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

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  #346  
Old 15 Apr 12, 20:36
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Originally Posted by Pruitt View Post
Nick,

Don't forget that a number of American Armor replacements were simply seized at a nearby Repple Depple and put in a tank to be sent up to the Front. At least the driver got some practice at his craft on the way there. Most of these guys did not survive their first combat.
The platoon sergeant I talked with today had a particularly frightful experience with a replacement. After shifting replacements around to fill the open slots in his platoon he ended up with two new guys. One he put as asst. driver and the other as the loader. Unfortunately his tank was called forward before they could spend any time training the new guys. After receiving orders to fire HE rounds to destroy some questionable German vehicles left on the field by earlier fighting he heard the gunner start cussing and raising hell. Poking his head down inside the turret he saw the gunner holding the arm of the new loader. In the loaderís hand was a hammer. It seems the shell jammed as he tried to load it, and without missing a beat he grabbed a hammer and had already hit the shell a whack before the gunner could grab his arm. Damn! Anyway, after a thorough chewing out the new loader was sent to the rear, and they got someone else.
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  #347  
Old 15 Apr 12, 20:39
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Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post


The reason for the Shermans success was the high morale of the crews and their training, not the tank itself. Colonel S R Hinds states:It is quite clear to me (at least) that the US Sherman crews are better than their opponents, which is shown by the fact they are able to close and get several shots off first, and hit.
Precisely.
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  #348  
Old 15 Apr 12, 20:46
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Originally Posted by panther3485 View Post
However, while I can never replicate the combat experience of a veteran who actually fought in the Sherman during WW2, being able to position myself inside one would help me understand a whole lot better than sitting at my desk!
Well said.
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  #349  
Old 15 Apr 12, 23:37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panther3485 View Post
I presume you meant to say, "I don't disbelieve veterans. ... "
The mistake was punctuation. The above should have read like this:

"I don't believe veterans? I think I must have written poorly, I meant to communicate that I have no reason to believe you."

I have corrected it.
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  #350  
Old 15 Apr 12, 23:40
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Originally Posted by Sleepy Head View Post
You missed my point, but Nick got it. See post #329.

I have absolutely no reason to be concerned by your belief or disbelief. I just donít care.
Odd...you continue to respond to me. Even a high school debate team novice sees the holes in that reply. Lie all you want.
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  #351  
Old 15 Apr 12, 23:51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panther3485 View Post
I was very lucky last time I had a serious look at a tank, because the museum staff allowed me to climb inside free of any extra charge. Trouble is, it was an M3 Medium, not an M4 (still a very enjoyable and informative experience, though, and I took quite a few photos too!)
DAMN! That is nice. I will have to try that. When I visited Saumur the closest thing I came to that was the AMX-10P they had on display for crawling around in purposes. I got in the rear and made my way up front and tried to pop up through the hatch to "man the HMG." I know the French are not small (my father in law may be short but he is a fire plug) and I am trying to imagine who they had in mind to squeeze through this thing. Maybe they don't feed the troops. Bonus, they have a Tiger drive train pulled out on display. It looked very fragile!
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  #352  
Old 16 Apr 12, 00:32
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Well done, I thought you had it in you

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
You mentioned the book here with regards to the derogatory comments produced here about US Sherman tankers complaints about their kit when compared to the enemies. You remarked that the whole report was not used, implying that only negative comments were taken.
I think I was wondering why he used the statements he did use. Be honest don't the majority of the comments echo what you already knew. Panther with superior gun, sights, flotation and frontal armor Numerous accounts of firing shots that bounce off. You know gun performance vs. armor. Was this a shock to you?

Tell me if you examined what was in those pages to find anything besides more evidence on your quest to bury the M4? Did you ask yourself, for instance, how this "report" was completed in two days? General Eisenhower writes to General White on 18 Mar '45 and White's reply is dated 20 March '45. Does this mean anything to you?

Pages 40-45 show a number of questions offered to a particular battalion. Would these questions strike you as leading?

Does it seem odd to you that this report that this report was written in March of 1945? (The war being very close to over and any insight or suggestions made would be entirely useless, especially since this was not an official report and the possibilities of the US Army acting on it for future wars slim to none.)

Did you read it just to find evidence to belittle the M4?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
Well, now that I've read it, I decided to see if any Sherman tanker thought their tank was overall better than the enemies. Not one did. However, there are over 50 statements endorsing the superiority of German tanks in combat over the Sherman.
Again, do we know what questions were asked of these men? Do you care that evaluation of the Panther showed it had some striking shortcomings? "Approximately blind when buttoned up." (p129)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
The reason for the Shermans success was the high morale of the crews and their training, not the tank itself. Colonel S R Hinds states:It is quite clear to me (at least) that the US Sherman crews are better than their opponents, which is shown by the fact they are able to close and get several shots off first, and hit. This should not be surprising since the W Ally tankers were not limited by lack of fuel or ammo for training.
If it is not too much trouble could you give a page reference for the statement that you are getting this from. I notice you don't use quotes so I have to assume Col. Hinds did not say exactly what you say above. He is quoted in my copy on page 21 and he does not say the above. I've leafed through the book and don't find a second quote yet but I think it really your responsibility to provide a proper citation. No?
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  #353  
Old 16 Apr 12, 03:54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBark View Post
The mistake was punctuation. The above should have read like this:

"I don't believe veterans? I think I must have written poorly, I meant to communicate that I have no reason to believe you."

I have corrected it.
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  #354  
Old 16 Apr 12, 03:59
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Originally Posted by JBark View Post
DAMN! That is nice. I will have to try that. When I visited Saumur the closest thing I came to that was the AMX-10P they had on display for crawling around in purposes. I got in the rear and made my way up front and tried to pop up through the hatch to "man the HMG." I know the French are not small (my father in law may be short but he is a fire plug) and I am trying to imagine who they had in mind to squeeze through this thing. Maybe they don't feed the troops. Bonus, they have a Tiger drive train pulled out on display. It looked very fragile!
I deliberately picked a day when there were very few visitors; I explained that I was a very keen lifetime WW2 tank enthusiast; and I asked very nicely. After all, I thought, the worst they could do is say no. I was lucky and they said yes.
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  #355  
Old 16 Apr 12, 05:01
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Originally Posted by JBark View Post
Well done, I thought you had it in you

Quote:
Originally Posted by JBark View Post
I think I was wondering why he used the statements he did use. Be honest don't the majority of the comments echo what you already knew. Panther with superior gun, sights, flotation and frontal armor Numerous accounts of firing shots that bounce off. You know gun performance vs. armor. Was this a shock to you?
Yes I did know, thanks, and it was not a shock .

Quote:
Originally Posted by JBark View Post
Tell me if you examined what was in those pages to find anything besides more evidence on your quest to bury the M4? Did you ask yourself, for instance, how this "report" was completed in two days? General Eisenhower writes to General White on 18 Mar '45 and White's reply is dated 20 March '45. Does this mean anything to you?
Just because I don't adore the M4 does not mean I think the Sherman is bad. But let's put everything into perspective. As Eisenhower stated (page 7 here):
Quote:
Our men, in general, realise that the Sherman is not capable of standing up in a ding-dong fight with a Panther. Neither in gunpower nor in armor is the present Sherman justified in undertaking such a contest. On the otherhand, most of them realise realize that we have a job of shipping tanks overseas and therefore do not want unwieldy monsters; that our tanks have great reliability, good mobility, and that the gun has been vastly improved. Most of them feel also that they have developed tactics that allow them to use their superior numbers to defeat the Panther tank as long as they are not surprised and can discover the Panther before it has gotten in three or four good shots.
Zaloga in Armored Thunderbolt stated that the Sherman may not have been the best tank of WW2, but it was good enough. That is my opinion also. The M4 was okay and did the job, but it could have been so much better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JBark View Post
Pages 40-45 show a number of questions offered to a particular battalion. Would these questions strike you as leading?
There are questions on pages 33 to 43 in my copy, but this refers to the M36, not the M4?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JBark View Post
Does it seem odd to you that this report that this report was written in March of 1945? (The war being very close to over and any insight or suggestions made would be entirely useless, especially since this was not an official report and the possibilities of the US Army acting on it for future wars slim to none.)
Not at all. The NY Times had an editorial in Jan 45 about the Sherman scandal in that it was not a good machine as the public were led to believe. This was taken up in March 45 by the Washington Post. Eisenhower was asking for quick answers from his armoured generals to see if this was true and to head off possible questions from reporters.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JBark View Post
Did you read it just to find evidence to belittle the M4?
Nope. Just to put the M4 combat capability in perspective and to further increase my respect for the M4 crew members.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JBark View Post
Again, do we know what questions were asked of these men? Do you care that evaluation of the Panther showed it had some striking shortcomings? "Approximately blind when buttoned up." (p129)
You already know that I do not hold the Panther in high regard. Its tactical mobility was limited by the fact that its engine would overheat after 30 minutes. Its operational mobility was limited by the fact that its final drive was good for only 150kms. Its combat ability was limited by the incomprehensible system that the turret was rotated by the gunner, but that the gunner only had a narrow angle of visibility. For such a heavy tank, its side armour was also extremely thin. However, when you are facing a working model, and that the Panther can use its ability to make neutral turns to keep that thick frontal armour facing you, you need to be a brave man indeed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JBark View Post
If it is not too much trouble could you give a page reference for the statement that you are getting this from. I notice you don't use quotes so I have to assume Col. Hinds did not say exactly what you say above. He is quoted in my copy on page 21 and he does not say the above. I've leafed through the book and don't find a second quote yet but I think it really your responsibility to provide a proper citation. No?
I quoted exactly what he said in my copy, page 17. I also used quotes evidence here, so you need to read my posts more carefully. Let me repeat Colonel Hinds quote for your elucidation .

Quote:
In my opinion, the reason our armour has engaged the German tanks as successfully as it has is not due by any means to a superior tank but to our superior numbers of tanks on the battlefield and the willingness of our tankers to take their losses while maneuvering to a position where a penetrating shot can be put through a weak spot of the enemy tank.
The Sherman was not great, but the crewmen were.
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  #356  
Old 16 Apr 12, 18:01
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Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
The Sherman was not great, but the crewmen were.
As the brilliant armor commander MG John S. Wood concluded when addressing mechanized warfare and its machines: The men who man them are, as always, the ultimate weapon. (p.163) This seems especially true of those who took the Sherman tank forward to combat the heavier German tanks.
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  #357  
Old 16 Apr 12, 18:34
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Originally Posted by Sleepy Head View Post
As the brilliant armor commander MG John S. Wood concluded when addressing mechanized warfare and its machines: The men who man them are, as always, the ultimate weapon. (p.163) This seems especially true of those who took the Sherman tank forward to combat the heavier German tanks.
Yep. It kind of turns Tigerphobia on its head, with W Ally tankers advancing on German machines despite the perceived superiority of the cats et al.
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Old 17 Apr 12, 00:11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
Just because I don't adore the M4 does not mean I think the Sherman is bad. But let's put everything into perspective. As Eisenhower stated (page 7 here):Zaloga in Armored Thunderbolt stated that the Sherman may not have been the best tank of WW2, but it was good enough. That is my opinion also. The M4 was okay and did the job, but it could have been so much better.
I think I have a good perspective. I've read good history of the M4's development, production and use and I put it in the perspective of a machine needed to fight WWII. In that perspective I think it did a tough job well and in doing so showed greatness. Eisenhower? He says, among other things that "...our tank has great reliability, good mobility, and that the gun has been vastly improved." He is speaking for impressions he gets from G.I.'s and goes on to say they have tactics that allow them to use their numbers to take on the Panther. I don't see anything bad in what Ike or White have to say about the M4.

I often think Zaloga writes to the audience's wishes. I think Thunderbolt, if you read all that is there, is telling the reader what a superb machine the M4 is. Is Zaloga willing to name it the best tank of the war and stir up a dungstorm? No. Does he say it in the book...I think so. (IMO)

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Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
There are questions on pages 33 to 43 in my copy, but this refers to the M36, not the M4?
Yes so they tell us how the G.I.'s were questioned about the M4, right? Leading questions, certainly not what one would find in a good, accurate survey done by professionals.

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Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
Not at all. The NY Times had an editorial in Jan 45 about the Sherman scandal in that it was not a good machine as the public were led to believe. This was taken up in March 45 by the Washington Post. Eisenhower was asking for quick answers from his armoured generals to see if this was true and to head off possible questions from reporters.
How do they do this in two days?

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Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
Nope. Just to put the M4 combat capability in perspective and to further increase my respect for the M4 crew members.
Okay...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
You already know that I do not hold the Panther in high regard. Its tactical mobility was limited by the fact that its engine would overheat after 30 minutes. Its operational mobility was limited by the fact that its final drive was good for only 150kms. Its combat ability was limited by the incomprehensible system that the turret was rotated by the gunner, but that the gunner only had a narrow angle of visibility. For such a heavy tank, its side armour was also extremely thin. However, when you are facing a working model, and that the Panther can use its ability to make neutral turns to keep that thick frontal armour facing you, you need to be a brave man indeed.

Yes but the drum you have been beating has been about the shortcomings of the M4 compared to AT and German armor. You put up a post that I would not be using this volume to prove the worthiness of the M4 in battle. I am pointing out that the testing done on the Panther shows it to be "approximately blind when buttoned up", that its turret is slow to traverse and difficult to do so because of it lack of balance. We further know that surveys of ETO combat indicate that tank v tank battles were won by first shot not gun and armor superiority. First shot is going to be easier to accomplish when with superior visibility and gun movement so I think it makes this volume a good source to sing the praises of the M4.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
I quoted exactly what he said in my copy, page 17. I also used quotes evidence here, so you need to read my posts more carefully. Let me repeat Colonel Hinds quote for your elucidation .
When choosing the option to reply with quotes your Col. Hinds quotation shows like this:
The reason for the Shermans success was the high morale of the crews and their training, not the tank itself. Colonel S R Hinds states:It is quite clear to me (at least) that the US Sherman crews are better than their opponents, which is shown by the fact they are able to close and get several shots off first, and hit. This should not be surprising since the W Ally tankers were not limited by lack of fuel or ammo for training.

Hence my error.

I think you might remember that the criteria that we use in these discussions differ from what a G.I. might use in evaluating equipment for this survey. These men, incredibly brave, aren't thinking about how produceable this machine was. How easy it might be to pull the final drive. How many can fit in a liberty ship or whether they will cross bridges. What I see making this machine great is better voiced by the generals writing here and another reason why I have no problem pulling this book out to sing the praises of the M4.

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The Sherman was not great, but the crewmen were.
I say both. The men can not do their supererior job in an adequate machine, IMHO.
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Old 17 Apr 12, 00:14
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Originally Posted by JBark View Post
I think Thunderbolt, if you read all that is there, is telling the reader what a superb machine the M4 is. Is Zaloga willing to name it the best tank of the war and stir up a dungstorm? No. Does he say it in the book...I think so.
Again, John, just like T34s In Action, with Thunderbolt we appear to have read two different books. Hmmmm.
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Old 17 Apr 12, 00:41
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Real Name: John
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clackers View Post
Again, John, just like T34s In Action, with Thunderbolt we appear to have read two different books. Hmmmm.
Are you the fellow that wanted me to remember one paragraph from T-34 In Action? I offer that the general theme I got from the book was that the highly praised T-34 I had heard about was not described in this book. Are there parts I don't remember? Yes? Do I think the same way you do? No. Do we possess the same armor knowledge? I doubt it.

Thunderbolt was a great book. Informative about many aspects of armor and the M4. It did nothing but cement what Hunnicutt's book had started. I wish I had the perfect analogy for the M4 in some other world...boxing perhaps. Joe Frazier was no pretty champion. He couldn't dance and throw fast punches like Ali. He wasn't the hardest hitting champion ever but he could hit. He worked hard in training and just kept coming, and coming, and coming. He got the job done. Against Foreman his style was tailor made for disastor like an M4 meeting a Tiger II in a wide open desert. I still think he was great. (This is an off the cuff, half thought through analogy.)

Don't make your posts so brief...discuss Thunderbolt if you have something to say.
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