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Armored Board talks 90mm


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The_Chieftain #1 Posted Sep 18 2015 - 01:29

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I thought you might be interested in the minutes of a meeting that the Armored Board held on 17th May 1944 which I came across in the Archives. It’s not particularly long, but does shed some light on a vehicle which has come up from time to time. The 90mm Sherman. So, to the minutes. (Remember, meetings are defined as events where one takes minutes and wastes hours)

1. (List of attendees, omitted for space)

2. General Waldron [Requirements section, AGF] outlined the reason for the meeting – To discuss T25 and T26 tanks. Colonel Douglass [LTC, Armored Board) reported no major failures on our test tanks. The only real failure to date was the elevating mechanism on the Medium Heavy Tank, T26E1. [Chieftain’s note: Yes, it actually says “Medium Heavy Tank”]

3. Colonel Dean [Requirements section, AGF] stated that Colonel Colby [Office Chief of Ordnance, Detroit] and he had had a conference in Washington and that the requirements of the European Theater of Operations in connection with these two tanks were discussed. ETO demands seventy (70) rounds of major caliber ammunition, regardless of the caliber. Colonel Colby stated that seventy one (71) rounds of ammunition can be stowed in the T25 and T26 tanks. Twelve (12) rounds will be stowed in the turret. It was brought out that stowage items may have to be sacrificed or moved to other places to obtain seventy (70) rounds. It is believed that seventy (70) or seventy-one (71) rounds can be stowed if all other matters are subordinated. The turret will be crowded and access to the driver’s compartment will probably not be possible. ETO requires that the bow machine gun be retained. The front plate will be a weak spot but must be accepted. The bow machine gunner is wanted by the theater. Eighteen (18) rounds could be restowed in that place in a removable rack.

4. a. The ground pressure on the new tanks should be reduced, if possible. The application of the T26 suspension to the T25 tank was discussed. 3,000 pounds of weight would be added but the ground pressure would be reduced to 11psi. This tank suspension should require considerably less maintenance because of its overstrength. Office Chief of Ordnance – Detroit estimates the weight of the medium tank M4 with 90mm gun as 84,000 pounds, while the Board estimates 80,500. These estimates are very close together for separate calculation.

b. Cross-country mobility is of paramount importance. The Medium Tank, M4, with 90mm gun cannot meet the requirement for the mobility of the Medium Tank M4A3(75mm) or better. The T25 and T26 tanks meet this mobility requirement. Width is also an important consideration, but the Army Regulations and Engineer equipment are being changed to meet our weights and tank widths.

5. Office Chief of Ordnance – Detroit would not agree to the use of the Medium Tank, M4, to meet the 1945 requirements for 90mm gun tanks. Medium Tank, M4, with 90mm gun should not be used unless it is a better tank than the Medium Heavy Tank T26, with 90mm gun. While it might be possible to design and build a 90mm gun turret for the M4 tank, it will not be possible to get the 90mm guns before the T25 and T26 tanks are in production. Seventy-two (72) rounds of ammunition can be stowed in the Medium Tank M4 in the same manner as in Medium Tank T26. General Barnes stated that the production of 90mm guns is the bottleneck in the construction of these tanks.  The production of 90mm guns was completely stopped; it must be started again from the beginning. Orders must be placed now for any guns that are desired a year from now. Ordnance expects to produce one hundred twenty five (125) 90mm gun T26 tanks by January 1945. That production will build up to four hundred (400) per month during 1945. General Barnes stated that Fisher and Chrysler will be set up to produce T25 and T26 tanks. If a larger order of tanks is forthcoming at this time, it will be possible to produce tanks at a faster rate than four hundred (400) per month.

6. It is thought that the 105mm howitzer should be provided by present production to obtain the requirements of the European Theater of Operations. The Armored Board recommended the use of Medium Tank, M4, with 105mm Howitzer, as approved by Office Chief of Ordnance-Detroit, with sixty-six (66) rounds of ammunition. Twelve (12) more rounds can be added if desired, but will spoil the stowage arrangement. When a satisfactory turret for the 105mm howitzer is developed, production can be gradually shifted to the 105mm in the T25 tank.

7. Colonel Colby stated that tanks were being set aside at Detroit for restowage study; one is being made up at Fisher and one at Chevrolet. Stowage in the tank at Chevrolet should be complete within three weeks. Colonel Williams requested that the Armored Board be allowed to restow a tank here. General Waldron approved. Colonel Heath stated that we could quickly stow a tank without the finished clips and other final bric-abrac.

8. Colonel Machle stated that the 90mm gun as installed at present is a one-shot weapon. He wanted to know what was being done to eliminate the gunner’s obscuration problem. He inquired if any steps were being taken to adopt a muzzle brake or special ammunition. General Barnes replied that this is an A-1 project as far as Ordnance is concerned, and that a detailed test is being run at Aberdeen on the muzzle brake. An answer on the adoption of the muzzle brake is expected shortly. He stated that the indications are that a muzzle brake may affect accuracy. Colonel Williams [Armored Board]  stated that tests conducted by the Armored Board on the 76mm gun did not indicate a significant effect on the accuracy of the weapon. Colonel Machle stated that the present tank lacks space for proper ammunition stowage and wanted to know what could be done to increase the height of the tank. Colonel Colby stated that it would cost about one (1) ton per inch increase in height and that it would be very undesireable to increase either the weight or the height of either the T25 and T26.

9. General Barnes stated that the German Tiger Tank weighs sixty-two (62) tons compared to forty-three (43) tons for the T26. The effective armor is about the same. The 90mm is slightly better than the old 88mm gun. No information is available to show that the new 88mm gun is installed in tanks. Much of the information available on foreign guns is not reliable. The Ordnance Department is going to supply actual test data on foreign guns to the service boards.

10 Colonel Douglass inquired about the solution of the carburetion problem. Colonel Colby replied that Ford engineers were working on the problem, which was not yet solved.

 --------------------------------- 

So, observations.

Firstly, and most obviously, the 90mm Sherman. It has been stated before that production of the M4 with the T26 turret couldn’t really be put into place any faster than T26 itself, and now I have a record of who actually said it and why. Plus, it seems, that the Armored Board weren’t all that enthralled by it anyway, given the reductions in mobility that the tank would incur.

As an aside, the picture above is frequently stated as an M4A3, though the engine deck indicates it’s a radial-engined M4.

The other point which strikes to mind is just how much emphasis is placed on ammunition capacity. In other readings, it is frequently commented by both the development and using arms that they wanted the smallest possible gun that they could fit onto a vehicle which would do the job. Penetration and accuracy was to be obtained by velocity, not caliber. Not only would this make a lighter gun, but, more importantly, more rounds could be fired. It was to the point that it seems that capacity was so important that there was serious consideration to making the tank physically bigger just to take the ammo comfortably. I’m not sure if this reflected a belief that supply would be difficult due to capacity of the supply lines to reach the front, or a belief that the tanks would be moving so quickly that they just didn’t want to stop to rearm until they had to.

As for the bow machinegun, one reason I've seen listed for why it was desired to be maintained was that it was felt that itr was the only weapon on the tank capable of being effectively used when on the move. This brings us back to the previous article on Sherman's gun stabilisatrion, and the difference between its effectiveness and its perceived effectiveness.

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Walter_Sobchak #2 Posted Sep 19 2015 - 15:58

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Good stuff!

Metagross555 #3 Posted Sep 19 2015 - 16:21

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Pssst WG 90mm M4A3E2 maybe? :coin:

Edited by Metagross555, Sep 19 2015 - 16:22.


lewismwagner #4 Posted Sep 19 2015 - 20:07

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awesome cool



BlackFire35 #5 Posted Sep 19 2015 - 20:37

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View PostMetagross555, on Sep 19 2015 - 07:21, said:

Pssst WG 90mm M4A3E2 maybe? :coin:

 

M4A3 with the T26 turret and a 90mm gun would make an excellent premium.



DeryBRash #6 Posted Sep 19 2015 - 20:43

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Very good article , love reading up on these kind of tanks that I had no clue were out there.

panzerkampfwagen9991 #7 Posted Sep 19 2015 - 21:14

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View PostBlackFire35, on Sep 19 2015 - 20:37, said:

 

M4A3 with the T26 turret and a 90mm gun would make an excellent premium.

 

If it's tier 7, I might buy it. Tier 8, no. 

ZYKLOP_ #8 Posted Sep 19 2015 - 21:27

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Yup, as soon as I saw that Sherman I thought, "there's a premium tank".

 

How soon? Any guesses.

 

 

 

WOHOO - Japan 34, South Africa 32. If you know what that means, and my favourite underdog team Georgia get an upset too. FANTASTC!


Edited by ZYKLOP_, Sep 19 2015 - 21:28.


Redwing6 #9 Posted Sep 19 2015 - 23:52

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View PostZYKLOP_, on Sep 19 2015 - 20:27, said:

Yup, as soon as I saw that Sherman I thought, "there's a premium tank".

 

How soon? Any guesses.

 

 

 

WOHOO - Japan 34, South Africa 32. If you know what that means, and my favourite underdog team Georgia get an upset too. FANTASTC!

 

There are still several dozen Soviet T8 clones to be introduced, then of course right after that, there is the issue w/the US Prem TD...right after that...

stalkervision #10 Posted Sep 20 2015 - 01:11

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View PostBlackFire35, on Sep 19 2015 - 14:37, said:

 

M4A3 with the T26 turret and a 90mm gun would make an excellent premium.

 

and that is exactly why we won't get it. :)

CK16 #11 Posted Sep 20 2015 - 03:02

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View Poststalkervision, on Sep 19 2015 - 18:11, said:

 

and that is exactly why we won't get it. :)

 

Or it will be an exclusive clam rewards jelly tonk :P

Edited by CK16, Sep 20 2015 - 03:06.


jtemple507 #12 Posted Sep 20 2015 - 03:05

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Very nice write-up, the main source I've been using for learning about tanks has so much Western bias it's ridiculous and there's only about a paragraph mentioning the Pershing before it jumps into the Pattons.

iOneHitDelete #13 Posted Sep 20 2015 - 03:41

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coool so awesome

Anlushac11 #14 Posted Sep 20 2015 - 14:51

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I am firmly against a M4A3 with T26 turret and 90mm gun being put in game.

 

Why?

 

Because I believe needs would be better served with a M36B1 Premium tank destroyer (M4A3 hull with M36 Jackson turret and 90mm gun)

 

Three things that struck me from the report

 

1) The acute focus on maximum ammunition capacity. My first thought was I wondered if this was related to the practice of some tankers loading extra ammo beyond max stowage. If safe stowage was increased would this eliminate the risk of overlaoding with ammo.

 

2) The interest in raising the height of the T26. Was surprised to read that.

 

3) The lack of data on the 88mm L/71. By 1944 knocked out examples of tank destroyers armed with the 88mm L/71 should have been examined both in Italy and Eastern Front. Im thinking primarily Nashorn and Ferdinand/Elefant.


Edited by Anlushac11, Sep 20 2015 - 14:52.


Legiondude #15 Posted Sep 20 2015 - 15:06

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View PostAnlushac11, on Sep 20 2015 - 08:51, said:

I am firmly against a M4A3 with T26 turret and 90mm gun being put in game.

 

Why?

 

Because I believe needs would be better served with a M36B1 Premium tank destroyer (M4A3 hull with M36 Jackson turret and 90mm gun)

As far as we know, M36B1 remains on the books as an alternative hull first before ever being shunted to the possibility of becoming a premium tank



Gwennifer #16 Posted Sep 20 2015 - 18:26

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I could envision the obsession with such a high ammo count, but not the rigidity of the requirement... Most of the article was spent explaining that 70 rounds is iffy to the Board. I guess if you don't ask, then there's no official record of you trying...

Hurk #17 Posted Sep 20 2015 - 21:33

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ammo capacity was critical to prevent the need to resupply. we were using tanks to support infantry, and the field wanted the tanks as mobile as the infantry they support. going back to an ammo depot to reload meant leaving your infantry, or trucking the ammo forward, which wasnt ideal. 

 

while the movie Fury isnt really a great example of a tank, the "send you here, send you there" aspect was spot on. 



GermanarchitectK #18 Posted Sep 20 2015 - 21:37

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View PostAnlushac11, on Sep 20 2015 - 05:51, said:

3) The lack of data on the 88mm L/71. By 1944 knocked out examples of tank destroyers armed with the 88mm L/71 should have been examined both in Italy and Eastern Front. Im thinking primarily Nashorn and Ferdinand/Elefant.

 

I think that the German tank crews were well-practiced at destroying the guns on their abandoned tanks when they had to leave them. When the tanks were knocked out without giving the crew a chance to do anything, maybe the guns were too badly damaged to bear close inspection.

jtemple507 #19 Posted Sep 20 2015 - 22:26

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View PostAnlushac11, on Sep 20 2015 - 07:51, said:

3) The lack of data on the 88mm L/71. By 1944 knocked out examples of tank destroyers armed with the 88mm L/71 should have been examined both in Italy and Eastern Front. Im thinking primarily Nashorn and Ferdinand/Elefant.

 

I doubt they managed to find a knocked-out Nashorn or Ferdinand/Elefant with a completely intact gun. Not to mention the problems of getting ammunition for testing it should one be found intact and getting the gun out of the torn-up tank has got to be a ridiculously difficult chore as well.

Legiondude #20 Posted Sep 20 2015 - 22:33

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A Ferdinand would eventually be captured after the Battle of Anzio, however that was still going on at the time of this meeting so...




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