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T-34/85 article from Russia which is quite good, except where it isn't


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I found this article  from Russia Beyond The Headlines as a result of something else I turned up that was pertinent to CMBS. This article, which is one of several of interest on how the Russians built a modern military force after WW I, has some great stuff in it on the T-34/85, to include the fact that on the Syrian front in the 1967 War, the Arabs killed far more Israeli tanks than they lost. Something I never knew, since practically everything written on that war focuses on how rapid and shattering was Israel's victory. It also talks about the notorious on the US end Task Force Smith story and T-34/85 use clear through 2014. It errs hugely, though, in describing the M24 Chaffee light tank as "a derivative of the Sherman M4A3E8 that carried better armament." As the very much on point M24 Chaffee' s Wiki shows, that brief passage is rife with major errors. The article has some information I'd never seen before on armored combat at the Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba.

 

Regards,

 

John Kettler

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I'm thinking it's pretty rubbish.  The Korean part is a whole mess of wrong, the highest leading cause of T-34/85 losses was US Armor, with Shermans making the slim majority of kills (I'd have to look up the specs, but it's something like 55% knocked out by Shermans, 45% M-26/M-46 kills).  The T-34/85 was about on par with the late model Shermans (worse surviability, marginally better firepower, etc), but it was handily outclassed by the Pershing and Patton.  I am fairly certain the author also could not tell a Chaffee from a tractor too.  Also Task Force Smith didn't have armor, their only AT was the smaller early model bazookas, and 105 MM howitzers.  

 

Let's see....uh the only armor at the Bay of Pigs was Cuban government, none was landed by the Americans, let alone the 30+ AFVs described, the Arab-Israeli stuff is only right if you accept fictional "we totally didn't lose this one guys!" Syrian numbers.....and actually yeah pretty much the whole thing is crap.  Sorry man.  

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panzersaurkrautwerfer - I agree with the general assessment.  TF Smith also had some recoilless rifles - 57mm variety - which proved ineffective, as did their WWII era bazookas.  Their most effective AT weapon by far was their battery of 105mm howitzers (towed), but only 1 gun had HEAT rounds and it had all of 6 of them.  The rest used plain HE, but chucked enough of it to seriously disturb the T-34s passing the battery position.

 

The US had 2 effective AT systems in Korea before the arrival of serious armor at the Pusan perimeter.  The number 1 (and it wasn't close) was napalm from the air.  The number 2 was 88mm bazookas, hastily created copies of the German panzerscreck, in fact, that were airlifted to the theater after the standard models proved ineffective against the T-34/85s used by the North Koreans.  The infantry divisions that arrived first had one company of Chaffees each - 17 light tanks per company, with short 75mm main armament - but those were not effective against T-34/85s.

 

At the Pusan perimeter, the US got serious armor in the form of Easy Eight Shermans - the most common tank there by far - and a smaller number of Pershings.  But the Norks had already lost a fair portion of their armor by then, mostly to US air using napalm.  The Shermans cleaned up most of the rest in the Pusan perimeter battles, as you say.  Later the Brits also brought Centurions - by far the best tank of the Korean war on any side - and the US started getting Pattons.  The Pershings didn't do so well in Korea because they were underpowered and the Korean hills were unforgiving to underpowered drive trains.  The Patton solved that, though.  In the meantime, Easy Eights did fine, with better mobility than the Pershings and perfectly adequate firepower against anything the Norks had.

 

As for the notion that the Syrians in T-34s outperformed the Israelis in 1967, it is fanciful to put it charitably.  The Israelis did have some early trouble in the Golan fighting, but once they redeployed more armor to that front (they sensibly put the Egyptians first in their priorities) they smashed the Syrians effortlessly, and were on the road to Damascus with nothing left between them and the city, when the diplomats brought the war to an end.

 

FWIW...

Edited by JasonC
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Let's see....uh the only armor at the Bay of Pigs was Cuban government, none was landed by the Americans, let alone the 30+ AFVs described, the Arab-Israeli stuff is only right if you accept fictional "we totally didn't lose this one guys!" Syrian numbers.....and actually yeah pretty much the whole thing is crap.  Sorry man.  

 

Well, it is a Kettler thread, after all. ;)

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Yep, just as I thought, a dubious source:

 

Russia Beyond the Headlines is an international multimedia project about Russia launched by Rossiyskaya Gazeta in 2007.

 

http://asia.rbth.com/about_us/company

 

Rossiyskaya Gazeta (Russian: Российская газета, lit. Russian Gazette) is a Russian government daily newspaper of record which publishes the official decrees, statements and documents of state bodies. This includes the promulgation of newly approved laws, Presidential decrees, and Government orders. It was founded by a decree of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR and its first issue appeared on 11 November 1990.

 

 

 

In the issue of 18 September 2007 on the sheet devoted to the film Katyń (2007), directed by Andrzej Wajda and about the 1940 Katyn massacre, a short comment by Alexander Sabov was published, claiming that the widely accepted version of the tragedy is based on a single dubious copy of a document related to the massacre and that hence evidence of the Soviet responsibility for it is not reliable, which immediately provoked media frenzy in Poland. In response, on 19 September the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza published relevant documents signed by Lavrenty Beria.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rossiyskaya_Gazeta

 

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aWell, it is a Kettler thread, after all.  ;)

 

But whatever nonsense contained within is simply something he's found vs created, and this ALSO turns into a great chance to discuss the T-34/85 as a tank vs Comrade Tank of Fascist Destruction.  

 

Re: Korea

 

Here's what Zaloga says, which is from the official post conflict BDA on NKPA tank losses.  It's based entirely on recovered hulls which is important given some of the cray-cray USAF claims of destroying several hundred tanks.  The NKPA also lacked meaningful recovery assets, so generally if something was "killed" it wasn't going anywhere.  All claims are T-34/85s to the best of my understanding (the only other NKPA armor being the SU-76).  Additionally it's on target analysis vs crew claims:

 

Total Kills by tanks: 89+8 Damaged (but recovered by UN forces)

   M24: 1

   M26: 29+3

   M4A3E8: 41+4

   M46: 18+1

 

Artillery: 20+8

Bazooka (both M20 and M9): 11+11

Recoilless rifle: 9+4

Land Mines: 1

Grenades: 3

Aircraft: 27+2

Naval Gunfire: 12

"Unconfirmed" 63

 

Unconfirmed includes anything that was difficult to identify beyond reasonable measures.  This includes likely napalm kills, vehicles that catastrophically blew up to the degree where finding a clear cause was simply impractical, but enough pieces could be found to rule out it being a collection of T-34 parts vs a full wreck.

 

From that even if all unconfirmed kills were from aviation, US armor was still the most lethal thing on the battlefield vs the T-34/85.  The M4A3E8 did quite well, but this likely stems from it being more common.  

 

For the Pusan fighting the M26 and M46s were the preferred tanks given the remaining threat from NKPA T-34s.  Pusan also is much more friendly to tank operations.  as pointed out, later fighting as the war moved north increasingly fell on the Sherman.  The Centurions did quite well with infantry support, but did not encounter T-34s to the best of my recollection (I seem to remember the only commonwealth tank kill to be knocking out a Cromwell that had been captured by the PLA).  The larger M20 Bazooka was not quite so hastily created having roots going back to 1944, but the end of the war and the silliness of the post war Nuclear focus meant it remained fairly uncommon, and the units that deployed to Korea from Japan lacked many of their MTOE heavy weapons either way.

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The Norks only had about 40 operational tanks left by the time the line went static at the Pusan perimeter.  Maybe another 20 or so SU-76s.  They did get some additional tank replacements during the fight there, but only like 20 at a time.  Your loss totals come to 268, 35% by armor, 15% infantry, 15% artillery (including naval).  The air is certainly not just 10% and undoubtedly covers most of the "unconfirmed", which could easily put air as high as armor in its total contribution.  Battlefield OR in Korea established that napalm was the first effective air to ground weapon and large numbers of North Korean tanks and SUs were burnt out by it, well out of action.  Understand, there were very few US tanks in action before that Pusan perimeter period, and most of those were the ineffective M24s.  (There were a handful of Pershings from Japan rather than the states in the early fighting, but their readiness was lousy and they were mostly lost rapidly, to automotive causes, blown bridges or blocks roads behind them then abandoned, and the like). There was no real armor threat once at the perimeter, because the US had so much more armor by then (~5 battalions worth pretty quickly, 3 army tank battalions, 1 marine tank battalion, and single companies in the infantry divisions) and the Nork armor strength in runners at any one time was down to less than a single battalion's worth.  Agreed on the Centurions, they didn't matter for anti tank work because the Nork armor was dead already by the time they got into action.  I mentioned them just as by far the best tank in Korea.

 

As for the great weakness of the Pershing in Korean conditions, it stemmed from how underpowered the tank was, and the poor state of Korean roads.  Even the best of the Korean roads had stretches only 10-12 feet wide at bridges and the like (the Pershing is 11.5 feet wide, vs 8.5 for the Sherman), and 15% grades where they went over the hills (which strained the Pershing's 10.6 hp per ton, vs 13.3 hp per ton for the E8 Sherman).  In the static lines of the Pusan perimeter on defense and local fire brigade counterattack, the Pershing did OK even with those weaknesses.  Once the front was moving those were crippling drawbacks in Korean conditions.  (The M46 was just as wide, but could handle the hills well - it had 18.4 hp per ton from its much more powerful engine, 810 hp vs 450-500 hp).

Edited by JasonC
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panzersaurkrautwerfer,

 

There were tank and antitank battles at the Bay of Pigs. Brigade 2506 had a full platoon of Shermans.  As you can see from what follows the first quote, the invaders did land tanks, and they were in fierce combat. Obviously, the "tank driver" in the second quote is a gloss or should be understood in the same sense that a pilot is called an airplane driver. A most informative article.

 

http://www.historynet.com/cold-war-bay-of-pigs-invasion.htm

 

(Fair Use)

 

By March 1961, the brigade in Guatemala was equipped and training with four-deuce mortars, 75mm recoilless rifles, bazookas, surplus M1 Garands from World War 11, machine guns, pistols and five M-4 Sherman tanks. - See more at: http://www.historynet.com/cold-war-bay-of-pigs-invasion.htm#sthash.PUpm4izU.dpuf

 

A brigade tank driver named Jorge Alvarez knocked out an enemy tank with his last shell, then deliberately crashed another. The two monsters rammed each other in a remarkable nose-to-nose battle until the Stalin's gun barrel split.

 

Castro closed in on Blue Beach.

 

It was also Oliva who organized the last battle of the Bay of Pigs, which came to be known as 'the last stand of Giron.' Armed with seven bazookas and three tanks, Oliva's battalion destroyed three Castro tanks and an armored truck during the first fighting.

 

 

 

Regards,

John Kettler

P.S.

Anyone know how to get rid of the gray overlay?

Edited by John Kettler
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Re: Korea

 

I'd really like to see your sources.  I'm using "T-34/85 vs PershingL Korea 1950" which is a neat little Osprey book written by Steven Zaloga, who's pretty much one of the most respected armored thingy writers out there at the point.  The damage survey he's citing are from the Operations Research Office, and written using real blown up tank hulks left behind by the NKPA in the fighting.

 

Most of the tanks counted in the numbers I cited came from UN battlefield recovery efforts, which netted a total of 239 T-34/85 tanks destroyed until October 1950 (which is to say the start of the war through the weeks following the breakout from Pusan).  Then an additional 17 or so wrecks were located some months later to fully fit out the BDA tables I provided (I might have been incorrect in including the Naval Gunfire kills, they do not show up in the table itself, but were included as part of a paragraph about earlier kill claims).

 

As the case was, despite there being "only 40 tanks" left at the end of Pusan, US tanks destroyed:

 

August 5 tanks (2 to M4A3E8, 3 to M26)

September 48 tanks (23 to M4A38, 21 to M26, 4 to M46)

October 33 tanks (20 to M4A3E8, 8 to M26, 5 to M46

November 11 (1 to M24, 10 to M46)

 

Note the kills by type count "damaged" and recovered by UN forces as "destroyed" the earlier numbers I threw out includes the damaged and destroyed breakdown.  Additionally the survey accounts for nearly every tank the NKPA had on hand for the 1950 fighting (which we know from Soviet records, although the fate of the remaining pair is unknown (perhaps they were either retained in the North for training purposes, lost during training, or remain rusting on the bottom of a river).

 

Now, either the Army is a bunch of morons, and mistook large rocks for tanks, and there's a tanker conspiracy to look sexy and cool, or a large portion of the NKPA's armor was tanked to bits.

 

In regards to aerial claims, they need to be taken with a grain of salt the size of a small planet.  The USAF claimed to have destroyed 857 tanks during the 1950 fighting (which is to say the period in which the NKPA had significant armor assets).  This is several times more than the total 258 T-34s the NKPA had on hand for the initial 1950's fighting.  This is on top of the 123 tanks destroyed claimed by the USMC and other UN land based elements, and then the 163 claimed killed by carrier aviation.

 

This is worth discussing for several reasons:

 

1. Aerial claims are entirely and totally wrong.  Top to bottom. There's several times as many "dead" NKPA tanks than there ever were in NKPA service.  

 

2. Each of those 1,000+ kills claimed can only be accounted for in the four of approximately at absolute most 90 kills (Again, assuming all "cause undetermined" kills were napalm kills, a few were certainly catastrophic detonations from other sources, or abandoned vehicles burned by their crews).  That's frankly appalling, and a good indicator of how ineffective the UN air effort was at counter-armor operations (screwdriver as a hammer basically, yes it did the job somewhat, but the effort required to achieve effects was widely out of proportion for results).  The UN air efforts were great at keeping the skies mostly friendly, and making logistical resupply of the NKPA forces in the field harrowing, however again for every 1000 "for sure we did kill this thing 100%" attacks, there were only a 1:10 success rate (and this is ignoring attacks conducted that obviously missed or with no claimed kills).  

 

Re: Tank performance

 

Again you're mostly right.  Pusan is also much flatter and open terrain within the perimeter, and much of Southern Korea is less difficult for armor operations meaning the Pershing was less problematic for the initial fighting, but past Seoul it did start to become a liability.  Of course by that point the T-34s were largely extinct for reals.  

 

So in that regard, I'd like to see where your information is coming from, as mine seems to check out.

 

Re: Bay of Pigs

 

Again, I'd like to see some references, the links provided do not appear to have sources.  A platoon of tanks seems a bit odd given what I know about the various CIA plans, and while I'm not a Bay of Pigs expert, I've seen some stuff on it and there wasn't a mention of armor, and I'm greatly puzzled how the "official" US timeline of the events (according to the internet at least) refers to the Shermans as MKIVs.  

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Wiki actually does mention tanks and armor training at Ft Knox and Ft Benning

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bay_of_Pigs_Invasion#Invasion

 

Tank training took place at Fort Knox, Kentucky and Fort Benning, Georgia. Underwater demolition and infiltration training took place at Belle Chase near New Orleans.[73]

 

At about 00:00 on 17 April 1961, the two CIA LCIs Blagar and Barbara J, each with a CIA 'operations officer' and an Underwater Demolition Team (UDT) of five frogmen, entered the Bay of Pigs (Bahía de Cochinos) on the southern coast of Cuba. They headed a force of four transport ships (Houston, Río Escondido, Caribe and Atlántico) carrying about 1,400 Cuban exile ground troops of Brigade 2506, plus tanks and other vehicles in the landing craft.

 

I don't have any sources to verify accuracy.

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Oddly enough I skimmed the article on wikipedia, didn't see the reference to landing armor.  All the same not exactly a resounding victory against the odds for the T-34.  

well I didn't say they landed :D

 

Seems the CIA marked as seaweed what turned out to be a reef.  It is very possible the armor whatever it was, didn't land.  There are plenty of pics of downed aircraft, somewhat odd that there aren't any I have found of destroyed/captured armor.  I'd be willing to wager that the tanks didn't make it ashore assuming it is correct that there were some.  Especially considering one can find pictures of Cuban armor.

 

http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/bay-of-pigs/giron-tanque.jpg

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sburke and panzersaurkrautwerfer,

 

Tanks were landed by Brigade 2506 and did fight.  Source: Article from the very anal United States Naval Institute. "Back to the Bay of Pigs," by James delgado

 

http://www.usni.org/magazines/proceedings/2001-04/back-bay-pigs

 

Fair use

 

Displayed prominently in the Museo collection are captured documents and equipment, all of it labeled-like an M-41 "Walker Bulldog" tank (one of five brought ashore by the 2506 Brigade's LCUs)—as tools of "the yanquis and mercenaries." The Museo de Giron is in fact more a triumphant display of the enemy's weapons than a museum. Machine guns, mortars, pistols, and rifles all are laid out inside. Outside are the tank, a truck, one of the aluminum boats used by the 2506 Brigade to land on the beach, and the engine and pieces of a downed B-26. Displayed proudly at the museum in addition to the captured materials is one of Castro's Sea Fury aircraft used in the battle and an antiaircraft gun.

 

Dade County, Florida law enforcement report

 

Chronology of Operations

 

http://cuban-exile.com/doc_026-050/doc0042.html

There was no artillery and the only support was given by six Mark IV Sherman tanks which joined the invasion in three L.C.T.'s and were landed before the infantrymen.  Apparently the lack of sea transports forced the planners of the operation to reload the L.C.T's with the motorized equipment, land it , and then return to the troop transports to pick up the infantrymen.  Each L.C.T. carried two tanks, two trucks, and two jeeps.  The infantrymen were armed with Garand rifles and M1 carbines plus heavy weapons consisting of six 60 mm mortars, six 81 mm mortars, an six 4.2 mortars.  A number of 57 mm recoilless rifles and .50 caliber machine guns was also used by the expeditionary forces.

 

From the CO in charge of training Brigade 2506. Please see Chapter VII, Section 42, paragraph 3. He says the tank force was 5 x M41 and that training in the US was being arranged for a handpicked tank crew. 

 

http://www.camcocuba.org/NOTICIAS/MEMORIES.html

 

Another article directly talks about tank on tank and the losses Castro sustained. The article has a photo of the previously mentioned captured M41.

 

http://perrya.hubpages.com/hub/Operation-Pluto-Brigade-2506-Invades-Cuba-at-the-Bay-of-Pigs-April-17-1961

 

(Fair Use)

 

Operation Pluto: Brigade 2506 Invades Cuba at the Bay of Pigs, April 17, 1961
 

"The one shining moment of the 2506 was in battle. These men were motivated and well trained and armed. Nothing shows this more than the trap Castro's 339th Battalion walked into on April 17 at around 2:30 p.m. The 2nd Battalion of the 2506th and landed and advanced from the coast to Palpite. A company of paratroopers had already dropped earlier to block the road. The area is wooded and marshy with vegetation. The battalion had over 400 men and equipped with one 75mm gun, 57mm RCL, .50mm cal machine gun, two 3.5 antitank bazookas, two M-41 tanks (this was their first time in battle) and further augmented with men from the 4th Battalion..."

 

It wasn't over. Castro was determined to reach the beach head. Once the 339th had regathered and armed, it was supplemented with three batteries of 122mm artillery guns, 22 tanks (T-34 and JS-2), all totaled some 2000 men. But the 2nd Battalion also had been reinforced by the 4th Battalion and one company from the 6th Bn and one M-41 tank.

 

Castro personally directed this attempt from Australia (sic). At 7:30 p.m., the artillery began a Soviet creeping barrage that missed more than hit 2nd battalion in trenches. It went on for an hour or more as some 1200 rounds dropped. Then it stopped until 12:30 a.m., when part of the 339th and others with a T-34 and JS-2 tank slowly advanced down the same road. The 2nd Battalion opened up with more firepower and destroyed both tanks and caused panic. This style of attacked was repeated over and over until 3 a.m. By then, Castro had lost six tanks and little to gain for it. Frustrated, the remaining men of the battalion and others tried to force the 2nd Battalion defenses in a charge that ended in a final retreat by 5:30 a.m.

 

Little did Castro know that 2nd Battalion's stand had cost them dearly in ammunition. Each man had only 50 rounds left. Hardly enough for a determine push. They requested more airdrops for ammo, but few came and often missed the DZ. Two of the supply ships in the Bay of Pigs had been sunk by the same two T-33 jets! B-26 flights stopped because of the losses.

 

Castro tried one more time and lost another 5 tanks. When Castro pulled back, so did 2nd Battalion, closer to the beach. Time played against them. There would be no uprising in Bay of Pigs area.

 

By the end of the fiasco,Cuba had sent 19 battalions, five JS-2 tanks, 10 T-34\85 tanks, nine artillery batteries to battle the 2506 Brigade. The US had abandon them and most were killed or captured. Those that did escape became doctors, business owners or politicians in later years."

 

The story of the brave 2506 tanker who rammed a Stalin tank is repeated here, taken from "the Bay of Pigs--the Truth, by Humberto Fontova. Grayson Lynch was the CIA's on-scene commander for the invasion.

 

http://www.amigospais-guaracabuya.org/oaghf002.php

 

On another front, Lynch from his command post offshore, was talking with Commander Pepe San Roman. Lynch knew about the canceled air strikes and figured the men were doomed. "If things are really rough" he told Pepe. "We can come in and evacuate you."

 

"We will NOT be evacuated!' Pepe barked. "We will fight to the END!"

 

The Reds had 50,000 men around the beachhead now. But Oliva had one tank manned by Jorge Alvarez, and two rounds. Jorge aimed-BLAM!. Reloaded-BLAM! and quickly knocked out two of Castro's Stalins. But more Stalins and T-34's kept coming. So Alvarez--outgunned, outnumbered and out-of ammo-- finally had no choice: he gunned his tank to a horrendous clattering whine and charged!

 

He rammed into another Stalin tank. It's driver was stunned, frantic. He couldn't get a half-second to aim his gun. So Alvarez rammed him again. And again. And again, finally splitting the Stalin's barrel and forcing its surrender.

 

Am going to stop now, having shown there were tanks in Brigade 2506; the tanks were landed, and that they did fight, apparently to considerable effect. As for the Shermans, I think people got their tanks confused. The account of the training CO, the battle accounts and the captured M41 all tell a consistent tale. Since I know the issue is certain to be raised, here is a thread on 76 mm Gun, Tank, M32 (M41's cannon) armor penetration performance from Tank-Net. In Operation Lam Song 719, ARVN M41s were butchering NVA T-54s,T-55s and PT-76s from practically twice the range of the very heavily protected T-54s and T-55s.

 

http://www.tank-net.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=11848

 

Regards,

 

John Kettler

Edited by John Kettler
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John you should really read the stuff you link to and "quote".  It might save US some time.  For example.  What you said he said.

sburke and panzersaurkrautwerfer,
 
Tanks were landed by Brigade 2506 and did fight.  Source: Article from the very anal United States Naval Institute. "Back to the Bay of Pigs," by James delgado
 

From the CO in charge of training Brigade 2506. Please see Chapter VII, Section 42, paragraph 3. He says the tank force was 5 x M41 and that training in the US was being arranged for a handpicked tank crew
 
http://www.camcocuba.org/NOTICIAS/MEMORIES.html

 
 
What he said

Since the brigade was organized, the Bon-Blin had been conducting solely infantry training. However, the battalion had been organized to fill up two motorized companies, a heavy weapons company and a tank company that, in the future, would have assigned five medium U.S.-made M-41 tanks with a high velocity 76 mm gun. Each tank would have a four-man crew. Of course, we did not have any heavy equipment at Trax, but I was assured by Frank that, once the battalion had landed in Cuba, it would be provided with all motorized equipment and tanks required in our table of organization and equipment (TOE).

 


Note that at no point did he actually say they got any tanks

As to Jose Delgado - he is a maritime museum director (Canadian at that) and he has no citations.  On the one hand he says the LCVPs were wrecked on the reef yet all 5 tanks were landed.  I am still skeptical that the tank made it ashore during the battle, afterwards sure.  Makes for a nice museum piece.

As to the last fantastic piece of non sense ramming a Stalin tank, geez John...stop already.  The only thing you proved is once again you will believe anything you find on the net.

 

Here is the "battle damaged" Walker tank at the Cuban Museum.  Man that thing is a wreck...not.

 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/13150208@N05/4374391700/in/photostream/

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It's like....I'd like a more consistant story.  The tanks change types (I have no idea what American would ever call a Sherman a MK IV, as that's the British way to refer to a M4A3...but they never actually USED those nor was it something your average yankee would refer to a Sherman as), there's epic acts of derringdo etc.  There's clearly an M41 there, but that's quite different from the battalions' worth of armor from the original link.  It's really sort of a mess of a historical event.  

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Here is the "battle damaged" Walker tank at the Cuban Museum.  Man that thing is a wreck...not.

Harrumph!  The right front fender is gone, and the left front fender is banged up, exactly the kind of damage you'd expect from ramming a Stalin tank!  Case closed!

 

Has anyone mentioned the nuclear weapons at Bay of Pigs yet?  Or shouldn't we go there?   :o

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First on Bay of Pigs, yes the invaders had armor, not very much of it, and yes it landed, from LCUs, and yes it fought, and they ran out of ammunition for them ashore before losing them.  The Cubans used several formations of T-34/85s in company strength.  Bazookas and such also took out half a dozen of those, 2-3 here and there, and air got a few (napalm from A-26s).  There are definite action reports in detailed timelines saying that tanks were landed, reporting them helping hold one of the beachheads, reporting them out of ammo, then silence after the beachhead where they were was lost, after an attack that included 17 T-34s.  Cuba air had meanwhile shot up the larger ships supporting the invasion, ending any resupply, and most of the supporting air (they had a few F-80 jet trainers and some British Sea Furys, 250 and 150 mph faster than the invader's A-26s respectively).  Also brigades worth of infantry vs less than a regiment etc.

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Next on Korea and when the Norks lost their armor, the report that they were down to 40 runners at the Pusan perimeter is the US official history, "South to the Naktong, North to the Yalu".  And no that isn't for the *end* of the Pusan fighting / through the pursuit, it is by the *beginning* of the perimeter battles.  They had only about 40 T-34s and 20 SU-76s left *in running condition* at that point - compared to 11 rifle divisions, and the equivalent of at least 5 armor battalions on the US side (3 army, 1 marine actual battalions, plus single companies in the army infantry divisions).

 

On the air to ground stuff, of course the pilot claims are nonsense, nothing I am going on is based on those.  The pilots believed that their air to ground rockets were their most effective weapons vs armor and that their guns were the next most effective.  But battlefield OR established that napalm was what got the air to ground kills.  There were single column attack sites with a score of knocked out AFVs burnt out by napalm (up to 40 claimed but only 20 confirmed at Chonan e.g.).  The US far east air force flew 6,000 air to ground sorties before the fight stabilized at the Pusan perimeter.  Effectiveness per sortie did not need to be high to get a significant portion of the very small NK armor force.  OR found that 80% of all air to ground kills of AFVS were by napalm; those formed only 20% of pilot claims.

 

On later losses of NK armor, I don't doubt that such occurred, even if the NKs were down to 40 runners at the Pusan perimeter.  They got replacement tanks, 20 at a time.  They would also be putting back into service vehicles that fell out on the road marches south as they were repaired.  Runners are never all tanks, and tank formations churn their vehicles through the repair categories before they are finally lost TWO.  They could easily have lost 100 TWO before then and still have only had 40 runners left, with the rest all in repair categories by then but not in running status.  Those would then have been permanently lost only after they trickled out of repair, or after the line moved north post Inchon.

Edited by JasonC
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Next on Korea and when the Norks lost their armor, the report that they were down to 40 runners at the Pusan perimeter is the US official history, "South to the Naktong, North to the Yalu".  And no that isn't for the *end* of the Pusan fighting / through the pursuit, it is by the *beginning* of the perimeter battles.  They had only about 40 T-34s and 20 SU-76s left *in running condition* at that point - compared to 11 rifle divisions, and the equivalent of at least 5 armor battalions on the US side (3 army, 1 marine actual battalions, plus single companies in the army infantry divisions).

 

Which is odd, as the official US military post-battle assessment is pretty unambiguous.  Yo're not going to have HVAP type entry damage on a tank that was knocked out by napalm, nor are there more T-34s burned out from Napalm lurking where they were not discovered.  The available on-hand T-34/85s of 1950 were all accounted for minus two by the post battle survey, and extensively poked and prodded.  Only 27 showed definite damage from air weapons, the 60ish were certainly destroyed, but from causes difficult to determine (some large portion of them being napalm) and that's all you can really credit to aviation.  There's simply no other tanks to claim in 1950.  If the "score" of napalm kills is real...well then that accounts for all the unconfirmed kills in two instances.

 

Again we're dealing with a limited pool of tanks to be destroyed, and have a pretty definitive account of what killed most of them.  

 

 

 

The US far east air force flew 6,000 air to ground sorties before the fight stabilized at the Pusan perimeter.  Effectiveness per sortie did not need to be high to get a significant portion of the very small NK armor force.  OR found that 80% of all air to ground kills of AFVS were by napalm; those formed only 20% of pilot claims.

 

It's worth noting however, the NKPA forces were only actually stopped once they ran into the follow on US Army and Marine elements at Pusan.  By all accounts the actual effectiveness of the USAF/USN/USMC air campaign against the NKPA spearhead was quite low.  This is totally on-par with the performance of similar platforms against German armor in Europe....really simply put fixed wing CAS had a while to go before it was especially good against the actual combat forces in terms of dead targets (although it was quite handy in suppressing enemy movements, and killing logistical assets).  And there was still enough NKPA armor and forces to attempt several breakthroughs throughout the August-September fighting.  Most of the armor kills in that timeframe is going to be NKPA "runners" which accounts for certainly more than 40 on the perimeter.  The October-November kills are certainly from the pursuit....but again there's documented tank vs tank fights, and certainly more than a mere 40 tanks plugging around.

 

I'm more inclined to trust the technical assessment here.  It's hard to argue if the NKPA really had "40" runners or any validity to the air claims when you've got actual tank wrecks, and knowledge on how many tanks total were available for the fighting.

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Harrumph! The right front fender is gone, and the left front fender is banged up, exactly the kind of damage you'd expect from ramming a Stalin tank! Case closed!

Has anyone mentioned the nuclear weapons at Bay of Pigs yet? Or shouldn't we go there? :o

oh no lets discuss the nonexistant nukes and the fact that those nukes would have to have been US supplied and Castro didnt even use that for propaganda? Maybe the peace loving Soviet People ordered Khruschev he couldnt use nuclear retaliation at all let alone condemn US use. yes do go on Edited by Sublime
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oh no lets discuss the nonexistant nukes and the fact that those nukes would have to have been US supplied and Castro didnt even use that for propaganda? Maybe the peace loving Soviet People ordered Khruschev he couldnt use nuclear retaliation at all let alone condemn US use. yes do go on

 

The joke

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your head.

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oh no lets discuss the nonexistant nukes and the fact that those nukes would have to have been US supplied and Castro didnt even use that for propaganda? Maybe the peace loving Soviet People ordered Khruschev he couldnt use nuclear retaliation at all let alone condemn US use. yes do go on

He was joking, calm down sonny.

Edited by sburke
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