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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 > W. Allied Armor

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W. Allied Armor Discuss all non-Axis and non-Russian armor here. [seeking companion website on Allied Armor for this forum]

View Poll Results: Have you read Death Traps by Belton Y. Cooper?
Yes 27 35.53%
No 41 53.95%
Maybe, I'm not sure though........ 1 1.32%
No, but I plan on getting a copy!! 7 9.21%
Voters: 76. You may not vote on this poll

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  #61  
Old 06 Feb 08, 21:31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TRDG View Post
So the 76mm was marginally better than the German 75mm, interesting, I wonder how Cooper came up with his? Anyone know about Coopers formula stated in my last post?

Cheers

Tom
We should be primarily comparing APCBC, the 'standard' armour piercing round type for both guns (the AP round type that was, particularly for the German tank gun, by far the most commonly used.) Based on this, there was so little difference in anti-armour performance between these two weapons that you'd have to put whiskers on one to tell the difference.

The US HVAP tungsten cored round (closest German equivalent - APCR PzGr 40) did significantly enhance performance, although it was in very short supply for tank crews. Supplies were prioritized to TD units.

Then, of course there is the question of the HE rounds for 'general purpose' use (in the Sherman's case the 75 was actually better than the 76 but IIRC the latter was still slightly better than the German 75).

I think the conclusion that the US 76 was a bit better overall is a sound one.

Last edited by panther3485; 06 Feb 08 at 21:36..
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  #62  
Old 06 Feb 08, 23:31
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The gun debate has been answered, so...
Quote:
Originally Posted by TRDG View Post
He then talks about the Christy suspension system that we all know about, that was turned down by the U.S. brass, the Russians and the Germans did not. The abilaty to have overlapping bogey wheels and the resulting use of wider tracks, which led to better ground pressure per square inch. Made some German tanks to do much better in muddy terrain than the American tanks, until the M24 and M26 finally came along at the end of the war.

In the meantime, the U.S. recieved the M4A1 medium tank with the long barreld 76mm gunwith a muzzle velocity of 2,650 feet per second. Considering that the penetrating capacity of the projectile varies as the squar of the muzzle velocity, even the Mark IV outgunned both our M4 and M4A1.
Germany didn't use the Christie suspension, and neither did the M24 or M26. The M24 and M26 used torsion bars, like Pz.Kpfw.III, Panther, and Tiger. Many British cruisers and some Soviet tanks used Christie's design (which involved individually springing each wheel on a tall helical spring inside a double-walled hull), but the US only standardized one tank with that suspension (the convertible medium tank M1, first accepted in 1935, 19 total produced). Early versions of the 76 mm GMC M18 used Christie's suspension, but this vehicle eventually used torsion bars since these took up less room in the hull. Had the Germans not invaded, the Soviets were also planning on going to torsion bars in their next generation of medium tanks. Christie's suspension was a dead end.

Also, M4A1 doesn't mean a Sherman with the 76 mm gun, as Cooper implies. The M4A1 was a cast-hulled Sherman with the Continental radial engine.
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  #63  
Old 07 Feb 08, 02:25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DogDodger View Post
The gun debate has been answered, so...Germany didn't use the Christie suspension, and neither did the M24 or M26. The M24 and M26 used torsion bars, like Pz.Kpfw.III, Panther, and Tiger. Many British cruisers and some Soviet tanks used Christie's design (which involved individually springing each wheel on a tall helical spring inside a double-walled hull), but the US only standardized one tank with that suspension (the convertible medium tank M1, first accepted in 1935, 19 total produced). Early versions of the 76 mm GMC M18 used Christie's suspension, but this vehicle eventually used torsion bars since these took up less room in the hull. Had the Germans not invaded, the Soviets were also planning on going to torsion bars in their next generation of medium tanks. Christie's suspension was a dead end.

Also, M4A1 doesn't mean a Sherman with the 76 mm gun, as Cooper implies. The M4A1 was a cast-hulled Sherman with the Continental radial engine.
Yeah. Some of these misconceptions have appeared so many times I've become sick of addressing them (nice to see you pick 'em up, though). Added to that, I'm less than impressed by what I've seen on this thread, regarding the book.
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  #64  
Old 07 Feb 08, 03:15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TRDG View Post
Anyone know about Coopers formula stated in my last post?

Cheers

Tom
Yes, I do. First, here's what you posted:
"Considering that the penetrating capacity of the projectile varies as the squar of the muzzle velocity, even the Mark IV outgunned both our M4 and M4A1."

What he is talking about is kinetic energy...K.E. = 1/2 x m x v (squared, or v x v), where m = mass, or weight/g (32.2 ft/sec squared); v = velocty in ft/sec
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  #65  
Old 07 Feb 08, 23:05
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panther3485 View Post
Added to that, I'm less than impressed by what I've seen on this thread, regarding the book.
It's worth reading if one takes it simply as a personal memoir. The daily life of an ordnance liaison officer is something seldom discussed. As a historical reference, though...
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  #66  
Old 08 Feb 08, 11:27
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"Deathtraps"

I have not read through all of the discussion on the book but despite it's flaws I would still recommend it. It shows life on the battlefield from a close perspective from someone who had to clean up the mess.
Whether the Sherman was as good as other Allied tanks or even the Mark IV German to me is not as important as it was vastly inferior to the Panther, Tiger and King Tiger.
He did make a point about the 105mm howitzer that I asked about on the Soviet/Russian section about plunging fire and German armor, even Panther's and Tigers. Even the MAUS and E-100 were to have only 40mm deck armor so the 105 could have taken them. US Artillery saved the day for the M4A1.
He blames Patton for the decision to not adopt the M-26 in the ETO but I am not sure that is entirely true. I would wonder out loud if Ike might have had a role in that matter.
Anyway, these are some thoughts I wanted to share about the book and agree or disagree with his comments and/or conclusions, it is a good read and well worth the money.
Schwerepunkt/Bob
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  #67  
Old 08 Feb 08, 14:41
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Wink It's good

to get your thoughts on this, very interesting, I'm learning more and more here, thanks again!!

Cheers, more tonight after work.

Tom
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  #68  
Old 08 Feb 08, 19:38
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Hadn't heard about it, but you've got my interest.
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  #69  
Old 09 Feb 08, 02:42
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Post I'm glad Whiterook

To continue

When we ran into the German PzKw V Panther, a fifty-two ton tank with three and a half inchrs of armor on a thirty-eight-degree glacis plate, compared to two and ahalf inches of armor at forty-five degrees on the M4, we were grossly outgunned. The Panther carried the even more powerfull 75mm KwK42 gun, with a muzzle velosity of 3,300 feet per second. The myth that our armor was in any way comparable to German armor was completely shattered.

I can just imagine this as quite a blow to tankers over there, when they first met the Panther, let alone the Tiger...... Compared to what they were told before D-Day, even a "numbers" thought from the Allied command, " they are tough, but we have the numbers, and they don't" kind of thing, something honest???...... Still, it would be hard to get in your machine every day with that in the back of your mind (with, or without that fictional command comment before the Normandy battle), but they did'nt even have that!!

Cheers

Tom
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  #70  
Old 09 Feb 08, 03:07
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TRDG View Post
"To continue
When we ran into the German PzKw V Panther, a fifty-two ton tank with three and a half inchrs of armor on a thirty-eight-degree glacis plate, compared to two and ahalf inches of armor at forty-five degrees on the M4, we were grossly outgunned. The Panther carried the even more powerfull 75mm KwK42 gun, with a muzzle velosity of 3,300 feet per second. The myth that our armor was in any way comparable to German armor was completely shattered."
Assume this is another quote from the book.
If so, then reading about 'fifty-two ton' Panthers with 'thirty eight degree' glacis plates would probably be the final straw for me. $hit, he can't even get the angle correct for the M4's glacis!

Last edited by panther3485; 09 Feb 08 at 03:11..
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Old 09 Feb 08, 14:00
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Post Yes panther, right from the book, word for word.

As a guy who should know about this stuff, I wonder if he is just making honest, spur of the moment thoughts when he wrote this????.......

Cheers

Tom
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  #72  
Old 10 Feb 08, 03:20
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Post And continuing on with Cooper

Cooper notes that General Eisenhower had ordered a general staff meeting for Allied general officers in Tideworth Downs (before D-Day), the only record is that it took place. Some of Coopers men were at the meeting, servicing the various machines, and they talks about what went on there. Many systems were shown and explained, so I will stick to only some of them for now.

There was some concern that our 30-caliber machineguns, also of WW I vintage, had a lower cyclicle rate of fire than the German machinegun, however,The Germans had no counterpart to our 50-caliber machinegun. Our 60mm and 80mm mortors were comparable to the German weapons, and our 4.2 inch chemical motors was an excellent weapon for laying down white phosphorus smoke shells.

Artillery was demonstrated next. The 105mm howitzer, 155mm howitzer, the 155mm rfle Long Tom, 8 inch howitzer and gun and the 240 howitzer were all of modern design. This equipment was equal or superior to the German guns, because the Germans still used a great deal of horse-drawn artillery. Finally the armoured weapons systems were reviewed. the M-7 with the 105mm howitzer proved an excellent weapon. The M-12 that carried a 155mm GPF rifle of World War I, even though it did'nt have the muzzle velosity of the Long Tom, it proved very effective.

Cheers, AT guns and tanks are for Sunday night!!

Tom
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Old 10 Feb 08, 05:00
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Thumbs up Some comments...

..US Tank Force Doctrine was not to engage enemy tanks in battle but to break through anti-tank and fortification defenses to achieve deep penetration to the rear. When the Germans discovered how weak the Sherman (and other Allied tanks were), they deliberately engaged US tanks with their own, which proved disastrous for Sherman tank crews.
Late in the book, in the battle for Cologne, a glimpse of what might have been with the M26 Pershing is indicated when after seeing an M4 knocked out by a Panther (around a corner), an M26 faced the Panther while still moving. Not knowing the M26 had stabilization in its gunnery, the Panther did not expect the 90mm round when it was fired. HIT! Then two more and the Panther burned for two days.
The trials of the Super Pershing with a 90mm/70 indicated an extremely powerful tank. I am not sure I agree with Mr. Cooper's statement that it was the most powerful tank in the world is true but he saw it in trials and I am sure the gun was the most powerful in US inventory.
I have read through most of the comments on the book and think they are very fair. Some of Mr. Cooper's technical knowledge might not have been great in that he did some on the spot and after the fact analyses which might was not a truly realistic perspective.
Nonetheless, for a close up view of armored combat and the losses of Shermans that were almost incomprehensible before D-Day, I don't think there is a better read than "Deathtraps."
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  #74  
Old 10 Feb 08, 11:36
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The Pershing did not have a gun stabilizer. The Sherman did. Credit goes solely to the crew for the moving shot.

Edit: At that range, it wouldn't have mattered if it had been a Sherman firing at the Panther. Flank shots at that range would still have penetrated. The Pershing would have not been immune to the Panther's gun, either.
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  #75  
Old 10 Feb 08, 15:42
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....and IIRC, the Sherman's gyrostabilizer only worked in one axis.
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