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Unfairly Judged?

Discussion in 'Pre-World War 2 Armour' started by FNG phpbb3, Dec 29, 2006.

  1. FNG phpbb3

    FNG phpbb3 New Member

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    Hi,

    This is something that I was thinking about last night.

    Were the criticisms of the WW1 tanks unfair in that they performed badly at crossing the battlefields they were deployed on?

    Would a WW2 tank have faired any better and would a modern MBT cope with the conditions?

    From photos I have seen the battlefields on late WW1 were crater filled mud baths with deep and wide trenches criss crossing the lines and huge deep swaiths of barbed wire on the approaches to trenches.

    Would the later WW2 and MBT's have the length to cross such trenches, the ability to pass through the barbed wired without being entangled in addition to the power and footprint to avoid sinking into the mire?

    Basically would a Sherman, Panther, MKIV Panzer, Tiger, Cromwell, Churchill, Matilda, T34, KV, Challanger, M1 or Leopard be able to opperate in such an enviroment?

    Or did the WW1 tanks actually fair pretty well given that they were in at the deep end in a inhospitable enviroment?

    FNG
     
  2. sinissa

    sinissa New Member

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    WWI was start for tank dewelopment and major problem was that their was not relaible and had many flaws.WWII takns will certanly perform betther,but on otther side,modern MBT would perform betther then WWII era tanks :bang:
     
  3. Ossian phpbb3

    Ossian phpbb3 New Member

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    I would suggest they did very well given the technology of the time, particularly the engine technology. The MkV had a 150HP engine for c. 28 tons (about 5.4 HP per ton)

    For comparison, the Cromwell was the same weight but 600HP, so 21.4 HP per ton and the Abrams has 1500Hp for 63 tons or 23.8 HP per ton (all ex Wiki so usual warning on reliability)

    In addition track and suspension technology have changed massively since 1916, improving performance.

    Tom
     
  4. Ricky

    Ricky Active Member

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    Interesting...

    I wonder what the ground pressures of the various WW1 tanks were?

    The French heavies were known for getting their noses stuck in the mud due to their hulls overhanging their tracks...

    I reckon that, in comparison to the British 'lozenge' tanks, early WW2 tanks would do very badly - high ground pressures, too short to negotiate most of the obsticles, track guards etc getting clogged with mud & barbed wire...

    And it the long-barrelled 6pdr on the British tanks kept fouling in the mud, what would happen to the hugely long guns on modern tanks? :eek:
     
  5. FNG phpbb3

    FNG phpbb3 New Member

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    you see that is what I was thinking, yet all the books I have read do nothing but criticise the shortcommings of these tanks and their deployment.

    Personally given that they started from scratch all things considered I think they did extremly well. Especially when compared to the early WW2 British tanks which were shocking bad but had 35 years of experience and development behind them

    FNG
     
  6. Ricky

    Ricky Active Member

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    I think that they did very well considering the ground they had to cross. When used on firm ground (Cambrai?) they did exceptionally well. Later in the war massed attacks did not do as well because by then the Germans had worked out decent AT methods.
     
  7. Lone Wolf

    Lone Wolf New Member

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    The bit that always gets me about the first tanks is how the crew had to wear armour to protect them against the flakes of metal that came off inside when they were hit by heavy bullets - demonstrates quite well how new the all the tank technology was back then.
     
  8. jeaguer

    jeaguer New Member

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    a basic law of design is that when breaking new ground one has to try everything who doesn't work before getting it right by default

    The british , true to traditions wanted " landships " ,
    brigadier estienne , an artilleryman, wanted a self propelled artillery gun ,
    schneider wanted to make a barbed wire smasher ,
    renault , a mobile machine gun nest .
    The army didn't know what it wanted , only what it didn't
    the cavalry was supremely suspicious
    the navy on mondays thought they should handle the thing , on fridays they wanted it killed off
    the germans thought the whole thing was mechanical pipe dream

    the best root design was the FT-17 , an infantry escort ,
    it even looks modern and served in two world wars and half a dozen small ones
    it evolved into the main battle tank , changing purpose quite a few times over the years

    .
     
  9. majorwoody10

    majorwoody10 New Member

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    the allies didnt build good tanks in the 20s and 30s because ...a . they were too poor ...and b ..the war to end all wars had already ended in 1918 so really , why bother ?
     
  10. jeaguer

    jeaguer New Member

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    I think there were plenty of Renault FT-17 left , a good tank for colonial purpose and training ,

    in the 1930 it was barely a twenty year old design , the T-82 and the leopard are pretty much in the same range ,
    technical progress was even slower then ,
    in the twenties the peace movement was very strong , even main stream politicians were peacenicks
    in the thirties , there was the great depression , military budgets were slashed , the royal navy went on strike , war wounded were protesting in the streets of Washington , brand new weapons programs were rare and hard to justify .

    .
     
  11. Ricky

    Ricky Active Member

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    Just to make a point about technological advance... By 1939 (21 years after its debut) the FT17 was very outdated. While it is fair to say that technology advances faster now, in the early days of any discovery technological advances have relatively greater effects.

    For an example from elsewhere, compare the Blériot XI (first plane to cross the Channel) to a plane from 20 years later (1929). Then compare a plane from 1987 to a plane from today. In which time span was the greatest relative advance?


    Just going on bare stats:

    Blériot XI (1909)
    Cruising Speed: 90 km/h (56 mph)
    Max Speed: 100 km/h (62 mph)
    Service Ceiling: Unknown
    Range: 300 km (186 mi)

    Bristol Bulldog (1929)
    Maximum Speed: 174 miles per hour [280 kilometers per hour] [151 knots]
    Service Ceiling: 27,001 feet [8,230 meters] [5.1 miles]
    Maximum Range: 275 miles [443 km]


    I couldn't find any good example of planes from 1987, so had to go back another decade.

    F-15 (1976)
    Maximum speed:
    High altitude: Mach 2.5+ (1,650 mph, 2,655 km/h)
    Low altitude: Mach 1.2 (900 mph, 1,450 km/h)
    Service ceiling: 65,000 ft (20,000 m)
    Combat radius: 1,061 nmi (1,222 mi, 1,967 km) for interdiction mission
    Ferry range: 3,100 nmi (3,570 nmi, 5,745 km) with external conformal fuel tanks

    F-22 (2005)
    Maximum speed: ≈Mach 2+[1] (1,325+ mph, 2,132+ km/h) ; >Mach 2.42 (Paul Metz)
    Cruise speed: Mach 1.72[50] (1,140 mph, 1,825 km/h) supercruise at altitude
    Service ceiling: 65,000 ft (19,812 m)
    Combat radius: 410 nmi[50] (471 mi, 759 km)
    Ferry range: 2,000 mi (1,738 nmi, 3,219 km)


    Conclusion:

    1909 – 1929 (20 years)
    Speed improved 32%
    Service ceiling is unknown, but I’d bet it improved
    Range improved 67%

    1976 – 2005 (29 years)
    Speed did not improve
    Service ceiling did not improve
    Range decreased 38%

    Ok, comparing individual aircraft can be unfair, but I did pick modern aircraft from the same class (twin engine air superiority fighters).


    Similarly, look at tanks. the first tanks crawled along at barely more than walking pace. By the 1930s they were acheiving around 30 mph, and rarely has a tank exceeded that speed by much since.
     
  12. jeaguer

    jeaguer New Member

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    :D Agree on pretty much everything !

    For information on the Bleriot altitude rating , after crossing the channel it couldn't get enough altitude to pop over the cliffs at Dover and the pilot ( Mr. Bleriot ) had to go looking for a break in the cliff to crash-land into a meadows

    About tanks , I cannot for the life of me found a common agreement for the use of tanks written in the early thirties , plenty of theories from Guderian ,Fuller , Tukaschevsky and de Gaulle but little practical solution to the real problem ... should tanks work with some infantry or should infantry work with some tanks ??
    the Spanish civil war offered some answers , better use of tanks to escort infantry , the German choose to disregard those lesson as misleading ,

    for four years they were right

    .
     
  13. Ricky

    Ricky Active Member

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    I have seen a replica Bleriot fly, and can believe it! It barely made it off the ground... I have to admire the guts of old Louis.
     
  14. jeaguer

    jeaguer New Member

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    Those were the days of magnificent men in ridiculous machines

    to get back on the WW1 tanks ,compared to the 1945 machines , they were just as pathetic as the Merrimack and Monitor compared to the dreadnought of forty years latter , and we are talking the immature youth of the steam age , some progress curve !!

    It would be interesting to compare the tanks at the end of WW1 with the tanks at the ...start.... of WW2 ,
    The Soviets , British and French had some multi turrets design for their heavies , implying a slow traveling fort , firing in all direction with all calibers ,
    interestingly , the air forces had some weird planes too ,with a multitudes of firing nacelles protruding in all directions ,
    as soon as the battlefield moved from the committee room to the bloody mud , things fell into place very rapidly !
    the M3 , designed as a " char B1 " look alike was simplified successfully , a tribute to its inherent qualities and the desperation of the British armor units :grin:

    The WW1 tanks were very successful in their own terms , solving the three infantry killlers of shrapnel , machine-guns and barbed wire
    they also brought direct fire support to the advancing infantry ,previously left dangling with no artillery protection at the end of the odd successful attack in a lunar landscape of broken ground .
    The lack of communication meant that the defenders knew were to shoot but the attacking side had no clues as to what was going on wherever that would be .

    .
     
  15. Hoosier phpbb3

    Hoosier phpbb3 New Member

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    The United States gutted it's military post-WWI. They took the "War to End All Wars" theme quite literally.
    Army and Navy had limited budgets even for training. Navy pilots had to reuse practise-bombs.
    USA was slow to grapple with the concept of AFVs and George Patton saw this for himself. We were at a marked disadvantage with the outbreak of hostilities in WW2. There was little money budgeted to develop an armored presence.
    The pattern of course repeated itself with the American military in post WW2. When the North Koreans attacked across the 38th parallel, we had little in the way of forces or equipment in-theatre with which to stop them.
    Our occupation forces in Japan were not the same troops that won the 2nd World War. They really weren't combat-ready nor even fit. Same with their commanders.

    Tim
     
  16. jeaguer

    jeaguer New Member

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    At least , they had a good tank , the Pershing~Patton was an excellent design and it looked good too !!
    In spite of all the arguments , I can't help but to think that the U.S.A. at the very peak of their engineering and management talent could have brought its production and usage forward ,
    The Sherman was a good machine but the Pershing has a feel of modernity about it

    .
     
  17. canambridge

    canambridge Member

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    If the right people had made different decisions early enough, it should been possible to have teh Pershing ready in time for the summer of '44. Getting those right people to make the necessary decsions was probably impossible.
     
  18. jeaguer

    jeaguer New Member

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    yep , if wishes were fishes everyone would be fishing :roll:

    It still seems a bit harsh to have the kind of thinking
    " we will wait until the overflow of shermans are knocked to bring the new machine "
    .
     

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