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For Want of a Gun

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  • #91
    Originally posted by flash View Post
    I've recently came around to the view that no feasible armour protection was going to make any tank invulnerable to German ant tank weapons,even the Churchill was vulnerable with it's whopping 6" glacis.
    Indeed - and that same lesson was to apply to tanks in general into the 1970ies. There was a brief period in 1943-44 where you could pile enough steel armour on a tank to be near invulnerable, but that would result in a tank of 50 tons and more with resulting cost and complexity, restricted mobility and whatnot.

    Vs long 8,8cm guns, sub-caliber and HEAT ammunition, the game was really up by late 1944

    Also,if so much store was put into the 75mm HE ability why not fit them all with the 105?
    Give the 105 a limited HEAT round capability and Bob's your uncle.
    Not really - the 400 m/s muzzle velocity was not good for accuracy. Also WWII HEAT was generally temperamental, in particular if it did not hit perpendicular to the armour but also if it hit any flimsy or movable parts on the tank (tools, exhaust pipes, tracklinks etc.) or any object giving distance to the main armour (roadwheels for example). And the 105mm HEAT could only penetrate about 100mm of armour.

    I think too much store has been given to the effectiveness of the 75 HE round, sure, it was better than the 76 but c'mon, was it really a whole magnitude better?
    As HE rounds go, think yes. But you pose the relevant question as to whether it actually mattered? I would add that it was a problem, which could easily be rectified if someone had spent a bit of development time on ammo development from 1942 onwards.

    I'm willing to go along with those who believe the 76 AP performance improvement was too marginal to do away with the more effective 75 HE but all that really means is that the 76 sucked and something better was needed.
    I dont think the 76mm sucked - it just needed better ammunition. After all, it fired the standard APC round at 780 m/s which is about the same as the German 7,5cm L/43/46/48 guns (between 740 and 790 m/s).

    Why wasn't something better produced in time for D-Day?
    I'm not going to open that can-o-worms again
    Last edited by cbo; 05 Jul 16, 12:50.

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    • #92
      Originally posted by cbo View Post
      Indeed - and that same lesson was to apply to tanks in general into the 1970ies. There was a brief period in 1943-44 where you could pile enough steel armour on a tank to be near invulnerable, but that would result in a tank of 50 tons and more with resulting cost and complexity, restricted mobility and whatnot.

      Vs long 8,8cm guns, sub-caliber and HEAT ammunition, the game was really up by late 1944



      Not really - the 400 m/s muzzle velocity was not good for accuracy. Also WWII HEAT was generally temperamental, in particular if it did not hit perpendicular to the armour but also if it hit any flimsy or movable parts on the tank (tools, exhaust pipes, tracklinks etc.) or any object giving distance to the main armour (roadwheels for example). And the 105mm HEAT could only penetrate about 100mm of armour.



      As HE rounds go, think yes. But you pose the relevant question as to whether it actually mattered? I would add that it was a problem, which could easily be rectified if someone had spent a bit of development time on ammo development from 1942 onwards.



      I dont think the 76mm sucked - it just needed better ammunition. After all, it fired the standard APC round at 780 m/s which is about the same as the German 7,5cm L/43/46/48 guns (between 740 and 790 m/s).



      I'm not going to open that can-o-worms again
      Oh yes,I know that before the introduction of the Piezo-electric fuse and the resultant almost instantaneous detonation of the warhead the HEAT tank round had a long ways to go but there was a 105 HEAT round and many other calibres too,surely 400m/s MV is slow enough for a satisfying hole to make!

      Given that the penetration was only c100mm but that is at any range at which a target could be hit,isn't that better than the 75mm APC round?

      And you get a most satisfying bang too!

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      • #93
        Originally posted by flash View Post
        Oh yes,I know that before the introduction of the Piezo-electric fuse and the resultant almost instantaneous detonation of the warhead the HEAT tank round had a long ways to go but there was a 105 HEAT round and many other calibres too,surely 400m/s MV is slow enough for a satisfying hole to make!
        Not sure I follow you But the problem with the 400 m/s is hitting the target. At that velocity and normal combat range, you would have to elevate the gun quite a lot, firing the projectile at an arc, which is not the easiest way to hit an enemy tank, let alone a moving one. The 76mm with twice that velocity would be more or less a matter of point and shoot.

        There is also the matter of post-penetration effects. WWII HEAT was generally not that effective in destroying armoured targets. IIRC the Germans had to spend 7 or 8 rounds of their 75mm HEAT to get a result.

        Given that the penetration was only c100mm but that is at any range at which a target could be hit,isn't that better than the 75mm APC round?
        The 75mm would likely be better at actually hitting the target. Post-penetration effects would also likely be much greater. So the 105mm HEAT advantage would be exclusively in terms of penetration.

        And you get a most satisfying bang too!
        Indeed

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        • #94
          Originally posted by cbo View Post
          The Germans caught on to the need for HE much earlier than either US or the British.
          When British and US tanks were armed with small caliber anti-tank guns and machineguns, the Germans augmented their tank forces with a tank firing decent HE. As soon as they realized that HE was always needed (in Poland in 1939), they issued HE to all their tanks, even if they fired only very small HE rounds. And HE was always a factor as they up-gunned their tanks, making sure that high velocity guns could fire HE rounds of decent quality at reduced velocities. The British and the US both fell flat on their face with regards to HE once they had to move up to high-velocity 76mm guns.
          The only case, you could argue that the Germans should have emphasized HE more is in the Panther and other tanks with the 75mm L/70 gun. They could've designed an 88mm weapon instead, something along the lines of the British 20-pdr (post-war), the Soviet 85mm (1944) or the US 90mm (1944/45). In 1942, they did not, but they made sure that the long 75mm gun could still fire a usefull HE round.
          The Soviets seems to have always regarded HE-firing as the main job of the tank, hence the dual-purpose 45mm, 76mm and 85mm guns.

          And just to clarify my position - the 75mm gun on the Sherman was a fine weapon up until the end of 1943. The sad part of the Sherman story comes when the US and the British were incapable of providing the Sherman with a good, dual purpose 76mm gun (or a 20-pdr/90mm) in 1944 or produce a new tank with such a weapon. The 17-pdr could do the job, provided it had usefull HE round (which it later got) and the US 76mm would've done better if some effort had been put into making a good HE round and better AP rounds. This is were the Germans and Soviets turned out to be much more pragmatic and effective than the Western Allies.
          I can't speak for the US position, but as far as the British were concerned, it wasn't so much the case that they didn't figure out the need for HE, but they weren't able to expand their ammunition output to be able to quickly incorporate it.

          The British forces in the desert were requesting 2 pounder HE (and APCBC) from mid 1941 - neither of these reached the field until the desert war was over, because the British had trouble even meeting the requirements for the standard 2 pounder AP ammo. Output of the guns themselves was also problematic. The British knew that both the 2 pounder and 6 pounder could be better adapted for tank use (e.g. by providing them with side loading breeches), and that they needed an intermediate calibre between these two, but the output requirements for both tanks and AT carriages meant that they had to persevere with the standard AT guns adapted for tanks.

          The 77mm gun was the first gun created specifically for tank use, and this, as well as the side-loading variant of the 17 pdr, reflected the moment when the British achieved sufficient output to actually produce dedicated tank guns. The effective HE shell for the 17 pounder was actually developed for the 77mm and back-rationalised onto the 17 pounder (both guns sharing the same projectiles). Really, the British problems derived from the fact that tanks just weren't a high priority for them, and the "make do" policy they maintained until almost the end of the war.
          "Looting would not be tolerated within the Division, unless organised with the knowledge of C.O.'s on a unit basis."
          - 15/19 Hussars War Diary, 18th March 1945

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          • #95
            Originally posted by JBark View Post
            Yeah, all good. None of the replies here have addressed my original comment. Let's drop it.
            There is a youtube vid about the forthcoming book.

            Heavy on emotion, super empty on detail, I suspect it is similar to the what the book will be.

            How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
            Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

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            • #96
              Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
              There is a youtube vid about the forthcoming book.

              Heavy on emotion, super empty on detail, I suspect it is similar to the what the book will be.

              I have to say up to the five minute mark the music was great. A shame when you think about it the subject of the book could be done very well and make for good debate.
              John

              Play La Marseillaise. Play it!

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              • #97
                Originally posted by JBark View Post
                I have to say up to the five minute mark the music was great. A shame when you think about it the subject of the book could be done very well and make for good debate.
                One of the ironies of how rubbish that the US 75mm M3 is considered to be is that the British created guns and also modify tanks to use the US 75mm ammunition.

                Compared with being in the infantry, being a tanker in any tank tended to be a safe bet.
                How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
                Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

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                • #98
                  Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
                  There is a youtube vid about the forthcoming book.

                  Heavy on emotion, super empty on detail, I suspect it is similar to the what the book will be.

                  I suspect you're right. I'd bet it draws conclusions then fits the evidence to make the case. For example, it states in the video "...rookie US tankers..." Well, in most cases, US tank crews had as much as a year of training before being committed to combat. That includes live fire exercises, and considerable driving and operating time. I wouldn't call them "rookies."
                  Sure, there were some instances of crew shortages in 1944 in the ETO due to casualties, but on the whole US tank crews were well trained.
                  If anything, British and US tank crews were far better trained than their German counterparts by 1944 in most cases. The Germans lacked the fuel, ammunition, and places to train their crews anywhere near to the standard the Western Allies were. In many cases, the training vehicles ran on wood gas generators and were obsolete models of vehicles totally different from the tanks they'd be using operationally. Live fire was often limited to sighting the guns in and testing, if that.
                  Last edited by T. A. Gardner; 05 Sep 16, 19:20.

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                  • #99
                    It's interesting to note how heavily the Tiger is portrayed in that video... At one point it brings up the Ardennes Offensive and shows a Tiger II.
                    Since there was less than 50 (somewhere between 37 and 52 depending on how many were actually delivered as reinforcements during the battle) in the Ardennes it makes the Tiger tank almost irrelevant to the battle. The three units involved (S. SS Pz abt. 501 with between 15 and 30 vehicles, S. Pz abt. 506 with around 15, and Pz Abt (Fkl) 301 with about half a dozen).

                    1st SS Panzer to which S. SS Pzr abt 501 was attached put these Tiger II at the rear of their column of advance and it is pretty clear that these tanks did little or nothing for nearly 100% losses to the battalion.
                    S. Pz abt 506 fought south of Bastogne later in the battle for poor results.

                    The same can be said for the Tiger's performance in Normandy, mostly against the British. The British and Canadians were reasonably successful against those they faced (again a relative handful of tanks... s pz abt 503 had between 25 and 30 mostly Tiger I and a handful of Tiger II, s. SS pz abt 101 had 37 Tiger I, s. SS Pz 102 with 28 for a total of about 90 - 100 Tigers in Normandy total).

                    Also, almost all these for the entirety of the Normandy campaign fought against the British and Canadians. Their use against US units was rare.

                    So, I'd say the video completely mischaracterizes the Tiger v. Sherman issue. The few Tigers available rarely got the upper hand or dominated the battlefield. For example, S. pz abt 503 had the bad luck to get carpet bombed by over 2,000 Allied aircraft in the opening of Goodwood and had many of their tanks utterly destroyed as a result. The battalion afterwards committed their remaining Tigers in single digit numbers to the battle.

                    Comment


                    • The three 3 tiger tank battalions in Normandy claimed 500 kills. They were rarely deployed in strengths over 2 platoons and were scattered about. The 503 came in late in the battle.

                      The Tiger units in the Ardennes were few and didn't do much.

                      To put this into perspective, the 12.SS's pzJ battalion and PzR claimed 500 kills in Normandy

                      By July 3rd, Pz Lehr claimed 154 kills, 12.SS: 144 kills, 21.Pz: 101 kills
                      Last edited by Cult Icon; 01 Oct 16, 15:36.
                      Zhitomir-Berdichev, West of Kiev: 24 Dec 1943-31 Jan 1944
                      Stalin's Favorite: The Combat History of the 2nd Guards Tank Army
                      Barbarossa Derailed I & II
                      Battle of Kalinin October 1941

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                      • The regular bridges in the Ardennes could only handle Stugs and Panzer IV's and smaller. The Panthers and Tigers could only use a few bridges. Kampfgruppe Pieper had to backtrack several times when they got to one of the puny bridges.

                        Pruitt
                        Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

                        Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

                        by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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                        • Originally posted by Cult Icon View Post
                          The three 3 tiger tank battalions in Normandy claimed 500 kills. They were rarely deployed in strengths over 2 platoons and were scattered about. The 503 came in late in the battle.

                          The Tiger units in the Ardennes were few and didn't do much.

                          To put this into perspective, the 12.SS's pzJ battalion and PzR claimed 500 kills in Normandy

                          By July 3rd, Pz Lehr claimed 154 kills, 12.SS: 144 kills, 21.Pz: 101 kills
                          Look up total Allied tank losses for that period, according to their records...

                          It's like that machinegunner guy on Omaha beach that claimed over 100 dead due to his fire... He killed more soldiers than died on that whole beachhead... but whatever...

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                          • Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                            Look up total Allied tank losses for that period, according to their records...

                            It's like that machinegunner guy on Omaha beach that claimed over 100 dead due to his fire... He killed more soldiers than died on that whole beachhead... but whatever...
                            You need to take another another look at casualties on OMAHA Beach - try about 2,000.

                            http://www.warchronicle.com/numbers/...asualtyest.htm
                            Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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                            • Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
                              You need to take another another look at casualties on OMAHA Beach - try about 2,000.

                              http://www.warchronicle.com/numbers/...asualtyest.htm
                              Just remember that casualties include WIA. The WIA will greatly outnumber the KIA. And frequently the KIA are also included in the WIA counts as well.
                              Eagles may fly; but weasels aren't sucked into jet engines!

                              "I'm not expendable; I'm not stupid and I'm not going." - Kerr Avon, Blake's 7

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                              • Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
                                You need to take another another look at casualties on OMAHA Beach - try about 2,000.

                                http://www.warchronicle.com/numbers/...asualtyest.htm
                                Sorry, I meant 1000 dead... That was his claim... He claimed over 2,000 total and have fired of about 1.5 tons of small arms ammunition...

                                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinrich_Severloh

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