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Question about the movie: bridge at Remagen

 
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Question about the movie: bridge at Remagen - 10/1/2012 4:25:53 PM   
ilovestrategy


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You know the beginning of the movie Bridge at Remagen where the American tanks are racing down the road and start blasting at German guns across the river?

I have 2 questions about that scene.

1. Could WW2 American tanks really go that fast on a road or was that just Hollywood?

2. Could a WW2 tank fire while moving and hope to hit a stationary target across a river?

I was watching that movie this morning and started wondering about that. Thanks in advance!

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RE: Question about the movie: bridge at Remagen - 10/1/2012 6:05:30 PM   
sulla05

 

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WW II tanks could naturally fire on the move but to hit something was an entirely different matter. I can't remember the specifics but I read about two different instances where gunners were able to hit another tank on the fly. It was so tough that both times a big deal was made of it.

As far as speed I would have to look it up but I believe the T-34 and the Sherman could get up to say 30 MPH.

I don't remember the scene but a Chaffee or a Stuart could probably go 10-15 MPH faster.

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RE: Question about the movie: bridge at Remagen - 10/1/2012 6:34:00 PM   
radic202


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Well you peaked my curiosity as well.

I do not know what the answers are, so will keep checking this thread but found the you-tube video about it.

The tanks start at about 1:22 into the video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swMu5GTjGR8

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RE: Question about the movie: bridge at Remagen - 10/1/2012 7:45:40 PM   
Lieste

 

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US tanks, notably the M3 Medium, M4 Medium and M24 Light (as seen in the movie) had gyro-stabilised guns. This is no where near as good as modern stabilised sights ~ being nearer to the 'emergency mode' where the gun is stabilised and sight aligned... hit probability would be indifferent, but sufficient to provide suppression of unprotected guns, with a few neutralisations or kills... but it was far higher than any other tanks of the time could expect while moving - most firing from the short-halt.

Here again the gyro-stabiliser offers significant advantages in time required to finish laying as the gunner can 'track' the target while moving, firing as soon as the tank halts and the final lay is performed... while an unstabilised sight may require the gunner to re-acquire his target before he can engage.

The speed looks about right for 'flat-out' for an M24 ~ a few other vehicles were significantly faster ~ the M18 being the one of fastest tracked AFV in service until the 1980s with the advent of the Leopard 2 and M1 tanks.

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RE: Question about the movie: bridge at Remagen - 10/1/2012 9:42:27 PM   
sulla05

 

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Didn't the Hellcat have a reconfigured airplane engine?

Yes, those are Chaffees (M-24s ) in the movie.

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RE: Question about the movie: bridge at Remagen - 10/1/2012 9:52:05 PM   
redcoat


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One of the things I like about the film – which is one of my favourites - is the use of real WW2 type tanks. The Chaffee could really shift at full speed. It also had the same suspension as the M18 Tank Destroyer – which was built by another division of the same manufacturer (General Motors). This suspension provided relatively good riding qualities and a more stable gun platform.

I think different armies may have had different attitudes to shooting on the move. From what I remember from watching veterans being interviewed in TV documentaries I think the Germans liked to stop and shoot whereas some other tankers – such as the Soviets – were happy to shoot on the move.

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RE: Question about the movie: bridge at Remagen - 10/2/2012 10:24:34 AM   
ilovestrategy


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Thanks for the responses everyone!

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RE: Question about the movie: bridge at Remagen - 10/4/2012 5:20:43 AM   
GoodGuy

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Lieste

US tanks, notably the M3 Medium, M4 Medium and M24 Light (as seen in the movie) had gyro-stabilised guns. This is no where near as good as modern stabilised sights ~ being nearer to the 'emergency mode' where the gun is stabilised and sight aligned... hit probability would be indifferent, but sufficient to provide suppression of unprotected guns, with a few neutralisations or kills... but it was far higher than any other tanks of the time could expect while moving - most firing from the short-halt.


Hi Lieste,

that's correct. Thing is, the gyro was disabled in many Shermans, some US units had them turned off in all their tanks. I've seen quite some veteran accounts on TV, where the general opinion was that the gyro turned out to be a major annoyance and was turned off by many crews, accordingly. If I am not mistaken, Zaloga worded a similar assessment in one of his books. The vets didn't explain that statement sufficiently, so my guess is that the stabilizer was either too unreliable or not fast enough, so it may have led tank gunners and commanders to waste ammunition or to waste the opportunity (to short-halt) for an aimed shot. So I don't think the gyro was used often, at least not in Shermans, especially when they encountered German armor. Maybe to flank a german tank and get a shot on say a Panther's weak side armor while speeding, or to try to speed around and behind a Tiger I and then use the gyro while trying to pump a couple rounds into its rear.
Starting with the Stuart III (M3A1, May 1942 - May '43), the Stuart had received a stabilizer, too. An american Stuart had cracked a Panther protecting the approaches to my hometown's cathedral square, during the final stage of the fight for the City of Cologne, and I could imagine that the stabilizer became pretty useful there while the Stuart raced to get to the Panther's rear, because there were a lot of bricks and rubble in the streets. Other than that, I don't think the stabilizers were reliable/fast enough during speedy manoeuvres.

If Chaffes approached some 88s as shown in the movie, it actually may have been the only chance for them to fire on the go with the gyro enabled, as the 88s used to score instant kills even on Shermans, and even if they were moving, especially at such (for 88s) rather short distances. There are confirmed kills where 88s had scored tank kills at distances of 1800 meters in North Africa. Some sources even indicate 2200-2400 meters during other events in the African campaign. So the fast/agile Chaffes might have been the best choice for the attempt to win the race for the bridge, actually.


< Message edited by GoodGuy -- 10/4/2012 6:07:36 AM >


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RE: Question about the movie: bridge at Remagen - 10/4/2012 6:02:01 AM   
GoodGuy

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: radic202


Well you peaked my curiosity as well.

I do not know what the answers are, so will keep checking this thread but found the you-tube video about it.

The tanks start at about 1:22 into the video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swMu5GTjGR8


Actually, I couldn't remember the race at the beginning, but I remembered this scene here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMyjSzJHRXI&t=1m29s
where all the M24 are lined up neatly, kinda waiting to get cracked. I wonder if it was really like this, the unit didn't even switch to staggered formation, which usually made it harder for gun crews, as they then had to either re-measure the distance to every 2nd tank or at least switch to the distance of each staggered tank and then go back to the frontal row (say 3rd tank) and so on.


< Message edited by GoodGuy -- 10/4/2012 6:20:50 AM >


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"Aw Nuts"
General Anthony McAuliffe
December 22nd, 1944
Bastogne

---
"I've always felt that the AA (Alied Assault engine) had the potential to be [....] big."
Tim Stone
8th of August, 2006

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Post #: 9
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