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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 19 Oct 16, 20:58
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Originally Posted by cbo View Post
Good point. Which reminds me.... when the Germans were experimenting with casemate tanks (Kasemattpanzer - turretless tanks) in the 1970ies, they developed a method of tactical driving called "Wedelfahrt". Basically a fast, irregular and small zig-zag movement. This makes the vehicle difficult to hit but does not compromise its own hitting ability unduly if - of course - it can fire on the move. It is apparently still taught in the Bundeswehr.

In a WWII context, it is debatable whether the tanks had the enginepower, speed, and steering capabilities to make this work. And of course they had to stop at some point to shot at the enemy. The few WWII tanks I've seen moving about does not seem to have the necessary capabilities to make such tactical driving a real advantage.
I must say, I never ever saw one doing such a move. lcm1
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  #17  
Old 19 Oct 16, 21:22
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Originally Posted by lcm1 View Post
I must say, I never ever saw one doing such a move. lcm1
I'd imagine that just being able to see where they were going qualified as a good day for a Driver in ww2.

One thing that I did see an account of in the archives; When US Stuart tanks met comparable French tanks in North Africa; the drivers went forwards and backwards in a straight line, over and over. Apparently it threw the enemy aim off far more than it affected their own gunners.
The fact that it was a night battle may have something to do with it, and the usual issues with visibility.
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  #18  
Old 19 Oct 16, 22:29
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Originally Posted by MarkV View Post
Presumably would only work if you knew exactly where the enemy AT gun was
Agree. In real life there is no enemy icon indicator showing the exact azimuth to the enemy gun.

Once the tanks were buttoned up the crews were so blind sometimes they had to depend on hand signals from friendly infantry to see the enemy at all.
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  #19  
Old 20 Oct 16, 03:27
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Originally Posted by The Exorcist View Post
I'd imagine that just being able to see where they were going qualified as a good day for a Driver in ww2.

One thing that I did see an account of in the archives; When US Stuart tanks met comparable French tanks in North Africa; the drivers went forwards and backwards in a straight line, over and over. Apparently it threw the enemy aim off far more than it affected their own gunners.
The fact that it was a night battle may have something to do with it, and the usual issues with visibility.
I remember on one occasion a couple of tanks acting in the artillery role stomped a particular spot all night and next morning we moved forward over the area and the spot was completely empty, no sign of the enemy and for all signs of life, nothing and never had been. Did a lot od damage to the grass and trees though, talk about laugh! lcm1
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  #20  
Old 20 Oct 16, 04:02
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Originally Posted by lcm1 View Post
I must say, I never ever saw one doing such a move. lcm1
First thing, the very frequent changes in direction that cbo mentions with regard to much more recent tanks would rarely be attempted in WWII. It's the sort of driving that, with tanks of that generation, strongly increases the likelihood of throwing a track, a catastrophic immobilization if in range of enemy guns. The zig-zags the German drivers were trained to use would have seemed looong ones to tankers of the 1970s.

Secondarily, what evidence I have of this policy actually being used refers to the desert in 1942. That's a place of very wide fields of fire, and of very little obstacles in the way of a tank choosing its course. I suppose it would have worked well in the Soviet steppes too (but I have not read about it being used there).
On the contrary, in Western Europe, fields of fire would be short (making this zig-zagging moot or nearly so) and anyway it was not so rarely that tanks had to fight by just advancing down the road, sitting at a crossroads, moving up and down a street, occupying a small clearing, firing from between two buildings, etc.
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  #21  
Old 20 Oct 16, 04:45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MonsterZero View Post
Agree. In real life there is no enemy icon indicator showing the exact azimuth to the enemy gun.

Once the tanks were buttoned up the crews were so blind sometimes they had to depend on hand signals from friendly infantry to see the enemy at all.
Indeed in both WW1 and 2 Casualties amongst British tank commanders appear to have been to a great extent due to their putting their head out of the hatch to access the tactical situation, despite continually repeated instructions not to do this. In WW1 a number of gallantry awards (some posthumous) were made to commanders who had dismounted and led their tank forward on foot.
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  #22  
Old 20 Oct 16, 07:07
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Originally Posted by MarkV View Post
In WW1 a number of gallantry awards (some posthumous) were made to commanders who had dismounted and led their tank forward on foot.
That is what happened to Sgt Dring in WW2. Doing a foot recce when hit by a Panther's main gun.

Dring was seriously wounded on the Siegfried line after he had dismounted to do a recce and came face to face with a Panther which he had thought out of action. It fired, and he lost three fingers.
Although considered completely without fear by the regiment, Dring was badly affected by his experiences. A sturdy, taciturn man, he refused for years to talk about his Army career or watch a war film; sometimes he was too frightened to walk alone along country roads at night. Following his discharge he worked with prisoners of war and learnt German as well as French. Later he worked for the Immigration Service at Southwell.
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  #23  
Old 20 Oct 16, 09:45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbo View Post
Good point. Which reminds me.... when the Germans were experimenting with casemate tanks (Kasemattpanzer - turretless tanks) in the 1970ies, they developed a method of tactical driving called "Wedelfahrt". Basically a fast, irregular and small zig-zag movement. This makes the vehicle difficult to hit but does not compromise its own hitting ability unduly if - of course - it can fire on the move. It is apparently still taught in the Bundeswehr.

In a WWII context, it is debatable whether the tanks had the enginepower, speed, and steering capabilities to make this work. And of course they had to stop at some point to shot at the enemy. The few WWII tanks I've seen moving about does not seem to have the necessary capabilities to make such tactical driving a real advantage.
'Wedelfahrt'

That is a maneuver I still do! Sorry... I couldn't help it.
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  #24  
Old 20 Oct 16, 12:00
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Originally Posted by dgfred View Post
'Wedelfahrt'

That is a maneuver I still do! Sorry... I couldn't help it.
Last time I saw Wedelfahrt discussed, it immediatly became translated to "waddlefart" - reminding me of Red Baron von Richthoven and...."You English and your sense of humour. During your brief stay I look forward to learning more of your wit, your punning and your amusing jokes about the breaking of the wind."

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Old 20 Oct 16, 12:09
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Originally Posted by DogDodger View Post
Not facing enemies head-on was recommended in the Tigerfibel. See this link starting on p.84.
It would make sense in the Tiger, as it had heavy front AND side armour. If you look in the Pantherfibel, it is recommended to keep the enemy to the front of the tank between 11 to 1 o'clock - in the Panther, there is no reason to expose the thinner sides!

Page 107 in https://vk.com/doc-66069910_38515168...0518d315ea558a
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Old 20 Oct 16, 12:13
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I must say, I never ever saw one doing such a move. lcm1
I'm not surprised - most WW2 tanks just wouldn't have the speed and agility to make it work.
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  #27  
Old 20 Oct 16, 12:54
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Originally Posted by cbo View Post
It would make sense in the Tiger, as it had heavy front AND side armour. If you look in the Pantherfibel, it is recommended to keep the enemy to the front of the tank between 11 to 1 o'clock - in the Panther, there is no reason to expose the thinner sides!
Definitely.
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  #28  
Old 20 Oct 16, 21:01
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Originally Posted by Michele View Post
Even though this really works well only if you have an unrealistic degree of knowledge (the exact position of the enemy, the type of gun firing at you and its penetration figures, etc.), the fact is that German tankers were trained not to move at a 0 angle towards a known enemy position they were to attack, but, rather, to approach it with a (slight) zig-zagging course, of maybe 10.

That would give a small advantage in the case of a front armor hit. It would also mean that the exposing of the much thinner side armor wouldn't be such a dangerous liability, because at an 80 angle of impact the chances are the round will glance off and ricochet away anyway.

In addition, if you advance straight on towards the firing gun, you have a 0 km/h lateral speed, which again helps the enemy in hitting you; if you have a bit of lateral speed, that makes aiming a bit more difficult.

A final bonus is that if the tactical situation shows that the known enemy position is isolated, i.e. it has a weakness on a flank, you can just continue angling away on one of your zig-zags and begin outflanking it.
Now that you mention it, even in the world of tanks game, there is a certain mechanic that is supposed to guarantee an 'auto-bounce' shot if the angle of the side armor is at or under a certain shallow angle, and the side armor is a certain thickness, it's an auto richochet. In other words, if your tank is facing the enemy straight on, but you angle your tank only so slightly, maybe 10-15 degrees or so, and your side armor is at least 50mm, and the enemy shell hits the side armor, it automatically glances off, but I think there's a 3rd factor too, I just don't remember it.

But yeah, in real life, you could improve your frontal armor thickness in a flat plated tank like the Panzer IV by a relatively decent amount, while still ensuring a richochet off the thinner side armor, by turning the hull to a very shallow angle to the enemy tank.

Assuming you know for sure that the enemy tank(s) are in a certain direction relative to your position, and you know that none of them have flanked your side, then you can certainly give your tank an increased chance of survivability by angling your hull at a certain angle that is optimum for your tank's armor setup. The angle will vary from one tank type to another. You are basically accomplishing the same thing as designers who install angled plate.

But obviously it only comes into play under certain circumstances.
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  #29  
Old 20 Oct 16, 21:31
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I'm not surprised - most WW2 tanks just wouldn't have the speed and agility to make it work.
Well, there's the Churchill... With its light weight, short wheelbase, and uncomplicated, long travel suspension design with only a small number of guide wheels, and high speed, it's like the armored version of a gazelle! Lol
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Old 21 Oct 16, 04:56
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Originally Posted by HighlanderNorth View Post
Well, there's the Churchill... With its light weight, short wheelbase, and uncomplicated, long travel suspension design with only a small number of guide wheels, and high speed, it's like the armored version of a gazelle! Lol
Is this the Churchill you're talking about. High speed? or are you being ironic/sarcastic?
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