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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: Which of these tanks had the greatest 'edge' factor in its time?
Matilda II 1 2.38%
Crusader 0 0%
Churchill 0 0%
Valentine 0 0%
Cromwell 0 0%
Somua S-35 0 0%
Char B-1 bis 0 0%
PzKpfw 38(t) 0 0%
PzKpfw III 0 0%
PzKpfw IV (short & long guns combined) 0 0%
Tiger I 33 78.57%
Panther 0 0%
Tiger II 0 0%
M 13-40/14-41/15-42 1 2.38%
Type 97 Chi-Ha 0 0%
BT-5/7 0 0%
T-34 (76 and 85 combined) 5 11.90%
KV-1 1 2.38%
IS-2 0 0%
M3 Medium 0 0%
M4 Medium (all versions combined) 1 2.38%
Voters: 42. You may not vote on this poll

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  #31  
Old 11 May 12, 08:51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
69.7 km/h vs 68.1 km/h, so yes, the PzIII was faster than the BT-7. I found that an eye opener myself. Given that it was a Soviet test, the findings seem genuine.
Guys, please be very, very careful with this!

First, let me say that as a source on the T-34 printed in English, and at an economical price, it would be extremely hard to beat the Baryatinskiy volume IMO. I have been the very pleased owner of this volume for a few years now and I refer to it again and again. Great little book and lots of good quality info!

Now, about the comparison with PzKpfw III:

Those two PzKpfw IIIs were, according to Baryatinskiy's book, purchased from the Germans in 1940. I reckon they must have been the most souped-up, hot-rodded Panzer 3's ever built!!!!!

Gentlemen, the maximum speed for any standard production version of PzKpfw III was 40 Km/h. Indeed, earlier versions could manage no more than 35 Km/h. Reference after reference after reference; be they via Spielberger, Jentz or any other reliable books based on German sources, tells us this. Quite simply, the standard production PzKpfw IIIs - whichever Ausf you pick - were nowhere near as fast as those two gems purchased by the Soviets. (I believe the German tank engines of this time were normally governed for a range of RPM that helped to ensure reliability and reasonable longevity in actual field service. Gear ratios also had to be very carefully chosen. In addition, there were practical limits for the suspension and track designs of these tanks; whereby excessive speed would vastly accelerate wear and tear of the running gear and also increase the probability of throwing a track in turns. Not something you want for a series production tank when you take it into the battlefield environment.)

Assuming the Soviet test figures for those two Panzers are correct - and as far as I can see there should be no reason to doubt them - the only reasonable explanation I can think of at the moment is this:
Methinks perhaps, the Germans might have gone all-out to impress the pants off the Russians regarding German engineering and automotive prowess; and the quality of their tanks. I don't think they would have known the T-34 was in the wings but surely must have suspected the Soviets were in the course of developing new types. I'm also wondering exactly what kind of long-term technical support the Germans might have been offering; and exactly how long they really wanted those Panzer 3s to last in Soviet hands.

So, as the present information stands, my thinking is that for the purpose of comparision with any standard production PzKpfw III it should be safe to disregard the speed figures here. However, all the other stuff about the German tank's 3-man turret, superior optics (in particular the Commander's cupola) etc, is perfectly valid as we know. It's 'soft' factors were, overall, significantly superior to those of T-34 at that time.
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Last edited by panther3485; 11 May 12 at 13:30..
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  #32  
Old 11 May 12, 14:41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
.
I always post something I believe in. I also immediately admit when I'm wrong. The reason for the latter is as follows. One, its pointless to fight an indefensible position, and better to learn from your mistakes and move on. Learnt that from TTTSNBN. Second, if I do stand by my position, people realize that I have read enough to back up my statements. Like now .

Then I have to wonder why you would state multiple times that an evaluation of tank v. tank combat comes down to four variables. You believe that a tank engagement can be represented by the equation:
tank + crew = tank + crew and I will remind you again what can be found in Data on WWII Tank Engagements Involving the US 3rd and 4th Armored Divisions. On page 10, titled Engagement Variables the first paragraph starts by telling us "The number of variables in a single or series of tank engagements is large." It lists a few easy ones to name, number of combatants, weapon type, who fires first, whe disengages first, who is attacker. "Other variables are more difficult to evaluate or tabulate." it goes on to say. It lists some like terrain, weather, tactical situation, intelligence ingformation, tactical situation, communications, supporting weaponry...that's probably enough. Knowing that you own this report and have spoken of it I have assumed you read this yet you stick to an equation of two variables per side. Your equation is based on the premise that the cats are superior tanks; which you have not proved. Please explain why you continue to refer to this equation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
Such as ?
You've got the reports from the awesome Mirriam Press, like this, this and this.

It would appear that maybe you haven't read them?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
I would not dismiss Isaac White's report myself. While fairly damning about the Sherman, Stuart, Bazooka and M1 Carbine, the troops praise the .5" cal Browning, the Garrand, the half-trucks, the Chaffee, radios, most clothing, all wheeled transport etc etc. The kit they praise all appear to be excellent items imo, and if the troops are correct with those, why would they not be correct with the stuff they damn? The Stuart they fail for its next to useless 37mm, the Bazooka does not compare to the Panzerschreck in hitting power, and the M1 carbine lacks stopping power. The reports on these three items appear reasonable. Why is the fourth item they disparage, the Sherman, the only item they get wrong in your opinion?

I tell you time and again to take caution when reading the opinions of G.I.'s in the field. Let me give you an example. The M1 carbine is berated for a lack of stopping power but no one has any problem with the Thompson Sub Machine Gun. Why? Because they make bad comparisons. They probably compare the appearance of the bullets first, think of the size of the .30-06 round for the Garand as well and come to the conclusion it lacks stopping power (a concept very few people understand.) Are all their comparisons bad? No. Are all their comparisons educated? No. Are their comparisons made in the same light as ours? Definitely not.

Why does my opinion differ from theirs (I trust I will see you ask others this same question?) probably for a similar reason that your opinion of the Churchill differs from that of A.J. Smithers. I am not evaluating the M4 based on whether it will stand off at 1000yds from a cat and come out on top. I am evaluating it based on its contruibution to the war strategically, logistically and tactically. I evaluate it based on the job it did throughout the war. I have the benefit to be able to know how well it fit into an industrial war machine that built it and the numerous other vehicles that shared the same chasis. I have the hindsight that tells me how tremendously important reliability was and how unique it was. I look at the M4 and can look at its weaknesses and see where they are offset by its strengths. The G.I.'s in White's report were writing about experiences in which they were frustrated and scared and could hardly appreciate the postive aspects of the M4 that we discuss here.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
The troops state why the Shermans succeeded against the Germans. First there were more tanks. Second the troops were brave enough to risk their lives to get a killing side shot in.

It is the first point that is the true strength of the M4.[/QUOTE]

If you look at the individual engagments mentioned in the reports I think you may notice there were numerous engaements where the US did not have a numbers advantage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
So let's take the Sherman for what it was. It had great operational mobility, and useful weapon options. It was also far superior to anything the Japanese fielded at any time in WW2, another reason I raised my scoring of this tank. However, it was deficient in protection, and lacked tactical mobility when conditions became harsh. The ETO was simply not the place where the tank was designed to fight.
Points well made but its protection was similar to other tanks afield in the war. It could be and was uparmored...not soon enough for your taste. The Germans possessed more than a few guns that could kill the T-34. The flotation problem was addressed...not soon enough for your taste. It was capable of carry numerous powerful guns, more so than the Chuchill. I just don't see where any tank made the contribution this tank made while causing as few problems as this tank. That is a war winning machine.
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  #33  
Old 11 May 12, 16:18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBark View Post
Then I have to wonder why you would state multiple times that an evaluation of tank v. tank combat comes down to four variables. You believe that a tank engagement can be represented by the equation:
tank + crew = tank + crew and I will remind you again what can be found in Data on WWII Tank Engagements Involving the US 3rd and 4th Armored Divisions. On page 10, titled Engagement Variables the first paragraph starts by telling us "The number of variables in a single or series of tank engagements is large." It lists a few easy ones to name, number of combatants, weapon type, who fires first, whe disengages first, who is attacker. "Other variables are more difficult to evaluate or tabulate." it goes on to say. It lists some like terrain, weather, tactical situation, intelligence ingformation, tactical situation, communications, supporting weaponry...that's probably enough. Knowing that you own this report and have spoken of it I have assumed you read this yet you stick to an equation of two variables per side. Your equation is based on the premise that the cats are superior tanks; which you have not proved. Please explain why you continue to refer to this equation.
Because the report states that in the same situations, regardless of the side, the results are the same. Therefore the other factors cancel out. Either the US tank is better and its crew are worse, both countries tanks and crew are equal, or the German tank is better and its crew is worse. I state US tankers were better which means the tank is worse in this situation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JBark View Post
It would appear that maybe you haven't read them?
Pisspoor response. Insulting the messenger because you can't palate the truth? I have been quoting the reports in more detail than you, and without cherry picking the minutae. I haven't ignored the GI's message.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JBark View Post
I tell you time and again to take caution when reading the opinions of G.I.'s in the field. Let me give you an example. The M1 carbine is berated for a lack of stopping power but no one has any problem with the Thompson Sub Machine Gun. Why? Because they make bad comparisons. They probably compare the appearance of the bullets first, think of the size of the .30-06 round for the Garand as well and come to the conclusion it lacks stopping power (a concept very few people understand.) Are all their comparisons bad? No. Are all their comparisons educated? No. Are their comparisons made in the same light as ours? Definitely not.

Why does my opinion differ from theirs (I trust I will see you ask others this same question?) probably for a similar reason that your opinion of the Churchill differs from that of A.J. Smithers. I am not evaluating the M4 based on whether it will stand off at 1000yds from a cat and come out on top. I am evaluating it based on its contruibution to the war strategically, logistically and tactically. I evaluate it based on the job it did throughout the war. I have the benefit to be able to know how well it fit into an industrial war machine that built it and the numerous other vehicles that shared the same chasis. I have the hindsight that tells me how tremendously important reliability was and how unique it was. I look at the M4 and can look at its weaknesses and see where they are offset by its strengths. The G.I.'s in White's report were writing about experiences in which they were frustrated and scared and could hardly appreciate the postive aspects of the M4 that we discuss here.
And yet the GI's are so positive on kit which we know to be better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JBark View Post
If you look at the individual engagments mentioned in the reports I think you may notice there were numerous engaements where the US did not have a numbers advantage.
When the Shermans were on the defensive they were able to ambush, hiding until the tanks came closer and able to get side shots in. Check the encounter range table.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JBark View Post
Points well made but its protection was similar to other tanks afield in the war. It could be and was uparmored...not soon enough for your taste. The Germans possessed more than a few guns that could kill the T-34. The flotation problem was addressed...not soon enough for your taste. It was capable of carry numerous powerful guns, more so than the Chuchill. I just don't see where any tank made the contribution this tank made while causing as few problems as this tank. That is a war winning machine.
It was the wrong tank for the type of warfare in the ETO. The Sherman is a tank for manoeuvre, exploitation and pursuit. That simply did not happen often enough in NWE. I keep telling you to check out the Eastern Front for references. Bagration is certainly the type of operation I would expect the Sherman to excel in.

Talking of the Eastern Front, at Prokhorovka, it was two Churchill IV's that took on 5 Panzer IV specials and 4 Tiger 1's. These two destroyed one Pz IV and knocked out the only Tiger on the 12th July 43, and the Churchill crews suffered no fatalities despite the superior firepower of the German demi-heavy company. Back in the ETO on the 11th August 44, two Churchill IV's took on 3 Panthers. They destroyed two, but the third ran away and hid in a barn before setting itself on fire.

Just goes to show that more powerful guns are not necessarily needed (6pdrs were used in both cases). However, only the 17pdr is a better AT gun than that can be carried by the Sherman, and then only over long ranges. Plentiful apds makes the 6pdr equal to the 17pdr apcbc at usual combat ranges, and of course 76mm apcr was extremely rare amongst US tankers. I would agree that the 105mm howitzer is a better weapon than the 95mm how in the Churchill, but then the M4 version does not have powered transverse for its turret. As for flamethrower versions, the Churchill either has a more powerful weapon, or is still able to carry a 75mm as well. Then there is the AVRE of course, and plenty of specialist armour to keep an advance going, such as bridging varients. So when you say that the Sherman has more powerful weaponary, and a more useful piece of kit, that is not necessarily so .
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  #34  
Old 11 May 12, 17:37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panther3485 View Post
All good points, but it might be worth adding that the Panzer 4 Special was still a rare beast in the Axis armoured forces in North Africa, even by late 1942 when the M4 was coming into the field in relatively generous numbers. Having said this, the 'Pilot' (as the Germans called the M3 Medium) arguably would have had more of an impact in that sense when first encountered.
Yep, it probably would be worth it.
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  #35  
Old 11 May 12, 21:13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panther3485 View Post
Those two PzKpfw IIIs were, according to Baryatinskiy's book, purchased from the Germans in 1940. I reckon they must have been the most souped-up, hot-rodded Panzer 3's ever built!!!!!
The standard Pz.Kpfw.III was definitely much slower than the ones tested by the Soviets. It wasn't intended to be, however, as Jentz relates that:
Quote:
The Pz.Kpfw.III Ausf.E was designed at the leading edge of automotive technology for the period. State of the art feautres such as torsion bar suspension, lubricated tracks with rubber pads and a semi-automatic 10-speed transmission were incorporated into the initial design in an attempt to achieve a maximum speed of 67 kilometers per hour. Problems were encountered with all three of these features: the torsion bar suspension needed new telescopic shock absorbers, the rubber track pads flew off, and the 10-speed transmissions disintegrated internally...

Problems with the 10-speed transmission were solved only by a modification that controlled the transmission's internal speed and by an order issued to the troops limiting the top speed to 40 kilometers per hour. The normal six-speed transmission designed for a maximum speed of 42 kilometers per hour, proven to be successful in the Pz.Kpfw.IV, was slightly modified and reintroduced in the Pz.Kpfw.III Ausf.H.
Perhaps they got a couple of tanks that were produced before the transmission was governed?
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  #36  
Old 11 May 12, 22:12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DogDodger View Post
" ... Perhaps they got a couple of tanks that were produced before the transmission was governed?"
... and before other features, such as lubricated rubber-padded 'high speed' tracks, were dropped because they didn't work? Maybe. I'd like to see more info before coming to such a conclusion, though.

Either way, if the Soviets received a couple of 60+ Km/h Panzer 3's I've got some serious questions in my mind as to just how long they would have remained serviceable.
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  #37  
Old 13 May 12, 01:15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panther3485 View Post
... and before other features, such as lubricated rubber-padded 'high speed' tracks, were dropped because they didn't work? Maybe. I'd like to see more info before coming to such a conclusion, though.

Either way, if the Soviets received a couple of 60+ Km/h Panzer 3's I've got some serious questions in my mind as to just how long they would have remained serviceable.
I think the Germans expected them to last as long as it took the Soviets to complete their testing of them. Any extra service life after that was a bonus.
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Old 13 May 12, 12:32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
Because the report states that in the same situations, regardless of the side, the results are the same. Therefore the other factors cancel out. Either the US tank is better and its crew are worse, both countries tanks and crew are equal, or the German tank is better and its crew is worse. I state US tankers were better which means the tank is worse in this situation.
Can you quote the study with page numbers for the above...or is this a pisspoor request?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
Pisspoor response. Insulting the messenger because you can't palate the truth? I have been quoting the reports in more detail than you, and without cherry picking the minutae. I haven't ignored the GI's message.
No, but you have ignored General White's opinion and the results of/conclusions from the testing of the two tanks. You go back to what the men said over an over again after admitting that you knew the meat of what they were saying anyway. The point?
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Old 13 May 12, 14:36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBark View Post
Can you quote the study with page numbers for the above...or is this a pisspoor request?
It is another pisspoor request because you have the report, and used it yourself. Try doing your own work for a change

Quote:
Originally Posted by JBark View Post
No, but you have ignored General White's opinion and the results of/conclusions from the testing of the two tanks. You go back to what the men said over an over again after admitting that you knew the meat of what they were saying anyway. The point?
The GI's said the German tanks were better than the M4's. This would be at a tactical level. I've already made myself clear that the M4's strengths were in the other areas, and given the Sherman top/excellent marks in many of those areas. Please read more carefully.

May I suggest you read about Bagration. Really. The vast scope of that operation is perfect for the M4, where tank battles are few, HE targets are plentiful and distances are vast. This plays directly to the strengths of the M4 and you will be bringing new info to these forums. For example, I believe that the 5th Mechanized Corps of the Sixth Guards Tank Army, 2nd Ukrainian Front was entirely equiped with M4A2 (76mm's). In addition I think that M4A2's equipped 4 corps of the 3rd Ukrainian Front. Keep in mind those units, when reading about the Eastern Front, and often a reference will peak your interest, giving you a new perspective on a tank.

In my case I memorize Churchill units (go figure ). Until recently I had only read that in the Soviets opinion, the Churchill compared unfavourably to the KV-1, although no source was ever stated. Then in Demolishing The Myth, the Churchill is called a 'brothers grave' which I've only heard Lee/Grants called before. Again no reference. The only decent thing I had heard was that a knowledgeable member here (Scott Fraser) said the Soviets liked the A22's periscopes. Not exactly a ringing endorsement.

I had initially thought the comparrison unfair, until I looked at the paper stats of both tanks. The KV-1C has thicker armour, a gun that fires a decent HE round, wider tracks and an engine that has about double the BHP. On paper, the KV-1C appears to have more overall firepower, more mobility and tougher. Further, unlike the Valentine, the Soviets did not ask for more Churchills, a sure sign it was not what they wanted. This is actually unsurprising considering a decent HE shell was very important to them.

However, a deeper insight reveals some real oddities. The KV-1's transmission was so awful that heavy companies were put into seperate brigades. At the same time Churchills were put into some T-34 units for deep strikes. Then we read that one regiment of Churchills is driving on their own tracks 100's of km's at a time as a firebrigade unit. That speaks of an operational mobility that the KV (and T-70's) could not match. We already know of the excellence of the Churchills tactical mobility, White's report citing M4's were stuck and only Stuarts could move, while the 9RTR had Churchills moving when the Stuarts were stuck. In addition the Soviets know that the 6pdr can take out Tigers, Valentine IX's had been doing so, and that 6pdr HE was in short supply. Given that the Churchills have a proven record against German 75mm's (40 series) eg Kingforce, it becomes fairly sure that the Churchills were the Soviets premier tank at Kursk for taking out other tanks.

Far fetched? Not necessarily when you look at the commander of the Guards 49th Tank Brigade which consited of Churchills. His name was Colonel Alexander Fyodorovich Burda, and a top 5 Soviet tank ace of WW2. If anyone was going to head a mobile AT unit, he seems a likely candidate imo.

So you can see that with a bit of digging, you will be able to bring more info to the table that will support your viewpoint .

In my case I've next got the following to read. Perhaps I'll change my mind on the M4 once again .



http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Infantry...6934000&sr=1-1
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  #40  
Old 13 May 12, 16:40
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Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
It is another pisspoor request because you have the report, and used it yourself. Try doing your own work for a change.
Well after all the lecturing about proper citation and referencing we find out it was all a facade. I'm asking for your quote because I don't see the report saying that so I want you to prove it does. Of course now there is a double standard. You don't have to quote the report to back up what you say. Right?

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May I suggest you read about Bagration.
It's not in my area of interest right now. Really. Thank you, I will put it on a back burner for the future.

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Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
So you can see that with a bit of digging, you will be able to bring more info to the table that will support your viewpoint .
I'm working on it...thanks.

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Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
In my case I've next got the following to read. Perhaps I'll change my mind on the M4 once again .



http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Infantry...6934000&sr=1-1
Supporting Pennsylvania industry. Thank you. I'm trying to determine what the difference is between that one and Steel Victory. I trust you have already read one of their others http://www.stackpolebooks.com/produc...-atlantic-wall which is right up your alley. He has an easy writing style.

Oh, I was also thinking of that book for my next read. Frightened once again.
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Old 13 May 12, 18:02
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Well after all the lecturing about proper citation and referencing we find out it was all a facade. I'm asking for your quote because I don't see the report saying that so I want you to prove it does. Of course now there is a double standard. You don't have to quote the report to back up what you say. Right?
Remember that you were the one that persuaded me to buy it? Further, I'm pretty sure I've tried to analyze said volume more than yourself .

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It's not in my area of interest right now. Really. Thank you, I will put it on a back burner for the future.
Don't. I'm serious. Without too much digging I find I believe the Churchill is the best potential tank killer on the Soviet side during Kursk. This is not to say the A22 was the 'best' tank at Kursk, just best suited for taking out German armour.

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Originally Posted by JBark View Post
Supporting Pennsylvania industry. Thank you. I'm trying to determine what the difference is between that one and Steel Victory. I trust you have already read one of their others http://www.stackpolebooks.com/produc...-atlantic-wall which is right up your alley. He has an easy writing style.

Oh, I was also thinking of that book for my next read. Frightened once again.
When I saw David Fletcher at the Bovington Tank Museum, he said that the book was good, but not 'complete'. He wanted to do a two issue Osprey on the AVRE. As a result I have not bought said volume and await his work .
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Old 13 May 12, 18:30
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Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
Remember that you were the one that persuaded me to buy it? Further, I'm pretty sure I've tried to analyze said volume more than yourself.
I find it hard to believe you are not willing to prove the document says what you say it does. Another reason to believe you play games and believe you say things you don't believce...or plain aren't true.
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Old 14 May 12, 07:07
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I find it hard to believe you are not willing to prove the document says what you say it does. Another reason to believe you play games and believe you say things you don't believce...or plain aren't true.
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Old 24 May 12, 00:16
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Didn't even really have to look at the list for this one. The Tiger I got my vote hands down. It had total superiority for almost an entire year and even then, remained a serious threat to any tank through to war's end.
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Old 24 May 12, 06:24
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Didn't even really have to look at the list for this one. The Tiger I got my vote hands down. It had total superiority for almost an entire year and even then, remained a serious threat to any tank through to war's end.
Thanks Chad, got that.
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