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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 01 Oct 17, 22:51
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Originally Posted by 17thfabn View Post
My first thought the US M24 .

With its 75 mm gun it is the most powerful. It is the most modern looking for what that's worth...
The gun on the Chaffee was what came to my mind first as well. If you are out there it always helps to have a good HE punch if you run into trouble...this is in complete ignorance of typical recon tactics.
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  #17  
Old 01 Oct 17, 23:03
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The 75 main gun on the M-24 was a low pressure howitzer type. I believe the few that got to Korea saw their shells bounce off T-34-85's. It was also used in B-25's. It was better than the old 37mm gun, but it had no business going tank versus tank.

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  #18  
Old 01 Oct 17, 23:21
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The M24's 75 mm gun M6 was ballistically identical to the Lee/Grant and Sherman's 75 mm gun M3...
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  #19  
Old 02 Oct 17, 00:19
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If you look further you might find that the same cannon is better known as the French 1897, made famous in World War I. The 75 came in a M2 and 3 which went into the M3 series tank and M4 series tanks. The gun was also lightened and modified to be fitted into B-25's and the M-24 tank. The gun could penetrate Mark III's and Mark IV's up to the G model.

The M6 was better known as a Infantry Support weapon. Newer 75 and 76 guns were better at armor piercing.

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  #20  
Old 02 Oct 17, 12:01
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBark View Post
The gun on the Chaffee was what came to my mind first as well. If you are out there it always helps to have a good HE punch if you run into trouble...this is in complete ignorance of typical recon tactics.
I'm wondering what the exact role of light tanks would be in a U.S. recon squadron? My impression is the recon platoons with their jeeps and M8 Greyhound armored cars would do the recon work.

The light tanks and M8 self propelled 75mm pack howitzer would hang back, and provide a heavier punch when the recon units got in trouble.

And the recon units where expected to do some fighting. For example when :

Screening enemy forces.

Anti-recon work.

Economy of force, where armored cavalry would cover a relative large defensive area to free up other units for offensive action.

For all these type missions more fire power is very helpful.
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Old 02 Oct 17, 14:19
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I'm not sure about the Axis when it comes down to light tanks. The Allies had a few that fit the bill. There's the Matilda for the British the U.S. had a couple the M3/M5 along with the M24 Chaffee along with the M22 Locust.
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Old 02 Oct 17, 14:26
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The Matilda and Valentine were Infantry Tanks with heavy armor. The Soviets used Valentines as Light Tanks because their Light Tanks were shredded in Combat. Were there ever enough Locust Tanks in Europe to use for Airborne Operations? The British were the only ones with a glider big enough to lift the Tetracht.

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  #23  
Old 03 Oct 17, 02:37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pruitt View Post
The Matilda and Valentine were Infantry Tanks with heavy armor. The Soviets used Valentines as Light Tanks because their Light Tanks were shredded in Combat. Were there ever enough Locust Tanks in Europe to use for Airborne Operations? The British were the only ones with a glider big enough to lift the Tetracht.

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Bold is mine.

Despite their relatively slow speed, Valentines had a number of advantages over the Panzer III's and IV's, nevermind any Soviet light tank. Even in 1943, they had medium tank armour and armament, and yet were probably the most reliable tank on that Front at any period from 1941, only lend lease Shermans possibly equaling this ability. Further, they were light, had decent fuel consumption, were easy to maintain and fix. What made them light tank material was their small size, relatively quiet mobility, and superior agility to the T-34's.

Chaffee's were almost certainly the best light tank in WW2 in absolute terms, but they were not used in numbers until 1945. That makes their contribution almost irrelevant.
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Old 03 Oct 17, 06:47
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Technically the best light tank was the M24 Chaffee, but this had minimal influence during the war.

For overall best light tank I would go for the M3/M5 Stuart. It was simple, had reasonable armour and armament for its class, but its best attribute was its durability - it could go 3500+ miles between overhauls, which meant that it was incredibly easy to operate in any theatre. Its worst aspect I think was its limited range, which was only about 50 miles in the desert, which is why the British were so keen to remove it from their armoured divisions and put it in a dedicated reconnaissance role.

The Valentine was in the same class as the M3/M5 when it came to simplicity to operate and overhaul life, but I don't think any army other than the Red Army would have used it in a light tank role.

I think the Panzer 38t is the other main contender here, but I'd like to see some actual figures as to its reliability and durability before judging it. German standards of reliability and durability were well below Allied standards, so just because they were impressed with it, doesn't mean anybody else would have been.
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Old 03 Oct 17, 07:55
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I think the Panzer 38t is the other main contender here, but I'd like to see some actual figures as to its reliability and durability before judging it. German standards of reliability and durability were well below Allied standards, so just because they were impressed with it, doesn't mean anybody else would have been.
The LTP - the export version sold to Peru in 1937 had a reputation for durability as most of them were still in service in 1988. However it did have a different engine - Scania-Vabis 1664 engine with 6 cylinders, water cooled, 7750 cc, 125 hp.
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Old 03 Oct 17, 11:12
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The Pz38t fulfilled the MEDIUM tank role in German formations that were equipped with it during most of its useful life.. Its not eligible for light tank consideration.
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Old 03 Oct 17, 11:24
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The Pz38t fulfilled the MEDIUM tank role in German formations that were equipped with it during most of its useful life.. Its not eligible for light tank consideration.
If it was used as a light tank, even if not originally designed as such, it is eligible imho. The Pz38t was used as a recce and a screening afv, a tank, and therefore an eligible consideration for best light tank.
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Old 03 Oct 17, 14:20
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The Pz38t fulfilled the MEDIUM tank role in German formations that were equipped with it during most of its useful life.. Its not eligible for light tank consideration.
What do you think the L stood for in LTP one of the export versions? Lichter Tank Peru! The version sold to Switzerland was LTH Lichter Tank Helvetica and the one intended for Latvia (but snaffled by Germany) was the LTL. The main version for Czech service was LT vz.38. Skoda designed a Light Tank - the fact that the Germans were sufficiently desperate to field it as a medium is irrelevant and that it was sufficiently flexible to fill that role merely adds to its qualification to be one of if not the best light tanks.
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Old 03 Oct 17, 14:28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
Bold is mine.

Despite their relatively slow speed, Valentines had a number of advantages over the Panzer III's and IV's, nevermind any Soviet light tank. Even in 1943, they had medium tank armour and armament, and yet were probably the most reliable tank on that Front at any period from 1941, only lend lease Shermans possibly equaling this ability. Further, they were light, had decent fuel consumption, were easy to maintain and fix. What made them light tank material was their small size, relatively quiet mobility, and superior agility to the T-34's.

Chaffee's were almost certainly the best light tank in WW2 in absolute terms, but they were not used in numbers until 1945. That makes their contribution almost irrelevant.
Not to mention their 2 pdr main gun being quite useless by 1943 at an antitank weapon... Yes, they later get some with 6 pdrs or a 75mm but by then these too are obsolescent as tank guns..
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Old 03 Oct 17, 15:37
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Quote:
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Not to mention their 2 pdr main gun being quite useless by 1943 at an antitank weapon... Yes, they later get some with 6 pdrs or a 75mm but by then these too are obsolescent as tank guns..
6pdr Valentine IX's were available to the Soviets in 42. At least 200 of the IX had been sent by 30.6.43 from the UK alone, and over 450 more were sent from Canada in the first half of 1943 as well.

As a 'battle' tank, the Valentine was definitely obsolete after 41, but the fact that its strengths mean it can be used when others cannot cope is a huge plus. It will keep going with minimum logistical support, can cope with AT weapons up to and including the 50mm Pak 38, and able to take out any lighter afv, such as enemy recce afv's. Its agility meant that IX's could move into a position to take out Tigers in the side, when T-34's were unable to cope.

As an AT weapon, the 2pdr was near useless against more modern mediums, but the fact remains it was an excellent weapon against enemy recce units in armoured cars or half-tracks. This includes the Pz38t, whose armour was very brittle, and prone to shatter. We know this from the multitude of examples of the British Recce Regiments.

It is important to note that it is really only the Eastern Front that the Valentine could be considered a useful light tank. Against any Japanese tank in the PTO, it is practically a heavy, and in the West, the British preferred A/C's, which were much faster and even more nimble on the terrain fought over. This was because wheels, rather than tracks, proved more efficient in this particular case.

When Zaloga wrote of best tank in Armored Champions by time period and campaign, the same is almost certainly true of best light tank. For example, best light tank in the ETO 1945 is almost certainly the Chaffee, nothing else comes close. Every other period is up for debate.
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