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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. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I should make clear that the above is an opinion/speculation on my part. I think it's fairly well grounded but can be convinced otherwise.
     
  2. Dave55

    Dave55 Member

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    Right. And to add to that, there were thousands of diesel powered Shermans as well. There were no German diesel tanks that I know of.
     
  3. gtblackwell

    gtblackwell Well-Known Member Patron  

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    A very interesting study of statistics after Goodwood shows an enormous number of M-4's knocked out but a surprising number of their crews survived. The scene must have appeared as a catastrophe but many of the crews lived to fight again. Of course "knocked out" and destroyed have different meanings. Even though they were "Sherman's" throughout the war they were greatly improved over time but as we all know a bad reputation, even a good one, has a tendency to last long after changes are made,.
     
  4. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    It is also clear that the tendency of Shermans to burn was noted and studied during the war. I'm not sure if similar studies were done on any other tank. I haven't seen the study personally but I beleive that one of the reasons it sited for that tendency was not only the ammo stowage but the fact that US crews had a tendency to carry additional rounds. Wet stowage was one of the results of this study. I suspect discourageing the practice of carrying additional rounds was also. Again from memory the average tank burned more than 50% of the time it was penetrated and I think the average was closer to 2/3 and perhaps higher. Some of that data is on the web and may even be on the other thread in this forum.
     
  5. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    I wish I could recall where I read it, but during or after the North Africa campaign the British evaluated the Sherman against the Mark IV and rated it superior in almost every respect. Reliability: superior. Speed; superior: Turret transit: superior. Armor: comparable. Gun penetration: comparable. It was only in 43 and beyond when the Mark IV had completely gone over to the long 75 and the Panther began to appear that the Sherman fell behind.
    Even then, the Firefly and the US' 76 still made it very competitive with the medium Panzers. And in much of the European campaign, the shorter engagement distances negated much of the advantages of the higher velocity 75's.
     
  6. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I'm not sure I would consider the Sherman inferior to the Mk IV even with the "long 75" especially when you consider that killing opposing tanks was only part of a tanks job.
     
  7. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Yeah, it's just arguable that if they can kill you at 2000 meters, but you can only kill them at 1000 meters (whatever) then points shift to the tank with the higher velocity gun. But, as I pointed out the terrain in NW Europe doesn't always lend itself to longer ranges as it did in North Africa. It's not as great an advantage as the armchair game player expert would have you believe.

    And when all is said and done, the reliability and the ease of maintenance issues surpass all the other theoretical advantages and disadvantages. The tank that gets to the battle counts, the tank on the side of the road twenty miles from the battle doesn't count. Shermans were more likely to get to the battle than any model of German tank.
     
  8. Thoddy

    Thoddy 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?

    ther is a canadian analysis of M 4 losses

    "Analysis of 75 mm Sherman Tank Casualties Suffered Between 6th June and 10th July 1944: Report No . 12"

    out of a total of 45 tank losses mentioned in this report
    -40 were lost due to 75 and 88 mm guns
    -37 brewed up therof 33 by armour piercing shells (brew up rate 82%)

    average number to brew up a M4 1.89

    Number of hits on this 45 tanks with armour piercing shell 65
    therof 75 mm 53 hits
    therof 88 mm 12 hits

    distribution of hits
    front 19
    sides 36
    rear 10

    failures of pentrations
    75 mm gun 3 failures
    88 mm gun none

    distribution of failures
    front 1
    sides 1
    rear 1


    additional there is a comparative study

    "Analysis of German Tank Casualties Suffered in France 6th June to 31 th August 1944: Report No . 17"

    brew up rate of german tanks
    P IV 80%
    P V 63%
    P VI 80%

    hits required to brew up a german tank
    P IV 1.5
    P V 3.24
    PVI 3.25
     
  9. Pacifist

    Pacifist Active Member

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    Thoddy thank you for posting up actual Military study results rather than supposition. Something I do all too often.
    For those curious about Thoddy's source material.

    http://scholars.wlu.ca/cmh/vol7/iss1/8/
     
  10. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    The other studies I've seen list a fair amount more losses due to mines and infantry weapons. "Brew up" rates seam to be about the same as MK IV and MK VI but less than the MK V's. Not sure it's statistically different though. 1.63 hits to "knock out" a Sherman is pretty close to 1.5 to "brew up" a Mk IV as well since some would have been "knocked out" prior to catching fire. Section "3 Discussion" point 1 also mentions at least one unit with significantly lower number of "brew ups" and that they didn't carry extra ammo.

    Pacifist, thanks very much for posting the link. Thoddy thanks for posting the data.
     
  11. m kenny

    m kenny Member

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    A 1945 study went into more detail on the burning issues.
    Of 94 AP penetrated tanks 57 had major fires and 37 minor. 61% major.
    70 HC penetrations gave 21 major and 48 minor fires. 30% major.

    Major is defined as total burn of tank or complete burn of the crew compartment.
    Minor is localised or part only of the tank.

    I suspect all minor fires are repairable.

    Only half of the burning tanks led to burn injuries.
     
  12. m kenny

    m kenny Member

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  13. Triton

    Triton New Member

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    In 1943, the Mark IV was already at the end of his lifespan. The similar, but smaller Mk III was already out of production. So, this was no surprise. After the Fall of France, the american army took the best allied tank-designs and tried to improve them. The Char B with his hull-mounted 75mm gun lead to the M3, which was much easier to produce. The M4 was a copy of the Somua, but improved in every aspect.

    The Sherman was good enough to win the war, so there was no need for a better design. The Wehrmacht kept their Mk IIIs and IVs as long as they were successful.
     
  14. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Not really. They were still the most common tank until the end of the war, and produced until the end of the war. The long 75 was a big upgrade and by 43 many of the teething problems were worked out. It remained the backbone of the Panzer forces. The Panther (V) was the eventual replacement, but production never caught up and it had numerous teething problems to be worked out.
     
  15. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Are you sure about that? I don't recall reading elsewhere that the M3 and M4 were copies of French tanks.

    The former does not imply the latter. Indeed the US was working on better designs. The US definition of "better" however included significant attention to produceablilty and reliability. If it had been realized how many problems they would have had with the Pershing there's a good chance that there would have been a Sherman variant with a 90mm turret a need that many on the front line would argue was important.
     
  16. trsooner

    trsooner recruit

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    Soviets had the same issue in their m4s, extra rounds kept on the hull floor were the primary cause of fires and negated the benifits of wet stowage.
     
  17. m kenny

    m kenny Member

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    The Pz IV was indeed at the end of its practical life. The only reason it was still in production was that they could not produce enough Panthers to replace all the Pz IV. The decision to end production was taken but the resulting drop in panzer numbers ruled it out. It was grossly overweight by 1944 and broke down as often as the Panthers.
     
  18. Thoddy

    Thoddy Member

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    Tanks that are not brewed up, were repairable in general, at lest for kannibalizing. Ther are samples, for instance from the Afrikakorps, in wich they could repair the majority of the daily nominal losses including during night and used the tanks another day.

    This was especially possible, if the battlefront was more or less stationary or the Germans were on attack.
    When the german army was on retreat, you can see additional losses from breakdowns and comparatively light damage.

    To prevent the enemy from repairing of restorable equipment and excluded own use, (as far as I know) there were instructions for kill shots against moderately damaged tanks to prevent the enemy from reusing them.

    I suspect this is valid for all powers as a tank is comparatively expensive.
     
  19. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    A tank that is completely burned out or even has a major fuel ammo fire is hardly a good candidate for repair. Parts of it may be useful on other vehicles but among other things (as the Canadian source mentioned) the heat treating on the armor is likely ruined by the fire.

    The rule of thumb among tankers has been since WW2 if you are shooting at another tank keep shooting until it changes shape or burns.

    Somewhat related to that US tankers in ODS found that over 90% of the penetrating hits on Soviet built tanks used by Iraq resulted in both usuall the turret was displaced sometimes a considerable distance from the tank and the hull burned out. That's a considerably higher rate than experianced my Shermans or indeed any of the WWII tanks noted above.
     
  20. m kenny

    m kenny Member

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    The rule of thumb among tankers has been since WW2 if you are shooting at another tank keep shooting until it changes shape or burns.



    Seems it was not the rule in WW2. 51% of AP Pentrated tanks only had one hole. 16% had 2 holes. The survey also found that 35 tanks (27%) had been scooped but not penetrated. 3-5 holes 1-2% each
     

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