From: GTA, Canada
Yesterday being Remembrance Day (Armistace Day, Veteran's Day depending on your location - November 11th), there were a lot of vets being interviewed on the radio. One in particular caught my attention and perhaps what he said might be of interest to SPWAW fans.
This particular man had been a loader in a Sherman tank. It was a fairly hot day in August, '44 and the crew were sweating inside their steel wagon. He said that he took his helmet off because the weight of it (anybody ever tried on a WWII helmet and you'll know what he means :( ) was getting too much for him. It was against the rules when in enemy territory but he just couldn't stand it anymore. He hung the helmet on a projection over the radio.
Since they hadn't seen any enemy for a while, he sat down on the deck to rest and get some air out of the cramped confines of the turret and chat with the driver. This left an open space above him in the turret where he'd normally be standing or sitting on a metal stool beside the port (left-hand) side of the gun.
Without warning, they were hit by what he called a bazooka but I'd guess must have been some kind of panzerschreck. The shot hit the side of the turret but must have been fired from a bad angle because it bounced off.
He said he was out of action for several minutes being stunned by the concussion of the round hitting the armour and the noise that deafened him so that he didn't know and wasn't able to get involved with what was going on. In any event, the rest of the crew got the enemy and he gradually came back to usefulness.
However, when he went to get his helmet, he said the helmet was basically a sieve and the side of the turret was like 'Swiss cheese' (his words) where the round had hit. The radio was also destroyed. He said if he'd been sitting where he was supposed to be, he would definitely have been killed.
So, for all those who have questins about the 'vulnerable location hit', crew kills but not the whole tank, and partial damage to some systems, this provides some answer. Apparently even with a 'non-penetrating' hit, there can often be significant damage inside the tank. An ATG round even glancing off can do a lot of damage and you can see why a crew might bail out if the damage either causes smoke, wrecks something important or gives them the impressions that there's another round just being loaded home into the weapon that fired the first shot and is still aimed at them.
"Good military intelligence is worth at least as much as an extra regiment."