From: Beijing, China - Paris, France
Do you people read links? Again, it really depends of what is around. Shermans were "Ronson Lighters" to British tankers because they were the thing that burnt the best on the battlefield in their inventary. To a Soviet tanker, they were known as the tank "whose ammo wouldn't cook" instead, while T-34 catching fire would be deathtraps not only for their crews, but also for everyone around (a habit Soviet tanks didn't really lose overtime in fact). Yes, Sherman carry less ammo - also because the said ammo is not as exposed as in the T-34. Sometimes, there's something worse than a big barbecue - it's the exploding barbecue.
I did read it and the author just regards it as a benefit allong with the fine seat covers which made nice boots :-) Note the tank was burning he was just suprised the ammo didnt explode. Also does it matter , the chance of surviving a penetrating hit ( esp HEAT) in a tank was minimal anyway. Durring training the US would put chickens into a Sherman fire a round at it and pull them out burned.
That's the point: at a certain distance, everyone dies the same way, T34 or Sherman. That's the reason why the guy would prefer the Sherman under certain conditions (in fact specially in Eastern Europe once you're done with greater steppes). T-34 was most probably a much better tank than Sherman to charge across large meadows indeed. For Close Combat, well, then certain smaller details do matter. Turret speed, crude gyrostabilization (and RADIO, the Sherman wassn't only all about leather ) do offer an upgrade Guard units did value.
Again, that's the same scheme as the P-39. Nor Sherman, nor P-39 were necessarily the best hardware out there. But they were given to Guard units with a purpose in mind: only seasoned veterans would be trained and disciplined enough not to waste the opportunity to use equipment that wasn't actually that awesome, but for the first time in the short Red Army's history, allowed for mechanical TEAMWORK. And that alone was already a difference big enough, both in the air and in the ground, to validate such a decision.
Again, Im not saying Western allies were spoiled kids. It was completely legitimate to ask for something much better than the Sherman. But quality level, habits to which you are not accustomed, vary from an army to another. And you have to get to the average soviet tanker's level to try to understand than having radios in every AFV in the platoon meant, for the first time, that he could actually count on his wingmen to watch his back or his flanks in real time. Man, that's so obvious to us, or even to Western units which would already have ATCs by that time, but we're talking about the Red Army here - the Army that needed US trucks to advance and US rations to serve meat to the soldiers on a daily basis in 1944.
Again, context matters most
< Message edited by Fishbed -- 3/5/2010 6:34:52 AM >