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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 > German and Axis Armor

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German and Axis Armor Discuss German and Axis armored fighting vehicles in World War II. This is also the forum for Achtung Panzer.

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  #1  
Old 27 Mar 12, 08:46
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Kill range Sherman vs Mk.III/IV special

Can anybody tell me what the range is where a sherman can take out a mk.III or IV special and visa versa? This question came up with me reading a magazine and a book about the battle of Kasserine pass. The American 1st armored division was well equipped with shermans but suffered heavy losses against 10th & 21st panzer. Maybe due to the german tactic of not firing on the move? (one platoon firing, one platoon moving).
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Old 27 Mar 12, 16:25
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Kw 43
100m 500m 1000m 1500m 2000m
99 91 82 72 63 mm

KwK 39
http://www.wwiivehicles.com/germany/guns/50-mm.asp

75mm M3
77 mm at 100m and 61 mm at 1000m

Sherman armour frontal 64–76 mm, side 38–45 mm, rear 38 mm.

PzIII 50mm front, 30mm sides.

I did see a table with all on, but can't find/remember where.
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Old 27 Mar 12, 16:41
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The slaughter at Sid bou Zid had a lot to do with the US tankers forming up in a phalanx and simply driving off after the Germans. The Germans, seeing the Yanks coming sent their tanks around the flanks while the AT guns drew them on. It was more a turkey shoot than a battle.

Technically, the Germans had an advantage with gunsight technology as well as the power of the L/48 on Pz IVG. Since the pre-war army made use of German sight glass, US sights were initially hampered by lower quality until a suitable replacement was found/developed. However, this was a relatively minor issue. The Germans used terrain to gain hull down positions, fired from the halt, changed positions after a couple of rounds. The US tanks just rolled out and into oblivion with little thought to manoeuvre or tactics.

Sort of loke an armoured cavalry charge done by the British in early 1941 and just as easily handled by the Germans. The US tankers learned the same leassons.
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Last edited by The Purist; 28 Mar 12 at 10:38..
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Old 28 Mar 12, 00:11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pzkpfw-e View Post
Kw 43
100m 500m 1000m 1500m 2000m
99 91 82 72 63 mm

KwK 39
http://www.wwiivehicles.com/germany/guns/50-mm.asp

75mm M3
77 mm at 100m and 61 mm at 1000m

Sherman armour frontal 6476 mm, side 3845 mm, rear 38 mm.

PzIII 50mm front, 30mm sides.

I did see a table with all on, but can't find/remember where.
It's probably worth nothing that capped projectiles used by the US would have a greater benefit versus face-hardened German armor than US firing tables (which were against simple RHA) might suggest.
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Old 28 Mar 12, 03:41
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Interesting detail: when the Americans retook the pass they did an investigation at Sidi Bou Zid and found only one tank hit by an 88. Rest were all hits of 50 and 75 mm rounds. Thanks for the information!!
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Old 28 Mar 12, 10:41
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Yup,... the ol' "every gun is an 88" syndrome. The truth is that the gun held the advantage in the gun v armour race from 1942 -1980 when the new ceramic and layered armour arrived to redress the balance (temporaily). Guns again have the advantage in most conditions, probably always will.
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Old 29 Mar 12, 01:24
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With an experianced crew the answer would be to visible range. At long range instead of firing AP rounds the Sherman could have shelled the Pz III with HE common rounds with the high expectation of a mobility kill (knocking off a track) or causing sufficent damage via fragmentation to knock the vehicle out.
Earlier in the war the Germans were doing the same thing with the Pz IV with the L24 gun on it.
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Old 29 Mar 12, 15:07
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"High expectation"?

At close range and with a flat trajectory you might be able to hit the road wheels, drive sprocket or idler but they are very difficult targets to hit accurately. The guns sights of the day were not the 10x power sights of the 1980s or today and even today those would be trick shots with laser and stab.

The longer the range the bigger the stretch once the gun needs elevating. At that point you need to lob an HE round round into an almost direct hit on the running gear or track, not likely from the front aspect or when the tanks are moving and shooting fron hull-down/turret-down position.

Since gunners are trained for "centre of visible mass" shooting so as to obtain the best chance of a hit, such trick shots are highly unlikely even for experienced crews. Speaking from own time in a Leopard (10x sight) with stab and lasers a pinpoint shot such as this extremely difficult and we did not even both trying. If you had a flank shot you simply went for the kill.
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Old 29 Mar 12, 15:57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DogDodger View Post
It's probably worth nothing that capped projectiles used by the US would have a greater benefit versus face-hardened German armor than US firing tables (which were against simple RHA) might suggest.
US penetration tables for the 75mm APC and other anti-armor rounds include both Face Hardened Armor Plate and Homogenous Rolled Armor Plate.

As you said, the APC round achieved better penetration against FHAP. About .5 inch better at 500 yards with a 20 degree slope.
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Old 29 Mar 12, 19:40
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I'm sure they did test projectiles on both face hardened and RHA, but results against homogeneous armor is the usual standard and is far more commonly quoted. I was betting that the figures in the post I quoted were not against face hardened armor, which is why I mentioned it.
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Old 31 Mar 12, 14:52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Purist View Post
"High expectation"?

At close range and with a flat trajectory you might be able to hit the road wheels, drive sprocket or idler but they are very difficult targets to hit accurately. The guns sights of the day were not the 10x power sights of the 1980s or today and even today those would be trick shots with laser and stab.

The longer the range the bigger the stretch once the gun needs elevating. At that point you need to lob an HE round round into an almost direct hit on the running gear or track, not likely from the front aspect or when the tanks are moving and shooting fron hull-down/turret-down position.

Since gunners are trained for "centre of visible mass" shooting so as to obtain the best chance of a hit, such trick shots are highly unlikely even for experienced crews. Speaking from own time in a Leopard (10x sight) with stab and lasers a pinpoint shot such as this extremely difficult and we did not even both trying. If you had a flank shot you simply went for the kill.
Wrong. All the gunner has to do is get close. The fragments from the round will do the rest. Large fragments from HE rounds will tear the suspension apart.

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/m...7/ai_97722805/

Essentially, all the Sherman(s) have to do is fire HE and get close. While larger rounds would be better, a 75mm round has sufficent mass and explosives to do significant damage to a tank's running gear from blast and fragmentation alone.
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Old 31 Mar 12, 21:09
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Durhams article is misleading. While the ammount of ammo was not as large as suggested in the older 'effects tables' it was still fairly large. Durham only refered to three or four of the 1988+ tests, and he refered to nonly specific parts of the tests. A few other points:

1. There is a large difference between the 155mm HE rounds we had in the 1980s & the 75mm HE of 1943. The ammount of explosive in the 155mm rounds used in the tests is far larger than that of the 75mm. There were differences in the steel of the two and the expected/actual fragments.

2. A significant portion of the test projectiles were airbursts. Those distribute a much larger number of fragments on the target than surface bursts. The latter have large zones with few fragments inside the lethal radius. While there is a technique for getting air bursts with HE ammo without 'time' fuzes it is less accurate and requires a 'volume' of shots for effect.

I'm skeptical a couple of 75mm rounds per minute from a individual tank, or a platoon on a individual tank would cause much fragmentation damage to the tracks. Aiming HE rounds at center mass & praying for a hit on the gun, a vision port, turret ring, a previous hit, a welding flaw, hatch, would be a lot more productive. Two or more non penetrating hits can cause the crew to panic & move the tank under cover & out of the battle for a bit.

Last edited by Carl Schwamberg; 31 Mar 12 at 21:13..
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Old 31 Mar 12, 21:14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
Durhams article is misleading. While the ammount of ammo was not as large as suggested in the older 'effects tables' it was still fairly large. Durham only refered to three or four of the 1988+ tests, and he refered to nonly specific parts of the tests. A few other points:

1. There is a large difference between the 155mm HE rounds we had in the 1980s & the 75mm HE of 1943. The ammount of explosive in the 155mm rounds used in the tests is far larger than that of the 75mm. There were differences in the steel of the two and the expected/actual fragments.

2. A significant portion of the test projectiles were airbursts. Those distribute a much larger number of fragments on the target than surface bursts. The latter have large zones with few fragments inside the lethal radius. While there is a technique for getting air bursts with HE ammo without 'time' fuzes it is less accurate and requires a 'volume' of shots for effect.

I'm skeptical a couple of 75mm rounds per minute from a individual tank, or a platoon on a individual tank would cause much fragmentation damage to the tracks. Aiming HE rounds at center mass & praying for a hit on the gun, a vision port, turret ring, a previous hit, a welding flaw, hatch, would b a lot more productive. Two or more non penetrating hits can cause the crew to panic & move the tank under cover & out of the battle for a bit.
Either way, shelling advancing enemy tanks at long range using HE can be effective and probably moreso than trying for a lucky hit using AP shot. Whether the damage is to various vulnerable vehicle systems, tracks, suspension, or whatever, that damage could be decisive. Given that the Sherman is equipped for accurate indirect fire, and was more than occasionally used as artillery in that role, I would think it is a viable option.
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Old 31 Mar 12, 21:18
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Quote:
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Wrong. All the gunner has to do is get close. The fragments from the round will do the rest. Large fragments from HE rounds will tear the suspension apart.

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/m...7/ai_97722805/

Essentially, all the Sherman(s) have to do is fire HE and get close. While larger rounds would be better, a 75mm round has sufficent mass and explosives to do significant damage to a tank's running gear from blast and fragmentation alone.
I note that the report and testing was done with 155mm rounds, which pack considerably more wallop than 75mm rounds. I would like to a report citing the effectiveness of 75mm M48 HE round against hard targets before making any claims as to probabilities of damage or not.
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Old 31 Mar 12, 21:19
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To contribute to topic drift: Is there any relaible data on a difference if any in the rate of fire between the M4 Sherman tanks & the Pz IV with the long gun? Both mechanical characteristics and crew training enter into this.
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