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  • Originally posted by m kenny View Post
    A significant number of US losses were tanks that were simply abandoned.
    Indeed the Germans got quite a number of intact examples which were used against their former owners. One example (details elude me) was of around 20 fully functioning Shermans taken in a single swoop.
    Anyway the point is you never ever hear anyone trying to knock these tanks out of the Allied loss tables. No one even bothers trying.
    However in the case of a tank with a black cross on it................
    I would agree. A loss is a loss, regardless of how it happens. That is why I maintain that Sherman was a strategic asset, successful because of conditions (within the Allied force structure) under which it fought. Tactically, however, when a Sherman crew was face to face with Pz V it had to rely on other "assets" (local and global) than just gun and armour to be successful.

    On the other hand, the Pz V crew could point, shoot and kill with little need for maneouvre, calling on artillery, TDs, aircraft. Not surprising considering the differences between the two tanks but this fact is an important mark against Sherman.

    Allied units had the advantage of supporting arms, numbers, better tactics by 1944 (doctine is questionable since the allies didn't really have one per se) and training. Sherman's success stems from aspects not directly related to gun and armour, and thus tank killing ability, and it was these two critical components that were built into all tanks post war.
    The Purist

    Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

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    • Originally posted by Cult Icon View Post
      It's interesting, though, when one reads about the 1 SS Panzer corps in the bulge. The Panthers of the 1. SS/ 12.SS division were used in a pretty brazen manner as a spearhead of sorts- rushing through towns and bridges without proper recon, making full frontal attacks against a prepared enemy with TD/tank support, and thus taking losses accordingly.

      I do suspect that the German commanders were trying to trade tanks for time.
      I would say also perhaps, it could be seen as a measure of German desperation by this stage of the war?
      "Chatfield, there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"
      Vice Admiral Beatty to Flag Captain Chatfield; Battle of Jutland, 31 May - 1 June, 1916.

      Comment


      • I doubt it was either desperation or trading tanks for anything. German practice had always been to keep the pace of operations high so as not to allow the opposition time to react or reorganise. Minor losses were to be traded for disrupting the opposition. The only problem was that in 1940 and 1941 where the opposition had limited means to react in 1944 the US army had plenty of kit and was generally far more experienced.

        Losses to the scattered engineer parties with a few AT guns were actually quite light, the loss of time to push these roadblocks aside was not. The loss of a few important bridges and the redirection of the advance or countermarching looking for crossings ate more time the Germans did not have. In the end the US were able to build defences first at the shoulders and then along the flanks the Germans did not have the strength to overcome (weather, road net and just too many stubborn Americans). Within 48 hours the US forces on both flanks of VIII Corps were on the move and these wiped out the numerical advantages the Germans had in the first day or two. The German command did not think the US army could react that fast and it threw their timetable completely off.
        The Purist

        Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

        Comment


        • I was pointing more to the Ardennes offensive in itself, being a symptom of German desperation particularly at that stage of the war; seen even more IMO in their determination to push as far as possible, as fast as possible. A particular 'urgency' in this case perhaps, even more than had usually been the case before? Reckless, even?

          A last desperate gamble in the West, to gain ... what?
          "Chatfield, there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"
          Vice Admiral Beatty to Flag Captain Chatfield; Battle of Jutland, 31 May - 1 June, 1916.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by panther3485 View Post
            I was pointing more to the Ardennes offensive in itself, being a symptom of German desperation particularly at that stage of the war; seen even more IMO in their determination to push as far as possible, as fast as possible. A particular 'urgency' in this case perhaps, even more than had usually been the case before? Reckless, even?

            A last desperate gamble in the West, to gain ... what?
            Moreover, people are overlooking the forest for the trees. The Ardennes is a ridiculous place to deploy tanks, the complete opposite of the wide open steppes of Russia, where the Panther was in its element. Hemmed in by the trees, the German tanks fared no better than Soviet tanks had against the Finns. In such circumstances, the only conclusion that might be drawn is how well Panzers fought in snowy woods.

            Regards
            Scott Fraser
            Ignorance is not the lack of knowledge. It is the refusal to learn.

            A contentedly cantankerous old fart

            Comment


            • The Ardennes worked in 1940, so should work in 44, or so gambled Hitler. A big problem with the 'Bulge' was the new line of attack, which was not well supported by roads. A second big problem was the heavy weight and fuel inefficiency of the Cats themselves for this purpose.

              It's all very well having an ace tank killing piece of kit, but if it can't be where it needs to be, it is useless. German tanks were fine defensive pieces of equipment, and their superiority should be seen specifically in that context. None of the latter designs were suitable of extended offensive operations, and thus by 44, they did not field a really decent medium needed by an advancing army, such as the Soviets or W Allies.

              Tanks should be seen in what was actually required of them, and how successful they were in those roles.
              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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              • It should also be pointed out, I think, that an armoured force transiting through the Ardennes, to emerge for offensive action on the other side, is one thing. For an armoured force to engage in a substantial offensive action within the Ardennes, quite another.
                "Chatfield, there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"
                Vice Admiral Beatty to Flag Captain Chatfield; Battle of Jutland, 31 May - 1 June, 1916.

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                • If a fuel dump... or two get captured early? Does that change the outcome at all to you guys?
                  SPORTS FREAK/ PANZERBLITZ COMMANDER/ CC2 COMMANDER

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                  • Originally posted by dgfred View Post
                    If a fuel dump... or two get captured early? Does that change the outcome at all to you guys?
                    No
                    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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                    • Originally posted by dgfred View Post
                      If a fuel dump... or two get captured early? Does that change the outcome at all to you guys?
                      Zero difference. The Germans lack the trucks, manpower, and support engineering to move the fuel to where it is needed.

                      Comment


                      • Well ok then...
                        SPORTS FREAK/ PANZERBLITZ COMMANDER/ CC2 COMMANDER

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                          Through the end of 1942 losses between US fighter aircraft and Zeros was dead even for all intents. That is the loss ratio was 1 to 1. For other Japanese aircraft the loss rate steadly climbed to horrific levels around 10 to 1.
                          As I understand it, although what always struck me is that the Zero was less well protected, and packed less of a punch, but managed to get 1-1, which sort of suggested it was having the better of it.

                          Some of the stats around Guadalcanal also seemed to miss the distances wounded zeros needed to travel to get home if memory serves, but the situation was certainly not as bad as the post war myths would have us believe.

                          The inferior remark was from the Allied side of things. They wanted a fighter sufficently superior that the fight was completely one-sided. I don't blame pilots for that at all. The Japanese pilots wanted the same thing. They recognized the Zero was having great difficulty shooting down heavily armored and well built Allied aircraft even in 1942 and by 1943 they knew the plane was little more than a death trap.
                          Yes, but under the current terms of the Sherman argument, the F4 Corsair is an inferior aircraft to the Oscar if the Oscar is fueled up, and the Corsair bone dry. For that matter, the Sopwith Camel owns the Raptor on this basis.

                          Not really a comfortable position for me.

                          Regards,
                          ID

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by The Purist View Post
                            Me thinks the argument is split between "scope" or perhaps Macro vs Micro applications of armour. If one is looking at a map on a table and the symbols denote brigades or divisions and the map scale is 1:100,000 then, yes, Sherman does look like a mighty fine piece of war fighting kit. However, if the symbols on the map are platoons or coys and the map scale is 1:10,000 then Sherman is going to look definitely weaker than Mk V or VI. There is simply no way around the differences in the gun-armour statistics.

                            This is the difference in the two arguments. "Strategically" Sherman has the advantage over Mk V because it ran longer, further and in greater numbers. Wonderful if you are a major general in charge of a division or corps. "Tactically", where armour thickness, first shot and penetration power means the difference betwixt life and death Sherman comes out a distant second, arguably third to Mk V.

                            If warfare was fought just from the 1:100,000 scale map then Sherman w/ a 75mm gun is all you need. Unfortunately, for the captain or sergeant, his life experience in war is fought at 1:10,000 scale so he will seek, demand actually, thicker armour and bigger guns. As fine a machine as Sherman was, especially in 1942-43, it was not a Mk V in 1944 and this experience is why the US came up with M26 and later M47, 48, 60 and M1. They realised that a future war could not be won by the continuance of the Sherman template and what they needed was a "better" Mk V. So Sherman, like the heavy brands Mk VI and Soviet IS, gave way to a merging of Mk V combat capabilities with Sherman automotive ones.

                            MBTs took the field.
                            Exceptionally well put, although one caveat (for me) would be that the Sherman only looks that good at the macro level for the Allies because of their logistics. For any nation on the defensive, with little or no POL reaching front line units, the Sherman was fit for little more than keeping out the rain.

                            However, your thesis fits the veteran's evidence, which is more than can be said for some....

                            Regards,
                            ID

                            Comment


                            • So much for not wanting a fight...

                              Originally posted by m kenny View Post
                              Better qualified men than you have said as much over the years however I am still here,
                              I am content to be in good company, then.

                              still at the sharp end and still bringing facts to the fore.
                              Facts are nought without analysis. Although I'm on record praising your skills as a tactical historian. You also tend to slant facts which is not quite the same thing as bringing them to the fore.

                              There has been a a remarkable shift in perceptions as to the 'superiority' of the Panzer Arm in the last decade. I can only hope my small contribution in this area has been of some help..
                              What evidence would you point to for this shift? I didn't feel that Jarymowicz or Buckley or Kershaw really had that much to say on this per se. Di Nardo points to a declining quality as fuel ran out and training was curtailed, but that's hardly revolutionary.

                              Buckley suggests the British became proficient at combined arms in time for Bluecoat, but lost it again thereafter, which is more a comment on British proficiency than one on German. Outside of your posts, what recent written analysis would you point to for this shift?

                              I am not one of those souls with a penchant for long rambling threads minutely dissecting of the writings of von Moltke or true definitions of obscure words in German Tactical writings I simply look at what happened. I believe if you get the correct answer how you got it (by accident or default) is unimportant.
                              Which is all I've ever criticised you for. You have pre-conceived notions you cherish but no desire to waste time with analysis to support or destroy them.

                              For a historian, I found the last sentence laughable, but then that's just me.

                              Look at the actions and look at the results. The Sherman ('Sherman' is shorthand for all Allied tanks) proved it was capable of defeating the small number of tanks that completely outclassed it. It worked. You can whinge about 'not a fair fight' I care only about the end result.
                              But a Jeep Army will overwhelm an Abrams platoon. This is a thread about tank quality. Your argument is "Sherman won so was the best". I can imagine you puffing out your chest and sticking out your tongue as you say it.

                              This is also a long way from trying to evidence the Sherman could defeat Tiger armour frontally at 1000 yards by showing us a picture of a messed up driver's viewing slit. I believe your position has subtly changed, and (hold on whilst I get the quote)

                              I can only hope my small contribution in this area has been of some help..
                              Point me to a book(s) written by Pz IV crewman who praised his tanks performance in Normandy.
                              Who mentioned the MKIV, throughout all our great arguments, I've only ever talked about Cats. I can quote you dozens of veterans who thought the Sherman was outclassed by that third of the German tank arm.

                              The 900 Pz IVs were the tanks most likely to engage a Sherman/Churchill/Cromwell.
                              Quite possibly.

                              Did the 1000 odd Stug/SP crew see their chances of survival as any better than an Allied tanker?

                              I suspect (like most of the star struck WPE devotees) you are speaking only of the 700 odd Panthers and 150 Tigers who valiantly engaged the 8,000 Allied tanks.
                              You are definately changing your position, because this allows for the sherman to be inferior to the Cats, but not the majority of the German tanks. How far were you from Damascus when you fell from your horse?

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by m kenny View Post
                                So there is some universal rule for a tanks purpose that is made by.................?
                                You are dragging the argument back to the German design parameters for heavy tanks and thus (in my eyes) rigging the race so that your man wins.
                                Nonsense. I am saying that one American praising the Sherman as befitting of how Americans viewed armour battles should be fought in theory, fades quickly away when put against dozens of Americans cursing the sherman when viewing it from how armour was actually fought in practice.

                                The most dangerous profession in WW2 was as an infantry soldier. By comparison tankers had an easy life.
                                How many tanker veteran's reunions do you get invited to?

                                Much is implied about 'horrific' Allied tank crew losses but was it so?
                                We have some very detailed US figures and I think the numbers will suprise many.
                                Implied means it isn't actually said, doesn't it? Turn down the heating, this forthcoming straw man is a fire hazard.

                                In WW2 the US Armor branch had a grand total of 1, 581 deaths.
                                Yes that is not an error the number is 1,581.
                                But we are debating whether the Sherman was a good vehicle when it met the Cats in Normandy. I've never suggested that it was anything other than competitive in the desert et al before that.

                                How do these figures break down year by year?

                                Remember that 1581 deaths may well mean another 4500 injured.


                                The Cavalry branch has to be included because it used tanks as well. Even though a lot of the Cavalry deaths were suffered in other vehicles (like 670 knocked out M8 Arm. Cars) we will include them.
                                Cavalry deaths = 5,135

                                5,135 + 1581 = 6,716 deaths
                                The total number of US tanks lost 1944-45 in the NWE was c. 6,300.
                                Add in Italy and Africa and you get 7,500 max.
                                Please remind me again how the Sherman is a 'death trap'
                                Which means that 7500 tanks produced in the order of 20000 - 25000 casualties, unless you're suggesting that a tank hit by HV weaponry never saw anyone injured, only killed or unharmed.

                                I thought Buckley cited evidence that the average number of KIA when a tank was hit was no more than 2 in Normandy, so I suspect a little of the infamous MKenny smoke is drifting nonchalantly across the battlefield here.

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