WWII Tanks

Discussion in 'History' started by Rentacop, May 10, 2014.

  1. Rentacop

    Rentacop Well-Known Member

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    The best I can find out, the allies let tank development languish and made no effort to build a replacement for the fire-prone Sherman . There seems also to have been no effort to build an American heavy tank . This seems idiotic to me, having seen programs on The Military Channel about the Tiger and Panther Tanks . Let the discussion begin .
     
  2. Easy_CZ

    Easy_CZ Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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    The Panther and T34 were the best tanks of the war. What the Sherman's lacked in firepower, they made up in superior numbers. The Tigers and King Tigers, with their 88mm main gun, were extremely formidable. But the heavy Tigers were more complicated and took more man hours to keep in service, compared to the under-gunned Shermans.


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  3. manta

    manta Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The Sherman had its faults poor armour gun and its ability to go on fire when hit. But they were reliable and available in large numbers. The poor performance of the main gun was rectified when some was fitted with the British 17-pounder in the Sherman firefly. Some Pershing tanks with heavier armour and a 90 mm guns were used at the end of ww2.
     

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  4. sputnik1988

    sputnik1988 Active Member

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    Maneuverability was one positive aspect of the smaller Sherman and Stuart tanks. Let us not forget the maneuverability problems that the Germans had in the Ardennes.
     
  5. hairbear1

    hairbear1 Active Member

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    The Allies were very lucky that Hitler was defeated as he had plans on the drawing board for a 100 ton Tank with I think from memory a 155mm gun and virtually impenetrable armour.

    They also had a Tiger late in the war come into production with a 120mm gun

    The Tiger and King Tigers were the kings of the battlefield on all fronts but when the Germans went into Stalingrad and other places like towns they found they were easy victims for a couple of grenades stuck together or bazooka's hitting the tracks and immobilizing them.
    They were also very weak in the back and sides armour wise so flanking attacks were the go to knock them out.

    They also had a lot of little problems with them like leaking fuel lines,drive train problems and very thirsty Maybach engines that basically were getting gallons to the mile and they were susceptible to breaking down but their 88mm guns could launch a shell around 3200fps and were effective out to ranges of 2000 metres where as anything the Allies had weren't good until inside 500yds or so and only had 75mm guns.

    The sighting mechanisms in the Tigers was revolutionary at the time as they used a gyroscope to sight the gun so that they could fire while moving while Allied tanks had to stop and sight.

    The front armour on the Tigers was almost impenetrable to anything the Russians and Allies had as well.

    Other than these problems the Tiger was the King of the battle field.

    The Shermans were nicknamed "Ronsons"(cigarette lighter) by the Yanks and Germans because of their ability to light up after being hit
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2014
  6. clr8ter

    clr8ter New Member

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    Watch the movie "Tank", 1984, with James Gardner.
     
  7. manta

    manta Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I could be wrong I haven't checked. But was it not the Sherman that had a gyroscopic stabilisation system for the main gun later in the war, I am not sure the German tiger had a similar system. I am sure someone will enlighten me.

     
    Last edited: May 11, 2014
  8. armoredman

    armoredman Active Member

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    The "King" Tiger tank was never defeated by a frontal shot. It was actually the Panzer VI, and never officially called the King Tiger. The Tiger tank, was the last of the old style of tank design, with the complicated and multiple piece front glacis. It was defeated with frontal shots by heavy guns. The Panther, Panzer V, was the first step towards a modern design, inspired mostly by the T-34 tanks sloped armor and wide tracks. The T-34 was a BRUTAL surprise to the undefeated Panzers, and the Panzer II and Panzer III tanks found themselves badly outclassed, until Tigers and Panzer IVs with long barreld 75mm guns came on to the scene, and the T-34 held on for the rest of the war as an excellent medium tank, especially when upgunned to the T-34/85 with 85mm main gun.
    The Panther was the best medium tank of the war, no doubt about that. There WERE heavier armored vehicle deployed by the Germans, such as the Jagdtiger, the heaviest armored vehicle ever deployed in any numbers, with a 128mm main gun, but it was actually a tank destroyer, not a tank, and was built in too few numbers for real effect, like the SturmTiger, with it's infantry destroying 300MM rocket mortar.
    The biggest of the big was the Maus, with a turret sporting a 128mm main gun with 75mm gun riding sidecar. Three were made, one is left in the Russian armor museum, still sporting the dents in the front put there by Russians using it for target practice...and not penetrating it. Bigger tanks were visualized, such as the Ratte, but they never went past conceptual drawings, being too large and too heavy to be used anywhere.
    The US Army continued tank development after the wars end, and you could very logically say the last of the WWII inspired designs was the M-60A5 MBT. The M-1 Abrams and the rest of the "modern" supertanks came from post war thinking.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2014
  9. Mercator

    Mercator Active Member

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    The Sherman was not designed or intended to go one-on-one with a monster like the KT. The main advantage of the Sherman was in the numbers and the relative ease of repair. The real life showdown was more like the Shermans swarming a KT. One on one comparisons are for the video games.
     
  10. JonM

    JonM Moderator

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    America developed the combined arms and ground support to a high sheen in ww2. Most of the armor destroyed by american forces was via artillery or air attack. Shermans were intended to be used against infantry not enemy armor by the time of the european invasion in 1944.

    Typical tactic was to advance until armored opposition was met then retreat and call in artillery or air support. With the limited ammount of armored vehicles available to the germans by 1944 it was a very successful tactic. If there had been no russia invasion by hitler and the t34 destroying most of the german armor it might have been different.

    Another problem plaguing the germans was vastly over complicated machinery gun systems and a huge variety of calibers in their tanks. Supply and repair was a nightmare and contributed greatly to their losses in the eastern and western fronts.

    The tiger, mkiv, panther, kingtiger were massive with big guns but their weight and mechanical issues kept them from being combat effective in a strategic sense. Tacticly in a one on one the german tanks were nearly unbeatable in perfect conditions. Those perfect conditions never existed during ww2...
     
  11. therewolf

    therewolf New Member

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    Jon has many valid points.

    The Germans followed through with many

    poor decisions at the end, which cost them

    the war.

    The obsession with larger, gas sucking,

    slower tanks was one bad move. Most of

    their armor during the earlier blitzcrieg years was

    lighter and provided excellent infantry support.

    Invading Russia was poorly timed, and ultimately

    cost Hitler 75 Divisions, IIRC.

    The decision to subdue Stalingrad, instead of

    moving on to sieze Russia's oil fields was

    another poorly timed decision.

    And the Russians buried the sword, all the way

    to the hilt, with FM Zhukov, and his innovative T34s.
     
  12. hairbear1

    hairbear1 Active Member

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    Actually the Germans developed and mastered the ground/air/artillery support thing with the Blitzkrieg where they amassed armour and infantry at a certain point in the opposition's defence lines and then using air,artillery and armour punched a hole through the defences where upon the armour then wrecked havoc behind the lines.
    The Germans were also the 1st to use radio comms between their tanks on the Eastern Front and possibly on the Western Front as well.
     
  13. JonM

    JonM Moderator

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    The german "blitzkrieg" is usually overated in its effectiveness and gets a mystique because it was an effort of using light armor against mostly horse calvary and peasents with pitchforks. It wasnt effective from any genius use of tactics and strategy but simply because you hard armed troop pouring into nations that were unprepaired due to western peace at any cost mentality and a policy of disarming so hitler wouldnt get mad...

    Pretty much whats happening in the ukraine.

    The russians werent prepaired either which is why the germans advanced to moscow so quickly. But once actual opposition was met the german "blitzkrieg" showed its true lack of cohesion and planning.
     
  14. Mercator

    Mercator Active Member

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    Very good, particularly the highlighted part. (The Soviet Union had never disarmed, but for the time being it colluded with the Nazis to keep the West bleeding. The French on the other hand weren't exactly peasants, they made strategic mistakes for another discussion.)

    The armored spearheads were a true innovation. There were visionary strategists on the future Allied side, they published books anticipating it. One was ignored (de Gaulle), the other shot (Marshal Tukachevski).
     
  15. alsaqr

    alsaqr Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Sherman tanks came in many flavors. Some had a radial aircraft engine, some USMC M4 tanks had five six cylinder Chrysler engines (that one has a long bustle to accomodate the engines), others had a 500 horsepower OHC Ford V-8 and others had two 6-71 GM diesels. One M4 version had a radial diesel engine called a Guiberson (Caterpiller).

    Russian M4s were not used in combat. They were used in training Russian troops.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M4_Sherman
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2014
  16. manta

    manta Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Don't forget Liddell Hart.

     
  17. Mercator

    Mercator Active Member

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    Yes. I should have started with him.
     
  18. hairbear1

    hairbear1 Active Member

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    The Blitzkrieg is basically a war within a war but only used as a short term thing to open up huge gaps in defences so that the main forces can come through and split the opposition in half so that all of a sudden they're fighting on a couple of fronts instead of 1 causing maximum confusion and destruction.

    The German High Command also recognised the value of acting independently so allowed a lot of it's tank commanders to use their own judgements on the battle front because the battle field can be a very fluid situation.


    I wouldn't say the Blitzkrieg wasn't effective against the Allies The Battle of The Bulge proved that even though it was short based it could've been a lot worse if Hitler's Panzer's had've reached Allied fuel dumps and the skies had've stayed overcast so that the air force couldn't get into the air.

    It was also a big bet by Hitler that cost him big time in lost armour, men and equipment.

    The Russians also used the Blitzkrieg model themselves against the Germans to good effect and were masters of turning an impossible scenario into a winning outcome learning a lot off the Germans.

    Dunkirk was also another loss to the mainly British Army due to the weight of German air and land forces in a Blitzkrieg style attack.

    Come to modern wars and I think the opening days of the Iraq war was basically a Blitzkrieg style war with US Army,Airforce and Armour being hidden in the desert until the last moment and then punching a huge hole in Saddam's defences where upon Armour and troops poured through and the rest is history as Powell basically used the Blitzkrieg basics as his model.
     
  19. locutus

    locutus Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The Germans would have been far better off if they had expended their resources on the production of the less expensive, smaller, lighter, more manouverable Panther in large numbers instead of wasting their time and money on the Tiger and King tiger. The big Tigers were prohibitively expensive both of resources and manpower. They were impossible to build in large numbers, and too heavy to use in inclement whether (mud and snow) or close terrain. Being slow and heavy, they were highly susceptible to allied artillery and air superiority.

    No matter what the German did, however, their armor could never have survived allied air power.

    The T-34 and Sherman were the kings of the battlefield. An individual Sherman may not have been too impressive, but 10,000 Shermans coming across the field with close air support was an irresistible force.
     
  20. Mercator

    Mercator Active Member

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    Right on. The T34 ran on diesel and therefore did not ignite easily. They would have been even more effective if they could communicate in the field (only unit commanders had radios). Wide tracks helped in the Russian mud. The fine points between them and the Sherman's elude me, but it is safe to say that the Allied philosophy of "faster and more" prevailed over the opposing side's "bigger and fewer".

    Looking back, it probably didn't matter as to the final outcome. The Reich was not going to survive past August 1945.