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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Forum Resources > Armchair Attacks! > Greatest/Best Tank of WW2

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Greatest/Best Tank of WW2 An archive of the WWII Forum's Greatest/Best Tank mini-contest.

View Poll Results: In its time of first-line service, which tank was #1 for Protection & Survivability?
Matilda II 7 15.22%
Crusader 0 0%
Churchill 3 6.52%
Valentine 0 0%
Cromwell 0 0%
Somua S-35 0 0%
Char B-1 bis 1 2.17%
PzKpfw 38(t) 0 0%
PzKpfw III 1 2.17%
PzKpfw IV (short & long guns combined) 1 2.17%
Tiger I 9 19.57%
Panther 2 4.35%
Tiger II 16 34.78%
M 13-40/14-41/15-42 0 0%
Type 97 Chi-Ha 0 0%
BT-5/7 0 0%
T-34 (76 and 85 combined) 1 2.17%
KV-1 3 6.52%
IS-2 2 4.35%
M3 Medium 0 0%
M4 Medium (all versions combined) 0 0%
Voters: 46. You may not vote on this poll

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  #46  
Old 01 Jun 12, 19:30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TacCovert4 View Post
Benchmark: Tiger I

Therefore my Benchmark is the Tiger I, superior protection, superior gun to let it engage the enemy where its protection made it nigh invulnerable, and enough speed to allow it to protect itself from being flanked operationally.
I thought I would share some of what I had recently read in Rude Mechanicals, by A.J. Smithers. He wrote that the Tiger was thought of as unbeatable in the hull down but once it started moving it's size, weight and slowness all worked to getting it dead.
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  #47  
Old 04 Jun 12, 02:55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBark View Post
I thought I would share some of what I had recently read in Rude Mechanicals, by A.J. Smithers. He wrote that the Tiger was thought of as unbeatable in the hull down but once it started moving it's size, weight and slowness all worked to getting it dead.
However, slowness, I suppose, would be covered in the mobility part of the poll.

I realize the factors overlap; speed contributes to survivability, evidently. Nevertheless, it's not a factor I considered for my vote in this part of the poll, I'll consider it in the mobility part.
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  #48  
Old 04 Jun 12, 05:41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michele View Post
However, slowness, I suppose, would be covered in the mobility part of the poll.

I realize the factors overlap; speed contributes to survivability, evidently. Nevertheless, it's not a factor I considered for my vote in this part of the poll, I'll consider it in the mobility part.
Quite so, Michele, and that's exactly the way I'll be approaching this. Speed will be dealt with separately, under the Mobility criterion.

Having said that, the Tiger I was pretty darn good for a 57 ton heavy tank of 1942-44. Faster and more agile, and/or with better cross-country mobility, than some other tanks that were considerably lighter. And provided it received the maintenance & tech support it needed, it could be kept at reasonably high levels of serviceability.
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  #49  
Old 04 Jun 12, 22:05
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I almost hated to do it, but I had to give the top spot to Tiger II. For all it's other short comings the armor pretty darn effective, and probably would have been for a while after the war as well.

Excellent: Tiger I, Chruchill, Matilda II, KV1, Panther (Almost went good with Panther but gave it the benefit of the doubt.)

Good: Valentine, T34, IS2, M4, M3, Char B-1 bis, Souma (despite the bolts), Cromwell.

OK: PzKpfw III, PzKpfw IV, PzKpfw 38(t), Crusader, BT 5/7

Poor: Type 97 Chi-Ha, M13-40/14-41/15-42
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  #50  
Old 05 Jun 12, 00:19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michele View Post
However, slowness, I suppose, would be covered in the mobility part of the poll.

I realize the factors overlap; speed contributes to survivability, evidently. Nevertheless, it's not a factor I considered for my vote in this part of the poll, I'll consider it in the mobility part.
It's that overlap that I have difficulty with and represents, for me, the difficulty with even the most well thought out poll. Discussion is good, right? I'm reading a paper by an officer presenting his masters thesis to the US Army Command and General Staff College entitled "Lessons Learned From 20th Century Tank Warfare: Does a Common Thread of Lessons Exist?" He emphasises the importance of the speed of a tank, putting it paramount to increases in gun or armor in the survivability of the tank. Just a thought.
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  #51  
Old 05 Jun 12, 01:47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBark View Post
It's that overlap that I have difficulty with and represents, for me, the difficulty with even the most well thought out poll. Discussion is good, right? I'm reading a paper by an officer presenting his masters thesis to the US Army Command and General Staff College entitled "Lessons Learned From 20th Century Tank Warfare: Does a Common Thread of Lessons Exist?" He emphasises the importance of the speed of a tank, putting it paramount to increases in gun or armor in the survivability of the tank. Just a thought.
I think that depends on what you want your tank to do. Remember there was no such thing as a modern MBT in WW 2 when this poll takes place, so tanks had distinctly different tasks in mind when being designed. One tank could not really do it all as some might today. A heavy, infantry support, or defensive vehicle would place a premium on armor over speed almost every time. Light tanks were the opposite. My guess is an M4 crewman in the bocage would disagree with the officer presenting his masters thesis about speed over armor.
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  #52  
Old 05 Jun 12, 03:34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBark View Post
It's that overlap that I have difficulty with and represents, for me, the difficulty with even the most well thought out poll. Discussion is good, right? I'm reading a paper by an officer presenting his masters thesis to the US Army Command and General Staff College entitled "Lessons Learned From 20th Century Tank Warfare: Does a Common Thread of Lessons Exist?" He emphasises the importance of the speed of a tank, putting it paramount to increases in gun or armor in the survivability of the tank. Just a thought.
Discussion is fine, of course. As to the organization of the polls, I'd highlight that there is one that assesses firepower, protection and mobility taken together. That allows you to put the effect of speed as protection into one vote, together with offensive capability.
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  #53  
Old 05 Jun 12, 03:42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by llkinak View Post
I think that depends on what you want your tank to do. Remember there was no such thing as a modern MBT in WW 2 when this poll takes place, so tanks had distinctly different tasks in mind when being designed. One tank could not really do it all as some might today. A heavy, infantry support, or defensive vehicle would place a premium on armor over speed almost every time. Light tanks were the opposite. My guess is an M4 crewman in the bocage would disagree with the officer presenting his masters thesis about speed over armor.
In fact. I'd add that some ideas might be good in theory, but they need the tech to turn from wishful thinking into SOP.
Just one example: today tanks fire on the move. They are built to do so and they do it as a matter of course, and it helps them a lot. It also makes speed even more valuable.

But that did not happen during WWII. The tech existed, but just one tank, the Sherman, actually had a gyroscopic-stabilized gun, and even the crews of that tank often did not make use of it. Tanks fired while stationary.

The theory behind the Italian CV35 (where, tellingly, CV stands for Carro Veloce, i.e. fast tank) was exactly that speed (and small size) protected them; and being armed with MGs only, they could and did fire without stopping. That was considered a plus - in theory.
Unfortunately, after-action analysis showed that being so fast and small, a sizable proportion of the ammunition fired while on the move on anything but the flattest terrain, either hit the ground not far from the tank, or was shot into the air well above the horizon line.
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  #54  
Old 05 Jun 12, 06:33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by llkinak View Post
I almost hated to do it, but I had to give the top spot to Tiger II. For all it's other short comings the armor pretty darn effective, and probably would have been for a while after the war as well.

Excellent: Tiger I, Chruchill, Matilda II, KV1, Panther (Almost went good with Panther but gave it the benefit of the doubt.)

Good: Valentine, T34, IS2, M4, M3, Char B-1 bis, Souma (despite the bolts), Cromwell.

OK: PzKpfw III, PzKpfw IV, PzKpfw 38(t), Crusader, BT 5/7

Poor: Type 97 Chi-Ha, M13-40/14-41/15-42
Thanks Lance, your scores have now been recorded.
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  #55  
Old 05 Jun 12, 13:29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michele View Post
Discussion is fine, of course. As to the organization of the polls, I'd highlight that there is one that assesses firepower, protection and mobility taken together. That allows you to put the effect of speed as protection into one vote, together with offensive capability.
Thank you for taking the time to point out what the poll is about and the purpose behind each of the categories. I have one left to vote on and if I am foggy on what Panther has written I'll pm you for more help.
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  #56  
Old 06 Jun 12, 09:24
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Thank you for taking the time to point out what the poll is about and the purpose behind each of the categories. I have one left to vote on and if I am foggy on what Panther has written I'll pm you for more help.
Sorry if I came through as a newbie trying to teach a veteran how to suck eggs. It wasn't my intention. I can only say that I probably misunderstood what you meant by "having difficulty with". My apologies.
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Old 06 Jun 12, 10:43
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Sorry if I came through as a newbie trying to teach a veteran how to suck eggs. It wasn't my intention. I can only say that I probably misunderstood what you meant by "having difficulty with". My apologies.
Appreciate the response. I'll explain my difficulty. This category (I believe the only one I have not voted on...because of my "difficulty") is not labeled "Armor" or "Protection", so more is being asked of us, I believe. Panther has included other factors which add to or take away from a crewman's ability to survive. I recall reading a description of the TD Jagdtiger and the phrase "slightly mobile pillbox" was used. If I were to assess this vehicle's protection level, it's ability to fight and survive, wouldn't I want to factor this in? A vehicle's ability to maneuver in a fight, to get out of Dodge if necessary, are all factors in survivability, IMO.

I realize that we have a category called Mobility but, as I believe I stated before, I think Survivability opens up this category to discussion of many factors. If you had to compare, in this category, tank A and tank B which had very similar levels of armor, armor quality, hatches for escape, etc., but A was faster than B...wouldn't you choose A over B in this category?

Welcome.
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Old 06 Jun 12, 11:15
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Just to clarify, guys

Protection and Survivability under this criterion are meant to include:
  • Protection - The primary protection as offered by the armoured shell of the vehicle, including obvious factors such as thicknesses, slopes and curves; plus or minus aspects of its design that directly impinge on the effectiveness of said primary protection; such as armour quality; methods of fabrication; location and design of openings and other weak points; etc.
  • Survivability - The ability of the tank to provide its crew with secondary protection such as measures to reduce the probability of fires and/or provide the means to extinguish them; measures or design features intended to inhibit the spread of fires; design features and/or armour quality factors intended to reduce the probability or effects of spalling; the means to exit the tank quickly and safely; etc.
(Please see post #2 of this thread, or ask me, if anyone is still unsure about the limits of what this particular criterion/poll is intended to cover)

Yes, I acknowledge and have obviously considered the matter that mobility - and in particular speed - can certainly affect your level of 'protection' because being able to move around effectively can not only enhance your offensive power but also your defensive power and therefore, ultimately, your survivability. Therefore, when considering your vote under the mobility criterion on that particular poll thread, the full benefits of good mobility must not be underestimated.

As Michele correctly points out, it is the poll thread dealing with Combination of Firepower/Mobility/Protection that brings the three fundamental attributes together and rewards the tank designs that had the best combination of those attributes, for the excellent reasons that you have just raised, John.

If you remember during the working-up and preparation for these polls, when we were discussing construction of the criteria, in certain places I had to argue quite strongly for the inclusion of separate polls for each of the fundamental attributes in addition to another one that combined them. Strength in one attribute can sometimes work to assist or at least mitigate the others on the battlefield; and equally so, weakness in one attribute can detract from or compromise the others.

However, in this one particular poll out of the 12, we are not meant to be judging mobility or any of the other factors that are primarily dealt with under the other 11 polls. Indeed, that is precisely why we have 12 separate polls. Of course, any method of polling construct will have some weaknesses; I don't think a truly 'perfect' poll is possible but up to now at least, this has been my best shot. It's too late to make changes to the construct of this current set of polls but I am, as ever, always open to further improvement with a view to the future. The master thread exists to debate the pros and cons of my approach with this set, so I would invite anyone who wishes to offer suggestions for future polls, to post them here:

http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...d.php?t=122093

All reasonable suggestions will receive due and fair consideration. As before, this does not mean that all suggestions will necessarily be agreed with or adopted but they are ALL valued, because if nothing else they challenge me and cause me to re-evaluate; and that helps me to improve.

Thanks, guys, and I really appreciate your enthusiasm and participation.
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  #59  
Old 06 Jun 12, 12:22
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Originally Posted by panther3485 View Post
Just to clarify, guys

(...)

Thanks, guys, and I really appreciate your enthusiasm and participation.
No, thank you for the explanations. They are worth reading in their own right, polls apart.
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Old 06 Jun 12, 23:44
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Originally Posted by panther3485 View Post
Just to clarify, guys...
...Thanks, guys, and I really appreciate your enthusiasm and participation.
May I please point out that this started with me making a comment about the size, weight, and slowness of the Tiger. I was not expecting any change in this poll with my comments.
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