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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Historical Events & Eras > World War II > Armor in World War II > Soviet Armor

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Soviet Armor Discuss all WW2 Soviet armor here.

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  #1  
Old 29 Aug 17, 04:02
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Sherman tanks in the Red Army

Something has been gnawing at me for sometime now. During WW2 the Soviet Army had one of the best tanks on the Allied the T-34 and yet some Soviet armored units also operated the Sherman tanks. Could someone tell why the Russians were operating the Sherman when they had the T-34?
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  #2  
Old 29 Aug 17, 07:22
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The T-34 had issues, especially maintenance and reliability. And the early T-34 with 76mm isn't that much "better" than a Sherman- better protected, less reliable, both capable of defeating the bulk of German tanks (if there are German tanks available, in many cases there aren't). And T-34/85 production didn't start until Feb 44- its not a process of instantaneous replacement once production starts

Second, the early disruption of Soviet manufacturing meant that building enough replacements was an issue (especially when they keep breaking down, see point 1).

If the choice is between a Sherman and nothing (either because you're waiting for the T-34 to be built, or because its broken down somewhere), the choice is pretty easy.
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Old 29 Aug 17, 11:38
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Here's an interview with Dmitriy Loza, author of the book Commanding the Red Army's Shermans which may be of interest:

Dmitriy Loza

Also see this post and assorted links:

Soviet Shermans: The Soviet Union Used and Liked the Sherman
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Old 30 Aug 17, 04:20
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Because they couldn't get enough T34's in service and keep them there.
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Old 30 Aug 17, 11:24
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Basic info (from Wiki):
"The M4A2s used by the Red Army were considered to be much less prone to blow up due to ammunition detonation than the T-34 (T-34-76), but tended to overturn in road collisions because of their much higher center of gravity.[12]
Under Lend-Lease, 4,102 M4A2 medium tanks were sent to the U.S.S.R. Of these, 2,007 were equipped with the 75 mm gun, and 2,095 carried the 76 mm gun."

By the numbers it would seem that the Germans were just as likely to see Shermans on the Eastern Front as they were Panthers.

More comments:

http://knowledgeglue.com/was-the-m4-...t-perspective/
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Old 02 Nov 17, 22:55
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Yes. Loza seems favorably impressed with the M4 Sherman on balance. The reviews of his book are interesting. I ought to get the book and read it myself.

Commanding the Red Army's Sherman Tanks: The World War II Memoirs of Hero of the Soviet Union Dmitriy Loza
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Old 03 Nov 17, 05:27
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For in-depth breakthrough operations. Shermans were often assigned to Guards units who did this. The T-34s were perfectly fine to achieve the initial breakthrough, but then, if you wanted your corps to drive into the enemy rear for a couple hundred kilometers, you were better served by the Sherman's reliability.
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Old 04 Nov 17, 21:52
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Loza published a second book, titled "Fighting for the Soviet Motherland: Recollections from the Eastern Front".

He notes a difference in the Sherman was that it did not have the 'spalling problem' in the turret as the T-34 tankers experienced up to the early 1943.

The Shermans were equipped with two radios VHF and HF.

The diesel engine ni the T-34 by 1944 had a service life of 180 to 200 hours. The Sherman twin-engine diesel had 400 hours.
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Old 06 Nov 17, 10:18
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I don't think that employment of Shermans was somehow different from T-34. They were more or less equivalent vehicles, and sometimes assigned to the same units.
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Old 06 Nov 17, 10:46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michele View Post
For in-depth breakthrough operations. Shermans were often assigned to Guards units who did this. The T-34s were perfectly fine to achieve the initial breakthrough, but then, if you wanted your corps to drive into the enemy rear for a couple hundred kilometers, you were better served by the Sherman's reliability.
And not just reliability - crew fatigue was less with the Sherman and a tired crew functions less well.
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Old 08 Nov 17, 19:55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post
Loza published a second book, titled "Fighting for the Soviet Motherland: Recollections from the Eastern Front".

He notes a difference in the Sherman was that it did not have the 'spalling problem' in the turret as the T-34 tankers experienced up to the early 1943.

The Shermans were equipped with two radios VHF and HF.

The diesel engine ni the T-34 by 1944 had a service life of 180 to 200 hours. The Sherman twin-engine diesel had 400 hours.


Soviet kit might not be reliable. The Churchill III's that were sent to the Soviet Union were considered highly unreliable by the British. On the two day forced march up to Prokhorovka, these poor afv's were at least as as reliable as the T-34's used by the Guards 5th Tank Army, and the Guards usually got the best kit. Only by the VII model were Churchills as reliable as Shermans, ie a two real marks later.

As for armour, I cannot comment on Shermans at this moment, but the nickel content in British tanks armour was 3% compared to 1% in Soviet designs. This indeed led to less spalling, and thus greater survivability of the crew.
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Old 08 Nov 17, 20:09
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Shermans were said to be popular with Soviet crews because of the relative room and comfort, and unpopular because they were higher targets than the T-34's and did not come equipped with the wider Soviet tracks for mud and snow., nor with sufficient sloped armor, and the gasoline they ran on caused them burst into flame when hit far more than the T-34 would.

Mechanically, the Shermans were harder to maintain in the field since they were not designed for uneducated peasants but for Americans who knew a lot about cars, farm tractors and mechanics in general, and were much better educated than their Soviet counterparts.

From the logistics point of view, the Shermans required gasoline rather than Soviet diesel.
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Old 08 Nov 17, 20:54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mountain Man View Post
Shermans were said to be popular with Soviet crews because of the relative room and comfort, and unpopular because they were higher targets than the T-34's and did not come equipped with the wider Soviet tracks for mud and snow., nor with sufficient sloped armor, and the gasoline they ran on caused them burst into flame when hit far more than the T-34 would.

Mechanically, the Shermans were harder to maintain in the field since they were not designed for uneducated peasants but for Americans who knew a lot about cars, farm tractors and mechanics in general, and were much better educated than their Soviet counterparts.

From the logistics point of view, the Shermans required gasoline rather than Soviet diesel.
Er...., the Soviets were equipped with diesel Shermans, not petrol versions.
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Old 09 Nov 17, 01:59
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Do you think that the Soviets were giving these essential tanks to uneducated peasants ?
Don't be too surprised if the Russian members here feel a bit upset by your pretty caricatured pov
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Old 09 Nov 17, 14:17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mountain Man View Post

Mechanically, the Shermans were harder to maintain in the field since they were not designed for uneducated peasants but for Americans who knew a lot about cars, farm tractors and mechanics in general, and were much better educated than their Soviet counterparts.
Loza notes from his "Motherland" book, "At the beginning of February [1944], delivery of engine lubricants were interrupted, and our diesel engines were forced to go some fifty to sixty operating hours past their scheduled oil change. It was an abnormal situation, particularly for the M4A2, which required strict observance of its service intervals. We had to resort to an extreme measure: twice we drained and filtered the oil. And so, to some degree, in our initial combat operations using Sherman tanks, the units of 5th Mech Corps accomplished tank maintenance by the method of trial and error. In fact we gradually gained enough experience to be able to perform even difficult maintenance tasks."

I would have to say, in my decades of reading both German and Soviet military material, the Red Army soldier was often considered to be resourceful in improvisations and innovations.
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