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  • #76
    Originally posted by panther3485 View Post
    What you are saying is, essentially, totally correct Nick. It is not your 'opinion' (or mine, or anyone elses); it is fact. The era of the MBT began when heavy tanks disappeared from the OOB because newer designs were fully capable of covering both the medium and heavy role sets in a single type. As long as a nation was fielding both medium and heavy types it had not yet entered the era of the MBT.
    Here is where I would differ and side with Nick if I understand his points correctly (albeit tentatively and wary of the conseqences...;-)

    Many nations retained everything they had built, even if only in reserve, for years after newer models were introduced. I thought well into the 70s the East Germans had Panthers stockpiled somewhere in case of trouble. I don't see that phasing something older out, that still provides gainful employment to its crews in the absence of anything newer, should be a sign of an MBT.

    To my mind, an MBT is merely a Tank designed to fill any and all roles assigned to it. It's conceptual as much as anything else (which I think is what Nick is saying).

    On that basis, I think the era has its beginnings in the second world war as nations standardised on key models. The Panther supported infantry attacks and dueled with enemy tanks. I don't see it being pidgeonholed. Likewise the Comet was of a size and potency that was a world away from the supposed Cruiser status it held. Monty wanted his Capital tank, demanding more shermans and wanting to move away from the Churchill. He wants a flexible Tank Arm, not a role specific one.

    MBTs were merely Medium/Cruiser tanks evolving as armour improved, weaponry improved and motor engines improved allowing the new breed of tanks to combine the armour of heavies, with the killing power of heavies with the mobility of mediums.

    The infantry tank essentially disappeared and the heavy was not required since the new mediums carried 105mm - 120mm guns.

    I've lost count of the number of times that this has been pointed out, around these forums; at least once on this very thread. Yet somehow, some members who really should know better still speak as if they are oblivious to it.
    Guilty as charged....;-)

    Most of your opening questions are indeed subject to variations of opinion and are thus open to discussion in that respect; but a few definitely are not and this is one of them!
    I disagree. When the Germans introduced the StG 44 and developed the "Assault Rifle", they didn't need to phase out the Kar 98 to prove it. The StG clearly combined two previous weapons systems (Sub machine gun and rifle) into a new dual role package, but it existed alongside the two classes it would replace for years afterwards in many armies.

    The MBT did the same IMHO.

    Regards,
    ID

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    • #77
      Originally posted by panther3485 View Post
      The T-34, PzKpfw III, Sherman and Panther were all medium tanks, assigned the role set that goes with that class of tank (allowing for some variations of doctrine and design emphasis between those nations). The Tiger tanks were assigned the role set of a heavy tank, so they are different in that respect.
      But the Panther and MK III fought alongside each other at Kursk. To my mind, the only practical difference between the Tiger and MK III was a tactical one. Tigers led the wedge, MK IIIs and MK IVs would flank it, but it was not uncommon to see them operating together. To my mind, the Germans were operating along common lines the minute they started adding HV weaponry to the MK IV. At that point, they are effectively abandoning roles for tanks and making everything capable of dueling. Gone are the slim HV weapons added to MK IIIs whilst the MK IVs get fatter calibres at slower velocities, now everything is getting upgrades to duel, but still being required to support infantry assaults as and when necessary.

      The Tiger is something of an anomaly because it has key tactical advantages into 1944 but it had a cannon and armour suited to supporting infantry attacks, but whenever I see them appear in the tactical literature, the Germans are employing them to counterattack or block armoured penetrations.

      Let me put it another way. If the Germans had had American resources and production techniques, and had solved the Tiger's engine reliability problems, would they have produced 10000 Tigers a year or 1000 Tigers and 9000 MK IVs? I don't think they would have bothered with the MK IV.

      That said, attacks are supported by whichever Panzer formation is available. They are not pausing to decide which weapon would be most suitable. Speed is of the essence so armoured formations support attacks with whatever they have that is running. That means everything has to be able to duel (so we introduce the Panther and give the MK IV HV weaponry). I can imagine the tactical employment of German armour types was different, but the operational employment was much less so.

      None of these had the destruction of enemy armour as their primary role. However, some designs did show a somewhat higher priority to a tank's ability to counter enemy armour and the Panther would perhaps be the classic example of this for the Germans. One or two Allied variants leaned the same way - perhaps the best example being the Firefly, as you mentioned, which went so far in that direction that it might almost be thought of as a turreted tank destroyer. Almost. However, even the relatively modest transition from the 75mm to the 76mm in standard Shermans during the last year of the war shows a certain shift in thinking which acknowledged the full importance for a tank, of the ability to deal with enemy armour when the situation required.
      Well, it was only modest because the Americans had a large stock of 75mm weapons they wanted to get rid of first. The transition would have been rapid and wholesale had they had the resources, such was the clamour from the front line crews. The 17pdr is a weapon in the 76mm class but would be considered more than just a modest transition surely. It doubled or even trebled the range at which British Armour could successfully engage German armour.

      Indeed, aside from speciality models, which tanks developed after about 1943 didn't come with a competitive anti armour weapon? T34/85, IS range, Comet, Panther, King Tiger, Pershing - they are all coming with weaponry capable of being competitive in a way their predescessors weren't. This tells me that designers, working with feedback from the FEBA, are deciding every tank needs to be able to duel, and every tank needs to be multi role. What marks out all new vehicles after 1943 is heavier armour and better AT capability. I'd expect more divergence if anyone was really still thinking along medium, infantry support and AT roles.

      Put another way, when Russian Heavy Tank Regiments broke through, did they stop since the job was done, or did they plough on as part of the OMGs?

      Given the proliferation of StuGs, Marders, Hetzers, Jagdpanzers and the like during the last year or two of the war; as well as the continued use of German AT guns; and then add in mines, artillery and infantry AT weapons, I cannot see German tanks on their own accounting for the lion's share of KO'd Allied tanks. Indeed, my guess would be that the German tank destroyer type vehicles, alone, would likely have accounted for more than the German tanks (Eastern and Western fronts together).
      What I actually meant to say was that 50% (possibly even more in the east) of Allied tanks are knocked out by German AFVs. If a large chunk of that is Hetzers, Stugs and the more exotic stuff, then fine, but given the Germans were filling out armoured formations with TDs where necessary by 1944 and only really created TDs because they were cheaper and easier to mass produce than a tank, I don't make a huge distinction.

      Btw and while I am on the subject, during WW2 out of those two main classes it was the tank destroyer in its various forms, not the tank, that had killing enemy tanks as its primary role.
      Well, to be fair to myself, my original comment was that Tank killing became one of a tank's primary roles, not the primary role. That said, I would happily argue that by 1944, it is the primary role of German armour to engage enemy tanks, and that since German tanks are generally being sent to stop them, the knock on effect is that it is becoming one of the primary roles of allied tanks as well since whenever they go into action, any available German armour is sure to attempt to engage them.

      Regards,
      ID

      Comment


      • #78
        Originally posted by IronDuke View Post
        Here is where I would differ and side with Nick if I understand his points correctly (albeit tentatively and wary of the conseqences...;-)

        <snip>
        Simply, the definition of the MBT as a post-war phenomenon is not up for debate.

        As for keeping older equipment in service or storage for longer, I have already addressed that topic in my reference to the IS-2 as an example and it does not change anything about the emergence of MBTs as a post-war development, when the redundancy of the heavy tank was starting to become widely recognized.

        Furthermore, in this regard I don't see Nick's position as being in any substantial way at odds with my own. Based on the postings I have seen so far, there is much more of a difference between your position and mine than between my position and Nicks. Indeed, Nick and I are almost congruent by comparison.

        Again: What the MBT is, and how it came about, is not a matter of opinion.
        Last edited by panther3485; 19 Nov 12, 04:26.
        "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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        • #79
          Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
          I'd disagree with the Panther. It was optimized for tank killing. The armor was thick only on the front and the gun's performance was pushed towards tank killing not general purpose use. Likewise, the British Firefly was pushed towards tank killing too.
          Both vehicles could easily be described as tank destroyers rather than purely tanks.
          Again, this is not a matter of opinion. The Panther was still first and foremost meant to serve as a medium tank, with the same basic medium role set. It was intended to become the principal medium tank of the German army and to fully realize that role. What you are seeing is a greater emphasis on tank killing ability (an adjustment of priorities, if you like) which made the Panther a better tank killer but these did not change the fundamental role set, which was essentially the same as any other medium tank.

          Your comparison between the Panther and the Sherman Firefly looks good at first glance but upon closer inspection it has limited value. The Panther was intended from the outset to be produced in very large numbers (by German production standards) and to become the principal and only German medium tank, meant to replace PzKpfw III and IV. (The fact that it didn't work out according to plan is neither here nor there, for the purpose of that point.) There was never anywhere near being such an intent with the Firefly for the British. The Firefly was never going to be more than a heavily improvised supplement; albeit an extremely useful one.


          Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post

          The proliferation took a rational path. The first vehicles were almost totally make-shift ones with minimal armor and a big gun plopped on a virtually unchanged hull of one sort or another. They were a stop-gap to get something in the field. That some survived long enough in production to get redesigned into better versions doesn't change that.
          The next generation were more purpose built and offered heavy frontal armor and low sillouettes. These were an improvement in a now defensive war.
          Fair comment.
          Last edited by panther3485; 19 Nov 12, 04:44.
          "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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          • #80
            Originally posted by IronDuke View Post
            Here is where I would differ and side with Nick if I understand his points correctly (albeit tentatively and wary of the conseqences...;-)

            My position is that you cannot have a MBT until the armed forces decided that one tank is to complete both heavy and medium tank roles. The idea of a MBT is one of concept as much as practise.

            Originally posted by IronDuke View Post
            To my mind, an MBT is merely a Tank designed to fill any and all roles assigned to it. It's conceptual as much as anything else (which I think is what Nick is saying).
            Yep, as long as it includes all roles possible above the category of light tank.

            Originally posted by IronDuke View Post
            On that basis, I think the era has its beginnings in the second world war as nations standardised on key models. The Panther supported infantry attacks and dueled with enemy tanks. I don't see it being pidgeonholed. Likewise the Comet was of a size and potency that was a world away from the supposed Cruiser status it held. Monty wanted his Capital tank, demanding more shermans and wanting to move away from the Churchill. He wants a flexible Tank Arm, not a role specific one.
            That was certainly his intention, and certainly the right direction to take in principle. I think his term Capital tank is important. Capital ships are larger, heavier, tougher and harder hitting than cruisers. I believe this was his point, especially many of his superiors were navy men eg Churchill. He did want the Sherman as his only tank right up until he actually fought with it in Normandy. After that, it became using the best tool that fits. It should be noted that as the campaigns drew on, that more specialist afv's began to be used, and that could be Shermans, Churchills, Crusaders or Valentines. Further, Italy saw Churchills and Shermans used together in the same units. As this campaign progressed, the I tanks became tougher and the mediums become more powerful, each complementing each other further.

            As I stated earlier, I don't think is was possible to have a successful MBT in practise, given the weight restrictions.
            Originally posted by IronDuke View Post
            MBTs were merely Medium/Cruiser tanks evolving as armour improved, weaponry improved and motor engines improved allowing the new breed of tanks to combine the armour of heavies, with the killing power of heavies with the mobility of mediums.

            The infantry tank essentially disappeared and the heavy was not required since the new mediums carried 105mm - 120mm guns.
            The heavy and I tanks disappeared because it was not possible to armour an afv enough on its sides as well as its front as weapons became more powerful. Also as ranges and optics improved post WW2, it was more likely that a tank would be targeted to its front, except for ambushes or similar. Therefore, a lower degree of protection for non frontal areas was possible.

            Further, once the enemy changed from German to East, a different type of enemy was being faced. Unlike the Germans, the Soviets had large numbers of well armed and well trained tank units. Further, the appearance of the IS-3 certainly had a disconcerting effect on the W Allies, and this actually stimulated heavy tank design in the US and UK in the late 40's and 50's, making the MBT concept a distant dream.

            A tank for defence can have most of its armour over its frontal arc for economy of weight. A tank designed for use against massed tank attacks needs a HV gun. The fact that the Panther shared these attributes is more coincidence than design. The Panther was primarily a medium tank, that was designed to be able to go toe to toe with any enemy medium, especially after the Heer's shock of meeting the T-34. The fact it was relatively heavy in weight, and used in the assault role does not make it a MBT. The Germans simply used whatever was available.
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            • #81
              Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
              Given that Germany was vastly outnumbered in tanks 43-45, I think an emphasis on tank killing in their medium is not unreasonable.
              I think a side effect of that is that they bring about a self-fulfilling prophecy: they end up as de facto (and very expensive) TDs, and the Heer loses offensive capability.

              Of course, if the strategy after 1942 is to 'play for a draw' ...

              Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
              This is one of the problems determining 'best' tank and sometimes even classification. The balance of attributes will be different for each nations requirements.
              Yep.

              Comment


              • #82
                Originally posted by IronDuke View Post

                Put another way, when Russian Heavy Tank Regiments broke through, did they stop since the job was done, or did they plough on as part of the OMGs?
                ID, I think they stopped.

                The KV-1s simply couldn't keep up with the T-34s, so were eventually placed in those separate regiments for the breakthrough role, teaming up with pioneers, infantry and artillery.

                Ditto for the IS-2. For Bagration, they were allocated one or two independent Guards tank regiments per Front.

                That the infantry support role was taken seriously is shown by this prototype KV-1:



                For production, the coaxial AT gun (a 47mm version of the excellent German Rheinmetall 37mm) was dropped, the 76mm general purpose field gun remained.

                Of course, sometimes you don't need a gun if you've got tracks and enough armour, as the remains of this PAK shows ....

                Attached Files

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                • #83
                  Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
                  In your opinion concerning WW2:

                  What is a tank?
                  An Armoured Fighting Vehicle (hereafter referred to as AFV or Tank) designed during Phase 1 of the Great War incorporating an armoured hull, Caterpillar-tracked drive and offensive/defensive weaponry. The primary intent of the tank at the time of it's inception was to introduce a multi-terrain vehicle capable of breaching the dead-lock of trench warfare that was currently extant.

                  What is/are the main role(s) of a tank?

                  What is a heavy tank and what are its roles?
                  Heavy Tank: Typically was heavily armed/armoured with limited speed and range intended to act as the spearhead for an armoured advance against a fortified position, support for lighter tanks in an anti-tank role,and to act as a backstop in defensive operations.
                  Example: PzKpwf VI (Tiger)

                  What is an infantry tank and what are its roles?
                  Infantry Tank: an AFV of limited speed and heavily armoured ( compared to it's Companion Cruiser tanks) intended primarily to assist/support infantry in their attacks.
                  Example: Matilda

                  What is a medium tank and what are its roles?
                  Medium Tank: an AFV balanced between mobility, armour and firepower, intended to be a general purpose, mass-produced platform filling the bulk of the armoured corps.
                  Example: M4A3E8 Sherman

                  What is a cruiser tank and what are its roles?
                  Cruiser Tank: typically a compromise platform, sacrificing armour for greater speed and maneuverability. This AFV was intended to work in concert with the Infantry Tank(and Infantry) to exploit the holes opened in enemy lines.
                  Example:Crusader

                  What is a light tank and what are its roles?
                  Light Tank: Lightly armed/armoured AFV capable of ( relativly) high speeds used primarily in a scouting role.
                  Example:M3A1 Stuart
                  What is a MBT (or Universal tank) and what are its roles?
                  MBT: Main Battle Tank is an All-in-one platform, an AFV capable of any job assigned to them. They are the best balanced of the AFV types produced to date and are a result of all that has been learned regarding AFVs for the last century.
                  Example:LeopardII

                  What are the attributes most important to each classification of tank?
                  The attributes of the triad of AFV balance (speed,firepower,protection) are varied depending upon the classification with MBT's ( from the preceeding types given) being the best balanced platform.

                  Was a MBT or 'Universal' tank a possibility in WW2?
                  No, only if Phase 2 of the Great War had lasted into 1946 (Centurion tank released in November1945)

                  Could the MBT role be carried out by another class of tank to an acceptable level in all its roles?
                  It depends on one's opinion of what constitutes an 'Acceptable' level. In general I would say "no, but the late war mediums came closest"

                  What are the requirements of different nations concerning tanks?
                  That depends upon the Nation's Intentions and Expectations regarding warfare.
                  How does a nations strategy determine TO&E that includes tanks?
                  The strategy determines the numbers, variations and roles that tanks will take within the Armed force

                  How effective was a nations units TO&E that included tanks in practise?
                  It varied/varies

                  Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
                  The scope of this thread is to understand the role of tanks, rather than the focus on a particular tank. It is also a top down approach to look at what was desired, what was feasible, and what was actually deployed and why .
                  I think this is an excellent approach.
                  Last edited by Arthwys; 21 Nov 12, 16:41.
                  BoRG
                  "... and that was the last time they called me Freakboy Moses"

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                  • #84
                    Originally posted by Arthwys View Post
                    It depends on one's opinion of what constitutes an 'Acceptable' level In general I would say "no, but the late war mediums came closest"
                    Perfect answer, Shawn.

                    +1
                    "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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                    • #85
                      Originally posted by panther3485 View Post
                      Perfect answer, Shawn.

                      +1
                      many thanks
                      BoRG
                      "... and that was the last time they called me Freakboy Moses"

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                      • #86
                        Originally posted by IronDuke View Post
                        Well, I suppose my response would be what do you think the primary role of the Panther, MK III, Firefly, Sherman 76 and Tiger was, if not killing enemy tanks?
                        Because a tank has good tank killing ability does not mean this is its primary role, IMO. Wasn't the Panther taking over as the main tank in the panzer divisions? How successful will such a tank be if its doctrine dictates that its primary role is killing tanks.

                        Originally posted by IronDuke View Post
                        But why were guns increasing in size? Did the Firefly mount a bigger calibre weapon because German trenches were proving to deep for the Sherman 75 to handle? HE increased as a side effect of AT calibres increasing.
                        I don't remember who wrote it but I recall reading that Germany's concentration on anti-armor tanks was a step toward the defensive, a sign they would never make the offensive gains they had made in the past. The Firefly was certainly Britains answer to the issue of facing heavier armored tanks but did they field just Fireflies or were there still other tanks in their divisions firing HE? Don't forget that that puny 75 still took out a fair number of German tanks, even the cats.

                        Originally posted by IronDuke View Post
                        Indeed they did, so is this not a useful pointer as to why Tanks increased in potency as well?
                        I'm not sure how?

                        Originally posted by IronDuke View Post
                        None of which are as effective as a tank from an all round operational perspective.
                        Far less expensive though. How many mines and bazooka rounds can you make for the cost of one tank. Wars, especially long ones, are won when you use your resources and money most effectively. The more tanks you save by using cheaper weapons to kill enemy tanks the better for your war effort.

                        Originally posted by IronDuke View Post
                        I think you're cooking the figures here.
                        Where I come from this means falsifying date. I'm not.

                        Originally posted by IronDuke View Post
                        His figures for the Normandy campaign suggest about 50% of Allied tank casualties were knocked out by German AFVs. He arrives at this by noting that two thirds of Allied tank casualties seem to have been caused by AP shot, and that German tanks in normandy outnumbered AT guns by 3-1.
                        We know that German AT guns were of the same caliber as their tanks and tank destroyers so it would be impossible to tell whether an Allied tank kill was the result of a 75mm tank gun, anti-tank gun, or TD gun. Either way the Germans did make the move toward greater tank killing ability in their tanks but this was the wrong move. I don't feel the Allies did this

                        Originally posted by IronDuke View Post
                        Mines are great if the front is static, but irrelevant once things are more fluid.
                        Huh?

                        Originally posted by IronDuke View Post
                        Therefore, the most likely killer of an Allied Tank was a German tank.
                        We know that as their war effort declined they concentrated on upgunning their tank's ability to kill other tanks. This does not mean the primary role of all tanks is tank killing in WWII.

                        Originally posted by IronDuke View Post
                        reading the Veteran's accounts, I think many would have preferred a less reliable sherman, as failing to reach the battlefield made for a healthier life.
                        Good argument??

                        Originally posted by IronDuke View Post
                        Have you read any veteran's accounts? What do Tank Veteran's accounts tell you about this issue?
                        What do they tell you? Personally I would rather read what a historian has researched from good sources; unit histories, AAR's, etc. A veteran can certainly talk about a firefight in which his tank was destroyed but that is a fairly limited perspective, don't you think?

                        Originally posted by IronDuke View Post
                        The M26 contributed little, but I strongly suspect the Panther and Tiger improved the German operational position. Your argument is presumably that the US and Soviets didn't neeed bigger tanks because they could produce endless quantities of smaller weaker ones. I don't think this is really an argument at all. No nation allows a technological gap to exist for any longer than necessary.
                        My argument would also include that despite the "technological gap" we were winning the war on the ground and in many cases the gap had no effect on the outcome of a fight. Everyone had bigger tanks designs in the works to some degree or another. Personally I don't think the US needed one...perhaps you can show me how they did.
                        John

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                        • #87
                          Just to add: Tank killing for Germany was a serious problem ever since 1941. In my book about Panzerjager vs KV-1 1941-1943, it describes the situation quite adequately- the Soviets were tearing up the Panzerjager battalions (mostly armed with (up to ~65) 37mm guns) and inflicting very high losses on these prime personnel until a few months before Kursk. The infantry divisions and their AT battalions were the core of AT defense, and they were impotent against T-34s and KV-1s. They were particularly vulnerable to Soviet attacks with heavy tank companies. The heavy tanks shrugged off 37mm rounds.

                          Soviet tankers either shot up the german guns or ran them over.

                          It took the Germans 2 years to rearm their AT battalions with the barely adequate 50mm and heavy but adequate 75mm guns, but by that time, it was too late- the damage was done.

                          I need to dig up the book to get more, but one statistic was quite interesting- the germans lost 3-4 AT guns for every KV-1 they took out.

                          This 'institutional' memory surely caused them to invest much in the big At guns and the heavy tanks.

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                          • #88
                            As far as 1944 normandy goes, with the Axis on the defensive and their front collapsing, their tanks ended up being used in the Tank destroyer role just like their Stug series.

                            Defending/Ambushing tanks more often get first strike, and inflict more enemy tank losses then if they were to attack and be disoriented in enemy territory.

                            Overall, I haven't been convinced that the Panther and Tiger in late 1944, due to their long cannons were a big advantage in the West (with its short engagement ranges). In the eastern front, they were more useful, and certainly required when engaging large numbers of soviet heavies.

                            There were few Tiger battalions against the W. Allies and the the Panthers' only significant advantage were its front plates in normal combat ranges.

                            Sure, maybe more casualties were inflicted on Allied tanks due to engagements with Panthers but there are two dozen other factors.

                            Crew training, for instance, was poor for the Germans in 44' and Allied tankers were much better trained.

                            Then you have the fact that the Allies could use armor better than the Axis in the 44' and that marginal advantage- the front plates- disappears underneath a large pile of disadvantages.

                            However, Tigers, when they were operational, could do some damage. There are incidents in the west where tiger platoons and companies shot up large numbers of allied mediums while shrugging off side and front hits. But these were literal micro-events in the broad context of the front line since the Tigers were so few.

                            Comment


                            • #89
                              Originally posted by Cult Icon View Post
                              book about Panzerjager vs KV-1 1941-1943, it describes the situation quite adequately
                              Robert Forczyk's book is really entertaining ... I'd better attribute the photos I used in the post above while I can!

                              I have muchos admiration for the 37mm PAK teams who under cover waited for the tanks to go past to have a chance of a suicidally close side shot to the tracks, hoping there weren't accompanying infantry.

                              Comment


                              • #90
                                Originally posted by JBark View Post
                                Because a tank has good tank killing ability does not mean this is its primary role, IMO. Wasn't the Panther taking over as the main tank in the panzer divisions? How successful will such a tank be if its doctrine dictates that its primary role is killing tanks.
                                Well, I think I originally said, "one of" the primary roles, but I suppose I judge a weapons primary role by its design.

                                With a weapon optimised for anti armour operations and heavy frontal armour for dueling, I don't see what else the Panther could have been for.

                                I don't remember who wrote it but I recall reading that Germany's concentration on anti-armor tanks was a step toward the defensive, a sign they would never make the offensive gains they had made in the past.
                                Not sure what the point is. That it may be a pointer to such, doesn't mean the Germans viewed it as such. German offensive operations continued right up to the end of the war.

                                The Firefly was certainly Britains answer to the issue of facing heavier armored tanks but did they field just Fireflies or were there still other tanks in their divisions firing HE? Don't forget that that puny 75 still took out a fair number of German tanks, even the cats.
                                You're missing the point. There were a fair number of vehicles carrying the 75, but it wasn't a conscious tactical choice to have that many. I don't doubt the 75 took out numerous German tanks, but it need specific combat conditions to do so, the 17pdr didn't.

                                Far less expensive though. How many mines and bazooka rounds can you make for the cost of one tank.
                                A lot, but a Sapper armed with a knife rarely takes out a tank, and bazookas and heavy artillery barrages don't mix. The germans laid millions of mines along the Atlantic wall. What was the result?

                                Wars, especially long ones, are won when you use your resources and money most effectively. The more tanks you save by using cheaper weapons to kill enemy tanks the better for your war effort.
                                Not necessarily if it takes more of them to have an effect. On this basis, we wouldn't bother with Cruise. I don't know how many hand held AT weapons the Germans produced. However, they produced far fewer tanks, and those tanks killed far more enemy tanks.

                                Originally posted by IronDuke
                                His figures for the Normandy campaign suggest about 50% of Allied tank casualties were knocked out by German AFVs. He arrives at this by noting that two thirds of Allied tank casualties seem to have been caused by AP shot, and that German tanks in normandy outnumbered AT guns by 3-1.
                                We know that German AT guns were of the same caliber as their tanks and tank destroyers so it would be impossible to tell whether an Allied tank kill was the result of a 75mm tank gun, anti-tank gun, or TD gun.
                                Absolutely, but we know the proportion of such weapons to each other and the rough proportion of kills claimed, so 50% of Allied tanks knocked out by German armour is the best answer we're going to get.

                                Additionally, given the scale of Allied fire and bombing plans before most of their major offensives, I would have thought Tanks were possibly responsible for more since they were more resistant to such attacks.

                                Either way the Germans did make the move toward greater tank killing ability in their tanks but this was the wrong move. I don't feel the Allies did this
                                Given the Germans were being outproduced handily in AFVs by most of their major opponents individually, never mind collectively, why was this a bad move? The Allies stopped producing 75s and started producing 76mms, whose only advantage over the 75 was a better armour piercing weapon (allegedly). How can you say "I don't feel the Allies did this."

                                Bagration et al was made possible by the tank. Stopping it was the key to preventing defeats on that scale.

                                We know that as their war effort declined they concentrated on upgunning their tank's ability to kill other tanks. This does not mean the primary role of all tanks is tank killing in WWII.
                                Carefully chosen words..."in WWII". The point was that armour evolved to being a primarily anti armour weapon, not that it started such. Given most nations by 1944 were introducing weapons that were poorer than their predescessors at He but better at AT seems to support my point.

                                What do they tell you? Personally I would rather read what a historian has researched from good sources; unit histories, AAR's, etc.

                                Show me a historian of armoured warfare who doesn't quote the veteran's? A unit history isn't a primary source like veteran's accounts or AARs. The point of the Normandy tank veteran's evidence isn't that it proves much individually, but that they all say the same thing, so it is much more powerful collectively.

                                A veteran can certainly talk about a firefight in which his tank was destroyed but that is a fairly limited perspective, don't you think?
                                Not if I want to know how easy he found it knocking out enemy vehicles, or how often he survived AP shot striking his hull. I will also get a flavour from his evidence of what he felt his primary role was.

                                My argument would also include that despite the "technological gap" we were winning the war on the ground and in many cases the gap had no effect on the outcome of a fight. Everyone had bigger tanks designs in the works to some degree or another. Personally I don't think the US needed one...perhaps you can show me how they did.
                                I think they needed one because you can't guarantee tactical superiority, no matter how many you produce, and people were dying because their tanks couldn't hope with the Cats.

                                Additionally, I think they needed one because in the Soviets, they had a potential opponent for who'm the "quantity has a quality all of its own" argument would make no impression. Their legions of T34/85s and ISIIs would have smashed the sherman heavy western Allied formations in weeks rather than months.

                                Quite what a Churchill or Sherman 75 would have made of an ISIII is best not thought about.

                                Regards,
                                ID

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