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German Assessment of Churchill Tank

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  • German Assessment of Churchill Tank

    This is from another forum:

    One such German assessment that is easy to lay ones hands upon is something summarized in David Fletcher's excellent work on the Churchill Tank. See D.Fletcher's “Mr. Churchill’s Tank, The British Infantry Tank Mark IV”, pages 78 - 81. Fletcher refers to Churchill tanks captured after the Dieppe Raid. These were than picked apart by the Germans. A report issued by the Germans on the Tank was somehow liberated by the British and subsequently translated. This is a snippet from the translated German Report on the Churchill:

    “The Germans compared the Churchill not only to their own tanks but to the Russian machines they were now encountering in the east. And it did not compare favourably. The vehicle' says the report 'offers nothing worthy of consideration by technical personnel, nor has it any new constructive features either in the metallurgical field, or in the field of weapon technology'. The 3 inch howitzer was 'bad and old fashioned'; the 2-pounder 'left behind both in construction and effectiveness' while the 6-pounder's performance 'does not approach that of Russian guns of the same calibre'. Ammunition revealed no new or noteworthy features and, as for armour it was seen as very thick but of poor quality and did not compare well with German or Russian plate. They also claimed that the tracks were brittle and of clumsy design which fractured ev ery time it received a direct hit. Photographs seem to indicate that the Churchills abandoned at Dieppe had the heavy, studded cast track made from a material described as B.T.S. 3. Discussing performance the Germans noted that the tracks made so much noise that they believed it would be impossible for anyone to use the radio while the tank was moving. No similar complaint is heard from British sources but the Germans made the point that when the tank halted to use its radio it provided a good opportunity to knock it out. Not that this was regarded as a problem. As the report sums up ' The shape is also not modern. In conclusion it may be said that the English Churchill tank, in its present form, is easy to combat'.”

  • #2
    Churchill

    Good stuff - thanks for posting.

    Lorrin Bird's and Robert Livingstone's book on WW2 gunnery and ballistics also makes the point that some Churchills had poor quality armour, but then as they point out every nation in WW2 had similar problems at one time or another - see also the new book on the T-34, T-34: Mythical Weapon. The tanks lost at Dieppe were early Churchills with a poor weapon arrangement which simply dug themselves into the sand and shingle on a most unsuitable landing place. The British had problems with the quality of numerous track designs for other vehicles too, but then so did early Shermans. The Dieppe Churchills' frontal armour of 89 mm (102 mm in some areas) was vulnerable to even the 50 mm PaK 38 at the ranges encountered.

    Churchill did have some good points, such as an amazing ability to climb steep hills, a gearbox giving neutral turns, wide tracks with a long run and heavy ribs that kept it going when Shermans without grousers would sink, and a tendency to catch fire more slowly than Shermans. When 57mm APDS became available it had a chance against the Tiger I's hull front, and also parts of the mantlet. The Mk VII of course had 152mm frontal armour and while the gun was still a peashooter, the Crocodile version was awesome, so much so that captured Crocodile crews were often shot.

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    • #3
      Churchill

      Good stuff - thanks for posting.

      Lorrin Bird's and Robert Livingstone's book on WW2 gunnery and ballistics also makes the point that some Churchills had poor quality armour, but then as they point out every nation in WW2 had similar problems at one time or another - see also the new book on the T-34, T-34: Mythical Weapon. The tanks lost at Dieppe were early Churchills with a poor weapon arrangement which simply dug themselves into the sand and shingle on a most unsuitable landing place. The British had problems with the quality of numerous track designs for other vehicles too, but then so did early Shermans. The Dieppe Churchills' frontal armour of 89 mm (102 mm in some areas) was vulnerable to even the 50 mm PaK 38 at the ranges encountered.

      Churchill did have some good points, such as an amazing ability to climb steep hills, a gearbox giving neutral turns, wide tracks with a long run and heavy ribs that kept it going when Shermans without grousers would sink, and a tendency to catch fire more slowly than Shermans. When 57mm APDS became available it had a chance against the Tiger I's hull front, and also parts of the mantlet. The Mk VII of course had 152mm frontal armour and while the gun was still a peashooter, the Crocodile version was awesome, so much so that captured Crocodile crews were often shot. In addition, Panzerfausts were often far less effective aginst it than other allied tanks.

      Comment

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