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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

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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 Jun 13, 02:01
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Originally Posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
Another item of note: The US and Germany were the leaders in using welding to assemble their tanks. Everybody else was primarily rivetting or bolting things together due to a various lack of proper rods, trained welders, welding equipment, etc.
The Soviets caught up quickly followed by the British.


If you look at Lee and Stuart tanks, you'll see big massive freaking rivets on them. The production of both tanks started in 1941, and by that time the USSR had been producing welded T-34's for an year already.

This is not to speak of Evgeny Paton's pioneering method of introducing automatic submerged arc welding which greatly improved the quality of welding seams and the speed of their making.

I know your never changing "RAH-RAH U-S-A!" position, but come on, have some shame for once!
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  #17  
Old 15 Jun 13, 02:10
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As usual, the "Ignore the Soviet Elephant in the room" factor is here again

What about mentioning the decree to the industry forbidding any experimentation on T-34 designs and ordering to dumb down its production methods to allow its production of the cheapest steel and by the least skilled workforce? Or the most massive evacuation of industry in world history? Or might the loss of 40% of industrial output in the first year of the war have also imposed some limitations on tank design?

Sorry to interrupt you
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  #18  
Old 15 Jun 13, 02:32
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Originally Posted by ShAA View Post


If you look at Lee and Stuart tanks, you'll see big massive freaking rivets on them. The production of both tanks started in 1941, and by that time the USSR had been producing welded T-34's for an year already.
That was an expedient to allow greater production. You see the same thing with the Soviets in allowing certain mods to be done to their tanks. I'm not making light or slighting the Russians here in the least.
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Old 15 Jun 13, 02:36
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Originally Posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
That was an expedient to allow greater production. You see the same thing with the Soviets in allowing certain mods to be done to their tanks. I'm not making light or slighting the Russians here in the least.
So how come were the Americans ahead of all in welding if all their main mass produced tanks had rivets while the tanks the Soviets "who caught on later" were fully welded at the time?
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  #20  
Old 15 Jun 13, 02:46
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Originally Posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
That was an expedient to allow greater production. You see the same thing with the Soviets in allowing certain mods to be done to their tanks. I'm not making light or slighting the Russians here in the least.
And let it be said; I think we did pretty well starting from pretty much zero.

Over-reliance on one type (Shermans) might have hurt our tank crews, but it didn't slow us down in the strategic sense.
Just the opposite.
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  #21  
Old 15 Jun 13, 05:00
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Up until mid 1944, the following could be said about each nation's AFVs:

Italian armour suffered from high sulphur-content steel, which was brittle. The Italians also went to war half a design iteration before everyone else: Abyssinia.

The serious design flaw of French tanks was the one man turret.

American tanks were taller than everyone else's.

British tanks lacked a decent (dual purpose) gun.

Soviet designs lacked soft features, mostly due to shortages of supply.

Hungarian designs were too light,

Japanese designs were fish swimming in an isolated pond.
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  #22  
Old 15 Jun 13, 06:33
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British tank design and production was "Up there" with the rest of the World in 1939.
The Dunkirk debacle put paid to that,we perceived that we didn't have time to develop any new stuff and had to carry on regenerating our stock as quickly as possible.
There were many good ideas about to be put into production such as the 6 pdr,the A22 and the Valentine if not for having our a*ses handed to us on a plate in mid 40.
The 6pdr would have been the best A/TK gun in service in 1940 and along with the Valentine tank would have maintained the UKs position.
We had built for a European war as had the French,Germans and Russians.
Italy for colonial wars and Japan built through a combination of necessity and colonial conflict,the Czechs for export.
It's notable that before the advent of the brilliant T34,Soviet tanks were virtual copies of British tanks,Vickers to be precise,as were Japanese.
I often think that totalitarian states are the better weapons producers because if a designer in the UK tells the War department that their specifications are not possible/very difficult to meet,the Government species involved will invariably revise those specs downward.
In Russia nobody told their War department what was impossible/difficult,they just got on with it.

Cheers,Tony.
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Old 15 Jun 13, 11:13
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Originally Posted by broderickwells View Post
American tanks were taller than everyone else's.
That is incorrect. The Sherman only appeared taller because it was narrower in the front. (Good thing I saved these images.)
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Old 15 Jun 13, 14:13
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So how come were the Americans ahead of all in welding if all their main mass produced tanks had rivets while the tanks the Soviets "who caught on later" were fully welded at the time?
Because the Soviets were't building 1000 + ships for a Two Ocean Navy. That snapped up most of the trained welders and equipment initially. Tanks could be rivetted and at the time many in use by other nations were. As a side note even the Cromwell turret is bolted, not even rivetted, together in 1944-45. The Pz IV upper hull structure is bolted to the lower hull by 8 large bolts.
The Soviets could afford to put most of their welding resources into tank manufacture as they didn't need the capacity elsewhere.
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Old 15 Jun 13, 15:27
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Originally Posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
The Pz I was initially called an "agriculturial tractor" to get around the Treaty of Versailles. The Pz II was originally intended as just a training tank replacing the Pz I. The lack of production numbers meant that both ended up being placed in service as combat vehicles, something the Wehrmacht never intended.
Thanks, I was aware of both factors and was wondering if Michele was. The wording in her post made it "sound" to me that she was stating that the PzI was actually an agricultural tractor initially.
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Old 15 Jun 13, 15:32
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Originally Posted by The Exorcist View Post
Over-reliance on one type (Shermans) might have hurt our tank crews, but it didn't slow us down in the strategic sense.
Just the opposite.
Good point as long as you remember that the one type was a very versatile machine which carried four different guns (and could have carried a fifth gun) and whose chasis also was used to make TD's and SPA.
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Old 15 Jun 13, 15:37
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Originally Posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
Because the Soviets were't building 1000 + ships for a Two Ocean Navy. That snapped up most of the trained welders and equipment initially. Tanks could be rivetted and at the time many in use by other nations were. As a side note even the Cromwell turret is bolted, not even rivetted, together in 1944-45. The Pz IV upper hull structure is bolted to the lower hull by 8 large bolts.
The Soviets could afford to put most of their welding resources into tank manufacture as they didn't need the capacity elsewhere.
The Soviet industry lost so many factories and experienced workers that any comparison of the knockout hammer blow it suffered in the second half of 1941 to the "issues" the US and even Britain had at the time is absolutely ridiculous.

And you are weaseling away from the direct answer. I asked you why the US tanks designed and launched into production in 1941 were riveted - and not why welding was not used instead of riveting/bolting.

By that time (from the 1930s up to the Pearl Harbor) the US did not have an overwhelming and pressing need to send all of its welders to the the Navy immediately. Moreover, if it indeed was such champion of welding technologies as you tout it, it seems very strange it didn't even attempt to design its tanks with welded armour until 1940 when the work on Sherman began.

Therefore, you either have to prove the US tank designers up to 1940 had such an amazing foresight that the all the best welders would be pulled out from the tank industry and sent to shipyards (another fact you have to prove), and they designed/were asked to design their tanks with such probability in mind. Or, more likely, the US tank designs, along with its welding techniques in mass production, were not (GASP!) the most mind-bogglingly progressive in the world, and, (incredibly enough!) the US was not #1 in this particular aspect.
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Old 15 Jun 13, 18:29
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Two books on British tank designs in WW2 immediately stand out.

The first is The Great British Tank Scandal by David Fletcher.
The second is Death by Design by Peter Beale.

Both make the same points.
The problem with British tank designs in 1939-c42 was the fact that what the army required and what they got was a disjointed enterprise.

The army would list their requirements to one body. This list would be sent to another body and adapted for whatever reason. Then industry would produce something like the amendment. It's a bit like a photocopy of a photocopy with the original likeness being lost.

As far as British tank guns were concerned, the amount of German tanks were over estimated in 39/40, so having a dedicated AT gun like the HV 2pdr, rather than a MV 3pdr made sense. Of course, the Soviets and then the US, immediately went for a c75mm c15pdr shell, which eclipsed both.

Further, British tank sizes and weights were limited to rail networks and bridging equipment. For example, Cruisers were limited in 1939 to sixteen tons, since that was all the 'bailey' bridges could deal with at that time.

This size and weight restriction also impacted on turret ring sizes. Perhaps due to a hanover from the Boer war, accuracy and speed of return fire was considered extremely important. British turrets were based on aircraft turret designs, and could rotate and fine lay their armament quickly and more precisely than most other countries tank designs. However, this meant that whole turrets rotation kit had to lie within the hull, until technology found a cure.

To use a Western term, early British tanks were like gunfighters, while their opponents used Winchesters. There is a good reason why military use more rifles rather than pistols.

An odd fault with British tank design was that it was actually ahead of the game in one important area. You need to break a line, and then exploit it. The British tanks were designed to do just that. However, they were assuming WW1 lines of defenses, when early W Ally WW2 battles were rather thinner in depth. During the Battle for France, such lines did not exist, nor were they such for much of the N African campaign.

To compare apples with apples, British tanks need to be compared to the Sherman in their theatres of operation. They were fighting the same opponents over the same terrain using fairly similar means of fighting. British tanks can be found very wanting in 42, and only really surpassed what the US was being issued with in numbers by 44. It was a game of catch-up that cost many Brit/CW's troops' their lives.
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Old 15 Jun 13, 19:09
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The Soviet industry lost so many factories and experienced workers that any comparison of the knockout hammer blow it suffered in the second half of 1941 to the "issues" the US and even Britain had at the time is absolutely ridiculous.

And you are weaseling away from the direct answer. I asked you why the US tanks designed and launched into production in 1941 were riveted - and not why welding was not used instead of riveting/bolting.

By that time (from the 1930s up to the Pearl Harbor) the US did not have an overwhelming and pressing need to send all of its welders to the the Navy immediately. Moreover, if it indeed was such champion of welding technologies as you tout it, it seems very strange it didn't even attempt to design its tanks with welded armour until 1940 when the work on Sherman began.

Therefore, you either have to prove the US tank designers up to 1940 had such an amazing foresight that the all the best welders would be pulled out from the tank industry and sent to shipyards (another fact you have to prove), and they designed/were asked to design their tanks with such probability in mind. Or, more likely, the US tank designs, along with its welding techniques in mass production, were not (GASP!) the most mind-bogglingly progressive in the world, and, (incredibly enough!) the US was not #1 in this particular aspect.
The US had no experience in armored warfare before 7 December, 1941 and it was only through the wartime experience gained from the disasterous campaign in the Philippines that the US learned that riveted tank construction was not the way to go. All later makes and marks of US tanks were welded and not riveted.
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Old 15 Jun 13, 20:52
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Originally Posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
The Soviets could afford to put most of their welding resources into tank manufacture as they didn't need the capacity elsewhere.
You might read up on Evgenii Paton. He developed a method of automatic welding for T-34s in 1942 that did not require trained welders. AFAIK, this was the first use of robotic manufacturing. It's a very interesting story, and this innovation did wonders to boost production.

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