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Canadian Report on losses of 75mm Shermans from June to July

Discussion in 'The Tanks of World War 2' started by wokelly, Jan 5, 2008.

  1. wokelly

    wokelly Member

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    Hi all, anyways I found this awhile ago and thought it was pretty interesting with all the discussions about Shermans and what not. These are numbers from a Canadian Report on 75mm Sherman losses in Normandy.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    What I find interesting is the high number of flank penetrations on the Sherman, 19 front penetrations to 46 side and rear penetrations, despite the oft stated weak frontal armor of the tank.

    I guess what surprised me the most was at the very bottom:

    [​IMG]

    Of the total 124 Shermans hit by enemy AP shot, only 41 were penetrated, 83 were not penetrated and continued to fight. Given the large number of 75mm guns of the mid barrel variety (L48 or Pak 40), it was likely getting hit by guns that statistically should have penetrated its armor very far out, especially given reports detemined most battles in Normandy took place under 800m in the British sector.
     
  2. Ome_Joop

    Ome_Joop New Member

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    Is it me or is this report confusing?

    (I) 45 tank casualties

    of those

    (II) 37 brewed up

    (III)

    (a)65 AP Hits

    with

    (b) 62 penetrated
    (c) 3 failed


    so those other 124 tanks were not hit by AP?

    BTW 1 tank was hit 8 times with AP!
     
  3. wozwasnt

    wozwasnt New Member

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    ????????

    124 tanks inspected that were hit but not penetrated.

    83 hits didn't penertrate so what hit the other 41 tanks.
     
  4. Ome_Joop

    Ome_Joop New Member

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    Maybe i must rephrase that a bit.

    Those 124 tanks were hit...but not hit with AP?
     
  5. wokelly

    wokelly Member

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    No I think you may be misreading the information.

    124 tanks that were hit by German shot were inspected for the report. Of those 124 inspected, 83 of the tanks were not penetrated by the shot when hit while 41 were penetrated.. Thus 2 in 3 shermans hit by german shot were not penetrated and continued to fight.

    As for what hit those 41 tanks, well my guess is the tanks that were penetrated were more likely hit by long barrel 75mm guns (Panther) and 88's, as I would be doubtful the Shermans armor could stop any of those except at extremely bad angles of impact. The middle range 75mms, such as the 75mm L/48 and Pak 40s, are more likely in the range where the armor of the Sherman might have some effect in stopping them.

    As well, given WWII tank combat, those tanks hit but not penetrated could have been hit at poor angles, such as a front hull hit from 30 or 60 degrees from the left or right of the tank. Also newer versions of the shermans had better armor quality, as earlier versions were made when the US was less experianced in creating armor.

    No from what I understand all those 124 tanks were hit by German AP shells, 83 of those who were hit suffered no penetrations and continued to fight on, 41 were penetrated and KO'ed.
     
  6. Ome_Joop

    Ome_Joop New Member

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    Unfortunatly of those 124 there is nothing known about the distribution of hits to give us a clue about why so many survived (or was this normal)?
     
  7. wokelly

    wokelly Member

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    Its an intel report. They are not gonna try to use loopholes or trickery to disguise what is happening. Its likely those hits were to the hull and turret. Many hits leave marks or even partial penetrations in the armor.

    As for normal, I think it was fairly common that most tanks were not knocked out the first hit. Most battles were not exactly the nice straight forward comparison between armor values and penetration tables that we use to determine now. Flanking, maneuvering, bad angles, level of the terrain all contributed to how and why tank shells hit as they did.
     
  8. shermanologist on watch

    shermanologist on watch New Member

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    Many thanks for this kind of stuff!
    :wink:
     
  9. Gryle

    Gryle New Member

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    Re: Canadian Report on losses of 75mm Shermans from June to

    Given the context, the first part dealing with destroyed vehicles, I would suggest that last part is an ambiguously titled survey of surviving vehicles. That is on the 124 operational tanks that were checked they found 83 impact sites.

    These 83 hits of unstated calibre, but going by the high penetration rate for the 75mm and 88mm guns from the destroyed tanks data, likely to be the smaller 50mm and 37mm guns.
     
  10. Lone Wolf

    Lone Wolf New Member

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    Is it me or does the term "Brewed Up" look out of place on an official report ?
     
  11. wokelly

    wokelly Member

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    Re: Canadian Report on losses of 75mm Shermans from June to

    I can’t imagine there were many if any 37mm AT guns in German service by 1944. They barely met the penetration power needed to defeat many allied tanks in the BoF, let alone the heavies like the Chars and the Matilda's. Ditto for the Russians. I can’t imagine many were still in service except firing a short range HEAT projectile.

    As for the 50mm gun, while it was still in service it would also not be that common. Again like the 37mm, they were still seen as underpowered against the T-34s and the Sherman’s when they first came out. As well only some 9000 were made from 1940 onwards (If tarrifs site is indeed accurate), and the 75mm Pak 40 was much more common, 22,000 made from 1941 onwards. Between the low number compared to the Pak 40, and the terrible losses in men and material in the east, I'd think their numbers would be quite limited by this time. I wonder if the gun would even still be in production actually but I have no idea.

    As well in Normandy, the Germans had surprisingly few AT guns compared to tanks, a ratio of ATG's to tanks of 1:3, or 1 AT gun for every 3 tanks. As well German AT guns only accounted for 1/3 of all German claims against allied tanks. Thus the AT gun did not account for many kills on Allied tanks in Normandy as their numbers themselves were small compared to German tanks. Given most German tanks were armed with 75mm guns of some sort, and the fact 75mm Pak40's were probably more common than 50mm Pak 38s, the simple fact is the most common gun firing at Sherman's would have been of the 75mm range, both KwK 40s, Pak 40s, and Kwk 42s.

    It should be noted that the low numbers of enemy AT guns caused severe problems for the British given their Artillery based doctrine, devised when AT guns were much more common, ended up proving less effective then hoped in battle as it is much harder to kill tanks with HE Artillery Shells then AT guns.

    In summary, 50mm and 37mm AT weapons were probably not very common in Normandy. The number of AT guns was low with German tanks being more common, and those available would likely be of the 75mm variety. AT guns only claimed 1/3 of allied tank kills, pretty much proportional to their numbers, with the rest being claimed by German tanks. As well 50mm and 37mm guns were almost non-existent on German tank.

    In short, the most likely sized shell being shot at allied tankers would have been 75mm shots. Its extremely unlikely that given the low number of 50mm and 37mm guns around compared to the much larger number of 75mm weapons that 2/3s of the Sherman’s inspected fro June 6th to July 10th would have been hit by those smaller calibre weapons. It’s more likely the Sherman’s were in fact surviving those hits by 75mm guns, more likely the KwK 40s and Pak 40 weapons then the Kwk 42 guns of the Panthers.

    Given that "brewed up" has quotation marks around it in the report, its likely the report is just refering to the term used by soldiers or the reserachers in regards to tanks that were burnt out. It could very well be that the term, while not official, was used by everyone interviewed for the report and added for that reason with quotation marks around it to indicate it as slang or something.

    Thats my guess anyways.
     
  12. Gryle

    Gryle New Member

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    Re: Canadian Report on losses of 75mm Shermans from June to

    Well if you says so. I had always understood the Germans had used what ever they could get their hands on, even the odd French gun or stuff left behind by the BEF.

    If it was mostly 75mm hits the Shermans were shrugging off it is then a bit of a mystery why there are so few failed hits recorded on the destroyed tanks.

    The report only states the there were 83 hits, not 83 tanks that had been hit. I'd expect the actual distribution of the vehicles to be similar to that of that listed earlier, a few surviving several hits and more with only one or two. I would be surprised if more than half the tanks had any battle damage.

    I wouldn't have mentioned the smaller calibre guns at all except that they lack the power to easily kill a Sherman (hence none being recorded a destroyed by anything less than a 75mm), and being a smaller calibre they are fairly rapid firing guns capable of producing large numbers of non-penetrating hits. But I supposed the shorter 75mm guns could also be responsible, but still doesn't solve the problem of the low number of failed hits on the destroyed tanks for me though.
     
  13. wokelly

    wokelly Member

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    Re: Canadian Report on losses of 75mm Shermans from June to

    While that is no doubt true, the Canadians were facing the almost all the Waffen SS Divisions. These Divisions were probably amongst the most up to strength units the Germans had deployed, and had priority for the best equipment. Unfortunently I dont have detailed TO&E on the SS Divs, but I assume they probably were devoid of the more useless equipment the Regular Heer units got saddled with.

    Allied reports suggested that it took on average 1.5 hits to knock out a Sherman. Obviously not every Sherman survived the first hit, otherwise it would take 2 hits to KO each sherman instead of 1.5. No some tanks survived the first hit, others did not. Also many of those tanks KO'ed suffered side penetrations rather then front penetrations, and given the mere 38mm of side armor its unlikely they would have been able to take anything other then a 37mm hit.

    That could very well be the case, unfortunently there is not enough data to figure that out. I interpret it as 83 tanks surviving a hit, rather then 83 hits not penetrating but I could be wrong.

    I am not sure how previlent the short 75mm was in Normandy. No short 75mm AT guns were in service, though a infantry gun was in service, and only really the late Mark 3 series was armed.

    As for the relatively low number of hits on KOed tanks, it could be attributed by the very high number of side and rear shots on the Sherman, who's 38mm side armor would be unlikely to stop anything but 37mm hits. You could hypothesize most of thoes tanks that survived a hit were hit in the front armor rather then side armor, but the information available is a bit lacking unfortunently.
     
  14. Gryle

    Gryle New Member

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    Re: Canadian Report on losses of 75mm Shermans from June to

    That's interesting, and also sort of illustrates what I'm getting at. If it takes on average 1.5 hits to KO a Sherman, then for 40 destroyed Shermans I would firstly expect around 60 rounds to have been fired at, and hit them (and there were 65, but they had a penetration rate of 95%), and secondly about 20 failed penetrations, and they aren't there.

    If you roll the damaged but operational tanks data into it you get 62 penetrating hits and 86 failed for 40 destroyed tanks, which gives about a 42% penetration rate and about 3.7 hits per kill.

    Now yes the destroyed tanks will be naturally skewed towards the one-hit-one-kill for reasons which should be obvious. But given that there are quite a few that took multiple hits (including 1 that took 8) there should be more failed penetrations.

    Yes, but on the destroyed tanks there are a lot of side hits but about half (31) are on the thicker hull front, turret front, and turret side, where you have a minimum of what about 2 inches? and even with that there are only 3 failed penetrations.

    In summary: something is skewing the numbers. They just don't look right, how can you get a 95% penetration rate on vehicles destroyed but only a 42% on vehicles hit. Or the other way around, how can you have so many survivors from guns that penetrate 95% of the time.

    Looking at it from another angle if you are right, 83 in 124 tanks are carrying battle scars the next time they go into battle even if a randomly selected tank is destroyed by a single hit there is a 2/3 chance that the hulk now has two hits on it: 1 failed from previously and the newer killing shot. So why aren't 2/3 of tanks killed carrying a non-penetrating hit.

    If we make a best case assumption about the destroyed tanks data: that all failed penetrations were against the hull or turret front. Then head on shots against the Sherman still penetrated about 85% of the time.

    It's a bit of a puzzle isn't it :-?
     
  15. Ricky

    Ricky New Member

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    One possible answer -

    Side or rear hit generally = KO.

    Most hits = side or rear hits.

    That is what is helping to skew the stats. Tanks attacked from the front & not penetrated are not likely to start exposing their weak side or rear armour to enemy fire - they will either reverse away or charge at the gun, always presenting their thickest armour to the direction of fire. Thus these are likely to be the ones that get multiple hits / penetrated after multiple hits. Given that frontal shots were fewer in number, therefore multiple hits happened less often.

    Ta-da!
     
  16. wokelly

    wokelly Member

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    Re: Canadian Report on losses of 75mm Shermans from June to

    Well I guess my answer is the numbers are a bit skewed with the fact these are all destroyed tanks. Many of them could have been tanks that were KOed with the first shot. Other tanks which survived the first shot may not have been hit a second time, hence the high number of one shot kills while the guys who survived the first shot and may not have been hit a second time are not included in that list since they survived.

    But that is starting to get pretty hypothetical.

    Yeah but the problem is that tanks that survived those first hits, that survived the battle, are not included in the destroyed tank category, thus they skew the results.

    If we assume for example that all 124 tanks selected, 83 survived a hit while the other 41 were knocked out from the first hit, you do arrive at that 1.5 hit/kill number allied reports mention.
     
  17. Gryle

    Gryle New Member

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    Re: Canadian Report on losses of 75mm Shermans from June to

    Ricky, the trouble is if you go back at look at the report you will notice that the Sherman's front armour wasn't protecting them either, 19 pure frontal penetrations. Which even if you attribute the 3 rounds stopped to the font armour you still get a penetration rate of 85%, not much different from the 95% overall.

    No you don't, if you read that section of the report that way you get at least 3 hits to every 1 kill.
     
  18. wokelly

    wokelly Member

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    Re: Canadian Report on losses of 75mm Shermans from June to

    No again the problem is that is only the tanks that are destroyed. The other shermans who suffered hits but were not penetrated are not included in that list, as a result the TOTAL number of frontal hits compared to the total number of penetrations in the top list you are talking about are not compared to each other. You are just looking at hits on destroyed tanks rather then hits on all tanks hit by gunfire.
     
  19. Gryle

    Gryle New Member

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    Yes I'm looking at the destroyed tank data because it's the only one with the hit locations listed, because locations aren't listed for the survivors no comparison can be made. However within the destroyed tanks set it is possible to show that the thicker armour on the hull front and turret front can't have done much better than the thinner side armour.

    And I made a mistake earlier. Where I said "19 pure frontal penetrations" I of course should have said 19 pure frontal hits. The rest still stands.

    Yes at least one penetration is required to knock out a tank, so lets just try to ignore them for now. You may notice the the word "penetration(s)" does not appear in the following paragraph, neither does "tank(s)" or the phrase "destroyed tank(s)".

    What you have, as presented here, whether you realise it or not is two very different populations which is quite strange as they are supposed to be fairly similar being drawn from the same global population. The difference lies in the failures. In the first only 3 hits were survived, in the second 83 hits were survived. Which is fine except that as the 3 in the first represent just 5%* of that segment of the population you'd expect 83 to be about the same segment in its population and the indication is that it doesn't, it represents about 58%**. If you can't see the problem right there then I'm afraid I can't help you and we'd best leave it here.

    *straight from the report, 65 hits, 62 penetrations, 3 failed.

    **can't exclude those that were moved out of the population by virtue of being destroyed so 86 failed out of 148 hits (65 and 83). 66% if you read it as 41 out of 124 tanks destroyed.
     
  20. jeaguer

    jeaguer New Member

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    .

    What about glancing or deflected shots , the ears of the crew would still have been ringing , but probably the damage would have been minor ?

    .
     

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