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Schürzen does it work in game?


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I had a question regarding the spaced armor that "appears" with some German Vehicles.  The Pz III, some of the Pz IV's, and some of the StuG's etc.

 

The vehicles look like they have Schürzen armor, but do they actually have any effect in game?

 

I know the armor is effective against HE rounds, supposedly HEAT rounds from Bazookas and AT rifles especially on the East.

 

Spielburger (in Spielburger & Feist “Armor on the Eastern Front”)

 

The Panther had very small side plates which were probably Schürzen. They specifically cover the small gap between the top of the road wheels and the start of the upper hull. Some people have speculated these are glorified mud-guards, etc… However since the lower side hull of the Panther was ONLY 40mm at 0º (vs. the Pz.IV’s 30mm and the Tiger I’s 60mm) the only logical conclusion is that these small side plates were schürzen for the same anti-ATR purpose as the larger plates on the Pz.III & IV.

 

Furthermore the Germans changed the Schürzen used on the Western Front late in the war to wire mesh and similar which suggest a change of purpose, i.e. to protect against light hollow charge weapons.

 

Basically here is the site where I looked at some of this info.

 

http://balagan.info/why-were-schurzen-introduced-in-ww2

 

Thanks for any comments. I had always wondered if it was just fluff, or they actually provide some kind of defense.

 

J

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The results are in, Schürzen does work.

 

CM%20Normandy%202015-06-04%2002-39-31-57

 

The hit decal circled in red shows a complete penetration. The decal circled in green shows no penetration. The hit text records the fact the armor skirt took the impact. The shot was from a Bazooka at 80 meters. Schürzen is designed to protect against HEAT rounds, and it works as advertised.

Edited by SLIM
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They are certainly accounted for. Whether they actually are any help in the ETO (where there weren't any AT rifles in use) is debatable. There are even suggestions that the greater standoff assisted the Monroe effect weapons of the day, which generally detonated too close for optimal efficiency.

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Womble, Vanir,

do you have a handy dandy reference for that? I'm not doubting you :) I've seen the same thing said often enough to know you're not just blowing smoke. And I can find any number of websites that talk about their anti-ATR role. But I've never actually seen a reliable reference to some kind of reliable documentation that shows that yes,

a ) they were designed only to defeat ATR rounds, and

b ) the Germans simply couldn't be bothered removing them in NWE, even though they knew they wouldn't be facing ATRs

 

Cheers

Jon

Edited by JonS
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Womble, Vanir,

do you have a handy dandy reference for that? I'm not doubting you - I've seen the same thing said often enough to know you're not just blowing smoke. And I can find any number of websites that talk about their anti-ATR role. But I've never actually seen a reliable reference to some kind of reliable documentation that shows that yes,

a ) they were designed only to defeat ATR rounds, and

b ) the Germans simply couldn't be bothered removing them in NWE, even though they knew they wouldn't be facing ATRs

 

Cheers

Jon

 

I know that the original design for the Panther II was literally only adding on armored skirts to protect from ATR's. They realized just show stupid it would be to produce an entirely new chassis for the vehicle and just decided to add the shurtzen on to the original production hull.

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There's this secondary reference: http://balagan.info/why-were-schurzen-introduced-in-ww2which includes a reference to the original purpose of Schurtzen in Spielburger & Feist - Armor on the Eastern Front

 

The dubious advantage of standoff armour against zooks is mentioned in the article, but that sounds more like "informed speculation", though plausible. It may be that sometimes it was a disadvantage, but most often helped defeat light shaped charges.

 

The wording of this "reference" resonates very strongly with my recollection of what was posted on here.

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Thanks guys.

 

From the link:

Spielburger (in Spielburger & Feist “Armor on the Eastern Front”) states that side skirts were to combat Soviet AT rifles, not HEAT charges. He was there so he should know

Actually, eyewitness accounts are invariably terrible in terms of technical accuracy.

 

On the otherhand:

the Kummersdorf testing results which clearly stated in Feb. 1943 that ATR and 76mm HE rounds (not HEAT) were tested against schurzen with positive results. After the tests, it was ordered that all Pz III and Pz IV would be fitted with the plating at the factory and in service units would be field upgraded. This original German source is hard to argue with.

Yep, and the reference to HE as well as ATR is interesting and makes the effort seem a lot more sensible.

 

and

Furthermore the Germans changed the Schürzen used on the Western Front late in the war to wire mesh and similar which suggest a change of purpose, i.e. to protect against light hollow charge weapons.

Aye, so their effect against hollow charge probably wasn't purely serendipitous.

 

 

 

The original story seems to have been based on a 1944 US Army intelligence report that listed 20mm tungsten core, 14.5mm atr, HC, and bazooka rounds as theories for the schurzen’s existence. Popular post war books on German armor used that report and with a focus on the American view, perpetuated the myth and schurzen came to be known as anti-bazooka shields.

That I can believe. Own-side claims are terribly unreliable, which is why - for example - those wartime 'know your enemy' handbooks are interesting curios, but not particularly useful. other than for getting an idea of what the Americans thought the Germans were up to.

 

and this

Except against the very lightest armor, very short ranged (10 to 30m) flank or rear shots were needed, and those required good infiltration tactics to obtain.

is exactly the kind of thing that makes me a bit dubious about the skirts being purely a response to ATRs.

Edited by JonS
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Ooh. And then there's this:

 

Karl Pawlas "Schürzen zur Verstärkung der Panzerung" in Waffen Revue Nr. 40, S.6457ff

 

Which is partially reproduced (in Germand and summarised in English) here suggests that at least in some tests, the disadvantage of increasing the standoff, or the ineffectiveness of it vs contemporary light HEAT threats was tested. Since that report seems to be dated December '44, I wonder whether the prior assumption that it was efficacious (along with institutional inertia, or some psychological advantage) led to its retention in a theatre where ATRifles weren't present.

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But, in the end, as SLIM's pics show, it does have at least some effect in-game.

 

I suspect that even if it helps with standof distance/jet formation, that would only be in some specific instances where the distance happened to be "just right", and when the strike was near-normal to the schurtzen (and therefore the underlying hull). Any angled penetration of such light plates (or mesh) seems likely to disrupt the cohesion of the jet that passes through.

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Thanks guys.

 

From the link:

Actually, eyewitness accounts are invariably terrible in terms of technical accuracy.

 

On the otherhand:

Yep, and the reference to HE as well as ATR is interesting and makes the effort seem a lot more sensible.

 

and

Aye, so their effect against hollow charge probably wasn't purely serendipitous.

 

 

 

That I can believe. Own-side claims are terribly unreliable, which is why - for example - those wartime 'know your enemy' handbooks are interesting curios, but not particularly useful. other than for getting an idea of what the Americans thought the Germans were up to.

 

and this

is exactly the kind of thing that makes me a bit dubious about the skirts being purely a response to ATRs.

Nice,

 

I did find the site from "Spielburger (in Spielburger & Feist “Armor on the Eastern Front”) very useful.  It appears that Schürzen indeed does work as intended for the most part.

 

It did mention that the Schürzen was apparently effective from the above source vs Russian 76mm HE rounds as well.  Difficult to conduct tests (unlike the old CMBB as you can choose your tanks load out) unless you unleash on  bunch of tanks until all you have left is HE rounds.  I do have Jentz book on Panthers, I will have to read that again.

 

Great test SLIM, and thanks.  Good to know that the Battlefront team thinks of everything pretty much.  B)

 

Semper Fi.

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Jentz, in "Panther" books talks about role of Panther schuerzen to protect from ATR rounds. No page numbers at hand. Away, atm.

 

Pg 35:

 

Starting in April 1943, Schuerzen (protective skirts made from soft steel) were mounted to prevent penetration of the 40mm thick lower hull side by rounds fired at close range from Russian anti-tank rifles. The Schuerzen were tested and proven to be effective against direct hits from 75mm high-explosive shells as well as anti-tank rifles. The invention of Schuerzen saved the Panther I. If the Panther I hadn't been able to cope with anti-tank rifles production would have been converted to the Panther II. The Schuerzen were not intended to defeat and were not initially tested against hollow charge rounds.

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The spaced armor plates mounted on the sides of the Panther tanks and other German AFVs were intended to protect their thin vertical side hull plates from being penetrated at close range by Red Army 14.5mm antitank rifles, such as the single shot PRTD-41 or the gas-operated semiautomatic PTRS-41, which had a five-round magazine. The 14.5mm antitank rifles fired either steel or tungsten-cored projectiles, which had a muzzle velocity of 3,314 ft/sec (1010 m/s) and could penetrate about 40mm of armor at 109 yards (100m).

 

Spaced armor works against small-caliber AP projectiles, like the Red Army's 14.5mm rounds, because the outer plate either breaks up the incoming projectile or turns the projectile upon impact so that it strikes against the main armor plate of a vehicle at an angle instead of straight on, thereby decreasing its ability to penetrate.

 

The spaced armor plates fitted to the Panther tank were never intended to defeat shaped charge warheads because development of the spaced armor plates was started after exposure on the Eastern Front to the Red Army 14.5mm antitank rifles. This was before the Germans encountered shaped charge weapons such as the U.S. Army's 2.36-inch Bazooka or the Red Army RPG-43 hand grenade.

 

-- Panther: Germany's Quest for Combat Dominance, Michael and Gladys Green, pgs 154-155.

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GhostRider3/3,

 

The topic has come up many times before, and here is as close to a definitive answer as we're likely to get on the threats the skirt armor was designed to defeat. From this thread. Info was supplied by one our ordnance grogs, and I do mean grog, Jeff Duquette.

 

(Fair Use)

 

From: Walter Speilberger’s “Sturmgeschutz & Its Varients”, Pg. 92 - 93
Schurzen Side Skirts

The previously mentioned Schuzen side-skirts became a
topic of discussion during the Fuhrer's conference on 6
and 7 February 1943. Hitler was quite in agreement with
mounting skirts on the Panzer III, IV and Sturmgeschutz
to provide protection against Russian anti-tank rifles.
Test firings on Schurzen protective skirts (wire and steel
plates) were reported on February 20, 1943. Firing tests
utilizing the Russian 14.5mm anti-tank rifle at a distance
of 100m (90 degrees) showed no tears or penetration of the
30mm side armor, when protected either by plates or wire
mesh. When testing was conducted with the 75mm high
explosive shell (Charge 2) from a field gun, there was no
damage to the sides of the hull armor when protected by
the wire or plates. Wire mesh and plates had indeed been
penetrated and even torn away, but, they sdll remained
usable.

The decision to utilize the plates as opposed to the wire
mesh (although both had proven effective and the mesh
was lighter) was based on the fact that the wire mesh
required the design of a new mount, which would have
required additional time to be developed.

Additionally, the procurement of wire mesh for the side
skirts was difficult. The skirts were not tested against
shaped charges, nor were they intended as protection
against shaped charge (HEAT) shells.

On March 6 1943, Hitler indicated that he was satisfied
with the favorable results of the firing tests against the
Schurzen side skirts. In addition to outfitting all newly
produced Sturmgeschutz, Panzer IV and Panthers with
side skirts, all armored vehicles of these types currently
deployed and those undergoing maintenance, were to be
backfitted with them. The schedule for fitting Schurzen
was to be expedited.

The manufacturing firms beganof Schurzen side skirts
for Sturmgeschutz for the purpose of retro-fitting had
already been sent to the Eastern Front. In early June 1943
the first front-line units retrofitted their Sturmgeschutz.
With this modification, the Sturmgeschutz were ready to
begin the Kursk offensive.

 

There is a spectacular Eastern Front pic of the efficacy of skirt armor vs HE, in the form of a StuG III with a hole in the left side skirt armor roughly mid vehicle that has to be at least 76.2 mm, if not larger, and a savaging of the skirt surface by the shell frags, yet the StuG is self-evidently fully operational. The skirt took the blow, yielded under attack and kept the high velocity splinters away, too. 

 

This pic shows a situation in which the strike took place at the junction of two panels and was fatal to the StuG, but it shows much the same effects. I present this in case I can't find the one I have in mind. In that case, the hit was smack into the central area of a panel, rather than the weak joint.

 

http://worldwar2database.com/sites/default/files/wwii0167.jpg

 

SLIM,

 

Bil had an in-game example of what you tested. It was in the GL Beta AAR vs a bazooka hit. Also, I haven't given up on our game.

 

Regards,

 

John Kettler

Edited by John Kettler
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Bulletpoint,

 

You are, I believe, not understanding the screenshot. The bazooka hit did penetrate (red) the turret skirt armor struck, but it did not penetrate (green) the turret proper. The skirt armor thus succeeded in a combat task for which it was never intended: preventing shaped charge penetration of the tank's primary structure. Way back in CMBO, I once had a StuG III's skirt armor stop five very close range bazooka hits in a row. Fortunately for me, the sixth (last round I had) managed to hit where the skirt armor was wasn't (upper part of fighting compartment) and killed the blasted thing. Skirt armor was modeled even then.

 

Regards,

 

John Kettler

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Bulletpoint,

 

You are, I believe, not understanding the screenshot. The bazooka hit did penetrate (red) the turret skirt armor struck, but it did not penetrate (green) the turret proper. 

 

 

You're right, I misread the original post. Thought it showed the results of two sequential hits.

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And, as has also been said before: just because it wasn't intended to stop HEAT, doesn't mean it didn't. At least sometimes. The Monroe effect was poorly understood in the mid 40s, and it's entirely possible that when the shaped charge threat became commonplace, it was thought that the spaced armour would be effective (which would explain its retention, along with the weight penalty, in theatres that didn't have an ATRifle threat).

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 it's entirely possible that when the shaped charge threat became commonplace, it was thought that the spaced armour would be effective (which would explain its retention, along with the weight penalty, in theatres that didn't have an ATRifle threat).

 

Surely it would have been easy to test by the tank designers? Just set up a few combinations of plate and armour, and fire away with various weapons, see what happens?

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Surely it would have been easy to test by the tank designers? Just set up a few combinations of plate and armour, and fire away with various weapons, see what happens?

Yep, but like all things you have competing issues and priorities with limited resources, so I guess did not get to top of list to do?

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