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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 > German and Axis Armor

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German and Axis Armor Discuss German and Axis armored fighting vehicles in World War II. This is also the forum for Achtung Panzer.

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  #1  
Old 23 Aug 07, 13:51
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T-34/76 vs. Panzer IV?

I was reading B.H. Liddell Hart's "The Red Army" yesterday and ran across an interesting thing. In the chapter on Russian tanks it said that the T-34/76 with Model 1940 76.2mm gun was equal to the German Panzer IV with the long-barreled 75mm gun (Ausf. F2 - Ausf. J) and the M4 Sherman. I can believe it being equal to the Sherman, but to the Panzer IV (as far as the gun is concerned)?
"Of the two main Soviet types of tanks, the T-34 was not only the more numerous but was the basic type, used alike for infantry support and in mechanized formations. For the greater part of the war it was armed with the 76.2mm gun Model 1940, instead of the original, less powerful Model 1939, which put it roughly on par with the later German Pz.Kpfw. IV (with the longer barreled 75mm gun) and the American Medium M4, or Sherman." - "The Red Army," pg. 303.

The long-barreled 75mm KwK 40 L/43 gun which was first mounted on the Panzerkamfwagen IV Ausf. F2 had a muzzle velocity of 2428 ft/s. Its standard at/k round was the Pzgr. 39/KwK 40 (I think), and with that round it could penetrate 113mm of armor at 1000m (another source says that the gun could penetrate 3.5in of armor at 1000m, perhaps this is right).

For comparison, the Model 1940 76.2mm gun (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F-34_tank_gun) had a muzzle velocity of approx. 2007 ft/s. Firing armor piercing rounds it could penetrate 56mm of armor at 1000m. So why are the tanks (as far as guns go) roughly on par? Not the belittle the T-34/76 or the Russian F-34 tank gun, but the long-barreled 75mm guns mounted on the late Panzer IVs were better weren't they?

Also, feel free to open up a general discussion on the T-34/76 vs. the Panzer IV with long-barreled 75mm gun. I know that this will end up being a heated argument!

Thanks,
Alex

Sources:

"The Red Army."
Wikipedia.
Panzer IV universe
"German Armored Warfare of WWII: The Unpublished Photographs 1939-1945."
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  #2  
Old 23 Aug 07, 18:52
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I think we did this one only a few months ago.

Sir Basil's work is a bit dated and he tends to paint in broad strokes. In the case of comparing the Pz IVF2+, the T-34 M41+ and the Sherman M4+ is that they could each kill their opoonent with a solid hit. T-34 could kill Mk IV, Mk IV could kill Sherman, Sherman could kill Mk IV. In that respect the three tanks were roughly equal.

It matters little if your gun can penetrate 5" of armour plate if the enemy has only 3" of armour to offer. The shots will penetrate.

M4a3, Pz IVH and T-34M43 were effectively equal tanks. The US and Russian models were superior automotively while the German machine had a better gun. Not much to choose from.
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Old 23 Aug 07, 19:38
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Scroll to the bottom of: http://www.achtungpanzer.com/t34.htm
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Old 25 Aug 07, 15:43
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TP: Good points, however in a long range match the Panzer IV would kill both T-34 and Sherman; not sure as to the latter two's ability to knock out Panzer IV. Overall all three tanks are roughly equal; I was dealing more with the guns than anything else.

Sorry about the general discussion -- I forgot that we did that only a few months ago (its seems like ages).

Alex
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Old 25 Aug 07, 19:14
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Yeah, they were more or less equal. The PzKpfw.IV could penetrate the T-34's better armor with it's better gun but the T-34's weaker gun could still penetrate the PzKpfw.IV's weaker armor. The PzKpfw.IV comes out on top though because of the superior range of the Kwk 40.
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Old 25 Aug 07, 21:57
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The comparison seems odd, in that it compares the first version of the T-34, the up-gunned version of the Pz. Kpfw. IV and the first version of the Medium Tank, M4. The latter two could be okay to compare, but of the T-34 series, the T-34-85 would be a far better comparison candidate for the Pz. Kpfw. IV in terms of time frame.

It would also be more realistic to compare with the Medium Tank, M4 (76 mm) rather than the Medium Tank, M4, since the latter was no intended to fight tanks (or alternately compare with the 3 Inch Gun Motor Carriage, M10).
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Old 25 Aug 07, 22:11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C. Ankerstjerne
The comparison seems odd, in that it compares the first version of the T-34, the up-gunned version of the Pz. Kpfw. IV and the first version of the Medium Tank, M4.
True, it is not really comparing "like" vehicles. However, if we look at which vehicles each side had as their predominant tank in use prior to the summer of 44 we have to compare the Mk IVH against the T-34 M43 and perhaps the M4a3 (my choice, a mix of M4a1 and M4a3 would be better).

Nevertheless, be it in Normandy, Italy, Russia, Belgium and so on, Mk IVs died under the guns of both its main opponents at all sorts of combat ranges. So, to say that the Mk IV has the advantage at longe range is perhaps stretching reality a bit. It possessed a fine gun but the design of the tank had reached its limits and was about to be surpassed by both the T-34/85 and the M4a3e8.
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Old 25 Aug 07, 23:03
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Purist View Post
True, it is not really comparing "like" vehicles. However, if we look at which vehicles each side had as their predominant tank in use prior to the summer of 44 we have to compare the Mk IVH against the T-34 M43 and perhaps the M4a3 (my choice, a mix of M4a1 and M4a3 would be better).

Nevertheless, be it in Normandy, Italy, Russia, Belgium and so on, Mk IVs died under the guns of both its main opponents at all sorts of combat ranges. So, to say that the Mk IV has the advantage at longe range is perhaps stretching reality a bit. It possessed a fine gun but the design of the tank had reached its limits and was about to be surpassed by both the T-34/85 and the M4a3e8.
Good points.

I would add that the T-34-85 did not begin to serve in the field until early 1944 whereas the PzKpfw IV with KwK40 was beginning to appear in the field around April/May 1942, IIRC, (though this was the L/43 to begin with). This means the better part of two year's worth of comparison against the 76mm armed T-34, which is very valid IMHO. The period from the time of the T-34-85's debut to the end of the war in Europe was shorter than this and the PzKpfw IV, though still a 'mainstay', no longer the 'best' German medium tank.

Last edited by panther3485; 25 Aug 07 at 23:08..
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Old 26 Aug 07, 09:51
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Indeed. The Pz IVF2 and G (mid-42), the T-34 M43 (Sep 42) and the M4a1 (Oct 42) all arrived on the battlefield at roughly the same time in ever growing numbers. By the fall of 42 there were enough Mk IV (May/June would have seen precious few) with units for it to matter and comparisons can begin to be drawn.
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