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Panzer V against any US tank


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Charlie & Eric. Thank you for leaping in to explain things to me about the forum.

I think you both missed the point. There has been criticism of the various High Commands and their inadequacies or otherwise. I do find it faintly disturbing that with all the apparent lessons that the Soviets, and the Western Allies have learned from previous conflicts, that despite two invasions with intent, the Afghanis appear not to understand superior military learning.

So perhaps we ought to be a little less "smart" about WW2 errors and understand what hindsight does for judgement.

I am not saying the people who contribute have been wrong in their criticisms of WW2 decisions, I have enjoyed a lot of the information provided. And it is very interesting. But there tends to be a danger of saying how smart we are now and they were wrong decisions. I think there was a tinge of that. Pointing to a current conflict perhaps might make people realise that it is nowhere near as simple as it appears to make the "right" decision. Discussing Afghanistan itself is not relevant other than an example of the difficulties in a current war to get the result. And sure is eggs is eggs in 30 years time people will be pointing out errors in judgement.

So are we crediting the decision makers of the time with more information than they actually had? Part of that has been discussed with the Russian Army. We can look at the Western Allies for the 76mm Shermans in storage, the conduct of the campaign etc. How much good information was actually getting back to the right people? Were decisions made on the wrong assumptions, information etc. We know Operational research discovered some very interesting and counter-intuitive information during the war. How much had been missed previously and how much got through quickly to those who could actually make decisions.

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Historically it is a known fact that the German made 75 and 88 High Velocity guns were far superior. Americans early on relied mostly on shear numbers.

There was a version of the Sherman that has a HV 76 that could compete with german armor available in Jul. 1944. Brits had a 17 pounder version that also did well. The 75mm that we see in game is not capable of penetrating Panther or Tiger front armor.

Something else to keep in mind is that a Sherman cannot pivot in place and thus is very weak in Urban environments.

Other wise it was not until the M26 Pershing hit the battle field in 1945 with a 90mm that the US had a comparable tank to the Panther or Tiger.

I having been battling against a Sherman tank Coy for a week now and I have learned to fear that fast turning turret more than I think they have learned to fear my "superior" 75 mm gun. Quality don't mean diddly squat if you can't get a round down range in time.

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Yeah. So? Ninety-five percent of the time, Shermans were not facing German tanks. For everything else, the 75 was the better gun because the HE shells had a larger bursting charge. American tanks faced far more ATGs and AT weapons in the hands of the infantry than they faced German tanks. People need to stop obsessing about tank vs. tank performance. It matters, sure, but so do all the other things that tanks have to do

Michael

Have to agree with this and I profess before CMBN was released I was not excited about using the Sherman mainly because of its stereotype in WWII. BUT what a joy I've had using all the Sherman variants in support roles, not to mention the 50cal also. I'd just a soon choose a platoon of Shermans over any of the German heavies, it has been a blast to say the least.

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Yeah. So? Ninety-five percent of the time, Shermans were not facing German tanks. For everything else, the 75 was the better gun because the HE shells had a larger bursting charge.
Can you quantify the higher explosive charge benefit to the 75mm compared to 76mm explosive charge when used gainst ATG's and infantry?

And is there a counter argument that with 76mm armed Shermans the tank losses for the US Army would have been lessened and the drive to the Rhine quicker. More crews survivng gives more veteran crews which yield greater effectiveness. And if fuel is a constraint surely one would prefer a tank corp without vanilla Shermans so that all eventualities are catered for.

As it happens the US army went 76mm crazy eventually so perhaps they thought about it and decided the trade-off for HE blast was not that big a deal compared to tanks that could pretty much do everything. I am only guessing : )

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I think MengJiao makes a good point, the Panther is designed to take out other tanks so the worst thing to attack them with is a tank.

In Osprey's #3 Sherman Medium Tank 1942-45 pg 37 and 38 has Col James Leach a then plt ldr in 4th Arm Div's 37th Tank Bn saying later in 1944 in his plt at least one tank in each plt was a 75mm gun tank and its job was to keep loaded and fire WP smoke as this round was not available for the 76mm gun tanks. When any enemy armor unit was met and had to be initially engaged frontally the 75 was to immediately fire the WP moke round to attempt to prevent the enemy from engaging while the 76 gun tanks scooted around to the flanks. If this did not work artillery was called in.

On pg 37 a report from early in the Cotentin battles (our game) a Sgt Ross Figueroa, 2nd Arm Div, says it was using numbers and sacrificing some M4's. He also said firing even if there could be no penetration or even firing HE was sometimes effective as green panzer crews often would reverse away when hit multiple times and outlier shots might damage optics, jam a turret ring, or crack a track. Sometimes an AP ouotlier hitting the lower mantlet would deflect thru the thin roof armor into the driver's compartment (fixed in the G). This is an interesting tactic as it was used in Russia in 1941-2 against the early T34 and is reported in German AAR I've read - listed as outlier fire.

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Yeah. So? Ninety-five percent of the time, Shermans were not facing German tanks. For everything else, the 75 was the better gun because the HE shells had a larger bursting charge. American tanks faced far more ATGs and AT weapons in the hands of the infantry than they faced German tanks. People need to stop obsessing about tank vs. tank performance. It matters, sure, but so do all the other things that tanks have to do.

Tank losses for the 21 AG are estimated at

4% Arty

6% Panzerfausts etc

15% Mines

25% Anti tank guns

50% Tanks/SPG's

Means either of two things, the Allies got it wrong and the tank v tank battle was more important than anything else OR they got it right and the effectiveness of infantry and ATG's was diminished by the effectiveness of their HE shells.

Given the sweeping advances after the break out I lean towards the latter, but again it is probably somewhere in between

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dt - um, the commanders *at the time* who definitely knew better, and said so, were *fired* by an incompetent leadership for advocating superior military policies. It is not 30 years of hindsight to notice that, nor to notice that the quality of German operational direction of the war declined steeply precisely when those men were replaced. Moreover, since many contemporaries (of ours, not theirs) still have this notion that German operational direction was something they were better at, it is necessary to point out that this is not the case from the fall of 1942 on, with only a handful of exceptions - and isn't true pretty much ever from mid 1943 on. And that an enourmous portion of the operational reputation the German army gained in the first half of the war was due to the skills of literally just half a dozen men, all of whom were fired well before the end of it.

Similarly, it is not hindsight from 2011 that tell us that Russian tactical handling was inept, nor only obscure conclusions of operations research after the war (though the last does support it as factual). It was also the immediate preoccupation of a little obscure organization called ***STAVKA*** and reams of its general staff studies of what was going collosally wrong. The revisionism in the matter is our contempories pretending that losses didn't matter to Russians because they were going to win anyway - something decidedly less obvious to officers at the time, who had no such cavalier attitude toward the man for man and formation for formation underperformance of their own forces. Instead they had this crazy notion that it was their professional duty as officers to determine the causes of that difference and eradicate it, as far as possible.

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Wow, we got an old fashioned hoe down goin' on here. Nazi incompetency vs Russian incompitency. and to think, this was a thread started about a panther vs a Sherman and instead we got to fight world war II all over again.

Can't wait for the next thread entitled, "gasp! I thought the Maus could travel the entire length of the QB map without running out of gasoline. We need to discuss this with BFC RIGHT NOW!!!". Maybe in that thread we could re-fight the cold war.

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Yeah. So? Ninety-five percent of the time, Shermans were not facing German tanks. For everything else, the 75 was the better gun because the HE shells had a larger bursting charge. American tanks faced far more ATGs and AT weapons in the hands of the infantry than they faced German tanks. People need to stop obsessing about tank vs. tank performance. It matters, sure, but so do all the other things that tanks have to do.

Michael

That's correct as most of the panzers were facing the Brits and Canadians at least initially.

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hm stanley - the segue is simple enough. Starting with a question about the degree of superiority of German tanks in pure tech-spec terms, we arrive at how much those pure tech-specs even matter for army performance or outcomes. We notice that the sides with better tanks (a variable which changes over the course of the war) is routinely losing as the precise time that is has them. Besides proving that tank tech-specs aren't terribly important, this then raises the obvious question, what are the other factors driving the differences in performance seen?

The reason the east front comes in is that whether the performance seen on one front - originally the west - is driven more by one side's outlier competence or the other's lack thereof, can be tested by comparison with the performance on other fronts. Similarly, other periods of the war reveal those driving variables, because naturally they *vary*, and outcomes follow suit - unlike tank specs.

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Or, to put it in a walnutshell, given a choice between being commanded by Bock, Rundstadt, Manstein and Guderian, while driving Panzer IIIs and IVs - or being commanded by your aunt Mable while driving a Panther - take the former every day and twice on Sundays.

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Or, to put it in a walnutshell, given a choice between being commanded by Bock, Rundstadt, Manstein and Guderian, while driving Panzer IIIs and IVs - or being commanded by your aunt Mable while driving a Panther - take the former every day and twice on Sundays.

Herr Picky must point out that one of the Generals in question was "von Rundstedt", und nicht "von Rundstadt".

I keep having visions of "van Patten" driving his forces through France.

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Sometimes an AP ouotlier hitting the lower mantlet would deflect thru the thin roof armor into the driver's compartment (fixed in the G). This is an interesting tactic as it was used in Russia in 1941-2 against the early T34 and is reported in German AAR I've read - listed as outlier fire.

Has anybody seen this happening in CMBN? IIRC it happened in CMx1.

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Yes, I have seen it happen in testing. But only once in nearly 250 observed turret impacts. So the odds of it happening are so small that I wonder why the Germans bothered with the mantlet chin on the D.

I also saw it happen once on a Tiger.

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;1293201']Has anybody seen this happening in CMBN? IIRC it happened in CMx1.

I watched a bazooka round fired at a StuG from a 45 degree angle bounced off the running-gear and into the fighting compartment from underneath the small side-section which overhangs the hull - the round hit near the sprocket and ended up killing the gunner. I was deeply impressed.

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That's correct as most of the panzers were facing the Brits and Canadians at least initially.

It's true over the course of the whole remainder of the war as well because the Germans simply didn't have enough tanks to scatter them in large numbers over the whole front. The experience of 21st. AG in Normandy was a little unusual in that they encountered large quantities of armor over an extended period. As a consequence, results of that battle are not representative of the war as a whole.

Michael

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And is there a counter argument that with 76mm armed Shermans the tank losses for the US Army would have been lessened and the drive to the Rhine quicker. More crews survivng gives more veteran crews which yield greater effectiveness. And if fuel is a constraint surely one would prefer a tank corp without vanilla Shermans so that all eventualities are catered for.

Catering for all eventualities is a luxury not usually vouchsafed to armies in wartime. Trying to estimate the major threats and effectively addressing them is what they try to do. I think in this case they got it about as close to right as was humanly possible.

You seem to be assuming that most Shermans were lost to German AFVs. That is not the case. Even if it were, that still leaves open the problem of Shermans functioning effectively as infantry support weapons.

Look, I am not saying the the 76 was a bad gun or that it should not have been mounted on a Sherman. Clearly, having some around was a good thing. That does not mean that the whole fleet needed to convert to the 76.

As it happens the US army went 76mm crazy eventually so perhaps they thought about it and decided the trade-off for HE blast was not that big a deal compared to tanks that could pretty much do everything. I am only guessing : )

Well, gee, guess what? At the end of the war, the majority of Shermans in US service were still armed with the 75. Having a 76 or two in your platoon was assuredly a good idea, but for most of the jobs that needed doing, the 75 was the better weapon.

Michael

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Well then you agree with me. Tactical skill was not a Soviet organizational priority. They knew about the problem and complained about it mightily but didn't do much about it.

As to whether or not Belarus was a logical place in the mind of OKW for a major 1944 Summer Soviet offensive, consider.

Belarus' terrain, really, is far worse than west Ukraine's for big armored operations. The swamps and crappy roads and itty bitty bridges really are there. This is not the same thing as impossible. It does mean, however, that big armored operations are impossible. But it does mean that, if you are OKW and you're thinking about which way the Soviets will come, and you're aware the Soviets use lots of armor in their main attacks, that is a strike against Belarus as a suitable location for a Soviet offensive.

Beyond that, west Ukraine contains much more potential manpower than Belarus. Just as important, unlike in Belarus where the soil is poor and much of it is covered by pine forest, you can grow food in substantial quantity in western Ukraine.

As to the operational layout, If I remember right three - i.e. half - of the total six Tank Armies fielded by the Soviet Union were in central Ukraine at the outset of Bagration.

Meanwhile, Spring pushes by the Red Army in Baltic region and Romania saw pretty much complete failure.

Under the circumstances, OKW's conclusion Ukraine not Belarus would be the focus of the Soviet summer offensive seems fairly reasonable to me.

I agree with you that the terrain did not have much of an effect on the actual AFV losses. Indeed, it is possible to argue that Zhukov's forces as they attacked through Belarus bled armor more slowly than Konev's as they moved through west Ukraine and Poland.

However, it seems to me the way terrain in Belarus constricts and slows down mechanized operations certainly helped convince OKH to place its own panzer reserves elsewhere.

"In the mind of the German senior command, Belarus was not a place where any reasonable army would conduct a major armored assault"

Um, they went straight through it with their own main effort in 1941. So that "explanation" - which is putting it charitably - is a non-starter.

As for the pretence that poor exchange ratios from poor tactical skills didn't matter to the Russians, of course it did. It was a standing scandal from late 1941 on, and the subject of practically every general staff study on how screwed up things were. They were not remotely boasting about it and they regarded it as a nearly terminal problem. Getting the tactical exchange ratios down to more manageable levels is precisely what the army as a whole needed to win the war by attrition processes.

It was a nearer run thing that many suppose, as it was. The late war offensives required mobilizing new manpower rapidly from areas liberated from German occupation. They could not have replaced their losses without that influx of new men. It is a testiment to the excellent mobilization abilities of the Russian army, clearly in evidence from the start, that they managed to pull that off - but without it, they would have run out of men for those big late war offensives.

Nor was the high rate of loss of Russian armor a function of terrain and thus specific to Belarus. The same was seen in the steppes of the south, in the Balkans late war, in the early fighting, on defense in 1942 or making underprepared counterattacks, you name it.

That it was not primarily a function of German tactical skills, either, is shown by the discrepancy between the loss ratios in the east and in the west or the Med.

At bottom this was a result of the relatively poor showing the Russian army displayed in the job of teaching tactics to its junior and field grade commanders, or in selecting for tactical skill as an organizational thing. And it wasn't because they thought it unimportant - their "lessons learned" documents are full of very basic things they tried to propogate to those levels. In them, it counts as a good example when a brigade commander uses the wrong arm for a job (sending infantry frontally instead of tanks on a turning movement e.g.), gets a bloody nose, and switches to a more effective method and succeeds thereby. Instead of oh I don't know, bellowing into the phone and running up the causalty list trying to force the men to try it again and hope for a better result.

There are definitely men in the Russian army who know better about all of it. But they can't be everywhere, they don't teach terribly effectively, their juniors don't learn all of it or don't last long enough to use it. The higher ups are POed about it, but they "settle". They ask for aggressiveness and compliance with orders and remove in draconian fashion for any failure on those scores, which they think they can expect from every officer. But not for tactical idiocy. It is too general and they'd have to relieve everybody.

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Well, gee, guess what? At the end of the war, the majority of Shermans in US service were still armed with the 75. Having a 76 or two in your platoon was assuredly a good idea, but for most of the jobs that needed doing, the 75 was the better weapon.

I find it ironic that they didn't put M10, 18 and 36's in the Tank Units rather than their own special commands. If the US TD's had been employed in a similar manner to the Firefly, perhaps it might have helped ?

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I find it ironic that they didn't put M10, 18 and 36's in the Tank Units rather than their own special commands. If the US TD's had been employed in a similar manner to the Firefly, perhaps it might have helped ?

Well, there were TD battalions in armored divisions, so they could have been cross-attached. I am unsure how often that was done though. It hasn't turned up in my own readings much.

Michael

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Or with the 7,62cm US HE they could have redesigned the shell to go at a lower velocity with a higher HE charge.

The 7,5cm to 7,62cm calibre is not some magic limit on HE effectiveness, the 7,62cm shell had a charge/velocity that was too large for it, aka it was poorly designed for the job.

No one thought it important enough to fix the issue, much like the asinine wartime defence of: we need to make more Sherman because larger tanks take up more room. Which ignores all the wasted space taken up by M10/M18/M36 TD's. It ignores the fact that 7,5cm was found wanting enough or a need was foreseen that 10,5cm Sherman were designed and shipped over

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