Best Tank Design of WWII

Discussion in 'General Military Arms & History Forum' started by ysacres, Mar 7, 2003.

  1. ysacres

    ysacres Well-Known Member

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    polishshooter
    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
    Posts: 106
    (3/31/01 1:04:52 pm)
    Reply Best Tank Design of WWII
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    Time for another poll...
    T34
    M4 Sherman
    Panther
    Tiger II
    Other (specify)

    Show results


    polishshooter
    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
    Posts: 107
    (3/31/01 1:10:21 pm)
    Reply C'MON GUYS! IF YOU VOTE GIVE US A REASON WHY!!!!
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    PEOPLE ARE VOTING WITHOUT GIVING US REASONS OR DISCUSSING YOUR OPINIONS!!! WE LOOOOVE THE ARGUMENTS! PLEASE GIVE US ONE! ESPECIALLY IF YOU VOTED FOR ANY OTHER (POS) TANK BUT THE M4 OR THE T34....which WERE the best tanks of the war......









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    I know we did this before on GB, but this is for the new guys...

    I also know one on one the Sherman looked bad, and burned too easily, BUT...

    It was reliable, easiest to get back "up," could fire accurately while on the move, was the basis for many variants and for other vehicles from SPGs to TDs to APCs, and outlasted in front-line service any of the others, except for maybe the T34, being used by Israel until the 80s, and is still in reserve there...

    It did the job...

    Edited by: polishshooter at: 2/14/02 9:20:50 pm

    obelix2
    Registered User
    Posts: 8
    (3/31/01 3:36:55 pm)
    Reply Re: Best Tank Design of WWII
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    A clear candidate for the best MEDIUM tank, but it could not take on the big stuff. Why did the US not develop a heavier version early-on? Maybe a question of policy -- it was cheaper and more efficient to build and ship three or four Shermans than one heavy tank?

    Kdubya
    Moderator
    Posts: 65
    (3/31/01 6:58:05 pm)
    Reply Re: Best Tank Design of WWII
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    Obelix -
    The word in WWII was QUANTITY.
    Once the manufacturing got geared up, they hated to switch to something new. Remember, we were supplying tanks, planes and guns for all the allies at the time, including our armed services.
    The Sherman was high profiled, which was undesirable for a tank. The narrow track width was to accomodate shipping on US rail systems flatcars. This tended to direct it's weight more heavily onto the ground surface as compared to other wide-stance tanks, and it didn't do as well in uneven or soft surfaces. The turret was powered, whereas everyone else had manual cranked ones, therefore, the Sherman was faster in traverse and target acquisition. The puny 75mm gun was totally outclassed by other tanks by the time it got into actual combat. The British upgraded their Shermans with a longer barreled gun and got more velocity with their 75mm ammo. The Sherman was fairly fast for it's size (good at outrunning German tanks!) It used gasoline for fuel, whereas others were mostly diesel. It was easier to start, especially in cold weather - fuel economy wasn't great, tho.
    I was trained in the M46 and M47 Grants that came out right after WWII and were used in Korea. It had a lower profile, a 90mm gun and 3D optical GE gunsite. Quite an improvement over the Sherman, although all the tank retrievers we had were the M4 chassis. The mobile artillery also still used the M4 chassis.
    Keep off the Ridgeline!!

    polishshooter
    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
    Posts: 111
    (3/31/01 7:14:42 pm)
    Reply Re: Best Tank Design of WWII
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    That's one reason, plus the fact we had a hard enough time building a large turret ring that could handle a big gun, we were behind the rest of the world, which was why the Grant/Lee had the 75 in a sponson. We didn't have the time to work one up with the 90 at that time, and later found it worked on a Sherman ring anyway, when we built the M36 TD.

    We actually did make a heavy prototype early, but it sucked. We offered it to the Russians and they said "No Thanks."

    Heavy Tanks actually were failures in Europe. They were severely hampered by the number of Bridges that could handle them, which is why Germany spent so much R&D time and money trying to develop schnorkels for the King Tigers. There are an ungodly number of N-S rivers to cross when you try to advance E-W, from either direction. River crossings became a major tactical exercise for every European army to master.

    Tiger IIs played a minor role in the bulge. They could not be used in the main thrust against Bastogne/St.Vith/Elsenborn Ridge because no bridges could support them. They were deployed to the south and played a really minor role in the main battle. In fact this fact was used as a defense in the war crimes trials over the atrocities during the Bulge, after the war, proving units with Tiger IIs weren't near Malmedy.

    And yes you could ship 3-4 Shermans for one heavy, and that made all the difference when everything you bring to the dance has to spend time taking up the limited shipping tonnage available.

    We've STILL never had a "heavy..."

    The M26Pershing, M48Patton, M60, and M1 are all "Mediums..."

    Thats why the Tigers sucked, the best German tank was arguably the Panther. With all it's problems in service though, it may have been the later Panzer IVs, IMHO.

    The Sherman actually handled the Tiger I in Tunisia pretty well when the tankers got experience. That's why Patton argued AGAINST upgunning the Sherman from short 75 to long 76 before DDay, it worked against known German armor and had a bigger HE round. The Panther changed his mind...

    The T34/85 is a good choice for best too, it still could hold it's own today, if you didn't mind the cramped turret...many are still front line in third world armies today, and the Israelis upgraded some captured from the Arabs and still have them in reserve too.

    Ah tanks. We can argue all day just like planes. Remember, it's all opinion... but I still love it!



    Xracer
    Moderator
    Posts: 96
    (3/31/01 7:28:17 pm)
    Reply Re: Best Tank Design of WWII
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    Generally speaking, I think the Soviets had the best tanks of WWII. The T34 was a supurb medium tank, and, in fact, was still giving the enemy (US) fits in the Korean war.

    The best heavy, though made in small numbers, was the JS III.....better than anything we, or the Germans had.

    We did make one real good one though. The "Stuart" light tank (don't know the Model designation) early in the war was very much loved by the British in Africa.....they called them "honeys" 'cause they were such a sweet little tank.

    polishshooter
    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
    Posts: 114
    (3/31/01 7:38:44 pm)
    Reply Re: Best Tank Design of WWII
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    Is it true that the Stuart could go just as fast in reverse as forward?

    I read a British report once about that stating why they liked it, plus you could spin them on one track and not throw it. They complained that every British "Cruiser" Tank threw a track if you tried to turn it at all at speed, and the only reason the Maltilda and Churchill didn't is they couldn't REACH speed...

    The British actually sucked at Tank design for most of the war, have you noticed that?

    Kdubya
    Moderator
    Posts: 74
    (3/31/01 11:36:45 pm)
    Reply Re: Best Tank Design of WWII
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    The tank the British called the "Honey" had an airplane engine mounted in the rear - air cooled and all. It had a 37mm main gun and was as fast as greased lightening. As you say, the Brits loved it because everything they had really sucked.
    The M41 that I know was the light tank with a 76mm tube used by the recon elements. We had them when I was with the 11th Cav at Ft. Knox in the early 50's. Now, you talk fast - whew! The jeeps assigned to us (radio and machinegun scout units) had governors set at 45 mph. Often times on hard surfaced roads and with rubber padded tracks on the tanks, we would ease up behind a jeep, lower the gun tube and push them down the road a little faster!
    Made a mistake in the earlier post - the M46/47 was the Sheridan, not the Grant (Heck, one "War Between the States" Northern general is pretty much like the others, anyway!). That happens with old age, ya know!
    I DO know at the gunnery range, 4'x8' white silk targets were set out on 2x4 stakes at 2000 yds. The GE electronic sights and the 90mm tube were so accurate that, with practice, we got bored shooting holes in the silk and tried for the stakes. Usually got them, too! Nowadays, the laser designator and rangefinder coupled with the onboard computer would make even that appear childs play.
    Keep off the Ridgeline!!

    obelix2
    Registered User
    Posts: 23
    (4/1/01 3:15:18 am)
    Reply Re: Best Tank Design of WWII
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    Terrific responses here, all. I can't begin to keep up, and I like that.

    polishshooter
    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
    Posts: 135
    (4/1/01 2:12:09 pm)
    Reply Re: Best Tank Design of WWII
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    Wasn't the M47/48 the "Patton?" The M41 I think was the "Walker Bulldog."

    What was the name for the M60, I forget, and I'm too lazy today to look it up..

    The Sheridan that fought in 'Nam and I THINK is still in inventory was air-transportable and had the smoothbore 152mm that fired either conventional ammo or the "Shillelegh" (Did I spell it right?)guided AT missile. I believe it had aluminum or aluminum/alloy armor for weight savings. I wonder if it was Sheridan II, if the M46 was a Sheridan also.

    I had thought it was phased out in the 80s, but I read we used some in the Gulf.

    All I know is all our allies with their Centurions, Leopards IIs, and (What was that new Israeli one called?) that emphasized heavy reactive armor, and Long Range accurate fire from a stopped position at the sacrifice of speed, that said our Abrams (with all that speed and our preference for accurate firing on the move) wouldn't work had to eat crow...I love it!



    Xracer
    Moderator
    Posts: 100
    (4/1/01 4:56:10 pm)
    Reply Re: Best Tank Design of WWII
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    Yeah Polish....the M1 sure proved itself in "Desert Storm", but so did the M60 prove that it wasn't quite ready for the scrapyard yet.

    The M1's proved they could move "fast and far" on the left hook, but the Marine M60's had the tougher job of slogging straight ahead into the massed Iraqui defenses......they both did a fine job.

    God, I LOVE this forum!!!

    polishshooter
    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
    Posts: 152
    (4/2/01 9:38:40 am)
    Reply Re: Best Tank Design of WWII
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    You are so right X, the 60 STILL is AS good as any MBT in the world, the M1A still outclasses anything, and it's even been upgraded since 'Storm.

    The problem is I'm not sure we will EVER see a battle again between corps sized Armor-heavy units again!

    I believe Heavy Armor is going to "devolve" into obsolescence and insignificance because warfare is changing so much.

    Warfare is becoming again much like it was in the 18th Century-quick and dirty with limited objectives, one battle and it's over, back to diplomacy. What we have at the fight at the time will have to be decisive. And what we bring in will have to be there in days not weeks, so it will have to be air transportable.

    I doubt we will be able to preposition M1s everywhere we need them, and you can see how worthless they are in Yugoslavia today.

    The good news, is the only countries that can afford GOOD MBTs are our friends in the West-it's expensive to build, train, and MAINTAIN quality armored forces.

    I look for the Combat helicopter to actually become the front-line replacement for armor- as revolutionary as when vehicles replaced the horse. The Apache is closer to a quick and mobile tank than an aircraft, and the army is already using them as such! It is just the first generation of what I'm talking about...

    This is the challenge of Military Historians. Learn about the past, and try to use it to "predict" the future face of war, which is tough!!!

    Generals usually practice refighting the "Last War."

    Kdubya
    Moderator
    Posts: 81
    (4/3/01 12:18:11 am)
    Reply Re: Best Tank Design of WWII
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    You're right on all accounts, PS
    After reflection, the 46/47 could have been the "Patton" - Lord knows, everything armored in the days I was in had his name attached to it somehow! Wish you could have seen the 20' high oil painting of him hanging in the main EM club at Ft. Knox back then - impressive!
    With the advent of more deadly and accurately delivered missles and artillery, the move toward rapid deployment and battlefield mobility will dictate the use of fast, lightly armored and gunned vehicles. Helicopters and remote controlled vehicles will be the deliverers of firepower once associated with tracked armor. The Air Force will have tactical aircraft for "down in the mud" offensives.
    We will still need the groundpounders to take possession of conquered territory and hold it - that will probably never change. His job should be a lot easier with all these assets to pave the way.
    Keep off the Ridgeline!!

    polishshooter
    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
    Posts: 164
    (4/3/01 9:05:05 am)
    Reply Re: Best Tank Design of WWII
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    IF we can get the Air Force to quit thinking "Strategy" and start thinking "Tactics," or tear up that 1947 Key West "Treaty" between the Army and the AF and let the Army have free reign over TAC Air...

    That's why Marine Close Air Support is the best...That AV-8 pilot is a RIFLEMAN first. They even wear camo helmet covers to remind them. And that jet jock probably KNOWS that Marine Grunt Captain calling him in from Quantico...

    I think it's happening though. When the AF was "forced" to keep the Warthog against it's wishes (It's not REALLY a fighter, so it wasn't "sexy" enough!) it assigned washout fighter jocks and screw-ups to fly it because "real" fighter pilots flew 15s and 16s. Those "screw-ups" actually went and visited Army Armor units, made friends, studied armor tactics, and ultimately killed more Iraqi tanks than any other Air Asset! They learned to ENJOY getting down "in the weeds."

    And the AF STILL wanted to phase it out...

    If they don't get it real quick, we need to "recreat" the AAF, give all TAC air to the Army, and let the AF play with it's missiles, Bombers, and Air Superiority.

    Xracer
    Moderator
    Posts: 106
    (4/3/01 4:36:31 pm)
    Reply Re: Best Tank Design of WWII
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    I seriously doubt that the chopper will ever replace the tank.....it's just too vulnerable to small arms fire and shoulder-fired AAMs.....and I can't really picture infantry moving into enemy fire crouching behind a helicopter.

    My son served in helicopters in the Army....he loved it, but as he told me: "I'm not sure it's the smartest thing in the world to go riding around in something where the wing rotates over your head, built by the lowest bidder, and all held together by one piece of hardware called a "Jesus Nut"!"

    Kdubya
    Moderator
    Posts: 87
    (4/3/01 10:21:14 pm)
    Reply Re: Best Tank Design of WWII
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    This is where we will respectfully disagree, X -
    We'll always have armor to an extent. Not the behemoths of the past, but as earlier said, lighter, faster units. They may mount 105 or 120mm smoothbores firing a variety of exotic ammunitions, but they will most likely be trackless.
    As to armoring a helicopter - the Russians have proven excellent at providing flying artillery platforms extremely hard to bring down with small arms or hand held rockets. As I have observed new field tactics, it appears the helicopter does indeed work in tandem with ground troops on the front line, even to the extent of ground designated targets for the gunship destruction. Also, the use of pilotless drone vehicles that can be used for bomb or rocket assault is feasible, these may be utilized by ground troops as well as airborne.
    The word for today and tomorrow is smaller, faster, more lethal. Units must be air transportable and compact. Unless something radical happens, Desert Storm may well have been the last of large tank slugfests. Apaches and Warthogs probably accounted for the largest share of Iraqi armor losses. I say that, because the Apache is built here in Mesa, Az, so a little local pride must show through!
    Keep off the Ridgeline!!

    polishshooter
    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
    Posts: 169
    (4/4/01 9:34:28 pm)
    Reply Re: Best Tank Design of WWII
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    Armor leaders are taught to consider the front-line based Apaches as "Flank" Armor units now. Keep the column moving forward, react to threats and counterattacks with the Apaches. It's not "just" support anymore. The whole concept is different. That armored unit commander CONTROLS and COMMANDS that chopper platoon just like it was a platoon of tanks or APCs. Not like 'Nam where they "called" for them and got lucky if they were "available." They fly nap of the earth, down almost on the ground anyway! Figure them as "trackless" tanks. With a HECKUVA lot more firepower, speed, and mobility!

    Edited by: polishshooter at: 4/6/01 12:58:49 am

    Bob In St Louis
    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
    Posts: 276
    (5/7/01 7:42:33 pm)
    Reply Re: Best Tank Design of WWII
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    A friend of mine here in St. Louis has two Stuart tanks. He brings them out to the military shows and to reinactments - What a blast! Those Stuarts are nimble, and I have had a blast driving one of them.

    Actually the Yugo started out life on the drawing board as a tank, but after the Polish consultants helped out the Yugoslavs, look what they got ----
    Support the Dead Party, vote Harry S. Truman for Missouri Senate in 2002!

    polishshooter
    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
    Posts: 427
    (5/7/01 9:56:50 pm)
    Reply Re: Best Tank Design of WWII
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    Hey Bob, add tracks and a 7.92mm mg and you have a TKS, a low vel 20mm and you have a TK3M. Not good for much but frightening the horses in the cavalry alongside, but I bet they'd be fun to drive too!!!

    That was Polish anti-tank tactics at it's best...run all these fast little 2 man "tankettes" around in circles and hope the Germans are laughing so hard they don't see the charging cavalry through the tears.

    Didn't work very well, except once.

    The counterattack that almost beat the Germans in 39 that nobody knows about...If only that cavalry could have gotten amongst all the German horse drawn and foot Infantry and Artillery behind the spearhead....





    obelix2
    Member
    Posts: 180
    (5/10/01 8:50:19 am)
    Reply Re: chances in hell
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    How come you're always badmouthing the Polish Army? Prejudiced, huh?

    Once Czechoslovakia got chamberlained (I know, Poland didn't help any), the map makes Poland look like it's sitting in the jaws of a crocodile. With that, and England and France sitting around reading the funny papers, and Uncle Joe back east grinning through his mustache...

    Anyhow, I'd hate to have to write the wargame scenario where Poland wins.

    Bob In St Louis
    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
    Posts: 286
    (5/10/01 7:09:16 pm)
    Reply Re: chances in hell
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    I am a Czech, and Polishshooter is - well, you know. Anyway, we both poke fun at our own heritage.

    You know what they call an abortion in the Czech Republic? A canceled Czech.

    Frankly, both countries excelled in small arms manufacture - the Polish Factory 11 Moisin Nagant M44s, and Radom pistols, the Czech CZ pistols, Scorpion submachine gun, etc.

    When it comes to vehicles and heavy equipment - eh, they were better off taking in the Soviet stuff.
    Support the Dead Party, vote Harry S. Truman for Missouri Senate in 2002!


    obelix2
    Member
    Posts: 181
    (5/10/01 10:12:18 pm)
    Reply Agree
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    with you about the quality of Czech and (second-hand knowledge) Polish pre-war small arms. I think the Brno stuff is way underpriced at the moment, but I can't come up with any way to take advantage of the situation without throwing out the dishes and filling the kitchen cabinets with VZ22s. On the other hand, I'd love a come across a Polish Mauser, except that I won't be able to afford it when I do.

    As for the Soviet heavy equipment, they sure did take in a heap of it after the War, but I'm not sure this made them more cheerful and carefree peoples.

    BTW, I knew what Polish was doing; I was just funning him.

    Xracer
    Moderator
    Posts: 247
    (5/11/01 8:40:09 am)
    Reply Re: chances in hell
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    Hey Bob......the Czechs made airplanes too!

    When I was in the Civil Air Patrol, I flew with a guy who flew Spitfires against Me-109s and later flew 109s against Spitfires.

    He was a British Jew who flew in the RAF, and afterwards flew for Israel during their war for independence...flying Czech-made Avias (a copy of the bf-109F) against Egyptian Spitfires.

    Kdubya
    Moderator
    Posts: 259
    (5/11/01 2:30:31 pm)
    Reply Re: chances in hell
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    That would be rather unique! Did he say which he had a preference for?
    Keep off the Ridgeline!!

    Xracer
    Moderator
    Posts: 249
    (5/11/01 4:20:36 pm)
    Reply Re: chances in hell
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    He said that the Spit was a sweeter flyer, but the 109 was a better killer. He also said that the Spit was faster but the 109 was quicker.

    Hey, it makes sense to a pilot!

    And no, it wasn't unique....he said there were a number of ex-RAF and ex-USAAF pilots flying with the early IAF.

    Edited by: Xracer at: 5/11/01 8:15:41 pm

    polishshooter
    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
    Posts: 447
    (5/11/01 10:38:18 pm)
    Reply Re: chances in hell
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    Actually, I'm pretty proud of the Polish military history. And their tanks in WWII were not much different from other powers, for instance the Brits and the French liked the "tankette" idea right up to WWII, and those PzKw Is were not that much different...

    And that Polish cavalry was more effective than people thought, and is one of the reasons Uncle Joe used over 850,000 horsed cavalry, right up to the end of and BEYOND WWII.

    Those horses STILL might be of use on the steppe, and nobody has EVER beat the sustained rate of daily advance of the Mongols...

    Incidentally, I got invited to a Mil History site by a woman who's a Historian with a more Polish last name than mine, I haven't checked it out much, but the first page has a painting of Napoleon and his personal bodyguard of Polish Lancers...

    Douglas Bader said his best AND worst pilots under his command during the BofB were the two Polish Squadrons of Spits he had...the standing orders were to damage as many Krauts as possible, to stay up and continue to engage as many as possible...

    He said NOBODY could outfly a Pole in a Spit, BUT when they got on the tail of a German they stayed with him until they KNEW he was dead, even if they had to fly into the ground or Channel with him. He said every one returned with ONE kill just about every day, but most of the time were too low or out of fuel or ammo to reengage before it was over...

    You gotta' love that stubborness...

    And Bob? I found out the circle 11 on the Polish M44s is the Radom factory rebuilt by the Russians post-war...

    obelix2
    Member
    Posts: 182
    (5/12/01 7:09:43 am)
    Reply Napoleon
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    Generally speaking, the Poles will fight alongside ANYBODY who's in bad with the Russians. It's that same feeling of friendly competition the Irish have sometimes had toward the English.

    17th FA Bn
    Member
    Posts: 6
    (5/12/01 9:11:56 am)
    Reply Re: Napoleon
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    Horse cavalry can do an good job of stopping tanks. The real weakness of German armor in WW II was it's mechanical unreliability and need for fuel. Destroy their fuel trucks and wreck their maintenance units and the tanks will run out of fuel or break down.

    Xracer
    Moderator
    Posts: 256
    (5/12/01 11:31:25 am)
    Reply Re: Napoleon
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    Fuel was certainly a problem for the Germans. They had nothing like the pipelines that we ran from Normandy right to the front, nor did they have our Red Ball Express.

    Anything that moved behind their lines was fair game for our tactical air....and we had air superiority (and later....air supremacy). Fuel-wise, that left them up creek....no paddle.

    polishshooter
    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
    Posts: 465
    (5/12/01 9:13:49 pm)
    Reply Re: Napoleon
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    My Dad told me long ago OB, "You got to keep an eye on those Germans while you are hating(sometimes he used "fighting" or "killing...") the Russians..."

    Pretty much in-character for a Second Gen Polish, don't you think?

    It would have been appropos for about 1000 years or more or Polish History.

    But they were pretty stupid in '38, willing to play vulture over Czechoslovakia, with no clue they were next...

    Good thing those Polish Intelligence types broke the "unbreakable" German Enigma Machine, and convinced the Brits they had in time...actually that MAY have been the single most important development of the entire war that actually won it for the Allies...



    obelix2
    Member
    Posts: 188
    (5/13/01 4:04:25 am)
    Reply quite seriously
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    The Free Polish forces played a significant (though, of course, not decisive) role in that war. It was, as you know, a Polish brigade that tried valiantly to prevent the annihilation of the British First Airborne during the Montgomery-inspired Arnhem idiocy.

    A century and then some earlier, Poles provided Napoleon with the best light cavalry in Europe, a fact which he (no idiot, whatever else he may have been), appreciated publicly. Those lancers may have been the principal reason why his army did not totally disintegrate during the 1812-13 disasters.

    polishshooter
    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
    Posts: 753
    (6/8/01 7:49:13 pm)
    Reply Re: Best Tank Design of WWII
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    Read some new stuff from Ambrose, the Sherman got most of it's "bad press" in the hedgerows of Normandy...unarmored belly when it went over, the Tigers and Panthers were ideal for static warfare with little movement, dug in, presighted at the openings.

    BUT when the breakout came, NO contest. The average life of the Sherman tracks - more than 2500 miles. Average life of German tracks, less than 500 miles. Mileage, Shermans got more than twice the MPG than any German, AND was almost twice as fast on roads and solid ground, could fire and hit on the move, and the turret traversed more than twice as fast. Plus the added intercom hookup on the back for unprecedented communication with supporting infantry.

    The Germans especially after Falaise complain about tank fire from BEHIND them "all the time."

    For mobile warfare, the Sherman was better than anything German.

    Sorry boys, best tank of the war was the M4...

    Edited by: polishshooter at: 6/8/01 8:58:34 pm

    Kdubya
    Moderator
    Posts: 451
    (6/9/01 12:41:40 pm)
    Reply Re: Best Tank Design of WWII
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    Then why did everyone, including enemy, call it the "Ronson"? One small hit by even a 37mm high velocity stopped it cold. Only reason it came out on top in WWII was because we swamped them with numbers. If the M36 Pershing had made it earlier with it's heavier gun, things would have been vastly different. The M4's puny low velocity 75MM just wasn't much of a gun - shells mostly just bounced off enemy armor and stirred them up. Sorta like poking a stick at a hornets nest!

    No, PS - give credit where credit is due. The Russian 34/85 and the KV were the tanks that borke the back of the Germans. They also had powered turrets, plus better firepower. Also powered by knock-0ff's of American engines and transmissions.
    Keep off the Ridgeline!!

    polishshooter
    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
    Posts: 771
    (6/9/01 9:27:25 pm)
    Reply Re: Best Tank Design of WWII
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    EXCEPT when their plugs got fouled they abandoned them, just like the Germans did.

    I'll say it again. The 75 was NOT a bad gun, it handled the Tiger Is in Tunisia well. AND it fired a better HE round than the 76, the 3", the 17 pounder, and possibly the 88.

    From the back, it could penetrate any German tank, and that's where they usually hit them because they ran rings around them in the open.

    The most common T-34 used in the war was the A and C model. It had the 76mm Russian Gun which was slightly LESS powerful than the US 75. If it was so bad, how did the Russians do it? The same way, run up close, and fast... The Germans got ONE good shot, if they missed, it was all over...the turret traverse of the Germans was SLOW. AND the Russians did not have the gyroscope mount allowing accurate fire on the move like the Sherman had. It had to stop to fire like all the other tanks of WWII but the Sherman had to.

    The Panther was the only decent German tank, except for some models of the PZ IV.

    In a DEFENSIVE struggle where they were dug in and could only be rooted out in a frontal attack, then the Germans were tough. In a mobile attack, they were BAD.

    And they burned easily too...remember all that leaking fuel...

    Again, they were named the "Ronson" in Normandy, hedgerow fighting, frontal attacks. After they got mobile, and quit getting hit as much, AND started the wet storage of shells, they didn't burn as much, either. Reputation is easy to get, hard to shake. Also, the crews didn't have much experience in them in Normandy, like they did later, they did stupid things and got hit in places they shouldn't have been in the first place.

    Did we outproduce them with Shermans? Yes. But that alone wasn't the whole story. In fact, that is one of the biggest myths of the war. The fact we had so many is why the war was as short as it was after Normandy, if we had equal numbers, we still would have won. If Patton gets the go ahead to run to the Rhine right after Cobra, the war probably is over in '44 with US in Berlin, and most of the Shermans still "on the way."

    MOST Shermans hit and knocked out were back in service in less than 48 hours. Literally, patch the hole, change the engine, clean out the blood, and back at it. THAT alone makes it the tank that won the war.

    For combined Air-land Mobile battle that was our doctrine, the Sherman was the best.

    The M26 Pershing WAS good, but it had problems too. It did not see enough service to give a good report card, and the opposition it faced was untrained and practically immobile. And it wasn't as fast, long ranged, or reliable as the Sherman, don't get hung up on armor thickness and gun size. That alone does not determine a good tank.

    Remember, the "best" tanks of '39, '40. and '41 on paper were the Allies'...

    The Germans won with mostly second rate, and some obsolete tanks, with better doctrine.

    The US had even better doctrine, and with the perfect tank to carry it out.





    17th FA Bn
    Member
    Posts: 6
    (6/9/01 10:21:23 pm)
    Reply Re: Best Tank Design of WWII
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I recently read Belton Cooper's "Death Traps" the story of the 3rd Armored Division in WW II. He was a maintenance officer in the 3rd Armored Division in WW II, and is often seen on the History Channel when they do a story on U.S. tanks in WW II. He had a very low opinion of the Sherman.
    He said even though the Panther, and M26 Pershing were heavier than the Sherman they were actualy more mobile due to longer and wider treads which gave them a lower ground pressure than the Sherman.
    He said the 3rd division should have around 230 Shermans assigned. In ten months of combat they had 580% loss rate of tanks. That is not a typo 580% loss rate. By the time they hit the German border they had practicaly no veteran tank crews, and were using infantry replacements to man their tanks.

    polishshooter
    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
    Posts: 776
    (6/9/01 10:36:46 pm)
    Reply Re: Best Tank Design of WWII
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    Didn't read the book, only excerpts, but what I know of it...

    The loss rate is for initiallyknocked out, doesn't figure in those returned to service.

    It includes many "knocked out" several, 3-4 times.

    The Germans had a lesser rate due to the fact theirs were knocked out, or rather, broke down, once, and were abandoned.

    There is a wonderful picture of an early M4, probably saw service in Africa, sitting in Germany in '45.

    NO German Tank lasted that long.

    And again, he's right for the tank tread width/ ground pressure for broken terrain, BUT on the roads or solid ground, the thinner tracks were faster, more long lived, and easier to steer and control at road speed. Most of the movement was on roads, and most of the war from Normandy to Germany was a war of movement, so it was a wash...

    If my job included cleaning fried flesh out of burned out tanks and getting them "up" in two days, I'd have a lower opinion of it than the ones I DIDN'T get to do that in too...

    The British overloaded with Shermans in Normandy PRECISELY to SAVE men. They were running short of Infantry, and men lived longer in a Sherman than outside of one in the same battle. They converted infantry to man them in 44...

    I'm not saying it was perfect, just that it DID win the war for the Allies. Yeah it had help, but it wasn't anywhere NEAR as bad as popular conception has it, and it's opponents were likewise not near as GOOD as thought either...



    Edited by: polishshooter at: 6/9/01 11:37:59 pm

    17th FA Bn
    Member
    Posts: 7
    (6/9/01 10:44:26 pm)
    Reply Re: Best Tank Design of WWII
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    I recently read Belton Cooper's "Death Traps" the story of the 3rd Armored Division in WW II. He was a maintenance officer in the 3rd Armored Division in WW II, and is often seen on the History Channel when they do a story on U.S. tanks in WW II. He had a very low opinion of the Sherman.
    He said even though the Panther, and M26 Pershing were heavier than the Sherman they were actually more mobile due to longer and wider treads which gave them a lower ground pressure than the Sherman.
    He said the 3rd division should have around 230 Shermans assigned. In ten months of combat they had 580% loss rate of tanks. That is not a typo 580% loss rate. By the time they hit the German border they had practically no veteran tank crews, and were using infantry replacements to man their tanks.
    Mr. Cooper tells the story of a demo before the Normandy landings attended by high ranking U.S. and British officers, including General Patton. It was done by ordinance to show the latest weapons. They were shown the new M-26 Pershing tank. Most of the Tank officers were enthusiastic about it, but not Patton. Had they got the go ahead they could have equipped all the U.S. armored units with the Pershing. We may have gotten only two Pershings for every three Shermans produced and shipped, but in fights the U.S. lost 5 to 1 against German units equipped with Tigers and Panthers because they could not maneuver and had to slug it out the extra fire power would have been worth more than the extra numbers.
    Mr. Cooper said his Division got 5 M26 Pershings at the end of the war. All the tankers loved them.
    They say the Pershing used more fuel than the Sherman, but how much fuel was used to haul replacement tanks up to the line?
    Most importantly if the veteran tank crews had a piece of equipment that kept them in the war, that in and of itself would be of great value.
    I read a book several years ago by a gentleman (can't remember the books title or his name) who was an officer in an independent tank battalion. He like Mr. Cooper was no fan of the Sherman. He felt that since the independent tank battalions had to stay with the infantry they needed a more heavily armored tank. They couldn't dash around like the tanks in the armored divisions, but had to stay with the infantry and provide support.

    polishshooter
    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
    Posts: 779
    (6/10/01 3:41:07 pm)
    Reply Re: Best Tank Design of WWII
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    Actually, 17th, the M26 Pershing wasn't ready at all until '45, and even then was rushed into service just so they would see SOME action. The platoon at Remagen were the first to be shipped, first, (and I believe the only) to see action. Must be the ones Cooper is talking about.

    The demo I believe Cooper was actually talking about was when the 76mm/3" AT gun that the M10 and the Hellcat used was put in a Sherman turret, and was to be produced as the M4A1(76)w. IT was previewed right before Normandy, and while some were enthused, Patton WAS dead set against it, mainly because the existing 75 on the Sherman had a much better HE round than the 76 did. The doctrine WAS to use the Tanks where the enemy DIDN'T have tanks, so the primary target would be infantry. AND the 75 worked well against the Tiger I in Tunisia, and we thought that was the biggest/best tank the Germans had. He also felt with all the TDs with the 76 (M10 and M18...) and the new M36 TDs with the 90s already available, he wanted to keep the 75 on the battlefield. It was meeting the Panther in Normandy that changed his mind. Even then, the most effective platoons had regular M4s mixed with the M4 76s.

    He wasn't totally wrong. IF he gets the green light after Cobra to race for the Rhine, there's a GOOD chance he rolls into Berlin unopposed in 44, and the war ends. With the ENTIRE German Army in the West trapped in France, and M4 Shermans in Berlin. They would have made the long run if we could have kept him in fuel. NO other tank existing in the world could have even considered it.

    Also, there were assault versions of the M4. The "Jumbo" had twice the armor, and was tough to knock out, used in built up areas to lead platoons, most had 75s, but they could get close, while some had 76s.

    And also, the various TDs and SPGs used the M4 Chassis. The M10 served right along with the Sherman for the entire war, the M36 was taking out Panthers and Tigers with the 90 in '44, and the 105 SP howitzer set the standard for SP artillery up to today.

    There also was a 105 howitzer version of the Sherman, which with HEAT, was also good against any German armor, as well as having great close support HE.

    Yeah, I know I'm biased, but looking at the "Big Picture..."

    I still say it was the best design of the war.



    Edited by: polishshooter at: 6/10/01 4:46:16 pm

    17th FA Bn
    Member
    Posts: 6
    (6/11/01 6:02:33 pm)
    Reply Re: Best Tank Design of WWII
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    Pulled out my copy of "Death Traps, the Survival of an American Armored Division in WW II" by Belton Cooper. Of 232 Shermans assigned to the 3rd Armored 648 were totaly destroyed, 700 were knocked out, repaired and put back into action.

    The demo he refers to occured in January 1944. They were told the M26 Pershing project had a high priority and the tanks would be ready for use in June for the D-Day landings. Most of the Officers wanted the new tank but Patton was dead set against it. Many of the officers, such as General Rose who would latter command the 3rd Armored, had gone up against the Tigers in North Africa and they wanted the Pershings.

    I think another reason Mr. Cooper who was from Alabama did not like the Sherman was it was named for a union general.

    I would say the Sherman is a legitamate contender for "most important" tank of WWII, but not "best design". If the Air Corp. had designed fighter planes the way the ground forces did the tanks the U.S. would have stuck with the P-40, because it was a good solid design, even if it is greatly inferior to the Me-109 and FW-190. Well just build 60,000 of them and not interupt production by building the P-47 and P-51. The Sherman was probably the best tank in the world in 1940 and 1941. But by 1944-45 the panther and tiger and PzKw IV with the long barreled 75mm out classed it. The mobility of the Sherman was over rated. Any good commander wants to out flank the enemy. But in many instances such as the Hedgrows of Normandy and at the Seigfried line units have to go toe to toe and slug it out.

    Now for a couple of questions. Polish you said the 75mm had a better HE round than the 76mm. I thought they used the same projectile, but the 76mm had a longer barrel and more propellant? (like the .357 and .3
    Now for a question way off the subject (by 50 years). One of the younger guys on our department was a tanker in a M-1 unit. He said the 120mm gun had no HE round, only APDS and a shaped charge. I asked what they would use against enemy infantry, he said their machine guns. Not having an HE round or for that matter a W.P. round makes the main gun useless against enemy infantry. Has any one else heard this?

    Edited by: 17th FA Bn at: 6/11/01 7:06:48 pm

    polishshooter
    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
    Posts: 784
    (6/11/01 9:02:47 pm)
    Reply Re: Best Tank Design of WWII
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    I still think Cooper is confused, 17th, mistaken about the demo of the 76mm Sherman. It's not uncommon, especially by actual participants. I also think Cooper didn't like Patton, either.

    The Pershing was delayed mainly because the difficulty of the "large turret ring." The M36 had the 90mm before Normandy, no-one doubted it's effectiveness, but it needed that "bustle" on the Turret, and couldn't carry as many rounds as the M10.

    I've read several accounts that the Pershing was rushed as it was into production ASAP just so SOME could see action to evaluate, never that Patton had anything to do with slowing it down. I seriously doubt ANY including prototypes were built before '45. The Brits did the same thing with the Comet and Centurion.

    BUT the demo of the 76mm A3 Sherman WAS right before DDay in England, and they could have been available for DDay. Patton DID oppose them, vehemently. They were rushed in when we faced the Panthers in the Hedgerows. BUT no matter how "bad" the regular M4 and M4A1s were in the Hedgerows, they did the job, and almost cut off and killed the ENTIRE German Army in the West after they broke out.

    I disagree about the "mobility is overrated." Mobility is everything in armored tactics. Slugging toe to toe is a sure loser for any tank, especially in close cover with infantry around. And I bet the majority of those knocked out Shermans were NOT by German tanks, but by Panzerfausts, or towed AT/AA guns. The Germans only won at all during the war when they were mobile, lost big when they lost mobility. Same thing in the Desert, in Sicily, and on the Eastern Front. The ONLY place defensive "dug in" tanks were effective overall was in the mountains of Italy.

    Your point is well taken, about the numbers and the P-40, but it would more be akin to not developing the P-51 because we had so many P-47s. The Sherman was closer to the 47 vs. 109 than the 40 vs. 109 in that comparison...it COULD and did kill every type of German tank, even with the "lowly" 75. It was NOT obsolescent by any standards, like maybe the early MK IVs or the Mark III were by that time.

    My question, would Germany have been better off with 50,000 proven and relatively reliable Mk IVs with the long 75, or the mere HUNDREDS of "specialty" tanks like the Panther and the Tiger II that never quite got the bugs worked out, much less wasting time and resources on the Maus and others? Don't "apologize" for the numbers of the Shermans we had, they had the chance to do it, too.

    I have read in SEVERAL sources the 75 had a better HE round than the 76. The 76's claim to fame was the "hypershot" which could penetrate frontally any German AFV at 600 yds, but was in short supply, so that even at the Bulge, some tanks only had 3-4 rounds of it available. I believe the 76 got it's velocity from a lighter/smaller projectile as well as more powder. PLUS the "dual purpose" 75 was smaller in the breech area, so supposedly had a much higher rate of fire. It was supposed to be most effective with rapid fire against towed AT guns with the HE, according to several sources.

    One last curve-ball...the so called "Easy 8" that appeared in the fall of '44. With the new style bogies and the wide tracks, the Sherman was as good as ANY tank cross country. The M4A3E8 was actually the first real "modern" tank, it was the BEST tank of the war, mechanically, technically, maneuverability (in any terrain), speed, fire control systems, gun, rate of fire, ammo carried, etc.

    It still was NOT as armored as the Germans, or the Stalin II and III, but it was a match for the T-34/85, and it was still too high (But all US tanks since then have been accused of the same thing.). It served with distinction practically unchanged for Israel until the 70s, and with the 105 until the 90s, FRONT-LINE, against the best Soviet designs, and even today is in reserve with the IDF.

    WHAT other WWII tank can say that? If it WAS that bad, it would be on the trash heap along with the Panther, and the Centurion, or for that matter, the Pershing...

    For every disadvantage the Sherman may have had, there was at LEAST one advantage it had over it's opponents. The tankers learned to use the strengths, and avoid the weaknesses.

    BTW, the "Sherman" was never officially the "Sherman" in the US Army during WWII, the British gave it and used that name. To us, it was always just the "M4" until after the war...

    17th, I love this debate! Stay with it...you are doing a great job!

    17th FA Bn
    Member
    Posts: 7
    (6/13/01 10:07:27 pm)
    Reply Re: Best Tank Design of WWII
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    The support system the Sherman had gave it a big advantage over German tanks. With the exception of the battle of the bulge the U.S. Army was on the offensive the entire war in Europe. This gave us a chance to collect our tanks that were disabled by mechanical breakdown or enemy action. I'll refer to Mr. Cooper one last time. He said the Sherman would foul it's spark plugs if it ideled to long. The U.S. maintenance units had spark plug sand blasters and a large supply of extra plugs. If a tank stalled out due to fouled plugs they were quickly changed and the tank was back in service.

    Kdubya
    Moderator
    Posts: 473
    (6/14/01 12:07:24 am)
    Reply Re: Best Tank Design of WWII
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    Polish, you're right about the naming of armored equipment in the Army.

    Stepping out of WWII for a moment, the M46/47, M48, M41, M114 - were all known by those prefixes when I served in the armored branch. Didn't know what a Sheridan or any other was until reading about them later in history books. Guess it became sorta flashy when the AF and Navy began naming all their planes and missiles.
    Keep off the Ridgeline!!

    Edited by: Kdubya at: 6/14/01 2:23:52 pm

    polishshooter
    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
    Posts: 806
    (6/14/01 11:12:40 pm)
    Reply Re: Best Tank Design of WWII
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    !7th, interestingly, Steven Ambrose talks about the sandblasting, too.

    After Normandy the "kids" in the maintenance battalions were sandblasting so many plugs they ran out of sand, and actually had trucks running back to the invasion beaches for loads of beach sand, and they set up jury rigged dryers and sifters to keep the blasters going. Talk about American "can do" and mechanical ingenuity and the fact most American kids, city or farmer, already had tinkered with the Fordson tractor, or a Model T or A.

    He then compared that to the Russians, and the Germans, with NO mechanical aptitude, all they really knew was HORSES. When the plugs fouled they "parked it."

    Ambrose said one of the reasons the Russians used such an ungodly number of deuce and a half trucks was that they would run it until it wouldn't start, usually because of the plugs, then abandon it and get a new one...

    That's why this whole debate is fun but worthless...

    There's a whole lot more to what makes a good tank than gun/armor/speed etc. Intangibles like whether the average tanker could fix his own tank, the support, numbers, reliability, crew comfort/fatigue, and sometimes something as mundane as whether it would START in the morning, battery power needed to crank, etc, actually has to be figured in.

    I believe the Americans would still have won with the M3 Grant or Lee...the caliber of their tankers were that much better the whole war...

    I've read accounts of German Panzers and British tanks early in the war dropping out because the driver got wounded, nobody else in the crew "was trained" to drive, and it was "beneath" the officer if there was one to "be a driver." Plus, German drivers were taught by rote, and to not take chances to "break" it, and to conserve fuel.

    Any American can(could?) drive anything, that's one reason why in 1939, the USA was the ONLY fully mechanized Army in the world. Plus, American drivers drove full out, damn the trees and walls, outa' my way, in unpredictable fashions, which in itself made the Sherman a hard target, and even more appreciated for being able to take the abuse.

    I read an account one time where a Colonel had a new replacement driver, was in some deep kimchee, had his driver get up in his seat and "spot" for the gunner while HE drove the Sherman out of danger because he couldn't trust the new guy to have done it yet, "the way it needed to be done..." That wouldn't have happened in a German tank.

    Also, in the Russian armies, it was not uncommon for the Tank commander to drive...



    polishshooter
    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
    Posts: 872
    (6/22/01 10:49:53 pm)
    Reply Re: chances in hell
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    C'mon, guys! The worthless Tiger II is winning!!!!

    It was simply too big for available bridges to be useful in mobile warfare, missed the main thrust in the Bulge because of it, broke down if the driver sneezed, would lose a race to a Churchill, and the turret moved only slightly faster than a KVII's, which was so slow that in most wargames you have to use it as a turretless AG! Really only good as a pillbox!!!

    MAYBE the Panther, but give me a break! The Tiger II was a dinosaur BEFORE it saw action!!!! And the Sherman could handle a Tiger I...

    Xracer
    Moderator
    Posts: 452
    (6/23/01 8:39:50 am)
    Reply Re: chances in hell
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    Well, Polish.......I've got a soft spot in my heart for the Sherman (since it was named after my Great Granduncle).....but I still say the T34.

    17th FA Bn
    Member
    Posts: 6
    (6/23/01 11:22:59 am)
    Reply Re: Best tank of World War II
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    Please any one who voted for any tank, other than the Sherman explain why. We have attacked the Sherman, and debated the pros and cons. One of the champions of the Tiger defend your choice of this under powered (engine wise) beast.

    I saw some where that it took 150,000 man hours to build a Tiger II tank. That would be equal to the working life of two work men. Does any one know what the figure would be for other tanks? I would guess the figure for a Sherman would be much lower.

    LIKTOSHOOT
    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
    Posts: 982
    (6/23/01 11:38:08 am)
    Reply Re: Best tank of World War II
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    I disagree with all of the above mentioned, the best one is the
    *****SEPTIC TANK******

    kdubaz
    Moderator
    Posts: 33
    (6/23/01 12:34:06 pm)
    Reply Re: Best tank of World War II
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    That did it!!

    This thread is turning to shit, so I'm gonna pick up my model tanks out of the sand box and go home!
    Keep below the ridgeline!

    Xracer
    Moderator
    Posts: 453
    (6/23/01 3:17:51 pm)
    Reply Re: Best tank of World War II
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    LTS.....BRAVO!!!!!!

    polishshooter
    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
    Posts: 877
    (6/23/01 7:26:20 pm)
    Reply Re: Best tank of World War II
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    I heard a Polish Joke about the Septic Tanks in '39, but I can't remember it....

    X, yeah, as much as I defend the Sherman, I kinda lean toward the T-34 as the tank that won the war, there's no doubt it won it in the east.

    It was made in numbers close to the M4, but more importantly, was being produced before the M4 was even DESIGNED, at the time our best tank had a 37mm as a main gun, and we were trying to figure out how to put a 75mm in the hull.

    I think the T-34/85 may have been the best tank, overall, in the war, but there is no doubt it was the A-C models with the 76mm which won it. And EVERY German Tank design after the PzIV was specifically an attempt to counter the T-34.

    THAT is one of the reasons I don't buy the argument our 75mm in the Sherman was inadequate. It was more powerful and versatile than the Russian 76mm of the T-34, and THAT combination won the war in the East!

    And the T-34/85 still soldiers on today in many countries, and is still potent.

    Edited by: polishshooter at: 6/23/01 8:28:50 pm

    kdubaz
    Moderator
    Posts: 44
    (6/24/01 5:41:17 pm)
    Reply Re: Best tank of World War II
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    Knew you'd come around to my point of veiw, Polish!!!
    Keep below the ridgeline!

    polishshooter
    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
    Posts: 1729
    (10/2/01 9:30:06 pm)
    Reply Re: Best tank of World War II
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    People are now just voting, and not reading the thread...and/or are all unlearned Germanophiles in awe of those great big piles of mostly inoperative Nazi SCRAP.

    First, with all my superior argumentative skill, MORE people SHOULD be voting for the M4/M4A1, even if it AIN'T winning! It should at LEAST be #2 to the T-34.

    Second, the damn totally worthless whale out of water Tiger II is winning AGAIN!

    You know, if the Germans put an 88 on the WORST chassis they could come up with, put on about 8" of armor, and had it lumber along blind until it broke down, bogged down, or some Russian snuck up and threw a molotov at it and burned it and the crew up, SOME American would think it was the "greatest" tank...(Oh Wait! They DID! They called it the Ferdinand...and it was the Tiger II chassis designed by PORSCHE!)
    I'm so PROUD to be an AMERICAN...

    Edited by: polishshooter at: 10/3/01 9:32:55 pm

    Xracer
    Moderator
    Posts: 1019
    (10/3/01 9:04:17 am)
    Reply Re: Best tank of World War II
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    Of course Polish, all right thinking people know that the best post-WWII tank was Mark Donahue's Porsche 917/30 "Panzermobile" that he drove in the CanAm Series. Whatta BEAST!

    Zigzag2
    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
    Posts: 1791
    (12/30/01 7:12:37 am)
    Reply Re: Best tank of World War II
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    I'm thinking the 90hp mini ?



    Xracer
    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
    Posts: 1365
    (12/30/01 9:52:51 am)
    Reply Re: Best tank of World War II
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    Hey Ziggy....the Panzermobile supposedly could put out 1150 bhp at full boost. Just a bit more than my Mini-Cooper.

    The stock Cooper "S" put out 76 bhp......the last batch of REAL Mini Coopers from John Cooper Garages have about 90. The BMW/MINI Coopers are supposed to be in the 140 bhp range.

    striderteen
    Member
    Posts: 1
    (4/16/02 11:02:44 pm)
    Reply In Defense Of The Königstiger
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    The Panzerkampfwagen VI Ausf B Königstiger, aka Tiger II or Royal Tiger, is easily the most capable tank of WWII.

    Most of you appear to be big fans of the Sherman. I agree that the Sherman is a fine tank, but it's VASTLY inferior to the Royal Tiger in most respects. Against Royal Tigers, Shermans do two things: run away, and get blown to shreds -- the big Krupp KwK 43 L71 eighty-eight millimeter will blow a Sherman to hell ranges of well over 1800 meters, wheras the Shermans' 76mm cannons cannot penetrate the big German tanks' heavy front armor at all, and the side armor only at point-blank range.

    As for mobility, the Königstiger is actually just a tad slower than the Sherman, 22 MPH vs 24 MPH. While its sixty-eight ton weight puts it at a disadvantage cross-country, the big Panzer is by no means a sitting duck.

    In terms of firepower and armor protection, nothing else in the war even came close to the Königstiger, and its mobility was entirely adequate. Had the Nazi war machine had adequate supplies of petrol to properly employ the big heavy tanks, they might very well have won the war.

    warpig883
    *TFF Staff*
    Posts: 3166
    (4/16/02 11:11:02 pm)
    Reply Re: In Defense Of The Königstiger
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    Welcome Striderteen,


    You are going to get these Sherman guys all hot and bothered bringing this topic back up

    Stick around and have some fun. Contribute when you can and ask any questions ya can think of





    How did you get your keyboard to make the O with the two dots above it?

    Edited by: warpig883 at: 4/17/02 12:12:07 am

    striderteen
    Member
    Posts: 3
    (4/16/02 11:18:07 pm)
    Reply Re: In Defense Of The Königstiger
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Thanks for the warm welcome, and I just cut-and-pasted that from my Palm Pilot which has the foreign characters on its keyboard. IE supports those characters, but I don't know if you can type them on a regular keyboard unless you have special software.

    As for annoying people, I'm always up for a debate. The Sherman DID have the advantage of being mass-produced on an epic scale -- we could (and did) throw a dozen Shermans at a Royal Tiger, get only one back, and call it a win.

    polishshooter
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 3441
    (4/17/02 1:41:13 am)
    Reply Re: In Defense Of The Königstiger
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    Most experts agree, the King Tiger was worthless in the final analysus, the PANTHER was the tank the Germans could have won the war with in sufficient numbers, IF they could have gotten the mechanical problems that plagued it ironed out.

    The King Tiger missed the main thrust of the bulge, Why?

    Too big for available bridges. THIS alone proved it was worthless....any map of Europe shows that any armored thrust into or out of Germany from or too East or West means MAJOR riverine crossings...and the Tiger couldn't do it...so why BUILD it?


    The fact that during the height of the fuel crisis, Germany is wasting time and fuel developing SCHNORKELS for God's sake so they can have any HOPE of using them?

    No strider, sorry, MAYBE the Panther, but surely not the King Tiger, unless you are strictly rating on gun and armor...and the Panther had arguably better armor, because of it's slope....

    And you are decidely generous on the speeds of the TIger II and "ungenerous" about the M4.....17mph highway max vs 28mph+ highway, even the "Jumbos" could hit 24mph....and the M4s could maintain that road speed indefinitely, the Tigers were GUARANTEED to throw a track or break down on extended runs...more tanks were lost to breakdown on the German side than action from Normandy to the end....cross country it depended on terrain, but over hard or frozen ground it was even more pronounced due to the suspension systems, even more than that when the HVSS M4s came on line in '44... (Your speeds on the M4 is correct if you look at late war when they piled sandbags and concrete on top of the armor in an attempt to defeat panzerfausts, which is what killed MOST M4s, along with wheeled AT guns, NOT the Tigers 88...in fact from late 44 on Tank vs Tank was so rare, it was AT guns and Infantry that scared M4 crews the most....

    And the Tiger was ALWAYS stopped when firing....and it's slow traverse meant they got ONE shot....before the smoke came in, and they were swamped by M4s or T-34s....at close range...

    If we had some eggs we could have some bacon and eggs if we had some bacon....


    "If the Germans could have built enough Tigers and had enough fuel?"


    What about, if they built enough PZKW IVs and had enough fuel...that would be the only way they could have HOPED to produce enough "good" tanks and crews to affect the war against the Soviets or the Americans....


    The fact remains that the Tiger II shows the armor bankruptcy of the Germans after 1941...EVERYTHING was designed to beat the T-34 after 41-42, and they got stupid....and they gave away DOCTRINE for armor and gun, and lost the only advantage they had, condemned themselves to static defensive slugfests with only a few notable exceptions, like Kursk and the Ardennes, which were FAILURES, and for that type of unimaginative armor warfare you'd BETTER have better armor and guns...but it didn't work for the French with the "Superior" Char B1 Bis "pillboxes" in '40 against "inferior" PZKW IIS and IIIs, it wouldn't work against the "inferior" M4s or T-34s either...

    The secret to armor warfare is DOCTRINE, not equipment, better equipment is gravy IF it matches the Doctrine...the Germans HAD no Doctrine after 41-42, except more armor, bigger guns....

    They would have been better off if the TIger II was NEVER built, and the time effort money fuel design development etc would have been spent on building more PzkwIVs, or MAYBE Panthers....much LESS the idiotic Maus and other "Heavier" tanks....

    But even the PANTHER wasn't designed for "road marches..." it was designed to be hauled to the front on railcar to avoid "unnecessary mechanical wear and breakdown..." (in other words, "normal wear and tear...")and the total interdiction of the rail systems in France and Germany negated that...

    Wheras the M4s could have DRIVEN to Berlin immediately after the Falaise pocket had they gotten the go ahead from Ike....



    "Don't hear him call you an ---hole, hear WHY he's calling you an ---hole." -------- From "A Season on the Brink"

    Xracer
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 1992
    (4/17/02 6:23:10 pm)
    Reply Re: In Defense Of The Königstiger
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    ....and the Falaise Pocket could've been and encirclement if Monty had gotten off his dead ass! But don't get me started on that sh*thead!

    Hey guys......this is great!

    OK Striderteen....your turn. The handgrenade is in your court! Pull the pin and toss it back to Polish.

    Tank commanderA24
    Member
    Posts: 3
    (4/18/02 12:14:32 am)
    Reply Re: The Panther is the one
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Panther was the all around best tank of the war. Excellent armor a killer gun and optics, powered traverse and good mobility. Granted it had some engineerring flaws but what tank would you want to crew all things being equal and in good working order.
    Remember the Panther, Tiger I and TigerII all shared the same engine. which would get the most out of 700 horsepower 45 tons or 67 tons, do the math. the King tiger was due to the German(Hitler's) fixation on bigger and bigger tanks. Maus ring a bell. Full scale production of Panthers and nothing else but Me262s might have prolonged the war. Also Panther 2s were going to be fitted with the same 88 as the King Tiger.
    I love my Shermans but would not have wanted to fight in one. TC


    polishshooter
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 3461
    (4/18/02 1:11:52 am)
    Reply Re: The Panther is the one
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Yeah but I think even the Panther was too little, too unreliable, and too late....

    I still think the later PZKW IV Aufs G I think it was, with the long 75mm gun, identical to the Panther's, and the extra armor, is the Tank they should have concentrated on turning out by the thousands, and screw all other designs...

    It was tried and true, was in production in various forms since before the war, the German Crews and Mechanics would NOT have to be constantly retrained with the resultant wastage of precious fuel, time and resources, even just tooling up to build the new tanks. It was "Pretty Good" against ANY Allied design...

    And every tank assembly line that was turning out hundreds a month, that was shut down, retooled, had the workers retrained, and then started up to produce a Tiger II or a Panther NEVER came close to hitting PZKW !V production before the war ended....

    If you had to fight and STOP 100 M4s or T-34s, would you rather have 100 PZKW IVs, 25 Panthers, OR 10 Tigers, all things being equal.....those were about the ratios at the end...

    The even numbers would give ALOT more flexibility to the commanders, and maybe even allowed them to use some initiative and mobility even at the end of the war....

    But they STILL would have lost...


    I read a book recently in which Sherman crews claimed the Panther could be knocked out frontally, even with the basic 75mm dual purpose gun, "if the round was aimed at the base of the armored gun mantlet and it ricocheted down through the thin armor above the drivers compartment..."

    It was told in a way to give you the impression it was discovered by luck, but done enough to be shared among M4 crew and gunners....

    Now THAT takes some stones or at least accurate shooting to call THAT shot in battle....

    "Off the Mantlet, through the hatch, into the drivers compartment, nothing but net!..."


    "Don't hear him call you an ---hole, hear WHY he's calling you an ---hole." -------- From "A Season on the Brink"

    Tank commanderA24
    Member
    Posts: 4
    (4/18/02 9:32:15 pm)
    Reply Re: The Panther mantlet shot.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Polishshooter,
    That was an extremly tough or lucky shoot. An osprey Sherman book I have said that only the best gunners tried it and had to be with in a few hundred meters to make it work and they said the last gunner to try it was in the rear trying to get back his nerve. Also late model Panther Gs had the chin mantlet which stopped the ricochets.

    Also the Panzer VI had an L48 75mm the Panther had the L70
    which gave it another 500 fps or more muzzle velocity. It could take out Stalins at range a Panzer IV couldn't. The Panthers sloped front plate was 80mm thick but equivalent to over 200mm. The PanzerIV had 80mm verticle plate.

    What we need is for the Americans to design the automotive parts while the Germans do the gun and armor package. The best of both worlds.

    Hell we have not had a good US designed tank gun since the 90mm the 105 was British and the 120 is German.

    TC

    17th FA Bn
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 101
    (4/19/02 3:05:08 pm)
    Reply Balancing factors
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    There are 5 factors that have to be balanced in tank design. Improve in one area, such as added protection, and you will give up something else such as mobility due to added weight.

    I am limiting my discusion to only the four World War II tanks Polish first listed, the Soviet T-34, the U.S. M-4 Sherman, the MK V Panther, and the Tiger

    Factor 1. Protection: The Tiger is best, the Sherman and T-34 worst.

    Factor 2. Firepower: The Tiger is best, the Panther is a close second. The Panthers gun was as good in the anti-tank role, but did not have as good a H.E. round. The Sherman and T-34 are just about as bad as each other.

    Factor 3. Mobility: The Sherman and T-34 tied for #1, then the Panther, and way at the back of the pack the Tiger.

    These first three are the classic factors that engineers have to balance. But there are two other very important factors.

    Factor 4. Ease of manufacture: The Sherman and the T-34 are tied here. Around 50,000 of each of these tanks was built. The Tiger is dead last here. It was very difficult to build. I read some where it took 150,000 man hours to build a Tiger!

    Factor 5. Ease of mantenance: The Sherman is number one here. The Tiger is last. The early Panthers were also very bad. The problems they had early on may have cost the Germans the battle of Kursk. (Poor planing and intel, probably were the decisive factors.)

    The Sherman is number ONE in 3 of my factors, the Tiger in 2, the T-34 in 2, and the Panther is in the middle of the pack in all factors.

    The British were able to put their 17 pounder gun into a Sherman. There was talk of putting it into the U.S. Shermans, but the war eneded before it was done. The 17 punder could have delt with all German tanks. Maybe not at the extended ranges the German 88mm and high velocity 75 mm could achieve but at most combat ranges that would be encounterd in Western Europe. If the Sherman had a decent gun (or decent anti-tank ammo for the 76mm) it might have been ok to sacrafice protection for mobility. The Sherman did not need a gun that was an equal of the German guns, only one that was capable of defeating their armour at common combat ranges.

    Edited by: 17th FA Bn at: 4/19/02 4:18:35 pm

    LIKTOSHOOT
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 4644
    (4/19/02 3:55:13 pm)
    Reply Re: Balancing factors
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Call me the child in this thread. Say Polish, didn`t I see on the History Channel....a Sherman smoke a Panther/Tiger(?) in that showing of street fighting tanks. The Germans had hidden tanks in key locations in a town and it showed a Sherman popping out of a side street and low and behold, at about 2:00 and across the street was a German tank between two buildings. The German swung (started to) it`s main gun and the Sherman reversed and fired twice.....both shots hitting the German tank and the second shot going completely thru it???? That was, if I remember right....the only piece of film that shows a close encounter between tanks, it couldn`t have been more than fifty yards. Very slcik driving and shooting on the Shermans part.....the German never got a round off. I know you remember it, it may even be in this thread somewhere (to lazy to hunt it down) very impressive film clip though. LTS
    T.F.F.

    Tank commanderA24
    Member
    Posts: 8
    (4/19/02 7:02:56 pm)
    Reply Re: Colonge Fight
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    That sounds like the street fight in Colonge by the cathedral,
    It was in Suicide Missions and it was a Pershing that nailed the Panther not the Sherman.

    Panther had better off road mobility then Sherman, wder tracks lower ground pressure. I have read several accounts of
    American tankers complaining about how German tanks crossed fields that would bog any Sherman. It was not addressed until the HVSS suspension came out.

    Now are we comparing individual fully operational tanks or are we addressing all the failings of the vehicles as a whole.
    The German industrial base was at fault for not being able out produce the USA and USSR with GB thrown in for good measure.
    Bottom line you have to go into battle inWW2 what tank do you want to be in, The Panther had the best balance of fire power protection and mobility when it worked. You could take a hit to the front and probably survive to return fire. If you were in a sherman if you lived through the initial hit you now have 10 seconds to get out before the tank burns.
    TC

    polishshooter
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 3485
    (4/19/02 10:28:09 pm)
    Reply Re: Colonge Fight
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Yeah, I saw that and it was a M26 Pershing...

    A24, CAN you consider individual tanks instead of the "Big Picture?"

    One of the criteria you also have to consider, is did it WIN A WAR!

    It takes all that 17th stated, along with one other thing,,,DOCTRINE. A superior Doctrine with an ADEQUATE tank (not necessarily superior!) that complements and allows execution of the DOCTRINE will win wars, not just battles...

    With that in mind, I STILL say the best German Tanks of the War were the PZKW II, III, and 75mm short (HE) IVs...

    With THAT combo, and a doctrine that WORKED, they won several wars...Poland, Low Countries, France, and almost took Egypt and the Suez...

    With EVERY "superior" Tank they built after that. they lost everywhere....

    The wide open spaces of the East, plus the weather and the logistics, and some boneheaded moves by Hitler and OKW, getting bogged in street fights, stopped the DOCTRINE first, gave the Soviets time to build LOTS of BETTER tanks, the 34, as well as the KV series, then the Germans gave up all pretense of doctrine and fell into the Bigger Gun/more armor race at the WORST time, in the middle of a war for survival...


    And one other point, in defense of the Sherman...there were TWO specific instances that gave it it's "reputation" as a "Ronson," and an inadequate fighting Tank...

    First, in the Desert in 42, when the crews were GREEN and they met large caliber dug in AT guns and dual purpose FIXED guns that chewed them up...

    And in the bocage of Normandy, where ANY tanks would have been in trouble, again, against "dug in" tanks, but mostly against towed AT and Infantry with Panzerfausts...

    But EVERYWHERE else the Sherman, even the original M4s and M4A1s, were succesful!

    MORE than successful after the breakout, there was NO tank in the WORLD that could match it for pure distances covered, at that speed, without mechanical breakdowns...it was a WORLD beater at road marches...

    Which by the way WAS the US Armor Doctrine...Damn the flanks, let the JABOS hunt out there, ADVANCE at full throttle...put tanks where there AREN'T any enemy tanks, (you found it with superior recon, which we had too...)cover that damn ground and get in his rear NOW...

    And the Wet storage of ammo stopped alot of the "brew-ups," as well as the applique armor...

    But reputation once made is tough to change...

    As for the loss rate? When they DID meet determined opposition dug in, hull down, ANY tank suffered!

    For example, at Kasserine, what finally stopped Rommels Tiger Is? And knocked them out with about a 10-1 kill ratio?


    M3 Half track Tank Destroyers, armed with M1897 WWI 75mm howizters!

    Now in the open, we lost TONS of those in Africa...but ONE battalion, dug in properly, manned by BLACK troops incidentally, who were about the ONLY US unit that DIDN'T run....stopped the attack by the "best" armored General with supposedly the "best" tank of the day...

    So why doesn't anybody claim the M3 TD was superior to the Tiger I?

    And the HVSS sytem was introduced shortly after DDay, and MANY units were reequipped with it by wars end...so it WAS good over soft ground....

    The 17 pounder was REJECTED by the US, because we didn't want ANOTHER round in the supply chain, plus ordnance remembered the LAST time we adopted a British round...the 57mm...but I agree, it was a stupid call...

    The 76mm "hypershot" could defeat ANY German tank frontally at 600 yds or less, the crime was that it was never put in production as a "priority..." it too was available shortly after DDay, but most went to the TDs, tank crews were LUCKY to have 2 in a basic load, even at the end of the war, few shermans had more than 5 at once...

    That is the reason the M18 Hellcat TD killed more Tiger IIs and Panthers than any other allied AFV, their 45 mph speed, small target, low noise, AND the "hypershot..."

    One other thing about "loss rates..." For EVERY Sherman knocked out, the average number if crew KIA was ONE...that was among the LOWEST of any other Tank of the war...MANY full crews fought in MANY different tanks, without a loss on bailout...so even THAT is relative...every one that brewed up with no survivors was terrible, and stuck in your mind, and are immortalized in pictures, but to hit the average of ONE per, 5 others were knocked out and lost NOBODY killed for every one of those, at least....



    But (and there I go, wound up AGAIN... ) Good designs simply do NOT go away....

    "Super Shermans" (basically a WWII era M4A5E8 with a Brit 105 in a bustled turret) were "front-line" tanks in Israel in the 1980s, and went up against some of the BEST post war Soviet stuff and won....and they are still in reserve. today..WHAT other WWII tank can say that? Only the T34-85, and that in "third world" armies only...

    So there it is, I STILL think the M4/M4A1 tanks and variants were the BEST tank design of WWII...with the T34 a CLOSE second...ALL things considered...

    ...because of ONE other factor..."Crew Comfort..."a cramped too hot/too cold crew eith less visibility buttoned up will ALWAYS be out performed and out thunk by one that isn't,,,







    "Don't hear him call you an ---hole, hear WHY he's calling you an ---hole." -------- From "A Season on the Brink"

    Tank commanderA24
    Member
    Posts: 10
    (4/20/02 9:27:34 am)
    Reply Re: Colonge Fight
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Polish shooter,
    Do not get me wrong I love the Sherman I am a model builder and I have the fixins to do nearly every varient I can of the Sherman. HVSS didn't start getting to the front until after the Normandy breakout.

    Another thing to consider though is the cream of the Panzer Waffe was gone by mid 1944 sacrificed in Hitlers debacles. Our troops got better as theirs got worse.

    Have you checked out Beltran Cooper's "Death Traps" good book about the horrors of combat in the Sherman. The 2nd AD lost nearly 150% of its tanks. In some battles a tank company would be wiped out in the course of a 1/2 hour by only a few German heavies.

    The Pershing 6 months earlier would have been the answer.
    We won because of our industrial capabilities and our troops and the fact that the Russians tried down and ground up a good part of the German.

    Now I have always been impressed with the IS 2 that was an impressive tank and the 122 could take out any German tank at battle ranges. Hampered by a slow rate of fire.

    How about a new thread what is your favorite tank of WW2 and why, instead of the best because we will never conclude this to anyone's satisfaction.

    The Allies won Germany lost. The Sherman and T-34 were the tanks that fought and won despite all of their shortfalls.
    TC

    polishshooter
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 3492
    (4/20/02 10:09:18 am)
    Reply Re: Colonge Fight
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    TC?

    That's what this IS! "Best" is so subjective there can never BE a definitive answer, so that is what gets the juices flowing and gets people posting, which is after all the PURPOSE of a discussion like this!

    ARGUMENTS are vicariously entertaining to anybody, and gets new people to chime in, which was my "ulterior motive" when I started this thread and others like it a year ago, and even if it NEVER gets settled, it is so very educational to everyone involved or reading it...

    For example, prejudiced, hard headed, stubborn, mind-made up that no mere FACTS will change ME learned a helluva lot over the past year, some great arguments that challenged me, and from some that supported me, just from looking at it from ALL angles...

    And THIS thread has become a "classic..." one of the LONGEST running threads that is still active on this whole FORUM!

    When I got TAC to give us this forum, I envisioned it as a place that Historians, buffs, collectors, veterans, specialists, and reenactors could get together on an equal footing to discuss Mil History in a satisfying way...and learn that it is an ART not a science...there is really NOTHING etched in stone, it's ALL "interpretation..." And "the MORE you know the LESS you know..." NOTHING more educational than when hard and fast tenets everyone accepts as unchangeable "historical fact" starts to look "etched in jello...".

    I'D say this thread was (Is?) a BLAZING success...it's STILL attracting good new members here...YOU TC, are a PRIME example!!! You've been here a few weeks and have already contributed massively to ALL of our educations!!!!

    Passion is a WONDERFUL thing, and I guess the bigger picture is that Tanks are one of the most interesting weapons in Military history to debate...about the only other thing that comes close is aircraft...

    And to EVERYBODY that contributed to this thread, (so FAR, I still don't see it dying yet...)THANK YOU, for taking the time, sharing your opinion...(even if WRONG... ) and above all, showing the "world" intelligent people CAN argue vehemently WITHOUT calling each other names...














    (Unless you voted for the Tiger II....)


    WANKERS...........
    "Don't hear him call you an ---hole, hear WHY he's calling you an ---hole." -------- From "A Season on the Brink"

    striderteen
    Member
    Posts: 12
    (4/20/02 7:03:49 pm)
    Reply Well...
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Quote:
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    But even the PANTHER wasn't designed for "road marches..." it was designed to be hauled to the front on railcar to avoid "unnecessary mechanical wear and breakdown..." (in other words, "normal wear and tear..." and the total interdiction of the rail systems in France and Germany negated that...

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------



    Well, we pulled the same trick with our Abrams tanks in the Gulf, shipped a lot of them to forward staging areas via rail and heavy truck in order to cut down on wear and tear.

    I still favor the Tiger II for being the best tank of the war, but you're definitely right that the Nazis would have been better off with just the Panthers due to their limited industrial capability.

    Tank commanderA24
    Member
    Posts: 11
    (4/20/02 11:08:02 pm)
    Reply On the Ost Front.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I think the Tiger II was taking things to extreme and it was too big to get out of its own way. They did not have time to work out the engineering bugs and it was a brake down waiting to happen.

    I was just thinking while reading the thread that the Soviets were really the inovators and leaders in tank development for most of the war.

    The T34 took the Germans totally by surprise as did the KV1+2. They had their flaws but they outclassed what the Germans had tank for tank. The Germans did well due to doctrine and training where they had the Reds totally outclassed. It took until 1943 for the Germans to catch up and start to pull ahead. Now the Reds were in dire straits having displaced all the factories so had little time for inovation but some new stuff was coming out.

    After kursk which had the new German tanks out in small numbers the Reds pulled ahead again with the T34-85 and the IS1+2 as well as the SU-85 and SU-100. The Germans fell behind again and worked on the Panther and Tiger II. The Reds had the IS3 developing in the wings just barely too late for the war.

    So the Germans were reacting to the Soviets who for the most part stayed out in front. The Western Allies just plodded along always behind the Germans who were playing catch up to the Reds.

    Case in point the Reds developed and fielded several thousand IS2s from mid 1943 until 1945. In the same time the US got about 200 Pershings to Europe and only 20 or so saw action. The Centurion an excellent design was too late altogether.

    TCA24

    polishshooter
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 3498
    (4/21/02 11:38:40 pm)
    Reply Re: On the Ost Front.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Yeah, TC, it is AMAZING that the Russians had IN SERVICE T-34As and beginning to issue the B and C models before the US even got the 75mm mounted in the sponson on the M3 Medium working....

    Too many people still think all the "Panzer" brains were in Germany in the 30s...those Soviets were doing ALL kinds of stuff during that time in testing and developing that left the rest of the world in their dust...

    And they were not adverse to using Western Ideas too...the T-34 was really a further developement of the US Christie and the British Vickers designs...so the US and British have no EXCUSE for not getting a T-34 type tank or equivalent ready before WWII....

    THAT is another story...HOW could the country of Liddell-Hart, and the massive tank experiments on the Salisbury plains, some of the GREATEST armored minds the world has ever seen..............field such CRAPPY tanks for almost the entire war???? SO much so that the M3 Lees and Grants saved their butts in the desert, much LESS the Sherman?

    The Soviets were beaten up for all the tank losses they took in the opening of Barbarossa, BUT most of that was OLD stuff that had been thoroughly rung out between the wars, and found wanting, the Soviets just never threw anything out, and it all went to the 'second line" units that Stalin had on the frontiers....and was NOT that much different from what the rest had just a couple of years earlier....

    Stalin was a shrewd bastard, and kept his reserves to himself...but his "reserves" were his BEST stuff...self preservation was pretty high on Uncle Joe's list....

    He was NOT a strategist though...he thought the Germans would honor the "non-agression pact" even AFTER he started getting reports they were rolling over his border...which is why he "only" had conscripts and second rate stuff to face the Germans at first...thus all those wild losses that convinced not only the Germans, but the rest of the world including his new allies, that Russia was in deadly danger of losing the war...when in fact it NEVER was...

    Historians are just NOW discovering that the war in the east really was never a close run thing, Stalin had far more "reserves" than ANYONE thought until just very recently, (in the 90s!...he didn't even tell his Generals about them!) and lot's of those "secret" reserves were armed with more modern equipment than any other army at the time...throw it in with the battle hardened armored troops that had kicked the crap out of the Japanese in 1939 then again in 1941, that NO ONE knew about at the time, that he transferred to the Stalingrad front in time for the counterattack, and the truth has only fully come out since the fall of the Iron Curtain, and Hitler was fried in Russia even IF he had taken Moscow, Leningrad, and Stalingrad, on schedule...

    But that makes us take it back even further...

    YES the Russians had the IS-III heavy at the end, and THAT is what made us rush the Pershing and the Brits rush the Centurion to the front before the end of the war, NOT the Panther and the Tiger...

    ...but isn't it amazing how QUICKLY they dumped it after the war? The T-55 that replaced it was a MEDIUM, as technically was EVERY Russian MBT since...

    And YES the T-34/85 is still a viable weapon today, BUT....

    The main tank they won the war with was the T-34A through C models...all armed with a 76mm gun that had LESS power than the 75mm dual purpose gun on the original M4 and M4A1s!

    Which is why I STILL maintain Germany should have concentrated on making tens of thousands of PZ.IVs, instead of ANY of the "better" tanks....

    THAT was the tank that gave Germany fits, that spawned the drive to design the Panther in the first place, and was STILL the MAIN Soviet tank at the end of the war, in sheer numbers, as well as numbers of Armore Divisions fielding it....

    Ah, the irony..."The more we know...."


    While we're at it, MAYBE we can also figure out why the P39 Airacobra was such a pig for us, as well as the Brits as the P400...so we "unloaded" them on the Soviets, who LOVED it and it became the fighter of choice for the Russian "Guards" groups of aces....and had a pretty good record against Bf109s...(but suffered against Finnish F2a Buffaloes....)

    go figure...


    "Don't hear him call you an ---hole, hear WHY he's calling you an ---hole." -------- From "A Season on the Brink"

    Xracer
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 2024
    (4/22/02 8:58:37 am)
    Reply Re: On the Ost Front.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Well, I dispute that the '39 had much of a record against the 109.....but the Soviets loved them (and the P-63) because they used them as they were designed.....low level support against armor.

    Granted, time had passed the 37mm by as an anti-tank weapon, but it was still effective against thinner skinned armor such as half-tracks, armored cars, and other mechanized transport.

    17th FA Bn
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 104
    (4/22/02 4:25:34 pm)
    Reply 37mm on the P-39
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Xracer, that 37mm may have been all but useless against tanks when fired from the ground by 1942. But from the air against the softer top and rear armour it would have been pretty effective.

    polishshooter
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 3536
    (5/21/02 10:17:14 pm)
    Reply Re: 37mm on the P-39
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Hey X? The 39 in Russian hands did have a good record against 109s...believe it or not.

    But it had as much to do with the "Guards" units of aces that used it, and the fact most fights happened at 15 angels or less, where the Allison did well....as well as the Russian Tactics, which was pretty much fly in a big unorganized Gaggle all over the sky, balls to the wall, right at'em...not much dogfighting except when they were flying I think the Lavochkin 7.

    And 17th is right, even Panthers and Tigers got knocked out pretty regularly by 6 or 8 .50 cal Brownings from above....

    Striderteen? The M1s during the Gulf war road the rails during the massive move from around Khafji to the final starting line into Iraq...the distance is equivalent to moving that armor heavy corps with ALL it's support starting from Charlotte and having it ready to jump off in Cincinatti in less than 40 days...it could not have been done without using the rails, no matter what tank was used.

    And if you look at the distances covered by the M1 Abrams after that, all the way to the Euphrates just about, pretty much non-stop, in three days...I don't think ANY armored force moved that far that fast while engaged, in history...and I don't think any other contemporary tank could have done it either, at least not as fast or as effectively.
    "Don't hear him call you an ---hole, hear WHY he's calling you an ---hole." -------- From "A Season on the Brink"

    warpig883
    *TFF Staff*
    Posts: 3498
    (5/21/02 10:25:43 pm)
    Reply
    Re: 37mm on the P-39
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Don't know the details of where but a friend of mine was a tanker in the Gulf during that big flanking movement and he talked about a convoy of tanks that went of forever racing through the desert all night. I wish now I would have listened to his stories and got the specifics.

    My brother was a Patriot missile mech in the Gulf and also saw some big armour movements

    "I'M NOT GOING TO HAVE SOME REPORTERS PAWING THROUGH OUR PAPERS. WE ARE THE PRESIDENT." - Hillary Clinton commenting on the release of subpoenaed documents

    beesay
    Member
    Posts: 1
    (1/11/03 11:17:54 pm)
    Reply Re: Best Tank Design of WWII
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I opted for the T34 mainly because:
    1) It could turn quicker than its opponents. Ask any German tankie from WW2 about that. Panzer1V would chuck a track if it tried to do what the T34 could do in tight spot.
    2) Lower ground pressure from a wider track made it able to traverse slushy ground a lot easier than its main opponent the Panzer1V.
    3) Its diesel engine meant more reliability, ability to operate at either end of the temperature scale and fuel a lot easier to obtain from inferior crude oil distillation plants. Cheaper and easier to maintain as wellas better fuel economy.
    4) Ballistic performance of its armour. Well shaped shot deflecting capacity and armour.
    5) 1st tank to fully utilise Christie suspension. So superior to any suspension either torsion bar or HVSS or VVSS.

    Beesay

    Xracer
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 3511
    (1/13/03 10:11:16 am)
    Reply Re: Best Tank Design of WWII
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Hi beesay......welcome to TFF.....and especially the HistoryNuts section!

    Jump in with both feet.....and have a ball!

    polishshooter
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 3766
    (2/8/03 10:03:22 pm)
    Reply Re: Best Tank Design of WWII
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Hey X, I Like it! We have a NAME!!!

    HistoryNuts! (What we like/What Gen. McAulliffe said at Bastogne...)

    Now all we need is a logo...
    Anybody who thinks money can buy happiness needs to remember Michael Jackson.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2003
  2. swiftman

    swiftman Member

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    Saw ashow on the history Channel a while back about the Tiger and the men who fought against it. They asked the guys who were really there what tank they would pick to be in if they had a choice. They all said Tiger.
    The T-34 was a good 1940 design but against the tiger its only really good weapeon was that it was in high number and the men inside would either die by the germans hand or thier own officers hand. When it took 4 or 5 shermans or t-34 to take out a well placed Tiger . I will ask you which one you would pick to be in one on one?
  3. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

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    One on One? No other variables? No question...the Tiger, (of course only if it was NEW, with less than 50 kilometers or so on it's tracks, and there wasn't any bridges around you might have to cross, and had GAS.... :cool: )

    The only WRINKLE is "one on one" almost NEVER happened....which is ANOTHER myth of WWII...


    So the answer is, all things considered? Do you want to WIN the war as WELL as survive it???? Or do you want to sit in an immobile pillbox, that granted is tough to take out, only until you get surrounded, and either bypassed or clobbered by superior artillery, and surrender, or move and either break down, run out of gas, get stuck in a creek or river, or get plastered by a P-47? And then surrender?


    ...an M4 or T34..... again, NO QUESTION...


    And you also alluded to another myth..."died at the hands of the Germans..." Statistically, FEW German or Russian tankers died at the hands of Tiger crewmen! MOST that died or were wounded were by the hands of German AT gunners, or Infantrymen with panzerfausts....there were very FEW tank v. tank fights in Western Europe after DDay....


    Keep in mind whenever an M4 got "knocked out" ther AVERAGE number of CASUALTIES was ONE. That means for EVERY one knocked out with no survivors, 4 more got knocked out where EVERY crew member got out.

    Now YES, more Tiger crewman probably survived than M4 crewmen, but then again, abandoning your "superior" tank because of minor mechanical brakdowns that made it a worthless hunk of metal, or lack of fuel, or because it got swanped trying to cross a stream because it was too heavy for the bridge isn't usually that dangerous.... :cool:


    The Tiger was the BEST on paper. In action, it was a FAILURE. The Germans SHOULD have ABANDONED it and put all production and testing behind the Panther, which was the BEST all around German Tank and perhaps the best of the war, IF they could have gotten the mechanical bugs worked out of IT. If not, they should have ONLY produced the Mark IV aufs G, and tried to make enough so that they could USE them as offensive weapons, not only "pillboxes."

    The M4 and the T34 were successes, in ACTION. And incidentally, most US and Russian tankers were MORE afraid of meeting Panthers...



    And WELCOME to the forum and proud to have you as another "HistoryNut" Swifty!
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2006
  4. There is one issue no one has hit on yet, it would seem. Granted, Polish, the M-4 did do the job. History shows that quite clearly. And yes, one on one the Tiger was a much better tank, despite its shortcomings. What galls me about the whole issue though, is that the US should have and could have had a much better, far more survivable tank than the M-4 Sherman. Not only did we have the technical know-how to design it, we had the industrial capacity to build it in vast quantity. Even if one assumes that a medium tank was a better solution for Western European combat, we could have built a medium with much better armor and a far more effective gun. The fact that we did not cost far too many unnecessary casualties.
  5. Xracer

    Xracer *TFF Admin Staff Mediator*

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    Minn-eeee-sota, ya, sure, you bet!
    Oh geez.....I thought this thing was dead and buried.....

    Here we go again! :rolleyes:

  6. Like bad pennys, Polish and I just keep turning up to continue the argument, X. :D ;) :cool:
  7. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

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    At one time this post held the title for the LONGEST running ACTIVE posts on the whole Forum! I was kind of proud of it at the time, it got all kinds of people, including some REAL experts posting, from all over the world, and some active Army armor guys too! I learned a HECKUVA lot from it!



    MAYBE we could have, PS, and we more or less DID with the Pershing eventually...but the M4 WORKED, and was easy to produce.

    I'm not sure I agree that we SHOULD have, because we may have run the risks of doing what the Germans did during the war, or even worse, the British!

    MANY different "newer" designs for every type of AFV, PLUS specialty designs, NONE of them with ALL the bugs worked out, and none of them capable of being produced in the numbers needed for a war with SO many theaters, at least for us...

    I'm not sure we WEREN'T correct for sticking with the M4 all the way through. PLUS using the general chassis for most of our OTHER afvs, like TDs, SP arty, recovery vehicles, flamethrower assault tanks, etc.

    And the M4A3E876W was really never COMPLETELY outclassed until the T55 came on the scene...quite a few M4 Easy Eights were fighting T34/85s well enough in Korea, and of course, the Israelis figured out how to make the "Super Sherman" and kept it viable against T64s and T72s until the 1990s!

    I'm wondering WHY we couldn't have done a "Super Sherman" ourselves during the war, though....

    We never even tried to mount a 90mm on one, but the Israelis manage a NATO 105? What gives? And WHY did it work on the M36, the M36B WAS actually a Sherman with a "special turret," of couse, the turret was open and only 1/2" thick, but the HULL was a regular M4 with M4 armor....

    And the Sherman Firefly with the 17 pounder WAS capable of dealing with most German armor, I wonder if not going with IT was the right answer either...we could have pitched the 76mm and converted without much problem, one would think.

    But the biggest scandal was the 76mm "Hypershot" shortage...with ALL our manufacturing capability, having our tankers confront Panthers and Tigers with only 4 or 5 rounds on board if they were LUCKY that could penetrate them frontally, granted, at 600 yds or less, but at least it COULD, as late as 45, WAS a crime....at the time of the Bulge no US tank had more than TWO rounds of it...


    The tank that gets so little credit, and actually probably faced MORE German tanks than the Sherman, was the M24 Chafee...for a "light" tank, that was so fast and reliable, and was so small and had decent armor thickness and slope, it really packed a punch for essentially a "Recon" vehicle intended to fight armored cars and enemy recon patrols...it's "lightweight" 75mm had almost identical ballistics to the early M2 75mm the M4s and M4A1s had in 42 and early 43...I also wonder if MANY of the stories of 75mms "bouncing off" Tigers and Panthers MAY have been from Chafees...we had recon units running ALL over the German "rear," and they WOULD have stumbled on quite a few German Tanks and had to shoot and scoot to get away....while quite a few of our Shermans never SAW German armor....

    We had MANY of those M24s in action the last 6 months or so of the war...and in Korea too...
  8. RJay

    RJay Well-Known Member

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    The T-34. Tiger was much too heavy. The Germans throught so much of the T-34 they used captured ones . The T-34 could knock out a Tiger tank. their only big drawback , No radios. Only the command tank had a radio, and the Germans would try and knock it out first.
  9. daxmanio

    daxmanio New Member

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    The T-34 would be my choice...

    but for survivability and sheer firepower, i'd opt for a Tiger/Konigs(King)Tiger
  10. 17thfabn

    17thfabn New Member

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    M-24 tank production

    Polish, I would have to disagree with your time line for the M-24.

    There were "only" 4,700 M-24 produced versus 50,000 Shermans. More importantly by the end of 1944 only 1900 had been built. I would suspect that only those tanks built in 44 were used in action in Europe. By the time those built in 45 were shipped over the Atlantic, and issued to units at the front the war was all but over there.

    I would think that most of our light tank units were stuck with the M3/M5 light tank (total combined production by 1944 over 22,000) with it's wimpy 37 mm gun. This gun could scratch the paint on the late war tanks. It would have been effective against German armored cars, and half tracks. It did have a cannister round for use against infantry. This was basicly a giant shot gun round. As far as I can tell it was the only gun in WW II that had a cannister round. Polish think of it as a giant model 97 shot gun!

    Over all I think the greatest weakness of the Sherman was it's gun. Even the upgunned American 76mm version had a tough time against the big German "cats", the tiger, and panther. It could take them out at shorter ranges or from the sides or rear. But head on it had a heck of a time. I agree with polish, the shortage of hvap was a disgrace.

    We had an easy solution. Reverse lend lease the excellent British 17lb anti-tank gun. We could have built them here like we did their 6lb anti-tank gun (called the 57mm in U.S. service).
  11. sewerman

    sewerman New Member

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    yes, your right but the german army did what most armies would, used any captured equip that could utilized for victory.
    they used captured hardware all thru the polish and czech campaigns and yes they liked the czech tanks! as well as the t-34/76 /85!
  12. Millwright

    Millwright Well-Known Member

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    The T-34 without doubt. Durable, field-maintainable and repairable, with good turret armour and excellent gun. For an early tank it had few shot traps, a reasonably low silliouette and its turret deflected most AT rounds at all but steep angles. It had a great suspension and reliable drive system... both designs ignored by the U.S. Army......

    Perhaps the best U.S. tank was the Stuart. A light tank with air-cooled radial aircraft engine power, it was named the "Honey" by the British using it in Africa. It gave a good account of itself against Rommel's hodgepodge calvary. Its gun was ineffectual agains armoured targets at all but suicidially close ranges. And that's where the Brits fought it, taking advantage of its speed and manuverability to mix into enemy formations or to 'thrust and parry' as need and terrain required.

    Lots of Shermans built, and rebuilt, and rebuilt. Called the 'Ronson Lighter' for good reason. High sillouette with thin frontal chassis armour and a weak gun. Shot traps everywhere. Faster and lighter than its most commonly encountered opponent the Tiger. Rather poor suspension, too. But, as Stalin said, "Quantity has a quality all its own.".....

    German Tigers were good tanks to a point. Poor turret design with lots of 'flat plate areas' as shot traps. But Krupp armour provided excellent crew protection. But it made Tigers heavy and underpowered for their weight resulting in leisurely top speeds and reduced manuverability. >MW
  13. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

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    Sewerman, you are more right than you think...arguably, you could say the BEST "German" tanks of the entire war were the Czech CZ-35s and 38s....without them the Germans probably would NOT have won in Poland, France, or possibly even Russia at the beginning...in fact they were the "standard" tank of most Panzer Divisions in 39-41, Germany used more of them at that time than any other tank....and they WON with it.

    Why??????

    Did they have better GUNS than the Allied tanks? No. Mid-range velocity 37mms on both, while the Brits had the Higher velocity 2 pounders and most French tanks had the 47mm...

    Did they have better ARMOR? No. The Somuas and the A9s and A13s, much less the Char-Bs and the Matildas had thicker armor, and the Czech tanks even had RIVETED armor which was already obsolete...

    Were they FASTER? Not really, about as fast as any other contemporary "medium" or "cruiser" tank....

    MECHANICAL RELIABILITY was the reason they were so effective, and were actually the last tanks the Germans WON with....Reliability that the Pzkw Is, IIs, IIIs, and IVs did NOT come close to matching at the same time....


    And like the M4/Sherman, was the basis for SPGs, Assault guns, etc for the entire war, and incidentally were the basis for the AFV that actually killed more SHERMANS than any other German Tank or SPG in the ETO after '44...the excellent late war HETZER....fast, small, low, hard to hit, and with a 75mm gun even LESS powerful than the Sherman's M3 gun....


    To be considered even a GOOD tank, Mobility and Mechanical reliability trump gun and armor. PERIOD.

    The BEST tank would HAVE to have those criteria as a given, THEN we can start discussing gun/armor etc....but if it is limited or lacking completely in EITHER, the gun and armor is worthless.


    GRANTED, it would have been nice to have had BOTH, but nobody did, EXCEPT maybe the Russians with the few T-34/85s they had, but even then, there is reason to argue the standard Sherman was marginally BETTER than even it.....and the later variants like the Firefly or the Easy 8 were absolutely better...


    COUNSELOR, I REST my case....:cool: :p :D :D :D :D
  14. mikaldulee

    mikaldulee New Member

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    Tanks...I liked the T-34

    Armor...I liked the german "Stug" series panzers and Hetzers. Yes, I know that they had no turrets, but darn fine in an ambush. Excellent defensive vehicles. Thick frontal armor, heavy gun...fast...easy to produce.
  15. This could have been the best tank of WWII had we been bright enough to get it into production sooner.

    [​IMG]
    M26 Pershing.
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