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Myths Of American Armor With Nicholas Moran

Discussion in 'Armor and Armored Fighting Vehicles' started by Markus Becker, Jun 14, 2015.

  1. Markus Becker

    Markus Becker Member

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    von Poop and USMCPrice like this.
  2. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Very good video. Guy seems to know his stuff and puts to bed a number of myths, a couple of which I believed. Thanks Markus.
     
  3. Natman

    Natman Member

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    That is a good video. Thanks for posting the link.

    Seems like I've heard the "takes five Shermans to defeat a Panther" attributed to German tank commanders?

    Tried to find the documents he mentions on his website but didn't have any luck?
     
  4. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Interesting, but no surprises.

    Any one else catch the casualty goof about the Ivy Division(4th ID) that he makes around 37:45.
     
  5. Triton

    Triton New Member

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    British soldiers called the M4s "Ronsons", not american.

    Later in the war, the M4 wasn't highly respected by german tank-commanders. If this guy tells the truth, they must have been very stupid.
     
  6. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    I was under the impression that the Ronson thing was a post-war development by writers and authors, but Can't say I have done any hard research on the matter.
     
  7. Pacifist

    Pacifist Active Member

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    Well researched and clearly stated. If belted out fast and skimming the subject matter rather than explaining the pro's and con's. Still for a 45 minute long speech to a group of casual/amateur students of WW2 it certainly does the job.
     
  8. m kenny

    m kenny Member

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    I know of no wartime document from either side that links 'Ronson' with the M4.
     
  9. Terry D

    Terry D Well-Known Member

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    Very good, I learned a lot from it. I did catch one error in one of his photo captions, though. He listed Andrew Bruce as commander Tank Destroyer Force from 1941 to 1945. Actually Bruce left the TDF in 1944 to command the 77th Infantry Division, which he did very successfully on Guam, Leyte, Ie Shima, and Okinawa.
     
  10. Triton

    Triton New Member

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    The fact, that the slogan "lights every time" appeared in 1949 isn't a prove, that the M4s weren't called Ronsons by british soldiers.
    Maybe the slogan even refered to the M4/Ronson story in WW2.

    And yes, the Tiger Tank had flat armour, but the crews were told to place their tanks not frontal, when facing the enemy. The boxy design of the Tiger 1 saved weight, which was important when the engine and suspension is already at the limit.
     
  11. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    The quote I've seen was something to the effect that "we could kill 5 Shermans before we lost one of our tanks but there was always a 6th". That's not exactlly correct I'm sure but it's closer to what was said I believe. It's also not quite right to interpret that as "it takes 5 Shermans to defeat a Panther" indeed if you want to see that documented that actions covered in When Odds Were Even make it pretty clear. I think that there are also some sources on the thread on this forum that deals specfically with this topic:
    http://www.ww2f.com/topic/18799-those-poor-old-shermans-it-took-5-to-kill-a-tiger/
     
  12. edhunter76

    edhunter76 Member

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    I'm still a bit confused about the M4 "Ronson". I've never heard about this name used during wartime or have I totally missed something????
     
  13. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Either here or on the Axis history forum there was an extended discussion of this. I think their might have been one or two instances that they documented but very late war and perhaps not even military. It certainly doesn't seam to have been in general use.
    Here is a page that talks to the use of the slogan
    http://tanksandafv.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-m4-sherman-ronson-lights-first.html#!/2014/04/the-m4-sherman-ronson-lights-first.html
    This one mentions that there really was a Sherman Ronson during the war but it was a flamethrower tank
    http://www.vbaddict.net/threads/3157-Overlord-S-Blog-Ronson
     
  14. edhunter76

    edhunter76 Member

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    Thanks for these links!

    Best tank site available also mentions "Ronsons". Apparently it has been British nick name for "easily" burning Sherman which of course might not be that common nick name at the time. Wet ammo stowage and better armor stopped burning problems but apparently the nick name "Ronsons" lived on. The lighter company and lighter name "Ronsons" doesn't seem to have anything to do with the Sherman tank if I understood right. Their slogan came after the war but of course the legend of burning Sherman might have had some kind of influence on this, who knows.

    http://www.tanks-encyclopedia.com/ww2/US/M4_Sherman.php

    EDIT: Well, the article says that "Ronsons" name came from the lighter after all...
     
  15. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Well there was also one named after Ronson's big competitor in the cigarette lighter market, the Zippo. The M4A3R3 Zippo was used in the Pacific.

    There are several Sherman flame tanks shown in this video and they were definately more effective than the Ronson version described in the link. Of course this was due to the flame thrower being in the turret and not as the hull machinegun replacement.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8W94XcbKjYU

    [​IMG]

    The initial official mod was the M3A1 "Satan" that was a theater produced version mounting the British "Ronson", 20 of which had been acquired from Canada. It had a range of 40 yards and fuel capacity of 170 gallons. (V Amphibious Corps also managed to get ten additional "Ronsons" before the Marianas invasion). After the Mariana's they moved to mount a more capable flame unit in the main gun position instead of the hull MG position, and opted to use the M4 medum tank based upon combat experience in the Marianas. These Sherman's had an effective range of 100 yards and a 300 gallon fuel capacity. The POA-CWS-H1 (POA for Pacific Ocean Areas, CWS for Chemical Warfare Service, H for Hawaii), used the US Navy Mark 1 flamethrower system, based on the Q design E14-7R2 mounted in the Sherman was used effectively on Iwo Jima by the Marines and by the Army's 713th Provisional Flame Thrower Tank Battalion on Okinawa.


    "The invasion of the Marianas began early on 15 June 1944 when the V Amphibious Corps, known as the Northern Landing Force and consisting of the 2d and 4th Marine Divisions, invaded Saipan.10 Each division had 12 Satan tanks. These 12 plus 3 conventional tanks formed a company of three platoons. Each platoon (4 Satans and 1 light tank) was attached to a company of medium tanks the organic armored support of a marine regiment. Landing on D plus 2 (17 June) the flame tanks saw infrequent use during their first day of battle and then only for the purpose of mopping up. Next day the tanks took part in front-line action and thereafter, as tankers and infantrymen alike quickly learned flame' tank techniques, the Satan proved to be an effective weapon.
    Targets were varied pillboxes, brush, canefields, buildings, and caves. Typical action against stiff opposition saw flame tanks neutralizing targets under cover of medium tanks. A tank commander, interviewed shortly after the end of the operation, told of one such action in which the Satan, supported by conventional tanks, came forward to flame a well defended pillbox. As the target started burning, two Japanese sprang out, only to be cut down by rifle fire. Resistance ceased. An examination of the bunker revealed ten other Japanese, grotesquely dead at their firing positions. The tank commander added that the mechanized flame thrower proved to be the only effective weapon against caves.11
    After the fall of Saipan the 2d and 4th Marine Divisions immediately started preparations for the invasion of Tinian which was to begin on 24 July. In this attack the M3A1 light flame tanks, loaded aboard LCT's and LCM's, followed hard on the heels of the first assault wave. The composition and attachment of flame tank units during the fight-
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    ing were just as they had been on Saipan.12 The terrain on Tinian proved much more favorable to tank employment, and this, combined with the recently acquired combat experience, resulted in a profitable use of flame vehicles. The Satans again combined with the medium tanks against the more tenacious points of resistance. They also were successful against caves and when used to burn vegetation concealing enemy positions.13
    The Southern Landing Force, as the III Amphibious Corps was designated for the Marianas campaign, assaulted Guam on 11 July with the 3d Marine Division, the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, and the 77th Infantry Division as its principal combat elements. The 3d Tank Battalion, which landed on the first day, had among its armament six M4A2 medium tanks equipped with E4-5 auxiliary bow gun flame throwers. These weapons had arrived from the zone of interior for service tests shortly before the operation began. One of the flame tanks met the enemy at Assan Point on the second day of the battle. Supported by a conventional tank the flame vehicle approached an enemy cave and fired half of its 25-gallon charge into the mouth. Seventeen Japanese soldiers were incinerated. A similar attack near Chonito Cliff resulted in 30 enemy dead. During the next five days the auxiliary flame tanks continued to burn out resistance on Guam.14
    A few logistical difficulties arose during these flame operations in the Marianas. Planners for the invasion had estimated that the daily expenditure of each flame tank would be one load of fuel; actually, two loads were required. A shortage of napalm meant that most of the flame fuel was either diesel oil mixed with Bunker C fuel obtained from the vessels, or, at times, straight Bunker C. A postcampaign recommendation called for adequate amounts of thickened fuel for future operations to insure a longer, more effective range for the mechanized flame thrower.15
    Flame tank crews, contrary to some pessimistic predictions, suffered no casualties as a result of actual flame operations, although two men were injured when a vehicle struck an enemy land mine. Fatigue be-
    563
    came a problem because of the extremely cramped positions within the light tanks. While the marines were generally impressed by the flame tank performance, they were critical of the range of the flame gun, the limited visibility and light armor of the tanks, the lack of special tools and spare parts, and the manner in which the Ronson was installed in the tank. And experience in the Marianas substantiated the preinvasion opinion that flame throwers should be mounted in medium tanks.16"
     
  16. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    The problem with those quotes is that they don't appear to be particularly accurate. From studies I've seen the Sherman was no more flamable (given a penetration) than the German tanks and that was pre wet stowage from what I can tell. Furthermore again from studies I've seen the US tended to loose no more (and from what I recall) less men per tank lost than the Germans and significantly less than the Soviets. Moreover most fatalites in US tank crews occured outside the tank. In other word if you actually look at the data it simply doesn't support the conclusion that the Sherman was worse than the German tanks flamability wise (especially when you consider a number of Panthers self imolated).
     
  17. edhunter76

    edhunter76 Member

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    Ok. Do you have any information where this legend of easily burning Sherman came from and on what it is based? I don't know that much about American tanks but reading about Sherman's there is usually a mention about flammability like that site I linked above.
     
  18. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    It's not that Shermans didn't burn. They most certainly did. It's just that they were no more likely to do so than most other tanks of the period. Indeed after wet stowage they may have been less likely to do so. However on the western front in most tank battles there would be more Shermans than any other tank type, furthermore as the Shermans were typically on the offence and subject to penetrations by everything from AT guns, to mines, to infantry AT weapons (tanks in defensive positions being less subject ot those) as well as tank guns one was more likely to see a burning Sherman than any other type of tank. Tankers were also probably inclined to remember having their own tank or those of others in their unit burn than they were to dwell on those of thier opponents burning.
     
  19. edhunter76

    edhunter76 Member

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    Makes perfect sense, thanks!

    Btw, I posted somewhere else here a couple of Moran's other videos. Here is his YouTube channel link. I strongly suggest you take a look, he has some great videos about different WWII era tanks.

    https://www.youtube.com/user/TheChieftainWoT
     
  20. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Just to toss this in, many, perhaps most, casual 'students' of WWII believe that German tanks ran on diesel and were therefore less likely to burn. I've even seen that canard thrown into old war movies. Even though people on this forum know better, we shouldn't forget that most people with casual knowledge believe this to be an absolute fact. It's a myth that has become truth through repetition.
     

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