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What could have the US done for anti-tank guns?


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Slayer_Jesse #1 Posted Jan 02 2015 - 05:04

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So, much has been said about the decision to stick with the 76mm. I very much enjoyed your articles on getting it and Pershing into service, Chief.

 

My question is this: If armored/ordinance board had decided they needed something better upon meeting the Tiger for the 1st time, what kind of vehicle could they have produced? (Though judging by your articles, this would be a very big if. Also, when did Russia 1st encounter Tiger, and did they share data on it with allies?)

 

Are there any lesser known US tank AT guns that could do the job? How fast could they have had out a simple TD along SU-85 or Marder lines? A tank?

I mean this to be more anything goes, not what was probable. (So paper away, as long as they actually had it or reasonably could have developed t fast enough)



Priory_of_Sion #2 Posted Jan 02 2015 - 05:14

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The T53 tank destroyer/SPAAG was armed with a 90 mm gun that could take on the Tiger's armor decently. Some prototypes were built in 1942 before Tiger was known outside Germany IIRC. Same 90 mm was fitted in an M10 in the same year. T53 was a horrible failure and the 90 mm M10 evolved into the M36 which took quite a while to enter service. 



nuttydave1234 #3 Posted Jan 02 2015 - 05:31

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Am I correct when I say hellcat's with 76mm guns were used to kill Tigers?

Beefy_McAwesomesauce #4 Posted Jan 02 2015 - 05:33

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View Postnuttydave1234, on Jan 01 2015 - 20:31, said:

Am I correct when I say hellcat's with 76mm guns were used to kill Tigers?

Not at particularly long ranges, but yes, sometimes



TwixOps #5 Posted Jan 02 2015 - 06:05

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View Postnuttydave1234, on Jan 02 2015 - 05:31, said:

Am I correct when I say hellcat's with 76mm guns were used to kill Tigers?

Yes, the 76mm could successfully engage the tiger at virtually all ranges.  



Walter_Sobchak #6 Posted Jan 02 2015 - 06:18

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The issue is that almost no US armor was used to engage Tiger 1 tanks.  This is because so few were actually encountered.  After the US landings in Normandy, US armored forces encountered Tiger 1 tanks very rarely (British forces more so. )   Encounters with King Tiger tanks were actually more common than Tiger 1.  The 76mm gun was adequate for dealing with the Tiger 1 at most combat ranges.  It was somewhat less so against the sloped frontal armor of the Panther, which was encountered more frequently (although less than one would think judging from the popular literature.)  Against the Tiger II, US forces had to get a bit creative and engage it from the sides or rear.  Best bet was to just let the thing defeat itself by running out of gas or breaking down.  A 70 ton tank with a 1940s era powertrain is not a good idea. 

Edited by Walter_Sobchak, Jan 02 2015 - 06:19.


Slayer_Jesse #7 Posted Jan 02 2015 - 13:54

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Well, lets include panther/Tiger II. We'll assume development started for tiger I, though.

_Rudedog #8 Posted Jan 02 2015 - 14:15

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View PostSlayer_Jesse, on Jan 01 2015 - 22:04, said:

So, much has been said about the decision to stick with the 76mm. I very much enjoyed your articles on getting it and Pershing into service, Chief.

 

My question is this: If armored/ordinance board had decided they needed something better upon meeting the Tiger for the 1st time, what kind of vehicle could they have produced? (Though judging by your articles, this would be a very big if. Also, when did Russia 1st encounter Tiger, and did they share data on it with allies?)

 

Are there any lesser known US tank AT guns that could do the job? How fast could they have had out a simple TD along SU-85 or Marder lines? A tank?

I mean this to be more anything goes, not what was probable. (So paper away, as long as they actually had it or reasonably could have developed t fast enough)

 

Look the people who were making those decisions  were not the ones burning to death and getting blown up out in the field.

 

They were concerned with production number, obviously not saving lives.  If they were concerned they would have  listened to Patton and taken his suggestions seriously.

 

They knew the data, and also knew that the production machine was expensive to retool.



Shrike58 #9 Posted Jan 02 2015 - 14:34

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Part of the problem for the US Army is that the Norman bocage maximized the virtues of German frontal armor; much less of a problem when you can flank and spank.

Slayer_Jesse #10 Posted Jan 02 2015 - 15:05

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View PostRudedog1b, on Jan 02 2015 - 08:15, said:

 

Look the people who were making those decisions  were not the ones burning to death and getting blown up out in the field.

 

They were concerned with production number, obviously not saving lives.  If they were concerned they would have  listened to Patton and taken his suggestions seriously.

 

They knew the data, and also knew that the production machine was expensive to retool.

 

For the purposes of this thread, im less interested in what actually happened, compared to, "hey, what cool tank/td can we make?"

 

I also respect patton but he was wrong on extra machine guns, lol.



lyonsi #11 Posted Jan 02 2015 - 16:05

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they could of taken the Australian tanks sentienial's and mass produced them they where based on m3 running gear with a cast hull and a big enough turret to take a 17pdr and had slightly better armor then a Sherman (about same thickness but better angle's of the same year with a lower profile 

.

hell for infantry support could of employed the twin 25pdr's for fire he (yes they built one to test the hull could take the 17pdr )



AngryPitSnipe #12 Posted Jan 02 2015 - 16:06

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Let's look at this from some different angles. The Nazis were building turret-less TD's  because They had production problems and believed they could make 3 of these with the same resources as one  heavy tank.

Their TD's kept getting heavier and fatter like their tanks did, with all the same engine and transmission problems, along with quality control. There was a huge problem many people over look : getting these wide heavy vehicles from the factories to the front. Loading them on rail cars was a challenge met by partial dis-assembly at the loading point and reassembly at the offloading point, but many of the rail cars were not up to it, and many tunnels were too narrow, especially at the turns, and many bridges after offload in France could not handle 60- 70 tons.

 Then you have fuel consumption. The Tigers drank it like at a new years eve party. Germany did not have the supply structure available to feed these gluttons, especially as they had lost air superiority on both fronts many months before the Normandy landings. Many people don't know that Germany got most of it's oil prior to the war from the Soviet Union, thus the Stalingrad and Kursk offensives designed to eventually capture the Baku oil fields.The Soviets handled that, while the U.S. handled (or tried to) other facilities like Ploesti  from the air.

There were many logistical reasons the U.S. stuck with the Sherman as long as we did. It didn't have the problems listed above , and was in mass production at a rate the Germans couldn't have dreamed of. Later versions of the Sherman were actually pretty good. The British were even given diesel powered ones (eventually).  The Soviets integrated the later versions into their T-34 Units happily. 

A few later model Shermans actually had a 90mm gun.

 So with massive Allied air superiority,  superb supply lines and combat support, and guns that were plenty good enough, the question is answered. As I used to say about building over-weight tanks "If you can't get your tanks to the front, the front will come to you".    



Xlucine #13 Posted Jan 02 2015 - 18:27

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View PostRudedog1b, on Jan 02 2015 - 13:15, said:

 

Look the people who were making those decisions  were not the ones burning to death and getting blown up out in the field.

 

They were concerned with production number, obviously not saving lives.  If they were concerned they would have  listened to Patton and taken his suggestions seriously.

 

They knew the data, and also knew that the production machine was expensive to retool.

 

Commanders on the ground- the people dying - said they didn't want the 76mm, that the 75mm was good enough against tanks and since the 76mm was worse against infantry, they did not want it. The people making the production decisions chose to make the 76mm armed sherman anyway - despite there being no calls for it from the ground forces - and it was because of this that ~400 shermans with the 76mm were in england on D-day. But because the people at the sharp end didn't want them, they weren't put ashore.

blurr91 #14 Posted Jan 02 2015 - 19:12

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American tanks in WW2 were built to fight real enemies like infantries, not fantasy enemies like those once in a blue moon big cats.

 

 

Anti-tank guns are not very good as general purpose guns for infantry support.  It didn't make sense to devote production capacity to manufacture a bunch of vehicles that might encounter the opponent they were built to fight once in a while.


 

Besides, there are other ways of dealing with the big cats.  As mentioned before, letting them punch themselves out was one.  The other was to fix them in place and then bombard with artillery.  US artillery was widely feared by Germans because of our efficiency at placing rounds on target.



Walter_Sobchak #15 Posted Jan 03 2015 - 01:47

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View PostRudedog1b, on Jan 02 2015 - 08:15, said:

 

Look the people who were making those decisions  were not the ones burning to death and getting blown up out in the field.

 

They were concerned with production number, obviously not saving lives.  If they were concerned they would have  listened to Patton and taken his suggestions seriously.

 

They knew the data, and also knew that the production machine was expensive to retool.

 

And what suggestions by Patton are  you referring to?  Certainly, he did not advocate for heavier tanks.  In early 1945 when the press started to question the effectiveness of the M4 medium, Patton publicly defended the vehicle

 

View PostAngryPitSnipe, on Jan 02 2015 - 10:06, said:

A few later model Shermans actually had a 90mm gun. 

The only thing remotely resembling a Sherman with a 90mm gun was the M36B1 tank destroyer and a single test vehicle consisting of an M26 Pershing turret on a Sherman hull. 

 



The_Chieftain #16 Posted Jan 03 2015 - 04:20

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View PostSlayer_Jesse, on Jan 02 2015 - 04:04, said:

So, much has been said about the decision to stick with the 76mm. I very much enjoyed your articles on getting it and Pershing into service, Chief.

 

My question is this: If armored/ordinance board had decided they needed something better upon meeting the Tiger for the 1st time, what kind of vehicle could they have produced? (Though judging by your articles, this would be a very big if. Also, when did Russia 1st encounter Tiger, and did they share data on it with allies?)

 

Are there any lesser known US tank AT guns that could do the job? How fast could they have had out a simple TD along SU-85 or Marder lines? A tank?

I mean this to be more anything goes, not what was probable. (So paper away, as long as they actually had it or reasonably could have developed t fast enough)

 

The original plan was that the 75mm would be replaced in the anti-tank role by the 57mm (6pr). It had a much higher muzzle velocity, and thus was more capable against armor than the larger 75mm. The problem was that it was discovered in testing that the theoretical advantage was limited: At ranges over about 500 yards, the 75mm actually retained more energy and thus penetrating power. Since the US Army wasn't interested in AP effectiveness at only 500m and less, the plan to use the 57mm in the next TD vehicle was scrapped (The T48 Gun Motor Carriage), and pretty much all those built were given to the UK and USSR. That left the job down to the 3", which was being used in the towed gun and in the expedient TDs (M5, M10, M9), and which was too heavy to put into the M4, and the 76mm which was implemented as soon as possible once the solutions were developed. The only other option, as already mentioned, was the 90mm, as per the T53 series and eventually M36, 



Anlushac11 #17 Posted Jan 03 2015 - 04:46

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When US forces landed ashore in North Africa in November 1942 the standard anti tank vehicle was the M3 GMC, basically a M3 halftrack with a 75mm L/40 gun firing over front of vehicle. When dug in and camouflaged tehy worked well. When spotted tehy were sitting ducks and suffered heavy casualties in north Africa.

 

By early 1943 the M10 GMC had appeared in Tunisia armed with the 76.2mm M7 3" anti tank gun. This proved very successful at killing the German vehicles. Tigers were encountered but n small enough numbers that arty and air strikes were called in to deal with those. I dare say US encountered more Tigers in Italy than in all of Normandy campaign.

 

M10 GMC entered production Sept 1942 and ended production in Dec 1943.

 

M10 replacement was the T71 GMC which became the M36 GMC. The M36 was basically a M10 hull with a newly designed turret to handle the 90mm main gun (A lot of it related to large turret bustle in rear to counterweight longer and heavier 90mm gun, bustle was hollow to allow ready round storage). Some M4A3 Sherman hulls were adapted to take 90mm ammo and were fitted with the M36 turret to make the M36B1 GMC which is what Walter posted picture of.

 

So here we have a timeline...

 

M10 entered production in Sept 1942, T71 GMC design work started September 1942, two months before Tigers arrival.

M10 GMC entered combat Jan 1943

T71 GMC started testing two months later in March 1943

T71 accepted for small limited production run November 1943.

T71 accepted by US Army in April 1944 as M36 GMC

M36 enters combat Sept 1944

 

Tiger was encountered only rarely and Panther had not arrived yet so there was no sense of urgency as Tank Destroyer Command felt their M10 GMC and soon to arrive M18 GMC are perfectly adequate for job. Army Ground Forces shares this opinion.

 

Arrival of Tiger in November 1942 kinda rattles that confidence.

 

Once accepted the M36 arrived in combat about 4 months later which is about normal time for vehicle to go from acceptance, get first production run from factory to ships on east coast, ship vehicles to combat zone, distribute to troops and familiarize said troops, and then go into combat.

 

The short answer: The tank destroyer that would become the M36 was already on drawing boards before M10 had even made it to the troops.

 

The T53 GMC was just a really bad design for a tank destroyer.

 

Soviets first encountered Tiger I in Leningrad sector in November 1942, knocked several out due to completely inept deployment by Germans in terrain totally unsuited for Tiger (wooded swamp), captured one, studied it and gave full intel report to Brits and Americans.

 

Brits captured 131 in North Africa in April 1943 and shipped it home to do in depth detailed analysis. US was given a copy of that report. Since Soviets had their own Tiger to study dont know if Brits sent copy of their report to Soviets.

 

If situation had become urgent Ordnance Board was prepared to start production of T20E3 and T23E3 as the M27 and M27B1 with torsion bar suspension, T23 turret as seen on E8 Sherman with 76mm main gun, M4A3 Ford V8 engine from Sherman, and M4A3's transmission.

 

T23E3 evolved into T26E3 which entered combat IIRC Feb 1945 with Tiger Force. This became the M26 Pershing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Edited by Anlushac11, Jan 03 2015 - 05:03.


Trakks #18 Posted Jan 03 2015 - 08:06

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View PostRudedog1b, on Jan 02 2015 - 13:15, said:

 

Look the people who were making those decisions  were not the ones burning to death and getting blown up out in the field.

 

They were concerned with production number, obviously not saving lives.  If they were concerned they would have  listened to Patton and taken his suggestions seriously.

 

They knew the data, and also knew that the production machine was expensive to retool.

 

The reason why the M4 Sherman and all it's variants were so successful was because they could be built cheaply and quickly. This enabled them to be fielded in large numbers that the German factories could not match. The M4 could slug it out toe to toe against anything up to a Tiger at which point they needed to adopt wolf pack tactics to guarantee a kill. The German tanks were over-engineered, expensive, and took too long to build. I saw a documentary once where they did an analysis of the parts that went into a Tiger and they found that some of them were built to have a 20 year lifespan before needing replacement. The average life expectancy of a Tiger once it rolled off the assembly line was 3-6 months, maybe 9 tops. Why would you engineer parts to last 20 years in a vehicle that will be destroyed a few months later? That's crazy and unnecessarily expensive. The Shermans didn't have that problem. Nothing was over-engineered. They knew about how long to expect them to last so they built them to that specification. If they lasted longer it was considered a bonus. It was also a highly adaptable platform as evidenced by the many variants that were spawned from it. By designing the Sherman the way they did, they actually saved more lives than were lost as a result of design deficiencies because sheer numbers and tactics more than made up the difference in capabilities against the higher tier German armor. The German armored units were basically doomed from the moment the first Shermans started arriving in large numbers. If the allies had tried designing tanks that matched or exceeded the German tanks in all areas it would have taken longer to design and build them, would have been more costly and there might not have been enough of them available to make a big enough push against the German front lines when they really needed to. With the Sherman, the allies pretty much pulled off a zergling rush against the Germans and overwhelmed them. 

Edited by Trakks, Jan 03 2015 - 08:32.


Slayer_Jesse #19 Posted Jan 03 2015 - 13:00

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View PostThe_Chieftain, on Jan 02 2015 - 22:20, said:

 

The original plan was that the 75mm would be replaced in the anti-tank role by the 57mm (6pr). It had a much higher muzzle velocity, and thus was more capable against armor than the larger 75mm. The problem was that it was discovered in testing that the theoretical advantage was limited: At ranges over about 500 yards, the 75mm actually retained more energy and thus penetrating power. Since the US Army wasn't interested in AP effectiveness at only 500m and less, the plan to use the 57mm in the next TD vehicle was scrapped (The T48 Gun Motor Carriage), and pretty much all those built were given to the UK and USSR. That left the job down to the 3", which was being used in the towed gun and in the expedient TDs (M5, M10, M9), and which was too heavy to put into the M4, and the 76mm which was implemented as soon as possible once the solutions were developed. The only other option, as already mentioned, was the 90mm, as per the T53 series and eventually M36, 

huh, is the 6 pounder thing modeled ingame? if it is, the 75 might be better on the grant at long ranges.

View PostAnlushac11, on Jan 02 2015 - 22:46, said:

 

 

The short answer: The tank destroyer that would become the M36 was already on drawing boards before M10 had even made it to the troops.

 

 

Ah, thanks guys! Anlushac, you did a really nice writeup.


Edited by Slayer_Jesse, Jan 03 2015 - 13:09.


SafariJohn #20 Posted Jan 03 2015 - 14:58

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View PostSlayer_Jesse, on Jan 03 2015 - 06:00, said:

huh, is the 6 pounder thing modeled ingame? if it is, the 75 might be better on the grant at long ranges.

 

 I'm pretty sure it's not modeled.




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