Is the Main Battle Tank obsolete?

Discussion in 'General Military Arms & History Forum' started by Pistolenschutze, Mar 3, 2007.

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Is the Main Battle Tank obsolete?

  1. Yes, get rid of the MBTs and concentrate on newer weapons systems.

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. Yes, but they still play a significant role. Phase them out slowly.

    7 vote(s)
    14.9%
  3. No, the MBT will be the key to land warfare for the foreseeable future. Build more tanks!

    10 vote(s)
    21.3%
  4. No, but we should not neglect newer weapons systems in favor of tanks.

    30 vote(s)
    63.8%
  1. 300 H&H

    300 H&H Active Member

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    Hey Pistol from the looks of Polish's "avatar" you are beginning to look like you are "out gunned!":eek: I wonder with all the gemany technological abilities, especially the Benze aircraft engine that was such a marvel, why they could not build a engine with enough power to pull those tigers along at a reasonable speed...AS I recall they were powered by a diesel engine, something on the order of 500+ h.p. Really only about half of the power needed to really "move" that kind of weight. Shermans on the other hand were equipted with several moters, each with more power than the last, Multiple Caddy moters to radial aircraft engines. All were gasoline powered if I am not mistaken. I guess this leads ot the question, did the germans have to supply two types of fuel, gas and diesel to move there army? Best reguards, Kirk
  2. They were indeed gasoline powered, 300, which is why the M4 acquired the nickname "The Ronson" . . . because it would light every time! :D Any hit that penetrated the M4's armor, which almost all of them did due to its thinness, was automatically catastrophic.
  3. BillP

    BillP New Member

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    Pistolenschutze & polishshooter :D I just love your posts! I learn a lot from your heated exchanges. If either of you ever write a book, the other should write the introduction.
  4. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

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    Ah, beware the "cheap" wive's tails of History, and those who repeat them...ESPECIALLY after they were REFUTED...;)


    I can show you many quotes, where German Tankers claimed their Panthers "burned too easily," where Soviets called the (Diesel!) T-34 "Their little Lighter..." But everybody that feels the NEED to slam the M4 "conveniently" remembers the British called the EARLY model "the Ronson." (AMERICANS would have called it the ZIPPO.:p ) EARLY models without wet storage of ammo, or the applique armor over the sponsons where the ammo was stored, DID brew up more quickly than most Gasoline powered tanks (and MOST were still powered by gasoline!) But AFTER the "Wet" modification, showing again the VERSATILITY of the design, , which virtually ALL of ours after 1943 WERE, except the MANY early ones that SURVIVED to roll into Germany in '45 of course...they "brewed up" with no MORE frequency than OTHER gasoline powered designs, the Cromwell, the Churchill, or even the Pzkw IVs, Panthers and Tigers! YES they were "Petrol powered" as WELL!.. (BTW, PS, how many German tanks made in 1942 were still in action in 1945?)

    This really DOES get tiring, PS, ;) ESPECIALLY having to defend the tank that actually helped WIN the war, against proponents of the tanks that actually HASTENED the defeat of Germany!

    Bill and 300, they made the Sherman in Diesel too, that did NOT "light up" any faster than other diesels AFTER the wet stowage, but the Army refused them just SO we wouldn't have to ship two types of fuel over 3000 miles TOO...the USMC, as well as the Free French, Polish (which made no sense, we had to supply THEM diesel in Europe too....) and the Russians via lend-lease used them...the M4A2s...

    The one thing the M4 ALSO brought to the table that no German design could match was VERSATILITY, but that's another story, even though PS and the Sherman detractors ignore THAT too...like the M10 and M36 TDs with guns that DID defeat German armor rather easily? Like the M4A3 105mm that could ALSO defeat all German armor with HEAT, BESIDES giving tremendous HE support?

    The M4A1s and M4s (Kinda funny the A1 was produced BEFORE the standard 'M4,) had the radials, the M4A2 had the Diesel, the M4A3 (the most common US type after '43) had the three Ford V-8s, the M4A4 (used mainly for training, none supposedly saw combat) had the weird 4 or even 5 Chrysler engines hooked together. And YEAH, the three Fords gave 500hp power for a much lighter tank than the 600hp of the Maybach in the Tiger or Panthers...but better than that they usually STARTED each morning, not like the German crap...:p

    The limiting factor on the horsepower though, for the Germans, was not that they couldn't MAKE bigger engines, they could! It's just that they couldn't make TRANSMISSIONS that could handle the wear and tear of anything much larger than a ton and a half TRUCK! Almost as MANY of those "parked" Panthers and Tigers you see captured almost unscathed (as opposed to the ones burned out from getting smoked by Jabos or by the fast moving Sherman's (or M10s, M36s or Hellcat TDs!) hitting them in the flank and from behind by surprise, are parked because of a stripped tooth on a ring or pinion gear, or a smoked clutch, as from lack of FUEL!

    One of the very FIRST definitons of a "Tank, what they were DESIGNED for, includes the term "MOBILITY."

    You can have as much armor and gun as you want, but without MOBILITY that you can DEPEND on, you have a PILLBOX. A very DIFFICULT pillbox to destroy possibly, but one that should have used non-strategic CONCRETE instead of STEEL to save valuable RESOURCES....

    One thing PS and all the other "German Superiority" preachers NEVER discuss is where the line of ABSURDITY of German Tank design in WWII was crossed...they ALWAYS spout, almost with PRIDE, and with the Prussian Marching Music almost AUDIBLE in the background, the "Invincible Tiger II, or Panther..." but what about the 100 ton Sturmtiger, the 240 ton Maus, or the even HEAVIER German designs and prototypes actually being TESTED at the of the end of the war armed with NAVAL guns and ALSO eating up precious resources and industrial capacity??? If bigger is BETTER, why not extoll THEM, in your wistful fantasies of "What if?????"

    I actually simply place the line of absurdity, in front of the Tiger II. It really was as absurd as the Maus, any tank that takes 150000 man hours apiece to build, too heavy for all BRIDGES on a continent where river crossings are a fact of military LIFE, and have been for CENTURIES, so they have to waste time experimenting with SCHNORKLES is "Absurdity" in neon lights!

    The PANTHER is another story, and it is TRULY a good thing it was too little too late, still a little too complicated for the state of the mechanical aptitude of the German tanker and mechanic, and rushed into service before any of the bugs could be worked out, and crews could be adequately trained in it. When it WORKED as designed, it was the toughest adversary the Shermans (and T34s) had, thank God they had relatively only a few, and those few broke down as much as they did, so they did not affect the outcome of the war.


    Horrendous losses? More wives tails...I've said it before, but PS doesn't hear well;)...knocked out Shermans averaged one (do you HEAR that PS? ONE!) casualty for EVERY Sherman "Knocked out." American tankers did NOT suffer "horrendous" casualties due to their "Inferior tank!"

    That rate is actually BETTER than the average casualty rate of MOST tanks of the war, INCLUDING the Germans!

    Yes many more American/Allied tanks WERE knocked out in Western Europe than German...WHY??????

    For the ENTIRE war they were ATTACKING, which is what tanks were DESIGNED for....the GERMANS only "attacked" at the BEGINNING...(with "inferior tanks," by the way the only ones they WON with...;)) and when the Allies learned how to STOP them, they rarely EVER attacked again.

    The OTHER thing PS ignores, is Tank vs tank encounters in Europe, from June 6th 1944 until VE day were RARE. One on one "Shootouts at high noon" which is what is envisioned when people ONLY refer to published gun/armor ratios and thus "pronounce" the "best tank", NEVER happened!

    For EVERY instance where "one Tiger held up an entire army and destroyed 30 Shermans," I can show you SEVERAL incidents where one 76mm WHEELED US AT gun or an M10 tank destroyer at Bastogne or Elsenberg ridge did the same THING in reverse to the Panthers and PZKW IVs! (Granted, not to any Tiger IIs, because remember they were too HEAVY for the terrain to be USED in the main attack through the Ardennes at the Bulge, so for Germany's "last Gasp," it's "Best" :p tanks could only play a minor role in a feint in the SOUTH, that fooled no one, especially Georgie Patton, driving up from the South in a maneuver even the GERMANS thought was impossible with TANKS and SMASH into their flank, with of course. "inferior" M4A3s...;)

    MOST of those "horrendous" losses PS cites were to entrenched towed Anti tank GUNS usually 75mm, (giving the devil his due, they had GREAT 75mm AT guns!) NOT 88s.. and PANZERFAUSTS carried by INFANTRY in built up areas, and the cheap, reliable and easily made tiny and quick HETZER Tank Destroyer with the LOW velocity 75mm gun, based on a small. RELIABLE Czech chassis and engine!


    My point is simply that the Sherman, ALL things considered, that it was made and TRANSPORTED many thousands of miles to hostile shores to carry out a doctrine that it was built and specifically TAILORED to carry out, SUCCEEDED wonderfully, in a really epic campaign of rapid MANEUVER and MOVEMENT that probably will never be equaled by armored forces, and is probably the only tank that COULD have done it......

    ....while late war GERMAN tanks, (after YEARS more of armored experience than anyone else, ((heck they INVENTED "Blitzkrieg"!)) they SHOULD have gotten it right, but DIDN'T) that could be DRIVEN from the factories to the front, still were designed to be RAILROADED to the front because the road march would cause too much wear and tear, (AND when designed, the designers even KNEW air superiority was LOST, so there might not BE any railroads left!) and were fragile mechanically, and many times too HEAVY to maneuver around a battlefield due to available BRIDGES did NOT succeed...so were FAILURES.


    And thus, the M4 series Shermans were BETTER tanks, all things considered...


    Counselor, your witness...:D;):D:D:D
  5. Polish, there is a word whose definition you should look up and consider well before you assert you have "refuted" anything about the weaknesses of the M4 Tiger Target. That word is "sophistry." :D;):p By the way, have you considered taking up a new profession after your recovery is complete? My suggestion would be speech writer for a Democratic politician. You'd make a killing!!! :D
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 2, 2007
  6. Millwright

    Millwright Well-Known Member

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    Anytime your enemy can turn a mega-buck investment into scrap with a couple of hundred grand or less of ATW, its time to re-think the investment. Yes, the M-1 is a good tank, and with care ought to be around for quite a while, but its extremely vulnerable to a mobile adversary. (A tank out of fuel is just so much static ironmongery - and M-1s are thirsty - neccessitating a highly vulnerable soft skin supply train.)

    What will replace the MBT ? Probably something not 'track-laying', with far greater range and efficiency using various modes of concealment just now emerging. >MW
  7. 300 H&H

    300 H&H Active Member

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    millwright,
    I wonder if the next tank or tank type replacement will be equipted with a piston engine. Turbines are noteably ineffencent, especially in this type of application. They do bring to the table very high power/size/weight ratio's, but besides being hard on fuel, do not alow troops to fallow close behind. I have always been amazed that the army chose such a design. As for tracks, I think they are hard to beat, and offer a way to get verry heavy weight over very soft ground. Some thing a tire can only wish it could do. So untill the weights are reduced, or the requirement that they operate "of road" are in effect, tracks will still rule. Just my opinion, Kirk
  8. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

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    Actually PS, I deal in FACTS, not myths no matter how entrenched they are....so I would work better with "Conservative Republicans..." It's kind of like explaining 'Supply Side Economics" to the masses, no matter HOW much sense it makes, AND how it's ALWAYS worked every time it's been tried, just as advertised, the people have been "brainwashed" by the repetition of "myths" and by our poor school system so they believe what people have TOLD them and not what they learn for themselves...;)



    And the MORE I've thought about it all day, if ANYONE has made any absurd statements, I BELIEVE it was someone who claimed ALL German tanks of WWII were superior...was that YOU PS?

    Germans won by superior DOCTRINE, and LOST when they got AWAY from that doctrine, and started building tanks that DENIED their forces the very mobility it need to WIN the war! So what did the Germans do? Conveniently claim that THAT doctrine was DEAD, and go back to using large, virtually immobile tanks, as merely "ambush" weapons that could NEVER win the war no matter how well they performed THAT assignment, hoping at BEST to fight a war of attrition against an enemy from both sides that they KNEW could EACH outproduce and outman them...even though at that VERY time their OWN doctrine of "Blitzkrieg" was being executed AGAINST them, in most cases better than THEY executed it themselves, by not only the Western Allies, but the RUSSIANS as well, if but a little cruder in application...:cool: And they were losing WHOLE ARMIES, just as they had once CAPTURED whole armies themselves..by MOVEMENT, and mobility....not static defenses....


    When they WON it was with INFERIOR tanks: the Panzer I was actually a 7 ton LMG only armed "Tankette," inferior to ANY Allied tank, including the Polish TKM tankette!...the Pzkw II, was armed with the SAME gun the TKM had, a 20mm AIRCRAFT gun! Later on it became a passable recon tans armor could be penetrated by a .30 caliber AP round! (The Panzer I could be pierced by .30 caliber BALL at the right angle....) And keep in mind the PZKW I and II were the most numerous of ALL the GERMAN designed tanks in front line service right up until the gates of MOSCOW....

    The Panzer III COULD have been a decent tank earlier if they went with the long 50mm SOONER, but the short 50mm most models carried was still inferior to the 2 pounder and barely BETTER than the 37mm, that replaced the measley 37mm the Pzkw III originally had AFTER the war started....and it's armor was LESS at first than MOST medium tanks it was facing...even though a LOT of them it was facing had 45mm or 47mm High Velocity guns! But even though on PAPER the "main" German tank at the start of Barbarossa, it was never produced in adequate quantities, enough to actually BECOME the main German MBT, until 1942...(possibly the FIRST indication that the Germans were having trouble producing "heavier tanks," even though it was only about 20 tons????)


    The Panzer IV at FIRST, in fact about all the way TO Moscow, was only designed to be a close support tank, with a short 75mm howitzer, that they didn't even have a proper AP round FOR at first!


    Yeah, it became their BEST and most reliable tank over time, but when IT finally became a match for the T34/76 and the M4s and M4A1s, it was essentially a 30+ ton tank on a suspension, powerplant and transmission designed for at MAXIMUM a 25 tonner...and every up-gun and up-armor it faced after that stressed it out even more, and it's reliability rates suffered accordingly...

    BUT it's reliability rate was head and SHOULDERS above the Panther and Tiger II....and closer, but still much better than the Tiger I...

    The Tiger I, designed with a VERTICAL glacis plate AFTER the war started?


    And the Panther and Tiger II, too heavy for available German Automotive technology, both designed to travel by Railroad because the designers KNEW they could not survive "excessive" road marches...(like ANY???), but BOTH too wide for railroad tunnels in Europe, so BOTH designed with narrow "shipping" tracks, and the wide ones would have to be removed along with the outer road wheels , and it took a DEPOT level repair facility to reinstall them in any length of time...which by definition on a fluid battlefield, COULD be miles away from the fighting, so the "road march" was inevitable ANYWAY!

    And this feature was designed into them AFTER the designers knew that Germany had lost air superiority, and probably would have NO railroads to USE????....

    The "abandoned" but "pristine" German tanks you see at the end of the war in so MANY Pictures, usually with an M4 rolling PAST towards the East? There is as MUCH chance, possibly MORE, that they were abandoned due to a broken tooth on a gear or pinion in the weak Maybach transmission or final drives, a burnt out clutch, or just flat out engine failure, as it was they were out of FUEL.


    and besides that the Tiger II too heavy for BRIDGES in the main area it's designed to fight, INCLUDING Railroad bridges, in which riverine crossings are and have BEEN the NORM, not the exception...

    AND both of them designed with an interleaved suspension that when caked with mud, or snow, would freeze SOLID over night, and immobilize them, worse than ANY contemporary tank in the cold, so the suspension had to be meticulously cleaned each night... but the crew has to REMOVE the outer wheels to reach the INNER wheels,...I betcha the crews were swearing in both high and LOW German at the "Superior German Designs." :p:D:D

    Even a good CLEANING didn't guarantee they would move after a hard freeze, so many Tankers on the Eastern Front BESIDES keeping watch and maintaining the tank had to gather enough wood (tough to DO on the steppes!;)) to tend the FIRE built under the tank if they were to be SURE they could even move when the Russians attacked at dawn...yep, THEY were "well rested...." ESPECIALLY Manstein's "Fire Brigades...." 'Sleepfighting" is more like it....

    And not even considering that ALL German tanks were more complicated to build, so NONE of them had the potential to EVER truly be produced in even adequate quantities, but they got MORE heavy and complex as the war went on, meaning ALL tank production was slowed???


    No PS, the German tank DESIGNS, for the ENTIRE war were sub-par at BEST compared to their adversaries...I maintain patently INFERIOR...

    The fact that they WON at the beginning had to do with DOCTRINE that nobody else even understood, and the influx of the ONLY reliable tanks the Panzertruppen ever HAD in WWII...the CZECH 35s and 38s...which was actually their MAIN MBTs right up until Moscow in 1941, and WITHOUT which, the entire war up to that point could NOT have been fought, at least the way it was, by Hitler...so the very BEST "German" tanks weren't even designed by GERMANS...(which is probably why they WORKED as designed.....;):p:D:D:D


    No PS, German Tank Design really SUCKED in WWII....it is a tribute to their Professional Army Officers and General Staff and their well trained and disciplined troops, for at least the first 3 years of the war, before most were killed or captured, that they did as WELL as they did with what they had....ALL things considered....

    Sophistry, PS?

    I think all it shows in reality is I have "done my homework," with an OPEN MIND.....:p
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2007
  9. Ah, so it is facts you want. OK, here you go! :D

    M4A1 Sherman Tank Specifications


    Weight: 33.4 tons

    Armor: 19-91 mm

    Main Gun: 75 mm (later 76 mm)

    Secondary Armament: 1 x .50 cal. Browning M2HB machine gun, 2 x .30 Browning M1919A4 machine gun

    Engine: 400 hp Continental R975-C1 (Gasoline)
    Range: 120 miles
    Speed: 24 mph


    Tiger Tank Specifications:

    Weight 68.5 tonnes (initial turret)
    69.8 tonnes (production turret)
    Armor 25–180 mm
    Primary armament 1× 8.8 cm KwK 43 L/71
    84 rounds
    Secondary armament 2× 7.92 mm Maschinengewehr 34
    4,800 rounds
    Engine V-12 Maybach HL 230 P30
    700 PS (690 hp, 515 kW)
    Power/weight 10 PS/tonne
    Transmission Maybach OLVAR EG 40 12 16 B (8 forward and 4 reverse)
    Suspension torsion-bar
    Operational range 170 km
    Speed 41.5 km/h

    Unit Losses Kills Kill/Loss Ratio, Tiger Tank

    schwere Panzer-Abteilung 501 Losses 120, Kills 450, Ratio 3.75
    schwere Panzer-Abteilung 502 Losses 107, Kills 1,400, Ratio 13.08
    schwere Panzer-Abteilung 503 Losses 252, Kills 1,700, Ratio 6.75
    schwere Panzer-Abteilung 504 Losses 109, Kills 250, Ratio 2.29
    schwere Panzer-Abteilung 505 Losses 126, Kills 900, Ratio 7.14
    schwere Panzer-Abteilung 506 Losses 179, Kills 400, Ratio 2.23
    schwere Panzer-Abteilung 507 Losses 104, Kills 600, Ratio 5.77
    schwere Panzer-Abteilung 508 Losses 78, Kills 100, Ratio 1.28
    schwere Panzer-Abteilung 509 Losses 120, Kills 500, Ratio 4.17
    schwere Panzer-Abteilung 510 Losses 65, Kills 200, Ratio 3.08
    13./Panzer-Regiment Grossdeutschland Losses 6, Kills 100, Ratio 16.67
    III./Panzer-Regiment Grossdeutschland Losses 98, Kills 500 Ratio 5.10
    13./SS-Panzerregiment 1 Losses 42, Kills 400, Ratio 9.52
    8./SS-Panzerregiment 2 Losses 31, Kills 250, Ratio 8.06
    9./SS-Panzerregiment 3 Losses 56, Kills 500, Ratio 8.93
    schwere SS-Panzer-Abteilung 101 (501) Losses 107, Kills 500, Ratio 4.67
    schwere SS-Panzer-Abteilung 102 (502) Losses 76, Kills 600, Ratio 7.89
    schwere SS-Panzer-Abteilung 103 (503) Losses 39, Kills 500, Ratio 12.82
    Total Losses 1,715 Kills 9,850 Ratio 5.74
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 10, 2007
  10. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

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    Aha, I gotcha now, PS!:p

    One of the most famous lessons I ever learned was from an old navy Chief, in fact a flying crew chief on a Navy PB4Y that flew a lot of top Navy Brass around....

    "Figures Lie and Liars Figure"

    ESPECIALLY, when comparing tanks and weapons "On Paper!"

    First, we can have "dueling specs" all day, like your specs on the M4, why not give the specs for the M4A3, with the 500bhp V-8 Fords, and the 47 degree glacis AND the added armor to 100mm, that was the tank MOST used by US forces?


    And why use some of the least favorable numbers you can find for the Sherman, while at the same time using the MOST favorable numbers for the Tiger? (for example, I have about 5 different sources on my bookshelf right NOW, not counting the scores of others I have read since I was 12, that vary GREATLY on something as simple as maximum armor thickness on the M4A3, from 75mm to 120...)

    And, I can show you specifications in ONE of my books that give the Maybach P30 as only developing 600bhp at 3000rpm, and giving the Tiger II an operational range of only 68 miles! And while we're at it, 600bhp/68 tons, 500bhp/32 tons...power to weight ratio anyone?

    And SPEEDS! The "road speed" of the M4 is ACTUAL road speed, they could do and DID, the entire war, in COMBAT...(I believe the 24 hour sustained road march record is STILL held by the M4s, and OTHER mechanically superior US vehicles, under Patton!) while the "road Speed" listed for the Tiger, and MOST other German Tanks as well, is from their TRIALS...the THEORETICAL road speed, wink wink nudge nudge, because everybody KNEW they NEVER could do that in real life WITHOUT breaking down, throwing a track, and in the case of the TIger, running into ANOTHER pesky bridge they couldn't cross!

    Where is THAT notated on your "paper stats?" You have to read DEEPER than paper stats!

    But I am not CONTENDING that the Panther or Tiger was NOT better armed, for that first shot! OR better armored....

    Only that wars are not fought..."on paper!"

    But how do you quantify ON PAPER the fact that the majority of the time the tank in Europe was NOT firing at another TANK, how do you qualify the MAXIMUM RATE OF FIRE of that main tank weapon, how do you quantify on PAPER the gyrostabilized gun that the Sherman had, meaning it would ALWAYS hit first in any engagement, granted, maybe not with a killing blow BUT WP or HE would allow it to ESCAPE, or more likely CLOSE to kill at 300 yds, from the FLANK, if it SAW the German at the same time? How do you quantify ON PAPER the SLOW traverse of the Tiger? Meaning it had BETTER hit the T-34 or M4 with it's FIRST shot, it was a rare feat to GET a second....

    You must read about TACTICS, and about how they were USED in combat...

    The Tiger was relegated to ONLY being truly effective as an "Ambush" weapon. READ about it, PS, it's enlightening! Was it GOOD at that? YES!

    But the fact it was used as a DEFENSE at Nuremburg, the propaganda photographs taken for the consumption of the German People of Pieppers Tigers in "Action" during the Battle of the Bulge...they were taken no where NEAR the fighting, the "brave German Panzer Grenadier" with the MG belts around his neck, or the ones "charging" the enemy (the worng WAY!:p) were STAGED...

    They were used to prove Piepper could not have been anywhere NEAR Malmedy. so could not have committed the "massacre," BECAUSE TIGERS WERE TOO HEAVY FOR THE BRIDGES IN THE ARDENNES.

    Sorry, if your "BEST" tank cannot even take PART in your last gasp OFFENSIVE? Sorry, but it SUCKS...

    And as for your ratios, those are for the entire war, the units fought with MANY tanks, not just Tigers...

    Do me a favor and break those down by year and make of tank each unit was using, and if you can, exactly WHAT the kills were....MANY of those are "inflated" with the 10-15000 or so of the obsolete Russian T-26 and T-35 heavies killed just in the first offensive of Barbarossa.

    And I ALSO gave them a LOT of credit for USING their inferior tanks so WELL from 1939 to about mid-1942...

    And while you are at it tell me if just maybe your sources of the kill ratios are only GERMAN....

    You know how inflated the German kills reported by German "Aces," were...they had a WHOLE different way of "confirming" kills than the allies had in the air, and it would have been TOUGH confirming "kills" on enemy tanks after 1943 or 1944, when the Germans were always RETREATING....


    No the ONLY "statistic" or scorecard that really matters is how many operational tanks were still capable of combat IN GERMANY in April 1945...

    Allies- THOUSANDS

    Germany- ZERO.


    It all goes back to that ONE little fact you cannot refute, and it GRATES on you.... (and to your credit you are not alone, many OTHER otherwise very well informed people and scholars make the same mistake, and spend too much time just looking at the "specs," and wondering WHY and then must make "excuses...")







    I realize that many times I am challenging LONG held "beliefs," and many times people's first reaction is defensive, like I am challenging deeply held RELIGIOUS beliefs.

    I did NOT come to this position LIGHTLY however...I TOO have had professors giving me the "Company Line", that I refused to accept a lot of times because SOMETHING was missing...(and not only in THIS either!;))

    Then I get OBSESSED with finding through my OWN research what is REALLY the true story, not just what the "crib notes" tell me....

    And that is why I LOVE studying history...just about ALL the time, there is "The Rest of the Story" just waiting to be found!

    The only real problem is that it is patently IMPOSSIBLE to go that in-depth in EVERY facet of History....so to to that , one must "specialize" much like a Doctor.

    Many Historians are "General Practioners," while I look at myself more of "Cardiologist..." (PS however might say "Proctocologist....":D:D:D)
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2007
  11. Polish, not only are you stooping to sheer sophistry, now you are bordering on revisionism!

    In logic, the kind of argument you present is called a "Fallacy of Accident," Polish. Your conclusion has nothing to do with the original argument. It breaks down like this:

    P1. The United States and its Allies won the Second World War against Germany.
    P2. The United States and its Allies used the M4 Sherman tank against Germany.
    P3. Germany lost the Second World War to the United States and its Allies.
    P4. Germany used Tiger and Panther tanks against the United States and its Allies.

    THEREFORE: The M4 Sherman tank was a better tank than the Tigers and Panthers.

    Such arguments prove nothing. It is patently obvious that the Allies won World War II against Germany using the M4 tank. That proves absolutely nothing about the quality or capability of the M4 vs. the German tanks, only that Germany lost the war, a fact already conceded. The true operative question is, "why did Germany lose the war?" It lost for many reasons, not the least of which was a population base too small to stave off the massive forces arrayed against it, and the relative lack of production capability to construct the tools of war in sufficient quantities. Contrary to what you are trying to argue, the loss of the war has nothing logically to do with the relative merits of Allied v. German tanks. I suspect the Allies would have won had they used only British Matildas or American M3 Stuarts, assuming they built enough of them. No, Polish, the statistics I quoted are indeed relevant if the argument focuses on tank capability qua tank capability.
  12. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

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    Pistol, you STILL aren't getting it, let me try again...

    EVERY tank design is a trade off of the BIG three, Fire power, protection, and mobility.

    As simple as that sounds, though, it is a LOT more complicated than that...and Fire power and protection are the EASIEST to design into a tank. Theoretically, you could put a 16" naval gun into a Turret with 14 FEET of armored plate, if you wanted to...in a strategic location, it just might ALSO knock out a LOT of opposing tanks, AND be tough to knock out, but you would then call it a "Fort," not a "tank," since it would have NO mobility....


    MOBILITY is the trickiest part of the design pie, and it IS limited both by available engines, transmissions, suspensions, as WELL as production capabilities, and the industrial capability of the country, (like, can it MAKE enough of them to be effective?) actually producing it. OTHER things go into it as well, such as where it will FIGHT, the climate, as WELL as how far it is expected to be SHIPPED to fight in what potential theater...

    BUT, it can be argued, and most experts will AGREE, that MOBILITY is the ESSENCE of armored warfare. HECK, tanks were INVENTED to bring mobility BACK to a stagnant battlefield dominated by modern artillery and automatic weapons...

    And the GERMANS were the best students of the "New" type of war of mobility, brought about by intelligent use of tanks as the spearhead, rather than just another "support" weapon. And in PRACTICE they showed the entire world that DOCTRINE,and offensive use of tanks, no MATTER their firepower or protection, was the key! If you COULD give it decent firepower or protection, while NOT sacrificing "acceptable" mobility (OBVIOUSLY some degradation of mobility is needed, with ANY armor or decent gun, but how MUCH?) that was GRAVY, but NOT absolutely essential! Like the Germans THEMSELVES proved in Poland, France and the Low Countries, in Africa, and in Russia until mid 1943, with ADEQUATE tanks, mobile, but under gunned and less well armored, than MANY tanks they faced!

    While it only planned for the OFFENSIVE in it's tank doctrine, Germany ALSO developed a DEFENSIVE doctrine, of mobile reserves behind a lightly defended line, racing to threatened breakthroughs and COUNTERATTACKING (which is actually an OFFENSIVE operation,) to stop, or even defeat the enemy's attack. Germany had several BRILLIANT armor officers, such as Manstein, who developed it to such a fine degree that his divisions were called the "Fire Brigades," covering large amounts of territory, to launch a LOCALIZED counterattack at the PERFECT spot to thwart a much LARGER force of attacking Russians...but the KEY, was MOBILITY.

    BUT, while the Panther COULD have been the best tank of the war, it suffered because even it was too heavy for the industrial capacity of the nation, and too heavy for the available automotive components, which never progressed much beyond the strength needed for the EARLY Pzkw IV, that weighed about 25 tons! But it was still a manageable tank, at 45 tons, maybe with a little lightening, either with less armor, or a slightly smaller profile, especially width, it MIGHT have been the best tank of the war, and probably would have been the tank most copied in the immediate Post -war era.

    BUT, close is only good in hand grenades and horseshoes...

    The TIGER II, was an absurdity...literally the immobile fort, using the automotive components already proved to be too light for the PANTHER....

    Tank design has ALWAYS followed the oscillations and cycles of Light, to heavy, to TOO heavy for mobility, back to light....and the cycle continued...

    The late war German tanks, at 60-70 tons, are generally regarded by experts(OTHER than me...;)) as TOO HEAVY on that scale, which resulted in the immediate post war REDUCTION to about 40-45 tons for new MBTs...BECAUSE Mobility suffered so much, NOBODY could build tanks that large to be dependable (i.e., the relatively QUICK retirement of the JS IIs and IIIs by the Soviet Union, who rarely retired ANYTHING, and the ill fated Conqueror and the US M103...they suffered the SAME fate as the Tiger II, too heavy, too LACKING in mobility to be practical for modern military operations, and taking up too many resources just to GET them there....)

    Tanks are AGAIN going up in weight, the Abrams, LeClercs, Challengers, Leopards, T-80s, Merkavas...are all in the same size range of the Tiger II, BUT that is with powerplants that have exponentially improved since then..Doubled or TRIPLED the bhp of the Tiger's puny Maybach! What has ALSO improved exponentially is the metallurgy needed to build TRANSMISSIONS, and SUSPENSIONS that can HANDLE that extra power! Throw in the fact that the new laminated Chobham type ARMOR is so much LIGHTER than hardened steel, a LOT of that weight is in new electrical servos (not Hydraulics!) to traverse the turret quickly, and elevate and, coupled with LARGER work areas than the narrow turrets of the Panther or Tiger, to allow the crew to USE the large guns as fast as the US tankers loaded their 75's or the Russians loaded their 76s, OR the Germans used to load their 50mms or shorter 75s!

    BUT we at at the extreme of almost "too large" AGAIN...the NEXT "tanks" , according to MANY experts, do to the changing nature of war as WELL as new technology, will probably be MUCH smaller AGAIN!

    SO what I am saying, is the German designers made a CONSCIOUS decision, to make mere THOUSANDS of the Panther, and mere HUNDREDS of the Tiger IIS, while at the same time knowing that such production would take up so much production capacity that the production of other PROVEN designs would ALSO be reduced......

    They made a CONSCIOUS decision (helped by some of the General Staff, who misread the success of the T-34s and KV-Is handled by now COMPETENT Russian Armor commanders, and claimed that "Blitzkrieg" was dead, and the only thing that mattered, to beat the Russians, were superior guns and armor.(All the while MANSTEIN is DEFEATING them with Panzer IVs by USING mobility...and is demanding MORE IVs, not BETTER tanks!) to make tanks HEAVIER, and LESS fuel efficient, KNOWING they didn't have the fuel or shipping capacity to GET them to the Front...much less the fuel to TRAIN crews properly to USE them...at a time when German Tank crews were being lost at a very high rate in Russia, and the replacements were already suffering from the effects of inadequate training....in older much DIFFERENT tanks than the ones they would actually take into battle....

    Made the conscious decision (UNDERSTANDABLE, if you have convinced yourself "mobility" is overrated....) that they did not NEED to be able to road march, they can be shipped by RAIL...(of course, KNOWING that they probably wouldn't be able to USE the rails much longer, due to Allied tactical airpower...)



    At the same time, on the OTHER side of the pond, America made DIFFERENT decisions...first, in the pre-war austerity budgets, the Army did NOT buy many tanks...but spent what little R&D they had on ENGINES, and automotive parts like TRANSMISSIONS...and kept their main tanks (the M2 light and the M2 Medium) simple, and easy to maintain, and dead meat if they ever went into battle...

    BUT we ALSO trained in them hard, and had pretty decently trained armor officers TOO, who were the cadre between the wars...

    In OUR exercises, tanks were used to EXPLOIT, to MANEUVER, enemy tanks were dealt with ny the INFANTRY, with artillery and AT guns, later by SP AT guns, the Tank Destroyers...tanks were DESIGNED to fight infantry, why our pre war tanks were BRISTLING with MGs, even FIXED ones controlled by the driver, like a FIGHTER plane!

    When the war started, our tanks were WOEFULLY inadequate, but with the massive influx of money, tank designs started flowing in...BUT one problem is that no American Factory had the capability or know how to cast a turret ring large enough for a gun larger than 37mm, or for more than two men!

    But using the excellent, well understood, totally "debugged: engines, transmissions, powertrains, plus suspensions, that we ALREADY had developed, we built tanks around THEM. And QUICKLY made THOUSANDS of M3 Lee and Grants that we NOW trained with, plus gave to our Allies, which pulled the British chestnuts out of the fire in Africa..Quickly dominating the German Panzer IIIs, and giving the Brits something to engage with HE the 88s of Rommel while advancing, but MORE importantly, gave the Brits what was about their FIRST tanks..the OTHER was the M3 Stuart...that were mechanically RELIABLE, fast, easy to maintain, AND didn't throw tracks easily!

    But we KNEW that it was a "stopgap..." and kept working on a replacement...but one of the design parameters was it HAD to use the same engine, suspension and powertrain we knew so well, and already had in production...PLUS it could NOT be over 35 tons, and LARGER than the size it was, even down to the width of railroad cars and the TUNNELS each tank would have to pass on the way to the PORTS, and sized to take up the least amount of cube available in the hulls of ships...ALL of those parameters, were taken into account, and YES, were MOBILITY strenghts at the Expense of FIREPOWER and PROTECTION...

    But one other SMALL thing...it was exactly the tank ALSO requested by the Army, and it's armored commanders!

    THAT decision, or "limitation," is EXACTLY why we COULD build 46,732 M4 tanks of all types, along with another 15000 armored vehicles using the M4 hull, from 1942 through 1945...

    The decisions the GERMAN'S made in THEIR tank designs, limited THEIR TOTAL tank production of ALL types, during the SAME period, to only 18,870...that had to fight on TWO fronts...

    So DON'T just gloss over, and give the "pat" answer that "Superior" German tanks were simply beaten by "sheer numbers...." That is the FIRST thing I hope you quit teaching, not only because it belittles the very sacrifices of the American tanker, but by the GREAT team of designers,industrialists, and factory workers that GAVE us this war winning design! It is simply and patently UNTRUE that "America made a conscious decision to send US tankers to their deaths in inferior tanks..." There were conscious, well though out, logical and CORRECT decisions to build the BEST tank we could, in the numbers we needed, as WELL as ongoing and frantic experiments to constantly IMPROVE that tank as we built them....while NOT sacrificing any mobility or dependability...in the tank in which our tankers ultimately performed so WELL.

    The TANK BATTLES of WWII were decided on the DESIGN TABLES....and the decisions made by the Americans regarding the M4 were the BETTER decisions...and that and that ALONE should convince you which in fact were thus the "Better" design!

    And the Shermans AGAIN were superior tanks in Africa, except for the "few" Tiger Is, (few because they took up too much valuable shipping space which was in short supply,) were proved to be too HEAVY, too fuel inefficient, and too unreliable to be anything but a curiosity, in the small numbers they were faced....AND the Sherman's M3 gun was found to be ADEQUATE when it faced them...NOT great, but ADEQUATE...

    That is ALSO why Belton Cooper is wrong, claiming the M26 was somehow consciously delayed, and could have been fielded earlier ...and why I so strongly DISAGREE with your statement that America SHOULD have designed a "bigger and better" tank earlier!

    We had NO confidence we could build in wartime a TOTALLY different tank, with wholly NEW engines, transmissions, and suspensions, AND get all the bugs worked out, and the crews trained, before the war would end! AND if the bugs were NOT worked out, it might be MORE suicidal for American crews to have to learn how to drive, operate, maintain, a new design, while in Combat! The decision WAS made to do all we could to IMPROVE the M4 design, constantly experimenting with engines, (mainly due to the shortage of aircraft radials) guns (105mm, and 76mm), armor, angles of the glacis, even later, suspensions (the HVSS was NOT new, it just took time to "fine tune," then it WAS retro fitted pretty quickly, even in the field, but NOT until it was"perfected...')

    This decision making was NOT unique to TANKS....NO American Warplane, that saw service in WWII, until the VERY end, was designed DURING the war! EVERY design was designed PRIOR to our entry and "refined" until it was ultimately issued...the same generally with WARSHIPS....all were either DESIGNED or already laid down before the war...EXCEPT the Destroyer Escorts and smaller subchasers, which had BUGS and didn't get fully on line until 1943....DESPITE the pressing need we had for them in the Atlantic two years EARLIER....

    That is the CORRECT decision in my book....if the M26 WAS sent into action quickly before the bugs were worked out, the crews probably would have died as easily as the first Panther crews at Kursk, when they were committed "before they were ready, and before the crews were trained...." (not MY quotes, but the German General Staff's....)

    The M26 was deemed ready for LIMITED combat trials in late 1945, those 20 were the ONLY ones we had "ready," and it was JUST to prove to the world we had SOMETHING to match the Russian "Heavies..." But it was NEVER perfected..even the derived M46 was plagued by problems until it was replaced by the M47/48.

    Quite POSSIBLY the only reason it did so WELL against the Panthers and Tiger IIs it encountered at that late stage of the war is because the German crews were so untrained and inexperienced...

    I'll argue that Germany would have been BETTER off, LIGHTENING and SIMPLIFYING the Panther, and devoting just about ALL tank production to it,trying to get the bugs out of, and increasing production of, the Tiger I that they at least had some experience in, to use as a "stiffener" or heavy "assault tank" for the Panther divisions, and scrapping the idea of the Tiger II and anything HEAVIER....

    If that doesn't convince you as to which were the better DESIGNS, then study the campaigns in which the M4/Shermans FOUGHT...

    You cannot find ONE campaign where the Sherman FAILED (even Kasserine, it was the green US TANKERS who failed, not the TANKS...)

    Yes you can find LOSSES, and yes, LARGE losses that are regrettable...but in the course of the war, we could AFFORD....

    The final MYTH you have to get over, despite Coopers book title to the contrary, they were NOT "Deathtraps..."

    The fact is only ONE tanker, on average, lost his life for each Sherman knocked out the ENTIRE war...were there catastrophic "brew ups" in which every crew member was killed before they could bail? ABSOLUTELY..but to AVERAGE one, then that means 4 ADDITIONAL M4s would have to be knocked out with NO tankers killed for each one like that!

    SO even WITH so many knocked out, MOST were "mobility kills," where it hit a mine, and lost a track, with no casualties...or a hit in the engine, with everyone bailing out....

    If you read any specific accounts of M4s in combat, bith isn US and British service, you see that MANY crews bailed out of MANY tanks, yet were back into the fight in ANOTHER tank, one PROBABLY repaired from being knocked out BEFORE, sometimes the same day! That is why you ALSO see tank names like "Nancy VI..." that was the SIXTH tank that Sergent or Lt. fought in, and he hadn't lost his life yet...

    The fact that so MANY were repaired and back in service in such a short length of time is ANOTHER benefit of a well tested, reliable, easy to fix, design... another PLUS...

    If you read this far, PS, thank you...

    But I am NOT simply being obstinate....I have been this fired up about this topic since HIGH SCHOOL, and my FIRST teacher tried that "only won by sheer numbers" crap on me...I was ALREADY pretty well read on the subject, and have researched and argued it since.

    About the only OTHER topics I am AS committed to changing people's opinions on is the importance of the New Guinea/Solomons Campaign to the Pacific war as opposed to the conventional wisdom that it was a "sideshow..." and the fact that the Civil War was actually decided in the WEST, and the most important and decisive battles actually took place over the control of Chattanooga... (as you have already heard in the past...!:p)
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2007
  13. Millwright

    Millwright Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2005
    Messages:
    1,950
    WTH does 50+ year old scrap iron have to do with the modern battlefront ? Personally, I can't see the U.S. spending the bucks to develop a new track-layer in the forseeable future. Right now most of our R&D bucks seem to be going into wheeled vehicles more suited to urban conflict - and even that's a debatable exercise.

    The reality is no armoured vehicle can survive until and unless its air superiority/support is assured. To aircraft armour is just another LVT. I suspect the Russians, with their Hind series, hit upon the most effective way to put boots on the ground where needed and support them as well. >MW
  14. delta13soultaker

    delta13soultaker New Member

    Joined:
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    2,948
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    Depends on Uncle Sam's whim every 3 yrs.
    50 years in military years is very little time. The U.S. Army's, as well as other branches, lineage spans over 2,000 years.

    The past is often repeated.

    "You can't know where you're going if you don't know where you've been."
  15. USMC-03

    USMC-03 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2007
    Messages:
    1,825
    Location:
    Peoples Republic of the Pacific Northwest
    Amen!

    And if I may add, the past is often repeated because it is either forgotten or ignored. Very little is actually new and origional.
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