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Other than Germany, what axis country had the best tank designs?

Discussion in 'Armor and Armored Fighting Vehicles' started by Walter_Sobchak, Nov 10, 2012.

  1. Walter_Sobchak

    Walter_Sobchak Member

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    Ok, it's time for everyone to weigh in on this question I was considering. The question is "Other than Germany, what axis country had the best tank and afv designs?"

    The contenders are: Japan, Italy, Hungary and Romania.
     
  2. yan taylor

    yan taylor Member

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    Hello Walter, I have chosen two from each nation you have named;

    Japan;

    Type 3 Medium Tank "Chi-Nu"
    Main Armament: 1 x Type 3 75mm Gun (90mm @ 100m)
    Max Armour: 50mm

    Type 3 Tank Destroyer "Ho-Ni III"
    Main Armament: 1 x Type 3 75mm Gun (90mm @ 100m)
    Max Armour: 25mm


    Italy;

    P26/40 Heavy Tank
    Main Armament: 1 x Cannone da 75/34 (70mm @ 500m)
    Max Armour: 60mm

    Semovente Da 90/53Tank Destroyer
    Main Armament: 1 x Anticarro Da 90/53 (109mm @ 500m)
    Max Armour: 70mm

    Hungary;

    Turan II Medium Tank
    Main Armament: 1 x 75mm 41M Gun (59mm @ 500m)
    Max Armour: 60mm

    Zrinyi Assault Gun
    Main Armament: 1 x 105mm 40/43M Gun (55mm @ 500m)
    Max Armour: 75mm

    Romania;

    Tacam T-60Tank Destroyer
    Main Armament: 1 x 76mm F-22 Gun (58mm @ 100m)
    Max Armour: 20mm

    Tacam R-2
    Tank Destroyer
    Main Armament: 1 x 76mm Zis-3 Gun (70mm @ 100m)
    Max Armour: 25mm


    Regards

    Yan.
     
  3. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    How do you define "best"? Many look only at armor and main gun others add mobility to the mix. How about RAM and ergonomics? Or the specific needs / constraints by the various countries (Japan having rather limited steel supplies and not intending to fight a campaign vs an industrial power for instance).
     
  4. Walter_Sobchak

    Walter_Sobchak Member

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    I guess each responder can use their own criteria for what is "best." I doubt there is a "right" answer to this question, I just want to get some conversation going on here.
     
  5. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    What usually happens on these "best" threads is people state their opinion without stating their criteria. They may give references but it of results in rather unproductive conversations IMO. Better to either state the criteria up front or at least request the responders to state their criteria.
     
  6. Walter_Sobchak

    Walter_Sobchak Member

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    Ok Ace, you have a point, criteria is important. So how will we define the "best" (maybe it would be more accurate to say the "least worst" considering the vehicles we are discussing.) I would say the criteria would be the usual qualities of armor, fire power and mobility, but also taking into account quality of construction, cost, reliability and crew ergonomics. The other rule is that vehicles have to compared to other vehicles designed in the same year or period.
     
  7. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Asking for favorites (and why) is also a good one. I know many of my favorites wouldn't be on many peoples "bests" list but they have some quirk that makes them worth remembering. For instance I like a lot of the early war armor although most of it was flawed to some degree.
     
  8. Walter_Sobchak

    Walter_Sobchak Member

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    Hmm, not as many comments on this thread as I was expecting. Part of the issue may be that it's hard to come by detailed information concerning the combat records on these vehicles. I'll make some general comments and see if people agree or disagree.

    Of the four countries I mentioned, Japan had the greatest variety of vehicle designs. Ironically, the Japanese were ahead of the US for most of the 1930's in terms of numbers produced and design in some regards. They were the first to use an air-cooled diesel engine, something no one else would do until the US M-60 thirty years later (as far as I know). However, a lack of sound armored warfare doctrine and the prioritizing of Japan's limited industry toward naval and aircraft production severely stunted the development of their tank designs after 1940. While they were decent machines by mid-30s standards, the Medium Type 97 and Light type 95 were completely outclassed by 1942. The Japanese came up with some interesting designs in the last year of the war such as the type 3 and type 4, but these were produced in small numbers and never saw combat.

    Italian armored vehicles were pretty much a disaster from the beginning. Poorly built, underpowered, weakly armored, they did not have many bright spots.. They had somewhat better luck with assault guns, particularly the Semovente-M41(75-18). Due to a potent HEAT (or HESH? I have seen it described differently in different sources) round, this weapon had enough firepower to destroy a sherman tank. In almost every regard though, it was clearly inferior to the German Stug. The less said about the Italian tankettes the better. They did manage a handful of "Heavy" P26/40 tanks late in the war, but these were still inferior in most regards to the allied medium tanks such as the M4.

    Hungarian vehicles were an interesting mix, although its hard to find detailed information about them. The Hungarian Turan tank was a larger version of the Skoda designed LT 35. It's probably safe to assume it shared some of the strengths and weaknesses of its smaller descendent, but I don't have any data to support that assumption. The Turan 1 was under-gunned by the time it was facing T-34s on the Russian front during Stalingrad. The Turan 2 with it's short barreled 75 was undergunned as well when it was introduced later in the war. The Turan 3 was an interesting design, a bit of a "poor mans" Pz 4 with it's long barreled 75, but it never got past prototype stage. The 44M Tas Heavy Tank could have been a formidable vehicle with it's 75mm Kwk 42, but it also never got past prototype stage either. The 40/43M-Zrinyi2 assault gun on paper appears as good or better than the Italian Semovente M-41.

    Romanian tanks of WW2 are not particularly interesting with the exception of the TACAM R2. This vehicle was roughly comparable to a German Marder. Only 20 of these were built. The Maresal tank destroyer was an interesting prototype, roughly similar in concept to the Hetzer but it never made it into production. Not much else to say about Romanian designs. Their tanks were a mix of various foriegn types, mostly French and Czech designs.

    By way of conclusion, I would say that of all the Axis countries that were not Germany, none had a very impressive history when it came to Tank design. Japan probably had the potential to design and build some decent tanks, but they dedicated their best engineers to aircraft and ship design. My personal favorite of the bunch are the Hungarian vehicles, although I would not say they were the "best." Still, I would probably pick them over the Italian designs...
     
  9. yan taylor

    yan taylor Member

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    [FONT=&quot]The German axis partners were all weak in both tanks and anti-tank guns, some may have had some modern artillery, but on the whole they were equipped with modernised WW1 stuff, here is some off the main weapons used by these nations before and during WW2, maybe I should have placed this info in another section, this is an AFV section after all.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
    Japanese
    37mm Type 94 Anti-Tank Gun
    47mm Type 01 Anti-Tank Gun
    75mm Type 38 Field Gun
    105mm Type 91 Field Howitzer
    150mm Type 96 Howitzer

    Italian
    Cannone Anticarro da 47/32 Modello 35
    Cannone da 75/32 Modello 37
    Obice da 100/17 Modello 14
    Obice da 149/13 Modello 14

    Hungarian
    37mm 36M Anti-Tank Gun
    40mm 40M Anti-Tank Gun
    47mm 36M Anti-Tank Gun
    76mm 5/8M Field Gun
    105mm 31M Field Gun
    150mm 31M howitzer

    Romanian
    37mm M.1936 Anti-Tank Gun
    47mm M.1935 Anti-Tank Gun
    80mm (76.5mm) M.28 Field Gun
    100mm M.14 Howitzer
    150mm M.14/39 Howitzer

    Bulgaria
    37mm M.37 Anti-Tank Gun
    75mm M1904, M1907, M1908 & M.1910 Field Guns
    105mm M98-09, M1912, M1916 & M1939-1940 Field Howitzers
    150mm M1939 Field Howitzers

    Yan.[FONT=&quot][/FONT]
     
  10. yan taylor

    yan taylor Member

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    [FONT=&amp]The Japanese managed to produce 160 Type 3 Medium Tanks, all were stationed on the home islands to face an allied invasion.

    [/FONT][FONT=&amp]The German axis partners were all weak in both tanks and anti-tank guns, some may have had some modern artillery, but on the whole they were equipped with modernised WW1 stuff, here is some off the main weapons used by these nations before and during WW2, maybe I should have placed this info in another section, this is an AFV section after all.[/FONT]

    Japanese
    37mm Type 94 Anti-Tank Gun
    47mm Type 01 Anti-Tank Gun
    75mm Type 38 Field Gun
    105mm Type 91 Field Howitzer
    150mm Type 96 Howitzer

    Italian
    Cannone Anticarro da 47/32 Modello 35
    Cannone da 75/32 Modello 37
    Obice da 100/17 Modello 14
    Obice da 149/13 Modello 14

    Hungarian
    37mm 36M Anti-Tank Gun
    40mm 40M Anti-Tank Gun
    47mm 36M Anti-Tank Gun
    76mm 5/8M Field Gun
    105mm 31M Field Gun
    150mm 31M howitzer

    Romanian
    37mm M.1936 Anti-Tank Gun
    47mm M.1935 Anti-Tank Gun
    80mm (76.5mm) M.28 Field Gun
    100mm M.14 Howitzer
    150mm M.14/39 Howitzer

    Bulgaria
    37mm M.37 Anti-Tank Gun
    75mm M1904, M1907, M1908 & M.1910 Field Guns
    105mm M98-09, M1912, M1916 & M1939-1940 Field Howitzers
    150mm M1939 Field Howitzers

    Sorry for posting the same post twice, I tried to edit the letters in bold and the dam thing posted.

    Yan.
     
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  11. Erich Raeder

    Erich Raeder Member

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    Even though Czechoslovakia is not Axis they had two good tank designs, the 35(t) and the 38(t) that were used by the Axis. These two designs preformed soldily in the Fall of France. Rommel even road around in the 38(t) model on some of his campaigns.

    Erich Raeder
     
  12. Walter_Sobchak

    Walter_Sobchak Member

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    I always thought it was a bit ironic that the most reliable tank in German service was the Czech designed 38(t). It would have been interesting to see what the Czech designers would have come up with if given the chance, but of course that didn't happen due to the German take over in 1938.
     
  13. belasar

    belasar Court Jester

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    I'm not so sure the Czech's had all that much more to offer. Recall that exports were as nearly important to them as providing thier own forces. A export tank would need to be simple, easy to build under lisence and above all else cheap.
     
  14. yan taylor

    yan taylor Member

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    The 38(t) had a good chassis, the Hetzer proved this, if the Germans had made enough Hetzers and Jagdpanthers to form Tank Destroyer Battalions with 2 x Companies of Hetzers and 1 x Company of Jagdpanthers and could issue each Panzer Division with one of these Battalions, the allies would have had their hands full.


    Ian.
     
  15. belasar

    belasar Court Jester

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    As long as the Allies attacked along Rail sidings, between the lack of oil and the air interdiction all these armored forces weren't going very far.
     
  16. yan taylor

    yan taylor Member

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    You are right Belasar, the allied bombing campaign would have restricted any movement and production and the lack of fuel too would have played a part. I must have been in wargames mode to think of such things.


    I did some searching concerning the 38(t) and found that 229 x Pz 38(t) Ausf Gs were still available in September 1944, mainly with the Romanian, Hungarian and Slovakian Armies, most of these were used on Armoured Trains with two being issued per Train.


    Yan.
     
  17. Centurion

    Centurion New Member

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    I think this can be entirely based in what time period if the what time period of the war we're talking about. Early war, it would the Czechs with the 38(t), a tank with excellent cross country performance and an good 37mm main gun, I think. It's chassis was later used for self-propelled guns like the Marder III Ausf. M.
    Mid war, this would be from 1941-1943 in my opinion, Italies Semovente 105/25, a powerful self-propelled gun introduced in 1942, with a long 105mm gun, which Germany used form Italy's defeat to the end of the war.
    Late War, at this point the only other country with its own tank designs is Japan so it would be their Type 3 Chi-Nu, with a design that seems ver much influenced by the German Panther, and 75mm gun, these would've been very formidable enemies if put into an ambush role, their armor, ranging from 12-50mm was not good for open area, offensive operations.
     
  18. belasar

    belasar Court Jester

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    Good selections overall, but I, and maybe most Czech's, would question if they were an Axis country rather than a victim of the Axis.
     
  19. Karjala

    Karjala Don Quijote

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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finnish_Armoured_Division

    Well - Finland was not an "Axis" country, but was nevertheless fighting against the soviets. The Finnish only armoured division ("Panssaridivisioona") was considered in 1944 as the elite division of the Finnish Army.
     
  20. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    I think the government in exile in London would agree with you there Belasar
     

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