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Sherman vs Panther etc.

Discussion in 'Armor and Armored Fighting Vehicles' started by HESH, Nov 22, 2020.

  1. HESH

    HESH Member

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    So I was thinking a bit, and I know that the M4 Sherman gets bad rap for "not doing its job", protecting it's crew... But in my opinion it's very good at a few things... With the upgraded 76mm it could blast through weak points in German armour, and the other amazing thing, apart from the average mobility was, the fact that the crew could get out pretty damn fast, which in medium tanks of other nations was to put it simply, slow and a pain...

    Compared to other nations mediums it had its disadvantages...
    T-34 vs M4 vs Panther vs Pz4 vs Comet vs Cromwell (and any others)
    Yes the panther wins the frontal protection war, and possibly the firepower war.
    T-34 wins the shear numbers war, u kill one, and there's another 20 to kill... (Well not always, but that's the impression I get from the t-34.)
    Cromwell wins the top speed, plus the british engineers could have mounted either the griffon without a supercharger, or just the merlin...
    Comet I think speaks for itself, worse than the firefly in firepower but more maneuverable.
    Pz4 wins versatility, no it wasn't as good as the panther for firepower or protection, but it was relatively good on all fronts, the gun being the main highlight in my book.

    The sherman... Well average mobility, average protection, average firepower...
    But great escape routes for crew, as long as they weren't dead immediately or didn't catch fire... Extremely easy to get out of in a hurry, apart from being under machine gun fire etc, but do the same in other medium tanks, and I think the sherman wins that one.

    Regards,
    HESH
     
  2. ARWR

    ARWR Active Member

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    You've missed the main advantages of the Sherman - it was possible to manufacture it in huge numbers. The German tanks were not designed with mass production in mind indeed with the Panther you could argue they seem to have almost gone out of their way to make it more difficult. Secondly much of the in field regular maintenance could be carried out by the crew (a feature shared by British tanks) making availability greater. The Germans used specialist maintenance teams for almost everything. The most advanced fighting machine in the world is pretty useless if it's immobilised waiting for the support team to come and replace the grocket.
     
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  3. HESH

    HESH Member

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    Damn it my bad, I thought I'd missed something... The sherman sort of shares the mass production advantage with the t-34 as well...
    Another point that you make me think of is, the fact that no one really had specific recovery vehicles, yes some where converted and such...
    The Germans had the Famo half-track but they had to use 2 to even think of moving a tiger at all...
    The Brits on the other had a whole arsenal of equipment, maybe down to the AVRE?
     
  4. ARWR

    ARWR Active Member

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    T34 production was limited by the need for certain specialist machine tools. Ironically most of these had been sold to the Soviet Union by Germany as apart of the 1939/40 Molotov Ribbentrop agreements
     
  5. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    ..if I was a tanker in WW2, I would want the Panther..wasn't the Panther turret traverse slow, though?
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2020
  6. ARWR

    ARWR Active Member

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    But I wouldn't want to be in one in small group surrounded by large numbers of Shermans which is why production capability matters. War is not some tank to tank western gun fight
     
  7. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    The Sherman was comparable in numbers...Course Stalin did not have to worry about constructing a navy or merchant marine either.

    A pyrrhic win. It's high top speed was too much for it's suspension, so it was dropped to 32mph by changing gear ratios. The Comet maintain this same top speed of 32mph.

    The Sherman and T-34 were equally as versatile, if not more so. With the Sherman and T-34 going on to serve for many decades after WW2, while the Panzer IV was relegated to the scrapheap or as immobile bunkers.
     
  8. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    The Panther turret traverse speed was dependent on engine revs. The faster the engine was revving, the faster the maximum turret traverse speed. Of course, The Germans also tended to turn the tank in the direction of the target, to bring the gun on faster. Not sure if the Americans followed a similar practice...The WW2 tankers I have talked to never mentioned such, but I never thought to ask.
     
  9. ARWR

    ARWR Active Member

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    Not strictly true. A significant amount of Lend Lease (including a lot of aviation spirit) was carried across the Pacific to Vladivostok for on shipment on the Trans Siberian Railway. As this traffic passed through Japanese controlled waters it had to be carried in Soviet flagged bottoms and Stalin did need to maintain a merchant marine. However he did not have to make good losses from U boat attack so it's probably truer to say that he did not have to worrry as much.
     
  10. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    The Soviet Far East Shipping Company started in June 1941 with 85 cargo vessels. Another 39 Soviet vessels managed to get to Vladivostok from other locations during the year. The Far East Golden Company of the People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs also had 4 high-speed transports in 1941. So there were 128 Soviet-owned vessels, most of them older, slow, and of limited capacity. The Soviet Government Purchase Commission received through Lend-Lease 27 vessels from the US in 1942, 46 in 1943, 20 in 1944, and 35 in 1945. So 128 new construction vessels capable of heavier tonnages.
     
  11. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Actually, The Pz IV was used by at least one middle east nation (Syria) and used up to and including the 6-day war.
     
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  12. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Production-wise, the Germans didn't do so bad with the Panther. By the end of the war somewhere around 6,000 of all variants were produced. When you consider that production really didn't get going until January of 1943, the problems associated with a totally new tank design, and of course the setbacks caused by Allied bombing, this was a credible number. So the Panther WAS designed with mass production in mind, unlike the Tigers.
     
  13. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Yes, and the Sherman fought in wars into the 1990s. Paraguay retired the last of it's Sherman tanks in 2018.
     
  14. ARWR

    ARWR Active Member

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    Compared with a total of about 50,000 Shermans and variants 6,000 is paltry
     
  15. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Yes, but the Sherman's development didn't start after the war started. It was in production and being used by the Brits before we really got into the war. It's development was a logical follow-on from the M3. The Panther's real development started in 1942 with production commencing in early 1943. The Sherman had a huge head start plus our manufacturing base was totally secure. We had basically one main tank, albeit with several variations. The Germans had three main tanks (Mks III-V), also with many variations each, plus assorted assault guns based on those types. So counting tank against tank is sort of an apples/oranges thing. Yes, we outproduced them but producing 6,500+ units from scratch, in wartime, in basically 2.5 years is a credible achievement. Don't you think?
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2020
  16. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    While the military requirements for the design pf the Medium Tank M4 were laid out as early as 31 August 1940, the actual design work did not begin until February 1941, mostly because all the qualified design engineers were busy working on the Medium Tank M3 as an interim.

    It was not a follow-on to the Medium Tank M3. The M3 was an interim design that could be produced with the manufacturing resources immediately available. The M4 did use some component parts of the M3, but much of the basic development was based on the previous ten years of experience in track, suspension, engine, and hull design.

    Development of a replacement for the Panzer III and Panzer IV began in late 1938. The MAN torsion-bar successor design began in c. May 1940 and was ready by November 1941, when redesign work to build a more "T34-like" tank was ordered. After considerable work, the MAN design was accepted in May 1942. Aside from the Versuchs-serie, the initial production of 4 was in January 1943. The design of the Medium Tank M4 began in August 1940 and the first production was 28 February 1942.

    It did? How? The U.S. manufacturing base was secure, but contained bottlenecks, the most significant of which was a developed tank engine. The Germans also had bottlenecks: limited excess industrial capacity and a dwindling workforce. It was kind of a wash.

    They actually had a light tank (Pz III) and a medium tank (Pz IV), similar to other nations, but decided in late 1938 to replace them both with a single tank (partly because the design of the Panzer III had been so problematic and it had already nearly reached its design limit). The Panther was not designed from scratch, but was an outgrowth of that decision, a medium tank to replace both of them. It was 15 months for the Germans from the restated design requirement in November 1941 to the first production of 4 tanks in January 1943. The initial batch had so many problems that beginning 24 March 1943 all completed tanks were sent to Demag for rebuilding. There was actually only a single Panther, each Ausfuhrung incorporating design changes implemented in previous iterations.

    For the Americans, the design work begun in February 1941 resulted in a production tank 12 months later. Unlike the Panther, the M4 had multiple models, M4, M4A1, M4A2, M4A3, and M4A4, and nearly a sixth, the M4A6, all due to a lack of engine manufacturing capacity and differing views on the advantages of cast versus rolled armor.

    The main German disadvantages were the limited workforce. In the fifth month of Panther production, four assembly plants produced 194 of them. For the Americans, five months into production, three plants produced 196 M4, well, actually the M4A1. Another producer that month built 45 M4, two others 245 M4A2, Ford 19 M4A3, and yet another built 2 M4A4. And that was just the beginning. Nineteen months into production and the Germans peaked with its three plants turning out 379 Panther gun tanks. Nineteen months into M4 production, the Americans completed 643 M4, 430 M4A1, 218 M4A2, and 181 M4A4 and were retooling to build a completely redesigned version of the tank, something which Germany intended, but was never able to carry out.
     
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  17. HESH

    HESH Member

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    Yeah I'm surprised that the Daimler design wasn't accepted, the Germans had seen first hand how effective the T-34 really was but instead chose the MAN design, would that be mainly down to a few factors? 1) too much resemblance to t-34, friendly fire issues, 2) diesel engine created too much sophistication, 3) turret was too small and 4) armour wasn't as strong as MAN design...
     
  18. ARWR

    ARWR Active Member

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    Soviet merchant tonnage at the end of the war was about 1,461,000 tons - this included about 518,000 Lend Lease tonnage. Source CIA Historical Review Program
     
  19. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Indeed, but a large chunk of the non-Lend Lease tonnage was in the Black Sea and Baltic and not directly relevant to merchant shipping from the U.S. to Vladivostok.
     
  20. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Just looking at the M3 and M4 tanks you can see a family resemblance there. The Panther looked like nothing else in the German inventory. The US engineers took all they could from the M3 and then improved it in many ways-such as having one main gun in a turret. This cut down on the time it took to design the M4. It also meant that there were fewer "bugs" to work out. It doesn't matter if you call it a "follow on" or not.

    There had been some engineering concept designs for a heavier German tank but the Panther, as it came out, was quite different than these designs.

    The first few months of any new equipment's production is naturally slow because the factory(s) have a steep learning curve in how to produce it. Since it was a totally new tank, the Panther was obviously going to have many teething problems. It was rushed into production and into combat at Kursk. One of the main problems to actual production was that the engineers were constantly fiddling with the design coming out with many small improvements that were immediately put into production. This led to combat units having tanks with different parts and few proper spares. All this increased the number of tanks leaving the factory but resulted in much fewer tanks available for combat. So the Americans had their problems with tank engines but the Germans had their own problems.

    From what I've read, the Germans started the war with the Mk III which they intended to be their main tank (not a light tank), with the Mk IV being a support tank. After encountering the French tanks and the T-34, the Germans realized their error and designed the Panther which was supposed to become their main tank. It was designed for mass production, unlike the tigers.

    The Sherman's combat debut was at North Africa in October of '42. The Panther hadn't started production yet.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2020

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