Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

Sherman Ace?

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by Daniel Jones, Nov 10, 2003.

  1. Jim Baker

    Jim Baker Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    12
    This article is pretty accurate. I believe the total number of "tanks" is 12. The others are various vehicles, some armored. Things they consider are time in service and his method of attack.

    Lafayette G. Pool Hero In WWII « Association of 3d Armored Division Veterans
     
    Otto likes this.
  2. gtblackwell

    gtblackwell Well-Known Member Patron  

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2006
    Messages:
    2,152
    Likes Received:
    574
    Location:
    Auburn, Alabama, US
    I noticed earlier in this thread that credit was given to the Firefly as being a British tank. Probably everyone here knows about Fireflies and felt it unnecessary to answer but we get new members all the time so to clarify, the Firefly was a standard M-4 Sherman, not all being the exact model but shared the basic 75 mm gun. The British rather ingeniously managed to mount their 77mm main gun. The 75.76 and 77 MM guns having very close diameters, their power being based on shell case size, the 77 being the largest capacity. It meant rotating the breech-barrel 90% and adding a bustle on the turret rear to balance the gun ( Memory lost here, please check ). Thought the Sherman had a good sized turret ring the overall size of the 77 did cramp the interior a bit. It still was a formidable weapon and much credit to the British for producing it. We should remember that the Israeli's managed to mount a version of a French 105MM main tank gun in their M 50/51 Super Shermans. ..

    Gaines
     
  3. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2013
    Messages:
    1,381
    Likes Received:
    344
    Location:
    London UK
    There were several allied tank guns with the same calibre used by the British Army. All three were 76.2mm = 3" . None of them had compatible ammunition and were given different names to avoid supplying the wrong ammunition.

    - The M10 mounted the US 3" anti tank gun a development of the version of the 3-inch Gun M1918 AA gun. This was not to be confused with the QF 3-inch 20 cwt which was phased put of service around the same time the M10 came in.

    - Ordnance QF 17-pounder was the armament for the Sherman Firefly, and was fitted to British M10 SP guns during 1944

    -The 77mm HV gun was a variant of the 17 pounder designed for the Comet tank. It was not fitted to the Sherman

    The British Army did not believe in the concept of tank aces. Knocking out lots of tanks could lead to awards for gallantry and meritorious service, but land warfare was seen as a team effort. Perhaps that is predictable from a country responsible for codifying so many team sports.

    I don't think the higher commanders wanted to encourage personality cults or reckless competitiveness. Consider how the cult of WW1 fighter aces diminished the role and recognition for the strategically more important work of army co-operation, photo reconnaissance and artillery spotting. Every bit as dangerous as flying a fighter with a tenth of the medals and recognition..

    I am skeptical of the claims for individual tank kills. How were the numbers verified? It wasn't a computer game and there were no scorers. Nor were there any clear rules. If the enemy bails out because they throw a track or the gearbox has failed is it a kill? .
     
    gtblackwell and JJWilson like this.
  4. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2015
    Messages:
    1,471
    Likes Received:
    481
    Not exactly. The Vickers-designed 77mm HV QF Gun was not a variant of the 17-pounder, it was a variant of the Vickers-designed 75mm HV QF Gun originally intended for Cromwell. It used the American 75mm APC and HE projectile mated to a necked-down 3" 20-cwt cartridge. Unfortunately it wouldn't fit the Cromwell so went into Comet, but redesigned again to 76.2mm for commonality with the 17-pdr projectile.
     
    gtblackwell likes this.
  5. gtblackwell

    gtblackwell Well-Known Member Patron  

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2006
    Messages:
    2,152
    Likes Received:
    574
    Location:
    Auburn, Alabama, US
    Appreciate both updates . I was a bit unclear as to the exact evolution of the firefly 77MM. Out of curiosity did the Comet main gun carry over to the Centurian? .I always thought it arguably the best tank to emerge at the war's end., especially when upgraded to the 105MM. Did any at all see combat ?
     
  6. harolds

    harolds Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2011
    Messages:
    1,319
    Likes Received:
    167
    If the enemy bails out because they throw a track or the gearbox has failed is it a kill? .[/QUOTE]

    Yes, IF then you shoot the tank and "brew it up" you got an easy "kill". As a general rule, all crews bailed if their tank becomes immobile. In fact many U.S. crews would bail if they were even shot at. They figured that they're going to be toast when the next round was fired, and they wouldn't have time to find and engage the target. So, better to lose a tank than a tank and a crew (them). However, personally, I don't think one could claim a "kill" unless the enemy tank burns or is so damaged that it can't be repaired. Otherwise, it's just damaged and can be returned to service. The exception to this is if the battlefield remains in your side's hands and the vehicle can't be recovered.
     
  7. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2013
    Messages:
    1,381
    Likes Received:
    344
    Location:
    London UK
    My issue with tank aces is that there wasn't any clear standards and many of the claimed "kills" could never be verified. I read a lot of medal citations and eye witness accounts. The accounts are rarely clear. If an army encouraged boastful kill claims - as Patton;'s Third Army did, I suspect it is on the slippery slope to self deception ending in the nonsensical body counts in Vietnam.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018
  8. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2015
    Messages:
    1,471
    Likes Received:
    481
    I believe Centurion Mark 1 used the 17-pdr Mark VI and the Centurion Mark 2 used the 17-pdr Mark VII, but that is from memory. Only five of the initial 20 pre-production prototypes used the 77mm QF gun.

    Incidentally, using the original nomenclature eases clarity. 17-pdr was designated as such. It utilized a 3" (76.2mm) projectile and gun tube. 77mm QF was designated as such, even though it also utilized a 3" (76.2mm) projectile and gun tube. The American 3" Gun as found in the GMC M10 was designated as such even though it also utilized a 3" (76.2mm) projectile and gun tube. The American 76mm Gun as found in some marks of the Medium Tank M4 also utilized a 3" (76.2mm) projectile and gun tube. However, they also all utilized different breeches, chambers, and cartridges. :)
     
    gtblackwell likes this.
  9. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2015
    Messages:
    1,471
    Likes Received:
    481
    Do you have some evidence to support those statements? I've read pretty much through all the separate tank battalion AAR's, most of the divisional AAR's, many of the divisional battalion AAR's, the I.D. White and Maurice Rose letters, and all the postwar OR reports on tank loss and have never found anything resembling that idea expressed.
     
  10. harolds

    harolds Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2011
    Messages:
    1,319
    Likes Received:
    167
    I was responding with my opinion re. Sheldrake's last sentence in post#43. I have read some individual accounts that support the quick bail-out ideas, but I doubt any of that would have found itself in official records. The statement about what constitutes a tank "kill" is also my opinion, which should have been obvious ("However, personally, I don't think...).
     
  11. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2015
    Messages:
    1,471
    Likes Received:
    481
    Fair enough. I was clear that the "kill" definition was your opinion, but your statement "In fact many U.S. crews would bail if they were even shot at" appears to be the opposite of opinion...you say it is a "fact". So how many are "some" individual accounts? Which are they? That is what I would be interested in finding out.
     
  12. harolds

    harolds Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2011
    Messages:
    1,319
    Likes Received:
    167
    I have read several personal accounts of tankers bailing when their tank was immobilized. I don't think that this was necessarily an army SOP but rather the crew's own reaction to becoming even more vulnerable than they already were. It only makes sense to do so unless the area is being swept by small arms or other fire.

    As far as bailing out when shot at, I can think of two incidents: one in Italy where several, perhaps a dozen Shermans were abandoned when they came under fire by "88s" (or some other AT gun). There was at least one other time I've read about, I believe at Kasserine where several Sherman's were abandoned and the Germans were able to capture and study them. I also remember one account of a tanker saying that if they came under suprise AT fire they would abandon because there was no way they could find the target, traverse the turret and shoot the threat before the enemy gunner corrected his aim and got them. These accounts, at least to me, pass the sniff test because every soldier wanted to live. I would bet good money that these were not isolated accounts but the tip of an iceberg.

    I'm sorry but I can't remember which of the many books I've read that came out of but I'm sure I got the essential facts straight. Frankly, I'm not going to go through over a dozen or more books to find the source and quote it. I'm not writing a research paper here,
     

Share This Page