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Old 20 Apr 12, 06:19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBark View Post
I did read the book and I was the one that got you to buy it. Remember?

I do remember and even gave you a pip for it .
Notice that you have not been using the report to support the M4. In fact you have derided the doc by stating the views contained was not an official 'report', and implied it could be ignored.

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Originally Posted by JBark View Post
It also shows better visibility. Hopefully the gunner is not the only crew member looking for the enemy.
I suspect the Commander may be looking out for the enemy as well.

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Originally Posted by JBark View Post
I have no problem with it.
Excellent. If similar numbers of tanks on each side have similar wins and losses in the same tactical situations, and one side has a better tank, then it must be let down by its crew. I believe that US tankers were better than their German counterparts, and thus the German panzers must be better at a tactical level to counter this US strength in personnel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JBark View Post
I disagree.
You surprise me . The German tanks have more powerful guns with better sights, better armour, and better maneuverability in the terrain given the actual weather conditions. The Shermans had better overall visability when buttoned up and a faster turret rotation speed. You might think that makes the M4 a superior machine in combat, I disagree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JBark View Post
No, I didn't. I did say this: "I for one don't have any problem with what is written in the book if you remember a few things..."Scroll up and read the rest." What I have said, and you agreed, was that the G.I.'s made statements that told us nothing we didn't already know. The Panther (the German tank discussed most often) has better flotation, a more powerful gun, and thicker armor than U.S. tanks. What about what they said would I prove wrong? How would I prove it wrong? "Oh Sgt. Jones...your shots didn't bounce off that Panther...you killed it. Look, it's here in the AAR."
If you are going to dismiss General White's opinion on the M4, what about Corporal Thomas G McLane:
Quote:
Our success in Europe are a result of superiority in numbers and superiority in cold guts, not a result of superior tanks.
Obviously US tankers only consider the tactical abilities of the relevant tanks, and that the superiority of numbers is due to the simplicity of manufacture, ease of transportability, low maintenance and high reliability that allows superior numbers to be fielded. This is what the M4 strength is, not as a decent combat machine in itself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DogDodger View Post
That's simply where ammunition was stowed in WW2 tanks. Once it was realized that it was a problem (despite the crews stowing extra main gun rounds), a fix was instituted, in contrast to anyone else. I'm unsure why this is a detriment rather than a positive thing.
If you are talking about wet stowage it was too little too late for most. If you are talking about armoured bins, the Germans were there first iirc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DogDodger View Post
Agreed on the 76 mm, but I'd hesitate to label the M3-4-3 (E4-5) flame thrower as a joke. It suffered in range and fuel load compared to tanks with the flamethrower as the main armament, but it didn't require a trailer. At least one member of the 70th Tank Battalion was happy with the unit when using it against pillboxes in the West Wall. In any case, there were main armament flame thrower tanks produced, and the POA-CWS-H1 equipped tanks proved valuable on Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
My opinion stems from Zalogas 'Armoured Thunderbolts'. Further, the decent flamethrower version in the Pacific lost their 75mm, and therefore a less useful tank as an overall package.

And I wouldn't be so dismissive of the trailer. It could be jettisoned very quickly and had a number of other advantages. Crocadile crews quickly realised that the Germans would target the trailer, and so most were actually empty when towed into combat much of the time. The Germans would shoot at a worthless target, meaning they were wasting ammo and possibly giving their position away.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DogDodger View Post
If by "deficiencies" you mean that there were better armor-penetrating guns in existence, then you're of course correct. A better hole-puncher was always planned for the Sherman, and we've noted here before that the US medium tank was upgunned at about the same rate as its competitors.
The 90mm would have been perfect for the M4, and if that had been introduced, and it could have been, then this debate would probably not be happening.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DogDodger View Post
So the US Army goes from having enough 76 mm tanks in Europe in June 1944 to equip not even 3 battalions to having almost one-third 76 mm gun tanks by the Battle of the Bulge, to having over half the tanks in theater by the end of the war armed with the 76 mm gun, and this is unacceptable?
If General White says that he had 29% 76mm's then I'm inclined to believe him. There may have been more, but none where it mattered.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DogDodger View Post
The US medium tank was upgunned pretty quickly compared to its contemporaries, especially considering the lessons learned on the battlefield and the relatively higher pressures other countries were under. A decision was hardly made to "make more average models instead;" upgrades were performed and, as noted above, once it was realized that better AP performance was a must (in contrast to the WW2 tank's main use of firing HE), the percentage of 76 mm gun tanks increased rapidly. Until the Normandy invasion, though, not even the tankers themselves wanted heavier guns or tanks; nonetheless, improved models were already in production. As Yeide notes in Steel Victory, "It was to a large extent a problem of deploying equipment in the pipeline, rather than a failure to respond to the challenges posed by German tanks, that accounts for the seemingly outmoded [types of] Shermans being left to duke it out with Panthers, Tigers, King Tigers, and other deadly foes until the war's end." As good as the US was at building things, production can't be instantly switched so that new weapons instantly arrive in theater. We've been over the tank shortage before; the inexperienced US didn't keep enough reserves in theater. Stocks were replenished by late fall 1944.
Not enough reserves, means that the US were losing tanks faster than expected. Further, the real problem with the M4 was that while it was almost certainly the best tank in the world when first introduced, the powers that be decided to rest on its laurels and focus almost solely on quantity. There were improvements, but let us compare the M4 with the British cruiser program. The first M4's were completely superior to both the A15 Crusader and A24 Centaur in almost every measure conceivable. By 1945 the M4A3E8 was not superior to the A34 Comet, and was lacking in several key areas to the British tank, eg firepower. The US could produce kit in both huge quantity and superior quality as shown by their aircraft production. It is just a pity they did not follow suit with their tanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DogDodger View Post
I don't think there's any debate that the M4, even with the 76 mm gun, required a more-skilled crew to successfully take on heavier vehicles. It makes sense that if part of the enemy vehicle is nearly invulnerable to your weapons, while the reverse is not true, that the crew's competence will play a large role in living through the engagement. Though a small consolation for any M4 (or T-34, or Cromwell, or Churchill, or...) crewman facing a Panther or Tiger, tank-versus-tank fighting was a relatively small mission for the WW2 tank. The US should have realized that the 3"/76 mm guns would not be as powerful as claimed, and the medium tank might have been able to handle more powerful weapons, but as Patton noted in March 1945,
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Since 1 August 1944, when the Third Army became operational, our total tank casualties have amounted to 1,136 tanks. During the same period we have accounted for 2,287 German tanks, of which 808 were the Tiger or Panther variety, and 851 on our side were the M4...[L]et me add that the Third Army has always attacked, and therefore better than 70 percent of our tank casualties have occurred from dug-in antitank guns and not enemy tanks, whereas a majority of the enemy tanks have been put out by our tanks.
I've used that quote as well . However, my point on the US gun remains valid.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DogDodger View Post
Complaints about tank-versus-tank performance were such a surprise to higher commanders, including Eisenhower, probably because the deficiencies never really mattered at the operational level. The individual tank crew was disadvantaged when they came upon a heavier vehicle, but these crews were time and again able to overcome the armor/firepower advantage of enemy heavy tanks. Combined with the fact that tank-versus-tank fighting was relatively rare compared to other tank missions, and as Johnson says in Fast Tanks and Heavy Bombers, "the deficiencies of the [U.S.] tank component did not create a crisis for the whole, and the U.S. Army pushed into Germany." I find it's interesting to note the differing viewpoints on the performance of the US medium tank can be split down this line. Operationally, the M4 was never a problem. To the crews who had to take on heavier enemy vehicles, however...
In the report here, gun size apparantly does not make a difference, although veterans state a different story. To me Data on World War II Tank Engagements Involving the U.S. Third and Fourth Armored Divisions by David C. Hardison has one telling piece of additional info, and that is the distance that tanks were killed at. US troops had to get much closer, and this ties in with both higher command and vets opinions that getting in close was what mattered if you are deficient in gun/armour.

However, we can see the bigger picture, and we know that HE was the most important single round, the M3 75mm being better than both the M1 76mm and 17pdr in this case. The M3 90mm would have been an ideal all rounder. Of course the Soviets had been putting decent guns in the T34 for years. Their 76.2mm F-34 was the best tank gun when introduced, able to fire both a decent HE and AP, when other nations were employing two types for the job, sometimes on the same tank. They then upgraded to 85mm, which effectively combined the best features of the US 75mm and 76mm guns. As far as a main gun for the mediums was concerned, the Soviet T-34 tended to be better armed than the M4.

Many apologies for straying back on topic .
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