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

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  #16  
Old 15 Mar 12, 08:14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShAA View Post
Just as a side note, it's pretty retarded to discuss a tank's production quality where only design is concerned. The early T-34 models, produced in peacetime by skilled workers at the sites where they were originally intended to be produced, were of good quality. Comparing Shermans produced in such conditions to T-34s made by teenagers in extreme urgency in hastily built shacks is a case of self-serving dishonesty of our Sherman cheerleaders, real advantages or flaws of both tanks notwithstanding.
Agreed. The T-34 was the right tank at the right time for the Soviets, being equal on hard factors to most German tanks, and easily produced at a knock down price. Probably the most important and influential tank of the war, it was also the most efficient at its job afaik.

This does not mean it was the right design for the west, fighting over different terrain, different logistical problems, and with a secure and safe working environment in the main for producing tanks. However, the T-34 was the best design for the Soviets imho.
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  #17  
Old 15 Mar 12, 09:46
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Would the USSR have let Britian make it, license production rights, IP and so forth? Also, by the spring of 1942 surely GB would look to the US as a trusted, advanced nation ready to supply equipment rather than an untrustworthy, backwards, dictatorship fighting for it's life thousand of miles away (as Churchill no doubt saw it).
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  #18  
Old 15 Mar 12, 11:40
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Originally Posted by ShAA View Post
Just as a side note, it's pretty retarded to discuss a tank's production quality where only design is concerned. The early T-34 models, produced in peacetime by skilled workers at the sites where they were originally intended to be produced, were of good quality. Comparing Shermans produced in such conditions to T-34s made by teenagers in extreme urgency in hastily built shacks is a case of self-serving dishonesty of our Sherman cheerleaders, real advantages or flaws of both tanks notwithstanding.
What a well worded post. On the subject of design the fact remains that the five man crew of the M4 would be able to acquire target and fire accurately before the 4 man crew of the T-34. On the subject of design the M4 was superior in terms of ergonomics and general crew comfort (less fatigue.)
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  #19  
Old 15 Mar 12, 12:06
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On the subject of design the fact remains that the five man crew of the M4 would be able to acquire target and fire accurately before the 4 man crew of the T-34
Out of interest, did later Soviet models / tanks have a separate gunner?
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  #20  
Old 15 Mar 12, 12:13
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Originally Posted by JBark View Post
What a well worded post. On the subject of design the fact remains that the five man crew of the M4 would be able to acquire target and fire accurately before the 4 man crew of the T-34.
In theory, maybe. How is it confirmed by actual battlefield records of Shermans engaging similar enemies in similar circumstances?

Quote:
On the subject of design the M4 was superior in terms of ergonomics and general crew comfort (less fatigue.)
If these were the only or even the main factors, the US tankers should've used Lincoln Continentals
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  #21  
Old 15 Mar 12, 12:28
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Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
Agreed. The T-34 was the right tank at the right time for the Soviets, being equal on hard factors to most German tanks, and easily produced at a knock down price. Probably the most important and influential tank of the war, it was also the most efficient at its job afaik.

This does not mean it was the right design for the west, fighting over different terrain, different logistical problems, and with a secure and safe working environment in the main for producing tanks. However, the T-34 was the best design for the Soviets imho.
Well said. Nick, ShAA and others have all pointed out that there was little advantage seen by any of the allies in retooling their entire tank production in the direction of a different tank when the ones they had were adequate and they were winning.

T-34/85 was a good example of product improvement but the M-4 improvements were just as advantageous for the Western allies. Both tanks did the job well for their respictive users.
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  #22  
Old 15 Mar 12, 12:48
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If these were the only or even the main factors, the US tankers should've used Lincoln Continentals
It makes a significantly greater difference that you seem to realise. It is possible to stay on peak performance using uncomfortable equipment with poor man-machine interface and necessitating multiple simultaneous roles, but these attributes tends to have a very negative effect on actual performance over time, especially when surprised, in times of high stress or confusion. The striving towards a better 'office' across most militaries is based on far more than simply pampering the troops.
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  #23  
Old 15 Mar 12, 13:44
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True. The more awake and alert your troops are, the more likely they will be to react properly and win the fight.
Something that seems to be lost on many people even today.
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  #24  
Old 15 Mar 12, 15:13
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I agree that the T34 and M4 were the right tanks for their country at the right time. Both served for a long time and made in HUGE quantities. They were not made in such quantities because they were inferior, but because they were a match through out the war for the Mark IV. Sure they were product improved over the war, but name ONE tank (of any significant numbers) that wasn't? Sure the Allies introduced better tanks toward the end of the war (M26, Comet, IS2), but still the old faithful mediums could still do the job. The Soviets received M4s and they could learn what they needed from that. At least ONE T-34 was received by the US for technical evaluations. The US learned from it. Look at the sloped glacis plate on the M26. It looks more Soviet inspired than one on the M4 (But I freely concede it could be just a refinement of the M4 glacis plate).

But back to the OP: Why not US T34? Time. Money. Operational Requirements. And if you got something that is just as good; why change?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anon a mouse

People suggesting that the M4 as superior surely have forgotten its combustible reputation.
Can we not bury this forever? It's been shown in these forums over and over again that the M4 burned NO MORE than any other tank.
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  #25  
Old 15 Mar 12, 15:29
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The Brits didnt have a railway that couldve transported a decent tank. They didnt have decent engine designs. They kept producing bad designs because they were so constricted by what the industry could produce.
The Great Tank Scandal is now a free download and worth reading. Building tanks is not as easy as just bending some plate welding it together and then driving it out the factory gate.
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  #26  
Old 15 Mar 12, 15:38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBark View Post
What a well worded post. On the subject of design the fact remains that the five man crew of the M4 would be able to acquire target and fire accurately before the 4 man crew of the T-34.
Jbark, are you aware the T-34/85 had a five man crew?
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Old 15 Mar 12, 15:46
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Originally Posted by eddie3rar View Post
The Brits didnt have a railway that couldve transported a decent tank. They didnt have decent engine designs. They kept producing bad designs because they were so constricted by what the industry could produce.
.
The lack of a 500hp engine similar to other nations again and again hurts the British ability to get a design balancing the three classic factors of mobility, protection and firepower.

When the aero industry can spare the Meteor powerplant, designs like the Cromwell, Comet and Centurion become possible.
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Old 15 Mar 12, 16:00
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I agree that the T34 and M4 were the right tanks for their country at the right time. Both served for a long time and made in HUGE quantities. They were not made in such quantities because they were inferior, but because they were a match through out the war for the Mark IV. Sure they were product improved over the war, but name ONE tank (of any significant numbers) that wasn't? Sure the Allies introduced better tanks toward the end of the war (M26, Comet, IS2), but still the old faithful mediums could still do the job. The Soviets received M4s and they could learn what they needed from that. At least ONE T-34 was received by the US for technical evaluations. The US learned from it. Look at the sloped glacis plate on the M26. It looks more Soviet inspired than one on the M4 (But I freely concede it could be just a refinement of the M4 glacis plate).

But back to the OP: Why not US T34? Time. Money. Operational Requirements. And if you got something that is just as good; why change?



Can we not bury this forever? It's been shown in these forums over and over again that the M4 burned NO MORE than any other tank.
Hang on a minute. Didn't German troops nickname Shermans as "Ronsons" and "Tommy Cookers"?

btw Engineers think in right angles -that's why they have Architects. The West didn't need to replicate exactly the T34 (like Stalins copies of the B29). For the Sherman - reducing it's height by 1 foot (Ref - this forum!) and angling (is that a word Mike) its side armour from 90 degs to 60 degs and Bob is... well u know.

Anyrate i would have the Sherman over the T34 in the Pacific campaign even though the following pic shows its vulnerability. Wasn't the T34 inherently more fire resistant (diesel engine)?

http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/...ianas-p426.jpg

Could the M10 be considered a basis for a Westernised T34?
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  #29  
Old 15 Mar 12, 16:01
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluenose View Post
It makes a significantly greater difference that you seem to realise. It is possible to stay on peak performance using uncomfortable equipment with poor man-machine interface and necessitating multiple simultaneous roles, but these attributes tends to have a very negative effect on actual performance over time, especially when surprised, in times of high stress or confusion. The striving towards a better 'office' across most militaries is based on far more than simply pampering the troops.
How long did tankers stay in their machines at a time? When the average life expectancy of a tank was several hours of combat, extra furnishings were rightfully considered redundant. Tanks did not travel across huge distances on their own as railroads were used for this purpose. When a tank stayed intact after traveling for 100 kilometers during a long offensive, it was a rare exception rather than a norm. If there was the choice between extra comfort and a better gun/armour, it looks obvious to me.

Speaking of the original topic, I can only agree with the posters who said that there was no need to make an American T-34 as Sherman did its job quite well. Even if it was somewhat inferior in certain aspects, retooling the industry would've been more detrimental to the war effort than using a tank that "wasn't perfect enough".

Here's a short video about a tanker who drove both T-34 and Sherman. There's not a lot of information in it, but it's good enough as an illustration

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Old 15 Mar 12, 16:52
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I have T-34 in Action, JBark, and you'll remember Aleksandr Burtsev saying:

We studied driving practice and tactics on T-26 and BT-7 tanks and fired from the tanks we were trained for. As I said, at first these were Matildas and Valentines, then T-34s. To tell the truth, we were afraid of being posted to fight in foreign-made tanks: the Matildas, Valentines and Shermans were coffins. True, their armour was ductile and didn't produce splinters, but the driver sat separately and if you'd turned the turret and the tank was knocked out of action like that the driver could never bail out. Our tanks were the best. The T-34 was a superb tank.
Well, I guess I forge those three lines. How did that happen?
It is interesting that a Russian would want to proclaim Russian weaponry as superior to US...that's a rarity, wouldn't you think? I wonder what he thought of the thousands of trucks, machines, trains, and millions of boots we sent them...should I mention SPAM again? I remember reading about the escape hatch in the bottom of the hull on the Sherman...do you think no one told him it was there? Who knows. Sorry I didn't remember this part of the book.

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More objectively, the definitive Sherman M4A3E8 was more weakly armoured than the T-34/85, partly due to the lack of slope in the hull front and side.
Lack of slope meaning that the M4 had less slope, right?

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Originally Posted by clackers View Post
The Soviet 85mm had similar AP performance to that of the US 76mm, while its HE round carried twice as much charge. As you read in that book, the most common job for the tanks was firing anti-personnel and HE shells. Only a third of the loadout was AP and HVAP rounds. "Most of the tankmen whose recollections are in this book could claim only a few armoured vehicles destroyed, whereas the number of enemy infantrymen killed by the main gun and machine-gun amounted to dozens and even hundreds", T-34 In Action says.
I have seen this mistake posted on this forum before but do not have the data on hand to give you a reference. The 85mm did not have an HE round with twice as much explosive, to my recollection. It is an important thing to point out though, that tanks spend most of their ammunition against targets other than other tanks.

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The T-34 was lighter and faster than the Sherman and its V-2 diesel engine gave it nearly twice the operating range.
I don't know what advantage is to be had by being lighter since this really is a comparison of size, the smallness of the T-34 made it difficult on the crew and less efficient as a fighting machine. Needless to say a diesel will get more miles to the gallon than a gasoline engine. The M4 was built with a diesel engine as well for the Russians as well as use in the PTO.

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Zaloga quotes a 1953 American report on Soviet ordnance warning readers that:

although welds in Soviet tanks are inferior in quality and much more brittle than corresponding welds in American tanks, this condition has not been a major factor in impairing the battlefield performance of Soviet armour. Poor joint fits, sloppy appearance, jagged and rough finishes should not divert attention from the fact that the Soviet tanks are rugged and battle-worthy and require many fewer man-hours of labor, precision machine tools, jigs and fixture to construct than corresponding American tanks.
I keep running in to more and more quotes from Zaloga that are making me wonder about the man and his expertise with tanks. I may have to rethink him. Bad welds and sloppy joints are not an indication of inferiority? Brittle welds don't break easily under impact? Gaps in armor don't let in stuff that's supposed to stay out? (I have read more than one account of German tanks being put out of action when hit with rounds that did not penetrate but busted welds.) I would think joints made as Zaloga describes will be indicative of other aspects of construction. I find it humorous that he seems to be degrading US industry and man hours put in to a tank's build. US industry went from practically nothing to a full sprint of supplying US needs, and making tanks to be used by Britain, the USSR, Polish forces and French forces but he makes it sound like we shouldn't have made them as we did? I don't get that.

I understand that the Soviet tanks may have been constructed under adverse conditions but comparing of machine to machine and performance to performance is all that we should be doing. Excuses as to why one tank was inferior or how it could have been built don't help for a logical discussion, IMO.
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