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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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  #46  
Old 05 Oct 17, 00:49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pruitt View Post
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.

Pruitt
It might be a good idea to remember that the majority of the use of guns on tanks was not in anti-tank use. The HE use of the 75 was what made it so effective.
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  #47  
Old 05 Oct 17, 07:43
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Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
The British often removed the turrets of their Stuarts in the recce role. It means a lighter, smaller, more fuel efficient, greater range afv, with superior flotation. Firepower of a unit is very important, but sometimes an individual needs to remain stealthy, and this includes tanks, especially in the recce role.
Just as importantly it saved one or two crewmen. When tank crew are a limited resource its best that they are used in a proper tank.
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  #48  
Old 05 Oct 17, 08:04
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
The British often removed the turrets of their Stuarts in the recce role. It means a lighter, smaller, more fuel efficient, greater range afv, with superior flotation. Firepower of a unit is very important, but sometimes an individual needs to remain stealthy, and this includes tanks, especially in the recce role.
But in that condition they are no longer tanks and have become armoured recce vehicles
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  #49  
Old 05 Oct 17, 13:49
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Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
I was wondering if the Cromwell could count? ......

.
Would the best way to decide if a tank was a light tank be how the Army using it classified it?

For instance the U.S. Army classified the Stuart as the "Light Tank M3" or "Light Tank M5" depending on model.
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  #50  
Old 05 Oct 17, 13:56
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Many are hung up on the idea of a light tank being a stealthy recon vehicle.

In the Pacific the light tanks were often used because many of the early transport ships could not handle medium and larger tanks. They were used in the same roles medium tanks were. They had to make due with less armor and a less effective main gun.

Would the U.S. Army in Europe have been better off having all four companies in tank battalion equipped with M4 Sherman medium tanks? Instead of three with M4s and one company with M3 / M5 Stuart light tanks? It would have been a big boost in protection and fire power.
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  #51  
Old 05 Oct 17, 14:02
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 17thfabn View Post
Many are hung up on the idea of a light tank being a stealthy recon vehicle.

In the Pacific the light tanks were often used because many of the early transport ships could not handle medium and larger tanks. They were used in the same roles medium tanks were. They had to make due with less armor and a less effective main gun.

Would the U.S. Army in Europe have been better off having all four companies in tank battalion equipped with M4 Sherman medium tanks? Instead of three with M4s and one company with M3 / M5 Stuart light tanks? It would have been a big boost in protection and fire power.
Frequently in Europe, armored division tank battalions disbanded their light tank company using the men for replacements and operated with just three medium battalions, just as many armored infantry battalions got rid of their 57mm antitank guns and used the crews as infantry replacements.
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  #52  
Old 05 Oct 17, 19:38
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I wonder why Pz I, Pz II and T-60 weren't noticed. Maybe they weren't great from the technical side but Pz I & II were the tanks which won the early war for Germany while T-60 were produced during the most difficult period for USSR.
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  #53  
Old 05 Oct 17, 20:09
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emtos View Post
I wonder why Pz I, Pz II and T-60 weren't noticed. Maybe they weren't great from the technical side but Pz I & II were the tanks which won the early war for Germany while T-60 were produced during the most difficult period for USSR.
In fairness, the Vickers Light Tank Mk.VIB (and its earlier variants) won the battles of East Africa and Syria, and don't get much credit either.

If we're going on pure influence on the outcome of WW2, then the Light Tank Mk.VIB was probably more important than the Tiger, but very few people are prepared to acknowledge that.
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  #54  
Old 05 Oct 17, 22:49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 17thfabn View Post
Many are hung up on the idea of a light tank being a stealthy recon vehicle.

In the Pacific the light tanks were often used because many of the early transport ships could not handle medium and larger tanks. They were used in the same roles medium tanks were. They had to make due with less armor and a less effective main gun.
This is a good point as, especially early in or even mid-way through the war, light tanks were meant to take on a much more aggressive role. Jentz quotes a 1 March 1939 "Training Directive for the leichte and mittlere Panzer-Kompanie 1939" as saying,
Quote:
Based on the situation, the leichte Panzer-Kompanie can receive the following combat assignments:
a. Subduing enemy anti-tank weapons followed by attacking the enemy artillery.
b. Subduing the infantry reconnaissance.
c. In direct cooperation with the motorized infantry, eliminating any remaining enemy resistance.
d. Breaking through into the heart of the enemy battle zone.
The US Army's 7 March 1942 edition of FM 17-10 Armored Force Field Manual Tactics and Technique says that in offensive combat,
Quote:
The primary mission of the light tank units is to close with the enemy and to disrupt the hostile organization in vital rear areas by fast, bold action. This is accomplished by destroying hostile automatic weapons and personnel; disrupting communications; and overrunning command posts, artillery positions, reserves, and other installations essential to the enemy.
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  #55  
Old 06 Oct 17, 00:08
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DogDodger View Post


The US Army's 7 March 1942 edition of FM 17-10 Armored Force Field Manual Tactics and Technique says that in offensive combat,
"The primary mission of the light tank units is to close with the enemy and to disrupt the hostile organization in vital rear areas by fast, bold action. This is accomplished by destroying hostile automatic weapons and personnel; disrupting communications; and overrunning command posts, artillery positions, reserves, and other installations essential to the enemy."

Use the mediums to make a break through. Then have the light tanks run around in the enemy's rear areas casing HAVOC among support units and command units.
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  #56  
Old 06 Oct 17, 00:27
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Pretty much:
Quote:
(a) The primary mission of medium tank units is to assist the attack of the light tank units, chiefly by neutralizing the hostile antitank weapons. When organized resistance is encountered, especially antitank guns, medium tank units will usually precede the light tank units for this purpose. The use of one or more platoons of medium tanks following the attack of light tank units for supporting fire will frequently be desirable. Tanks so employed, for short periods, should assume turret defilade positions from which they can bring direct fire to bear on hostile antitank weapons as they are found.

(b) Medium tanks also protect the light tanks against the attack of hostile tanks. When the enemy is composed of mechanized troops, a large medium tank component, if available, is held in reserve.
(Emphasis added to coincidentally highlight that the FM specifically calls for medium tanks to fight enemy tanks. )
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  #57  
Old 06 Oct 17, 03:39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DogDodger View Post
Quote:
The primary mission of the light tank units is to close with the enemy and to disrupt the hostile organization in vital rear areas by fast, bold action.
Quote:
The primary mission of medium tank units is to assist the attack of the light tank units, chiefly by neutralizing the hostile antitank weapons.
It would appear the light tanks are theoretically the major element, mediums simply to assist the lights, when considering primary missions.


http://www.wwiivehicles.com/united-s...d-division.png
Medium tanks : 232.
Light tanks : 158.



http://www.wwiivehicles.com/united-s...d-division.png
Medium tanks : 186.
Light tanks : 77.


Given that the proportion of mediums increased significantly in most AD's 1943 onwards (2nd and 3rd are exceptions), there was certainly a change in opinion concerning the use of lights as the main attacking arm.
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  #58  
Old 06 Oct 17, 09:38
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I think early war there was some thinking along World War I lines.

The heavy tanks would make a breach with the infantry. Then the light tanks would swarm in and attack the enemy's rear area.

As the war went on the light tanks were becoming less effective, thus they became a smaller proportion of the tanks in the various armies.
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  #59  
Old 06 Oct 17, 09:57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Juan View Post
In fairness, the Vickers Light Tank Mk.VIB (and its earlier variants) won the battles of East Africa and Syria, and don't get much credit either.
Eh? I think those campaigns depended on the PBI and the artillery, with good support from the RAF.

Don't think the Vickers Mk.VI did anything that couldn't be accomplished by armoured cars?
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Old 06 Oct 17, 10:39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 17thfabn View Post
I think early war there was some thinking along World War I lines.

The heavy tanks would make a breach with the infantry. Then the light tanks would swarm in and attack the enemy's rear area.

As the war went on the light tanks were becoming less effective, thus they became a smaller proportion of the tanks in the various armies.
I think you might be right. If you substitute Infantry for Medium, and Cruiser for Light, you appear to have the British doctrine in place.
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