day, 11th November 1918, the total light tank strength of the French Army was as follows: 1,991 tanks fit for combat, 369 under repair and 360 out of use-a total of 2,720. These equipped 27 battalions in nine regiments numbered 501 to 509. At the same date the number of light tanks ordered was 4,635 of which 3,177 had been delivered to the Ministry for Armaments.
                    None of the 1,200 light tanks ordered in the U.S.A. were delivered before the end of the war but a number of American units were equipped with the French FT and saw action in France.”

                    What I find interesting about this small account is that it describes how valuable the Renaults were at blunting the German offensive of 1918 and counter attacking. Certainly an admirable and invaluable accomplishment. However, I dont see any references to the Renault's being used against and enemy entrenched for a year or more with forests of barbed wire and pillboxes. Interestingly, there is a photo of an FT with fascines attached to the front to drop into trenches. Nor are these fascines the solid bundle of sticks like the Brits used, they are hollow -- sort of like a barrel of sticks. Maybe this work for the Renaults because they are lighter.
                    Enjoyed this. Thanks .

                    The influence of the FT-17 cannot be denied, its basic layout still being copied today. As the most important single tank design, it deserved to reach the final. In the same light, the T-34 deserved to get to the semi-finals, which I believe is the second most influential tank of all time. It caused the Nazi's to actually panic over their designs, rushing in the flawed Panthers and Tiger 2's, both too early for the technology available at that time.

                    Whether the FT-17 was a good tank or not is relatively unimportant as far as this thread is concerned. Imho, 'good/great' is part of significance, along with numbers built, time introduced, usefulness etc, and thus only a relatively small element of the reason to choose a winner for this poll. The FT-17 had very little real impact on WW1, although it certainly saved Allied lives, and so its significance on the battlefield is not as important as the Rhomboids.

                    Several tanks did not get as far as they deserved, somtimes due to the pairings. This includes both the T-55 and T-64. Some got further than they should, such as the Leopard 1 or Sherman. I believe some people got carried away with choosing best rather most significant/influential.
                    How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
                    Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post

                      Several tanks did not get as far as they deserved, somtimes due to the pairings. This includes both the T-55 and T-64. Some got further than they should, such as the Leopard 1 or Sherman. I believe some people got carried away with choosing best rather most significant/influential.
                      I agree

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Capt AFB View Post
                        I agree
                        Thanks .

                        The biggest upset was the Leopard 1 vs the T-64. Both were built in the same numbers and introduced about the same time. Neither were significant as far as combat is concerned.

                        As far as design influence is concerned, the basic thought process behind the Leopard 1 was a dead end. However, given that its important hard elements were prioritised in the order of manoeuvre, firepower and then armour, I think plenty of M18 Hellcat TD fans will naturally be drawn to this German tank, almost an anti-Tiger.

                        On the other hand, the T-64 should have actually won against the Leopard 1, as it did form the basis of modern Russian and some former satellite countries armour. The leopard 1 and the T-64 draw on significance and the former should lose on influence. The German tank should not have won that round.

                        Likewise, the M4 Sherman climbed too far in this particular poll. I rate the M4 2nd or 3rd best tank of WW2, depending on where I place the T-34, but this is not a best poll.

                        Let's compare the Sherman against an inferior tank, such as the Valentine. Neither had any real influence on future tank designs. Both were robust and reliable, needing relatively little maintenance compared to most other tanks. Both were under armed in tank on tank actions against the Axis. Both were the US and UK/Canadians most produced tank. As far as influence in future tank designs is concerned, both were a dead end, and both show inherent weaknesses in their design philosophy.

                        Both the Sherman and Valentine fail the influence test. Significance is another matter.

                        The fact that the M4 was most numerous tank in the W Allied arsenal by 44 is not in question. However, by this time the war was already won, ie the M4 did not win the war. On the other hand, the Valentine was there when it was most needed, ie prior to El Alamein, and on the Eastern Front in front of Moscow in 41.

                        3332 Valentines were received by the Soviets, against 4102 M4's sent to them. However, of these, 3172 Shermans were sent during the 4th Protocol phase, ie between 1st July 44 and 30th June 45. This is effectively after Operation Bagration, at best, which means once more the British tank was made available in numbers when it really mattered (3332 vs a maximum of 930).

                        Even in the PTO, the NZ were using their 255 Valentines to great effect, long before the vast majority of the Shermans arrived (6 Battalions iirc).

                        The Sherman may have been one of the best tanks of WW2 (2nd or 3rd depending on where I place the T-34), but by the time it was available in numbers on the battlefield, the war was already won. Let me repeat that, the M4 did not win the war, any more than the last man in a relay team wins the race.

                        This is not a best tank poll, and plenty of WW2 tanks, never mind some tanks from other era's, deserve a higher place than the Sherman.
                        How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
                        Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

                        Comment


                        • Now that I have dismissed the Leopard 1 and M4 poll placements as probable aberrations (see above), its time to reflect on the tanks that should have made the top positions.

                          The Rhomboids vs the FT-17 was the right final. These two are the tops as far as this poll is concerned.

                          The T-34 deserved to be in the semi-final as it was both considerably significant on the battlefield and influential in tank design.

                          These are my top 3. A definite top 4 I'm not sure about.

                          When it comes to the top 8, I feel I'm on firmer ground. Apart from the FT-17, the Rhomboids and the T-34, I cannot really think of a tank that was both extremely significant and extremely influential. However, tanks that have had real impact in at least one of these areas, if not a little on the other as well, include the T-55, T-64, Centurion, Tiger 1, Abrams and Panther.

                          A far as influence is concerned, the Tiger 1 wins on public perception, at least in the West. If any tank can be named from WW2 it will be the Tiger, specifically the 1st one. The Panther was the right concept for a post WW2 tank, if not the right one for WW2 itself. The Centurion was a Panther that was built correctly and performed admirably. The T-55 is the AK-47 of tank designs, and the T-64 is the precursor of all modern Russian designs.

                          When it comes to most S/I modern design I agree with Dibble that the Leopard 2 is the most influenced, rather than influential modern tank. As much as i like the Merkava or Challenger, the Abrams wins the modern round. There is no other proven contender in my opinion, which is all my post is.

                          Personally I remain convinced (until proved otherwise), that the Rhomboids, the FT-17 and T-34 should be in the top 3, and in that order. Certainly I don't see any other tank coming close. When it comes to the top 8, I would probably add Abrams, Centurion, T-55, Panther and Tiger 1.

                          This is not a best tank poll after all.
                          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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                          • I often apply the History Channel yardstick to ratings, although sometimes I think they're out of their minds.

                            Thing is, they consider Innovation, Service Life and an intangible they call Fear Factor as three of their five measurements in determining "best of".


                            This was one of the best contests we have had, IMHO, because it required a different approach to determine what we thought was "best" in the context of the contest.
                            Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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                            • Important Notice

                              To all members who participated in the Most Significant/Influential Tank Campaign:

                              It has recently been brought to the attention of staff, that some members were either not fully aware, or not aware at all, of the minimum level of participation required for awarding of the Campaign Ribbon.

                              Members needed to vote in at least 5 out of the 6 Rounds in the campaign, in order to be entitled to receive the Ribbon. (In other words, members could miss one Round and still get the Ribbon but if they missed voting in two or more Rounds they would not get it.) This requirement was mentioned during the opening stage of the Campaign in the supporting thread; however it has since become evident that the message was not communicated as effectively as it should have been.

                              Furthermore, because we went for a period of more than a year without a Campaign prior to Most Significant/Influential Tank, many members - and this even included some of the Staff - had not been completely certain regarding the level of participation that should be set.

                              Therefore, in the interests of fairness to all involved we have decided on this one occasion only to extend the award to include all members who voted in at least 4 of the 6 Rounds in the Most Significant/Influential Tank Campaign.

                              Please note that from now on and for any future Campaigns, we would expect all members to appreciate and understand the following:

                              (1) That a certain minimum level of participation is set for each and every Campaign, in order to qualify for the Ribbon. The current minimum requirement is as follows:

                              In a 5-Round Campaign - vote in at least 4 Rounds
                              In a 6-Round Campaign - vote in at least 5 Rounds
                              In a 7-Round Campaign - vote in at least 6 Rounds

                              Note: There is no specified number regarding how many polls you vote in, in each Round; so if a Round contains a number of polls and you are not comfortable voting in some of them, you don't have to, provided you vote in at least one. The only stipulation is that you must not completely miss more than one Round.

                              (2) The Staff reserves the right to change the minimum requirement for awarding of a ribbon, if this is deemed appropriate at some future stage based on input from the membership together with due and fair deliberation among the Staff and the Council of Peers. However, if any such changes are made, these will be communicated clearly to the membership prior to the commencement of the next Campaign.

                              (3) Staff and any other members involved in running a Campaign will ensure that all vital information, including the minimum requirement for awarding the Ribbon, will be clearly stated up-front in a supporting thread at the beginning of each Campaign.

                              (4) If a member fails to meet the minimum requirement for the awarding of a ribbon but nevertheless strongly feels that there are genuine mitigating circumstances in their particular case, the member can lodge an appeal. Each appeal will be duly and fairly considered by Staff and any decision made - be it in favour of or against giving the award - will be final.


                              Last edited by panther3485; 21 Nov 14, 23:41.
                              "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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