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The End of the M4(75)


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Anlushac11 #201 Posted Aug 17 2013 - 12:33

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View PostWalter_Sobchak, on Aug 17 2013 - 00:05, said:

And McNair gave his own life in service to his country, being the highest ranked US officer killed in combat at the beginning of Operation Cobra.  He had a tough job, some decisions he made were good, some were more open to criticism.  Still, he and General Marshall (and quite a few other officers) did a hell of a job in taking an army that was down right pitiful in the late 30's and building it into one of the most powerful forces in the world in a few years.

IIRC McNair was in Europe in a foxhole near the front to watch the opening phase of Operation Cobra when US bombers carpet bombing the Germans dropped their first sticks short landing in the front of Allied lines causing casualties, including McNair. Thus McNair was, ironically, killed by "friendly" fire.

Ironically also Operation Cobra was supposedly the first operational use of the 76mm armed M4 Sherman.

Zinegata #202 Posted Aug 19 2013 - 03:04

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View PostOlPaint, on Aug 17 2013 - 02:54, said:

To deviate a bit further from the subject, one of the reasons why convoying merchant ships wasn't as blindingly obvious to the Admirals/Navies of WWII as popular history says it should have been was that the sudden arrival of a convoy overloaded the available capacity of the ports--both for wharf & anchorage space, as well as cargo throughput. A port that could handle 5 ships at a time continuously for a month (call it 150ship-dock/days) can't handle a convoy of 30 ships in port for a week. Even if convoys didn't reduce logistical efficiency by holding transit speed to the speed of the slowest ship, it still caused great inefficiency due to the wait times to load & unload. And, sitting around at anchor waiting to offload in Great Britian was a good way to be a target for E-Boat/S-boat, U-boat, or Fw-190/Ju-88 drivers. Special cargo-handling requirements--like the need for heavy shore cranes to onload/offload a 45-ton tank--further reduce the port throughput.

Quoting this for reiteration, and also to point out that for the Normandy campaign the vast majority of supplies and tanks were actually offloaded directly unto the beach using LSTs and other beachable craft. I don't think these craft could have carried heavier tanks either.

rags17 #203 Posted Aug 19 2013 - 05:42

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View PostBattlecruiser, on Aug 10 2013 - 19:57, said:

so when did the allies discover that by replacing the main gun with a 105mm howitzer and firing heat they could knock out anything thrown at them?

When gold rounds became purchasable with silver.

Meplat #204 Posted Aug 19 2013 - 06:33

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View PostZinegata, on Aug 19 2013 - 03:04, said:


Quoting this for reiteration, and also to point out that for the Normandy campaign the vast majority of supplies and tanks were actually offloaded directly unto the beach using LSTs and other beachable craft. I don't think these craft could have carried heavier tanks either.

I do know there were issues with the M26 and the majority of pontoon/portable bridges in use.  It's mentioned that M26's often had to wait til all others had crossed, before they could because of the damage they'd inflict to the bridges.

MnT120 #205 Posted Aug 25 2013 - 15:36

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Good Article & research,Ive various publications and books on Armor and your article fills in good information.Your right about some of mythology that just wont die though.Looking forward to seeing more like this-Thanks for new info!

KayabaAkihiko #206 Posted Aug 27 2013 - 23:07

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I love reading your articles!

CrunchyCruncher #207 Posted Sep 02 2013 - 02:03

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View PostSpectreHD, on Aug 13 2013 - 11:24, said:

I find it funny that Wolfer says the M4 by comparing it to the Tiger, Tiger 2 and Panther. Not even a fair comparison. M4s should be compared to the Pz IV which I believe the M4 had no problems dealing with.

Want something to compare heavy tanks like Tiger and Tiger 2? The T29, T32 and T30. All of which would mop the floor with the Tiger, Tiger 2 and Panthers.


For what the M4 Sherman is, it is a great tank. I would say the M4 and its variants are even better than the T-34 and its variants. Don't compare it to something it is not.

There's two ways to look at it - the first is what you suggest, which is each tank compared to the comparable size/generation of opposing tanks - that'd put the M4, PzIII and IV and T-34 all head-to-head, and the M4 comes out looking pretty good.

The other is to look at what a particular tank ended up facing in battle, and M4 saw plenty of PzIII and IV, against which it matched up well in almost all circumstances, as well as Panthers, Tigers and the occasional Tiger II, against each of which it had different challenges and shortcomings, many of which were overcome by the sheer quantity of Shermans on the battlefield.  

Both are potentially valuable ways to look at it, but ignoring the reality that in circumstances even slightly tilted towards the Tiger/Panther's strengths, they were deadly and much-feared opponents for Shermans is silly, much as it's pointless to discuss how deadly a Tiger II was without noting how very few of them were out there.

Zinegata #208 Posted Sep 02 2013 - 02:36

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View PostCrunchyCruncher, on Sep 02 2013 - 02:03, said:

The other is to look at what a particular tank ended up facing in battle, and M4 saw plenty of PzIII and IV, against which it matched up well in almost all circumstances, as well as Panthers, Tigers and the occasional Tiger II, against each of which it had different challenges and shortcomings, many of which were overcome by the sheer quantity of Shermans on the battlefield.  

There is no verifiable engagement wherein significantly outnumbered Panthers (3:1 odds or more) defeated Shermans. However, there are at least two major battles wherein Shermans found themselves significantly outnumbered by Panthers (by a factor of 3:1) and still won anyway. Even without air support.

The Panther, the Tiger, and the Tiger II were simply all horribly overrated machines; especially in the face of the 1944 US Armored Division. Even in equal numbers, or having superior numbers, the Panthers, Tigers, and Tiger IIs kept losing. Badly.

Even their "successes" - such as Villers-Bocage - have been muddled by the fact that the real German losses were never actually examined. People keep thinking that Villers-Bocage was a battle wherein a long Tiger destroyed 20 Allied tanks. In reality, it was a battle wherein 20-30 Allied tanks were destroyed in exchange for the utter annihilation of the 101st SS Heavy Tank battalion, which lost 30 Tigers (9 permanently, 21 so badly damaged they were out of action for a month) in that engagement.

sPzAbt505 #209 Posted Sep 16 2013 - 21:02

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View PostThe_Chieftain, on Aug 09 2013 - 19:46, said:

It is instructive to note the US Army’s lack of evidentiary need for the 76mm gun: The program was started before anything that the 75mm couldn’t take care of was met. Tiger had not yet been encountered.
Correct me if I am wrong, but the first Tiger was killed in Tunisia in December 1942, by 6pdr guns.

Legiondude #210 Posted Sep 16 2013 - 21:12

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View PostsPzAbt505, on Sep 16 2013 - 21:02, said:

Correct me if I am wrong, but the first Tiger was killed in Tunisia in December 1942, by 6pdr guns.
April 1943 was when Tiger 131 was disabled and captured

Which is several months after the August 1942 testing

RanLSX #211 Posted Mar 03 2018 - 21:12

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What year did the M4A3 (105) get its HEAT round?



NutrientibusMeaGallus #212 Posted Mar 03 2018 - 23:06

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View PostZinegata, on Sep 01 2013 - 20:36, said:


There is no verifiable engagement wherein significantly outnumbered Panthers (3:1 odds or more) defeated Shermans. However, there are at least two major battles wherein Shermans found themselves significantly outnumbered by Panthers (by a factor of 3:1) and still won anyway. Even without air support.

The Panther, the Tiger, and the Tiger II were simply all horribly overrated machines; especially in the face of the 1944 US Armored Division. Even in equal numbers, or having superior numbers, the Panthers, Tigers, and Tiger IIs kept losing. Badly.

Even their "successes" - such as Villers-Bocage - have been muddled by the fact that the real German losses were never actually examined. People keep thinking that Villers-Bocage was a battle wherein a long Tiger destroyed 20 Allied tanks. In reality, it was a battle wherein 20-30 Allied tanks were destroyed in exchange for the utter annihilation of the 101st SS Heavy Tank battalion, which lost 30 Tigers (9 permanently, 21 so badly damaged they were out of action for a month) in that engagement.

 

  Is this taking account the meat inside the metal? What I mean is how many of those German tank crews were not veteran tankers, or rushed through training to get them in the field because of the losses the Germans were taking. How much of the failing is the machine and how much the crews?

Zinegata #213 Posted Mar 05 2018 - 08:55

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View PostNutrientibusMeaGallus, on Mar 04 2018 - 06:06, said:

 

  Is this taking account the meat inside the metal? What I mean is how many of those German tank crews were not veteran tankers, or rushed through training to get them in the field because of the losses the Germans were taking. How much of the failing is the machine and how much the crews?

 

Yes. US 4th Armored Division was fighting it very first major tank vs tank engagement at Arracourt, but crushed the Panzer Brigade it faced anyway.

 

Now, to an extent the structure of the Panzer Brigade can be blamed - it lacked reconnaissance elements and infantry while the 4th Armored's CCA was an all-arms force. But the officers leading the Brigade were Russland Kaempher (East Front Veterans) and were in fact veterans.

 

The problem, if you actually read actual accounts of Panzers in action that are not post-war fanfiction, is that German Panzer tactics as a whole sucked against the British and Americans. They had gotten used to simply charging their tanks at the closest enemy, relying on speed, surprise, and sheer force to break the Soviets and prevent them from advancing. This actually often resulted in heavy losses or rather ineffective attacks, which is why the officers often drew up ridiculous kill claim counts (which their own intelligence branch didn't believe) to justify the losses. Robert Citino has a whole series of excellent books on the actual mindset of most German officers at the time; and what's striking is that "tactical brilliance" was actually not their most commonly cultivated trait. It was instead aggressiveness - with the Panzer arm wanting officers who charged their tanks at the enemy as quickly as possible no matter the odds. Because sometimes, just showing up with enough fighting spirit might be enough to cow the enemy - especially when fighting against unprepared enemies such as during the invasion of Russia in 1941 or a badly wrongfooted army like the French in 1940. 

 

The Americans by contrast understood that massed tank attacks were not something to be scared of. The Louisiana Maneuvers had demonstrated that massed tank attacks could in fact be defeated - at a very high cost for the attacking tanks - through camouflaged anti-tank weaponry and positioning. This in part led to the Tank Destroyer Doctrine, but it was also taken by the US Tank arm to heart and this was why US Armored Divisions were radically reorganized from their original configuration to also include reconnaissance, artillery, and infantry elements. The Panzer's aggressive approach was thus exactly the sort tactics the Americans had prepared themselves against, and why they actually pretty much won the majority (if not all) the major tank vs tank engagements of the war in Northwest Europe.

 

The British likewise had been to a large extent straightened out by Monty's dedication to a managed and methodical battle. This often led to the (sometimes valid) post-war criticism that the Brits tended to be overly cautious, but this also meant that Panzers attacking British defensive lines tended to turn into fiascos. People nowadays like to write fanfiction about how the Germans "could have driven the Allies to the sea" on June 6, but in reality the Germans actually kept trying in the next couple of days and it generally ended with Panthers burning after running into a handful of Shermans and 6 pounder gun emplacements.

 

Mistakes were still made - two American Infantry Divisions were overrun during the Bulge whereas Villers-Bocage had a significant portion of a British Armored Division caught napping - but as a whole the Western Allies were the worst possible match-up for the "charge at the enemy" mindset of the Panzer Corps because both the British and Americans had learned and taken to heart that massed tank assaults could be beaten by methodical defense and reconnaissance. The Soviets by contrast were until 1943 a very offensive-minded Army as well, and in many regards never quite developed a mindset out of "attack, attack, attack" even after Kursk. 


Edited by Zinegata, Mar 05 2018 - 08:58.





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