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Pz III & IV versus the M4 Sherman


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I'm going to sound like a total rookie here but what the hell. I (Germans) just played a game against the AI (Americans) in CMAK (Medjez in '42). I totally got my butt handed to me. I got into a number of shootouts (at 500m) between my Pz III Ls and IVGs and the Shermans and lost everyone. I would get a number of hits on the Shermans but no kills. I started losing tanks without making doing any damage. The only thing that I was suspicious of was the fact that I was slightly down slope from the Shermans and that this could have had an impact. I looked at the armor penetration tables and it looked like the IIILs and the IVGs have a similar penetration at 500m as the Sherman. Could not figure out how the Shermans became super tanks.

I even got a couple of Tigers late in the game. One of these closed on a Sherman at 200m and proceeded to take four shots before it could knock out the M4.

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With the Panzer III Ls and IVGs, I believe (not having CMAK, but having CMBB) that what you're seeing is that, because of the angles, the Shermans are effectively "gaining" some slope to their armor while the Panzers are "losing" some slope.

As for the Tiger, I would guess that the first penetration actually caused a KO of the Sherman, but the crew didn't immediately bail (see the forums or manual for info on the "death clock"). If the crew doesn't know the target tank is dead (no crew jumping out and not on fire), then they keep putting rounds in it.

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The 50L60 (on later Pz IIIs) needs to get close, or have APCR, or get a flank. The 75L43 or L48 (on long Pz IVs) on the other hand should cut them up nicely, with only occasional glances at long range. So use the IIIs to flank and draw fire, while the IVs just shoot.

As for "became super tanks", the Sherman was quite a good tank when it first appeared. It just got long in the tooth by late in the war, compared to the better German heavies in the last year, for example. At midwar there is nothing unimpressive about it.

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Two effects:

1) the turret of the Panzer Iv is very weak, a penetration with a 75mm Sherman round will usually kill the vehicle. The turret was also small in reality and hence harder to hit but that is not modeled

2) the faster turret of the Sherman is a huge advantage in CM. I don't know if it is still up but on http://thforums.com/CMBO/ I once posted extensive tank shootup results. Swift turn rate and fastest turrets are very important for armor duels (tank versus tank and gun versus tank) in CM.

It is also pretty obvious if you look closely at the CM sequence of target coming into sight, turret adjustment, then afterwards gun adjustment and then shot. Since the TacAI is not smart enough to blast a tank that is expected to come around a corner right the moment it appears but always needs to go a full assesment of the target that also isn't made good for in ambush situations.

3) you obviously had bad luck tongue.gif

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The best way to fight Shermans with IIIs and IVs is at range.

Use the III slightly ahead of the IVs, make sure they are placed so they get additional slope (just behind the crest of a hill. The steeper the slope, the better. They are just the bait. They won't kill at range. At a certain range, they will be impenetrable from Sherman fire

Once they draw fire, bring in the PzIVs behind the IIIs. They should be able to kill at ranges beyond 1000m. TacAI or AI will not override the targets set on the IIIs. So your weak armored IVs stand a better chance to survive.

Make sure the IVs are not hull down. CM has a penalty for PzIVs being hull down :( .

This tactic even worked on the Frühlingswind scen (CD version)... with Marders instead of PzIVs.

Or try to flank with the PzIIIs, get the Shermans to turn and then kill with the IVs from the side. The bigger the gun and the thinner the penetrated armor the more likely is a KO.

Gruß

Joachim

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Excellent responses. I had not considered the death clock before. In fact, I remember the Sherman stopping and continuing to blast away until it finally caught on fire. Probably was already dead. I now realize that I need to get height on the Shermans and employ better tactics instead of direct confrontation.

Thanks for your help. One question, why and how does CM penalize the PzIVs for being hull down. Just curious.

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Originally posted by Colonel Warden:

Thanks for your help. One question, why and how does CM penalize the PzIVs for being hull down. Just curious.

Not gonna start another thread on this... Do a search for recent PzIV/Pz IV or Pz-IV threads.

The basics are:

a) A hull down tank is harder to hit

B) The probability to hit the turret of a hull down tank increases, as there is less hull to hit.

B) outweighs a) in the CM model and thus the overall probability to hit the turret of a hull down PzIV increases.

If a gun can't penetrate the 80mm frontal hull, but the 50mm frontal turret, its chance to kill the PzIv is higher.

Gruß

Joachim

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The 80mm front hull business matters most against Russians with their (frankly, undermodeled) 76mm. The US short 75s have somewhat better penetration, and can typically kill through the front hull at well as through the turret, unless there is high side angle or the range is particularly long. Hull down is usually better against them, therefore, at short ranges (for the reduced overall hit chance). Beyond 1.2 km you might want to fight hull up.

The same logic happens the other way, as the Sherman glacis is superior to the turret - particularly the later W armor Shermans, which will bounce German 75s at 750m or so (varying with side angle etc) on upper hull hits, but remain vulnerable to turret hits out to long range. Long range duels tend to need turret hits for either side, in that case (Sherman 75W vs. Panzer IV I mean).

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Originally posted by Colonel Warden:

...The only thing that I was suspicious of was the fact that I was slightly down slope from the Shermans and that this could have had an impact...

I think this is why you lost so many tanks so quickly. As was already pointed out in a previous post, the Shermans picked up slope while you lost some. I find that whenever a tank is targeting an enemy vehicle that is uphill, it seems to have a hard time getting in hits, never mind doing damage.

Anyone else experience this?

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