From: Cologne, Germany
Actually an AFV with less than its optimal crew will have its rate of fire reduced.
Hmm, let's say the radio operator and the commander of a tank operated by 5 crew members had been hit or even killed, then the gunner and the loader would still be able to maintain the main gun's fire rate, they could just not operate the hull MG, but the gunner could still operate the (coax) turret MG.
Say driver and radio operator were killed, then a tank basically would have lost both drivers (driver + assistant driver), forcing the rest of the crew to put one member as driver, maybe resulting in choppy movement or even ruining the tank's gear and clutch (well depending on skill), but the other 2 could still maintain the main gun's regular fire rate. This setup would also still allow to operate the turret MG.
Say a tank lost 3 (out of 5, that's 60% of the crew) crew members, driver, commander and radio operator (or loader). Then the gunner could still maintain the fire rate, since the loader (or radio operator) could still serve as loader.
With these examples, I would see a severe reduction of fire power (-1 MG), or even a total reduction of speed/mobility, but no reduction of fire rate. Only if a tank had lost the trained/skilled gunner and if there was no suficciently skilled/trained backup (a commander actually had the knowledge and most likely the skill too, the loader could have jumped in too, I guess), then the fire rate would have dropped significantly. Only such occurrence could seriously impact the fire rate of the main gun, imho.
When an Allied shell penetrated the frontal (vertical) armor (of a Tiger I, for example), either the radio operator or the driver was killed or severely wounded, usually, with the tank (compartment and the rest of the crew) remaining fully operational, quite some times. With the first version of the Panther tank's frontal (movable) turret armor, when hit, the curved design of the 110mm gun mantlet caused shells to bounce and deflect vertically right down into the radio operator's compartment, killing the operator instantly, usually. These tanks may have lost the radio too, but, to the surprise of their opponents, these tanks remained fully operational in all cases, afaik, even though the opponents may have wiped off the damaged tank off of their to-do list already .
Whatsoever, this led the German designers to change the angle of the curved mantlet, and there are no reports of such evil deflections after the change had been implemented in the production line.
< Message edited by GoodGuy -- 9/10/2012 5:04:25 PM >
General Anthony McAuliffe
December 22nd, 1944
"I've always felt that the AA (Alied Assault engine) had the potential to be [....] big."
8th of August, 2006