German tanks

Non-naval discussions about the Second World War. Military leaders, campaigns, weapons, etc.
Byron Angel
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Re: German tanks

Post by Byron Angel » Tue Jul 12, 2011 12:29 am

..... Except for a very few specialty models (i.e. - the rare and exotic "Jumbos") general service Shermans were completely vulnerable from all aspects to all German tanks and AT guns of 75mm or geater caliber anywhere within practical NWE engagement ranges. Against German guns of higher power than 75mm L42/L48, Shermans were killable if they could be seen up to any realistic battlefield distance. US tank forces suffered dramatically high losses, very far beyond pre-invasion planning expectations. Within only six months of the D-Day landing, the US Army was suffering from a dire shortage of trained tanks crews due to those losses and was forced to send out tanks with both short-handed crews and with crews filled out by hastily conscripted untrained infantrymen.

While the elderly Mk IV suffered from poor protection similar to that of the Sherman, the other half of the German tank force fielded in NWE was far better protected than the Sherman - by an order orf magnitude if the relative imbalance of their respective armaments are taken into account.


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19kilo
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Re: German tanks

Post by 19kilo » Tue Jul 12, 2011 12:32 am

lwd wrote:
19kilo wrote:The M-4 series tanks were very much out of date by D-Day
That would explain why they were still providing valuable service decades later.
and really were horribly vulnerable to German tank/antitank guns, not to mention panzerfausts.
All tanks were pretty vulnerable to the latest AT weapons by that point. The big problem for the Sherman was not so much the armor but the weapon carried by most of them. Still it could be quite leathal to most German tanks.
That being said.....they were "good enough" and we won with them. VERY glad I never had to crew one of the things tho......I'll stick to my old M-1!
Not sure the old M1 ever saw combat service unlike the new one. :)
Designing a "better" tank that met all the requirements of the time was a non trivial process that's for sure. Particularly if you look at reliability, strategic and operational mobility requirements. With 20:20 hindsight a mix of Shermans with a new 90mm turret and the 105 (accompanied by a HEAT round) would probably have been the best bet.
Most countries still using the sherman "decades later" didnt really have much choice in the mater. AND had upgraded them with diesles, french 90mm/105mm etc. And its not really well known, but quite a few American commanders wanted to retain the 75mm because it had a much better HE round than either the quite bad US 76mm, and the superb British 17 pdr. And when I say "M-1" I do mean the Abrams. Its what I drove in DS in 91.

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Re: German tanks

Post by tommy303 » Tue Jul 12, 2011 5:59 pm

quite bad US 76mm
Why do you say it was quite bad?

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19kilo
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Re: German tanks

Post by 19kilo » Thu Jul 14, 2011 12:40 am

EVERYTING that I have read on the subject has pointed to the US 76mm tank gun being a huge disappointment. It was not really wanted by the armored force because its HE round was not as good as the 75mm and, according to US doctrin, tanks were not supposed to fight other tankls, that was the mission of the tank destroyers. Needless to say it took some time befor US armored doctrin caught up with reality! After D-Day, when US tankers began screaming for a better gun, the 76mm tanks began arriving in numbers, and it was found to be insufficiant against the newer German tanks over the frontal arc. Even Ike lambasted the weapon. A crash program was instituted to adopt the 17pdr (US "fireflies" would have retained the bow machine gun) but the war ended befor this could get going.

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Re: German tanks

Post by lwd » Thu Jul 14, 2011 2:40 pm

19kilo wrote:EVERYTING that I have read on the subject has pointed to the US 76mm tank gun being a huge disappointment.
There was clearly some disapointment but at least part of that stemmed from over selling the 76.
It was not really wanted by the armored force because its HE round was not as good as the 75mm and, according to US doctrin, tanks were not supposed to fight other tankls,
That's not quite right though. Fighting other tanks wasn't the primary mission of tanks in US doctrine but it was clearly part of it and the armored force definitly wanted a better AT capablity by the summer of 44. The 76 didn't have as good of HE round as the 75 but it wasn't all that bad. I saw the leathal areas of the two rounds posted on another board and as I recall there was less than a 25% decrease in leathal area for the 76 HE round.
... Needless to say it took some time befor US armored doctrin caught up with reality!
US doctrine was actually quite good for a defending force that could aford to give ground. Also remember that in pre WWII days it was much easier to get "defensive" equipement through Congress than "offensive" thus the B-17 was billed as a great system for protecting US shores from opposing navies....
.... A crash program was instituted to adopt the 17pdr (US "fireflies" would have retained the bow machine gun) but the war ended befor this could get going.
If the need was that great the US could have simply put one of the T series 90mm turrets on the Sherman faster than they could have built "fireflies" in any number. Then they would have had a good AP round as well as a good HE round. This was considered but it was expected that the Pershing would be available sooner than it was. If they had decided to play it safe in this regard I suspect 90mm armed Shermans would have been available in numbers in late 44.

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Re: German tanks

Post by tommy303 » Thu Jul 14, 2011 4:18 pm

The 76mm was really a pretty good gun in most respects and perfectly adequate at the time of its inception. At that time it was more than capable dealing with the main German battle tank, the MkIV Ausf. F2 and G. It became even more capable with the introduction of APCR ammunition which boosted its anti-tank capability. The preceived faults were not in the gun itself, but in the delays imposed by the US Army Ordnance Department on its widespread introduction. The delays and uncertain tactical doctrines drawn up by men who had not personally fought in a modern mechanized war and would not listen to men who had, resulted in the 76mm Shermans not reaching the front in numbers until after the rapid pace of tank armour and armament had passed it by. Compared with the latest enemy tanks and tank guns, and the 17pdr British, the 76mm was obviously fell short, but it was not the fault of the gun itself. It probably could have had enhanced performance if provided with APDS like the 17pdr, but wolfram (tungsten carbide) was in short supply and ammunition requiring it was likewise scarce; as it was, APCR was also in short supply.

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Re: German tanks

Post by 19kilo » Thu Jul 14, 2011 11:54 pm

The sad truth is that the US has never developed a really good main gun for a tank. 76mm was a big disappointment, even the 90mm gun that was adopted was not all it could be. The US kinda came to its senses in the mid 50s when it adopted the superb Brit 105mm L7. And now we use a German gun...........

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Re: German tanks

Post by lwd » Fri Jul 15, 2011 2:48 pm

I remember reading somewhere about the development of the 76mm gun. It actually started out somewhat longer with correspondingly greater muzzle velocity. However it was felt that the muzzle blast tended to raise too much dust obscuring the fall of shot and makeing the postion of the tank quite obvious. So they shortened the barrel for the production model.

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Re: German tanks

Post by 19kilo » Sat Jul 16, 2011 1:50 am

tommy303 wrote:The 76mm was really a pretty good gun in most respects and perfectly adequate at the time of its inception. At that time it was more than capable dealing with the main German battle tank, the MkIV Ausf. F2 and G. It became even more capable with the introduction of APCR ammunition which boosted its anti-tank capability. The preceived faults were not in the gun itself, but in the delays imposed by the US Army Ordnance Department on its widespread introduction. The delays and uncertain tactical doctrines drawn up by men who had not personally fought in a modern mechanized war and would not listen to men who had, resulted in the 76mm Shermans not reaching the front in numbers until after the rapid pace of tank armour and armament had passed it by. Compared with the latest enemy tanks and tank guns, and the 17pdr British, the 76mm was obviously fell short, but it was not the fault of the gun itself. It probably could have had enhanced performance if provided with APDS like the 17pdr, but wolfram (tungsten carbide) was in short supply and ammunition requiring it was likewise scarce; as it was, APCR was also in short supply.
Although the US doctrin was, as it turned out, wrong, I really cant blame the guys that came up with it. Armored warfare was brand new back then, and like anything, it took experience to refine. I guess the simplest way to put it would be to say that the US and Germany were on different "update" cycles, seperated by about a year and a half, maybe 2 years. As to the US 76mm I'll leave it with a quote from General Eisenhower when told of the ineffectivness of the M-4A1(76mm) against the Panther (the real problem allied takes were up against, the pzkfw IV was still vulnerable to the 75mm) "You mean our 76mm wont knock these Panthers out? Why, I thought it was going to be the wonder gun of the war.......Why is it I'm the last to hear about this stuff? Ordnance told me this 76 would take care of anything the Germans had. Now I find you cant knock a d**n thing out with it."

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Re: German tanks

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Mon Jul 18, 2011 12:07 am

Again, lwd says he thinks the Sherman was a good tank because he never had to ride in one in a field of battle where Tigers were present. Having that been the case I can see only two options: 1. he will be part of the 10 vs 1 kill ratio 2. he will stop posting nonsense.
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Re: German tanks

Post by lwd » Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:55 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote:Again, lwd says he thinks the Sherman was a good tank because he never had to ride in one in a field of battle where Tigers were present.
Posting strawmen adds nothing to the conversation and is rather irritating.
Having that been the case I can see only two options: 1. he will be part of the 10 vs 1 kill ratio 2. he will stop posting nonsense.
I'd have to start posting nonsense before I could stop.

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Re: German tanks

Post by lwd » Mon Jul 18, 2011 3:01 pm

19kilo wrote: ... Although the US doctrin was, as it turned out, wrong, I really cant blame the guys that came up with it. Armored warfare was brand new back then, and like anything, it took experience to refine. ...
IMO it was actually a pretty good doctrine ... If you were defending the US. The TD's in particular were much better designed for defensive work. The use of tanks to support infantry operations and conduct breakthrough operations was pretty much on the mark. The fact that the armed forces thought the Panther was going to be another rare special purpose heavy tank was a big reason the Sherman wasn't upgraded with a better gun in time for D-Day. That's not completely a doctrinal matter however although doctrine played a part.

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Re: German tanks

Post by 19kilo » Tue Jul 19, 2011 2:48 am

lwd wrote:
19kilo wrote: ... Although the US doctrin was, as it turned out, wrong, I really cant blame the guys that came up with it. Armored warfare was brand new back then, and like anything, it took experience to refine. ...
IMO it was actually a pretty good doctrine ... If you were defending the US. The TD's in particular were much better designed for defensive work. The use of tanks to support infantry operations and conduct breakthrough operations was pretty much on the mark. The fact that the armed forces thought the Panther was going to be another rare special purpose heavy tank was a big reason the Sherman wasn't upgraded with a better gun in time for D-Day. That's not completely a doctrinal matter however although doctrine played a part.
as I'v said befor, the US and Germany were out of synch with their tank force "upgrades" (for want of a better term) by about a year and a half. In the end, tho, we really smothered them.

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Re: German tanks

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Tue Jul 19, 2011 2:59 pm

lwd:
I'd have to start posting nonsense before I could stop.
:lol: :whistle: :pray: :lol:
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Re: German tanks

Post by madmike » Tue Oct 04, 2011 12:08 am

hi everyone i would put the king tiger as the meanest tank of WWII (i still cant find a battle report were a king tiger had its front armour pen by a enemy tank or tank destroyers)of all german tanks, the 4 best would be PzIV(workhorse),Panther,tiger 1 and king tiger. the germans and soviets had different tank doctrine than the western allies.The German and Soviets thought that tanks would fight each other were as the western allies thought of tanks more in the infantry support role. the British adaption of the sherman (firefly) with the 17 lber AT gun was done to give them something that could reliably pen panther and tiger 1 armour, and a small point here the US were offered the 17lber AT gun for the shermans but refused as they wanted a US gun . the firefly could not face off one Vs one with a panther or tiger and expect to win thats why the fireflies were deployed in teams of 3,,,atleast 1 firefly was expected to be killed per engagement,giving the other two the chance to kill panther/tiger. It would have been terrifying had the germans been able to build the panther and tigers in numbers close to JUST soviet numbers,if you consider the kill ratios panther and tiger tanks had, it would have made things even tougher than it was to defeat the nazis , In my Very Humble Opinion

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