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

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  #61  
Old 19 Jun 13, 01:03
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I did those comparisons years ago to end all the arguments about the Sherman being 'too tall' in comparison to the Panther.

I was very careful to scan all the tanks together to make sure each was exactly in scale with the others. I had to do a lot of cutting the old way-with scissors!
Due to the small size of the originals (1:76) they are not exact but good enough to give you the general idea.














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  #62  
Old 19 Jun 13, 01:55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardS View Post
Yes; they are to scale. I also see I forgot to add a photo.
I see that a Sherman is not much shorter than a King Tigger. Inthe second shot we have a foreground panther and a background Sherman: we need to know how close the photographer is to the Panther before making any judgements.
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  #63  
Old 19 Jun 13, 06:37
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I can't have been the only guy who looked at this and noticed that the Emperor has no Clothes... or rather, the wrong sort.
These are both T-26, and are covered with rivets and bolt-heads.
Nice job.
Didn't you noticed a huge difference between the number of rivets and bolts on both tanks ?
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  #64  
Old 19 Jun 13, 09:38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m kenny View Post
I did those comparisons years ago to end all the arguments about the Sherman being 'too tall' in comparison to the Panther.

I was very careful to scan all the tanks together to make sure each was exactly in scale with the others. I had to do a lot of cutting the old way-with scissors!
Due to the small size of the originals (1:76) they are not exact but good enough to give you the general idea.
Nice comparison!
Well, to me it looks like the Sherman had quite the same frontal measures as the Panther - which was friggin' huge and way havier.
When one looks at a hull down position (see attachment, sorry to spoil your pic, kenny) one can see that the Sherman was still exposing the upper part of it's hull when the T-34 was standing turret out only.



I really do think that the Sherman had a silhouette that was too tall - considering its protection and overall weight.
But in order not to stray too far away from the original topic:

Quote:
Originally Posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
Availability of engines was another factor. For the US the radial aircraft engine was chosen initially because of its power and widespread availability. This had a big effect on the shapes of many US tanks.
I guess this "constraint" really led to an considerable design fault: if the Sherman had been shorter (smaller engine), it would have been less of a target and the armor plates may have been angled better, offering better protection. That would have been quite a difference IMO!
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  #65  
Old 19 Jun 13, 10:12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by broderickwells View Post
I see that a Sherman is not much shorter than a King Tigger. Inthe second shot we have a foreground panther and a background Sherman: we need to know how close the photographer is to the Panther before making any judgements.
But it wasn't significantly taller than the Mark IV and other German tanks.
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  #66  
Old 19 Jun 13, 13:17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardS View Post
But it wasn't significantly taller than the Mark IV and other German tanks.
Well, I think it was. Look at the "hull down" pic above. The highest point of the PzIV is the commanders cupola - a tiny target that can not really be taken into consideration. Much of the space exposed are the Schürzen - the spaced armor, which, when hit, won't bother the tank much. The turret itself sticking out is much smaller than the parts exposed by the Sherman.
The Sherman shows quite a large turret and parts of it's hull. In addition, that hull parts will be a target when attacked from the sides.
True, the M4 isn't really taller than the german heavies and Panthers - but these were bigger for a reason: more armor and armament requiring a more powerful engine. The Russians packed the raw perfomance of the Sherman into that *tiny* T-34!
Imagine the M4 being of a lower profile, allowing the designers to slope the armor like the one of it's russian counterpart! (wouldn't that have been possible?) That'd be a hell of a weapon!
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  #67  
Old 19 Jun 13, 13:33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Utgardloki View Post
Well, I think it was. Look at the "hull down" pic above. The highest point of the PzIV is the commanders cupola - a tiny target that can not really be taken into consideration. Much of the space exposed are the Schürzen - the spaced armor, which, when hit, won't bother the tank much. The turret itself sticking out is much smaller than the parts exposed by the Sherman.
The Sherman shows quite a large turret and parts of it's hull. In addition, that hull parts will be a target when attacked from the sides.
True, the M4 isn't really taller than the german heavies and Panthers - but these were bigger for a reason: more armor and armament requiring a more powerful engine. The Russians packed the raw perfomance of the Sherman into that *tiny* T-34!
Imagine the M4 being of a lower profile, allowing the designers to slope the armor like the one of it's russian counterpart! (wouldn't that have been possible?) That'd be a hell of a weapon!

Yet how critical was that minimal height difference? The bog standard M4 could knock out a Mark IV any day of the week. The only advantage the Mark IV had was a high velocity 75mm. But you need to consider the DOCTRINE of the US Army and Army Ground Forces was for tank destroyers to fight tanks and tanks to serve as Infantry support. More Shermans was lost to the very simple reason they were on the offensive rather than any perceived flaws of the Sherman including height, flammability or weak gun. Look at the Battle of Lorraine where the lowly Sherman and M18 Hellcats shot the hell out of two new Panther Brigades. No US air superiority or massed artillery. Just tanks (and Tds) verses tanks. Not saying the Sherman was perfect as no WWII tank was, but this silliness over height is a non-factor.
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Old 19 Jun 13, 13:41
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We are talking about the silhouette here, aren't we? Not the absolute height of a vehicle as a numerical value, right?
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Old 19 Jun 13, 14:06
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Originally Posted by Utgardloki View Post
We are talking about the silhouette here, aren't we? Not the absolute height of a vehicle as a numerical value, right?
The 'debate' is if the Sherman was too tall. So height.
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Old 19 Jun 13, 15:26
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Originally Posted by RichardS View Post
But it wasn't significantly taller than the Mark IV and other German tanks.
It was significantly taller at the top of hull than the Pz IV. The Pz IV has a commander's cupola, allowing all round vision. This is lacking in the M4 medium. Even the T-34 m.1940 had periscopes for all round vision. For a 1941 design, it's tall.

It gets worse if one compares either the M3 medium or M3 light with their class mates.
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Old 19 Jun 13, 16:36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by broderickwells View Post
It was significantly taller at the top of hull than the Pz IV. The Pz IV has a commander's cupola, allowing all round vision. This is lacking in the M4 medium. Even the T-34 m.1940 had periscopes for all round vision. For a 1941 design, it's tall.

It gets worse if one compares either the M3 medium or M3 light with their class mates.
The British added their cuppola to the Sherman, and often removed turrets from their scouting M3's.



In addition, height can be an advantage as M3 Grants in Burma proved. Bamboo and other veg grows to about c7ft, tall enough to stop people seeing over it. However, Grants can look down on said bamboo, and any parting can be seen and shot at using HE or cannister or mg's.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Utgardloki View Post
Nice comparison!
Well, to me it looks like the Sherman had quite the same frontal measures as the Panther - which was friggin' huge and way havier.
When one looks at a hull down position (see attachment, sorry to spoil your pic, kenny) one can see that the Sherman was still exposing the upper part of it's hull when the T-34 was standing turret out only.



I really do think that the Sherman had a silhouette that was too tall - considering its protection and overall weight.
But in order not to stray too far away from the original topic:

....

I guess this "constraint" really led to an considerable design fault: if the Sherman had been shorter (smaller engine), it would have been less of a target and the armor plates may have been angled better, offering better protection. That would have been quite a difference IMO!
Of course being hull down means just that, ie choosing a site so that only the turret can be seen. Therefore only the turret size should be considered. Hiding behind a wall is probably not going to help crew survivability that much once it is being shot at (potentially worse if considering spalling).

As for angled armour, it only usually helps if its real thickness approaches that of the shell striking it, ie no overmatching. This is why the c90mm apparant thickness of the T-34 hull (c45mm sloped at c60 degrees), becomes less protective as the gun calibre increases. To protect against 75mm weapons, armour needs to be close 75mm thick before it is sloped. Otherwise angle increase will not necessarily aid in stopping rounds. This is why the PaK 40 et al was so effective against the T-34.



Back to the original question .
What should be noted was that the T-34 was simple enough to be built in the most basic of conditions. The Stalingrad Tractor Factory was the wrong side of the Volga during that epic battle of 42/3, but was still able to churn out tanks while the facility was being shot at by artillery and bombers. The same held true for KV's production at Leningrad as well.

What can be said of Soviet designs is that they could put a decent gun on an efficient, simple and cheap platform. Numbers do matter, and the Soviets both knew and actually catered to it.
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Old 19 Jun 13, 16:47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardS View Post
The 'debate' is if the Sherman was too tall. So height.
Sorry, I made this addition to my post not reloading the page and didn't see you had already answered.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardS View Post
Yet how critical was that minimal height difference? The bog standard M4 could knock out a Mark IV any day of the week. The only advantage the Mark IV had was a high velocity 75mm. But you need to consider the DOCTRINE of the US Army and Army Ground Forces was for tank destroyers to fight tanks and tanks to serve as Infantry support. More Shermans was lost to the very simple reason they were on the offensive rather than any perceived flaws of the Sherman including height, flammability or weak gun. Look at the Battle of Lorraine where the lowly Sherman and M18 Hellcats shot the hell out of two new Panther Brigades. No US air superiority or massed artillery. Just tanks (and Tds) verses tanks. Not saying the Sherman was perfect as no WWII tank was, but this silliness over height is a non-factor.
The difference was significant enough to be mentioned in a short abstract in a WW2-weapons-encyclopedia. I think I already pointed out, that it was by no means minimal. It's hull was taller than the one of the PzIV (it reaches to approximately half the PzIV's turret - without the cupola - accoring to the pics posted by kenny) and it's turret was broader. That means it's not about an antenna reaching up - it's about total height of a vehicle, regarding the area that does not want to be hit. And we're talking about armored warfare here, about guns with 30cm dispersion on a 1000m rage (training ground value, I know).
I'm not saying it's height made the Sherman a bad tank. I'm saying it would have been better than it was, if it had a lower silhouette.
True, this drawback seems not too critical in a strategic sense but giving examples of how Shermans beated Panthers is not proving anything. I may name instances in which it was exactly the other way round. Neither of us can proof that the outcome of a battle was especially influenced by or disregarding the height of a vehicle. In fact, I think it was completely irrelevant to quite an impressive extend, what tanks were actually fighting in battles like these (in North-West Europe that is). They were mainly about numbers, element of surprise, crew training (teenage Panther crews that have been taught to drive a tank in a few days, you know what I mean), terrain, positioning, strategic backround and so on.

It's not about what tank would win agains another anyway, it has never been. It is about a comparison between contemporary tanks in means of their size. And here, it's a fact that the PzIV and, even more significant, the T-34 were smaller targets than the newer Sherman. And that is a pity.

But I think your view on the debate is rather the strategic/economic one. I assume this because of your arguments, no offense.
Is it good to have greater numbers of tanks that have a drawback like size, rather than less/more expensive ones that are smaller? (after all, the height is derived from the availability of large engines) Maybe.
Now, what I think about are the individual tanks. Not only those in tank battles but those who get hit by AT guns, Panzerfausts etc as well. The tank a crew sits in and wants to be safe. That one you want to hide, hull down, move through hilly terrain safely and so on. Let one in twenty tanks be destroyed because it was too much of an easy (big) target; a glimpse in a statistic of overall lost tanks in the war maybe - yet a destroyed tank, that has to be replaced (which was possible, yes), and a dead crew (which I think is quite crucial).
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Old 19 Jun 13, 17:18
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Yet another post being uploaded while I was typing mine...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
Of course being hull down means just that, ie choosing a site so that only the turret can be seen. Therefore only the turret size should be considered. Hiding behind a wall is probably not going to help crew survivability that much once it is being shot at (potentially worse if considering spalling).
Yes, I was aware of that and maybe I should not have been lazy. Let me put it like this: it was easier for a PzIV or T-34 to get into a hull down position, as they were smaller.
The wall is, of course, just a figurative choice of grafik and by no means intendet to show a realistic situation. The red line alone may have been enough to see what I was trying to show (well, then you may have questioned the protective attributes of a red line... ) but I wanted to make it look somewhat nice. Thanks for spoiling that, Nick!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
As for angled armour, it only usually helps if its real thickness approaches that of the shell striking it, ie no overmatching. This is why the c90mm apparant thickness of the T-34 hull (c45mm sloped at c60 degrees), becomes less protective as the gun calibre increases. To protect against 75mm weapons, armour needs to be close 75mm thick before it is sloped. Otherwise angle increase will not necessarily aid in stopping rounds. This is why the PaK 40 et al was so effective against the T-34.
Thanks for this enlightenment, I wasn't fully aware of that. I have to admit that I'm not that familiar with the detailed physics behind the penetration process (overmatching?) but I can't imagine that better angled armor would not help against high-caliber guns at all...
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Old 19 Jun 13, 18:52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by broderickwells View Post
It was significantly taller at the top of hull than the Pz IV. The Pz IV has a commander's cupola, allowing all round vision. This is lacking in the M4 medium. Even the T-34 m.1940 had periscopes for all round vision. For a 1941 design, it's tall.

It gets worse if one compares either the M3 medium or M3 light with their class mates.
Using the M3 Lee/Grant for a comparison is not one I would make. The M3 medium was a stop-gap vehicle needed till the M4 Sherman was ready. It was pushed into service based on an older design to get a 75mm gun to the armoured forces ASAP.

Father of the M3 was the M2 introduced in 1939. None ever saw combat and was used for training only. Height 9'3"


The came the M3 Lee. Designed 1940 and introduced August 1941 and stopped production December 1942. Height 10'3" or 1 foot taller than the M2 and that was mainly the TC's cupola. Notice the Grant is without the cupola and a more rounded turret.



Then we get to the Sherman. Specs issued 1940. Design accepted by Armored Force Board on April 18th, 1941. Entered production in 1942. Height:9'0" or shorter than the M2 medium. But I draw your attention to the chassis of all three mediums. They look the same more or less no? It is because they are the same. They worked and were reliable. Why throw out the baby with the bath water?

Now onto the M3 Stuart. According to the data I have the M3A3 is 7'6" tall. The M24 (and nobody says it is too tall) is 9'1" tall or taller than the Sherman. The Pzkfpw 38T is over 7 foot tall and nobody says it is too big. A Panzer III is 8'2" tall. Pzkfpw 35T is 7'8" tall. So it appears the Stuart is as small as its German companions.

There is also one other consideration left out of the discussion. Tanks are a compromise between various factors such as speed, armour, fire power, but also crew ergonomics and other soft factors. One of the factors to size I believe (I don't have definite proof other than hear-say) was that the average American was taller than the average European. When you add in the ergonomics that will make for larger vehicles.
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Old 19 Jun 13, 19:10
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flash has a spectacular aura about [400] flash has a spectacular aura about [400] flash has a spectacular aura about [400] flash has a spectacular aura about [400] flash has a spectacular aura about [400] flash has a spectacular aura about [400]
Being front sprocket driven didn't help,a lot of space was required for the drive shaft which ran beneath the turret floor.

Cheers,Tony.
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