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M4 versions

Discussion in 'Armor and Armored Fighting Vehicles' started by GunSlinger86, Aug 28, 2016.

  1. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    To the first point, I tried to explain myself with the previous post. I've seen books describe canons as guns and howitzers, example being calling the US 155mm "Long Tom" canon a gun and a howitzer.

    To the second point, the personnel manned additional 75mm M4s as assault guns, and not M4 105mm?
     
  2. gtblackwell

    gtblackwell Well-Known Member

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    Good to see a thread about the versatile Sherman other than how many it took to know out a Tiger or a listing of it faults. It brings up some quesatioons to me. In the howitzer role , I would guess more often in the 105, did they use spotters like field artillery to call shots . would seem so. In direct fire, the 105 in assault mode and of course the 75 how exactly was ranging obtained.. Did anyone use a split prism reticle to focus and read the range like a single lens reflex camera ? Or a graduated scale etched into the lens where you used an object of relatively known height and read the gradations on it to estimate range ?. Or a method unknown to me. . Ranging is critical for a long distant hit and it would ne more so in the higher trajectory 105 and less in the 76. I remember the early Centuries having a Polsten 20mm "ranging " cannon" and have heard of 50 cals being used in this role . Of course lasers serve that purpose now. and GPS for artillery in well equiped armies.

    Gaines
     
  3. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    By 1939 the distinction between "gun" and "howitzer" was rather arbitrary if not an anachronism. Historically, there were three types of gun powder artillery.
    • Guns fired solid shot on a flat trajectory with a fixed charge of propellant with the trajectory controlled by elevating the gun barrel.
    • Mortars which fired a bomb in the upper register with the trajectory controlled by varying the amount of propellant.
    • Howitzers which fired a shell in a trajectory controlled by varying the elevation of the barrel AND the amount of propellant.
    During the C19th the range of projectiles had been extended to include shells, canister and shrapnel. WW1 was fought with a mixture of long range guns and shorter range but more accurate howitzers. After WW1 the distinctions became very blurred with guns such as the 25 Pdr (88mm) having multiple propellant charges and becoming a "gun/howitzer." The 155mm Long Tom was a "Gun" but its propellant had two charge bags - base and increment and the 5.5" Gun had four incremental charges.
     
  4. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    So Gun and Howitzer is not as big of a deal when using the wording in a mix-up, like I did and the other poster pointed out? Because the example I gave, the 155mm "Long Tom" was called both a gun and a howitzer.
     
  5. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    The Sherman is one of my favorite weapons of the war. I think its better than a lot of people give it credit for. When it was designed and first built, it was the superior tank on the field against what the Germans could throw up it mid-late 1942. It was versatile, and the upgrades made a difference through the years.
     
  6. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, but again no. Just because a book gets a description wrong doesn't make it right. The "Long Tom" was the 155mm Gun M1 on Gun Carriage M1. The 155mm Howitzer M1 on Howitzer Carriage M1 was a completely different cannon (three Ns, not two).

    As I said, they manned six 75mm Tankdozers in the assault, which were intended primarily for obstacle clearance. It was a specialized role for a specialized task, somewhat different from the "assault gun" role as envisaged for the 105mm howitzer-armed M4 tank.
     
  7. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Indeed, which is a slightly British point of view in terms of lexicon, which is why I prefaced my previous comments by saying it was the lexicon of the U.S. Army Field Artillery. :cool: Different strokes for different folks and all that.

    I still enjoy the exchange of messages between the two British officers in Tunisia trying to figure out where the village of Natousa was so they could get to an American headquarters... :rofl:
     
  8. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    That was a typo. I know cannon has 2 n's.

    And according to Sheldrake vs. your posts, they can be referred to as one in the same, howitzer or gun, as a bland description. And yes, I understand a book can have a mistake or a different point of view.
     
  9. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    I suspected you did, but you misspelled it twice. My typos are legion.

    Exactly. He is speaking from a British Army point of view, your question as you framed it required an answer from an American Army point of view. Insofar as I know, the U.S. Army Field Artillery still abhors the "Britishism" of "gun/howitzer" and were most particular about it in World War II.
     
  10. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Not so, as far as US usage is concerned. Guns and howitzers, while both cannon are significantly different in the optimal employment and ballistic characteristics. To illustrate, both cats and dogs are animals and mammals, have many similar characteristics, but are separate and distinct versions with many differentiating characteristics. You can refer to either as an animal, but to refer to a cat as a dog or vice versa is incorrect.
     
  11. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    You are correct sir, and as far as I am aware the 12lb Napoleon was the last officially designated gun/howitzer in US service.
     
  12. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    There is a gun and a howitzer version of the 155mm "Long Tom" cannon?

    In the gun version how would it compare to the German 88mm?
     
  13. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    No the "Long Tom" is the 155 mm gun M1 on carriage M1 (later modified and designated M1A1 and M2, re-designated M59 post WWII).

    [​IMG]

    Note the gun carriage M1

    The 155 howitzer was 155 mm Howitzer M1 on howitzer carriage M1, it was later re-designated as 155 howitzer M114 in 1962.

    [​IMG]

    Note the howitzer carriage, foreground, is much different.

    -The 155 gun M1, "Long Tom" had a barrel that was 155mm/L45 (22ft 10in long)
    -The 155 howitzer M1 had a barrel that was 155mm/L24.5 (12ft 5in)
    -The 155mm gun M1 had a max range of 14.7 miles and a MV of 2,799 fps.
    -The 155mm howitzer M1 had a max range of 9.09 miles and a MV of 1,847 fps (62% of range, 66% of the muzzle velocity)
    -The M1 155 gun used the 100lb. M112 AP round and the 94.7lb M101 HE round
    -The M1 155 howitzer used the 100lb M102 HE or the M107 HE (starting in 1958), had no AP round.
     
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  14. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Thank you, but please don't call me "sir". I work for a living.

    With regards to the appellation "Long Tom", it was originally given by the Field Artillery to the 12-pdr Gun, which was the heaviest typically taken into the field. Note that "Long Tom" was used in the Mexican War and the Civil War to designate the Model 1841 12-pdr Field Gun, but not the Model 1857 12-pdr Light Gun Howitzer, which was the "Napoleon".

    Curiously, the first use of "Long Tom" I am sure of in the 20th Century was for the 155mm Gun M1. It was not given to the 155mm Gun M1918, which was known as the "GPF" (Grande Puissance Filloux), possibly for the same reason the M1857 wasn't; they were both French in origin.
     
  15. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    I don't think there is a difference between British and American definitions of what is a gun and what is a howitzer. However, there may be different degrees of institutional pedantry about how the terms were applied. ;)

    If there had been a significance it would have been included in the "Military British for Dummies" published by the US War Department as MILITARY INTELLIGENCE SERVICE L SERIES, NO. 13 MAY 15, 1943 BRITISH MILITARY TERMINOLOGY - http://usacac.army.mil/cac2/cgsc/carl/wwIIspec/number13.pdf

    This was intended to help our colonial chums to distinguish between the CF and the CG; DID from DOD; DINO from DORA and the FANY from the FAT.

    Some of this must hgave left the reader thinking WTF

    Abbreviations
    L for Lancers or Load and Labour (Branch) or lewisite or light -(weight of fuzes) or line-telegraphy (see also LT) or lead or latitude (see also Lat).

    LG for The Life Guards or Lewis gun or landing ground or Lieutenant-General

    .....It also had a guide to crabspeak, Someone must have thought it a wizzard prang to tell the spams that it was Pukka Gen that "ROYAL AIR FORCE TERMS" included "Put up a black" "Kipper kite" "Mikey Mouse" "play pussy" "shooting a line" and "shagbat"

    The only phrase missing was "wind up" :)
     
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  16. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    Would the 88mm German gun smoke the 155mm American gun?
     
  17. George Patton

    George Patton Canadian Refugee

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    Strange question but yes, I believe the Germans did issue an 88mm smoke shell that would have been capable of obscuring an enemy artillery installation should the opportunity have arose........
     
  18. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    The 88mm was famous as an Anti aircraft gun which turned oput to be very good in the anti-tank role. The 155mm Long Tom was rubbish as an AA Gun and not great as an anti tank gun. However it was really really good in the long ranged counter battery business.

    Medium and heavy guns were a good WW2 answer to heavy anti tank guns.

    An artillery duel between 88mm guns and 155mm Long Toms would have been one way traffic. The Long Toms could drop 96lb rounds adjusted by air OPs from up to 10 km beyond the range of the 88s. In the advance from the Seine the Germans tried to deploy a screen of 88mm guns north of the river Somme. When the advancing British tanks came under fire the 88s were suppressed by troops of 5.5" mediums. One of the FOOs was awarded an MC for getting to within 800 yards of the 88s to adjust fire.
     
  19. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Others have answered the question, but I will add this. HEAT ammunition does not rely on kinetic energy to force a projectile through armor. Like a bazooka, it is a shaped charge that accomplishes its task by creating a molten jet that burns through the armor. A larger bore and higher velocity would not necessarily make a better or worse HEAT round.
     
  20. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    The "Long Tom" Gun was a heavy, long range piece intended primarily for long range artillery fire. 155mm (6.1") and 88mm (3.46") are in totally different classes. Generally speaking the larger the caliber, the heavier the piece, the less mobile it is, the longer it takes to set in, the slower it is to train. Since, the 155mm gun was not intended to be a multi-role piece (i.e. indirect fire, AT, AA ) it's carriage and sighting equipment were not optimized for those other roles. The US 90mm M1 wold be more comparable to the German Flak 88. The US 90mm M1 was used in the AA/AT role like the 88.

    -8.8cm Flak 18/36/37/41 88mm (3.46") /L56 (16ft 2in) Range: 16,250 yds; Ceiling: 32,500ft; 15-20 rounds per minute ROF; Muzzle velocity 2,690fps.
    -90mm Gun M1/M2/M3 90mm (3.5") /L53 (15ft 6in) Range: 19,491 yds; Ceiling: 34,060ft; 25 rounds per minute ROF; Muzzle velocity 2,700fps.

    The M1/M1A1 90mm couldn't be depressed sufficiently to use effectively in the anti-tank role so the mount was modified and designated the M2. The M3 was the vehicle mounting as in the M26 Pershing and M36 GMC (Gun Motor Carriage) Tank-Destroyer. The Flak 88's initial advantage was that unlike many of it's contemporaries it could be depressed below the horizontal making it effective against ground targets and the German tactical doctrine/employment.

    When considering these weapons you also need to understand their tactical employment. For artillery support the company had it's 60mm mortars. Further back the battalion supported it's companies with it's 81mm mortars. Further back the three M2 105mm howitzer battalions of the artillery regiment supported the three maneuver regiments, with the 155 howitzer battalion in general support of the division. Each infantry regiment per TOE also had a cannon company of six 105mm M3 howitzers. Then you had heavy artillery battalions that were in support of the Corps with 155 guns, 8in guns, 8in howitzers,etc. Each weapon type had a niche where it was intended to be employed.
     

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