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  • German tanks: overrated?

    I have just joined this forum and I want to start with a bang
    As I recounted in another thread, my interest in tanks began as a child after being captivated by John Bachelor's illustrations in the legendary Purnell's history of WWII. I then received an airfix Pzkpfw IV (F2/G) airfix kit which I duly made. My brother and I decided to collect Britain's 1:32 model soldiers and to pacify him I agreed to buy the German ones. From that we graduated to Dinky and Corgi models and then to more kits including the excellent Tamiya 1:32 scale range. Somewhere down the line I transmogrified from a normal, patriotic Briton to someone who felt alliegance to German weaponry. Rest assured it never became a defence of Nazism and I was clear where I drew the line, but it was strong and in a way it remains. I guess I wasn't alone because I do recall Military Modelling magazine complaining about the dominance of German diaramas, etc. Equally, I think I was hooked by the sheer glamour of German tanks; they simply looked fantastic and their names rolled off the tongue: Panther, Tiger, King Tiger, Jagdpanther and not to forget the colossal Jagdtiger. It seemed hard to whip up much enthusiasm for the Matilda or Churchill models! Yet 30 years on and considerably older and wiser I'm not so sure they were so great. The British ended the war with arguably the first MBT in the form of the Centurion (one of my all time favourites) and the Russian's had many great models, not least the T34/85, JS2 and the formidable JS3 (a blind alley, but very impressive on paper). The American T25/6 was an excellent design, (although the M48/60 models weren't up to much), and so it's hard to see the German's retaining much of a design advantage (admittedly the Panther II looked promising), not to mention crazy schemes such as the Maus.
    The other thing that strikes me is that the mythology was based on such a short period of time. In the early stages of the war the Panzer IIs and IIIs (and later IVs) were often outclassed in protection and firepower in both fronts. The response was impressive, but often wasteful, and in the early stages of the Panther, rushed, but apart from 1944, by the end of the war the JS2, T26 Pershing and to a certain extent the Sherman Firefly, had redressed the balance. And yet, and yet... I am still caught up by the myth. Why is it so seductive??

  • #2
    Well i for one love the German Armor for alot of reasons, one they had such
    a wide range that as a modeler you never seem to run out of subject matter
    to build. Sure they had alot of problems on the front, but they also had
    alot of sucess as well. No Allied tank came close to the kills scored by
    Whitmann and others. They always seemed to set the standard when they
    put out the Tiger and Panther, and the Panther is still consider the best tank
    of WW2 by many. When you ask a allied tank comander which tank would you
    choose, his answer is a Tiger. That says alot about how even they admired
    the Germans tanks.

    So i guess i would be one who says they are not over rated at all.
    Life is what happens to you when your busy making other plans! Lennon - www.lufttiger.com

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    • #3
      Over worshipped is my humble opinion.
      Too many fables, eagerly sought and believed.

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      • #4
        I'm sure the Purist agrees with you!

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        • #5
          Muginman, I can relate to your experience...mine was similar. For me, when discussing German tanks...their capabilities/strehgths/weakesses, it depends at what point in time. In my opinion, and depending on the model, German tanks were sometimes inferior to those they opposed during WW II (e.g. T-34), and of course at other times they were superior. It varied throughout the war. I find it difficult to make flat statements like "German tanks were superior." Opinons certainly vary on this, and we have all seen the numerous discussions/arguments over postings regarding which was the best tank of WW II.

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          • #6
            I completely agree with Tom here on this one.
            Life is what happens to you when your busy making other plans! Lennon - www.lufttiger.com

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            • #7
              I build almost nothing but German armor (it's easier to specialize ) but I'll agree that Panzers were overrated up until early 43'. Up until that time they had either been outclassed on the battlefield or fought against under-developed militaries. Nothing against the Allied Minor countries but bragging about defeating Poland, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, and Denmark is rather comical. They were outclassed by France but the French basically defeated themselves.

              This does speak volumes about German operational art though. Defeating France and putting a pretty big dent into Russia with obsolete armor and a short-term armor doctrine is impressive.
              If you can't set a good example, be a glaring warning.

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              • #8
                All the different types for me.

                All the types of German armor is what gets my interest, from the Marder I and Hummel to the Jagdpanzers and Kingtiger. Used in all fronts for the most part, along with the variety of camo schemes. Every "strength" of these had a counter, as well as advantages that can be taken, with their "weaknesses".

                The Russians would probably be my next one, less the camo schemes. T-70s, T-34s types, SU and ISU assault guns along with the KV and Stalin tanks.

                British would be third, even though they were the first Allied power to enter the war besides France, plus they "did more" camo. Everything from the Matilda and Crusader types, Churchill and Bishops, to the Comet amd Firefly.

                To round that out, my good old U.S. would be last, sad to say, for various reasons. You have to have the Sherman, where would we be without that one, in all its types? Priests and Stuarts, along with the Pershing!! Almost total lack of camo application.

                But all are very interesting in their own way, regardless. They can be intertwined in all sorts of ways, you almost have to in WW II. That is what makes WW II so interesting, to me at least.....

                Cheers

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by freightshaker View Post
                  This does speak volumes about German operational art though. Defeating France and putting a pretty big dent into Russia with obsolete armor and a short-term armor doctrine is impressive.
                  A large part of that was a result of training, and the crews.
                  ACG QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
                  ¿Cualquier persona fija en el nude? Slug

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by lufttiger View Post
                    Well i for one love the German Armor for alot of reasons, one they had such
                    a wide range that as a modeler you never seem to run out of subject matter
                    to build. Sure they had alot of problems on the front, but they also had
                    alot of sucess as well. No Allied tank came close to the kills scored by
                    Whitmann and others. They always seemed to set the standard when they
                    put out the Tiger and Panther, and the Panther is still consider the best tank
                    of WW2 by many. When you ask a allied tank comander which tank would you
                    choose, his answer is a Tiger. That says alot about how even they admired
                    the Germans tanks.

                    So i guess i would be one who says they are not over rated at all.
                    Yes I have read how the Panther is considered the best design to come out of WW2, for me it would be the T-34!
                    Were the tanks overated, depends which one you want to pick I guess but the 88's and the Panther's 75mm wasn't something to laugh at either way.
                    "In modern war... you will die like a dog for no good reason."
                    Ernest Hemingway.

                    Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, Or what's a heaven for?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by achtung baby View Post
                      Yes I have read how the Panther is considered the best design to come out of WW2, for me it would be the T-34!
                      Were the tanks overated, depends which one you want to pick I guess but the 88's and the Panther's 75mm wasn't something to laugh at either way.
                      The Soviets designed and built their tanks according the their labor skills and manufacturing conditions as well as weather and seasonal requirements, the Germans did not. If it was a one on one in open dry terrain, I would go for a properly built and maintained Panther over a T-34. All other bets are off.
                      Flag: USA / Location: West Coast

                      Prayers.

                      BoRG

                      http://img204.imageshack.us/img204/8757/snap1ws8.jpg

                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PtsX_Z3CMU

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by cyberia View Post
                        A large part of that was a result of training, and the crews.
                        It is a tribute to the training and tactics that the Wehrmacht made much of their advances with obsolete armor and motorized transport shortages.
                        Flag: USA / Location: West Coast

                        Prayers.

                        BoRG

                        http://img204.imageshack.us/img204/8757/snap1ws8.jpg

                        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PtsX_Z3CMU

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                        • #13
                          "Obsolete armour" that's painting it with a broad brush is it not?

                          Surely the Germans had some advantages in the pursuit of tank design and equipment, yes the shortages in quality manufacturing was telling in the late stages of the war, and the lack of testing to rush them to the front was evident in numerous designs!
                          "In modern war... you will die like a dog for no good reason."
                          Ernest Hemingway.

                          Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, Or what's a heaven for?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by achtung baby View Post
                            "Obsolete armour" that's painting it with a broad brush is it not?

                            Surely the Germans had some advantages in the pursuit of tank design and equipment, yes the shortages in quality manufacturing was telling in the late stages of the war, and the lack of testing to rush them to the front was evident in numerous designs!
                            a TOUCH OF SARCASM.
                            Flag: USA / Location: West Coast

                            Prayers.

                            BoRG

                            http://img204.imageshack.us/img204/8757/snap1ws8.jpg

                            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PtsX_Z3CMU

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                            • #15
                              German tanks: overrated? One for one I think not. My own interest was sparked as a boy listening to my Uncle's thoughts on the war and armoured warfare against the Germans. For the everyday tanker, many things about the Panzers were a surprise to them.

                              So when I started studying WWII more in-depth, the how’s and whys of the German war machine interested me far more than our own side. As time went on my interests led to military intelligence, where knowing the enemy was job one. Once retired, keeping up with modern warfare seemed too much like work and I've since drove back into WWII as my hobby with a special place for the Panzerwaffe.

                              There so much to know and even new info working it's way to surface and don't see any boredom as a result on the horizon.

                              Bottom line: there's just something about the thought of thundering into battle in a Tiger, who's reputation, deserved or not, would inspire fear in your foe.

                              Just remember any naysayers out there other bad boys in history probably inspired you too, The Vikings or the Romans come to mind.

                              Eternal War(gaming) Armoured Struggle Car Bob

                              History does not record anywhere at any time a religion that has any rational basis.
                              Lazarus Long

                              Draw the blinds on yesterday and it's all so much scarier....
                              David Bowie

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