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Do armor skirts work?


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Are the armor skirts on some StuGs and Pz IVs effective against zooks and piats? Or should I save the extra point or two in DYO battles? I tried testing this one with a few zooks shooting at skirted and unskirted Pz IVs, but the results were inconclusive.

Also, in the manual, it says that the Germans were the only ones to use skirts on tanks in a standerdized way. Did any allied crews ever weld them on their tanks? They look like they'd be pretty easy to manufacture in the field, just need a torch, some scrap steel, and a welder.

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No one but the enemy will tell you what the enemy is going to do. No one but the enemy will ever teach you where you are weak. Only the enemy tells you where he is strong. And the rules of the game are what you can do to him and what you can stop him from doing to you. -Ender's Game

[This message has been edited by 109 Gustav (edited 10-31-2000).]

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I expect vehicles with skirts have a slightly higher armour rating for the appropriate area on their sides, although I doubt the actual effect of skirts is modelled in CM. Rather than just adding to a vehicle's armour, skirts are designed to detonate rocket projectiles before they hit the hull, so their benefits are very specific.

I am not aware of the Allies having used skirts, although you find a miscellany of improvisations on the battlefield. I expect Allied tankers were less concerned about rockets than the fact that their tanks were no match for their enemy's (skirts are no protection against AP).

David

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The Russian design of the JS3 included storage bins that acted as stand off protection from shaped charge weapons such as the panzerfaust.

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It is easy to be brave from a safe distance. -Aesop

[This message has been edited by Snake Eyes (edited 11-01-2000).]

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More info on CM's modelling:

> Aye, it also causes APCBC round head deformation with a resultant 10% (roughly) decrease in penetration.

> Short version: Buy the schuerzen. It won't always make a difference but your vehicles now have maybe 10% better chance of surviving a side hit and for only a 1% increase in cost that's nothing to sniff at.

[This message has been edited by David Aitken (edited 10-31-2000).]

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by David Aitken:

Apologies to BTS, Fionn informs me that Schurzen are indeed realistically modelled. =)

David<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yes, I thought they were. There was some discussion about that before the release.

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Interestingly that you asked that 109 Gustav. A short while ago I played chance encounter as the germans with the the 3 StuGIII's. I had a sever firefight on my hands with my stugs being attacked by the shermans and infantry. I basically had two of my stug'suo on the hill, but lowered abit by the wooded area to the North (or right hand side). My other lone stug was sitting pretty to the left behind the woods. I proceeded to take out my lone stug on the left out from behind the woods. And I encountered a Bazooka team. It must have been about 50m away. But luckily I was headed towards my other flank of stug's. The bazooka team managed two hits while I was stationary against the skirts. Luckily I had time to blow out of there.

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Okay, sounds like they are worthwhile. I still think that I would have welded them onto any tank I commanded, though, at least onto the sides of a sherman.

Maybe the W+ Sherm varients should be modeled as having skirts, because they were considered to have extra armor, either sandbags or scrap from KOd tanks. If crews were going to add to their armor, you'd think they would also add skirts. This would especially be true toward the final months of the war, when the major threat to tanks was no longer Tigers or Panthers, but volkstrum squads armed with faust 100s and shrecks.

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No one but the enemy will tell you what the enemy is going to do. No one but the enemy will ever teach you where you are weak. Only the enemy tells you where he is strong. And the rules of the game are what you can do to him and what you can stop him from doing to you. -Ender's Game

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It's funny this comes up one day after I read something that flew in the face of my perception and what I had heard on this subject.

In the Osprey books Campaign series, the Lorraine '44 issue, it clearly states that skirts were initially deployed on the Eastern front to defeat Russian anti-tank rifles AND made the HEAT warheads of zooks more lethal against armor plate because they would detonate in a standoff manner.

I don't have the book in front of me, but I will tomorrow, and will have a better quote.

Mike

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by KingMikeH:

It's funny this comes up one day after I read something that flew in the face of my perception and what I had heard on this subject.

In the Osprey books Campaign series, the Lorraine '44 issue, it clearly states that skirts were initially deployed on the Eastern front to defeat Russian anti-tank rifles AND made the HEAT warheads of zooks more lethal against armor plate because they would detonate in a standoff manner.

Mike<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

That doesn't seem to make sense. A hollow charge operates by directing the explosive forward, blasting a hole through whatever is in front of it. If there is air in front of it, like with skirts, the energy will be largely wasted. If there is solid armor in front of the charge, the explosive will blast through it.

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No one but the enemy will tell you what the enemy is going to do. No one but the enemy will ever teach you where you are weak. Only the enemy tells you where he is strong. And the rules of the game are what you can do to him and what you can stop him from doing to you. -Ender's Game

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by KingMikeH:

It's funny this comes up one day after I read something that flew in the face of my perception and what I had heard on this subject.

In the Osprey books Campaign series, the Lorraine '44 issue, it clearly states that skirts were initially deployed on the Eastern front to defeat Russian anti-tank rifles AND made the HEAT warheads of zooks more lethal against armor plate because they would detonate in a standoff manner.

I don't have the book in front of me, but I will tomorrow, and will have a better quote.

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Schürzen was never intended to protect against HEAT. They were designed to protect the vulnerable side armour of Panzer III, IV and StuGs against Soviet anti-tank rifles and high-explosive ammunition. Tests were conducted in February 1943 against Schürzen made of 5mm plate and wire-mesh. Both types succeded in protecting the tanks against HE and 14,5mm AT-rifle fire.

The Schürzen on the Panther also served as protection against the Soviet 14,5mm AT-rifle and HE.

I've never seen or heard of any German tests conducted with HEAT against Schürzen but US/UK tests allegedly showed Schürzen to have effect against these weapon types as well.

I seriously doubt that Schürzen would have any noticable effect against APCBC. The spaced armour on the front of Panzer III and IV did damage piercing caps, but they were made of 20mm thick armour, not 5mm soft steel or wire mesh.

Source: Jentz, Spielberger: "Panzer III...", "Panzer IV...", "Sturmgeschütze..", "Panther.."

Claus B

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According to what I am told, KingMikeH is correct, but not in the specific circumstances found in Combat Mission.

> ...there were two distinct types of schuerzen based on time period and geographical location.

> The types of schuerzen in use in Northern Europe 1944 were far tougher than the extempore wire mesh types used to stop AT rifle rounds in early 1943.

> As for schuerzen making HEAT rounds more effective.... That ONLY applies if you increase standoff range WHILST preventing bleed-off and especially off-axis bleed. That's why sandbags were not very much use against HEAT BUT is why schuerzen were very effective. a 15cm or 30cm air-filled gap could cause massive bleed-offs of HEAT jets such that their effectiveness was massively reduced.

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Penetration can actually increase if the skirt help increase the stand-off distance to what is optimum for the warhead. The design of the warhead could be wrong and not allow for the standoff distance required.

There are examples of fairly modern rounds whose penetration is larger against ERA due to the increased standoff distance.

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Spending extravagant amounts of money for marginal improvements is only acceptable in the fields of racehorses and fancy women.

-Lord Kelvin

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Off Subject.

Fionn if you have time to tell David some truths you have time to email me another turn HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHHAA. Let your Germans crumble before my wake!!!!!!!!!

Disclaimer: This is just a silly ploy to boost my own confidence in my battle with Fionn. Please do not take any of the above comments to be worth more than the paper they were never written on smile.gif

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Sir are you sure you want to go to red alert...it would mean changing the bulb

-Priest

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Guest Andrew Hedges

I have also read that skirts increase the penetration of more modern shaped charge weapons by allowing them to better focus the blast.

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by David Aitken:

> The types of schuerzen in use in Northern Europe 1944 were far tougher than the extempore wire mesh types used to stop AT rifle rounds in early 1943.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Huh? I am not shure who you are quoting here, but he better hit the books again....

A: In February 1943 tests where conducted against both wire-mesh AND 5mm plate.

B: After the tests where conducted, Schürzen made of 5mm plate was adopted for use as is plainly evident from photos of StuGs, PzIVs etc. in the summer of 1943.

C: In 1944, wire-mesh Schürzen was put in production to save material and was found on some late production Panzer IV and Panzer IV/70(A)

D: There is no special "1944 Northern Europe" version of Schürzen. They were the same 5mm plates used from 1943 onwards, the only difference being in the shape of the plates and the brackets on which they were hung.

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by David Aitken:

> As for schuerzen making HEAT rounds more effective.... That ONLY applies if you increase standoff range WHILST preventing bleed-off and especially off-axis bleed. That's why sandbags were not very much use against HEAT BUT is why schuerzen were very effective. a 15cm or 30cm air-filled gap could cause massive bleed-offs of HEAT jets such that their effectiveness was massively reduced. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

It would be interesting to see a source for this type of information (sandbags being ineffective against HEAT, Schürzen being effective). It is true, however, that WWII HEAT was not really designed to form a thin,long stream or jet.

In case of the Gr.38 HL fired from rifled guns, the design was actually changed to form a thicker jet to withstand the gravitational effects of the spinning projectile (see Hogg: "German Artillery of WWII").

Claus B

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Thanks for the info. I am not pretty aware the way they works since most of my STuGs go early retirements from Sherman working on the face.

One PBEM using Meyer's Wrath -- yet another excellent scenario by Wild Bill (YAESBWB) --, a JagaPanzer IV w/ skirt keep bouncing side shots from my Sherman IIIs and Vs. I think the skirts are at work here. I have yet to see their use against zook/piat.

Personally, if I can choose, I will go for wire-mesh mini-skirts. wink.gif

Griffin.

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"+" is just the beginning. Expect to see "GriffinCheng76", "GriffinCheng(105)" or "GriffinChengA3E8" more should Forum problems occur again :(

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Claus B wrote:

> Huh? I am not shure who you are quoting here, but he better hit the books again....

The information comes from a certain Mr. Kelly who wishes to maintain a low profile. Those who know who I am talking about (have a look in the CM manual) will know why you'd really have to know your stuff to conduct an argument with him.

David

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by David Aitken:

The information comes from a certain Mr. Kelly who wishes to maintain a low profile. Those who know who I am talking about (have a look in the CM manual) will know why you'd really have to know your stuff to conduct an argument with him.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Doesn't really change the fact that the claim:

> The types of schuerzen in use in Northern Europe 1944 were far tougher than the extempore wire mesh types used to stop AT rifle rounds in early 1943.

is nonsense. I dont know what "extempore wire mesh types" he is talking about in 1943 but it is plainly evident that the tanks that had Schürzen in 1943 used the solid plate type. Source: a gazillion pictures of German AFVs in 1943

Wire mesh Schürzen was introduced for the Panzer IV in September 1944.

Source: Speilberger & Jentz: "Begleitwagen..."

I was not aware that Mr. Kelly was keeping a low profile - I thought he had been kicked off the board?

Claus B

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Guest Big Time Software

The discussion of the effectiveness of skirt armor and sandbags has happened a few times already. From everything I have read, the German use of skirts worked well. The only variable that would make them less effective (or perhaps even harmful) is the standoff range. My understanding is that it was greater than optimal and, because of the air gap and armor, sufficient to defeat something like a bazooka/PIAT round. However, I am not so sure about it being able to defeat all direct fire hollow/shaped charged rounds.

As for the sandbag argument... it has been covered in detail before. Basic concept is that the standoff distance was optimal for the Panzerfaust and because it was a dense material (not air) it actually helped contain the jet instead of dispersing it. If you think about it, this makes perfect sense.

Steve

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Big Time Software:

From everything I have read, the German use of skirts worked well. The only variable that would make them less effective (or perhaps even harmful) is the standoff range. My understanding is that it was greater than optimal and, because of the air gap and armor, sufficient to defeat something like a bazooka/PIAT round. However, I am not so sure about it being able to defeat all direct fire hollow/shaped charged rounds.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

They apparently worked well against the missiles they were designed to counter - AT-rifles and HE. It seems reasonable that they would be effective against the comparatively un-sophisticated HEAT-type weapons of WWII.

But what about the claim that they had effect against ordinary AP rounds(APCBC)?

Claus B

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Guest Big Time Software

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>But what about the claim that they had effect against ordinary AP rounds(APCBC)?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

No noticable effect. Oh, I suppose if the armor behind the skirt was really thick it might matter, or if the AP round was really marginal vs. the armor, but we did not simulate skirt armor giving a protective benefit to standard AP rounds.

Steve

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