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Which is what I had in mind. The last two years of the war (for Germany) ran from early May 1943 to early May 1945. So it would seem that we agree, yes?

Michael

Good, you spotted my deliberate mistake..cough ahem er, it's a fair cop guv!

Can we please stop this silly Panther better than Sherman debate, in the end it's who has their flag flying over the opponents capital, period. The Panther might have been an amazing bargain on paper but it's cost to the depleted and overstretched logistic system was huge. Its mission to spearhead armoured offensives was redundant even before it rolled off the production line, whose methods of operation were decades behind those of the Allies.

Bigduke, whole heartedly concur. I remember Glantz's research in 1986? edition of Military Review showing the strategic and operational flexibility of the mid-war Red Army and cautioning the US military in believing the mindless hordes theory much favoured up until then. Somebody should write a book which highlights all the economies with the truth the German memoirs contained, though it must be said that their widespread dissemination, through Western military circles and 'history books', was part of the Cold War; a bromide against the fear of facing the Red Army.

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Vark- The postwar US Army was much in awe of the "Red Horde" and quite concerned with the question of whether they would have to confront the Red Army at some point in this new Cold War era. Several times, they nearly did come to blows. The US Army turned to the only people they knew and had close by with first hand experience fighting the Russians - captured German Generals. The accounts written by those generals in the late 40's and early 50's for the army all tend to, as you say, "economize on the truth" about how they were defeated by the Russians. They inflated the German victories and described their own defeats as the fault of these horde tactics. It was not until the 70's and 80's when new intel about the Red Army began to come out, that something closer to the truth about the Soviet's operational sophistication began to be grasped in the West.

I'm far from an expert in the subject but I recall even then seeing the military literature shift from one of contemptuous dismissal to a grudging admiration and respect of the Soviets' wartime achievement.

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That is the whole nub then isn't it? Defining "better". You can't do that without considering the wider picture.

A tank that is too expensive to produce, breaks down before it gets into combat and does not meet the tactical requirements is hardly better.

I do compare the Sherman and the Panther in a sandbox the way a tanker would consider it "all other things being equal". If you do not do that to begin with at least your not being objective.

Most of the other arguments would be considered excuses by most.. especially at the cost of lives.

The Russians used human waves and lost a lot of men. But hey that makes them better infantry than the germans because they won? Most people would consider man vs man first and acknowledge that a german infantrymen vs poorly trained waves was better but lost due to the tactical\strategic situation.

Here the Sherman is better simply by virtue of better supply lines, huge numbers and the fact that the germans had very few experienced crews when they met the sherman in normandy and almost no hope of proper resupply and were fighting in narrow hedgerows with a tank built for long range engagements.

Sure they were a bit more complex to create, but thats got nothing to do with a better tank, thats got to do with better logistics, tactics and build methods. Its an advantage but not a pure comparison. The waters get muddied very quickly.

The real question is, which tank would you want to crew in any random battle (not just ones that have you at a disadvantage)? Imagine a few things change and the germans have the advantage in everything. Can afford more parts and many more factories to build them in equal numbers to the shermans, had experienced crews etc. Would the Sherman be a better tank then?

Most people will of course be nationalistic initially until they consider things objectively.

If somebody asks me if a ferrari is better than a russian larder. I don't say the larder is easier to build and there are more of them. So the larder must be better. I don't want to crew a larder.

I understand that the was was won by the Allies, I get that and am greatfull for it. But with everything in their favour, its makes it hard to fault the sherman. Even with its inferior armour, track gain, main gun etc. The troops had to work around its short comings even with all the advantages in the world, not the other way around. I really don't think the Germans feared the Sherman like the allies fears the panther. For good reason!

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If somebody asks me if a ferrari is better than a russian larder. I don't say the larder is easier to build and there are more of them. So the larder must be better. I don't want to crew a larder.

The Russian car is Lada, larder is where you store your food.

You make a nice analogy though. Ever tried taking a Ferrai to the shops ? or on a family holiday? Your going to look very silly as I drive off in my Lada over ground your Ferrari cannot cover. I can also get 100 Ladas for the price of a Ferrari and the football team is going to be disappointed that you have to make 15 trips to get them to the game.

Horses for courses mate.

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But why the seeming obsession with better equipment? Suppose you are right and the title better can be accurately bestowed on the Panther, then what? What have you actually proved? That a far more costly, sophisticated tank can, can beat an inferior one, in an unrealistic encounter, not really any surprise there. It's rather like saying one French knight is superior to one English Longbowman, or the Graf Spee was superior to HMS Exeter. All true, except all those 'better' examples were beaten and in the end victory is all that counts in war, there is no silver medal for having better kit!

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What have you actually proved? That a far more costly, sophisticated tank can, can beat an inferior one, in an unrealistic encounter, not really any surprise there.

That is the key to the debate for me. ON PAPER the German Army had better gear, better terrain, on the defence and supposedly they were better trained and more tactically adept. In spite of all of this they were defeated in detail.

Excuses given are the logistic situation (which for the Germans was not good but they were still able to maintain operations), overwhelming numbers (the allies had a 4:1 superiority in tanks by the climax of the battle) and air support (however the effects of air support has been shown to be greatly exaggerated).

If it were true that the Germans had the better Army in the field the bad logistics and superior numbers would have been overcome.

Take the example of the Israelis on the Golan Heights in 1973. Ironically in a similar situation to the Germans in 1944 except that they were outnumbered 8 to 1 and their tanks had only a slight on paper superiority, at night they had a distinct disadvantage.

They utterly defeated the Syrian attack.

Why? Because their troops were better trained and better employed.

The German Army lost for no other reason than they were out fought by the Allies.

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BTW, I agree that in the game situation, I would much prefer the Panther. CM does not take into account the reliability or supply problems faced by the Germans (I suppose the scenario author could limit ammo carried). So, two of the big disadvantages of the Panther are not present. The typical scenario also does not model the often overwhelming US artillery support. What fun would a battle be where before it even starts your Battalion sized Kamfgroup gets hit with a battery of 155 and three batteries of 105? Finally, I don't have to lead with the Panthers as the Germans often did. So in the game context, I would absolutely take the Panther all other things being equal.

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I really don't think the Germans feared the Sherman like the allies fears the panther. For good reason!

I'll bet their infantry did. lol

Hands down yeah I'd agree with you that as a tank yes the Panther is superior, but the tank design reflects national priorities, state of the war etc etc. If the Allies had landed in Normandy and somehow it had become clear that they needed a better tank in order to continue to prosecute the war, then we would be debating now whether the Panther was better than the Pershing and the answer would be nope. So based on the fact that Germany had already effectively lost the war and the Sherman sufficed under then current conditions to meet Allied requirements to achieve victory you could say the Panther was a better tank, but I am not sure I understand why we care. If we needed a better tank, we would have produced it. Now I am sure the boots on the ground would have preferred the Pershing, but war is about logistics and logistics dictated we go with what was already in Europe in mass.

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I'll bet their infantry did. lol

Hands down yeah I'd agree with you that as a tank yes the Panther is superior, but the tank design reflects national priorities, state of the war etc etc. If the Allies had landed in Normandy and somehow it had become clear that they needed a better tank in order to continue to prosecute the war, then we would be debating now whether the Panther was better than the Pershing and the answer would be nope. So based on the fact that Germany had already effectively lost the war and the Sherman sufficed under then current conditions to meet Allied requirements to achieve victory you could say the Panther was a better tank, but I am not sure I understand why we care. If we needed a better tank, we would have produced it. Now I am sure the boots on the ground would have preferred the Pershing, but war is about logistics and logistics dictated we go with what was already in Europe in mass.

Actually, what US tanks were in Europe by 1944 was in most part dictated by the hide-bound generals at the Armor Branch and Army Ground Forces. Models superior to the Sherman could have been devised and components of them were ready, but there never was a big push from the leadership to get them into production. Army leadership too was lulled into believing the press propaganda about superior American weapons and equipment. When they finally realized that Panthers were the new German medium tank, and also began to feel the heat from journalists back home reporting on the deficiencies of the Sherman in armor and armament, these previously blinkered leaders all began to push for re-equipping the tank battalions with thousands of M26's with 90's and 105's but by then it was too late.

Even the GI's initially fell for the rah-rah propaganda going round then, that the US was equipping them "with the finest equipment in the world", tanks included. The M4 held its own in North Africa and Tunisia but by the time the Italian campaign was in full swing, the US troops there were beginning to see some of the Sherman's shortcomings compared to the armor and armament of Panthers and Tigers. By the time of the Summer battles in France following D-Day, US troops had figured out that they needed something better, pronto.

Although the US Army had specimens of the Tiger on hand by 1943 to study and shoot at, it still seemed to the army armor leadership that German tank design had culminated in the Pz IV and that the Tiger and Panther were nothing but specialized assault tanks that would be seldom encountered. Recall that the Soviets were not giving up much intel about what they were encountering on the battlefield, let alone what was problematic about it.

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... these previously blinkered leaders all began to push for re-equipping the tank battalions with thousands of M26's with 90's and 105's but by then it was too late.

And yet somehow it all worked out anyways. Even if the Panther had a better gun and armor.

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And yet somehow it all worked out anyways. Even if the Panther had a better gun and armor.

Yes, it worked out because overall, there were enough Shermans and TD's and air and artillery to take down the Panthers...but most of all there were good men willing to go into harms way in those same outclassed AFV's that they'd been led to believe were the world's finest.

I think it is arrogant today to dismiss the emotions that Allied tankers must have felt going against the long 75 and the 88. They knew they had to fight quicker and smarter to beat them. Lots of them paid the ultimate sacrifice for doing their best.

It is fine to smugly say we won and that's that, but to do so without a tip of the hat to the men that had to make that victory happen is to me just not right.

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But why the seeming obsession with better equipment?

It's especially ironic since, as a rule of thumb, the side with the better armour in Europe lost. The French and British in 1940 had markedly superior armoured vehicles than the Germans. They lost. In 1941 the Russians had markedly superior tanks than the Germans. They lost too. In 1944-45 the Germans had markedly superior tanks than the US and UK. They lost.

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It's especially ironic since, as a rule of thumb, the side with the better armour in Europe lost. The French and British in 1940 had markedly superior armoured vehicles than the Germans. They lost. In 1941 the Russians had markedly superior tanks than the Germans. They lost too. In 1944-45 the Germans had markedly superior tanks than the US and UK. They lost.

The Italians lost and they had the better tanks ... wait a minute ...

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Excuses given are the logistic situation (which for the Germans was not good but they were still able to maintain operations), overwhelming numbers (the allies had a 4:1 superiority in tanks by the climax of the battle) and air support (however the effects of air support has been shown to be greatly exaggerated).

What especially annoys me about those excuses is that they're all unforced errors. There is no force of nature that means that the Germans have to be tits at logistics - they just thought they could get away with it. There is no force of nature that meant the Germans had to be out numbered all the time (even though they usually weren't, especially in the 1939-42/43 timeframe), they just chose to organise themselves that way because they thought they could get away with it. There is no force of nature that meant that the the GAF had to be defeated by the smaller RAF, they just chose to organise and equip themselves poorly.

They are excuses. They are deliberate decisions the Germans took, and they made BAD decisions in all of them.

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What I'm learning is that the side with the least destructive self-delusions usually ends up winning.

Seriously. I just finished a quick battle. No rarity, both sides German. I gave myself fully loaded Fock Wulfes and two sets of rocket artillery, and proceeded to pound the AI's positions until their defenses looked like the moon.

I rolled in there thinking I had obliterated everything. WRONG. A platoon of Panthers were left and they kicked my ass. Managed a draw.

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What I'm learning is that the side with the least destructive self-delusions usually ends up winning.

Well if you are going to goose step about telling everyone how Uber you are, you will eventually have to put your jacksey where your jack boots are.

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IMO the greatest strength of the Sherman was it's adaptability. When people compare it to German tanks they usually reference the 75mm version. But wasn't the Firefly also a Sherman? The Germans did fear that. And the even the vanilla 75 was better against infantry.

But in CM the Panther costs more and I think it's worth what you pay. In fact, I think it may be slightly undermodeled. During some earlier testing on the effects of hull down I noticed a large percentage of Sherman 76 hits on the Panther turret penetrated at 500m. In reality such penetrations were rare past 200m. Needs some looking into....

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The Russian car is Lada, larder is where you store your food.

You make a nice analogy though. Ever tried taking a Ferrai to the shops ? or on a family holiday? Your going to look very silly as I drive off in my Lada over ground your Ferrari cannot cover. I can also get 100 Ladas for the price of a Ferrari and the football team is going to be disappointed that you have to make 15 trips to get them to the game.

Horses for courses mate.

Correct horses for courses. When most people compare tanks they think of classic tank VS tank battles. Line them up at the point of battle in average terrain with equal numbers. Panther wins. Its really that simple.

After acknowledging that the panther is better at tank vs tank against a sherman you can carry on through with a debate about things other than the core argument.

The rest of the debate is separate but relevant to overall effectiveness of the tank strategy of the entire army which made the tank successfull.

Can you deny that tit for tat in a firefight in average country side the Panther was better at what it did?

As for the Lada thing.... certainly my post was off the cuff. I really am no expert in whether Russian spelling of Lada is comparable to our english spelling of a pantry Larda. I do thank you for the correction though.

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Well if you are going to goose step about telling everyone how Uber you are, you will eventually have to put your jacksey where your jack boots are.

Fair dinkum, mate.

(Mind, I haven't a clue what he just said but it all sounds very...Australopithecine. :D)

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But why the seeming obsession with better equipment? Suppose you are right and the title better can be accurately bestowed on the Panther, then what? What have you actually proved? That a far more costly, sophisticated tank can, can beat an inferior one, in an unrealistic encounter, not really any surprise there. It's rather like saying one French knight is superior to one English Longbowman, or the Graf Spee was superior to HMS Exeter. All true, except all those 'better' examples were beaten and in the end victory is all that counts in war, there is no silver medal for having better kit!

Exactly in a nut shell. Perfect. Each example you give here is about tactics\strategy and logistics beating inferior numbers of superior equipment. It almost hardly matters what tanks are used if the strategy is a "troop surge" one. The point is that a Panther is a better tank. But that people seem to think its inferior to the sherman purely because of circumstance.

The obsession with better equipment is that, the question was about what is better equipment! Not what the better strategy was.

Its like saying 100 poorly made swords are obviously superior to 1 well made samurai blade. This is obviously not the truth.

Superior numbers is a strategy of circumstance, not a measure of individual worth or an indication of the swords quality of design.

The Sherman was a better tank by virtue of being available in greater numbers and by virtue of being on the winning side? I think ww2 US tankers may disagree when under fire. I doubt they would be saying "hey our tanks are better because we have more of them, we just die a lot more and thats ok. Because we have an endless supply of men and tanks."

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Exactly in a nut shell. Perfect. Each example you give here is about tactics\strategy and logistics beating inferior numbers of superior equipment. It almost hardly matters what tanks are used if the strategy is a "troop surge" one. The point is that a Panther is a better tank. But that people seem to think its inferior to the sherman purely because of circumstance.

I for one don't argue the Sherman was a superior tank to the Panther but I would argue that, with all its defects, it was wielded in a far more efficacious manner towards the Allied objective of winning the war, which made the Panther's superlatives relatively unimportant in the scheme of things.

If we want to have a war in a test tube, the Panther's superiority counts for a great deal. Put it in the real world, in a real world war and the people that came up with it still lost.

The Panther reminds me of a gorgeous woman who, for all her allure, seductiveness and beauty, simply cannot have children and so dooms her line to end with her.

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IMO the greatest strength of the Sherman was it's adaptability. When people compare it to German tanks they usually reference the 75mm version. But wasn't the Firefly also a Sherman? The Germans did fear that. And the even the vanilla 75 was better against infantry.

But in CM the Panther costs more and I think it's worth what you pay. In fact, I think it may be slightly undermodeled. During some earlier testing on the effects of hull down I noticed a large percentage of Sherman 76 hits on the Panther turret penetrated at 500m. In reality such penetrations were rare past 200m. Needs some looking into....

The firefly I agree is a sherman and ones for the germans to fear. However it is still inferior to the Panther in combat due to its poor armour. The firefly only gets one chance. This is why the standard tanks were used as distractions while the firefly pin pointed and hopefully killed the panther before it cooked all of his buddies off!!! The other thing to be considered is that iirc the firefly version was not good against infantry. I think the brits got the mix right though, standard tanks with a tank killer attached for big cat encounters.

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