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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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  #256  
Old 24 Mar 12, 00:27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Fraser View Post
The cramped turret was imposed by the geometry that made the armour so efficient, a trade-off. Assuming we are still talking about a T-34 from 1942, UTZ was manufacturing the new turret from the spring of that year, so it was available. The new turret was larger and improved the situation to a degree. It needed a cupola, something the Army had demanded from the beginning but the KB in the factories did not deliver until 1943. The troops really liked the British Mk.IV periscopes of the Churchill and they were quickly copied and introduced on every tank from 1943.



Specific problems with quality and reliability would have gone away in US production. They stemmed from a variety of causes which included a raw workforce, shortages of machinery and facilities, poor-quality materials, shortages of electricity and coal, shortages of copper, manganese, rubber, aluminum and specific key alloys and catalysts. These were constraints on Soviet manufacturing that were not as detrimental to US production. It was still just a simple steel box with a gun and an engine. The USA could have built them just as easily as the USSR and installed their own components, solving all those problems.

Regards
Scott Fraser
Having looked at all that has been said, it would have been just as easy or even easier to build a better protected Sherman at that point in time instead of an idea of adopting the T-34 box and adding US bits to it. Something of a non starter by the sound of it. To be honest the question arises why the Sherman hull was not re-designed before it went into production as it hull is basically the M3 hull with a re-done front bit.
Of course it was expedient to do so, not having to re-invest in rigs and jigs.
Let's not dwell too much on it, it has been discussed here at AGC before.
Could US industry have built a better T 34? Very likely. But there were
other things the US industry could have provided for in the numbers needed,
whist they were at it. Packard Merlin and it's offsping the Meteor spring to mind.

Ed.
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  #257  
Old 24 Mar 12, 01:36
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Originally Posted by JBark View Post
I still don't understand where Chrysler would get an accurate view of T-34 battle performance since the Soviets were so secretive.
Who better to provide an accurate view of the T-34 battle performance than our new best friends, the Germans?
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  #258  
Old 24 Mar 12, 01:37
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M2, M3 and M4 were shaped the way they were primarily because of the engine compartment. The M4 was actually well sloped in the front (a point often over looked) but German guns were simply too powerful. Had they sloped the sides the turret ring would get smaller, meaning either a smaller gun or a two man turret or poor ergonomic (sound familiar?). They would also need a new engine (lower profile). The only way around that is to make the tank much wider, which means a totally new design and, again, new engine .

The fact is that T-34 was fine for Russian, and M4 fine for the US, needs. They were both better, overall, than their German counterpart in the same weight class in 1944 and competitive before that.
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  #259  
Old 24 Mar 12, 04:40
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The US did redesign the M4 as the T 23 medium tank. Between its electric drive and it being only a minor improvement over the Sherman (mostly by height reduction) it wasn't adopted.
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  #260  
Old 24 Mar 12, 05:16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Purist View Post
The fact is that T-34 was fine for Russian, and M4 fine for the US, needs. They were both better, overall, than their German counterpart in the same weight class in 1944 and competitive before that.
This is what makes determining 'best' tank difficult.

The T34 was exactly what the Soviets needed in WW2 as their main tank, and therefore their best possible tank.

The M4 was easily produced, maintainable, reliable and light enough to be transported anywhere. The M4 better than the PzIV and T34 in many/most respects (depending on exact model), and thus better for US needs than the T34.
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  #261  
Old 24 Mar 12, 08:47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Purist View Post
M2, M3 and M4 were shaped the way they were primarily because of the engine compartment. The M4 was actually well sloped in the front (a point often over looked) but German guns were simply too powerful.
This I can accept.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Purist View Post
Had they sloped the sides the turret ring would get smaller, meaning either a smaller gun or a two man turret or poor ergonomic (sound familiar?). They would also need a new engine (lower profile). The only way around that is to make the tank much wider, which means a totally new design and, again, new engine.
The panzer III and IV and V all has sloped armoured turrets and were 3 man turrets into the boot. Sound familiar? And with the M10 the US had sloped armour al-be-it thin on a basically Sherman chassis. I admit it it was litte over a foot wider than the standard M 4. The Sherman could have almost been kitted out with a 3" in 1942, using the basis design parameters and calculations used for the M 10 turret. Then the arguement that the Sherman would be too heavy, does not wash either in view of the fielding of the Jumbo. Why was the weight penalty in 1944 all of a sudden acceptable? But it was not done except for discussion material in forums.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Purist View Post
The fact is that T-34 was fine for Russian, and M4 fine for the US, needs. They were both better, overall, than their German counterpart in the same weight class in 1944 and competitive before that.
Possibly true...........

Cheers,

Ed.
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  #262  
Old 24 Mar 12, 08:59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dutched View Post
"Then the arguement that the Shereman would be too heavy, does not wash either in view of the fielding of the Jumbo. Why was the weight penalty in 1944 all of a sudden acceptable? But it was not done except for discussion material in forums."
The extra weight that the Jumbo imposed on the M4 chassis was only acceptable for a small number of tanks that were to be employed in a specialized role, in certain specific situations, on a limited range of surfaces and terrain. The Jumbo mods could not be applied across the entire M4 series. The people who have been telling you that it would make the Sherman too heavy and overload the chassis - when speaking of the M4 series as a whole - are in fact trying to offer you good quality information, Ed. They know what they are talking about.
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  #263  
Old 24 Mar 12, 09:25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panther3485 View Post
The extra weight that the Jumbo imposed on the M4 chassis was only acceptable for a small number of tanks that were to be employed in a specialized role, in certain specific situations, on a limited range of surfaces and terrain. The Jumbo mods could not be applied across the entire M4 series. The people who have been telling you that it would make the Sherman too heavy and overload the chassis - when speaking of the M4 series as a whole - are in fact trying to offer you good quality information, Ed. They know what they are talking about.
That is a bit rich, but if you are seeking counter points, I will throw in the RR Meteor as an alternative powerplant to the Ford GAA V8, just to be bloody minded. To say it could not have been done in theory is just not holding water. There have been other considerations for not implementing changes: For being impractical, slowing down production or some other reason. History tells us that. Could not be done technically in case of the Sherman remains open for theoretical discussion imho. .

Cheers,

Ed.

Just shaking the not possible: Have a look at the so called M-50 and M51
Israeli versions. There is one toting a 90mm for starters.
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  #264  
Old 24 Mar 12, 10:12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dutched View Post
That is a bit rich, but if you are seeking counter points, I will throw in the RR Meteor as an alternative powerplant to the Ford GAA V8, just to be bloody minded. To say it could not have been done in theory is just not holding water. There have been other considerations for not implementing changes: For being impractical, slowing down production or some other reason. History tells us that. Could not be done technically in case of the Sherman remains open for theoretical discussion imho. .

Cheers,

Ed.

Just shaking the not possible: Have a look at the so called M-50 and M51
Israeli versions. There is one toting a 90mm for starters.
First, to clarify the "not possible" part. I did not mean literally impossible. Of course, in theory at least if not in resource terms, it was literally "possible" to apply the Jumbo mods to all Shermans. But it would have been madness to do it because it was grossly overloading the chassis; and beyond the ridiculous if a substantially heavier gun was added on top of that. The Jumbo was great for support against strongpoints in certain specific conditions but was unable to function effectively as a medium tank. The whole chassis and drivetrain of a Jumbo was heavily over-taxed and ground pressure was excessive to the point where the tank was effectively restricted to firm ground. Even HVSS - which the Jumbos didn't have - would have struggled to float the beast well enough on soft going.

In short, while the Jumbo mods were excellent for their intended narrow-focus purpose on a restricted number of tanks, the Americans would have been stupid to apply them to all Shermans even if they could.

The post-war Israeli examples you mention - the most potent being the M51 with a shortened French 105mm gun - were not armoured anything like a Jumbo, either on the hull or the turret. In fact, they had the same or very little more than the standard armour for their respective Sherman model. They had the aforementioned heavier armament; and those Shermans not already fitted with HVSS were upgraded to the improved suspension and tracks to help cope with the extra weight of the bigger gun and modified turret (which needed a fair bit of counter-weighting in a bustle at the rear). But adding a heavier armament AND adding Jumbo-esque armour would have effectively stuffed the mobility of the tank, even with the much better engine these tanks had by then (a Cummins diesel, IIRC). The M51 pushed the weight tolerance of the M4 chassis to the limit allowable for a viable all-round battle tank. (And btw, the M50 was 75mm and the M51 105mm. Neither was 90mm).

These people knew what they were doing, and they knew what the practical weight limit for a given chassis was, if you want it to be effective as a medium/main battle tank. If you are to be happy with a semi-mobile whale that is of course a different matter.

I hope that helps to clarify.
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  #265  
Old 24 Mar 12, 10:50
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Who better to provide an accurate view of the T-34 battle performance than our new best friends, the Germans?
Well put.
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  #266  
Old 24 Mar 12, 12:02
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Eh? Could you speak up a little? I didn't quite make out what you said.
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  #267  
Old 24 Mar 12, 12:05
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Fraser View Post
It was not, obviously. A large part of Soviet industry was directly in the path of the advancing Wehrmacht. The raids on the hydroelectric installations at Gorky were the result of a protracted struggle by Korten to develop strategic bombing in the Luftwaffe. By then it was the What-was-Leftwaffe, a handful of He-177A-5 with II/KG 1. There were no repeat raids.

German Air War in Russia by Richard Muller (Nautical & Aviation Pub. 1992) is an excellent treatment, scholarly but readable.

Regards
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I thought I read correctly...sorry I couldn't figure out how to copy/paste from this document. Thanks for the recommendation though.
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  #268  
Old 24 Mar 12, 12:37
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Originally Posted by dutched View Post
The panzer III and IV and V all has sloped armoured turrets and were 3 man turrets into the boot.
So what? The Sherman's turret was rounded which has some protective value of its own. In any case putting a slope to the flank armour of the Sherman as in T-34 would still mean the top deck gets narrower by a significant amount and this means a smaller turret, or 2 man turret, or poor ergonomics. Neither Pz III or IV had sloped flank armour on the hull, thus they could accommodate a larger turret ring. Pz V had some slope to the flank but its increased size and weight only proves the point that a large turret ring for a large gun means a large tank.

Further, the sloping on German tanks was very slight and made next to no difference to protection (well, maybe against the .55 cal BOYS ATR). A better claim would be the rounded Mantlet of the Pz V but then it was thick enough anyway to deflect a 75mm (and the shot trap shape forced a change in any case).

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  #269  
Old 24 Mar 12, 15:09
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panther3485 View Post
First, to clarify the "not possible" part. I did not mean literally impossible. Of course, in theory at least if not in resource terms, it was literally "possible" to apply the Jumbo mods to all Shermans. But it would have been madness to do it because it was grossly overloading the chassis; and beyond the ridiculous if a substantially heavier gun was added on top of that. The Jumbo was great for support against strongpoints in certain specific conditions but was unable to function effectively as a medium tank. The whole chassis and drivetrain of a Jumbo was heavily over-taxed and ground pressure was excessive to the point where the tank was effectively restricted to firm ground. Even HVSS - which the Jumbos didn't have - would have struggled to float the beast well enough on soft going.

In short, while the Jumbo mods were excellent for their intended narrow-focus purpose on a restricted number of tanks, the Americans would have been stupid to apply them to all Shermans even if they could.

The post-war Israeli examples you mention - the most potent being the M51 with a shortened French 105mm gun - were not armoured anything like a Jumbo, either on the hull or the turret. In fact, they had the same or very little more than the standard armour for their respective Sherman model. They had the aforementioned heavier armament; and those Shermans not already fitted with HVSS were upgraded to the improved suspension and tracks to help cope with the extra weight of the bigger gun and modified turret (which needed a fair bit of counter-weighting in a bustle at the rear). But adding a heavier armament AND adding Jumbo-esque armour would have effectively stuffed the mobility of the tank, even with the much better engine these tanks had by then (a Cummins diesel, IIRC). The M51 pushed the weight tolerance of the M4 chassis to the limit allowable for a viable all-round battle tank. (And btw, the M50 was 75mm and the M51 105mm. Neither was 90mm).

These people knew what they were doing, and they knew what the practical weight limit for a given chassis was, if you want it to be effective as a medium/main battle tank. If you are to be happy with a semi-mobile whale that is of course a different matter.

I hope that helps to clarify.
One did not need Jumbo-esque solutions. The new shape sort of already existed on the M 10. I am only saying that with these two givens a better
Sherman could have been envisaged at a relatively early stage. A quick fag packet calculation would put the weight w/o clever design somewhere within the 35 metric tonnes. So not quite Jumbo, but still a good armour protetion at around 35 mm material thickness front, back and sides, at this point totally ignoring the physical and ballistic effects of the sloping.
As for the turret ring issue: Let the turret overhang. It did so on many designs including the Panther but also on the earlier Panhard armoured car.
I roped in the Israeli and possibly could have roped in the Yugoslavs as well to point out that the unlikely options can exsist if one wants to.

Ed.
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  #270  
Old 24 Mar 12, 15:41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Purist View Post
So what? The Sherman's turret was rounded which has some protective value of its own. In any case putting a slope to the flank armour of the Sherman as in T-34 would still mean the top deck gets narrower by a significant amount and this means a smaller turret, or 2 man turret, or poor ergonomics. Neither Pz III or IV had sloped flank armour on the hull, thus they could accommodate a larger turret ring. Pz V had some slope to the flank but its increased size and weight only proves the point that a large turret ring for a large gun means a large tank.

Further, the sloping on German tanks was very slight and made next to no difference to protection (well, maybe against the .55 cal BOYS ATR). A better claim would be the rounded Mantlet of the Pz V but then it was thick enough anyway to deflect a 75mm (and the shot trap shape forced a change in any case).

I never argued that rounding did not have any ballistic qualities of it's own.
As for the turret, let it overhang the ring as in the panther if need be.
For the Panzer III and IV, these could have had sloped armour with a bit of redesign. Just have a look at the Panzerjager IV Aufbau for stimulation if you like.. The fact that it was not done at the time is due to choices made at the time. Many of these simply because of the production method opted for.
Sloping the armour is one of such choices for manufacture.
Had casting was the obvious favourite, designs would have accommodated that.
We would have seen very different shapes.

Ed.
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