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  • #46
    Originally posted by IronDuke View Post
    But why are they mounting 100mm and 122mm calibre weapons? Are German bunkers and trenches getting deeper and better protected by 1944, or are German tanks proving more difficult to kill?

    I'm happy to concede the Soviets chose balanced weapons, but then they were mounting uber cannon that were going to stand a chance against most tanks whether they were optimised for AT or not.

    Besides, the Panther weapon was AT first. The Firefly and Sherman 76 were the in demand models by mid late 1944 but neither was as effective as the Sherman 75 with HE.

    The trend to heavier armour and bigger calibre weapons is being driven by anti armour capability. My MK IVs can't hurt his T34/76, I need a bigger weapon on them, and a heavier tank to duel with them next year.

    My T34/76 cannot cope with their Panthers and Tigers, I need a bigger weapon to duel with them.

    My Tiger won't have the same advantage over the IS II it had over the T34 range, send for the King Tiger.

    This is simplified but the general point is valid. Tanks got bigger to kill other tanks.

    Regards,
    ID
    That is my point, entirely. The technology race led to cycles in development that escalated as tanks got heavier and with bigger guns. The labels, or roles, are evolving at the same time. Evaluating them has to be done within some kind of time constraints, so tanks are compared with their contemporaries, tanks from the same period or design cycle. The Panther came mid-war, whereas the tanks it is compared with were in service years earlier.

    There is a similar cycle with aircraft where it is clearer. Different marks of the primary fighter aircraft were introduced to keep pace with the opposition. New aircraft were designed and introduced much more frequently than with tanks. In terms of design, we can start with the Gladiator in 1939 and range all the way to Meteors by 1945, both of them Gloster products. They are both fighters, they are both Glosters, but there the comparison ends. To realistically assess their 'success' vis a vis the aircraft they were likely to encounter, they need to be ranked against their contemporaries, not their successors. The latter will of course be bigger and badder --- that is the nature of warfare, which since the start of the last century has been driven by technology.

    So the Chaffee sits with Pershing and the M4A3E8 on one shelf and the Stuart and Lee and Sherman sit on another. To me it makes more sense to group them that way because they were there that way, at different periods of the war. Within that context, a comparison with contemporary tanks is more useful, IMHO.

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

    A contentedly cantankerous old fart

    Comment


    • #47
      Originally posted by clackers View Post
      The Soviets never agreed with the philosophy that gave the Panther a main gun less useful for fire support, and respected more the dual capabilities of the Tiger's 88.
      Given that Germany was vastly outnumbered in tanks 43-45, I think an emphasis on tank killing in their medium is not unreasonable. However, this specialism was not what was required by the Allies, especially once panzerfaust/schreks were being used in numbers.

      This is one of the problems determining 'best' tank and sometimes even classification. The balance of attributes will be different for each nations requirements.
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      • #48
        Originally posted by JBark View Post
        I can't say I agree with your assessment of armored warfare in WWII. I've read a lot on armored warfare and have never seen it written that this was a primary role.
        That's because it wasn't.

        While tank-killing was not - strictly speaking - at the real core of a tank's role in WW2, it nevertheless did become increasingly obvious that an ability to deal with enemy armour could be important; sometimes critical. In going about its primary tasks on the battlefield, the tank would sometimes meet enemy tanks in circumstances where it could not rely on other weapon systems to deal with them. Indeed, even though it did not generally happen as often as some of us might like to think, there were enough occasions when despatching enemy tanks was best and most expeditiously performed by one's own tanks if for no other reason than the fact that they were 'johnny on the spot' with the most suitable weapon and it had to be done quickly.

        In design and balance of priorities, some of the tanks of WW2 showed an obviously greater emphasis on tank-killing ability; this varying from nation to nation and even between individual types fielded by a nation over the course of the war. In part, this was doctrinally driven but not set permanently in concrete because experience over the course of the war did have a strong influence also. This experience did not come in quite the same way, or at the same time, to all nations. However, what we can see is that by the end of the war, the differences between nations were - arguably in the relative sense - considerably less and there was the beginning of an overall trend towards coalescence into what would become the MBT in the post-war world; albeit still with certain remaining differences which are still evident to some extent today.
        Last edited by panther3485; 16 Nov 12, 19:17.
        "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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        • #49
          Originally posted by IronDuke View Post
          "The tank was a mobile weapons system."
          Unquestionably true.


          Originally posted by IronDuke View Post
          "Most countermeasures involved intercepting it with other tanks."



          Originally posted by IronDuke View Post
          "If a tank couldn't duel, it would have problems."
          If it was in a strictly tank-vs-tank situation, at an appropriate range; all other factors being equal or neutral? Sure.


          Originally posted by IronDuke View Post
          "That said, tanks with problems dueling tend round here to be described by the classification "successful because they were reliable and we had lots of them".... "
          Should I go there?
          "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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          • #50
            Originally posted by Michele View Post
            " ... I disagree with the previous statement that a MBT has to be a heavy tank, though with higher mobility than a classic heavy tank."
            If that statement was made, then you are quite correct to reject it.

            Apart from the fact that the MBT did not yet exist during WW2 (it is a more modern term that some folks seem to insist on trying to apply retrospectively), it was evolved from the medium tank, not from the heavy tank. In the period following WW2, medium tanks were becoming so highly developed that they were starting to make the heavy tank redundant. Once this redundancy had been recognized, it was generally acknowledged that the heavy tank had reached its 'dead end' and not long afterwards it was disappearing from the order of battle. Thus, we had arrived at the MBT. One single class that could carry out both the medium and heavy role sets.
            Last edited by panther3485; 16 Nov 12, 19:59.
            "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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            • #51
              Originally posted by IronDuke View Post
              But why are they mounting 100mm and 122mm calibre weapons? Are German bunkers and trenches getting deeper and better protected by 1944, or are German tanks proving more difficult to kill?



              <snip>

              Regards,
              ID
              German trenches and bunkers were getting deeper and better protected. As the Germans went more over to defensive warfare, their defensive lines showed considerable increases in bunkers, strong points and other obstacles to infantry. A bigger bang was needed, especially as the field artillery wasn't guaranteed of finding and hitting them before the infantry found them.

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              • #52
                Originally posted by panther3485 View Post
                If that statement was made, then you are quite correct to reject it.

                Apart from the fact that the MBT did not yet exist during WW2 (it is a more modern term that some folks seem to insist on trying to apply retrospectively), it was evolved from the medium tank, not from the heavy tank. In the period following WW2, medium tanks were becoming so highly developed that they were starting to make the heavy tank redundant. Once this redundancy had been recognized, it was generally acknowledged that the heavy tank had reached its 'dead end' and not long afterwards it was disappearing from the order of battle. Thus, we had arrived at the MBT. One single class that could carry out both the medium and heavy role sets.

                My quote was this:
                Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
                What is a MBT (or Universal tank) and what are its roles?
                The Universal tank combines the infantry and cruiser tank roles. It is a tank that can facilitate a successful assault, and then also has the necessary operational mobility to act in an AD role immediately. The Universal tank is therefore primarily an offensive weapon. The MBT is essentially a heavy tank with mobility and reliability. As its name describes, it can carry out any medium or heavy role.
                Although I said the MBT is essentially a heavy tank, I completely agree it evolved from the medium. Notice we come to the same conclusion although by different means, but with surprisingly similar language. .

                As I said earlier, I don't think a MBT was possible in WW2, except perhaps very early on. A reliable engine and transmission to power a 40 ton tank at a decent speed had not quite come to fruition, and you need a tank of that weight to have enough armour for the break in role. However, it cannot be much heavier due to the limits of bridging equipment. For the US, they also had the constraints of shipping and crane capacities to transport the tanks.
                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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                • #53
                  Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post

                  My quote was this:
                  Although I said the MBT is essentially a heavy tank, I completely agree it evolved from the medium. Notice we come to the same conclusion although by different means, but with surprisingly similar language. .

                  As I said earlier, I don't think a MBT was possible in WW2, except perhaps very early on. A reliable engine and transmission to power a 40 ton tank at a decent speed had not quite come to fruition, and you need a tank of that weight to have enough armour for the break in role. However, it cannot be much heavier due to the limits of bridging equipment. For the US, they also had the constraints of shipping and crane capacities to transport the tanks.
                  Fair enough.
                  "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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                  • #54
                    Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post

                    My quote was this:
                    Although I said the MBT is essentially a heavy tank, I completely agree it evolved from the medium. Notice we come to the same conclusion although by different means, but with surprisingly similar language. .
                    I'm curious to know what you consider an MBT, or what the first tanks were that you would include in that group.

                    As I said earlier, I don't think a MBT was possible in WW2, except perhaps very early on. A reliable engine and transmission to power a 40 ton tank at a decent speed had not quite come to fruition, and you need a tank of that weight to have enough armour for the break in role. However, it cannot be much heavier due to the limits of bridging equipment. For the US, they also had the constraints of shipping and crane capacities to transport the tanks.
                    There you're wrong. In 1944 the main problems with the T-34 drive train had been solved by replacing the problematic four-speed transmission (except at UTZ) with a new five-speed transmission that was quite satisfactory. The same components were used in the T-44 and later T-55 quite successfully. In the meantime, the quality of steel used in the older transmission had improved greatly, eliminating the problems with shattered gears that had plagued the design earlier in the war.

                    That's part of the reason I posed the question about what constitutes an MBT. I find labels are often too inconsistent to be of much use without some reference to the year in which they entered service or the tanks they might have faced. As I understand it, the T-34-85 became the Red Army's primary battle tank in 1944, a year after production of light tanks had ended and the KV-85 was cancelled because the T-34-85 was already doing the job. The IS-2 was designed specifically to fit a gun big enough to kill Tigers, or anything else it came across. Operationally, T-34s in 1944 were used no differently than T-55s were in 1954, so when does the label 'MBT' come into play? Would the T-55 not be an MBT, and if so, why not the T-34-85? Does an MBT have to be a postwar design?

                    Regards
                    Scott Fraser
                    Last edited by Scott Fraser; 17 Nov 12, 07:25.
                    Ignorance is not the lack of knowledge. It is the refusal to learn.

                    A contentedly cantankerous old fart

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      Originally posted by Scott Fraser View Post
                      I'm curious to know what you consider an MBT, or what the first tanks were that you would include in that group.



                      There you're wrong. In 1944 the main problems with the T-34 drive train had been solved by replacing the problematic four-speed transmission (except at UTZ) with a new five-speed transmission that was quite satisfactory. The same components were used in the T-44 and later T-55 quite successfully. In the meantime, the quality of steel used in the older transmission had improved greatly, eliminating the problems with shattered gears that had plagued the design earlier in the war.

                      That's part of the reason I posed the question about what constitutes an MBT. I find labels are often too inconsistent to be of much use without some reference to the year in which they entered service or the tanks they might have faced. As I understand it, the T-34-85 became the Red Army's primary battle tank in 1944, a year after production of light tanks had ended and the KV-85 was cancelled because the T-34-85 was already doing the job. The IS-2 was designed specifically to fit a gun big enough to kill Tigers, or anything else it came across. Operationally, T-34s in 1944 were used no differently than T-55s were in 1954, so when does the label 'MBT' come into play? Would the T-55 not be an MBT, and if so, why not the T-34-85? Does an MBT have to be a postwar design?

                      Regards
                      Scott Fraser
                      The T-34 never had enough armour to decent in the break in role from 42/3 onwards, as a tank needs to be able to withstand the enemies main AT gun from the front. That is why it could never be a successful MBT. As for a MBT, this is as much about concept as design, whereby a nation produces one tank to cover both heavy and medium types. While the Soviets were producing heavy tanks the T-54/5 was essentially a medium. The T-64 replaced both the T-10 heavy and the T-55 medium and thus was the first Soviet MBT in c67.

                      Until the Conqueror was phased out in 66, Britain could not have a MBT either. The same holds true for the US when the M103 was withdrawn in 74.

                      All imo obviously .
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                      • #56
                        Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
                        I could name the tank , but a certain British model had a factory fitted telephone before the invasion of Italy as a result of experiences in Tunisia.

                        However, I am hoping this thread will not name specific tanks except in passing. This is a general thread about general attributes of different tanks, not a varient of 'best' tank thread.


                        Valid comparisons between types mean that the discussers have to sure what tank variant they are talking about. Generics won't take you there.

                        Light and cruiser tanks: intended initially as scouts for the infantry or for heavier armored formations (cruisers ); therefore speed over armor and firepower.

                        Medium tanks: general purpose, protecting specific areas, convoys, troop movements,etc. A balance of speed, firepower and armor with a requirement to keep up with the main body.

                        Heavy tanks: tank-to-tank combat, assault on fortifications and battlefield domination: Armor and firepower over speed.
                        Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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                        • #57
                          Originally posted by Scott Fraser View Post
                          I'm curious to know what you consider an MBT, or what the first tanks were that you would include in that group.



                          There you're wrong. In 1944 the main problems with the T-34 drive train had been solved by replacing the problematic four-speed transmission (except at UTZ) with a new five-speed transmission that was quite satisfactory. The same components were used in the T-44 and later T-55 quite successfully. In the meantime, the quality of steel used in the older transmission had improved greatly, eliminating the problems with shattered gears that had plagued the design earlier in the war.

                          That's part of the reason I posed the question about what constitutes an MBT. I find labels are often too inconsistent to be of much use without some reference to the year in which they entered service or the tanks they might have faced. As I understand it, the T-34-85 became the Red Army's primary battle tank in 1944, a year after production of light tanks had ended and the KV-85 was cancelled because the T-34-85 was already doing the job. The IS-2 was designed specifically to fit a gun big enough to kill Tigers, or anything else it came across. Operationally, T-34s in 1944 were used no differently than T-55s were in 1954, so when does the label 'MBT' come into play? Would the T-55 not be an MBT, and if so, why not the T-34-85? Does an MBT have to be a postwar design?

                          Regards
                          Scott Fraser
                          By definition, a nation's MBT is what it fields the most of for the majority of the conflict. For America in WII, it was the Sherman. For the USSR it was the T-34, and for Germany it was the Pzkw IV in all of it's variants. For the British, possibly the Churchill?
                          Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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                          • #58
                            Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
                            The T-34 never had enough armour to decent in the break in role from 42/3 onwards, as a tank needs to be able to withstand the enemies main AT gun from the front. That is why it could never be a successful MBT. As for a MBT, this is as much about concept as design, whereby a nation produces one tank to cover both heavy and medium types. While the Soviets were producing heavy tanks the T-54/5 was essentially a medium. The T-64 replaced both the T-10 heavy and the T-55 medium and thus was the first Soviet MBT in c67.

                            Until the Conqueror was phased out in 66, Britain could not have a MBT either. The same holds true for the US when the M103 was withdrawn in 74.

                            All imo obviously .
                            The T-64? The T-64 replaced the IS-3/T-10 and was not quite a 'heavy' tank, as they were, but it never served in great numbers. It most certainly did not replace the T-55 --- that was the T-62. The T-64 played a nominal role compared to the vast fleet of T-55s and T-62s and later T-72s that operated alongside it. I consider it one of the less successful Soviet tanks, certainly not the backbone of the Soviet tank force, which I understand to be the prime prerequisite for classification as a nation's "main battle tank".

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

                            A contentedly cantankerous old fart

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                            • #59
                              Originally posted by Scott Fraser View Post
                              The T-64? The T-64 replaced the IS-3/T-10 and was not quite a 'heavy' tank, as they were, but it never served in great numbers. It most certainly did not replace the T-55 --- that was the T-62. The T-64 played a nominal role compared to the vast fleet of T-55s and T-62s and later T-72s that operated alongside it. I consider it one of the less successful Soviet tanks, certainly not the backbone of the Soviet tank force, which I understand to be the prime prerequisite for classification as a nation's "main battle tank".

                              Regards
                              Scott Fraser

                              Until the T-64, the Soviets used both a medium and a heavy. Quality and success does not make a MBT, just its intention and use imo.
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                              • #60
                                Originally posted by llkinak View Post
                                Hi, ID.
                                Do you think it would be fair to add "among other things on the battlefield" to the above statement? Obviously AT preformance and armor tended to increase, however guns increasing in diameter, if not in velocity, generally added to HE performance as well as AT. I won't debate AT performance became more critical, but a bigger gun allowed the tanks fielding them to be more effective in all their roles. Could a case be made that gun power would have increased simply by nature running its course instead of, or in addition to, better armored opposition?
                                I'm not sure, simply since things evolve because of environmental pressures and had there been none, I don;t see what would have driven bigger weaponry on its own. A number of specialist vehicles appeared to deal with fortifications throughout the war, but the core weaponry of a tank became progressively more deadly against other tanks.

                                The US stopped producing the sherman 75 in favour of the Sherman 76 if memory serves and the British came to prize the firefly. You're right that one side effect is the ability to carry more HE filling and get a bigger bang, but I just don't see (particularly in the west) that the drive to bigger weaponry was being driven by HE, but was clearly being driven by AT.

                                Regards,
                                ID

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