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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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  #91  
Old 17 Jan 18, 19:38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emtos View Post
By beginning-mid 1944 the war in the East also arrived in more dense areas.
True, but the Nazi's were not expecting/hoping to fight in Europe in 44.

For those who think the Panther was the best tank of WW2, and those who think it awful, the Panther was about the best tank Germany needed at the time.

The Panther was an excellent defensive tank destroyer, but nothing more. We know this, not from the Heer/CW/USA, but subsequent users, ie the French. 3rd party references are often the best sources for true opinions on any kit.
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  #92  
Old 17 Jan 18, 22:01
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Originally Posted by Emtos View Post
Stug and Pz IV had HEAT ammo so the long barrels weren't a critical issue.
Some tanks carried a couple of HEAT rounds. These were rare because of the strategic resource that it consumed.
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  #93  
Old 17 Jan 18, 22:09
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
The Panther was an excellent defensive tank destroyer, but nothing more. We know this, not from the Heer/CW/USA, but subsequent users, ie the French. 3rd party references are often the best sources for true opinions on any kit.
^
The French didn't use it in combat though?

In my East Front reading, the Panther had worse serviceability than the PZ IV in 1943. But by 1944, with the later models it was around the same. Germany was reduced to counterattacks at this point.

Both Tiger and Panther destroyed a lot of anti-tank guns. Pz IV battalions (24.Pz) could be as successful if not more so than the Panther equipped ones so skill was very important.

Zetterling's Korsun/Nash's Hell's Gate has extensive coverage of the use of 1. One Panther battalion 2. Heavy PR-Bake (composed of veteran 23.Pz Panthers and 503 Tiger).

This Panther battalion was not particularly well commanded. The Panthers in 1. were able to engage Soviet "Pakfront" directly by firing from long range and with their front armor facing them.

In 2., Heavy PR-Bake used a "fix and flank" maneuver. Bake would use the 503 Tiger to engage enemy armor and anti-tank guns directly, while using the Panthers as a maneuver element against the flanks.
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  #94  
Old 18 Jan 18, 02:58
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The French also used Shermans after the war. I think Israel bought a number of them. They probably kept the Panther Battalions in Germany and France where they could maybe find spare parts. They used them until they fell apart.

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  #95  
Old 18 Jan 18, 08:11
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List of Best Tanks of WWII:

1. M4 Sherman
2. T-34
3. Churchill
4. Cromwell
5. IS-2
6. Panzer IV
7. Pamzer III
8. Valentine
9. M3/M5 Stuart
10. Tiger I
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  #96  
Old 18 Jan 18, 11:00
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cult Icon View Post
Some tanks carried a couple of HEAT rounds. These were rare because of the strategic resource that it consumed.
Anyway, typical tank guns had a high muzzle velocity and didn't need HEAT (High Explosive Anti Tank) shells because their armour-piercing rounds flew like bats out of hell and could punch through armour with sheer kinetic energy.
HEAT shells were mostly meant for self-propelled guns that didn't have a high muzzle velocity, they exploded against the enemy tank and blasted a jet of molten explosive through the small hole they made.
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  #97  
Old 18 Jan 18, 13:17
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Some qualifiers for the Best Tank lists out there, food for thought. How would the tanks in your lists fare if their supporting casts were swapped or all kept at a constant?

List of Best Supporting Cast for Tanks of WWII:


Best factory to the front supply Chain (1942 onward):

1) USA, had the time and industrial capacity to produce multiple spare parts for each vehicle to include stockage of major end assemblies (entire spare engines, transmission, turret, tracks, wheel assemblies, etc.), matching tool sets to accompany each vehicle, service kits (filters, gaskets, etc) and plenty of fresh POL. The factories were completely unmolested and able to run 3 shifts by workers that were well paid, well fed, well rested and of course not being bombed. US supply chain had a huge advantage in mobility (tactical trucks).
2) UK, very similar situation to the US, many of their tanks were US made and factory supported.
3) USSR, unmolested factories, workers were “safe” if not underfed and living in adverse conditions. They cranked out vehicles with minimal spare parts, service kits, etc. and only had adequate POL available at best. Supply line was primarily by rail without interdiction.
4) Germany, factories over taxed by demand, bombed sporadically which reduced productivity, efficiency and overall output, utilized a significant percentage of poor quality slave labor, utilized substandard materials in production, had interdicted supply lines from rail to the front, supply depots often targeted by TAC air (in the west) or were over run (East and West). Factories could not supply adequate quantities of spare parts, service kits or POL. Overall, a very poor state of affairs.

Best maintenance support:

1) USA, had excellent well trained mechanics who were well equipped with lavish supply of tools, power generating equipment for field workshops, a proliferation of power tools, large high quality field maintenance tents (with lighting and heat) and excellent recovery vehicles. Excellent supply system and depot program allowed them to repair vehicles quickly due to the combination of skilled manpower, proper tools, parts/POL readily available and adequate/comfortable work space.
2) UK, very similar to US capability, but slightly less available on every aspect due to less industrial capacity and a reliance on US provided equipment (added layer to the supply chain).
3) Tie- Germany/USSR, Both countries had barely adequate maintenance and recovery assets to keep major armor formations combat capable. The Red Army relied on new vehicle replacement, cannibalization of damaged vehicles and repair/maintenance in combination to maintain its armored forces. Maintenance conditions on the Eastern front were austere at best for the Red Army. Lend Lease vehicles came with tool sets, some spare parts and were made to more exacting tolerances which made them somewhat easier to repair. The rest of the home grown Soviet tank park were generally made as rapidly and cost effective as possible to meet a combat service life expectancy of just a few months. With limited tools, limited POL, limited parts (that may not fit correctly), austere field conditions and limited mechanics the Soviets did an amazing job.
Germany’s situation was very similar, but add in air interdiction from factory to the front which cut down the amount of everything reaching the mechanics, it’s a wonder they kept anything running and NOT a wonder that badly damaged tanks were sent back to the factory for rebuild (cost effective use of time and materials). Later, the German ability to recover tanks was hamstrung by huge tanks and outdated recovery vehicles (FAMO) and too few large recovery vehicles (Bergepanther). Recovery was also often impossible due to loss of the battlespace, making minor damage to knocked out vehicles a permanent loss.

Best Combined Arms Supporting Cast:

1) USA-UK, had a lot of everything- Artillery, Close Air Support, Aerial Recon, ULTRA, etc.
2) USSR, had a lot of Artillery, Close Air Support where it was needed and lots of Infantry/AT guns.
3) Germany, limited artillery, very limited air support (none in the West), generally blind to what the enemy was doing, excellent Infantry anti-tank capability (due to absolute necessity).
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  #98  
Old 18 Jan 18, 14:28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cult Icon View Post
Some tanks carried a couple of HEAT rounds. These were rare because of the strategic resource that it consumed.
I think you may be confusing HEAT (Gr.38/HL) with APCR (PzGr. 40).

The latter was the sub-caliber round made of tungsten which was a strategic and increasingly scarce resource. Production all but ceased in 1943 and thousands of rounds were withdrawn and reclaimed for industrial use. The former did not consume any significant strategic material and was made in millions up to the wars end and also fired i massive amounts. It had the advantage of being a sort of dual-purpose round and cheaper than the normal AP round.
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  #99  
Old 18 Jan 18, 15:36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Javaman View Post
3) USSR, unmolested factories
For the record, of major Soviet tank factories:
1) One was in blockaded Leningrad and was virtually cut from supplies beginning from September 1941. Moreover it was so close to the frontline that it was harassed by machine guns and mortar fire not to talk about artillery.
2) One factory in Stalingrad was assaulted and captured by German troops in September 42.
3) One was situated several km from the frontline beginning from September 1942 and stopped operation since then
4) One was hastily evacuated from Kharkov in October just before it fell to the Germans, a large part of personnel and equipment was lost.
So "unmolested" is a too strong word, probably.

You vastly exaggerate limitations of German and Soviet tank maintenance. As the scale and the rate of advance in 1941 and 1945 respectively show they performed more than adequately.
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  #100  
Old 18 Jan 18, 19:48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbo View Post
I think you may be confusing HEAT (Gr.38/HL) with APCR (PzGr. 40).

The latter was the sub-caliber round made of tungsten which was a strategic and increasingly scarce resource. Production all but ceased in 1943 and thousands of rounds were withdrawn and reclaimed for industrial use. The former did not consume any significant strategic material and was made in millions up to the wars end and also fired i massive amounts. It had the advantage of being a sort of dual-purpose round and cheaper than the normal AP round.
On the tungsten issue, Germany brought that on themselves. Krupp, through their subsidiary, Hartzmetallzentrall controlled virtually 100% of the tungsten and tungsten carbide production in Germany. They jealously guarded this and only allowed companies outside Krupp to have one grade of tungsten carbide for tooling or use. So, except for Krupp, most of Germany's industry didn't make any use of tungsten carbide for anything. They couldn't afford it, and the supply was too limited.

Contrast that with the US where hundreds of companies started making tungsten carbide tooling and the US standardized on the Buick system of 15 grades of TC. This made TC tooling widely available and resulted in a better production product, not to mention often reduced cutting times using this harder material for cutting tools.
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Old Yesterday, 08:51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Artyom_A View Post
For the record, of major Soviet tank factories:
1) One was in blockaded Leningrad and was virtually cut from supplies beginning from September 1941. Moreover it was so close to the frontline that it was harassed by machine guns and mortar fire not to talk about artillery.
2) One factory in Stalingrad was assaulted and captured by German troops in September 42.
3) One was situated several km from the frontline beginning from September 1942 and stopped operation since then
4) One was hastily evacuated from Kharkov in October just before it fell to the Germans, a large part of personnel and equipment was lost.
So "unmolested" is a too strong word, probably.

You vastly exaggerate limitations of German and Soviet tank maintenance. As the scale and the rate of advance in 1941 and 1945 respectively show they performed more than adequately.
Fair enough, but I don't think there is any exaggeration in the limitations of German/Soviet tank maintenance in what I wrote above. The conditions were austere, distances huge, motorization was minimal, fuel was always an issue, spare parts difficult to get, cannibalization was commonplace and all of this is demonstrated in average readiness rates. Too many people look at the average readiness rate of German and Soviet armor and attribute the lower percentage to design flaws when compared to US/UK types. Any comparison of reliability has to be qualified against the relative level of difficulty experienced by the supporting maintenance branch.
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  #102  
Old Yesterday, 10:08
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^
Balck (inspector of mobile forces, then inspector for the panzer troops) had the same issue with the "Tiger battalion". He thought that their maintenance was inadequate with this organization and preferred to concentrate them into 3-4 "heavy breakthrough divisions" for ease of maintenance and potential operational results.

That would have been interesting if it was put into practice . (Eg. Heavy breakthrough divisions with 2-3 battalions of Tigers held in Army Group reserve- for spearheading counterstrikes and such)
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Old Yesterday, 20:20
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Edited post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cult Icon View Post
^
The French didn't use it in combat though?
True, but enough their soldiers had been in combat in 1940 onwards to be able to deduce said effectiveness of a weapon system after training with it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cult Icon View Post
In my East Front reading, the Panther had worse serviceability than the PZ IV in 1943. But by 1944, with the later models it was around the same. Germany was reduced to counterattacks at this point.
It has become clear that Panzer III's and IV's were not reliable in W Ally terms. Even lighter versions were fairly unreliable, and before adding c4 tons of armour and gun between the D and H models.

It should be remembered that the Allies, especially the British, blamed their initial defeats on their 'crap' unreliable tanks, when the issue was actually bad officers and bad politicians. The A10 and A12 were remarkably good tanks for their day.

Other than that minor irrelevance, I certainly enjoy your posts.
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