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Omar Bradley's view on the Tiger and Panther

Discussion in 'Weapons & Technology in WWII' started by Riter, Jan 3, 2023.

  1. Riter

    Riter Well-Known Member

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    From page 322-3 of his A Soldier's Story.

    "Ordnance had dragged two disabled German tanks to Monty's CP for his inspection. One was the squat 63-ton Tiger E Mark VI, the same kind that had outgunned our Shermans in the Tunisian djebels. Next to it stood a 50-ton Panther, Mark V, with the wedge-shaped frontal armor that so effectively deflected the fire of ur AT guns. The Tiger carried a long-barreled 88 in its heavy round turret. On its breastplate the armor was seven inches thick. In Europe, as in Africa two years before, the Tiger could both outgun and outduel any Allied tank in the field. Fortunately for us, however, it was inadequately powered with a 650-hp engine and for that reason it frequently broke down. In fact losses from mechanical failure among these Tiger tanks probably exceeded those attributed to Allied guns in combat.

    "The lighter Panther or Mark V tank was evenly powered for its tremendous weight. In lieu of the Tiger's dreaded 88, it mounted a long-barreled high-velocity 75-mm gun. With this weapon and its tapered hull, the Panther was more than a match for our Shermans.

    "Originally the Sherman had come equipped with a 75-mm gun, an almost totally ineffective weapon against the heavy frontal plate of these German tanks. Only by swarming around the panzers to hit them on the flank, could our Shermans knock the enemy out. But too often the American tankers comlained it cost them a tank or two, with crews, to get the German. Thus we could defeat the enemy's panzers but only by expending more tanks than we cared to lose. Ordnance thereafter replaced the antequated 75 with a new 76-mm high-velocity gun. But even this new weapon often scuffed rather than penetrated the enemy's armor.

    "Eisenhower was angry when he heard of these limitations on the new 76. "You mean our 76 won't knock these Panthers out? Why, I thought it was going to be the wonder gun of the war."

    "Oh, it's better than the 75," I said, 'but the new charge is much too small. She just doesn't have the kick to carry her through the German armor."

    "He shook his head and swore. "Why is it that I am always the last to hear about this stuff? Ordnance told me this 76 would take care of anything the Germans had. Now I find you can't knock out a damn thing with it."

    "Only the British had found a weapon to pierce the Panther's thick-skinned front in their tough old 17-pounders. To make use of it they mounted those 17-pounders in their lend-lease Shermans. I told Ike that one of our division commanders had seen these guns and ction and afterward suggested that they be mounted in our Shermans. But when I queried Monty to ask if the British could equip one Sherman in each U. S. tank platoon with those 17-pounders, he reported that ordnance in Englad was overloaded with British orders. I offered to compromise on towed 17-pounders but they, too, were in short supply. Obviously, if we were to duel with the Panthers we would have to improvise on our own."
     
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  2. Biak

    Biak Boy from Illinois Staff Member

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    I read this book several years ago, Excellent book, highly recommend it. Bradley was ( in my opinion) a true Soldier's soldier.
     
  3. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Hence the moniker "the GI General".
     
  4. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    A Soldier's Story was one of my first history books and still has a prominent place on my bookshelf. I did get a chuckle out of Bradley's reference to the British "tough old 17-pounders". The "pounder" designation might have struck Bradley as archaic, but it was a brand-new weapon.
     
  5. Biak

    Biak Boy from Illinois Staff Member

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    I knew I'd heard/read that somewhere!
     
  6. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    The face, it's so mundane you could believe he was a green grocer before the war.
     
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  7. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    I think that was coined by Ernie Pyle.
     
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  8. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Did he coin it or hear it and repeat it? We'll never know.
     

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