From: Cologne, Germany
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.
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 >
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