Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Tanks 101

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

  • #91
    Originally posted by panther3485 View Post
    Simply, the definition of the MBT as a post-war phenomenon is not up for debate.
    A somewhat unfortunate status for a subject in a forum.

    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.
    I think you're looking for a "Yup, lets build MBTs" moment. As I've said, conceptually, the MBT was merely a well armoured, heavily armed, mobile weapons platform designed to do whatever armour was needed for.

    Monty is there conceptually when he asks for standardisation on the Sherman. He isn't there technically, but then you don't need a perfect technical example when you first conceptualise something.

    With regards the Panther, you had a weapon whose manouvrability could rival the lighter shermans (engines permitting), and whose main armament was superior in some respects to the heavy Tiger's 88.

    It's frontal armour was almost Tiger like, but sloped for added effectiveness and it did whatever the local German Commander needed it to do. Heavy armour, big hitting weapon, mobile and does whatever is required.

    What is a better definition of an MBT?

    I concede no one was calling it that, yet, but then when men started dropping grenades out of bi-planes, they didn't call them ground attack aircraft.

    Again: What the MBT is, and how it came about, is not a matter of opinion.
    Surely, de facto, it is if there is more than one opinion about it....

    I'm not interested in when someone started calling them MBTs, or when someone formally recognised what was being built, but on when the concept of an all purpose, big hitting, heavily armoured and mobile AFV was first stumbled upon.

    Still, lets agree to disagree and move on.

    Regards,
    ID

    Comment


    • #92
      Originally posted by panther3485 View Post
      Simply, the definition of the MBT as a post-war phenomenon is not up for debate.
      Again: What the MBT is, and how it came about, is not a matter of opinion.
      Of course it is, and you're welcome to join that debate, but you are not the final arbiter on this subject.

      I disagree, to begin with, with the concept of lumping AFV's in with taks. While a tank is a form of AFV, an AFV is not ipso facto a tank.

      Tanks are MBT's, and AFV's in today's world are IFV's - Infantry Fighting Vehicles, usually with an anti-tank capability of their own.

      The traditional roles that existed during WWII and post war until recently no longer exist with the introduction of the well-armed IFV. Scout tanks and TD's are no longer of any use. The infantry scout today is a Bradley or a Stryker, and the anti-tank vehicle is that same AFV.

      The primary function of the MBT is to dominate the battlefield. It isn't needed to assault positions directly in an age when laser guided munitions are everywhere available and in use. An infantry squad today has the firepower to destroy a fortified building, backed up by an IFV with a similar but greater capability. The MBT is there to insure that nothing bothers the whole process, such as an enemy tank.

      However, the day of the MBT is fast disappearing with the appearance of the earliest forms of robot fighting vehicles. The MBT is simply too expensive and too vulnerable to a man with a shoulder-mounted AT weapon to survive much longer. The MBT is fast becoming the battleship of ground forces, and will soon go the same way, replaced by something smaller, cheaper and more survivable, but infinitely more lethal.
      Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

      Comment


      • #93
        Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
        The MBT is fast becoming the battleship of ground forces, and will soon go the same way, replaced by something smaller, cheaper and more survivable, but infinitely more lethal.
        [/FONT]
        Quite possibly, MM, but the manufacturers are trying to head off such a move by producing Urban Survival kits for their vehicles etc ..
        Last edited by clackers; 30 Nov 12, 00:59.

        Comment


        • #94
          Originally posted by IronDuke View Post
          <snip> ... and move on.
          I shall most certainly be moving on.
          "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


          • #95
            Originally posted by IronDuke View Post
            A somewhat unfortunate status for a subject in a forum.

            I think you're looking for a "Yup, lets build MBTs" moment. As I've said, conceptually, the MBT was merely a well armoured, heavily armed, mobile weapons platform designed to do whatever armour was needed for.

            Monty is there conceptually when he asks for standardisation on the Sherman. He isn't there technically, but then you don't need a perfect technical example when you first conceptualise something.

            With regards the Panther, you had a weapon whose manouvrability could rival the lighter shermans (engines permitting), and whose main armament was superior in some respects to the heavy Tiger's 88.

            It's frontal armour was almost Tiger like, but sloped for added effectiveness and it did whatever the local German Commander needed it to do. Heavy armour, big hitting weapon, mobile and does whatever is required.

            What is a better definition of an MBT?

            I concede no one was calling it that, yet, but then when men started dropping grenades out of bi-planes, they didn't call them ground attack aircraft.

            Surely, de facto, it is if there is more than one opinion about it....

            I'm not interested in when someone started calling them MBTs, or when someone formally recognised what was being built, but on when the concept of an all purpose, big hitting, heavily armoured and mobile AFV was first stumbled upon.

            Still, lets agree to disagree and move on.

            Regards,
            ID
            Just a few points .

            The US only used mediums as battle tanks (M26's may be an exception). Can they be considered MBT's, simply because that was what was available?

            Monty actually asked for a 'Capital' tank. The term suggests he wanted a heavy tank, in the same way that a capital ship is bigger than the cruiser class. This is credence by the fact that the Navy was the senior arm in the British military, the most important element, and that the man in charge, Churchill, was a navy man himself. They would know what he meant.

            The Valentine was designed from the outset, pre WW2, as a heavy cruiser, its 60mm armour and low weight allowing it to be used in both the infantry and cruiser roles. Although the 2pdr lacked HE punch, the original design called for an automatic 40mm. This weapon was actually lighter than the 2pdr, and had an auto loader, meaning a 2 crew turret was a valid option, ie gunner and commander. The weapon would have been similar to a Vickers S cannon carried by the Hurricane IID's, but with an even higher velocity, since it used the 40x304R, rather than the 40x158R round (ammo specs here). Its concept was basically one tank does all, so was that the first MBT? In practise, it was used by the British as both a Cruiser and an Infantry tank, and by the Soviets as both a Medium and Light tanks. (Source for the Vally here and here).

            So is Leslie Little the first MBT designer? Is Monty the first to conceive of an MBT? Was the US the first to use an MBT, because they only used one type? A MBT needs to be conceived and used as both a heavy and a medium. Was the Panther intended to be used as a heavy? No it was not. Was it used as a heavy? No more than the MkIV was, or even SPG's, ie when it was all that was available.

            The actual performance of a tank is irrelevant to whether it is actually a MBT. It is whether the tank is both designed and used as both a heavy and a medium. Further, there should be a clear indication that it is the intent of an army only to use one tank type to fulfill heavy and medium roles as part of its doctrine. Many tanks come close eg Valentine and Sherman, but until a country actually fulfills all the criteria of a MBT, then they are not actually fielding one.
            How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
            Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

            Comment


            • #96
              Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post

              Monty actually asked for a 'Capital' tank. The term suggests he wanted a heavy tank, in the same way that a capital ship is bigger than the cruiser class. This is credence by the fact that the Navy was the senior arm in the British military, the most important element, and that the man in charge, Churchill, was a navy man himself. They would know what he meant.
              .
              I like the theory, Nick, but when he used that expression in 1943 he said that the Sherman was the best choice for such a dual purpose tank, and had refused to use a brigade of Churchills against the Mareth Line. Apparently, to him speed over protection was a key factor. Doesn't look good for a heavy tank to fulfill that role.
              Last edited by clackers; 30 Nov 12, 05:57.

              Comment


              • #97
                Originally posted by clackers View Post
                I like the theory, Nick, but when he used that expression in 1943 he said that the Sherman was the best choice for such a dual purpose tank, and had refused to use a brigade of Churchills against the Mareth Line. Apparently, to him speed over protection was a key factor. Doesn't look good for a heavy tank to fulfill that role.
                The Churchill III at that time was not considered a reliable tank, albeit far much better in 43 than those in 42. It was Tunisia that actually gave the Churchill a second chance to prove itself. and Europe saw it prove itself in the armoured role.

                Monty did want to use just Shermans at that moment, and given that most of the British tanks of the period were pretty lame (eg Crusader, Covenanter and Cavalier), not such a surprising view. Just as important, the Sherman was probably the best tank in the world at that time, and gave the British two elements missing in their tanks at that time - a decent dual purpose weapon and reliability. It was Normandy that saw him change his mind, and he began requesting a capital tank with more armour. It is clear that he wanted a Centurion in June 44.

                However, I don't want this thread to be a re run of Panther34/85's best tank threads. What I will say is that very few tanks in WW2 could have fulfilled the heavy and medium tank roles to an acceptable degree. Weight limits prohibit that. For example, British tanks pre WW2 were initially limited to 16 tons, because that was the weight the existing bailey bridges could cope with.

                A tank is a balance of firepower, protection and mobility. No tank in WW2 had all elements at a good to superior level, especially when you factor in soft factors, such as the requirements for 3 man turrets, decent comms, reliable transmission etc. Thus no tank in WW2 could have been an excellent MBT, even if the will was there.

                For example, at 16 tons, the Valentine had great armour for a 1938 design, and although slow, had decent mobility being both reliable and agile. A two man turret in most version, and/or lack of decent HE meant it fell short in the firepower category. Therefore, while it was intended as a 'hybrid' of cruiser and I tank, it would not be up to the task of performing this duty as successful as other designs.

                A WW2 'MBT' would need to be able to support an infantry division in an assault, and act as a core for an armoured division. It should be able to take on enemy tanks and fire a decent HE shell. It would need to be tactically and operationally mobile. It would need to be light enough for transport by ship/rail/road transports. It would need to be fuel efficient, and carry as many rounds as possible.

                Imo, this tank would need to have 3 crew with a decent comms system. Acceptable optics and firing controls are a necessity. It would need to have reasonable protection from the main enemy AT weapon from the front, and reasonable protection from lighter weapons on its sides. Its gun should have a reasonable chance of killing most enemy tanks from the front at combat ranges, and a decent HE round. The HE round requirement means a gun of at least 75mm. The tank should be able to cross relatively bad ground, and also be reliable for deep penetrating advances. Standard bridging equipment should be able to support its weight.

                As I said before, giving the limits of technology, a decent MBT is probably not possible in WW2.
                How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
                Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

                Comment


                • #98
                  Originally posted by IronDuke View Post
                  Well, I think I originally said, "one of" the primary roles, but I suppose I judge a weapons primary role by its design.
                  Yes, that is what you said. I'm disagreeing mainly because I don't think the primary purpose of tanks in WWII was anti armor and those that were used for this purpose were not most effectively used.

                  Originally posted by IronDuke View Post
                  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'm not saying the Panther wasn't designed with a heavy anti armor capacity. It certainly was put to this purpose but in WWII I would not build an armored division around tanks designed primarily with anti armor in mind.

                  Originally posted by IronDuke View Post
                  German offensive operations continued right up to the end of the war.
                  Successful were they?

                  Originally posted by IronDuke View Post
                  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.
                  I seem to recall the number of 75's fielded was a conscious choice. Yes, the Fireflies didn't have to do what the M4(75)'s did to score a kill but how much destruction was inflicted by each? How many targets were out there that each weapon could kill?

                  Originally posted by IronDuke View Post
                  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.
                  I'm currently reading Infantry's Armor by Yeide and his account does not reflect an inability of the Allied armor to deal with the cats. He writes of our problems stemming mainly from inexperience and when our forces worked together (armor, infantry and arty) we did not have difficulties. If you want to paint a picture of tank warfare in the ETO as a drawdown of the streets of Cologne between a Tiger and a Sherman, go right ahead.

                  Originally posted by IronDuke View Post
                  Additionally, I think they needed one because in the Soviets...
                  ...Quite what a Churchill or Sherman 75 would have made of an ISIII is best not thought about.
                  I don't know what this is about.
                  John

                  Play La Marseillaise. Play it!

                  Comment


                  • #99
                    Originally posted by IronDuke View Post
                    Quite what a Churchill or Sherman 75 would have made of an ISIII is best not thought about.
                    The IS-III was a complete failure. However, the IS-III never saw combat in WW2, thus mainly irrelevant to this discussion, except as an aside on how not to design a tank. Looks ace though.
                    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
                      The IS-III was a complete failure. However, the IS-III never saw combat in WW2, thus mainly irrelevant to this discussion, except as an aside on how not to design a tank. Looks ace though.
                      "Complete failure" is overdoing it IMO. I would say "disappointment" would be a more appropriate word.

                      As for combat in WW2, although it never saw action in the ETO IIRC there is some evidence that it may have been ready in time for service in the far east. Moot point though, because it would not have met Western Allied tanks during WW2 so your statement regarding its irrelvance still holds good.

                      As for "how not to design a tank" I would say there could be some question about that because the essential design concept was, IMO, sound enough. It's quite a while since I've read the Baryatinskiy volume but from it, I seem to have got the notion that it was the execution/fabrication (i.e. quality control) that was, more than anything else, the source of the IS-3s troubles. And by the time they got a proper handle on these issues, the Soviets had moved on to the successors of IS-3; leading most notably to the T-10.
                      "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 Nick the Noodle View Post
                        Just a few points .

                        The US only used mediums as battle tanks (M26's may be an exception). Can they be considered MBT's, simply because that was what was available?
                        If they are using them to fulfill all roles, I don't see a better term. As I said in an earlier post, it's a poor MBT, but then the Brown Bess was a poor rifle by later standards.

                        Monty actually asked for a 'Capital' tank. The term suggests he wanted a heavy tank, in the same way that a capital ship is bigger than the cruiser class. This is credence by the fact that the Navy was the senior arm in the British military, the most important element, and that the man in charge, Churchill, was a navy man himself. They would know what he meant.
                        I think Clackers dealt with this, and my understanding was that Monty identified the sherman as the single all mission vehicle he wanted.

                        The Valentine was designed from the outset, pre WW2, as a heavy cruiser, its 60mm armour and low weight allowing it to be used in both the infantry and cruiser roles. Although the 2pdr lacked HE punch, the original design called for an automatic 40mm. This weapon was actually lighter than the 2pdr, and had an auto loader, meaning a 2 crew turret was a valid option, ie gunner and commander. The weapon would have been similar to a Vickers S cannon carried by the Hurricane IID's, but with an even higher velocity, since it used the 40x304R, rather than the 40x158R round (ammo specs here). Its concept was basically one tank does all, so was that the first MBT? In practise, it was used by the British as both a Cruiser and an Infantry tank, and by the Soviets as both a Medium and Light tanks. (Source for the Vally here and here).

                        So is Leslie Little the first MBT designer? Is Monty the first to conceive of an MBT? Was the US the first to use an MBT, because they only used one type? A MBT needs to be conceived and used as both a heavy and a medium. Was the Panther intended to be used as a heavy? No it was not. Was it used as a heavy? No more than the MkIV was, or even SPG's, ie when it was all that was available.
                        You contradict yourself. You first say "A MBT needs to be conceived and used as both a heavy and a medium." Then you say: "Was the Panther intended to be used as a heavy? No it was not. Was it used as a heavy? No more than the MkIV was, or even SPG's, ie when it was all that was available". So, on the one hand a weapon needs to be conceived and used as a heavy and a medium, but then when it is...

                        The actual performance of a tank is irrelevant to whether it is actually a MBT. It is whether the tank is both designed and used as both a heavy and a medium.
                        I don't see why something needs to be designed to do something to actually do it. I also don't think it is a question of being designed to be both a heavy and a medium. It's a question of being designed as a tank capable of any mission assigned to it.

                        Further, there should be a clear indication that it is the intent of an army only to use one tank type to fulfill heavy and medium roles as part of its doctrine. Many tanks come close eg Valentine and Sherman, but until a country actually fulfills all the criteria of a MBT, then they are not actually fielding one.
                        I think we're getting hung up on armour doctrine and employment. The MK IV started out as an "Infantry" tank, but then they added a long barrelled 75 to it, and suddenly it could duel.

                        The Tiger comes out of a heavy tank program, but then arrives after German offensive action is the exception not the norm, and spends the war dueling with enemy armour instead.

                        In some of the deservedly forgotten Tiger threads earlier in the year, examples of Panthers being taken out were provided, but often as not, they were in an infantry support role despite having (arguably) the most effective pound for pound tank killer of the war as their main armament.

                        When you read the more detailed operational accounts, what becomes clear is that it is units, not vehicles which are tasked with certain objectives. In other words, LSSAH gets tasked with clearing up the enemy penetration, the Commander of it's parent Panzer Korp doesn't decide to counterattack and wait for a Tiger battalion to lead the wedge. In defence, the Division deploys its assets, but it doesn't wait for the correct mix of weaponry before digging in.

                        In practice, if not in theory, by 1943 the Germans are essentially using their tanks for whatever operational needs throws up. By 1944, they are filling out their Panzer battalions with Tank destroyers making the point even more succinctly. Given the few numbers of Tigers produced, I still contend the Panther was essentially an MBT, because the Germans used it for whatever they needed doing. they didn't spare it if what was required was a non-medium tank.

                        Even the Sherman....you find it supporting infantry during Bluecoat, leading a vast armoured charge during Goodwood, providing fire support on the beaches on D-Day etc etc etc.

                        How would you describe a Tank that leads armoured assaults, supports infantry attacks, leads the pursuit when the enemy turns to run and duels with enemy vehicles wherever it finds them?

                        Regards,
                        ID

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
                          The IS-III was a complete failure. However, the IS-III never saw combat in WW2, thus mainly irrelevant to this discussion, except as an aside on how not to design a tank. Looks ace though.
                          The point I was answering was why America needed a heavy. The IS-III was me illustrating the point that Soviet Tanks had the numbers to overcome the Sherman's only selling point, that there were lots of them.

                          America needed a heavy because it eventually stared across the divide at a Tank force even bigger than it was, but generally heavier, better armoured and better armed.

                          Regards,
                          ID

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by JBark View Post
                            Yes, that is what you said. I'm disagreeing mainly because I don't think the primary purpose of tanks in WWII was anti armor and those that were used for this purpose were not most effectively used.
                            We agree to disagree. Every large scale upgrade was generally intended to kill armour, so I think the evidence supports me. The Firefly, the 76mm Sherman, HV 75 on the MK IV etc etc etc. If killing armour was not a (indeed "the") primary purpose of armour, why was everyone zealously adding tank killing kit to them?

                            I'm not saying the Panther wasn't designed with a heavy anti armor capacity. It certainly was put to this purpose but in WWII I would not build an armored division around tanks designed primarily with anti armor in mind.
                            No problem, they can wait for TDs every time they meet enemy armour.

                            Originally posted by IronDuke
                            German offensive operations continued right up to the end of the war.
                            Successful were they?
                            Generally not. Early Bulge, the Gran bridgehead, you can some successes, but they generally gring to a halt because they're outnumbered, being harried from the air or run out of gas.

                            I seem to recall the number of 75's fielded was a conscious choice. Yes, the Fireflies didn't have to do what the M4(75)'s did to score a kill but how much destruction was inflicted by each? How many targets were out there that each weapon could kill?
                            It wasn't. We fielded that many because there was a limit to the number of Fireflys that could be produced. Additionally, there were a large number in store ready for use as replacements, so they were utilised, but not without some trepidation at all levels of the chain of command.

                            I'm currently reading Infantry's Armor by Yeide and his account does not reflect an inability of the Allied armor to deal with the cats. He writes of our problems stemming mainly from inexperience and when our forces worked together (armor, infantry and arty) we did not have difficulties. If you want to paint a picture of tank warfare in the ETO as a drawdown of the streets of Cologne between a Tiger and a Sherman, go right ahead.
                            Can you quote him? The final sentence was a straw man so I'll ignore it.

                            I don't know what this is about.
                            You were asking why America needed a heavy. I was pointing out that once WWII finished, America squared up to a potential adversary that had the sherman's only real advantage (there were lots of them) well covered, and more to the point, well covered with hard hitting, heavily armoured tanks that would have rolled over (IMHO) the Western Allied Tank Arm in a matter of weeks.

                            Regards,
                            ID

                            Comment


                            • http://cgsc.contentdm.oclc.org/utils...lename/994.pdf

                              page 12-16

                              Tank versus Tank. 1946
                              LIEUTENANT COLONEL ALBIN F.IRZYK

                              Headquarters, 8th Tank Battalion ,[4th Armored Division first action July 17th 1944)

                              "THE American tank is not nearly as good as the German tank.” “Next to
                              the German and Russian tanks, the American tanks are the best in the world.”

                              Quotations, opinions, and comments similiar to the two above which have been widely
                              publicized and which have caused widespread discussion have been made by various
                              individuals. Because they have, to a certain degree, jumped to hasty conclusions,
                              and because they have helped fashion many erroneous conceptions, I shall attempt in
                              this article to present considerations which they have apparently overlooked and which
                              may chanxe the outlook of many on American tanks.

                              In making those statements, what standards did the persons involved use? What
                              were the items and factors that they utilized in making their comparisons?

                              If they used simply the gun, the weight of the tank, and the width of the track and
                              thereby the flotation of the tank as a criterion, as I am sure they did, then I heartily
                              concur with them that the German Tiger tank is unquestionably superior to the American
                              Sherman tank. The German 88 is more powerful than any American tank gun used during the
                              course of most of the war. The German tank is much heavier and therefore its armor is much
                              thicker than that of any American tank. The tracks of the former are much wider, with perhaps
                              a less vulnerable suspension system than that of the latter. If I stop here, as I am convinced so
                              many have, there is no question but that the German tank is a much better one than our own.
                              In this paragraph there is material indeed for sensational headlines in news papers in the States.

                              Today, however, let us not stop here. Let us go on! What is the fuel capacity of the
                              German Tiger tank? How long and how far is it able to run on a tank full of gasoline?
                              Does it burn much oil? What is the composition and life of its tracks? How many
                              rounds of. ammunition is it, able to stow? What is the life (discounting its being hit in action)
                              of a Tiger tank? Is its engine comparatively free of maintenance problems?

                              If maintenance problems occur, are they easy to remedy? How long and how much skill is
                              required to change an engine? Is the German tank able to move for long distances
                              and continuous periods at a steady rate of speed? How is its endurance? Could fifty-
                              three Tiger tanks, for instance, move from the vicinity of Fenetrange, France, in the
                              Saar, to an area near Bastogne, Belgium, a distance of 151 miles, in less than twenty-
                              four hours to answer a fire call as did tanks of tbe Fourth Armored Division? Could a
                              German Tiger tank be used for weeks of training in England, land in France and
                              fight across the widest part of that country to the German frontier, race back to Belgium,
                              retrace its steps again to the German border, and fight its way well into that country before
                              being replaced?. Could the German tank roll for several hours at a speed of twenty-five miles
                              per hour in exploiting a breakthrough?

                              Did it occur to the critics of the American tank that perhaps questions like those listed above,the answers to which will all heavily favor the American tank, and many others like them should be considered before a decision is reached? Obviously not. I say most emphatically that such factorsmust be included before a thorough, ho~est, and fair comparison can be made and a sound and intelligent conclusion reached.

                              In addition to those just cited, items to be remembered, as well, are tactics employed and
                              required respectively by the Germans and Americans, missions involved, and number
                              of tanks on hand for the operations. To create a true picture of the weaknesses and
                              strengths of the tanks being compared, those things take their places in the line of factors
                              necessary to be examined.

                              On 6 June 1944 and for many days afterward, while the Germans had the Mark V Panther with a
                              75-mm gun and a Mark VI Tiger with an 88-mm gun, the American Army was equipped with the
                              M-4A1 tank. or the Sherman, as it is popularly known, It will be unnecessary in this article
                              to list all the specifications of that tank except to say that it weighed approximately
                              thirty tons and had a 75mm gun. Its tracks were narrow and consisted otf three different types: steel, flat rubber and rubber chevron.
                              During the initial period in Normandy just after the invasion, when engagements were
                              toe-to-toe slugfests, battles with tanks fighting tanks were common. Soon, however,
                              the deadlock broke and American tanks streaked to and through Avranches and
                              hustled across Brittany. Without stopping for breath, the tanks continued on their
                              way across most of France. In order to keep rolling over hot roads for long, dusty miles for
                              days on end, a light, mobile tank was needed which the terribly extended supply line could
                              adequately furnish with precious gasoline. To withstand the terrific beating the tank was
                              taking hour after hour, it was necessary for it to have a simple yet tough and efficient
                              engine and mechanical system. The fact that the American tanks rolled with but few
                              maintenance problems, and those rapidly attended to by the tank crew alone or by company,
                              battalion, or division maintenance, all of which were close enough behind to repair the
                              vehicle rapidly and send it immediately back into action, testifies to the excellence of
                              the tank. Thus, tank units were still at full tank strength and functioning efficiently when
                              they reached as far east as the Meuse River early in September after moving and fighting
                              consistently day after day from the Normandy peninsula. They stopped then only because
                              they had moved too fast and too far and were forced to wait a few days until their
                              supplies could reach them in large enough quantities to send them ahead again. During
                              that phase of operations, a group of tanks had made a forced march of 258 miles in
                              thirty-eight hours and arrived in good enough shape to have continued on had the situation
                              warranted it.
                              In discussing tanks,many forget that the tank is not a vehicle built primarily to fight
                              other tanks. Rather, its mission above all others is to get into the enemy’s rear areas,
                              to disorganize him, to destroy supply and communications, and generally to wreck havoc
                              there. This is done mainly with its 30 caliber machine guns, especially the one mounted
                              co-axially, and with high-explosive fire from the tank cannon. The tank cannon’s chief
                              function, however, is to protect the tank while it is disrupting, exploiting, and destroying
                              the enemy. Of course, very, very often a few well placed shots from the tank cannon
                              will be much more effective than the 30 caliber machine guns, and therefore the cannon
                              is used very frequently in offensive action.

                              The tank served it's primary mission gloriously in that dash through France Its
                              opponent was dazed, disorganized, and on the run. Most of his equipment was “thin
                              skinned,” and was “duck soup” for our tanks. The 30-caliber fire and 75-nml high-explosive
                              fire, for good measure, was plenty good enough to leave much of the German Army
                              equipment and personnel strewn by the wayside.

                              A factor rarely considered, yet on occasion vitally important, is the type of bridge that
                              a Sherman can use to cross a stream or river. Many bridges that are adequate for the
                              American tank would pose a knotty problem for the German tank. The bridge would have to
                              be much wicler and lnuch stronger, and would require a great deal of time and
                              more facilities to construct. Many bridges intact and able to accommodate the lighter
                              American tank would deny passage to the heavy, lumbering Tiger.

                              Hardly a critical word was heard concerning the American tank in those days. The
                              reason obviously was that it was plenty good for the task at hand. The tank was
                              accomplishing an ideal tank mission in a superior fashion, and it seemed to have been built
                              for just that kind of job. During the summer and fall of 1944, the Sherman performed to
                              perfection and brought the Allied armies within scent of the German frontier.

                              It was late in 1944 that the American tank became the target for taunts and criticsm.
                              Forgotten quicky were the results it gained just a month or two before. In October, November,
                              and December the ground became a sticky morass the war was stabilized and no great advances
                              were being made. The war was bloody and difficult, slow and discouraging. For every yard
                              wrested from the enemy, tremendous effort had to be exerted.

                              During this stage of the war, the tanks could not perform asthey had earlier. Rather,
                              they were forced to tight tank versus tank. Here the German had a tremendous advantage.
                              He was fighting a defensive warfare. The terrain was admirably suited for him.
                              It was rough, and this enabled him to pick the key terrain features on which to post
                              his men and vehicles. The ground was so
                              muddy that advancing, attacking elements could not maneuver, could not outflank. They
                              had to slug it out toe to toe, face to face. Without a doubt the, tank of the Germans
                              was ideally suited for such a fortunate turn in the war for them. The tank could pick
                              dominating ground, and with its huge gun and thick armor proved to be a roving pillbox
                              par excellence. On many occasions it picked ofT American tanks as they floundered in the
                              mud in an effort to gain valuable ground and dislodge their adversary. It was
                              during those trying days that many an American tanker and those that observed him began
                              to lose faith in the Sherman. The tanker was forced to move very slowly because of the
                              muck, and very, very often he spotted a German tank, fired first, and scored a hit
                              only to see his 75-mm shot glance off the enemy tank causing absolutely no damage
                              to it. The 75-mm gun proved to be comparatively ineffective during this chapter of the
                              war. At 1,000 yards to 1,500 yards it could be effective, and a single tank has knocked out
                              five Panther tanks with six shots. Yet to get that close ‘to a German tank made the
                              Sherman vulnerable indeed. Many tanks were lost in endeavoring to get in close, which
                              was necessary in order for them to strike a telling blow. The absence of an effective armor-piercing shell proved to be a terrific handicap, as well. Thus, during that siege, the
                              American tank was impotent when running into the German tank head-on. As a result, many a Sherman was lost even after it had shot first and scored the first hit.That was when the seeds of dissatisfaction in the American tank were sown and when much faith was lost.

                              It must be remembered that the German tank had everything its way. It was fighting
                              a defensive game, the terrain was in its favor, and the wet ground played into its hands.
                              Still, it must not be forgotten that though the cards were stacked against the American
                              tank, it defeated the enemy and gained the desired ground. Though the Shermans were
                              easily bested tank for tank, they could always bank on a numerical superiority, which fact
                              was considered in tactics and strategy employed.
                              By banding together and nlaneuvering, they were able to dislodge and knock out tbe heavier
                              German tank. Even during those days, one German tank knocked out for one American tank was
                              A poor score. It was in most cases three to one, four to one, and five to one in favour of
                              our side.

                              One must not forget that the German requirements and our own were totally diflerent.
                              They were fighting a slow war, a defensive war where they picked their spots. They had
                              fewer tanks than we, so their tactics, of necessity, had to be different. they were fighting
                              an offensive war, we were hurrying to get it over with, we wanted to shake loose, and we had
                              many tanks wfith which to do it. Virtually never did a scrap take place with fifty German
                              tanks against fifty American or twenty against twenty. The proportion was usually five American
                              to one German, even ten to one, rarely if ever less than two to one. so it must be made clear
                              to anyone comparing the tanks of the two nations that, as I said before, throughout the campaigns the requirements and needs were different. We could not use nor did we want a lumbering, heavy, mobile pillbox type of tank, and we could not have done what we did if we were so equipped.
                              Then again we had numbers upon which to fall back, and we considered that,in our tactics.
                              Mechanically we had a tank that performed superbly, and after groaning and grunting through
                              heavy, sticky mud for weeks on end, it still was running at the end of this phase.
                              There is no denying that in those hectic days a tank such as our newest Sherman with
                              a wider track and a more potent gun would have saved many American lives and tanks and would
                              have knocked out more enemy tanks, and more quicklily too. During that period, and that
                              period alone, was the American tank discredited, criticized, and found lacking The situation
                              was hastily remedied, but for many it was a little late.

                              The closing days of 1944 and the early part of 1945 found a new type Sherman joining
                              the ranks of American tanks and replacing its tired brothers. Although it has no
                              additional armor and weighs but a ton or two more, it arrived on the scene with a potent,
                              long-tubed 76mm gun with a muzzle brake and high muzzle velocity that makes it effective
                              at much longer ranges than the 75-mm. As a result, it is not necessary for the new tank
                              to get as close in as the old tank before becoming effective. A new type armor-piercing
                              shell was added for the gun and gives it far greater penetratinq abilities.


                              The new tank hrrs an engine with a higher horsepower which, in addition to an increase
                              in power, makes it capable of higher speeds. Its track is much wider’ and has a new type
                              track suspension system which gives it more stability and cross-country mobility with
                              which to combat adverse ground conditions. The tank has the traditional endurance of
                              American tanks and rolls consistently for endless miles. It Noes ninety miles and often
                              more on a tankful of gasoline.

                              The tank is characteristically simple, as such equipment goes, and. the tank crew
                              alone is able to maintain its vehicle for long periods. ?few men in tank crews catch
                              on to their jobs quickly, which is one important factor in making our tank crews
                              superior to those of the Germans and explains why our, armor operated most of the time at
                              top-notch efficiency. One last advantage, though minor in discussion, was extremely
                              valuable to the tank crew—the turret with two hatches. Also, the new Sherman, like
                              the old, had the potent bO-caliber antiaircraft gun which proved so effective against
                              enemy planes and which played havoc with dug-in Germans.

                              All in all, the new type Sherman is a marvelous tank. It answered the prayers of the
                              tankers and was on hand to drop the curtain on one of the dirtiest and hardest phases of
                              the European war. It was the new tank with all the advantages of the old one and many
                              new qualities that did the racing in Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia, and finished
                              the war in a blaze of glory. mounted in that tank, no American tanker was afraid to take
                              on any tank that faced him. If only the new type of tank could have been produced and brought to the front lines sooner!

                              German tanks, on the other hand, are not what they are cracked up to be. Their heavy
                              armor was a hindrance rather than an asset. The tanks could not carry on the same kind
                              of offensive warfare that our tanks did. With their heavy armor and complicated
                              nlechanism they were tank destroyers and not tanks.
                              Even though the German tanks were much heavier and thicker than ours,their armor
                              was centralized. Most of it was on the front slope plate, and turret. Sides and
                              rear were often vunerable, and how we capitalized on that!

                              The armor on German tanks was generally poor. It often cracked on impact, leaving,
                              ragged, gaping holes, whereas the holes in our tanks were clean, circular, and easily
                              repairable.

                              The Germans developed a gun with a high muzzle velocity and an effective armor-
                              piercing projectile. To do this they sacrificed space in the tank, for they had to
                              increase the size of the shell and thus could not stow many rounds.

                              It must be mentioned that once again the Germans lost sight of the purpose and
                              function of a tank and thought primarily of destroying other tanks. Still, though our
                              muzzle velocity was less than theirs, our high-explosive fire was just as effective. Of
                              the two, the high-explosive fire was for us the more important consideration.

                              Mechanical advantages of the German tank over our own were few. The interiors of
                              their tanks were not nearly as well equipped as ours, and it took altogether too much
                              maintenance to keep a German tank rolling.

                              Still another item often overlooked is that it was necessary for us to carry an adequate
                              basic load of ammunition and gasoline in our tanks, for to replace what we used we had to
                              call upon trucks that had to travel over a long, dangerous supply route. ‘the Germans,
                              on the other hand, sat close in many of their defensive positions to their ammunition
                              and other supply. It might astonish some to know that prisoners of war claimed that some
                              of their large tanks had a running time of a mere two and a half hours on a full vehicular
                              load of gasoline. Thus, the tanks did not have the endurance nor the cruising ranges of our
                              tanks. Therefore, in many instances they had to he transported by rail virtually to the front
                              lines, unloaded, and put into the battle. How far could we have gone with our tanks if we had
                              had to follow a procedure like that?

                              Not yet mentioned is the power traverse with which American tanks are equipped.
                              It is one of the very important reasons why so many of our tanks bested the German
                              tanks. Of course, it may have been that our gunners and car commanders were superior
                              to the Germans, and that the excellence of our tankers provided us with the upper hand.
                              We agree to that, yet it is felt that of inestimable advantage to our tankers was the
                              distinct handicap under which the German tankers labored because of a lack of a 360°
                              power traverse comparable to ours. Because of that important disadvantage, they were
                              slow firing and in many cases got off one round to our three or four. Instances have
                              occurred where’ a Tiger tank lay hidden, waited in ambush, and fired the first shot at
                              advancing American tanks and missed ! The mistake was fatal, for American tanks maneuvered
                              about it and with their rapid fire destroyed the German tank.

                              By means of the 360” power turret traverse with which all our tanks are equipped, a
                              tank gunner is able to swing his gun in any direction in a second or a fraction thereof.
                              The average American tank gunner can lay on a German tank, is able to” get the first
                              round off, and can usually score the first bit. The power traverse enabled American tanks
                              to move down roads at high speeds shooting from one side of the road to the other. In this
                              manner enemy infantrymen and bazooka teams were killed or pinnccl down as the tanks rolled by.
                              The power traverse has been such an advantage and of so much importance
                              that it is immeasurable.

                              At the moment, virtually every tank battalion is nearly completely equipped with the
                              new type Sherman tank technically called the M4A3-E8. Of all the tanks operating
                              today, that one, in my estimation, is the best there is. I would choose it above all others.
                              Many, many experienced combat tankers feel exactly as I do. The tank will go faster and
                              will live longer than the German Tiger. The Sherman burns less gas and oil and as a
                              result is able to go much farther on a tank full of gasoline. Its maintenance problerns are
                              few and far between and are easily remedied. It is an easy matter to change an engine,
                              which takes little more than four hours and which beats all hollow the best time
                              for the Germans. It has a good gun, and good ammunition for it. It does not take
                              much to tow one of our tanks that is disabled, but a huge vehicle is required for the German Tiger, and often German tanks had to be abandoned because huge vehicles were not available. Yes, considering all factors, I believe that even the most prejudiced or the one most difficult to convince will nod toward the Sherman.

                              The Sherman must give ground to the Tiger when the size of the gun and tl]e thickness of
                              armor is considered., The tanker knows and takes for granted that if his tank is hit by
                              an 88 it will be penetrated. He also’ knows that the addition of a few tons of armor will
                              not stop an 88. He respects, and always will, the German gun and the thick armor, but he
                              will never swap his tank for those advantages. To build a tank that would stop an 88
                              shell would be to lose a tank and gain a lambering steel pillbox with no mobility left. It
                              has been said, practically speaking, that the only thing that will stop an 88 is “Cease
                              fire.” Similarly, to stop our 76 with high-velocity armor-piercing ammunition, the
                              enemy will need a mighty heavy tank, indeed. Once again, let us not forget that the Americans fought an offensive, fast, deceptive, and crushed our adversary; therefore the tanks which spearheaded the victories must have been good. Tank for tank. toe to toe, we were outclassed.
                              But that was not our way of fighting.” For the person still not convinced I suggest that
                              he tabulate, the count of American tanks knocked out by German tanks and vice versa. and I am sure that he will discover, to his amazement, that the scale will swing heavily in our favor.

                              Not long before the curtain dropped on hostilities in Europe, the American General
                              Pershing tank made its bow. It has a 90-mm gun, weighs forty-six tons, has a different
                              suspension system, and has a low silhouette. It is said that here is a tank that incorporates
                              all the advantages of the Sherman tank and with its new additions makes it superior to the
                              German Tiger in every respect, As far as my personal knowledge goes, I must reserve my
                              opinion until later, for that tank is comparatively untried.

                              I will say to the persons that have so glibly sold our tank down the river that there
                              is more to it than meets the eye.
                              Last edited by m kenny; 02 Dec 12, 18:48.

                              Comment


                              • Here we go....

                                Do I have to type out White?

                                If I can get 50 veterans to your one, is that enough of a ratio to be declared the winner? What are the rules of engagement?

                                Probably not, since the post seems analysis light, so we have no idea what you're actually saying anyway, do we...?

                                Righty ho...well late now. Extensive postings from White demonstrating how bad elements of 2nd Armoured thought their vehicles were tomorrow to counteract this. You can then post a picture of a Panther from an unusual angle and claim it proves the existence of UFOs and we can resume hostilities.

                                Regards,
                                ID

                                Comment

                                Latest Topics

                                Collapse

                                Working...
                                X