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RE: What is your favorite WWII tank?

 
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RE: What is your favorite WWII tank? - 2/2/2007 12:13:35 AM   
Rune Iversen


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quote:

ORIGINAL: mdiehl


And regularly did same.


Well, as "regularly" as Tigers showed up anyway. There weren´t really that many of them in the West between 1943 and 1945. High point is probably Normandy (around a 100 all told over the entire fight).

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RE: What is your favorite WWII tank? - 2/2/2007 12:31:45 AM   
Paul Vebber


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quote:

But nowhere near as "regularly" as might have been liked.


Panthers drivetrains didn't function correctly "as often as might be liked" yet they are the paragon of virtue.


quote:

The 76mm would still be in service today if folks round here ran the ordnance board.


I told the story, the Board did what the board did. Fault them if you will - but they were trying to pursue the sort of "listen to the guys who been there" that you supposedly support.

quote:

I don't have time tonight to get back into this one fully, hope to get chance tomorrow, but I wanted to say thanks for the extensive Hunnicut excerpt.


I have no reason to do else but lay the facts out and let them fall where they may...

quote:

Secondly, you were not so rhetorically devious as to leave out


I also stopped beating my wife...

The gist of the whole thing is, in a perfect hindsight we would have ser up a production line to build 17lbers. When we didn't do that in 1942 and chose instead to modify the 90mm AA for at use (not an absurd decision on its face), we were stuck with the 90, or 76. We also made the decision in 42 the M6 was not as good as 2 Shermans (another decision not absurd) and that development of the T26 (M26) would be required to meet projected enemy threats (yet again hardly absurd).

The effort on the 90 was focused on the Pershing (ANOTHER decision that is not absurd) vice both the Pershing and the Sherman - but a shift back to modding the Sherman set back the M26 at least 6 mos and development issues another few. . So we had the 3in/76. Better guns cannot be extruded from people's buttock's, so we made the best we could of getting the 76 integrated into the Sherman once, that was deemed to be too "improvised". They went back and "did right" - by that time it was nearly OBE. Had everything worked as expected,and the focused stayed on M4 +TD in Medium units, and M26s in Heavy units we would have had several hundred Pershings in theater in time for Cobra, if not for D-Day itself.

"The Plan" was not a bad one. - the notion of tanl regiments having a company of Pershings for CObra - or even at the Bulge - would likely have prevented only a few Sherman losses - though likely would have meant higher casualties to Tiget and Panther units. That Heavy German tanks could knock out a disproportionate number of Medium tanks is unlikely to have changed significantly unless we had field a large number of heavy tanks of our own - decsiosn made ofr logistical reasons, that one can debate, but was hardly stupid.

That when faced by their equvalent they did well belies the notion that somehow the Sherman was "not capable" - despite the fact it was not designed to fight heavy tanks. again my naval equivalent - did tin can sailoirs bitch when they had to go up agaisnt heavy and light cruisers - sure, but they did their duty anyway and 40-knot Burke was legend, despite having to write a LOT of letters to the bereaved. Did the fact a Jap light cruiser outgunned a Fletcher make the Fletcher "crap" or the decision to field so many a bad one?


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RE: What is your favorite WWII tank? - 2/2/2007 12:31:58 AM   
Demosthenes


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Big B

As for the Tiger I

quote:

Conclusion: The Successes and Failures of the PzKpfw VI Tiger I


Anyway, the maximum degree of success attained by the Tiger units was limited and/or localized tactical superiority. The truth was that the German industry simply couldn't produce Tigers in sufficient numbers to make any difference in the big picture -


The Sherman however DID win it's war...
By the way – the Matilda II was single handedly responsible for winning the Western destert Campaign in 1940 and destroying the will of an entire Italian Army.
The M1A1 Abrahms did much the same to to Iraq in 1991.

What great achievement did German heavy armor achieve to rank with those above?...



Or restated - "the Tiger added up to no more than a pimple on the A_$ of the war.."

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RE: What is your favorite WWII tank? - 2/2/2007 12:48:54 AM   
Speedy

 

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If that's so Demo then the same can be said by any other AFV....

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RE: What is your favorite WWII tank? - 2/2/2007 12:49:13 AM   
Big B


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Paul Vebber

quote:

But nowhere near as "regularly" as might have been liked.


Panthers drivetrains didn't function correctly "as often as might be liked" yet they are the paragon of virtue.


quote:

The 76mm would still be in service today if folks round here ran the ordnance board.


I told the story, the Board did what the board did. Fault them if you will - but they were trying to pursue the sort of "listen to the guys who been there" that you supposedly support.

quote:

I don't have time tonight to get back into this one fully, hope to get chance tomorrow, but I wanted to say thanks for the extensive Hunnicut excerpt.


I have no reason to do else but lay the facts out and let them fall where they may...

quote:

Secondly, you were not so rhetorically devious as to leave out


I also stopped beating my wife...

The gist of the whole thing is, in a perfect hindsight we would have ser up a production line to build 17lbers. When we didn't do that in 1942 and chose instead to modify the 90mm AA for at use (not an absurd decision on its face), we were stuck with the 90, or 76. We also made the decision in 42 the M6 was not as good as 2 Shermans (another decision not absurd) and that development of the T26 (M26) would be required to meet projected enemy threats (yet again hardly absurd).

The effort on the 90 was focused on the Pershing (ANOTHER decision that is not absurd) vice both the Pershing and the Sherman - but a shift back to modding the Sherman set back the M26 at least 6 mos and development issues another few. . So we had the 3in/76. Better guns cannot be extruded from people's buttock's, so we made the best we could of getting the 76 integrated into the Sherman once, that was deemed to be too "improvised". They went back and "did right" - by that time it was nearly OBE. Had everything worked as expected,and the focused stayed on M4 +TD in Medium units, and M26s in Heavy units we would have had several hundred Pershings in theater in time for Cobra, if not for D-Day itself.

"The Plan" was not a bad one. - the notion of tanl regiments having a company of Pershings for CObra - or even at the Bulge - would likely have prevented only a few Sherman losses - though likely would have meant higher casualties to Tiget and Panther units. That Heavy German tanks could knock out a disproportionate number of Medium tanks is unlikely to have changed significantly unless we had field a large number of heavy tanks of our own - decsiosn made ofr logistical reasons, that one can debate, but was hardly stupid.

That when faced by their equvalent they did well belies the notion that somehow the Sherman was "not capable" - despite the fact it was not designed to fight heavy tanks. again my naval equivalent - did tin can sailoirs bitch when they had to go up agaisnt heavy and light cruisers - sure, but they did their duty anyway and 40-knot Burke was legend, despite having to write a LOT of letters to the bereaved. Did the fact a Jap light cruiser outgunned a Fletcher make the Fletcher "crap" or the decision to field so many a bad one?




Nicely stated

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Post #: 365
RE: What is your favorite WWII tank? - 2/2/2007 12:52:01 AM   
Rune Iversen


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Paul Vebber


The gist of the whole thing is, in a perfect hindsight we would have ser up a production line to build 17lbers. When we didn't do that in 1942 and chose instead to modify the 90mm AA for at use (not an absurd decision on its face), we were stuck with the 90, or 76. We also made the decision in 42 the M6 was not as good as 2 Shermans (another decision not absurd) and that development of the T26 (M26) would be required to meet projected enemy threats (yet again hardly absurd).

The effort on the 90 was focused on the Pershing (ANOTHER decision that is not absurd) vice both the Pershing and the Sherman - but a shift back to modding the Sherman set back the M26 at least 6 mos and development issues another few. . So we had the 3in/76. Better guns cannot be extruded from people's buttock's, so we made the best we could of getting the 76 integrated into the Sherman once, that was deemed to be too "improvised". They went back and "did right" - by that time it was nearly OBE. Had everything worked as expected,and the focused stayed on M4 +TD in Medium units, and M26s in Heavy units we would have had several hundred Pershings in theater in time for Cobra, if not for D-Day itself.

"The Plan" was not a bad one. - the notion of tanl regiments having a company of Pershings for CObra - or even at the Bulge - would likely have prevented only a few Sherman losses - though likely would have meant higher casualties to Tiget and Panther units. That Heavy German tanks could knock out a disproportionate number of Medium tanks is unlikely to have changed significantly unless we had field a large number of heavy tanks of our own - decsiosn made ofr logistical reasons, that one can debate, but was hardly stupid.

That when faced by their equvalent they did well belies the notion that somehow the Sherman was "not capable" - despite the fact it was not designed to fight heavy tanks. again my naval equivalent - did tin can sailoirs bitch when they had to go up agaisnt heavy and light cruisers - sure, but they did their duty anyway and 40-knot Burke was legend, despite having to write a LOT of letters to the bereaved. Did the fact a Jap light cruiser outgunned a Fletcher make the Fletcher "crap" or the decision to field so many a bad one?




Don´t forget the TD´s


< Message edited by Rune Iversen -- 2/2/2007 1:03:58 AM >


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RE: What is your favorite WWII tank? - 2/2/2007 1:01:47 AM   
Demosthenes


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Speedy

If that's so Demo then the same can be said by any other AFV....

Not 40,000 T-34s and 49,000 Shermans - those were good tanks produced in enough numbers to crush Germany and actually win a war - not just play 'king of this bridge or that hill"

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RE: What is your favorite WWII tank? - 2/2/2007 1:12:16 AM   
Speedy

 

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So it's a numbers thing eh?

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RE: What is your favorite WWII tank? - 2/2/2007 1:18:40 AM   
Demosthenes


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Pretty much, the German heavies couldn't knock out allied medium tanks in any meaningful numbers before those same allied mediums killed off the German heavies they were facing.

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RE: What is your favorite WWII tank? - 2/2/2007 1:37:16 AM   
Big B


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The fact is, Tigers were effective Tank Destroyers, but lousy ..."tanks".

I quote"
quote:

However, the Tiger I was not free from problems either, and the most common were those related to the transmission - the weight of the Tiger was too much for the German transmissions available at the time, so Henschel designed a special one to work with the Maybach gearbox with eight forward speeds. The result was a surprisingly light set of controls for the driver, but that had a tendency to breakdowns, if adequate periodic preventive maintenance was not done. Since it was not always possible to do this preventive maintenance as required, many Tigers broke down and had to be destroyed and then abandoned. That fact is evidenced by the following excerpt from the Experience Report of the Tiger Abteilung 506, dated 15 January 1944: "During long term operations, which stretched over 12 days, time for care and maintenance of the Tigers was too short and losses were correspondingly high. On 2 January 1944, the Abteilung went into action with 13 Panzers. Not a single Tiger was still operational on the evening of 14 January. The last two Tigers had driven a distance of about 340 kilometers. Without being given any time for care and servicing, most of them managed to cover 250 kilometers" (JENTZ, Thomas L.; Germany's TIGER Tanks - Tiger I and II: Combat Tactics; op. cit.).
Compare that to the automotive reliability of a Sherman and you can begin to see that there is more to a good AFV than it's gun or armor - it also has to be able move great distances and keep running.
(Oh, and Panthers were worse in this respect than Tigers...throughout the war).


< Message edited by Big B -- 2/2/2007 1:51:59 AM >

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RE: What is your favorite WWII tank? - 2/2/2007 1:40:36 AM   
ezz

 

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or you could argue that allied airpower could destroy german armour faster than they could manufacture it and air support was plentiful so a really powerful tank was never required at all.

The Sherman was good enough and that was really all that mattered.

To make the bolder claim that the M4 was Better than the Tiger is just stretching a little.

I haven't read many { or indeed any } combat reports or biographies of German tankers asking thier commanders to be allowed to swap thier mkv + vi for Shermans.   { where is the 'give me a squadron of spitfires' quote?}



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RE: What is your favorite WWII tank? - 2/2/2007 1:52:06 AM   
mdiehl

 

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quote:

I haven't read many { or indeed any } combat reports or biographies of German tankers asking thier commanders to be allowed to swap thier mkv + vi for Shermans. { where is the 'give me a squadron of spitfires' quote?}


I haven't read any biographies where German tankers requested to pull a TOW missile out of their Bag of Holding either. Was "here's a captured Sherman, now go find some ammo for it, or else you can drive this [insert any German AFV here]" ever a choice?

The more relevant question would be this one: "Would you rather have one PzVIE, or a PzIVJ and three other PzIVJs fighting along side you?" I wonder what German tankers would have thought if offered that choice.

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Didn't we have this conversation already?

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RE: What is your favorite WWII tank? - 2/2/2007 2:26:35 AM   
IronDuke

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Rune Iversen


quote:

ORIGINAL: mdiehl


And regularly did same.


Well, as "regularly" as Tigers showed up anyway. There weren´t really that many of them in the West between 1943 and 1945. High point is probably Normandy (around a 100 all told over the entire fight).


Indeed, and many of those would have faced the Commonwealth forces where they would have been bested by the 17 pdr.

If memory serves, Kelly's battlegroup did meet one outside the bank and Oddball's Sherman had a few issues if memory serves, but don't quote me since it was 20 years ago when I read the AAR and he may have been using a 75 and/or had none of the gold dust HVAP available.

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RE: What is your favorite WWII tank? - 2/2/2007 2:28:55 AM   
IronDuke

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Big B

The fact is, Tigers were effective Tank Destroyers, but lousy ..."tanks".

I quote"
quote:

However, the Tiger I was not free from problems either, and the most common were those related to the transmission - the weight of the Tiger was too much for the German transmissions available at the time, so Henschel designed a special one to work with the Maybach gearbox with eight forward speeds. The result was a surprisingly light set of controls for the driver, but that had a tendency to breakdowns, if adequate periodic preventive maintenance was not done. Since it was not always possible to do this preventive maintenance as required, many Tigers broke down and had to be destroyed and then abandoned. That fact is evidenced by the following excerpt from the Experience Report of the Tiger Abteilung 506, dated 15 January 1944: "During long term operations, which stretched over 12 days, time for care and maintenance of the Tigers was too short and losses were correspondingly high. On 2 January 1944, the Abteilung went into action with 13 Panzers. Not a single Tiger was still operational on the evening of 14 January. The last two Tigers had driven a distance of about 340 kilometers. Without being given any time for care and servicing, most of them managed to cover 250 kilometers" (JENTZ, Thomas L.; Germany's TIGER Tanks - Tiger I and II: Combat Tactics; op. cit.).
Compare that to the automotive reliability of a Sherman and you can begin to see that there is more to a good AFV than it's gun or armor - it also has to be able move great distances and keep running.
(Oh, and Panthers were worse in this respect than Tigers...throughout the war).



I understood they weren't after the initial issues were ironed out, but am willing to look at any evidence anyone has.

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RE: What is your favorite WWII tank? - 2/2/2007 2:37:52 AM   
IronDuke

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Big B

quote:

ORIGINAL: IronDuk

...

The Sherman wasn't crap in 42/43, it was just relatively obselete by 1944.


The Sherman was not at all obsolescent in 1944 - your are just comparing it to tanks out of it's class.

The majority of German tanks in 1944 were still PZ IVs' and STG III's, and the M4 Sherman never had a problem dealing with these types.

Tigers and Panthers are another story, they are not 30 ton medium tanks - and even the T-34 (rated by many as the best tank design of WWII) had the same difficulties with these heavier German tanks.

Saying the M4 Sherman was obsolete because of difficulties in dealing with Tigers and Panthers - is no diferent than saying a Panther was obsolete, or a poor design, because it couldn't effectively deal with a JS III.

B


I disagree, because I think the whole "medium" thing a straw man, but I intend to wrap this point up separately as you are not alone in raising it and it is a valid enough point.

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RE: What is your favorite WWII tank? - 2/2/2007 2:42:44 AM   
IronDuke

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: hawker

According to Jentz (JENTZ, Thomas L.; Germany's TIGER Tanks - Tiger I and II: Combat Tactics; op. cit.), "The Tiger's armor was invulnerable to attack from most tank guns firing normal armor-piercing shells or shot at ranges over 800 meters, including the American 75 mm and the Russian 76 mm. It is obvious that the 17-pdr. firing normal APCBC rounds could defeat the frontal armor of the Tiger I at most combat ranges for tank vs. tank actions in Europe. However, by 23 June 1944, only 109 Shermans with 17-pdrs. had landed in France along with six replacements. By the end of the war, on 5 May 1945, the British 21st Army Group possessed 1,235 Sherman tanks with 17-pdrs., while the remaining 1,915 Sherman tanks were all equipped with the 75 mm M3 gun".

The armor of the Tiger I was not well sloped, but edit...


On the shatter issue, do we know how often it occurred? I suppose this is difficult to generalise because it depends on a variety of tactical factors, but how big an issue was it? Would every round fired between the problem ranges be at severe risk?

Regards,
IronDuke

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RE: What is your favorite WWII tank? - 2/2/2007 2:53:32 AM   
IronDuke

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: IronDuke



What makes German maneouver in the later years stand out though is surprise. Ardennes, the Gran, etc, they start a concealed offensive. Where did they manoeuver a la Mansteins backhand?


quote:

ORIGINAL: Rune Iversen
Where did they have the necessary room to maneuver in? Manstein could maneuver as he did because the forde to space ratio was low as a reult of soviet overextension.


Well, they had the same area to manoeuver in that they had in 1940 when winning arguably the greatest operational victories in history.


quote:

If they can prepare, they can husband enough to get going, but there was no chance of a fluid battle given the fuel and air situation.


quote:

Or the size of the enemy opposition, which is either high form the get go (Operation Konrad, The Lorraine Battles) or becomes so within a week due to superior operational mobility (The Bulge for instance).


Yes, but this is precisely down to an innability to interdict and the logistics mismatch and is therefore part of the air reasoning. I also think it is less the size of the opposition as the relative theatre strengths. It is difficult to fight an enemy when you can't threaten in many places at once as he can counter conentrate more easily.

quote:

One time they quickly tried to operationally redeploy to meet a battlefield situation was at Mortain and that ended in tears, first because of air power, and secondly because they didn't have fuel enough left to retreat hard enough.


quote:

Also because the US units engaged shot the pants of their german opposites . The stopping of Market garden and the attempted stopping of Pattons rampage in lorraine might also qualify as "operational redeployment" of significant assets in the west (at least if we don´t count armour as the sole measuring stick of "operational redeployment).


I don't think this is strictly correct. A third of the Panthers stopped at mortain were destroyed by Germans (10) with 6 from air power and 14 classed as US Army. Certainly, the general feeling on the ground amongst the US units was that it was Allied air power that stopped the assault, yet their kills were quite low, indicating that it was the disruption they caused that really mattered.

Regards,
Ironduke

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RE: What is your favorite WWII tank? - 2/2/2007 3:24:46 AM   
Big B


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quote:

ORIGINAL: IronDuke


quote:

ORIGINAL: Big B

The fact is, Tigers were effective Tank Destroyers, but lousy ..."tanks".

I quote"
quote:

However, the Tiger I was not free from problems either, and the most common were those related to the transmission - the weight of the Tiger was too much for the German transmissions available at the time, so Henschel designed a special one to work with the Maybach gearbox with eight forward speeds. The result was a surprisingly light set of controls for the driver, but that had a tendency to breakdowns, if adequate periodic preventive maintenance was not done. Since it was not always possible to do this preventive maintenance as required, many Tigers broke down and had to be destroyed and then abandoned. That fact is evidenced by the following excerpt from the Experience Report of the Tiger Abteilung 506, dated 15 January 1944: "During long term operations, which stretched over 12 days, time for care and maintenance of the Tigers was too short and losses were correspondingly high. On 2 January 1944, the Abteilung went into action with 13 Panzers. Not a single Tiger was still operational on the evening of 14 January. The last two Tigers had driven a distance of about 340 kilometers. Without being given any time for care and servicing, most of them managed to cover 250 kilometers" (JENTZ, Thomas L.; Germany's TIGER Tanks - Tiger I and II: Combat Tactics; op. cit.).
Compare that to the automotive reliability of a Sherman and you can begin to see that there is more to a good AFV than it's gun or armor - it also has to be able move great distances and keep running.
(Oh, and Panthers were worse in this respect than Tigers...throughout the war).



I understood they weren't after the initial issues were ironed out, but am willing to look at any evidence anyone has.


Since you ask, here it is: http://www.fprado.com/armorsite/tiger1.htm

quote:

The only german tank that was faster than the Tiger I was the Panther, with a road speed of 46 km/h and a cross country speed of 24 km/h. But, overall, the Panther was not more reliable than the Tiger I, and the Tiger I had better protection than any Panther model, due to the quality and thickness of its armor, relative to the opponents tank and anti-tank guns calibers and penetration power. The table below demonstrate that the percentage of Tigers operational at the Front was about equal to the PzKpfw. IV and as good as or better than the Panther.
Percentage Operational At The Front:
EASTERN FRONT / WESTERN FRONT
Pz IV Panther Tiger Pz IV Panther Tiger
31 May44 84 77 79 88 82 87
15 Sep44 65 72 70 80 74 98
30 Sep44 65 60 81 50 57 67
31 Oct44 52 53 54 74 85 88
15 Nov44 72 66 61 78 71 81
30 Nov44 78 67 72 76 71 45
15 Dec44 79 69 79 78 71 64
30 Dec44 72 61 80 63 53 50
15 Jan45 71 60 73 56 45 58
15 Mar45 54 49 53 44 32 36
Overall 68 62 70 71 65 65
Source : JENTZ, Thomas L.; Germany's TIGER Tanks - Tiger I and II: Combat Tactics; ISBN 0-7643-0225-6



quote:

ORIGINAL: IronDuke


quote:

ORIGINAL: Rune Iversen


quote:

ORIGINAL: mdiehl


And regularly did same.


Well, as "regularly" as Tigers showed up anyway. There weren´t really that many of them in the West between 1943 and 1945. High point is probably Normandy (around a 100 all told over the entire fight).


Indeed, and many of those would have faced the Commonwealth forces where they would have been bested by the 17 pdr.

If memory serves, Kelly's battlegroup did meet one outside the bank and Oddball's Sherman had a few issues if memory serves, but don't quote me since it was 20 years ago when I read the AAR and he may have been using a 75 and/or had none of the gold dust HVAP available.


Kelley's Heroes was a funny picture But to the point - they made a point of saying that Oddball's tank had a 76, but in fact the vehicle was a 75 model with extra pipe added to the tube. Moreover, since the "soft" rear of a real Tiger IE is 82mm and the same as the sides - it would have made no diference attacking from the rear in reality - and the "point blank in a$$" in real life would have ment at 100 yards or so anywhere but the front for a common 75mm Sherman.

Good theatre though.

B

< Message edited by Big B -- 2/2/2007 3:46:15 AM >

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RE: What is your favorite WWII tank? - 2/2/2007 3:32:10 AM   
IronDuke

 

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quote:

Paul,
Whenever "is A better than B" gives a "complex" answer, the reality is that it was a bit narrower than everyone thought IMHO.


quote:

ORIGINAL: Paul Vebber
Complex enough to have a nearly 600 page book written about the "rest of the story" :) Usualy when "A is better than " is assumed cut and dried, its by someone examining the case in hindsight IMHO.


Yes, but this doesn't argue against the sherman being outclassed, it just appeals for more understanding of those who felt it wasn't outclassed in 1944. In other words, hindsight doesn't make us wrong, and it doesn't make the sherman competitive. I'm not saying the americans should have necessarily know better, I'm just commenting on how actuality panned out on the ground.

quote:

If the AORG had tested the Sherman 76 or 75 against the Panther 75, there would have been nothing complex about the answer, would there?


quote:

Hunnicuts book never references any of the datasheets to AORG reports. Given the 17lber was only slightly inferior tothe Panther 75 one would think it would have been a no brainer to just install it, no? Well in the wordsof Hunnicutt:


Jarymowycz though it a little more to do with Americans being sniffy and not wanting British engineering. Devers never even attended the test firing that was organised between the 76, 90 and 17 to show what they could do.

quote:

I'm not extrapoloating anything, its just that I seem to be the only one listening to the Americans on the ground (despite not speaking the language) whilst everyone else tries to tell me everything was fine (albeit only in a complex sense on paper. )

The Sherman wasn't crap in 42/43, it was just relatively obselete by 1944.


quote:

So then you must consider the Panther to be a similar failure, as its early mechanical unreliability resulted in "Germans on the ground" bemoaning its inability to get to battle, and its late armor quality problems that resulted in "Germans on the ground" decrying its vulnerability to 122 and 152 HE. IF "users on the ground" complaining about a weapon are grounds to consider it crap (your words) than pretty much every weapon made has been 'crap' in someone's eyes. Those of us not "listening" are not trying to say 'everything was fine' just that RELATIVE to other SIMILAR vehicles (ie medium tanks) the Sherman was one of the better examples, all things considered, of the war.


Well, the majority of the Panther issues were ironed out. The beast that broke down at Kursk was much improved by mid 44. Secondly, late armour problems or no, where exactly, facing Sherman armed Americans, were Panthers ever going to face 122 and 152 calibre weapons? As for the Sherman being a successful Tank, no argument, but then it was out of its depth by 1944 and its late war success was brought less by its quality than by the bravery of its crews.

quote:

The 75 M4 was a decent vehicle compared to the MKIII and MKIV Panzers, the Valentine series, and the early T-34s. The 76mm was comparable to the Cromwell, the late MKIV Panzers, and was comparable the T-34/85 (very good specimins of which were better, but production quality varied so much that a great deal of them were not due to flawed armor, defective power trains and bad lots of ammo.) Its continued modification and performance in the Arab Isreali wars demonstrated it was hardly obsolete.


A couple of things here. One would have to ask what the Sherman was facing. In Korea, I expect it was T34/85s. In other words, it's survival after the war was in theatres where it faced other Tanks of mid WWII vintage. We could have used it in Iraqi freedom if the Iraqis had been using T-34s and MK IVs they had found somewhere. So, its survival isn't an argument for quality, so much as for the fact that a lot of people had a lot of stock the sherman could compete with left to get rid of.

I generally agree with your comparisons, I do think the late MKIVs better than the M4 75s, but don't like this "comparable to other mediums" argument.

Firstly, I think the "Mediums" thing is not really relevant. I don't doubt the Military might use such terms in procurement discussions, but by 1940, Tanks were surely better defined by their task, not their size. Thus, you had infantry support, Cruiser/Cavalry and recce. I think what had happened by 1944 is that this sort of classification was losing validity (except perhaps for recce) and what was emerging was the MBT. Monty wanted a "Capital" Tank, settled on the Sherman, and tried to use them to fill out all the formations so they all had common equipment. The "Capital" was essentially another term for MBT in this context.

The Germans were essentially arming everything with the biggest AP weapon they could mount and uparmouring. They were no longer following the sort of principles which had delivered the 1940 MK III and MK IV which were very different vehicles. In this context, facing the next generation of German MBTs, which were essentially Tank Killers, the Sherman was obselete because it's main weaponry was not up to the job and never really was.

Now, you can argue it was never designed to be this sort of duelling MBT, and that is valid and fine, but then that reinforces rather than negates the argument it was out of its depth in 1944 because with the odd exception like Cobra, it was less cavalry and more MBT, fulfilling a variety of roles and meeting and suffering against German armour in the process.

Medium is also relative. It was the biggest thing in the American inventory until the rather limited arrival of the Pershing. As such, it faced the Panther which was the Heer's medium (with the Tiger range comprising the heavies). It is alright saying our medium is smaller than their medium, but then that again suggests the issue lies with your medium, not the enemy.


quote:

Interestingly, much of the delay getting the 76mm fielded was taken up problems identified by perhaps too much "listening to the gripes of troops on the ground". While in hindsight a singular focus on "hole-punching" while ignoring the other issues that may have prevented that capability from being effectively used was a Hobson's choice. Rushing the 76 out would likely have resulted in troops on the ground complaining about poor rate of fire, turret freezing in rough terrain, and inability to effectively taget after the first few rounds.


Perhaps, but then whether it was rushed out early or late, it had to be parked next to a Panther to take it out (almost ).

quote:

Is it better to have guns that can hit the target with marignal effectiveness or a gun that can penetrate, if you can get a hit, but for which that is a more difficult task? And given the problem was engaging enemy heavy tanks, where does the decision to abandon the M6 Heavy tank - a decision that implicitly accepted the risk of sending more medium tanks which could be assumed to find themselves up agaisnt enemy heavy tanks? Would it have been better, rather than using tank destroyers in independant battalions (later companies) or say attach a platoon of them to each tank company? By the time the answers were understood, the war would be over before they could be fielded. And one can't discount the fact that Sherman armored forces in North Africa and Italy wer nonetheless successful at driving the Germans back.


The Sherman's success in Africa was part of the problem,since it convinced almost everyone that everything was fine. I think part of the issue was that Armoured Branch didn;t really want to engage enemy tanks, and as such remained impressed by the sherman's other virtues of reliability, manouevrability etc. I partially agree with you here since I've said elsewhere that part of the german advantage was greater combat experience which led them to understanding the way the wind was blowing much earlier than we did.

quote:

Was the Sherman perfect? Hardly, but neither were any of the other tanks its comparable to.


However, the point is surely that however the sherman came about, however the development of better weapons was interfered with, however difficult it was to understand the way armoured forces should be fought, the Sherman was the result and it was out of its depth.

I'm saying the Sherman was out of its depth, not criticising those Americans responsible. I can appreciate the many factors that contrbuted to the Sherman issue, and how many decisions that turned out disadvantageous may not have been bad decisions at the time based on what was known, but appreciating that complexity doesn't mean there was no issue, does it? It just explains why there was one.

Regards,
IronDuke






< Message edited by IronDuke -- 2/2/2007 3:49:46 AM >

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RE: What is your favorite WWII tank? - 2/2/2007 3:41:55 AM   
IronDuke

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: mdiehl

quote:

I haven't read many { or indeed any } combat reports or biographies of German tankers asking thier commanders to be allowed to swap thier mkv + vi for Shermans. { where is the 'give me a squadron of spitfires' quote?}


I haven't read any biographies where German tankers requested to pull a TOW missile out of their Bag of Holding either. Was "here's a captured Sherman, now go find some ammo for it, or else you can drive this [insert any German AFV here]" ever a choice?

The more relevant question would be this one: "Would you rather have one PzVIE, or a PzIVJ and three other PzIVJs fighting along side you?" I wonder what German tankers would have thought if offered that choice.


It depends on what I was facing. As I said earlier, building more PZ IVs would have had the unintended effect of making more of the enemy's weaponry relevant. In other words, you may have 4 Tanks instead of 1, but the 20 enemy Shermans you're going to face whatever production decisions you make are now much more interested since they have a shout at killing the MKIVs. that they didn't have with the Tiger.

Regards,
IronDuke

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RE: What is your favorite WWII tank? - 2/2/2007 3:46:20 AM   
Big B


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For my part I think what is getting lost in the shuffle of definitions of tank classes is that with the Panther - the Germans created a new class of tank - the MBT. That is where it gets dificult to judge tanks by class. The Soviets, Americans and British did the same thing in creating the T-44, M-26, and Centurion (respectively) - all of which came a year later than Panther, and all of which excelled Panther IMHO.

None of the powers consciously tried for a new class of tank per say - but in affect that is what they created.

None of this IMO reflects poorly on the Sherman. Surely what we see is the pressure of development under the impetus of war.

If there was a signal failing in the Sherman story it was only the failure to provide a lot of HVAP T45 shot for the 75mm M3 gun.
This round penetrated 117mm of Face Hardened plate at 500 yards (30 degrees olique) and would have been a God Send to the common Sherman.
source Hunnicutt History of the American Medium Tank

EDIT: One last thing:
quote:

ORIGINAL: IronDuke
In Korea, I expect it was T34/85s. In other words, it's survival after the war was in theatres where it faced other Tanks of mid WWII vintage....


Not exactly, the T-34/85 that the M4A3E8 Sherman faced in Korea was the T-34/85 II which had improved drivetrain, optics, and heavier armor than the WWII varient.


< Message edited by Big B -- 2/2/2007 4:31:36 AM >

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RE: What is your favorite WWII tank? - 2/2/2007 5:02:35 AM   
Big B


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Oh, and my favorite tank is still the funky looking M-3 Lee, Terror of the PzKw III J




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RE: What is your favorite WWII tank? - 2/2/2007 5:34:45 AM   
Procrustes

 

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I like all those tanks with the second gun - here's the French Char B -



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RE: What is your favorite WWII tank? - 2/2/2007 6:32:02 AM   
Paul Vebber


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Goll Dern it - the damn board ate my response...I had a much better version but this hits the high points...

quote:

I'm saying the Sherman was out of its depth, not criticising those Americans responsible.


Your line of argument earlier appeared to be "those Americans responsible" were not listening to the complaints of the troops that the Sherman was deficient. THe purpose of teh whole Hunnicutt story was that the reason the Sherman had a poor gun (and other deficiencies) was BECAUSE the armor board was giving so much consideration to "grunt level" issues like, room in the turret to operate efficiently, ability to observe the enemy after shooting, being able to use the radio and shoot at the same time, safely move ammo, etc, etc.

Now it seems that line of argument has played out and now it was simply "outclassed" by tanks weighing 50% and nearly 100% more, yet must be considered comparable. Well, what does "outclassed" mean. Based on your previous line of argument and what facts are available, it is not based on mission success. According to WO 291/1218, the ratio of Allied tanks to german tanks required for Allied succes was 2.2 in NW Europe, 1.6 overall. the average Allied ration in battle was 4, which should not be surprising, since we won the war. So overall mission accomplishment can't be the reason the Sherman was "outclassed". It would seem it is the casualty rate incurred while winning.

T-34 casualty rates were much higher, so by that argument the T-34 must have been even more "out-classed".

According to WO 291/1186 only 14.5% of Allied tanks were damaged or destroyed by german tanks. (22.1% to mines, 22.7% to AT Guns, 24.4% to SP guns and 14.2% to "Bazooka" (ie PFs/PSs)) Casualty rates are a function of exchange ratio per engagement, and number of engagements. Your apparent preffered solution is to increase Sherman lethality to shift the exchange ratio in tank combat, only addresses part of the problem as who has "tactical control" of the engagement and gets the first fire drives the casualty rate more than relative lethality (this was the secreat of how the germans won with equipment "out of its depth" earlier in the war...

Adding the 17lber to the Sherman may have made matters worse since, while it increased lethality, its size reduced efficiency and rate of fire. It is unclear if the increase in lethality would ahve made up for the decrease in engagability.

There is also no evidence that had a "super Sherman" been fielded in large numbers that the germans would have continued to use heavy tank tactical counterattacks nearly as often to counter Allied tank thrusts. Given teir adapability it is likely they would have relied more on mines and AT guns, and use heavy tanks more like SP gunsin mobile defense rather than tactically offensive flanking and turning maneuvers. Given the greate proportions of tank casualties to those weapons, reducing casualties to tanks may have resultdin GREATER over all casualies to the other weapons.

So the issue driving the Sherman being "out of its depth" relates to casualty rates. So the question is, sure you would like to see victory with as few casualties as possible, but what is the "threshold" for casualties that sees an "acceptable tank" becom "out of its class". And by this metic is teh T-34 similarly "out of is depth"?

Is the fact german heavy tanks apparently had an "acceptable" casualty rate, thus being "within their depth" - yet they still lost render the distinction moot?

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RE: What is your favorite WWII tank? - 2/2/2007 7:36:09 AM   
Kevin E. Duguay

 

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You guys are all talking about armored doctrin of different nations now.

The Russians while they stayed with the T-34 design also built the JS series. But they always had excuses when tigers were in theater. Statements like "We do not have to engage these tanks as they are few in number." This was true. Many times the Russians backed away from Tiger equiped units just to make them burn up gas and automotive components. In some cases this was more effective that engaging them in combat. The Russians also stated more than once that if thay could take on the PZIV and V on spme sort of an even setting thet could win the armored war. This is not to say that the Tiger was junk, it just means that they needed lots of maintanance and careful handling by their crews.

The USA had a different idea about tank warfare. The tank battalions were to support the infantry and exploit holes in the enemy line to destroy the enemys rear areas. This sounds like everyone elses ideas at the time. The difference is that our tanks were not to engage enemy tanks if they did not have to. That was the job of the tank destroyer arm. They were supposed to destroy enemy armor. Even when the call went out for the 76mm gun to be mounted on the Sherman. Statements like "With that gun they'll be going out to hunt enemy tanks.". This BTW was also the reason why the T45 HVAP round was not approved for service. The tank board did not want "infantry support tanks" taking on the panzers.

With all this said, the reason I chose the Tiger I was because everything on this vehicle was total quality. Even the armor was special and just used on this vehicle. When hit by Russian 76mm AT rounds on the side a red hot mark would appear and the interior paint would smoke off. No spalling. This on the other hand was not true of the Tiger II (vs larger cal weapons) where spalling was a problem. Everything on this vehicle worked fine as long as it was maintained propperly. If not bad things happend. In one report that I read about a company of Tiger I's went out on some kind of recon in force. They only engaged a few enemy vehicles (Shermans) and handily destroyed them with no loss to themselves. But on the way back they lost well over half their strength due to break downs. They even lost one Tiger that was trying to recover another. They blew up the bogged and disabled vehicles and the crews rode home on what was left of their company's Tiger I's. This action happened in Italy.

So while the Tiger I had it's problems it was still the best made tank of it's time.

On a side note, take a look at the Abrams. Without heavy and constant mantenance this supurbe tank also would not last long on the battlefield.



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RE: What is your favorite WWII tank? - 2/2/2007 9:40:53 AM   
Ursa MAior

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Demosthenes

Pretty much, the German heavies couldn't knock out allied medium tanks in any meaningful numbers before those same allied mediums killed off the German heavies they were facing.


Well the airforce played no role then ha?

Can an AFB sum it up for me why it took so long to get to the Elbe?

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RE: What is your favorite WWII tank? - 2/2/2007 9:48:14 AM   
Ursa MAior

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Big B

Oh, and my favorite tank is still the funky looking M-3 Lee, Terror of the PzKw III J





If it is for me than I'd glady bring my Pzgr 40 armed agile III mark special against that lumbering giant of yours. [:P]

BTW which weapon was used in AT role? The 37mm or the 75?

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RE: What is your favorite WWII tank? - 2/2/2007 12:34:16 PM   
Twotribes


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quote:

ORIGINAL: IronDuke


quote:

ORIGINAL: Rune Iversen


quote:

ORIGINAL: mdiehl


And regularly did same.


Well, as "regularly" as Tigers showed up anyway. There weren´t really that many of them in the West between 1943 and 1945. High point is probably Normandy (around a 100 all told over the entire fight).


Indeed, and many of those would have faced the Commonwealth forces where they would have been bested by the 17 pdr.

If memory serves, Kelly's battlegroup did meet one outside the bank and Oddball's Sherman had a few issues if memory serves, but don't quote me since it was 20 years ago when I read the AAR and he may have been using a 75 and/or had none of the gold dust HVAP available.



In the movie the lone american tank to make it the city broke down after destroying all but the single tank in the town square. But who really cares? It isnt like "Kelly's Heroes" was about anything that really happened or might have happned.

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RE: What is your favorite WWII tank? - 2/2/2007 1:45:16 PM   
Kevin E. Duguay

 

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The 17 pounder armed Sherman was feared by the Germans. This was a very effective gun. Usually we see them issued 1 per troop in the game. However by the end of the war some British and Canadian armored units actually had 3 Fireflys to 1 75mm armed Sherman.

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RE: What is your favorite WWII tank? - 2/2/2007 2:09:06 PM   
hawker


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Just tell me please someone,in what aspect Sherman was better than Tiger except speed and numbers what is better on sherman???
Armor-NO
Gun-NO
Maybe crew was better looking

Sherman is Medium tank,Tiger is heavy tank. I watch nice documentary on Discovery some time ago about tanks. Sherman took 10th place,Tiger third and winner is T-34.
Allies need four Shermans to destroy one Tiger

You can compare Sherman with Pzkw IV auf G or T-34. Both of these two are slightly better than mighty sherman,but you cannot compare sherman with tiger,tiger is so better

P.S. Tiger you can compare with Pershing or IS-2,in this comparison Tiger is slightly better than Pershing and about equal with IS-2

Big B,my answer is:TIGER IS BETTER THAN ANY VERSION OF SHERMAN


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