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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

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Armor in World War II Discuss all aspects & disciplines of World War II Armor here.

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  #16  
Old 12 Jan 18, 18:43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 101combatvet View Post
Just highly overrated.
Absolutely not. It is certainly a top 3 tank of WW2 on many levels.

Despite having several flaws, it was certainly used as an excuse why Moscow was not taken in 41. It was also several levels better on hard factors than any German tank at that time. Early T-34's were also reliable enough.

The Panther was based upon being better than a specific tank, and its next incarnation. No other WW2 tank was designed as such.
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  #17  
Old 12 Jan 18, 18:52
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I found this interesting.

The German generals had a lot to do with it…

But first lets look at the facts. When the German tanks met the T34 for the first time, it did indeed seem godly.

The T34 had excellent armor for the time, which the standard German Pz-III had very much troubles penetrating. The standard 37mm anti-tank gun was totally useless against it. The short 50mm /42 gun couldn't penetrate the front at all, and the side only with special ammunition, which was always in short supply.

So the early German tanks had a very hard time knocking out the T34. The T34 on the other hand, had no problem killing German tanks. The dual-purpose 75mm gun could penetrate the front of the Panzer III at any combat distance.

So yes, that's a serious problem. The T34 was excellent in many respects. It was heavily armored for the time, it was the first tank with a dual-purpose gun, that would handle both tanks and soft targets. The Germans and British relied on two different tanks for that, one armed with a high velocity anti-tank gun, and another tank equipped with a low velocity 75mm howitzer. The T34 combined both roles in one tank, with a medium velocity 76mm gun.

So far, everything makes the T34 indeed godly. However, there were some very serious disadvantages. The T34 was a 2-man turret, instead of a 3 man turret as the Germans used. This means the tank commander was also gunner. This seriously reduced the combat efficiency of the tank. When shooting at targets, there is no extra person (the commander) to keep situational awareness. To make matters worse, the commander had no cupola. Meaning that he had very bad outside vision. The Russian also did not emphasive to fight with the head outside the turret, making things even worse. Finally, in the beginning, most T34 did not have a radio installed, (only platoon or even company commanders), meaning that they couldn't coordinate with the other tanks in the platoon. And having only a 2 men turret, and terrible outside vision, means that it is even more difficult to keep track of what the other tanks in the platoon are doing.

So while the T34 has excellent armor and armament, it has serious troubles to use it effectively. While the Germans are mostly unable to kill the T34, the T34s aren't able to exploit this weakness sufficiently, as they are too inefficient.

When the Germans get thrown back at Moscow, it is nice to be blame the ‘godly’ T34 for it, and not their own failed strategy.

Clearly, the T34 is a big problem for the Germans, but better anti-tank guns are being developed and deployed quickly, and the heavy armor becomes less and less an issue.

Later, when the Panzer IV is upgraded to a long high velocity 75mm gun, the armor of the T34 really isn't a problem anymore. The Pz-IV is still vulnerable to the T34s gun, but the bad crew efficiency of the T34 makes the Pz-IV the more effective tank.

By the time the Tiger, and Panther are introduced, the armor of the T34 is meaningless, and the old 76mm equipped T34 is obsolete.

In 1944, the upgraded version of the T34 with a 85mm gun is introduced. It also gets a 3 man turret, and a (bad) commanders cupola. Many of the problems of the past are solved, but the tank isn't godly by any means, because the opposition has become so much stronger. The armor hasn't been improved, and the gun is only mediocre.

TLDR: It's important to take the time frame into account. In 1941, the armor and gun of the T34, combined with good mobility, seem godly. It is hampered by bad crew efficiency though. In 1943, the T34/76 is obsolete, and the following T34/85 is only average.

-Anthony de Vries

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
Absolutely not. It is certainly a top 3 tank of WW2 on many levels.

Despite having several flaws, it was certainly used as an excuse why Moscow was not taken in 41. It was also several levels better on hard factors than any German tank at that time. Early T-34's were also reliable enough.

The Panther was based upon being better than a specific tank, and its next incarnation. No other WW2 tank was designed as such.
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  #18  
Old 13 Jan 18, 02:04
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rakesh View Post
I am responsendating my friend. Im also from India- not USA.

A tank is a tank...my friend. Swedish "S-tank": no turret- is........... tank.
And the Cold War era Swedish S Tank was a poor one at that too!

The Swedes also had the IKV 91 turreted armoured vehicle that was defined as a tank destroyer...Not a tank.

Re-name your post "Best armoured vehicles of WW2" and you have something going here.

As you identified yourself as a tank experts please tell this forum what criteria your used to define the best tanks an armoured vehicle of WW2...Or else it just become a list of your favorite things with guns and tracks.

And to continue the now-growing debate in this space, please explain why you do not have the T-34 on your list.

And, for that matter, why not have the German StuG III on your list?
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  #19  
Old 13 Jan 18, 06:43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rakesh View Post
Hello. Here is a list of the best armor struggle vechicles of WW2 for the forum:

List is finished. Please discuss if you want. I am expert of tanks and take any question. Have nice day.
We already have a list - two in fact :

Greatest/Best Tank of WW2: http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...play.php?f=385

Most Significant/Influential Tank: http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...play.php?f=379
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  #20  
Old 13 Jan 18, 07:08
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I think you give a good description of the T34 and you have a good point about the timeline. But I think it shows that the T34 was in fact one of the best tanks of WWII.

I've picked a few things from you post to underpin that argument.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 101combatvet View Post
So while the T34 has excellent armor and armament, it has serious troubles to use it effectively. While the Germans are mostly unable to kill the T34, the T34s aren't able to exploit this weakness sufficiently, as they are too inefficient.
When using proper tacts, the T-34 was vastly superior to anything the Germans had. Not only the generals thought so, it is also evident in reports from the front (see Jentz etc.). But tings like not fighting with you head out the hatch or getting embroiled in close quarter fighting with German tanks would of course cause problems. The lack of radios is not really a failure of the design. The T-34 could carry a radio, so it was designed properly.

I think the T-34 shows, that if you get firepower, armour and mobility right in a tank design, it is inherently a difficult opponent and a formidable one if equipped properly and used properly. In 1941-42, the Soviets had difficulties in both respects.

Quote:
Clearly, the T34 is a big problem for the Germans, but better anti-tank guns are being developed and deployed quickly, and the heavy armor becomes less and less an issue.
Correct, but the vast majority of German anti-tank guns in 1941 were 3,7cm guns and the 5cm weapon only slowly found its way to the front. And even that weapon and even with the short-ranged sub-caliber ammunition had difficulties with the T-34. The first 7,5cm (and modified ex-Soviet 76mm) anti-tank guns arrived early in 1942. I dont have the figures at hand, but I'd doubt they became a significant contribution until late 1942.

Quote:
Later, when the Panzer IV is upgraded to a long high velocity 75mm gun, the armor of the T34 really isn't a problem anymore. The Pz-IV is still vulnerable to the T34s gun, but the bad crew efficiency of the T34 makes the Pz-IV the more effective tank.
Again, correct, but even though the first Panzer IV F2/Gs were made in March 1942, they did not become available in significant numbers until the winter of 1942/43.

Quote:
By the time the Tiger, and Panther are introduced, the armor of the T34 is meaningless, and the old 76mm equipped T34 is obsolete.
Again, correct, but Tigers were always rare and not significant when comparing to the massive amounts and omipresence of the T34s. Panthers only arrived in the summer of 1943 and because of the numerous issues with it, was not really a factor until later that year - perhaps not really until 1944.

Quote:
In 1944, the upgraded version of the T34 with a 85mm gun is introduced. It also gets a 3 man turret, and a (bad) commanders cupola. Many of the problems of the past are solved, but the tank isn't godly by any means, because the opposition has become so much stronger. The armor hasn't been improved, and the gun is only mediocre.
Again, correct. But it was a very succesfull upgrade in the sense that it gave the Soviets a decent medium tank for the rest of the war. It was perhaps not quite up to Sherman standards, but it was certainly better than the Panzer IV and could deal with both Tiger I, II and Panthers if used by capable commanders and crew.

So it was a solid tank for the Red Army from 1941 to the end of 1942/early 1943 and again from early 1944 to the end in 1945. The Red Army took too long to get it upgraded, so faced big problems in 1943.

All in all, I think the T-34 would always be in the top-five of WWII tanks and in my book a top-3 contender for best WWII tank.
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Old 13 Jan 18, 11:55
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Two problems with a T-34 Commander putting his head out:

1. There was no cupola. The Roof was hinged to fold forward.

2. The Commander was also the Gunner!

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  #22  
Old 13 Jan 18, 12:42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pruitt View Post
Two problems with a T-34 Commander putting his head out:

1. There was no cupola. The Roof was hinged to fold forward.

2. The Commander was also the Gunner!

Pruitt
On the T34/76 it is worse than that. When acting as gunner, the commander has just the gun sight periscope for field of view. There is a side view port but it means he gives up the forward view to use it.
The driver has just limited forward view. The hull machinegun operator has no view whatsoever. I won't count the hole drilled in the machinegun mantle to "aim" it as a view port. The loader, likewise would be busy and has no view.

Add in the lack of an intercom so it's difficult to impossible for the commander to communicate instructions to the rest of the crew, that all but 6 rounds of ammunition are in three round suitcases under rubber mats making up the floor of the fighting compartment, the poor quality of early war Soviet periscopes, and a plethora of other issues and what you end up with is a tank that's a turreted assault gun that won't see anything unless it is right in front of the tank.
It blunders forward all but blind and has no idea what other tanks in its unit are doing.
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  #23  
Old 13 Jan 18, 16:38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Poor Old Spike View Post
The Jagdtiger and Hetzer were self-propelled guns without a turret, so they couldn't swing their guns left/right/behind in a mobile tank battle and were therefore quickly junked by proper tanks that were swarming all around them..
The Panther had good front armour but its sides/rear were thinner and vulnerable, and its gun was only 75mm calibre.
Best jerry tank in my opinion was the Tiger, built like a fortress, but even it was no match for the fabulous Brit Firefly with its 17-pounder gun which isn't even on your list!
For example when panzer ace Michael Wittman tried to face down the Brits in Normandy with a group of 4 Tigers, Firefly gunner Joe Ekins quickly trashed 3 of them, 3 shots, 3 kills..
Three were claimed by Ekins which included Wittmann. The other two were Canadian claims.

For all its reliability problems and not so thick side armour, I go for the Panther second to the Sherman and the Churchill 3rd, Cromwell equal 4th with the Comet and the Pz.Mk IV

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  #24  
Old 13 Jan 18, 18:50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dibble201Bty View Post
Three were claimed by Ekins which included Wittmann. The other two were Canadian claims.

For all its reliability problems and not so thick side armour, I go for the Panther second to the Sherman and the Churchill 3rd, Cromwell equal 4th with the Comet and the Pz.Mk IV

Paul
You are only considering NWE 1944-5, which is a relatively small theater of WW2 as a whole.

Further, as Patton stated, he could never have done what he did in Europe with the 'Cats'. This especially includes the Panther. It simply was not reliable enough. It has also become clear that the IV was not reliable enough either, and that the Germans won in 39-41 despite their tanks, not because of them.
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Old 13 Jan 18, 19:54
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PzKpfw 6.5 Ausf. A

I present you with the best tank of WW2. I combines excellent cross-country performance with strong armour and a powerful gun. The turret is designed to accomodate three crew members, and provide optimal protection against direct fire and plunging fire and is carrying inside a 75 mm high-velocity gun. Standardized, efficiently designed with resource conservation methods, reducing number of parts and intricate mechanisms. We aimed for a lean, but powerful tank that would resemble the nimble qualities of a predator large cat, along with their stealth approach and accurate attacks. Special attention devoted to crew's situational awareness and ease of maintenance. The chassis will provide a stable platform for different weapon variants.

This is only a concept drawing that came from our labs zis morning, with some menial details left out, or in the case of track design a convenient placeholder.

So, Gentlemen, shall we fire up ze Krupp's furnaces?
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  #26  
Old 14 Jan 18, 06:26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
You are only considering NWE 1944-5, which is a relatively small theater of WW2 as a whole.

Further, as Patton stated, he could never have done what he did in Europe with the 'Cats'. This especially includes the Panther. It simply was not reliable enough. It has also become clear that the IV was not reliable enough either, and that the Germans won in 39-41 despite their tanks, not because of them.
No I'm not Nick! I'm judging what I feel were the best of the war

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  #27  
Old 14 Jan 18, 08:13
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The T-34 with its 76mm gun was a war winner from day one, then when it was later upgunned with the 85mm gun and churned out by the thousands, it was unstoppable..
German tanks tended to be chunky and boxy, but the T-34 had sloped armour which was more difficult to penetrate-





Some quotes from the guys who had to face down T-34's-

German battle report, Finkel, June 23rd 1941-
"Half a dozen anti-tank guns fire shells at him [T-34]..but he drives staunchly through our line like an impregnable prehistoric monster... Lt Steup's tank [Pz III short 50mm] made hits on a T-34 once at 20 metres and 4 times at 50 metres without any noticeable effect"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_...4_and_KV_tanks

Guderian writes in Panzer Leader page 162 (July 3rd 1941) about his panzergruppe's first encounter with T-34's-
"..an attack by Russian tanks and aircraft on the Beresina crossing at Borissov...here for the first time the enemy deployed his T-34 tank against which our guns at that time were largely ineffective"

"It was the most excellent example of the offensive weapon of Second World War." - General Mellenthin.

"Their T-34 was the best in the world." - Field marshal Kleist.


T-34/76mm in action-
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  #28  
Old 14 Jan 18, 09:14
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Poor Old Spike wrote- when panzer ace Michael Wittman tried to face down the Brits in Normandy with a group of 4 Tigers, Firefly gunner Joe Ekins quickly trashed 3 of them, 3 shots, 3 kills..

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dibble201Bty View Post
Three were claimed by Ekins which included Wittmann. The other two were Canadian claims.
The jury is still out on who exactly killed Wittman, all we know for sure is that Ekins trashed 3 of Wittman's 4 Tigers at a phenomenal 800 yards range and Canadian Sherman 75mms got the fourth by firing pointblank into its side, but which one was Wittmans nobody can be absolutely certain.
PS- This vid did a good on-the-spot analysis of the action, Ekins comment is at 29:45 and the Canadian comment is at 34:05..

https://youtu.be/mCNz7OC8YIs

Last edited by Poor Old Spike; 14 Jan 18 at 09:21..
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  #29  
Old 14 Jan 18, 11:22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Poor Old Spike View Post
The T-34 with its 76mm gun was a war winner from day one, then when it was later upgunned with the 85mm gun and churned out by the thousands, it was unstoppable..
German tanks tended to be chunky and boxy, but the T-34 had sloped armour which was more difficult to penetrate-





Some quotes from the guys who had to face down T-34's-

German battle report, Finkel, June 23rd 1941-
"Half a dozen anti-tank guns fire shells at him [T-34]..but he drives staunchly through our line like an impregnable prehistoric monster... Lt Steup's tank [Pz III short 50mm] made hits on a T-34 once at 20 metres and 4 times at 50 metres without any noticeable effect"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_...4_and_KV_tanks

Guderian writes in Panzer Leader page 162 (July 3rd 1941) about his panzergruppe's first encounter with T-34's-
"..an attack by Russian tanks and aircraft on the Beresina crossing at Borissov...here for the first time the enemy deployed his T-34 tank against which our guns at that time were largely ineffective"

"It was the most excellent example of the offensive weapon of Second World War." - General Mellenthin.

"Their T-34 was the best in the world." - Field marshal Kleist.


T-34/76mm in action-
Unstoppable you say? War winner? No. The outnumbered Germans had no problems stopping nearly 45000 of them. 82% of wartime production irrecoverably lost, sloped armor and all.

The merits of the T34 were strategic in that there were shed loads of them. Its performance on the battlefield was below average. Even in 1941 when the Germans didn't have enough gun's able to penetrate the T34 they knocked out around 2300, sloped armor and all.

They looked modern, had good armor and could move around ok. But as a weapon system they were lacking and their combat performance shows this. One of the T34s biggest issues was its situational awareness in that it didn't have any.

The T34 looks good on paper. It's got good stats which I think gives those who read books on the subject (and have never even one in the flesh) the idea that it was better than what it was. Plus the fact the Germans couldn't penetrate them early on seems to give those same people the idea that it was because of the T34s awesome power and not just a matter of some angled steel and small shells.

I've heard some pretty convincing arguments on why the T34 is super fantastic but the fact of the matter is uber tanks don't go KABOOM in the numbers the T34 did.
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Old 14 Jan 18, 12:11
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T-34 finished the war in Berlin. It speaks for himself.
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