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The Tiger/Sherman Ratio [Assistance Request]

Discussion in 'Armor and Armored Fighting Vehicles' started by Otto, Jun 1, 2011.

  1. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper

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    Toto ( no offense, hope you don't mind the new tag ) wanted homework and numbers. I put my 2 cents. Gonna look for more.
     
  2. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    This sounds like something along the lines;
    from: Duel - Panther vs. Sherman (Battle of The Bulge 1944)

    The real lessons of this book are delivered in the concluding sections on statistics and analysis. Contrary to what readers conditioned to war movies or computer games might expect, the author notes that actual statistical data indicates that most tank vs. tank battles were small, involving only 4-9 tanks on each side. The data also indicates that the defender had a distinct advantage, since they usually got to fire first. Despite its vaunted post-war reputation, the author uses data from 29 engagements involving Shermans and Panthers to conclude that, "the popular myths that Panthers enjoyed a 5-to-1 kill ratio against Shermans or that it took five Shermans to knock out a Panther have no basis at all in the historical records." Further, he states that, "in a head-to-head duel, the Panther Ausf G was clearly superior to the M4A3 (76mm)...[but] tactical considerations were often paramount." Also, "the Sherman offered a better balance of mass and quality than did the Panther." The statistics that the author provides indicate that the Germans committed about 416 Panthers to the Ardennes offensive and lost 180, while the Americans committed about 600 M4A3 tanks and lost about 90. However, these statistics do not break down how many tanks were destroyed by other tanks as opposed to lost to mines, A/T guns or mechanical breakdown. Thus, the Shermans likely inflicted more damage on their opponents, but the actual results of the duel are left a bit murky.

    I've been trying for the last 1/2 hour to get this posted (too many interruptions) the book is also available at Amazon where I 'lifted' the above description.
     
  3. Otto

    Otto Spambot Nemesis Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Someone cites a credible source! Strong work Biak, exactly what I'm looking for, even though it's the panther vs sherman in this book.

    I'd also add that I suspect the original german commander that made the infamous 5 to 1 quote was speaking more generally about the Allied overall material superiority, rather that a direct tank vs tank combat evaluation.
     
  4. rkline56

    rkline56 USS Oklahoma City CG5

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    Overlord Max Hastings, p. 224, anecdotal, food for thought

    A British Tank Officer recorded a conversation with his Regimental Commander in June '44.
    "What do the Germans have the most of?"
    "Panthers. The Panther can slice through a Churchill like butter from a mile away."
    "How does a Churchill get a panther?'
    "It creeps up on it. When it reaches close quarters the gunner tries to bounce a shot off the underside of the gun mantlet. If he's lucky, it goes through a piece of thin armor above the driver's head."
    "Has anybody ever done it?"
    "Yes. Davis in Squadron C. He's back with hq trying to recover his nerve."
    "How does a Churchill get a Tiger?'"
    "It's supposed to get within two hundred yards and put a shot through the periscope."
    "Has anyone ever done it?"
    "No."

    p. 228
    "We all thought our tanks were deficient (wrote a British tank officer), this had a highly adverse effect on morale. In the end we all became "canny", and would obey orders only to the extent that there appeared a reasonable expectation of successfully carrying them out. There was a sort of creeping paralysis in the armoured units. Initiative was lost and squadron commanders tended to go to ground at the first sign of any serious opposition and call up an artillery "stonk". With any luck as the day wore on, the battle died down and that was at least another day got through."

    Not a good strategy. I think maybe the Typhoons and Mustangs did most of the damage.

    p. 130-165 Describes operations around Villers-Bocage. I will attempt to find more specific data to your inquiry and post it soon.
     
  5. Otto

    Otto Spambot Nemesis Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Another well sourced post, thanks rkline5. Would be interesting to see anything concerning tank activity beyond the overlord beaches and Bocage country. The fear induced by the German tanks was significant, compounded by the fact that the allies were advancing into very defencible terrain against experienced crews made things even worse.

    Enjoying this thread very much thank you!
     
  6. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Not such an easy request. We all know about the 'ratio', but finding actual, specific references is elusive. Many books discuss the relative merits of Allied and German armour without actually mentioning a ratio, and even then, Tigers are not often specified.

    Here's an example; -

    'Victory At Falaise'
    by Whitaker/Whitaker/Copp, Ontario, 2000.
    ( p.26 - '...he general expectation was to lose three to five Shermans for every German tank destroyed...'


    And here's a quote from Bradley, given on p.47 of Belfield & Essame's 'The Battle of Normandy' ( London 1965 )
    ( '...but too often the American tankers complained that it cost them a tank or two, with crews, to get the German...' )
     
  7. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    ( This is almost off-topic but felt I had to point out that John Buckley's 'British Armour In The Normandy Campaign 1944' (London/New York 2004 ) carries a full discussion of the opposing armour - Chapter 5 , 'The Tank Gap' - but I can find no specific mention of a 'loss ratio', only a relative discussion of calibre hits required ).
     
  8. freebird

    freebird Member

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    There was a good program on the history channel the other day, about the Canadian armoured pushing up Italy towards Rome. (using Shermans at the time)
    None too complimentary about the Sherman in combat vs Panthers or PzIV
    Anecdotal of course, but there were interviews with several vets who actually fought in them.
    Unfortunately I didn't get to see the whole program.
     
  9. rkline56

    rkline56 USS Oklahoma City CG5

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    That means a lot Otto. I'll look into action around Anzio, Cassino, Hurtgen Forest and on the road to Arnhem.

    Thanks again.
     
  10. m kenny

    m kenny Member

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    An oft used quote that originaly comes from 'Flame thrower' by Andrew Wilson (1956)

    The full context:


    CROCODILES, TIGERS, PANTHERS

    NEXT morning, when Wilson and Ward had reported
    to the Adjutant, Barrow told them the truth about
    | the Crocodiles; the flame thrower was terrific, but
    the tank itself a death trap. There followed a little catechism
    about British and German tanks.
    "What do the Germans have most of?"
    "Panthers. The Panther can slice through a Churchill
    like butter from a mile away."
    "And how does a Churchill get a Panther?"
    "It creeps up on it. When it reaches close quarters,
    the gunner tries to bounce a shot off the underside of the
    Panther's gun mantlet. If he's lucky, it goes through a piece
    of thin armour above the driver's head."
    "Has anybody ever done it?"
    "Yes. Davis in 'C' squadron. He's back with head-
    quarters now, trying to recover his nerve."
    "What's next on the list?"
    "Tigers. The Tiger can get you from a mile and a half.
    "And how does a Churchill get a Tiger?"
    "It's supposed to get within two hundred yards and put
    a shot through the periscope."
    "Has anyone ever done it?"
    "No."
    Barrow told them about a lot of other things—about the
    self-propelled high-velocity guns in German Mark IV tank
    chassis, which lay waiting for the British in every little copse,
    and about the eighty-eights, which the German anti-tank
    gunners concealed behind hedges till you were almost on
    top of them. Then there were the Panzerfausts—vicious
    little rockets fired by the enemy infantry, when they struck
    a tank they punched a hole no thicker than a pencil through
    the armour, and poured in fire and steel fragments more
    deadly than any shell.


    Wilson writes about himself in the third person so his style is quirky.
    It is just anothe 'soldier moan' that mentions practicaly every German threat even hand-held weapons but they aint as sexy as Panthers and Tigers.
    Wilson actualy served in 79thArmoured Division in a Crocodile Flamethrower tank so he will not have experienced many (if any) tank v tank actions.
     
  11. Otto

    Otto Spambot Nemesis Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Thanks Martin, very interesting indeed. Though also anecdotal, Bradley's quote is telling. I would suspect losing a tank or two would be expected given that the allies were on offence. Even if Shermans were pitted vs Shermans, the defenders in the Bocage country of Normandy would certainly inflict more losses.
     
  12. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    late on this one Otto, are you looking for the British citation or American citation in regards to warding off the Tiger 1 ? due to the nature of the beast in the heavy Battalions the British/Canadians felt the near whole of the Tiger 1 units in Normandie if this is the prime example used. Frankly we know what the German Heer/W-SS statements will be of course.

    it has been written since post war what the US forces thought of the dreaded 88mm whether a stationary Flak/AT piece or equipped in every tank, faced as a "Tiger"
     
  13. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    The Churchill v. Tiger thing sounds like the pre-WWI instruction on how to sink a submarine.

    1. Locate periscope.
    2. Blind submarine by putting pillow case over periscope.
    3. Use hammer to break periscope glass so submarine can't submerge.

    (Probably apocryphal, but funny.)
     
  14. Otto

    Otto Spambot Nemesis Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    I'm not looking at anything in particular. Essentially what I'm attempting to determine is whether the Tiger/Sherman ratio is a reference to an anecdotal quote or an accurate assessment of performance.
     
  15. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    am thinking Otto your latter statement would be in reference to post war/captured equipment comparisons

    am on the hunt ........
     
  16. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    This is not exactly "on point", but this site has a good comparison of the features of the two. It is possible to do side by side technical comparisons of any two vehicles. I looked at the Tiger I and Sherman. The telling comparison to me is production totals. Only 1350 or so Tigers vs. 50,000 Shermans. The write-ups of each vehicle are also informative.
    Compare Tanks, Artillery and Military Vehicles - Results
     
  17. rkline56

    rkline56 USS Oklahoma City CG5

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    A good assessment of productive (in a destructive manner) performance at Arracourt:

    Good analysis of successful tactics that could be employed to improve the ratio.

    What would we want to call small losses for a battle of this scale? US 50-60 to Germany 285? Even 100-120 is still good for the Sherman. The level of success would depend on so many factors: terrain, weather, experience, materiel etc.
    Source: The WW2 Letters of Private Melvin W. Johnson - Featured: The Battle of Arracourt

    He got close to the answer. I haven't read the entire article yet. These numbers demonstrates that Allied tank crews were evolving at a pretty satisfactory rate.

    Source: Gabel, Christopher R. (Christopher Richard}, 1954 - The 4th Armored Division in the encirclement of Nancy. “April 1986,”
     
    Otto likes this.
  18. rkline56

    rkline56 USS Oklahoma City CG5

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    Here's some graphic representation of the tactics used during the course of this U.S. Armoured victory at Arracourt, Alsace-Lorraine, France Aug.-Sept. '44. This is part 1 of 5 and gives a little background including the flawed muzzle velocity of the Sherman's 75mm. The good thing was that their turrets were faster to rotate and they could "haul ass" out of trouble as the tankers describe. If you watch the first part the other 4 parts show up. There is some interesting commentary among the viewers also including a comment from one guy talking about Brian's posts on Sword Beach to Bremen. He has the story wrong as he thinks it is a Canadian Eng. Battalion. I will set him straight unless someone else wants to.

    One interesting tactic the Sherman Crew's would use was to fire a willy pete shell out in front of a Tiger to screen the German crew, so they and their strike team could maneuver into firing position. If the Allied crew was lucky the phos. would also be pulled into the Tiger's ventilation system and render the opposing crew somewhat impaired.

    YouTube - ‪1/5 greatest tank Battles - Arracourt‬‏
     
  19. Drucius

    Drucius Member

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    As far as I'm aware there is no official recognition of any tactic that entailed the loss of 5 Shermans to 1 Tiger. Indeed, US official tactics precluded Shermans from even engaging armour except by accident. Officially US tank destroyers were supposed to engage armour while Shermans supported infantry. As far as Churchills go, even a Panther would struggle to cut through a Churchill VII at distance. In fact, Churchills turned out to have one of the best surviveability records of the war. Thanks mostly to the thick armour. The 6 pdr was a decent anti-tank weapon in the Churchill III/IV which could (in theory) pierce a Tiger from the side, but this was replaced with the 75mm in the VII, which was in essence more suited to anti-personnel/anti-artillery work and could not be expected to be effective against the Tiger or the Panther (except the Panther's side was very vulnerable).

    With only 500-odd Tigers and thousands of 88s you were much more likely to be knocked out by anti-tank guns than any Tiger.
     
  20. m kenny

    m kenny Member

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    I used to think like that (A/T more numerous than tanks) but this cut-and-paste shows the reality of the situation in 1944-45


    A fully equipped Pz.Div. 1944 should have had:

    79x 7,5 cm L/70 Kwk in Panther tanks
    81x 7,5 cm L/48 Kwk in Pz. IV tanks
    31x 7,5 cm L/48 Stuk in Pz.Jg. IV or Stu.Gesch.
    12x 7,5 cm Pak 40 mot.Z.
    12x 8,8 cm Flak mot.Z.
    i.e. 215 heavy a/t weapons capable of destroying enemy tanks at short, medium, and long ranges.

    A fully equipped Pz.Gren.Div. 1944 should have had:
    76x 7,5 cm L/48 Stuk in Pz.Jg. IV or Stu.Gesch.
    18x 7,5 cm Pak 40 mot.Z.
    12x 8,8 cm Flak mot.Z.
    i.e. 106 heavy a/t weapons capable of destroying enemy tanks at short, medium, and long ranges.

    A fully equipped Inf.Div. 1944
    a) with a Pz.Jg.Abt. 1. Glied.Art should have had:
    at worst just 21x 7,5 cm Pak 40 mot.Z., or
    b) with a Pz.Jg.Abt. 3. Glied.Art should have had:
    10x 7,5 cm L/48 Stuk in Pz.Jg. 38 or Stu.Gesch.
    14x 7,5 cm Pak 40 Sfl.
    21x 7,5 cm Pak 40 mot.Z.
    at best 45 heavy a/t weapons capable of destroying enemy tanks at short, medium, and long ranges.


    Pz.Div. 44 = 215 heavy a/t weapons
    Pz.Gren.Div. 44 = 106 heavy a/t weapons
    Inf.Div. 44 (3. Glied.Art.) = 45 heavy a/t weapons and 98 Pz.Schreck.

    Differences in heavy a/t weapons:
    Pz.Div. 44 vs. Inf.Div. 44 = 170 (62 if Pz.Schreck are included)
    Pz.Gren.Div. 44 vs. Inf.Div. 44 = 61




    from

    Feldgrau.net • View topic - panzerschrek in Type 44 pz. div.
     

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