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So how good was the PzKpfw IV really?


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Poll: So, Pz IV ... (193 members have cast votes)

How 'good' was it?

  1. Extremely good, best tank of the war! (1 vote [0.52%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.52%

  2. Very good, one of the most effective tanks of the war. (71 votes [36.79%])

    Percentage of vote: 36.79%

  3. Decent. It could hold its own. (107 votes [55.44%])

    Percentage of vote: 55.44%

  4. Meh, it really wasn't any good at all. (8 votes [4.15%])

    Percentage of vote: 4.15%

  5. It was terrible, worst tank of the war! (6 votes [3.11%])

    Percentage of vote: 3.11%

How did it compare to Shermans, after the latter were introduced?

  1. It was ahead of the Shermans most of the time (45 votes [23.32%])

    Percentage of vote: 23.32%

  2. It was on par with the Shermans most of the time (103 votes [53.37%])

    Percentage of vote: 53.37%

  3. It lagged behind the Shermans most of the time (45 votes [23.32%])

    Percentage of vote: 23.32%

And how reliable was it?

  1. Extremely reliable. Mechanical breakdowns were rare. (6 votes [3.11%])

    Percentage of vote: 3.11%

  2. It was quite reliable. Mechanical breakdowns happened every now and then. (138 votes [71.50%])

    Percentage of vote: 71.50%

  3. Its reliability was mediocre, one of the less reliable tanks of the war (41 votes [21.24%])

    Percentage of vote: 21.24%

  4. Its reliability was terrible and broke down all the friggin time (8 votes [4.15%])

    Percentage of vote: 4.15%

75mm KwK 40 L/48 vs 76mm Sherman gun?

  1. 75mm KwK 40 L/48 had the advantage (65 votes [33.68%])

    Percentage of vote: 33.68%

  2. They're about equal (85 votes [44.04%])

    Percentage of vote: 44.04%

  3. American 76mm had the advantage (43 votes [22.28%])

    Percentage of vote: 22.28%

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Conejo82 #21 Posted Oct 03 2014 - 21:13

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View PostPriory_of_Sion, on Oct 03 2014 - 13:07, said:

 

"Thank Hitler for his hairbrained dream of a super tank or we probably would've lost the war"

 

It isn't that simple you twit.

 

Pz IV had burn rates of 81% iirc. American M4 units were ~50% with dry storage, 15% with wet. Canadian and British M4s were comparable to PzIV burn rates.

 

twit? wow now u hurt my feelings can you even read? Lancer said that you jerk, so make sure you address the right person... dont believe me? scroll up and feel stupid (so laughing out loud)

Cutthroatlemur #22 Posted Oct 03 2014 - 21:14

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View PostConejo82, on Oct 03 2014 - 12:33, said:

 

theres no way?  lol one country held off all the allies 

 

no.  THREE countries attacked and briefly held off the allies.  There was no way the axis would have won in the long run.  The best they could have achieved would have been a negotiated peace before the US and Russia tooled up and out produced them.  

 



Priory_of_Sion #23 Posted Oct 03 2014 - 21:20

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View PostConejo82, on Oct 03 2014 - 16:13, said:

 

twit? wow now u hurt my feelings can you even read? Lancer said that you jerk, so make sure you address the right person... dont believe me? scroll up and feel stupid (so laughing out loud)

Oh, I see now... 

Well, you aren't a twit unless you agree with Lancer's hair-brained assessment on how Germany lost the war. It sorta seemed that way for a second there. 



Skramjet #24 Posted Oct 03 2014 - 21:20

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Maybe better than the Shermans 1v1, but against 5 shermans the tank was toast. The US simply had more

KyYoKoPounder #25 Posted Oct 03 2014 - 21:24

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lol this op is funny people hatin on one another and for what? lol some dont even have the story straight lol "all up in the toilet and dont even know the sht" 

popcorns ready :popcorn:



Xlucine #26 Posted Oct 03 2014 - 21:45

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View PostPriory_of_Sion, on Oct 03 2014 - 19:58, said:

 it was still outclassed by M4(76) in armor, armament(76 was better ballistically, but it is too close to make a difference),

 

the gun isn't the only part of the armament - the sherman had a freaking stabilised gun and an overall more comfortable interior, so is much better at putting holes in things

 

View PostConejo82, on Oct 03 2014 - 20:33, said:

 

theres no way?  lol one country held off all the allies 

 

They lost an awful lot of land for someone "holding off" the allies

Ipmistress502 #27 Posted Oct 03 2014 - 22:19

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The Panzer IV was a very viable and reliable design until things like the Pershing, Comet, Easy Eight, and T-34-85 started making their appearance in more than "A handful".

 

By then it was probably nearing the end of it's lifetime as the mainstay of the German Armored forces and would probably need to be relegated to a primary support vehicle instead of the primary AT vehicle, probably to be replaced by a more reliable version of the Panther or some new design.



Dominatus #28 Posted Oct 03 2014 - 22:20

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One of the most true statements for the Panzer IV I can think of is that it was a great tank when it was designed...in the mid 30s. It's rather remarkable that it lasted as long as it did (especially compared to its closest counterpart, T-28), but it lagged behind newer designs that the US and Soviets had..

Edited by Dominatus, Oct 03 2014 - 22:20.


lostwingman #29 Posted Oct 03 2014 - 22:35

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View PostSkramjet, on Oct 03 2014 - 15:20, said:

Maybe better than the Shermans 1v1, but against 5 shermans the tank was toast. The US simply had more

 

The Pz IV? Better than the Sherman? At the best of times it was a match. In most cases it was very outmatched.

 

View PostIpmistress502, on Oct 03 2014 - 16:19, said:

The Panzer IV was a very viable and reliable design until things like the Pershing, Comet, Easy Eight, and T-34-85 started making their appearance in more than "A handful".

 

By then it was probably nearing the end of it's lifetime as the mainstay of the German Armored forces and would probably need to be relegated to a primary support vehicle instead of the primary AT vehicle, probably to be replaced by a more reliable version of the Panther or some new design.

 

When the M4 landed in Africa the Pz IVs the Germans were using still had the stub 75mm. They had to play catch up to match the early Sherman. Then when the Sherman got improvements there was just not enough developmental overhead to keep up. It was an outdated design. If the Germans hadn't bungled development of a follow up medium tank by building the pseudo-heavy Panther they might have had something. Instead, they just made it easier for the Allies to roll them.

 


Edited by lostwingman, Oct 03 2014 - 22:37.


Zinegata #30 Posted Oct 03 2014 - 22:40

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Quote

 Is the title 'backbone of the panzer forces' deserved?

 

While people can argue ad-infinitum about whether it's better than its contemporaries, I don't think this title of the Mk IV can be questioned except perhaps in the earliest days of the war when they were still a rarity compared to the Mk IIs and Czech tanks. By Barbarossa they were common enough even though still outnumbered by the Mk IIIs and IVs, and by '42 they were definitely going into becoming the most common German turreted tank.

 

That Sturmgetchutze (its only real rival numbers-wise in terms of total wartime production) - aside from late war expedients that assigned them to Panzerjaeger battalions of the Panzer Divisions - were technically never part of the Panzer arm (they were actually artillery branch vehicles) further solidifies the Mk IV's claim to being the most commonly used armored vehicle of the Panzer forces during the war.

 

Indeed, the development of the Panzer IV is an excellent yardstick of how the doctrine of the Panzer Divisions themselves evolved. They started off with a rather specialized anti-infantry and fortification gun, and the early war Panzer forces were still in its infancy and was still imagining a possible Division of labor between different tank types (although not to the same stupid extent as the British insistence on infantry and cruiser tanks). By mid-war they had become general-purpose units, that were increasingly focused towards anti-tank work due to the paucity of forces capable of dealing with enemy tank units. All the while, the Mk IV never entirely lost its mobility and reliability - as the Panzer Divisions first and foremost were supposed to be mobile formations; something that the Panther grossly violated which is why the design was in fact contrary to the established and working doctrine.



Conejo82 #31 Posted Oct 03 2014 - 23:37

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View PostZinegata, on Oct 03 2014 - 14:40, said:

Quote

 Is the title 'backbone of the panzer forces' deserved?

 

While people can argue ad-infinitum about whether it's better than its contemporaries, I don't think this title of the Mk IV can be questioned except perhaps in the earliest days of the war when they were still a rarity compared to the Mk IIs and Czech tanks. By Barbarossa they were common enough even though still outnumbered by the Mk IIIs and IVs, and by '42 they were definitely going into becoming the most common German turreted tank.

 

That Sturmgetchutze (its only real rival numbers-wise in terms of total wartime production) - aside from late war expedients that assigned them to Panzerjaeger battalions of the Panzer Divisions - were technically never part of the Panzer arm (they were actually artillery branch vehicles) further solidifies the Mk IV's claim to being the most commonly used armored vehicle of the Panzer forces during the war.

 

Indeed, the development of the Panzer IV is an excellent yardstick of how the doctrine of the Panzer Divisions themselves evolved. They started off with a rather specialized anti-infantry and fortification gun, and the early war Panzer forces were still in its infancy and was still imagining a possible Division of labor between different tank types (although not to the same stupid extent as the British insistence on infantry and cruiser tanks). By mid-war they had become general-purpose units, that were increasingly focused towards anti-tank work due to the paucity of forces capable of dealing with enemy tank units. All the while, the Mk IV never entirely lost its mobility and reliability - as the Panzer Divisions first and foremost were supposed to be mobile formations; something that the Panther grossly violated which is why the design was in fact contrary to the established and working doctrine.

 

 

i agree, my original post to this thread was basic background on the tank and how it was, what it was. she served her purpose well but i take it, people dont like hearing whats fact, my original post had nothing to do with my thoughts or emotions, i got it all from wikipedia, saddly the basic information was lost on many it seems



HereticVoid #32 Posted Oct 03 2014 - 23:47

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Aside from the weight limitations and the size? Of the hull what where the other key suspension problems that made the pz iv unable to be upgraded any more ?

Legiondude #33 Posted Oct 04 2014 - 00:40

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View PostHereticVoid, on Oct 03 2014 - 17:47, said:

Aside from the weight limitations and the size? Of the hull what where the other key suspension problems that made the pz iv unable to be upgraded any more ?

Well, weight tolerance was the issue(which also meant the transmission was strained), but going beyond that leaf springs tended to sag in the front because of the heavy weight distribution to the front of the vehicle in later models



Walter_Sobchak #34 Posted Oct 04 2014 - 04:35

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I can't find it right now, but I remember seeing a chart of unit readiness rates by vehicle type for the German army late in the war.  The readiness rates for the Pz IV were pretty bad, almost as bad as Panther.  Whether this had much to do with the vehicle itself or the sad state of German logistics by that point is hard to say. 

An_old_slow_guy #35 Posted Oct 04 2014 - 10:19

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So many trolls on this forum so eager to lambast a post without thinking at all.  Stop the pointless 'ad hominem'  attacks - you just make yourself look stupid.  

 

 Guderian in fact was driving on Moscow and probably would've captured it in 1941 before he was redirected to Kiev using tanks that were even inferior to PzIV's with the 75 MM L48.  He understood that it was more the management of armored forces than the type of vehicle used by them.   By the time he could resume his attack on Moscow, early winter had arrived and Russia had time to redeploy and counterattack with the new T- 34's.  Guderian was relieved for failure to obey most of his  'stand fast'  orders, in favor of fighting withdrawal and preservation of his forces.

 

Guderian never commanded another panzer army but became responsible for logistically rebuilding the panzer armies that poor decisions from Hitler had decimated on the eastern front. From his experience as a panzer army commander and panzer army inspector general he was both qualified and accurate in his assessment  - Germany needed more PzIV's and Panthers instead of the super tanks Hitler wasted time and resources on.  It is not a stretch to make a statement that had Guderian had his way, that Russia would have been knocked out of the war, which would have made it very difficult if not impossible for the allies to win WWII. 

 

I may have oversimplified  in my previous statement - but given the ridiculous responses to it - that was probably a good thing. 



Meplat #36 Posted Oct 04 2014 - 11:00

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View Postcollimatrix, on Oct 03 2014 - 11:51, said:


 

-Ground pressure figures, both with and without Ostketten.  I suspect that the Pz. IV is inferior to the sherman here, and drastically inferior to the big cats, sherman E8 and T-34. -Not finding info w/'ketten, but depending on variant it runs between 13~15 psi W/stock. M4 was 13.7psi@0 pen.

 

ETA- Seems the reason I don't find much GPF on the 'ketten is because they were apparently -very- fragile. Moreso than the M4's "duckbills" it seems. Will have to check more into this.

 

 

 

It's definitely a credible tank for the late '30s and well into the early '40s, but I don't think it's on par with a sherman or T-34.

It's looking pretty primitive compared to the M4. By the time it was mounting a comparable gun to the M4's , it was sacrificing a lot of manuverability and load capacity.  Adding Schurzen made things even worse.

 

ETA- ThePzIVAusf.H  was ~25 tons, the M4 was ~30 tons. The late PzIVAusf.H had a ~300 Hp engine, the M4 could mount any from ~400 to ~450 HP depending on type.

It's looking like the IV was near if not at the end of it's capacity for upgrading/modification around the time the M4 appeared.

 

 

ETA- Both the KwK40 and the M3 75's are in the same ballpark for the most part (excepting exotica), with the KwK having a slight edge in AP, and the M3's M48 HE being a larger charge and higher velocity than the SpGrpatrone'34

There is a considerable variation in velocities with the ammo available to the KwK40, with the M3 this is not the case.

May not sound like much but it eases the load on the gunner and simplifies the optics (no need for different stadia to adjust for variance in lead/drop caused by the variations in velocity).

 

 

As I wade through my Spielberger and Hunnicutt, I'll try and fill in more.

 


Edited by Meplat, Oct 04 2014 - 12:38.


LeuCeaMia #37 Posted Oct 04 2014 - 11:21

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View PostLancer_VMFA212, on Oct 04 2014 - 17:19, said:

Guderian in fact was driving on Moscow and probably would've captured it in 1941 before he was redirected to Kiev using tanks that were even inferior to PzIV's with the 75 MM L48.  He understood that it was more the management of armored forces than the type of vehicle used by them.   By the time he could resume his attack on Moscow, early winter had arrived and Russia had time to redeploy and counterattack with the new T- 34's.  Guderian was relieved for failure to obey most of his  'stand fast'  orders, in favor of fighting withdrawal and preservation of his forces.
 
Guderian never commanded another panzer army but became responsible for logistically rebuilding the panzer armies that poor decisions from Hitler had decimated on the eastern front. From his experience as a panzer army commander and panzer army inspector general he was both qualified and accurate in his assessment  - Germany needed more PzIV's and Panthers instead of the super tanks Hitler wasted time and resources on.  It is not a stretch to make a statement that had Guderian had his way, that Russia would have been knocked out of the war, which would have made it very difficult if not impossible for the allies to win WWII. 

 

So apparently the hundreds of thousand of men in Kiev would've sat idly while Moscow was being attacked... Wehralogic how does it work?

 

From: The Soviet-German War 1941-1945: Myths and Realities: A Survey Essay by David M Glantz

Block Quote

Guderian’s Southward Turn (Kiev)
In September 1941, after Red Army resistance stiffened east of Smolensk, Hitler
temporarily abandoned his direct thrust on Moscow by turning one half of Army Group
Center’s panzer forces (Guderian’s Second Panzer Group) to the south to envelop and
destroy the Soviet Southwestern Front, which was defending Kiev. By virtue of
Guderian’s southward turn, the Wehrmacht destroyed the entire Southwestern Front east
of Kiev during September, inflicting 600,000 losses on the Red Army, while Soviet forces
west of Moscow conducted a futile and costly offensive against German forces around
Smolensk. After this Kiev diversion, Hitler launched Operation Typhoon in October,
only to see his offensive falter at the gates of Moscow in early December. Some claim
that had Hitler launched Operation Typhoon in September rather than October, the
Wehrmacht would have avoided the terrible weather conditions and reached and captured
Moscow before the onset of winter.

This argument too does not hold up to close scrutiny. Had Hitler launched
Operation Typhoon in September, Army Group Center would have had to penetrate
deep Soviet defenses manned by a force that had not squandered its strength in fruitless
offensives against German positions east of Smolensk. Furthermore, Army Group Center
would have launched its offensive with a force of more than 600,000 men threatening its
ever-extending right flank and, in the best reckoning, would have reached the gates of
Moscow after mid-October just as the fall rainy season was beginning.

Finally, the Stavka saved Moscow by raising and fielding 10 reserve armies that
took part in the final defense of the city, the December 1941 counterstrokes, and the
January 1942 counteroffensive. These armies would have gone into action regardless of
when Hitler launched Operation Typhoon. While they effectively halted and drove back
the German offensive short of Moscow as the operation actually developed, they would
also have been available to do so had the Germans attacked Moscow a month earlier.
Furthermore, if the latter were the case, they would have been able to operate in
conjunction with the 600,000 plus force of Army Group Center’s overextended right
flank.

 

Hitler himself is the one who canned the super tanks, even he wasn't that daft. Guderian on the otherhand stopped the Panzer IV from being completely replaced by the Panther.



An_old_slow_guy #38 Posted Oct 04 2014 - 11:48

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Glatz is a renowned military historian famous for his russian centric military studies and opinions and infamous for making unsupported assumptions about many German war leaders.  Even though he is right that we have far too many German authored opinions and studies about the conduct of the eastern front - none of those German versions have been proven to be false or inaccurate.  Quoting Glatz to rebut my posts is like quoting a Republican to discount Obama, we already know Republicans don't like Obama. Try a more neutral source.

 

 



Walter_Sobchak #39 Posted Oct 04 2014 - 21:39

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View PostLancer_VMFA212, on Oct 04 2014 - 06:48, said:

Glatz is a renowned military historian famous for his russian centric military studies and opinions and infamous for making unsupported assumptions about many German war leaders.  Even though he is right that we have far too many German authored opinions and studies about the conduct of the eastern front - none of those German versions have been proven to be false or inaccurate.  Quoting Glatz to rebut my posts is like quoting a Republican to discount Obama, we already know Republicans don't like Obama. Try a more neutral source.

 

 

 

Wow, the bias in your own comment demonstrates a significant bias of your own.  Understanding of the Eastern front in the West was almost completely "German-centric" up until the end of the Cold War.  Authors such as Glantz have been trying to repair the damage done by this 40 + years of german-centric bias by going through Soviet records to create a more complete picture of the war.  I would suggest reading The Failures of Historiography: Forgotten Battles of the German-Soviet War (1941-1945) 

1Sherman #40 Posted Oct 04 2014 - 21:51

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View PostLert, on Oct 03 2014 - 18:42, said:

Called by many 'the backbone of the panzer forces' and 'the tank that carried the blitzkrieg', the Panzer Kampfwagen IV in its many variants was the only tank that was produced throughout the entirety of the war as a tank. Other chassis (Pz III springs to mind) saw equally long production life as assault guns, of which the Pz IV also had variants, but those weren't produced throughout the entire was as tanks. T-34 would also be a competitor, but it missed the early months of the war. Series production started AFAIK in 1940, while the war officially started in 1939.

 

Everyone knows that the Pz IV started out as the infantry support tank (with the stubby 75mm howitzer) vs the tank-killing Pz III, but the evolution of technology saw the need to fit a longer L/43 75mm guns, which the Pz III chassis couldn't take without removing the entire turret and turning it into an assault gun. Enter the longer barreled Pz IV's.

 

But, how 'good' were they really? Is the title 'backbone of the panzer forces' deserved? How did it compare against contemporary shermans after the latter was introduced? How reliable were they? How did the even longer L/48 75mm on the late war Pz IV's compare the 'best' gun on the Sherman, the 76mm gun M1?

 

The Panzer IV was one of the 4 best AFVs of WWII alongside the T-34, the Sherman, and the Stug III. All of those tanks were very reliable, very adaptable, quite capable, and were the most mass-produced AFVs of their respective countries in WWII.




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