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  • Osprey book, Firefly vs Tiger, Normandy.

    I must say, I thought it would have more Wittmann information, but what it had was good.
    It starts out with a Tiger, then Firefly recap in general, then it gets down to specifics. The Tigers were the basics, nothing really new, but it did remind me of the extra top armour of the Tiger E (late model). Now the Firefly was quite new to me, at least, I will begin there on my next post tonight.

    Cheers, to some interesting Britsh gear!!

    TRDG

    Tom

  • #2
    Thanks for in-progress report, Tom.

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks Tom

      It looks like Friday, Someone borrowed it tonight to check it out. I will have it back by Friday night.

      Cheers

      Tom

      Comment


      • #4
        I bought a copy and just finished reading it. Overall, I found it interesting, in that I learned a lot about the Firefly, but I was disappointed because I expected more of a "mano a mano" comparison like some of the posts on this forum. It seem to me that the book featured principally the Firefly with the Tiger I in a back-up role. I found this to be a rehash of the fate of Michael Wittmann, but with a lot more basis, at least from the British side.
        I did yet another look at the armor penetrating capabilities of the 17-pounder, Mk. IV L/55 in the Firefly, and compared them to the Panther's 75mm KwK 42 L/70, and the Tiger II's 88mm KwK 43 L/71, and noted that the Tiger II's APCBC reigns supreme over the 17-pounder's AP round, and even the Panther's APCBC out performs the 17-pounder round. Even comparing the 17-pounder's APDS round capabilities with the Tiger II's and Panther's APCR, only the Tiger II's round out performs it.
        I saw that reference: "An unofficial dictum soon sprung up in British armoured units - if a Tiger appeared, send out a troop of four Shermans (with a single Firefly) to destroy the Panzer, and expect only one to come home."
        I thought the Brit's earlier attempt to mount a 17-pounder in a tank resulted in an unwieldy looking beast - A30 Challenger with its turret being very disporportinate!
        I found "The Battle for Le Petit Ravin" of interest, wherein a "well concealed" PzKpfw IV "quickly dispatched three Shermans" knocked out No. 16 Firefly "Kursk," and another Firefly No. 4 "Orenburg" before falling victim to No.17 Firefly which approached the PzKpfw IV unnoticed from the other side.

        And then the author's statement on page 67: "The up-gunned Sherman had proved its ability to vanquish not just the ordinary Panzer IV, but also the most-feared German heavy tank, the Tiger. From this duel at St-Agnan - probably the last great clash of Firefly verses Tiger - the Firefly emerged triumphant." Vanquished? Hmmm, I'd say the Firefly put things on par. For a tank, the Sherman, that can be taken out without too much trouble by even a PzKpfw IV like at the Le Petit battle, I'd hardly say "vanquished"!

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Tom D View Post
          I bought a copy and just finished reading it. Overall, I found it interesting, in that I learned a lot about the Firefly, but I was disappointed because I expected more of a "mano a mano" comparison like some of the posts on this forum. It seem to me that the book featured principally the Firefly with the Tiger I in a back-up role. I found this to be a rehash of the fate of Michael Wittmann, but with a lot more basis, at least from the British side.
          I did yet another look at the armor penetrating capabilities of the 17-pounder, Mk. IV L/55 in the Firefly, and compared them to the Panther's 75mm KwK 42 L/70, and the Tiger II's 88mm KwK 43 L/71, and noted that the Tiger II's APCBC reigns supreme over the 17-pounder's AP round, and even the Panther's APCBC out performs the 17-pounder round. Even comparing the 17-pounder's APDS round capabilities with the Tiger II's and Panther's APCR, only the Tiger II's round out performs it.
          I saw that reference: "An unofficial dictum soon sprung up in British armoured units - if a Tiger appeared, send out a troop of four Shermans (with a single Firefly) to destroy the Panzer, and expect only one to come home."
          I thought the Brit's earlier attempt to mount a 17-pounder in a tank resulted in an unwieldy looking beast - A30 Challenger with its turret being very disporportinate!
          I found "The Battle for Le Petit Ravin" of interest, wherein a "well concealed" PzKpfw IV "quickly dispatched three Shermans" knocked out No. 16 Firefly "Kursk," and another Firefly No. 4 "Orenburg" before falling victim to No.17 Firefly which approached the PzKpfw IV unnoticed from the other side.

          And then the author's statement on page 67: "The up-gunned Sherman had proved its ability to vanquish not just the ordinary Panzer IV, but also the most-feared German heavy tank, the Tiger. From this duel at St-Agnan - probably the last great clash of Firefly verses Tiger - the Firefly emerged triumphant." Vanquished? Hmmm, I'd say the Firefly put things on par. For a tank, the Sherman, that can be taken out without too much trouble by even a PzKpfw IV like at the Le Petit battle, I'd hardly say "vanquished"!
          Interesting comments.

          I just recently recieved this book as a gift. {Thank you Eric!} I havent had time to read it yet as im currently in the middle of another book.

          I did leaf through it today for the first time and i would say that the "feel" of the book from the captions i read from the charts, tables, drawings, paintings & pictures gave an over whelming feel of a pro-British book. Not that there is anything wrong with that i guess, its just that they should be up front with it is all that im saying.
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          Kampfgruppe - A Wargaming Clan Since 1998

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          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks for the thoughts

            I'm back at work after vacation, so sometimes I'm just "not in the mood" to post that much. I will try to snap myself out of it, probably when I get a day off, Monday and Tuesday.

            Cheers, it will be continued........

            Tom

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            • #7
              I did yet another look at the armor penetrating capabilities of the 17-pounder, Mk. IV L/55 in the Firefly, and compared them to the Panther's 75mm KwK 42 L/70, and the Tiger II's 88mm KwK 43 L/71, and noted that the Tiger II's APCBC reigns supreme over the 17-pounder's AP round, and even the Panther's APCBC out performs the 17-pounder round. Even comparing the 17-pounder's APDS round capabilities with the Tiger II's and Panther's APCR, only the Tiger II's round out performs it.
              I saw that reference: "An unofficial dictum soon sprung up in British armoured units - if a Tiger appeared, send out a troop of four Shermans (with a single Firefly) to destroy the Panzer, and expect only one to come home."
              I thought the Brit's earlier attempt to mount a 17-pounder in a tank resulted in an unwieldy looking beast - A30 Challenger with its turret being very disporportinate!
              I found "The Battle for Le Petit Ravin" of interest, wherein a "well concealed" PzKpfw IV "quickly dispatched three Shermans" knocked out No. 16 Firefly "Kursk," and another Firefly No. 4 "Orenburg" before falling victim to No.17 Firefly which approached the PzKpfw IV unnoticed from the other side.

              And then the author's statement on page 67: "The up-gunned Sherman had proved its ability to vanquish not just the ordinary Panzer IV, but also the most-feared German heavy tank, the Tiger. From this duel at St-Agnan - probably the last great clash of Firefly verses Tiger - the Firefly emerged triumphant." Vanquished? Hmmm, I'd say the Firefly put things on par. For a tank, the Sherman, that can be taken out without too much trouble by even a PzKpfw IV like at the Le Petit battle, I'd hardly say "vanquished"![/QUOTE]

              It says "able to vanquish", not guaranteed to. It could put a hole into a Tiger I anywhere, and the effect on a PzKfw IV is not nice to think about. I can cite many one instance where Fireflies took out 5 Panthers in one action, sometimes firing their inert AP or APCBC rounds through buildings behind which the cats had taken cover.

              A few points.

              Challenger was designed for long range gunnery in the desert, and the armour had to be thinned to reduce the weight on the modified Cromwell suspension. The long tracks and absence of return rollers + rear sprockets meant it tended to shed tracks. It could be fitted for deep wading but not for DD status, so none were used until about July 1944, with 5th RTR first, who soon got rid of it. The ammo stowage for ready-use rounds was also poor.

              17 pdr AP was inferior to the Tiger I's 88mm L/56 APBBC, but not by much, and certainly worse than the 75 mm L/70, but this (older) round was designed for use against homogeneous armour. The APCBC round penetrated about 176 mm of 90 degree homogenous plate at 500 yds, much better than either. Forget German 88mm or 75 mm APCR - it was rare or nonexistent by then. 17 pdr APDS was issued in small batches for trials in August 1944 and most early rounds were of sub-standard quality so that performance was erratic. It was never a particularly accurate round either. It became more plentiful after September 1944 - veterans have mentioned having between 5 and 10 rounds apiece with orders not to 'waste' it on targets vulnerable to more conventional rounds.

              At most combat ranges US 90 mm APCR was slightly better than 17 pdr APDS but US documents state it only arrived in March 1945.

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks for these reports, gentlemen. I have seen the new series from Osprey and have been trying to decide whether or not I need this series of Osprey books. This series has convinced me that I need to look into it more closely and will probably wind up getting some of them -- this one is a likely candidate.
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                • #9
                  "Vanquished"? Do you agree?

                  The British author, Stephen A. Hart concludes:

                  "The up-gunned Sherman had proved its ability to vanquish not just the ordinary Panzer IV, but also the most-feared German heavy tank, the Tiger. From this duel at St-Agnan - probably the last great clash of Firefly verses Tiger - the Firefly emerged triumphant." (page 67, "Sherman Firefly vs Tiger Normandy 1944")

                  Do you agree with this author's conclusion ?

                  (posted under "Weapons of War" and "World War II" forums as well)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Tom D View Post
                    The British author, Stephen A. Hart concludes:

                    "The up-gunned Sherman had proved its ability to vanquish not just the ordinary Panzer IV, but also the most-feared German heavy tank, the Tiger. From this duel at St-Agnan - probably the last great clash of Firefly verses Tiger - the Firefly emerged triumphant." (page 67, "Sherman Firefly vs Tiger Normandy 1944")

                    Do you agree with this author's conclusion ?

                    (posted under "Weapons of War" and "World War II" forums as well)
                    Sounds like he is crowning a winner to me, but then again, what do i know.....
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Charles Markuss View Post
                      17 pdr AP was inferior to the Tiger I's 88mm L/56 APBBC, but not by much, and certainly worse than the 75 mm L/70, but this (older) round was designed for use against homogeneous armour. The APCBC round penetrated about 176 mm of 90 degree homogenous plate at 500 yds, much better than either. Forget German 88mm or 75 mm APCR - it was rare or nonexistent by then. 17 pdr APDS was issued in small batches for trials in August 1944 and most early rounds were of sub-standard quality so that performance was erratic. It was never a particularly accurate round either. It became more plentiful after September 1944 - veterans have mentioned having between 5 and 10 rounds apiece with orders not to 'waste' it on targets vulnerable to more conventional rounds.

                      At most combat ranges US 90 mm APCR was slightly better than 17 pdr APDS but US documents state it only arrived in March 1945.
                      Charles, the 17-pounder's AP penetration is NOT inferior to the Tiger I's KwK 36 88mm L/56 APCBC until about 1000 meters. Here are the values from:
                      http://www.tarrif.net/cgi/production...ow_pen&penX=40

                      17-pounder AP/KwK 36 APCBC penetrations on armor plate 30 degrees from vertical: 100m - 132mm/120mm; 500m - 113mm/110mm; 1000m - 94mm/100mm; 1500m - 77mm/91mm; 2000m - 74mm/84mm.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Tom D View Post
                        Charles, the 17-pounder's AP penetration is NOT inferior to the Tiger I's KwK 36 88mm L/56 APCBC until about 1000 meters. Here are the values from:
                        http://www.tarrif.net/cgi/production...ow_pen&penX=40

                        17-pounder AP/KwK 36 APCBC penetrations on armor plate 30 degrees from vertical: 100m - 132mm/120mm; 500m - 113mm/110mm; 1000m - 94mm/100mm; 1500m - 77mm/91mm; 2000m - 74mm/84mm.

                        Those would be the pen. figures for the 17-pdr AP, the APCBC was introduced in '43 and would be the common round by '44.

                        Taken from 'Victory in the West' the pen of the APCBC against homogenous armour plate at 30ş angle of attack would be:

                        100yds - 149mm; 500yds - 140mm; 1000yds - 130mm; 2000yds - 111mm.

                        Outperforming both the 7.5cm KwK 42 and the 8.8cm KwK 36.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          On the Firefly

                          The first page on the Firefly details, I was a little shocked that they had a picture of the Tigers shells next to the Fireflys. There was a little caption for each in what they were, but that was it, interesting, but I was looking for more information, as in at least a general armour range penetration for each round that might be a "norm".
                          After that, it is written, the Firefly was the result of being "spurred on" to upgun the Sherman before D-Day began. Nothing would work for the 17
                          pound gun except the Sherman Mark V chassis, others were used later, the Mark I, and the Hybrid, which had a cast hull front, for making the Sherman IC and IC Firefly. They wanted 2,100 conversions from the Shermans and later raised it to 3,414, between 2,139 and 2,239 were completed by May of 1945 IN A 17 month run. That lead to an average delivery of from 126 to 132 Fireflys per month.

                          Cheers, until next time.........

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                          • #14
                            This might be interesting

                            By May 31st, 1944, 342 Fireflyies were delivered, the majority to Montgomery's 21st Army group for D-Day. This would supply 1 Firefry per troop, including squadrons equipped with the Cromwell. Between D-Day and the end in the Normandy campaign in late August in 1944, a further 562 were produced, sufficient to replace those lost during the campaign.

                            Does anyone know or can point out where to look for the total losses of Fireflies in this time period, and/or what the totals of what the Fireflies "fit for duty" status numbers are by late August of 1944. That might be very interesting to find out, at least for me.

                            Cheers, thanks in advance.

                            Tom

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                            • #15
                              Firefly losses

                              Originally posted by TRDG View Post
                              By May 31st, 1944, 342 Fireflyies were delivered, the majority to Montgomery's 21st Army group for D-Day. This would supply 1 Firefry per troop, including squadrons equipped with the Cromwell. Between D-Day and the end in the Normandy campaign in late August in 1944, a further 562 were produced, sufficient to replace those lost during the campaign.

                              Does anyone know or can point out where to look for the total losses of Fireflies in this time period, and/or what the totals of what the Fireflies "fit for duty" status numbers are by late August of 1944. That might be very interesting to find out, at least for me.

                              Cheers, thanks in advance.

                              Tom
                              I have never seen any loss figures. The 17pdr AP round was the earliest type and was less effective against face-hardened armour, which some Panthers were still being built with before (I think) June or July 44. APCBC was designed to deal with FH armour, but at shorter ranges the ballistic cap degraded performance slightly, only to make up for this at longer range due to streamlining.

                              My best sources for penetration are RP Hunnicutt's book on the Sherman and Bird and Livingstone's World War Two Ballistics: Armor and Gunnery.

                              Finally, David Fletcher's next Osprey will be on the Sherman Firefly.... Hart's book has errors - for example stating that the British used only M4A3 and M4A5 in Normandy. The former never mounted a 17 pdr, though some were earmarked for conversion for use by the US army. M4A5 was the designation for Canadian vehicles not used in action. The British only use M4, M4 hybrid and M4A4 for Firefly conversions, and only those with the better Oilgear traverse mechanism. On 30 June 44 only 2 M4 types were in use (1st Polish Armd Div), and all the rest M4A4 but by war's end roughly 2 M4s were in service for each M4A4. See Mark Hayward's book on the Firefly published by Barbarossa Books.
                              Last edited by Charles Markuss; 11 Nov 07, 08:11.

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