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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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  #1  
Old 22 Aug 17, 17:26
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Shermans vs Panthers efficience

While looking for some information, I found a thread on another forum. This passge immediately catched my eye:

Quote:
US Army's Ballistics Research Laboratory conducted a study of tank vs tank engagements fought by the 3rd and 4th Armored Divisions from August to December 1944.

29 engagements involved Panthers and Shermans. The Shermans had an average numerical advantage of 1.2:1. The data showed the Panther had a 10% advantage over the attacking Sherman when the Panther defended, but the Sherman was a whopping 8.4 times more effective then the attacking Panthers when the Sherman defended. Overall, the Sherman was 3.6 times as effective as the Panther in all engagements.

According to Table II, the most common type of engagement was Shermans defending against Panthers, and the Shermans fired first.... in 19 engagements, involving 104 Shermans and 93 Panthers, 5 Shermans were destroyed compared to 57 Panthers.

The second most common engagement was US Tank destroyers defending against Panthers, with the TDs firing first. In 11 engagements, involving 61 TDs and 19 Panthers, 1 TD was lost compared to all 19 Panthers.

The most successful enemy weapon was antitank guns defending. In 9 engagements (3rd most common), 19 a/t guns inflicted 25 casualties on 104 total attacking Shermans, losing 3 guns in exchange.

The 4th most common engagement was Shermans attacking Panthers, and the Shermans fired first. In 5 actions a total of 41 Shermans fought 17 Panthers, losing 2 and taking 12 Panthers in return.

In 40 actions in which the US forces were attacking, they had 437 weapons and lost 100 (23%). The Germans had 135 and lost 45 (33%). In 37 actions in which the Germans were attacking, the US had 205 weapons, losing 14 (7%), and the Germans lost 83 of 138 (60%).

When a Sherman was k/o'd on average, one crewman was killed. When a T-34 was k/o'd, on average one crewman survived.

Data on World War II Tank Engagements
Involving the U.S. Third and Fourth Armored Divisions
David C. Hardison
Merriam Press Bennington, Vermont 2008
https://forum.nationstates.net/viewt...?f=20&t=167649


Personnaly I find those numbers were hard to believe. I wouldn't be surprised very much by 1:1 score but 5 destroyed shermans vs 57 panthers looks completely fantastic. The ratio of forces looks also very strange knowing the ratio of forces on Western Front.

Does someone have the book and can give more details about those numbers ?
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  #2  
Old 22 Aug 17, 23:44
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These folks http://www.merriam-press.com/ have a number of books, studies, etc. on WWII and armor in particular. You will find some of what you are looking for there. Check British studies (Operational Research) on tank v. tank combat at this time and you should find the numbers similar.
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Old 23 Aug 17, 01:18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emtos View Post
While looking for some information, I found a thread on another forum. This passge immediately catched my eye:

Personnaly I find those numbers were hard to believe. I wouldn't be surprised very much by 1:1 score but 5 destroyed shermans vs 57 panthers looks completely fantastic. The ratio of forces looks also very strange knowing the ratio of forces on Western Front.
Key points highlighted:

Quote:
the Shermans fired first
Quote:
the TDs firing first
Quote:
the Shermans fired first
Firing first implies you know where the enemy is, before he has seen you. That usually means that you are in better tactical position eg firing from the flank, and also can get several shots off before fire is returned.

Panthers had impressive front armour but weak side armour, so the results are not that unexpected if the US has the tactical advantage.
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Old 23 Aug 17, 01:25
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The battles cited may well be when the Germans tried to use a new formation, a Panzer Brigade. If I remember correctly, there was a Panther Battalion and a Panzergrenadier Battalion. Everyone was fresh from training. The 4th Armor Div went up against one and beat the snot out of it. The 4th Armor Div was using older model tanks, but the crews are all veterans. Veterans should beat Rookies every time.

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Old 23 Aug 17, 03:52
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I have the book.

it is a mathematical treatment to find functions which can have a good fit with the historical results. As in all cases of mathematical models used to predict battle outcomes, there is no point in trying to extrapolate too much. The truth is that even today we do not have a magic ball based on mathematics and computers to predict battle outcomes. Now, in truth my higher math skills is very rusty now, and I have not followed the most recent developments in the last couple of decades.

But I do remember that the Gulf War in 1992 showed that no mathematical model at the time came even close to predict the battle outcomes (and very low coalition casualties) The only model which came close to predict the very low casualties was Dupuy's quantified Judgement model. Still, even that model did not have the rigor of the pure mathematical models which scientists prefer to use in various simulations. In fact mathematicians and experts of the time had criticized Dupuy (who was not a mathematician) for his approach. So, my advise is that you should not to get too much fixated with the specific claims of this study.

Of course, the equations discovered in THIS study describe well the historical results of the battles analyzed in THIS study.
Anyway, I have attached the table with the battles and dates used as data points for this study. Twp equations used to calculate the casualties f two sides engaged in the historical battles examined in the study, and a graph which shows a similar calculation based on the ratio of forces firing first to forces firing second
Attached Images
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Old 23 Aug 17, 07:22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aber View Post
Key points highlighted:







Firing first implies you know where the enemy is, before he has seen you. That usually means that you are in better tactical position eg firing from the flank, and also can get several shots off before fire is returned.

Panthers had impressive front armour but weak side armour, so the results are not that unexpected if the US has the tactical advantage.
...plus the Panther had a very slow turret traverse--so--even if it did locate the attacker quickly after they fired or hit you first, it took a lot of time to get on that target....Shermans could get off 2 shots sometimes
..plus the tanks would usually shoot and scoot to protection if available...sometimes to a different position
..turret traverse of the Sherman much faster
...and wasn't the Panther in reverse very slow?
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Old 23 Aug 17, 10:59
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Arracourt was a battle I referred to when the 4th Armor Div was attacked by the 111th and 112th Panzer Brigades. The 11th Panzer Div was also there but was severely reduced in tanks. Training and experience in Tank Crews are a large factor in the outcome of battle. In Kuwait and Iraq, the American tanks were better trained than the Iraqi tanks.

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Old 23 Aug 17, 12:58
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This is why it's believable.

Quote:
According to Table II, the most common type of engagement was Shermans defending against Panthers, and the Shermans fired first.... in 19 engagements, involving 104 Shermans and 93 Panthers, 5 Shermans were destroyed compared to 57 Panthers.

The second most common engagement was US Tank destroyers defending against Panthers, with the TDs firing first. In 11 engagements, involving 61 TDs and 19 Panthers, 1 TD was lost compared to all 19 Panthers.

The most successful enemy weapon was antitank guns defending. In 9 engagements (3rd most common), 19 a/t guns inflicted 25 casualties on 104 total attacking Shermans, losing 3 guns in exchange.

The 4th most common engagement was Shermans attacking Panthers, and the Shermans fired first. In 5 actions a total of 41 Shermans fought 17 Panthers, losing 2 and taking 12 Panthers in return.
He who fires first, and does so accurately, usually wins in a tank battle. In a "fair fight" where neither side has this advantage, the simple equation version is your probability of success = the probability of killing the other guy times the probability of surviving his killing you.

With having the first shot you eliminate initially, the probability of his killing you and get to substitute 1 - his surviving that shot times your own probability of surviving his killing you when he does fire.

Basically, this means that the one who shoots first and either knocks out an opposing tank, or simply disrupts it sufficiently to degrade its return fire is going to pretty much dominate the engagement.

Since the Sherman had a much quicker engagement sequence for the gunner, and often a faster turret rotation, it could be expected to get on target much faster than a Panther. The result being the Panther got beaten by design aspects that have little to do with armor, firepower, or mobility but rather ergonomics of the tank.
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Old 23 Aug 17, 20:27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pruitt View Post
The battles cited may well be when the Germans tried to use a new formation, a Panzer Brigade. If I remember correctly, there was a Panther Battalion and a Panzergrenadier Battalion. Everyone was fresh from training. The 4th Armor Div went up against one and beat the snot out of it. The 4th Armor Div was using older model tanks, but the crews are all veterans. Veterans should beat Rookies every time.

Pruitt
The Germans had two types of late war panzer brigades.

One had one tank and one panzer grenadier battalion.

The other had two tank and two panzer grenadier battalions.

There were about ten of each kind of brigade.

Their personnel were a mixed bag of survivors of units that had been chewed up in previous battles and newer recruits.

Neither had the artillery, engineer or reconnaissance units a tank division would have.

So besides being inexperienced formations, they lacked the heavy punch of artillery. And without recon units they were going into battle blind.
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Old 23 Aug 17, 21:17
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They were eventually folded into depleted Panzer Divisions. There was not much after they fought the first battle.

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Old 24 Aug 17, 00:51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pruitt View Post
The battles cited may well be when the Germans tried to use a new formation, a Panzer Brigade. If I remember correctly, there was a Panther Battalion and a Panzergrenadier Battalion. Everyone was fresh from training. The 4th Armor Div went up against one and beat the snot out of it. The 4th Armor Div was using older model tanks, but the crews are all veterans. Veterans should beat Rookies every time.

Pruitt
These units were used poorly. The first in battle was probably the 106th Pz Bde Feldherrenhalle. It was formed around the survivors of the 60th PzGr Division Feldherrenhalle and led by veteran panzer ace Dr. Franz Bake who had lots of Eastern Front experience.

It ran into the US 90th Infantry division who obliterated it in an afternoon. The Germans blundered into the 90th's units that immediately got on the radio etc., and the division was loaded for bear after that. The 106th divided itself into two columns for the advance and both ran into prepared and alert defenses almost immediately that pinned the columns.
The defending Americans then called massed artillery on the Germans while attached tanks moved to flank and attack the columns from the side and rear. By nightfall the brigade had barely a running tank or halftrack full of infantry left to fight with.
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Old 24 Aug 17, 23:37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moulin View Post
...plus the Panther had a very slow turret traverse--so--even if it did locate the attacker quickly after they fired or hit you first, it took a lot of time to get on that target....Shermans could get off 2 shots sometimes
..plus the tanks would usually shoot and scoot to protection if available...sometimes to a different position
..turret traverse of the Sherman much faster
...and wasn't the Panther in reverse very slow?
Good points. In addition the Panther crew had poor combat visibility according to tests done in England. The gunner, for example, had only the gunscope for view of the battlefield while a Sherman gunner had a periscope and gunscope to view the battlefield. As is stated elsewhere here a it was reported that a Sherman might get off multiple shots off at a Panther and it would not appear that the Panther crew had any idea of the Sherman's position.

In addition the Panther crews were receiving less training because of fuel and ammo shortages and extreme needs to get tank crews on the front.
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Old 25 Aug 17, 13:55
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For a good set of details on the destruction of Pz Bde 106 see:



It also details the destruction of Pz Bde 112 at Dompaire that occurred in a similar manner to what happened to Pz Bde 106.
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Old 25 Aug 17, 19:24
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Quote:
... there was a Panther Battalion and a Panzergrenadier Battalion. Everyone was fresh from training. The 4th Armor Div went up against one and beat the snot out of it. The 4th Armor Div was using older model tanks, but the crews are all veterans. Veterans should beat Rookies every time.
The 4th Armored had first entered combat 17 or 18 July depending on which account you read. The Arracout battles ran 16 & 18 September. So the US division had just sixty days of combat experience. It was originally formed in May/June 1942 & included cadres from the older armored divisions, so it was very well trained during the two years.

The German pz Brigades had a veteran cadre, mostly of eastern front battles, but had roughly six months or less training as a unit.
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Old 25 Aug 17, 19:43
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How effective were Sherman Fireflys against the Panther?
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