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Posted: 12/30/2005 10:46:42 PM EDT
I'm sure this has been discussed before but hell I'm bored.


The Sherman, after it's dismal failure against german armor why the hell was it continued? I understand it was reliable and we could build zillions of them but not being able to stand up to german armor kind of defeats the whole purpose of the tank doesnt it?


Other notable tanks used or developed and not used?

Why didnt we copy german tanks?

How did the soviet armor stand up to german armor?
Link Posted: 12/30/2005 11:06:21 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/30/2005 11:07:19 PM EDT by Sukebe]
www.2worldwar2.com/sherman.htm


"The M4 Sherman tank was a winner by numbers, not by quality. When the US entered World War 2 it did not have a modern tank, even the latest existing designs were obsolete compared to the modern German tanks.

So a new medium tank design was quickly developed, and since it was technically simple and very reliable, a decision was made to immediately start mass producing it in enormous numbers and not wait for the slow development process of an advanced heavy tank. The M26 Pershing heavy tank was slowly developed and reached the war front just before the end of the war.

As a vehicle, the M4 Sherman was very reliable, and as such it was superior to the German tanks, but as a tank the M4 Sherman had several problems, especially when compared to its enemies, the German tanks. It was simply inferior to them is most aspects. It had a relatively thin armor, an inferior 75mm or 76mm gun which simply could not penetrate the front armor of the German Tiger tanks even from short range, while they could easily destroy the Sherman from long ranges, and it was very tall, 3.43m, which is taller than the German Tigers, and one meter taller than the superb Russian T-34. It means the Sherman could not hide as well as other tanks, which is likely what its crews wanted to do when German Tigers were nearby. With such inferiority in firepower, armor, and shape, no wonder the Sherman crews saw the German Tiger tanks as a formidable monster.

In fact, to destroy a German Tiger, the Shermans had to hit it from the side or from behind, and obviously if the Tiger crew saw them approaching, it could destroy some Shermans before the others could eventually destroy it.

A winner by numbers
But as I wrote, the M4 Sherman was a winner by numbers, so let's check those numbers. The total number of German Tiger and King Tiger tanks produced was 1835, that's all. They were extremely powerful and armored, but also technically unreliable and complex to produce. There were also 4800 German Panther tanks. A majority of these tanks fought against the Russian T-34s in the eastern front. The others were to fight the great majority of the more than 40,000 Sherman tanks produced (a minority fought in the Pacific), and one should remember that the sky above the battlefields were then dominated by swarms of allied fighter-bombers such as the American Thunderbolt and the British Typhoon which excelled in hunting German tanks and kept doing it whenever the sky were clear enough to fly.
I don't have the exact division of tanks to the various war fronts, but if we conservatively assume that 3/4 of the Shermans faced 1/3 of the German tanks (the other tanks went to the Pacific front and to the Russian front respectively), these are the numbers we get, which are not exact, but very clear: 30,000 M4 Shermans versus 600 Tigers and King Tigers and 1500 Panthers.

This is a 14:1 ratio versus the modern German tanks, and a 50:1 ratio versus the formidable Tigers. There were earlier German tanks and powerful tank destroyers, but the Sherman could engage them more easily. It gives a perspective to the immense superiority of the American war industry over its rivals.

If we also consider the strong air support provided by fighter-bombers, [ for example, at the end of the battle of the bulge, British Typhoon fighter-bombers destroyed 175 German tanks in one day, and the larger US Air Force was not on vacation either ], then we must come to the conclusion that although the Sherman tank was inferior to the German tanks, especially the Tigers, it massively outnumbered them, so although combat engagements between Sherman tanks and a German Tiger tank were an unforgettable and terrible experience for the Sherman crews because they usually meant death to one or more Sherman crews, it also meant the death of the greatly outnumbered Tiger's crew. It also meant that such encounters were statistically rare. Most of the time Sherman crews met threats they could more easily deal with and fight them very well.

The M4 Sherman weighed 32 tons, had a crew of five, it had a speed of 29mph and it had fuel for 100 miles. In addition to its 75mm or 76mm main gun it had a typical setting of three machine guns, one in front, one parallel to the main gun, and an anti-aircraft heavy machine gun on top. There were also many variants of the Sherman for every possible role, such as various engineering vehicles. After World War 2 Shermans served in various armies worldwide and even fought in tank battles as late as 1973."




Link Posted: 12/30/2005 11:13:15 PM EDT

fought in tank battles as late as 1973."



Israel?
Link Posted: 12/30/2005 11:20:21 PM EDT
A Tiger or Panzer was as good as 10 Sherman tanks. Problem was there was always an 11th Sherman.

Or so the joke goes.
Link Posted: 12/30/2005 11:36:03 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Mr45auto:

fought in tank battles as late as 1973."



Israel?



I believe so.
Link Posted: 12/30/2005 11:48:30 PM EDT
i think that the idea behind lots of shermans revolved around high infantry support--back then, the tanks were seen as infantry support and not part of thier own independent combat groups--infantry were the bread and butter units for combat (or am i thinking prior to the war....?)

the germans, who 'lost' WWI, learned the most about thier 'defeat' and therefore when the slate was cleared bt/w the wars, they had a fresh idea on tactics and desisgns regarding tanks--they utilized them to the best of any country's ability

the brits' firefly built on a sherban chasis i think mounted a gun big enough to take on german armor

we did not copy german tanks b/c, i have no idea--maybe we decided that it would take too long for us to get em the way we wanted em, so we just kept cranking out the shermans; besdies, the sherman chasis was used for a lot of other designs (priest, howitzers, etc) and tanks models for different roles

the T34 (expecially the later models w/ the 85mm) stood up pretty good to the panther mkIVs, but the tigers kept em on thier toes; the t34 also relied on sheer #s to overwhelm the germans (stupid hitler and his moronic idea of a 2 front war); regardless, their sloped armor and superior chasis/mechanical design gave everyone a run for the money

the tiger imo, was not the best suited for offensive tactics, but would have been best suited for defensive wars--but it would prove futile as they did not work out all the kinks or have enough fuel or tanks to muster

the IDF in the 70s were still using the shermans, but they had beefed em up (super shermans?) w/ 105mm guns and a DDiesel

i love hitler's 'mouse' tank that was about twice the size of a king tiger, but went slow as crap
Link Posted: 12/30/2005 11:54:57 PM EDT
A while back on TV I saw a Army armor General saying that the reason we went with the Sherman tank was that we didn’t have a larger engine at the time (I guess in adequate quantities).

Never heard that before and I haven’t a clue if it’s true.

Regardless, it is a bit disgraceful that we couldn’t give the troops a better tank.

Simply overwhelming your enemy with numbers and taking heavy losses in the process might be OK for the Soviets or the Chinese, but it’s not something this country should consider acceptable.
Link Posted: 12/31/2005 12:02:43 AM EDT

Originally Posted By 199:
Simply overwhelming your enemy with numbers and taking heavy losses in the process might be OK for the Soviets or the Chinese, but it’s not something this country should consider acceptable.



It's amazing what one can accomplish thru censorship.
Link Posted: 12/31/2005 12:04:13 AM EDT

Originally Posted By 199:

Regardless, it is a bit disgraceful that we couldn’t give the troops a better tank.

Simply overwhelming your enemy with numbers and taking heavy losses in the process might be OK for the Soviets or the Chinese, but it’s not something this country should consider acceptable.



+1

a strange US concept in anytime in history....horde attacks
Link Posted: 12/31/2005 12:04:20 AM EDT

Originally Posted By 199:
A while back on TV I saw a Army armor General saying that the reason we went with the Sherman tank was that we didn’t have a larger engine at the time (I guess in adequate quantities).

Never heard that before and I haven’t a clue if it’s true.

Regardless, it is a bit disgraceful that we couldn’t give the troops a better tank.

Simply overwhelming your enemy with numbers and taking heavy losses in the process might be OK for the Soviets or the Chinese, but it’s not something this country should consider acceptable.



Exactly my thoughts.
Link Posted: 12/31/2005 12:14:15 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/31/2005 12:14:54 AM EDT by hughjafj]
The Sherman was more reliable and better than 65% of the German tanks. They weren't all Tigers you know. Plus you don't have to beat a tank that's broken down or without gas.

Our tanks worked just fine for what they were designed for and that was infantry support. We never saw the huge tank battles, it was mostly a highly mobile war where the quick decisive moves carry the day. A fast tank, like the Sherman was what made that possible.

Take a look at how quickly we defeated the Germans and then say again that the Sherman sucked. We didn't sit back and slug it out with the German tanks because tanks don't win wars, infantry do and that's what we did. Artillery and fighter-bombers took care of the tigers.

The Germans relied on big slow unreliable tanks and where did that get them?
Link Posted: 12/31/2005 12:18:41 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Mr45auto:
I'm sure this has been discussed before but hell I'm bored.


The Sherman, after it's dismal failure against german armor why the hell was it continued?



The army thought they had enough shermans to fill thier needs by mid '44 and began to slow the production lines down. But when the combat assessment reports began to come back from the front lines, the army realised that replacement tanks were needed badly. So, the production lines were ramped-up again to full bore and the M26 Pershing was pulled off the shelf ( High Command back in DC thought it wouldn't be needed because the sherman was the best out there and tanks NEVER fight other tanks ) and given top priority.


Why didnt we copy german tanks?


Back-engineering is not that easy to do. Some German generals wanted to copy the T34 and were told the same thing.

Personaly, I think the US was the only country capable of building the Panther ( to original specs and in large numbers ) at the time.
Link Posted: 12/31/2005 12:37:04 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/31/2005 12:42:06 AM EDT by Notorious]

Originally Posted By hughjafj:
Take a look at how quickly we defeated the Germans and then say again that the Sherman sucked.



Have you read the book "Death Traps" by Belton Cooper? His job was to fix shermans at the front in WW2 europe. His opinon of the sherman's combat effectiveness can be sumed-up in the book's title. They were death traps.


We didn't sit back and slug it out with the German tanks because tanks don't win wars, infantry do and that's what we did.


Tanks can keep infantry from being chewed-up by enemy tanks.


Artillery and fighter-bombers took care of the tigers.


Not all of them. And not when the weather is bad.


Link Posted: 12/31/2005 12:45:24 AM EDT

Originally Posted By NimmerMehr:
A Tiger or Panzer was as good as 10 Sherman tanks. Problem was there was always an 11th Sherman.

Or so the joke goes.


haha
Link Posted: 12/31/2005 12:48:33 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/31/2005 12:49:54 AM EDT by hughjafj]
Well, I'm not going to be able to burst the bubble you have built up by reading those writing revisionist history. So I won't bother. You just keep reading books by tank mechanics instead of bothering with the big picture. You probabaly wouldn't understand it anyway.

The fact is that we won and the Sherman performed well in its role while nazi tanks were broke down and abandoned in most cases. The Sherman was a major part of what allowed us to out-blitzkrieg the nazis.
Link Posted: 12/31/2005 12:56:08 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/31/2005 12:59:14 AM EDT by Mr45auto]
There's no denying that the Sherman worked. It was a reliable, mobile platform that did well supporting infantry troops. It did not work out well slugging it out with tanks. I've seen the history channel interviews with british Sherman crews and heard how they had shot german tanks with little effect only to have the german blow the sherman apart. The tankers themselves do not seem to have fond memories of the sherman when it comes to tank on tank combat.

I only know what I've seen on documentary type films and read. I wasnt there and dont know anybody who was.


Using a disadvantaged tank in large numbers and winning the war doesnt change the fact that it was inferior everywhere but in it's reliability and perhaps mobility. It could neither dish out nor take a serious beating.
Link Posted: 12/31/2005 12:56:45 AM EDT

Not all of them. And not when the weather is bad.

This may shock you but artillery works in bad weather. As I already pointed out the Sherman was as good or superior for 65% or more of the German tanks.
Link Posted: 12/31/2005 12:59:54 AM EDT

There's no denying that the Sherman worked. It was a reliable, mobile platform that did well supporting infantry troops. It did not work out well slugging it out with tanks. I've seen the history channel interviews with british Sherman crews and heard how they had shot german tanks with little effect only to have the german blow the sherman apart. The tankers themselves do not seem to have fond memories of the sherman when it comes to tank on tank combat.

And yet many loved it. For every guy who got shot out of one there is another who loved his M-4.

The M4 wasn't designed to go against tanks and in most cases never did. That was what tank destroyers were for and they were very effective.
Link Posted: 12/31/2005 1:00:15 AM EDT

Originally Posted By hughjafj:

Not all of them. And not when the weather is bad.

This may shock you but artillery works in bad weather. As I already pointed out the Sherman was as good or superior for 65% or more of the German tanks.




I dont hear about the 65% of tanks it was better than. Please elaborate.
Link Posted: 12/31/2005 1:01:37 AM EDT
The Sherman wasn't replaced for logistical reasons. The landing craft, transport vehicles, recovery vehicles, and nearly everything else in the US armored division at the time was built around the Sherman, or a tank that was Sherman sized.

A bigger tank would have required a replacement of the complete logistics tail to go with it, and thus would have delayed D-day, etc.

The US Army was all messed up in the way it thought tanks and tank destroyers were to be used doctrinally. It really didn't reflect any reality and it had no clue it was wrong until North Africa. Even then, it took a long time for the Army to actually figure out what was wrong.

There was still a huge power struggle within the Army over Infantry support or tank vs tank for much of the war in Europe. It wasn't until tank officers that had combat experience reached higher ranks and postions back in the states that they could actually change things to reflect reality.

Link Posted: 12/31/2005 1:03:27 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/31/2005 1:09:37 AM EDT by hughjafj]
It was superior to all German tanks but the panther and tiger and those only accounted for 25% of all tanks in France. I'm allowing ten percent for leeway. Even against the Tiger and panther the Sherman had advantage of speed of turret and mobility and reliability.

Link Posted: 12/31/2005 1:06:32 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/31/2005 1:07:52 AM EDT by hughjafj]

The Sherman wasn't replaced for logistical reasons. The landing craft, transport vehicles, recovery vehicles, and nearly everything else in the US armored division at the time was built around the Sherman, or a tank that was Sherman sized.

A bigger tank would have required a replacement of the complete logistics tail to go with it, and thus would have delayed D-day, etc.

The US Army was all messed up in the way it thought tanks and tank destroyers were to be used doctrinally. It really didn't reflect any reality and it had no clue it was wrong until North Africa. Even then, it took a long time for the Army to actually figure out what was wrong.

There was still a huge power struggle within the Army over Infantry support or tank vs tank for much of the war in Europe. It wasn't until tank officers that had combat experience reached higher ranks and postions back in the states that they could actually change things to reflect reality.



Explain the Pershing, also explain the fact that we won, even against the Nazi supermen and their invincible tanks. Numbers of Shermans alone is not the whole story.
Link Posted: 12/31/2005 1:21:52 AM EDT

Originally Posted By hughjafj:
Well, I'm not going to be able to burst the bubble you have built up by reading those writing revisionist history.



THE GUY WAS THERE!!!! He saw what happens to thinly armerd tanks that go up against heavaly armored tanks in defencive positions. THEY BLOW UP!! Tell me, when a Panther can drill a hole though 2 shermans with one shot, who's bubble gets burst?


So I won't bother.


Yah. I'll bet!



You just keep reading books by tank mechanics instead of bothering with the big picture. You probabaly wouldn't understand it anyway.


The book deals with "the big picture". Read it.


Throwing large numbers of tank crews into battle with a inferior tank when we could've had a better one is one hell-of-a-way to win a war.

It's almost criminal
Link Posted: 12/31/2005 1:28:42 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/31/2005 1:32:56 AM EDT by hughjafj]
It was only inferior against tanks that usually weren't there. The fact that they were there and easily repaired made them superior.

Look up the numbers sometime. I'd rather be in a Sherman than any German tank during the war in the west.

I suppose next you'll be telling us about the P-51 mechanic who wrote a book saying that it was inferior in battle against the ME-109 and how he would have waged the air war....
Link Posted: 12/31/2005 1:54:50 AM EDT
While the Sherman did earn the nickname "The Ronson" (Ronson was a brand of cigarette lighters) because of how easily if caught fire if it took a direct hit, there's another reason I've heard for why the US was slow to develop a heavier tank than the Sherman. The light landing craft used by the US for amphib landings could carry a Sherman, but not something bigger or heavier. Changing the Sherman for something bigger/heavier would have also meant replacing a lot of the landing craft needed to get the tanks onto a beach.

For all the technical superiority of the German tanks the Shermans faced, the German tanks were considerably more expensive and time consuming to build and needed a lot more maintenance to keep running.
Link Posted: 12/31/2005 2:08:24 AM EDT
Link Posted: 12/31/2005 2:50:00 AM EDT

Originally Posted By hughjafj:
It was only inferior against tanks that usually weren't there. The fact that they were there and easily repaired made them superior.

Look up the numbers sometime. I'd rather be in a Sherman than any German tank during the war in the west.

I suppose next you'll be telling us about the P-51 mechanic who wrote a book saying that it was inferior in battle against the ME-109 and how he would have waged the air war....



Why are you so defensive about this subject? I agree that the Sherman was a very reliable tank and available in large numbers and could be easily repaired if not totally destroyed. I disagree that the Sherman was superior to any German tank from the Mark IV on up especially in regard to the main armament.

How can you accuse a man who was there, worked with the Shermans, saw the effect of combat on the Shermans say he is a history revisionist? I'd say his word could probably be relied upon for accuracy and truth since he was there. I've heard German panzer veterans say they actually felt sorry at times for the crews of Sherman tanks. Shermans didn't earn the nickname "Ronson" for no reason.

You say you'd rather be in a Sherman than any German tank. Fine, but I'd be willing to wager that in one-on-one tank-vs-tank combat you'd change your mind real quick. I know I would. The Sherman was a good tank but the US could have and should have done better quicker. IIRC the Pershing only entered combat in April '45 and only in battalion strength. Even then, the Pershing's 90mm gun was (slightly) inferior to the 88. You stress the "numbers", I agree, the Germans were overwhelmed with numbers. YMMV
Link Posted: 12/31/2005 3:33:45 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/31/2005 3:36:33 AM EDT by vito113]
Link Posted: 12/31/2005 3:48:43 AM EDT
I think maybe these days we have a somewhat distorted view of combat after seeing the two gulf wars won with such blinding speed and with the US suffering such incredibly low casualties.

If you look back through history you will see trends and one of the biggest is that unless one side has extremely superior technology /combat style, wars are not usually quick, nor are they painless. When both sides are relatively evenly matched victory often comes down to who has better logistics and who has the fortitude to take more casualties or risk taking them.

America has only become a technologically oriented military since WW2 and imho really only during the 60's because of the massive threat of the Soviet Union. We couldn't field a standing army as large as theirs and so had to rely on other means to achieve superiority on the battlefield. While we didn't necessarily have the ability to deploy troops on the same scale, we also weren't automatically limited on our budget....so we opted for better instead of more. The gulf wars are a direct reflectment of that philosophy, but in practice we weren't outnumbered as badly as we anticipated against the Soviet Union and the results speak for themselves. This is the timeframe many of us grew up in watching week long wars on CNN and so maybe it's colored our view of history.

There's another major timeframe in our history which I think is relevant to how we fought in WW1 and 2, and thats our civil war. I don't see a massive technological advantage on either side, though the south having generally better tactics and the north having a better economic position (imho). The civil war was very bloody for both sides, it was understood that men were going to die for the cause they believed in. Thats the same mentality that carried over into WW1 and still into WW2 and the same mentality that has been historically present round the world since countries first existed.

Back to the WW2 tank issue, America didn't have a massive technological advantage over the Germans but we did have more troops and more resources. There was only one common sense choice based on the mentality of the day and that was to overwhelm the enemy with numbers. Certainly we were going to lose more troops because of that, but there would be a turning point when we achieved superiority and the enemy would be defeated soon after, so perhaps another way to explain it would be to lose more at first but less overall by defeating the enemy more quickly.

I hate to sound crass, but as a former soldier I can see the logic from a strategic standpoint and its very simple...wars must be won and soldiers lives are unfortunately secondary to that. It is simply understood that when you take an oath and go into combat it's obviously dangerous and while American leaders generally try to avoid needless casualties, the fact is if something has to be done loss of life is not the main concern. Winning the war is.


Another thing to consider is the extremely limited scope that tank to tank combat actually represents during a war. Combined arms is the foundation for warfare and that means tanks are extremely important, but they are only one component. Without infantry, artillery, airpower and logistics working along side them a modern army is not very effective. There are many stories of German tigers and panthers duking it out against overwhelming odds and winning the battle, but not as often mentioned is the number of tanks that were destroyed by airpower, tanks that were unable to make it to the front because of lack of fuel or parts and tank units that were outflanked and destroyed by superior manuevering. It's also not as obvious that with the sheer volume of Shermans in service they could be attached to infantry units at a very low level and I think we all know how effective any tank plus infantry is against infantry alone. More tanks meant more firepower for infantry units on a wider scale, more tanks meant we could negate the technological advantage of the German vehicles.

Inevitably we lost more tanks and crews than the Germans did...but as obvious as it is we won the war. There was an intentional decision not to interrupt the production of the Sherman since we are already behind from lack of prewar modernization and what we needed was volume first, quality second.

just my .02

Z

Link Posted: 12/31/2005 3:56:57 AM EDT
this is for the guy thst said he would rather be in a sherman than anything else.

my father in law witnessed sherman crew members jumping out of their tanks when tigers appeared on the battlefield. he was also asked by a tank commander to move up and knock out a tank that was ahead of them. the guys in his squad responded thats what a tank was for.

he was 30th division, 119 infantry.

Link Posted: 12/31/2005 4:27:54 AM EDT
Link Posted: 12/31/2005 5:28:48 AM EDT
Again with the history lessons! 80% of the German army was chewed to pieces in RUSSIA! so what did that leave for us to fight? thats why we "triumphed" in France. not to save france from Nazis but to save west germany from Russia! By the last three months of the war the Germans were literally fleeing towards the British and American front lines in hopes of getting better treatment. Also i mentioned 80% but that had a disproportionate number of armor units in the east. Most Armor units stayed in the east while it was mostly infantry that fought in the western front. Only a few armor divisions fought in the west, and they were mostly burned out units from the eastern front that had to be rebuilt with inexperienced men. Sorry but you wanna here truth or patriotic BS A'la Stephen Ambrose!
Link Posted: 12/31/2005 6:15:56 AM EDT
TStox...Go over to the Center of Military History to check to see what quantitiy and type of armor that was on the western front during the battle of the bulge. it torpedoes your statements regarding the same.
Link Posted: 12/31/2005 6:44:11 AM EDT
First, the US armoured doctrine at the time held that tanks were supposed to support the infantry, and tank destroyers were supposed to engage other tanks.

Next, the Germans had 1,354 Tiger I tanks, 450 Tiger II's, and 6,000 Panther tanks. They had 8,000 MK-IV tanks, 8,000 STuG-III's, and 2,500 Hetzers. (That's off the top of my head)

The US made 50,000 Sherman Tanks. Most were 75/76 mm main gun, some were 105 mm howitzer - made for heavier HE rounds, and some were 90mm (very few). The British also had the Sherman FireFly with a 17 lb gun.

The US also had M-10 and M-18 Tank Destoyers, thousands were made. Late war tank destoyers were mounting very capable 90mm guns.

Many of the other combatants in WW-II subscribed to a similar tactical principles as the US. That is infantry support tanks, and tanks to fight other tanks. The British had "Cruisers", "Infantry" and "Recon" classes that they designed their tanks under.

Early in the war the Russians came out with more "multi-purpose" tanks, able to support infantry, with heavy HE shells, and slug it out with other tanks. Think T-34, KV-1, etc. Although the Russians did use heave assualt guns up to the last day of the war.

Initially the Germans were using their Mk-III tanks as their MBT's, and the Mk-IV's, armed with short barreled 75L24 guns, as support tanks. They felt a 3:1 mix was best. Later the Germans built tanks that could both support infantry and fight other tanks.

The US made a choice to keep Sherman production going, building as many as fast as possible, to supply the US, GBR, and the USSR, to name a few, with decent medium tanks. Thank God the Germans kept fiddling with the Panther....................... it kept production lower. The Sherman though was improved, both by design, and in the field as the war progressed. Thicker armor, "wet" ammo stowage, better suspension, etc. etc. It weighed 70,000 pounds near the end of the war, a Panther weighed 98,000 lbs. So a Sherman wasn't exaclty as light as some seem to be opining.

Lets look at the match ups.........

Sherman vs Hetzer
Sherman vs STuG III
Sherman vs MK-IV
Sherman vs Panther
Sherman vs Tiger I
Sherman vs Tiger II

First, your chances of encountering a Tiger II were incredibly slim, with only 450 being made, and most on the Eastern Front. Unquestionably seriously overmatched. (then again a Tiger II can go 12 mph cross country, and a Sherman can go 30 mph.................)

Tiger I again, seriously overmatched.

Panther, this is the best tank of the war. Seriously overmatched. Better gun performance than a Tiger I. Quick and manouverable for it's size. Not as much armor as a Tiger I, but the armor is sloped as opposed to flat..............

Mk-IV, Late war Shermans have more armor, and better automotive perforamance. The 75L48 gun in the MK-IV is better than the Shermans, unless you have one of the few 90mm Shermans. The 75L43 MK-IV has less of an advantage. If the MK-IV is close enough to kill a Sherman, the Sherman is probably in close enough to kill a Mk-IV.......................

Stug III Again late war Shermans have more armor, but may be outgunned.

Hetzer, Shermans probably have 2X the armor of the Hetzer, but the Hetzer has well sloped armor, and a 75L43 gun, in a small package.


Also

M-36 90mm Tank Destroyer appx 2300 built (1944)
M-18 76mm Tank Destroyer 2500 built - Fastest AFV of WW-II (1943)
M-10 3" Tank Destroyer 6500 built (1942)

Some Shermans were equipped with M-36 turrets late in the war.

It's very likely anytime US Shermans and German AFV's tangled, the Germans were outnumbered, and the Shermans had support, air artillery, or heavier AFV's ready to engage the German AFV's.
Link Posted: 12/31/2005 8:03:45 AM EDT
The never-ending Sherman argument.

The Sherman would have been a much more effective tank if it had been given an effective gun… the Firefly proves that. If you cannot kill other tanks you have a very basic problem.

Give US Shermans a gun that could kill like the British 17 pounder and do it on a large scale... then US Shermans overwhelm German armor in short order it would not have been much of a fight due to the shear numbers of effective US guns on the battlefield.

If the Sherman had been given an effective gun and a diesel engine both something that could have easily been done… combined that with the numbers that Shermans could be produced in and you get a devastating combination.

The question will always be why was this obvious step not taken early on.
Link Posted: 12/31/2005 8:12:42 AM EDT

Originally Posted By 199:
A while back on TV I saw a Army armor General saying that the reason we went with the Sherman tank was that we didn’t have a larger engine at the time (I guess in adequate quantities).

Never heard that before and I haven’t a clue if it’s true.

Regardless, it is a bit disgraceful that we couldn’t give the troops a better tank.

Simply overwhelming your enemy with numbers and taking heavy losses in the process might be OK for the Soviets or the Chinese, but it’s not something this country should consider acceptable.


Except that was the preferred tactic of American generals since the Civil War.
Link Posted: 12/31/2005 9:33:10 AM EDT
Link Posted: 12/31/2005 10:21:58 AM EDT

Originally Posted By vito113:
Interesting fact; The M26 Pershing was ready for production in early 1944. It was as good as and in some ways better than a Tiger. When they did reach the front in 1945 they totally PoWn3d the German armor they ran up against.

So why was it not produced in time for D Day? The Generals thought WWII would be over by Christmas 1944 and decided they did not want to interupt production of the Sherman. In hindsight it was a fatally flawed decison.

ANdy



WTF is wrong with every General since Leonides fought the Persians? "It'll all be over by Christmas..." How many times was this said since 30 A.D.? This was said by, I believe, both Southern and Northern generals at First Bull Run, I think the Brits said it about the US Rev. War, and the list goes on and on.

"It'll all be over by Christmas." War is always more complex and difficult than any human can imagine. After all, no battle plan survives first contact with the enemy.

[/hijack]
Link Posted: 12/31/2005 10:35:34 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/31/2005 10:35:58 AM EDT by eodtech2000]

Originally Posted By vito113:

Originally Posted By Max_Mike:
The never-ending Sherman argument.

The Sherman would have been a much more effective tank if it had been given an effective gun… the Firefly proves that. If you cannot kill other tanks you have a very basic problem.

Give US Shermans a gun that could kill like the British 17 pounder and do it on a large scale... then US Shermans overwhelm German armor in short order it would not have been much of a fight due to the shear numbers of effective US guns on the battlefield.

If the Sherman had been given an effective gun and a diesel engine both something that could have easily been done… combined that with the numbers that Shermans could be produced in and you get a devastating combination.

The question will always be why was this obvious step not taken early on.



Some models of Sherman did have diesel engines, but the US Army did not favour them and most went to the USMC.

The gun, the vastly superior British 17ld gun was offered to the USA and some US 'Fireflies' were built it seems, but the Board of Ordnance concentrated on the US 76 instead. The 17lb gun was an easy fit into the standard 75 gun mount of the Sherman.

US Fireflies

About 1 in 4 British Shermans in June 44 had the 17lb gun rising to about 50% in late 44. The Germans greatly feared the 17lb gun as it could easily punch through the frontal armor of both the Tiger and Panther at normal battle ranges unlike the 75 that would bounce off even at point blank!

ANdy



The men in US Army Ordnance boards during WWII should have been lined up and shot!!!!!

They are responsible for so many fuckup's that a tome the size of War and Peace may not be able to explain them all.

For example, they fucked up the design of a US made MG-42 in .30, our guys could have had these to fight the Germans and Japanese. But no, NOT INVENTED HERE!!!!!
Link Posted: 12/31/2005 10:56:51 AM EDT
While we are rehashing shit we can't change, why not talk about Col Ripley.

He refused to buy British muskets at the start of the Civil war because they were .003" different in caliber. So instead of buying the guns and rebarreling them, or at least sitting on them so Johnny Reb didn't buy them, he just lets them sit in Britain until the South buys them and uses them the first Battle of Bull Run. He also refused to buy repeating rifles because it would encourage men to waste ammo.

Then there was the whole issuing an M-16 without cleaning kits thing, and with the wrong powder to boot...
Link Posted: 12/31/2005 11:05:33 AM EDT
Everyone likes to cut down US performance in armor and doctrine in WW2, but apart from main gun performance things were not so bad.

As mentioned earlier, US tanks had to be transported across oceans. Diesel would have been preferred instead of avgas, but this was the days before catalytic cracking and diesel was in very short supply.

I was Navy, so I don't have a clue about real combat tactics...

I dont' think the WW2 US concept of cavalry type tanks and tank destroyers was so far off. Except for 50 years of further technical and combined arms development, that is essentially what we have now.

The M1 is the logical development of a dedicated tank destroyer, 20-30 tons heavier because of the advantages of Chobham armor. The M2/M3 Bradley vehicles are the true infantry support vehicles in the Sherman lineage, with troop carrying capabilities.

(wife rolling her eyes - gotta go so "we" can look up dog stuff)
Link Posted: 12/31/2005 11:10:22 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/31/2005 11:20:02 AM EDT by MudBug]
Hailed by even some German Commanders as the best tank to fight in WWII

The Russian T34.

The tread system was design by an American.

Had a better gun and lower profile than the Sherman, and was much faster and more manouverable that the German Tanks, the armor design (Sloped) helped defeat projectiles larger than it's thickness would indicate. Also like the Sherman it was very easy to mass produce T34 that just plain worked, unlike the German Tanks which were engineering nightmares, took a lot of time to build and were plagued with reliability issues.

Also, unlike the Sherman it had a Diesel engine, which meant that it didn't go up like a torch when hit The Shermans recieved the nickname "Ronsons" because they caught fire so easily.











Link Posted: 12/31/2005 11:26:55 AM EDT

Originally Posted By vito113:
In all other arms the US turned out equipment that was as least as good and usually far better than the enemy in vast quantities.

The only thing the US produced during WWII in quantity that did not measure up was the Sherman! It was an 'adequate' tank in 1942 but even then it was obvious something better was needed after combat experience in North Africa. And sure enough, that something better was designed, the M26, the prototype T26's were trialed in May 1943.

The argument goes that the M26 was a bigger and more complex tank to make, but so what? That never presented a problem to the US war production industry in any other projects.


+1.

We had the resources, capability, and the design waiting to be produced. Damn shame they waited.

I sometimes wonder what would have happened if the Germans had the 40,000 Shermans and we had the 1,900 Tigers and 14,000 Panthers. Hmmmm.
Link Posted: 12/31/2005 11:45:46 AM EDT
Link Posted: 12/31/2005 12:11:20 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Retched_Rick:
TStox...Go over to the Center of Military History to check to see what quantitiy and type of armor that was on the western front during the battle of the bulge. it torpedoes your statements regarding the same.


OI VAY! here we go again, can't you just take what i say a gospel truth and leave it at that??? I am after all very God like. Someone once told me i was made just like he is. at least in the penis department.
First off I did'nt sat there were NO tanks in france but i'd say only 10% of the entire Army's tanks. that's still a lot. Second i did'nt say one thing about Battle of the bulge i said the whole western front! i'm sure at that small line of front they managed to concentrate a large amount of tanks. But still a drop in the bucket compared to total war production! It says that 500 german tanks were used at the BOTB. That's nothing. In the battle of Kursk Alone about 4,000 tanks were involved on both sides. But i say you can learn something here, if you like WWII READ ABOUT THE EASTERN FRONT! Once you know in your mind that THAT was the real front where the war was decided the battles take on a greater meaning. Besides there is much more material to write about in Russia than in the west, from june 41 all the way to berlin 45. France was all but what? 1 year? You can see the evolution of the tanks much better as they fought eachother and if you read about the year 1943 it's really good because that was the "see-saw" year when neither side had a real advantage and it was tactics that won the day and not numbers. In the West the allies always had an advantage after d-day and the Germans were always on the defensive, BORING! 10 times more interesting stories come out of the east just a lot cooler all around!
Link Posted: 12/31/2005 1:25:29 PM EDT

Originally Posted By MudBug:
the armor design (Sloped) helped defeat projectiles larger than it's thickness would indicate.



30 degree slope equals 50% greater effective thickness against a zero degree elevation impact, 60 degree slope equals 100% greater thickness.

For example the Panther had an 80mm upper hull plate sloped at approximately 65 degree, its effective thickness was 177mm. Lower hull plate was 60mm thick resulting in 133mm equivalent thickness.


BTW, Russia was the first country to use wide tracks for better cross country performance (Walter Christie's suspension, as mentioned above) along with sloped armor for greater protection on a lighter tank....the T34/76 picture above with the short barrel. (2nd photo, outdoors on the pad)

They also pionered the MBT concept by relocating the heaviest armor to a tanks turret while making that turret as difficult to hit as possible. Considering that in combat tankers tend to fire from hull down positions as often as they can and to use terrain where ever possible, so it only made sense to save weight and increase protection by putting the heaviest armor on the turret front and counting on the terrain to defend the tank's hull. (not that the hull was weakly armored, its just the prior to the IS3 most countries tended to place the heaviest armor on the upper hull since that was felt to be the largest strike zone on the vehicle and therefore required the greatest protection. Russian experience showed something different actually happens, and those experiences led to the IS3 in late 44).

Russian tanks did however suffer from poor transmissions, terrible optics and often poor worksmanship, so they were not the 'be all-end all' of tank performance as many think. Generally speaking the Russians have been probably the most innovative tank designers in the world but crew quality and construction quality are often abysmal on production vehicles.

Post war they implemented the smooth bore fin stabilized round, the first 3 man crew with automatic loader, radiation protection and reactive armor for example. Superior design, ingenious concepts and poor execution would be a good way to describe Russian tanks though...as I said what they dreamt up and what they could physically produce were often two different things, but they are a very interesting country to study if you really like the history of tanks.



Z
Link Posted: 12/31/2005 1:32:37 PM EDT

Originally Posted By vito113:

Originally Posted By TX-Zen:


Back to the WW2 tank issue, America didn't have a massive technological advantage over the Germans but we did have more troops and more resources. There was only one common sense choice based on the mentality of the day and that was to overwhelm the enemy with numbers. Certainly we were going to lose more troops because of that, but there would be a turning point when we achieved superiority and the enemy would be defeated soon after, so perhaps another way to explain it would be to lose more at first but less overall by defeating the enemy more quickly.





Your points are valid but I would argue this point.

In all other arms the US turned out equipment that was as least as good and usually far better than the enemy in vast quantities.

Navy; it's planes, ships, subs, all were superior and available in vast quatities.

Air Force; All its bombers and fighters were good to outstanding and available in vast quantities.

Army, Its uniforms, small arms, artillery, trucks, all were of outstanding quality and available in huge quanties.

The only thing the US produced during WWII in quantity that did not measure up was the Sherman! It was an 'adequate' tank in 1942 but even then it was obvious something better was needed after combat experience in North Africa. And sure enough, that something better was designed, the M26, the prototype T26's were trialed in May 1943.

The argument goes that the M26 was a bigger and more complex tank to make, but so what? That never presented a problem to the US war production industry in any other projects.


ANdy




I might have sounded like I was over generalizing or giving the US forces less than their fair share of credit, but what I meant was MASSIVE, as in decisively better equipment than the Germans. In many area's ours was superior to many other countries, but imho it was an incremental advantage, not an exponential one...if that makes sense.

I am in agreement with you, I just don't feel our overall technological advantage was extreme enough to overcome the heavy tanks that Germany fielded, we needed larger numbers to achieve rapid victory.


Z
Link Posted: 12/31/2005 1:40:01 PM EDT

Originally Posted By vito113:

Originally Posted By TX-Zen:


Back to the WW2 tank issue, America didn't have a massive technological advantage over the Germans but we did have more troops and more resources. There was only one common sense choice based on the mentality of the day and that was to overwhelm the enemy with numbers. Certainly we were going to lose more troops because of that, but there would be a turning point when we achieved superiority and the enemy would be defeated soon after, so perhaps another way to explain it would be to lose more at first but less overall by defeating the enemy more quickly.





Your points are valid but I would argue this point.

In all other arms the US turned out equipment that was as least as good and usually far better than the enemy in vast quantities.

Navy; it's planes, ships, subs, all were superior and available in vast quatities.

Air Force; All its bombers and fighters were good to outstanding and available in vast quantities.

Army, Its uniforms, small arms, artillery, trucks, all were of outstanding quality and available in huge quanties.

The only thing the US produced during WWII in quantity that did not measure up was the Sherman! It was an 'adequate' tank in 1942 but even then it was obvious something better was needed after combat experience in North Africa. And sure enough, that something better was designed, the M26, the prototype T26's were trialed in May 1943.

The argument goes that the M26 was a bigger and more complex tank to make, but so what? That never presented a problem to the US war production industry in any other projects.


ANdy



At the beginning of the war, our fighter planes were not as good as Germany's or Japan's. It took a year or two for us to produce superior planes.
Link Posted: 12/31/2005 2:47:20 PM EDT
The T-34 had horrid ammo storage problems, so bad the Germans called the T-34 a "Ronson" as well.

So, I guess the American tankers called thier own tanks a "Ronson" as well.
Link Posted: 12/31/2005 2:59:44 PM EDT
Early on, the Russians installed radios only in unit commander's tanks. This made coordinated attacks impossible. I've read stories from the eastern front that after punching a hole through the front lines, Russian tanks would literally sit idle, having no intructions as to what to do next. Then, German 88 crews would easily pick them off, one by one.
Link Posted: 12/31/2005 3:04:08 PM EDT

Originally Posted By pogo:
The T-34 had horrid ammo storage problems, so bad the Germans called the T-34 a "Ronson" as well.

So, I guess the American tankers called thier own tanks a "Ronson" as well.



The Russian's have never fixed that problem, seems the T-62, 64, 72, 80, etc seem to go up real well when hit.

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