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M4 Sherman "The Right Tank for the Wrong War"

M4 Sherman

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Flaxin_Waxin #41 Posted Sep 13 2017 - 22:38

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View PostThe_Chieftain, on Sep 13 2017 - 22:16, said:

 

Hmm... I would argue that in two ways. One, T-34 was a 1939/40 design. It is not reasonable to compare it with a 1943 design when we're talking about how good a tank was in 1940/41. As for the second line, the Germans never had the production capability to make enough Panzer IVs to counter the Allied forces. They had no choice but to attempt to redress the numerical differential in part by superior individual pieces of equipment. The problem was that although they attempted to build those superior pieces of equipment, they simply were not able to achieve tanks which were, in truth, superior. They had too many design flaws, some of which are incomprehensible (eg gunner's optics, size of turret), some were arguable either way (eg interleaved roadwheels), and some were simply an attempt to achieve a capability which the technology available simply could not meet (eg sufficient reliability for a vehicle of the weight)

 

 

You're certainly not wrong, and I think it was an issue that affected both countries throughout the war. The later T-34 variants (mostly the T-34-85) were almost equally cheap and plentiful to produce. Russia was far ahead on production for sure though (An estimated 84,000 T-34s were produced in total) and Germany couldn't compete. Would you say it was the only option for Germany to produce more "advanced," vehicles such as the Tiger to deal with the disparity? Even if we include all the variant designs such as the StuG, only about 8,000-9,000 PzKpfw. IVs were produced throughout the war. Germany likely didn't have any other option other than to go bigger, but I would argue it would have been better to pursue a simpler design. The "advanced," parts of the Panther and Tiger (the interleaved roadwheels for example) were arguably wasteful and less efficient. The Tiger was notoriously unreliable for all of it's majesty and fame. And let's not even begin to talk about the dismal failure that was the Jagdtiger...

 

To shorten that ramble, it would have been more efficient for Germany to simply upgrade the existing IVs and make them more advanced rather than pursuing bigger=better mentality. I think the war might have gone at least somewhat differently if the Panzer forces had been using PzKpfw. IVs with a few Panthers mixed in. 



BillT #42 Posted Sep 13 2017 - 22:40

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View PostThe_Chieftain, on Sep 13 2017 - 13:15, said:

Fundamentally, the question is "If the US could have had a T-34 of its own in 1940, would it have chosen to do so, or would it still have built something different?" I don't know if there truly is an answer to that counterfactual.

 

Certainly, it's all speculation, and I appreciate your insights.  Really, it's quite likely that even if we'd bought Christie's designs and worked toward our own T-34, the lack of budget and low priority of tank research would have delayed it until 1942 or later, anyway.  And engines would have been a problem.

 

Chieftain, there's a point I'd like your opinion on.  What prevented the US from standardizing a single engine for the M4? 

 

(I've read that we just couldn't build enough of any single engine, but that doesn't sound right.  Considering all the factories we had to build to produce nearly 50,000 Shermans, I can't see why a couple of extra engine factories would have been a problem.)



Da_Craw #43 Posted Sep 13 2017 - 23:17

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View PostBillT, on Sep 13 2017 - 15:40, said:

 

Certainly, it's all speculation, and I appreciate your insights.  Really, it's quite likely that even if we'd bought Christie's designs and worked toward our own T-34, the lack of budget and low priority of tank research would have delayed it until 1942 or later, anyway.  And engines would have been a problem.

 

Chieftain, there's a point I'd like your opinion on.  What prevented the US from standardizing a single engine for the M4? 

 

(I've read that we just couldn't build enough of any single engine, but that doesn't sound right.  Considering all the factories we had to build to produce nearly 50,000 Shermans, I can't see why a couple of extra engine factories would have been a problem.)

 

My personal theory on this is much akin to why LA didn't have a football team for decades.  It was more beneficial for the NFL to have the threat of a team moving to LA than it was to have a team in LA.  No one single engine manufacturer had leverage when there were multiple viable engines being used.  And I say leverage from the standpoint not just of economic leverage, but engineering leverage as well.  If any one of the engines developed a particularly nasty fault, or turned out to be more or less suitable for particular environments, we weren't stuck with a single supply chain.  The M4 operated in just about every harsh environment.  It would be surprising if the same engine was superior in the desert, arctic and tropical theaters.  That is just a theory, however. 

YANKEE137 #44 Posted Sep 14 2017 - 00:57

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View PostThe_Chieftain, on Sep 13 2017 - 19:15, said:

 

Mmm... I take your points, though I'm not sure I find them convincing.

Yes, the T-34 is arguably the best tank in the world in 1940/41. I think, though, one must also investigate the question of why the US wasn't using the designs. Yes, I know that Christie was a bit difficult to work with, but does that invalidate the reasons that the US Army may have stuck with the bogies, such as rugged reliability and internal space? Again, if there was ever any one country which sacrificed anything necessary in terms of capability to make sure that the tank built would do what it was expected to do as effectively as possible at all times, it was the US. One might also inquire as to how US tank design may have progressed had they had the impetus of being a continental power without the safety provided by an ocean secured by a large Navy, even given the fiscal constraints the US Army was under in the 1930s. Perhaps the US tank of 1940 might actually be a bit better than the M2 Medium which it had, though there are equally arguments that it wouldn't have given the thinking behind US tank design requirements. After all, the 37mm was a perfectly reasonable anti-tank gun, a position generally shared by Germany and the UK at the time, after all. 

 

Fundamentally, the question is "If the US could have had a T-34 of its own in 1940, would it have chosen to do so, or would it still have built something different?" I don't know if there truly is an answer to that counterfactual.

 

​When Aberdeen Proving Ground's Ordnance Museum was open back in the 1970's they had several T-34's in the collection that were, according to the placard sent by the Soviets in 1942. Where they are today is anyone's guess. So Detroit had at least examined them.

The_Chieftain #45 Posted Sep 14 2017 - 06:39

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Quote

(I've read that we just couldn't build enough of any single engine, but that doesn't sound right.  Considering all the factories we had to build to produce nearly 50,000 Shermans, I can't see why a couple of extra engine factories would have been a problem.)

 

I have not seen anything official on the matter either. My guess, proprietary rights. GM is not going to hand over the blueprints to its engine to Chrysler (and pay licensing fees) when they have their own perfectly servicable motor to put into things. Note that the P51 was created when North American suggested they didn't want to build the requested Curtis P40s. The Sherman design was owned by the Army, they didn't care who built it. It's also worth noting that not all engines were being built at the same time. As the Ford V8 phased in, the Chrysler multibank phased out, as did the radial.

 

There is another possibility. Part of the reason the Aussies went with the cloverleaf Cadillac in the AC1 was that the tooling required to start a motor production line for a new American engine wasn't going to be available for most of a year.



darienjames #46 Posted Sep 14 2017 - 08:57

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View PostFlaxin_Waxin, on Sep 13 2017 - 21:36, said:

The T-34 wasn't really the best because it was superior in technical characteristics...quite the opposite in fact. If you take a look at surviving T-34s up close and then look at something like a Panther or Tiger, you can see a massive difference. The T-34 was cheap and easy to produce en masse, like a lot of Soviet weaponry at the time. One-on-one against a German tank such as a PzKpfw. IV...I'm not sure it would win. The standard T-34 or T-34-76 was easily superior to the Panzer III though, which was the main competition at the time. Even when the Panthers and Tigers came around...there were just so many T-34s and Shermans. The German tanks were far superior in technical stats, but the numbers were skewed. It was never Tiger vs. Sherman or Panther vs. T-34. It was 1 Tiger vs. 5 Shermans, or 1 Panther vs 10 T-34s. In the end, I guess it ended up being sheer numbers that made the T-34 so effective, it was just so cheap to produce.

 

The case could be made that Germany could have done far better just making more PzKpfw. IV tanks rather than the more expensive V  and VI varieties.

 

There is some cherry-picking of technical stats when people say that.  Which stats, exactly?  Usually, people just mean "armour thickness" or "muzzle velocity" when they talk of great Panther tech specs.  Sure, those specs are important, but what about other tech specs, like fuel economy?  German tanks had horrible fuel economy, which was a really big deal and therefore a really important technical stat.  A Panther burned roughly twice as much fuel per mile as a T-34-85.  That was a pretty big deal, in a war that was so much about logistics that it could have been referred to as the War of Supply Chain Management.


Edited by darienjames, Sep 14 2017 - 08:59.


strYker555 #47 Posted Sep 14 2017 - 15:40

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Good to see sensible people debunking anti M4 Sherman myths and propaganda. US and allied ground commanders made it work and were achieving their objectives, of course with supporting arms and excellent logistics. 

The_Chieftain #48 Posted Sep 14 2017 - 16:22

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On paper, the German fuel economy seems to have been surprisingly good, actually. Unfortunately, I have not seen a 'service test'. I know how much fuel it takes a Sherman to drive 200 miles because I've found the test report saying "We filled it up, drove it 200 miles, and then measured the difference", and the number ended up fairly similar to the official range of Panther per litre. Of course, the question unresolved is just how close Panther or Pz IV got to their official listings for fuel economy.

Ie_Shima #49 Posted Sep 14 2017 - 16:40

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View PostKenshin2kx, on Sep 13 2017 - 21:59, said:

 

Well, that is part of the context which would be altered by an America influenced by the likes of Christie and events of the period like the Spanish Civil War ... so, I would hazard the guess that had the U.S. started on the Christie prompt with a keen eye for relevant world events ... the outcome would be a better T-34  a tank that potentially could manifest as a better balance of basic technical superiority with American ergonomics and similar ease of mass production ... made possible by early incorporation of better inline power plants being developed and perfected during the early 30's ... case in point the Allison 1710 - which if modified for durability could serve as a universal tank engine with good power scalability - similar to the Meteor/Merlin conversion for the British.   In fact, one could say that basic design emphasis would make the Allison a potentially better tank engine due to the fact that it was mechanically simpler with fewer moving parts (reportedly between 35 -45% less parts) and so, theoretically more robust and reliable (and no deficit for high altitude conditions).  Now add Torsion Bar suspension which was apparently being tested in the U.S. in the early 30's*   

 

So, fantasizing here, a armor profile inspired by Christie, ruggedized engine by Allison, test bed for torsion bars and a turret mounted 76 mm?

 

You have to remember the timing of Christie, and any other tank designer for that matter, offering new designs to the US.  We had a decade or more of peace after the last war, all of Europe was still either in ruins, crippling debt, or both.  Who the hell were we going to end up fighting?  Most likely no one, so what was the point of buying and building unproven and relatively untested tank designs from someone who everyone agreed was a very rude, especially when we had no one to fight.  Not to mention we already had some more pressing problems to deal with, like suddenly not having an economy thanks to the Great Depression popping up a year after Christie first approached the army.  

 

There was also the US tank doctrine at the time.  At that point, tanks were seen as infantry support and infantry support only, much like CVs were supposed to support the BBs of the navy and not actually take a front stage role.  Christies designs all relied on speed and maneuverability and were supposed to exploit breakthroughs, much like how Germany and later Russia and Patton would do.  But that was the exact opposite of what the current doctrine was.  Tanks were supposed to be armored guns that could move with the infantry, not fast assault vehicles, which is what Christie had designed them to be.  

 

Then, just to top it off, he had the gall to conduct illegal dealings with foreign nations and sold tank designs to them, something which was highly illegal at the time, (and still is) and could have landed him in jail with an extensive sentence.  Hell, just to show how shady his dealings were, the tanks he sold to the USSR were shipped as farming equipment.  If that had gotten out at the time, there was no way on earth the US would ever buy anything from him again.  

 

So, despite overwhelming pressure from the higher ups to accept the design and begin building it, the Tank Board, and several members of the government, axed the deal before it began, and Christie's attitude sealed the coffin.  Even though he returned several times over the years to offer his designs again, Christie kept getting shot down by doctrine policy, a stubborn Tank Board, his own personality, and the fact that the government was a bit busy dealing with more important matters, like not having money to buy said tanks.  

 

Ironically, Christie died broke, with tanks that he either designed, or were based of his designs, winning the war in nearly every theater, from T34s to Crusaders and Cromwells.  


Edited by Ie_Shima, Sep 14 2017 - 16:43.


Hans_Mo1eman #50 Posted Sep 14 2017 - 17:54

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From what I've read and watched on the topic the primary threat to German armour during the mid to late war was allied air power which was superior in both quality and quantity. Thus the "quality" advantage of the tiger and panther in tank vs tank engagement did not necessarily manifest decisively in real combat. Meaning the m4 was not really supposed to fight them without support in most circumstances and actially served well for infantry support and vs German fortifications. 

 

This is my take although I'm not really a history or tank buff. 



Kenshin2kx #51 Posted Sep 14 2017 - 18:15

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View PostIe_Shima, on Sep 14 2017 - 05:40, said:

 

You have to remember the timing of Christie, and any other tank designer for that matter, offering new designs to the US.  We had a decade or more of peace after the last war, all of Europe was still either in ruins, crippling debt, or both.  Who the hell were we going to end up fighting?  Most likely no one, so what was the point of buying and building unproven and relatively untested tank designs from someone who everyone agreed was a very rude, especially when we had no one to fight.  Not to mention we already had some more pressing problems to deal with, like suddenly not having an economy thanks to the Great Depression popping up a year after Christie first approached the army.  

 

There was also the US tank doctrine at the time.  At that point, tanks were seen as infantry support and infantry support only, much like CVs were supposed to support the BBs of the navy and not actually take a front stage role.  Christies designs all relied on speed and maneuverability and were supposed to exploit breakthroughs, much like how Germany and later Russia and Patton would do.  But that was the exact opposite of what the current doctrine was.  Tanks were supposed to be armored guns that could move with the infantry, not fast assault vehicles, which is what Christie had designed them to be.  

 

Then, just to top it off, he had the gall to conduct illegal dealings with foreign nations and sold tank designs to them, something which was highly illegal at the time, (and still is) and could have landed him in jail with an extensive sentence.  Hell, just to show how shady his dealings were, the tanks he sold to the USSR were shipped as farming equipment.  If that had gotten out at the time, there was no way on earth the US would ever buy anything from him again.  

 

So, despite overwhelming pressure from the higher ups to accept the design and begin building it, the Tank Board, and several members of the government, axed the deal before it began, and Christie's attitude sealed the coffin.  Even though he returned several times over the years to offer his designs again, Christie kept getting shot down by doctrine policy, a stubborn Tank Board, his own personality, and the fact that the government was a bit busy dealing with more important matters, like not having money to buy said tanks.  

 

Ironically, Christie died broke, with tanks that he either designed, or were based of his designs, winning the war in nearly every theater, from T34s to Crusaders and Cromwells.  

 

What you say makes sense ... particularly about the depression and the fact that we Americans were not embroiled in a 'focusing' war at that point in time ... I guess the thing that I find most disappointing here is that it amounted to an all or nothing outcome ... personally, I think I would have opted for a middle ground compromise in the form of 'extended research procurement and funding' within the context of ongoing developments in the field (which if done dilligently, would not cost massive amounts, but possibly shed some light on our then dubious tank doctrine).  So, yes, no whole hearted purchase ... but rather funded and ongoing background research for the eventuality of effective armaments acquisition in the form of a home grown effective arms solutions that did not require the expediency of INSTANTANEOUS technogenesis when hostilities do (or did) break out.  

 

After all, the way humanity was at that time (and still is for that matter) ... peace is not something that one can take for granted, rather its more like Roosevelt's "Speak softly, but carry a BIG stick ..."  ... or in this case, at least have the tentative plans ready and waiting for the world changing "Beeg Stick Mk. 1, Infantry CQB Weapon".

 

Haha ... daydreams of an american Christie derived 'BT" like light assault tank armed with a large caliber recoilless rifle as primary armament ... that would be intended as a shoot and scoot equivalent of a Hellcat with sharper and longer ranged teeth ... a tractor blade would be mounted on the back ( to complement the optimal gun orientation to fire from the back) and used as needed to create camo barricades for added stealth and earth armor.  So it would be SHOOT (until spotted) ... RUNWAAAAAYYYYYYY (really fast)   Wash, rinse and repeat ... :D

 


Edited by Kenshin2kx, Sep 14 2017 - 18:51.


ianizor1000 #52 Posted Sep 14 2017 - 19:34

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View PostIkanator, on Sep 11 2017 - 13:40, said:

 

Well, it couldn't have been WWI. Advances in tank design and construction after WWII limited its later use. And regardless of whatever you might think of its tactical limitations there was an extent to which the logistics factors that effectively put limits on its weight and size overrode other considerations. As the Germans found out to their dismay what were arguably the best tanks in the world at that time were pretty much useless if you couldn't get enough of them to where the battles were being fought.

 

Also, if I understand things correctly, there was a problem with our doctrine. Tanks were not seen initially as primary anti-tank platforms. That role was to be filled by anti-tank guns and dedicated tank destroyer formations using specialty vehicles. Tanks were to be used for infantry support, and more importantly making and exploiting breakthroughs in weak sections of an enemy line. The Germans did not have such doctrinal hang ups and did not have to worry about making their tanks small and light enough to be easily shipped on freighters and railroad cars to get where they were going. So it is not too surprising that they could get tanks that were better one on one in an anti-tank role than an M4 was.

 

When all is said and done at the end of the day it comes down to the saying that I have heard attributed variously to either Lenin or Stalin. "Quantity has a quality all its own". The problem is that if you're relying on the quantity side of that divide then you have to be willing and able to take some serious lumps if necessary. We did so. We produced overwhelming numbers of M4s compared to what the Germans could produce of their designs and we were able to get them where we needed them and keep them supplied. The Germans' quality advantage was not sufficient to overcome that and so while they were able to "win" various tank vs tank engagements, they also lost more tanks than they could afford to and thus the war as a whole.

 

Could we have produced a heavier tank? We had the Pershing, we just did not have it in large numbers. The Pershing based on what I have heard was able to fill the tank vs tank role pretty well. Then the question becomes, if we had attempted to seriously mass produce the Pershing instead of the M4, could we have gotten enough of them where we needed them to actually get the job done that needed to be done? That's the question that I can't answer. I don't know the extent to which logistical considerations would have limited the Pershing's ability to be shipped in large enough numbers to have been the primary tank that we used. But I would be willing to bet a cold beer that given what I have heard about problems with shipping controlling the design of the M4 we might not have been able to get enough Pershings into the European theater fast enough to have made the Normandy breakout if not even the landings themselves possible.

 

​You talk about how we had to be willing to take more lumps and we did, but if you look at the statistics, you'll notice that the allies on the western front (the ones using Shermans) destroyed more German tanks than they lost despite the Germans being on the defensive and having the advantage.

YANKEE137 #53 Posted Sep 14 2017 - 19:34

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My father came face to face with (probably) a Tiger in 1944. He was pulling guard duty at a road checkpoint alone. It was just getting light. He heard a tank approaching and he said he could tell it was German by the metallic "clickety click" of the tracks.  He was alone so he jumped into the woods and hid behind a tree. He heard the tank round the corner and stop, idling at the checkpoint. He was armed with an M-1 carbine and five rounds (his CO felt that five were all that were needed for sentry duty). My father leaned out from behind the tree trunk for a peak and found that the German TC was standing up in the hatch with a map in front of him. He was talking to the driver or someone on his microphone. He turned then and spotted my father looking at him. "All he had to do was nudge the gunner with his knee and the machine gun would have cut me in half." What my dad did next probably saved his life: he stepped out from behind the tree and snapped off a smart salute. The German returned the salute and went back to his map and the Tiger shortly drove off.

"What did you do then Dad?"

"Do?  I GOT THE JESUS OUT OF THERE, that's what you do".


Edited by YANKEE137, Sep 14 2017 - 19:58.


The_Chieftain #54 Posted Sep 14 2017 - 19:40

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View PostKenshin2kx, on Sep 14 2017 - 17:15, said:

 

What you say makes sense ... particularly about the depression and the fact that we Americans were not embroiled in a 'focusing' war at that point in time ... I guess the thing that I find most disappointing here is that it amounted to an all or nothing outcome ... personally, I think I would have opted for a middle ground compromise in the form of 'extended research procurement and funding' within the context of ongoing developments in the field (which if done dilligently, would not cost massive amounts, but possibly shed some light on our then dubious tank doctrine).  So, yes, no whole hearted purchase ... but rather funded and ongoing background research for the eventuality of effective armaments acquisition in the form of a home grown effective arms solutions that did not require the expediency of INSTANTANEOUS technogenesis when hostilities do (or did) break out.  

 

 

I think it is unfair to say that the US did not do that do a large extent anyway.

Excluding the M1918/21 which isn't a traditional 'Christie' design, and the M1928 which seems to have been a demo model not paid for by the Army, the US Army acquired for testing or service 31 traditional Christie suspension tanks in the 1930s. 18 M2 Mediums were built in the 1930s, one or two T5 mediums, 89 Combat Car M1s, and a T7. So it's not as if the US Army did not give a significant amount of attention to the Christie design, being as some 30 out of 140 tanks purchased in the 1930s were Christie-based designs.



Ie_Shima #55 Posted Sep 14 2017 - 19:44

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View PostKenshin2kx, on Sep 14 2017 - 18:15, said:

 

What you say makes sense ... particularly about the depression and the fact that we Americans were not embroiled in a 'focusing' war at that point in time ... I guess the thing that I find most disappointing here is that it amounted to an all or nothing outcome ... personally, I think I would have opted for a middle ground compromise in the form of 'extended research procurement and funding' within the context of ongoing developments in the field (which if done diligently, would not cost massive amounts, but possibly shed some light on our then dubious tank doctrine).  So, yes, no whole hearted purchase ... but rather funded and ongoing background research for the eventuality of effective armaments acquisition in the form of a home grown effective arms solutions that did not require the expediency of INSTANTANEOUS technogenesis when hostilities do (or did) break out.  

 

After all, the way humanity was at that time (and still is for that matter) ... peace is not something that one can take for granted, rather its more like Roosevelt's "Speak softly, but carry a BIG stick ..."  ... or in this case, at least have the tentative plans ready and waiting for the world changing "Beeg Stick Mk. 1, Infantry CQB Weapon".

 

Haha ... daydreams of an american Christie derived 'BT" like light assault tank armed with a large caliber recoilless rifle as primary armament ... that would be intended as a shoot and scoot equivalent of a Hellcat with sharper and longer ranged teeth ... a tractor blade would be mounted on the back ( to complement the optimal gun orientation to fire from the back) and used as needed to create camo barricades for added stealth and earth armor.  So it would be SHOOT (until spotted) ... RUNWAAAAAYYYYYYY (really fast)   Wash, rinse and repeat ... :D

 

 

​Unfortunately, just like many other national armies at the time, the US military had become calcified in its peace.  A common saying is that generals plan to win the last war, meaning that they, more often than not, base their doctrines and training and equipment off what worked last time. 

 

America, who got to WWI very late, where infantry supported by armor was just then winning the day, based our inter-war doctrines off that idea, of tanks as a support role to well trained and equipped infantry, who take the brunt of the fighting, backed by armor and artillery.  This did end up working well, in the jack-of-all-trades style of war, but resulted in times where tanks made to support infantry went up against tanks that wiped them off the board.  

 

France, of course, decided that impenetrable fixed fortification was the best way to go, since that was what had saved them last time, and thus squandered their tank corps, relying on slow, heavily armed and armored behemoths, that while doing quite well in actual battle, proved to be far to slow to actually fight effectively.  We all know how that ended.

 

Britain, the birthplace of the tank, and with longstanding traditions of how an army should work, broke its doctrine between slow, heavily armed and armored infantry tanks, like the Churchill series, and fast, mobile cavalry tanks, like the Crusader and Cromwell.  This resulted in tanks that did quite well in the roles they were built for, but failed miserably when they found themselves out of place.  It also meant that they didn't have a multi-role tank ready built and designed when war broke out, and they had to rely on Shermans from the US to fill that slot.   

 

This "single doctrine, single/few designs" ideas meant that any new ideas where either treated as jokes, stifled by old guard generals and black shoe admirals, or just outright ignored.  When WWII did come about, many of those ideas were dusted off, and many of those stick-in-the-mud leaders where replaced by younger, more modern, or at least more modernly thinking, men.  

 

Ironically, the nations that "lost" WWI, Germany and, to a degree, Russia, found themselves spared from this stagnation thanks to failing so badly in the last war.  Since they did fall into the same trap that the victors did, the idea that every future war would be fought the same way, they planned for new wars.  They also avoided having many of the once victorious generals remain in command, allowing for fresh ideas and new blood when all the other nations of the world were gathering dust.  Also, unlike the other nations, both Russia and Germany are lead by dictators, who have the final say, and more importantly, favorite generals and inventors. 

 

This helped Germany early on, with fast rapid attacks and powerful designs like the Panzer II, Panzer III, and Panzer IV.  But the same thing that helped them earlier hindered them later, with Hitler, egged on by designers like Porsche and Henschel and his own ego, wasted time, effort, and resources designing and building tanks that were not suited for the current situation of the war, when they needed defense instead of offense.  

 

Russia, of course, got the designs of Christie, and built off them.  Unfortunately they wasted a fair amount of the interwar years experimenting with dozens of designs that ended up failing in combat.  Which is one of the reasons they lost so badly early on.  

 

 

As for America building off Christies' designs and making a light assault tank: NOPE.  America was happy with its M2 mediums and M2/M3 light tanks.  Tanks fought with infantry, letting the foot soldiers spearhead the attack.  Anti-tank was handled by the appropriately named and employed AT guns.  No need to build a tank that fights other tanks, when they will never end up facing each other anyways: our doctrine forbids it.  Besides we're at peace, no need to build to many tanks.  Our troops did just fine in trucks with the word "tank" painted on the side during war games, they'll do fine in com- HOLY CRAP TIGER!!!   RUN AWAY!!!!!


Edited by Ie_Shima, Sep 14 2017 - 19:47.


Lethalhavoc #56 Posted Sep 14 2017 - 22:37

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I gotta say that this debate is rather silly.

 

Just having a Christie design, is not going to ultimately bring you to a T-34.

The British had tons of Christie designs and low and behold, they had nothing like the T-34.

 

You can't even argue that Stalin could/would have shared the design blueprints, tooling and molds with American industry, since Stalin didn't trust the west.

Then you must consider the fact that up until the actual invasion of Russia, Germany and Russia were in a non-aggression pact.

So it's not like the west exactly trusted Russia.

 

The US designed and built the Sherman to take on Panzer III's and IV's which it did, and did well in North Africa.

 

The Stalin quote of "quantity has a quality all it's own" came into play, not just for Russia, but for the west as well.

The US needed to arm itself and (re)arm numerous allied nations, who either lacked armour, or who's armoured qualities were lacking.

In an era of any weapon was considered better than none, the Sherman stands out as a better than average weapon.

 

 



FrozenKemp #57 Posted Sep 14 2017 - 22:37

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View PostHans_Mo1eman, on Sep 14 2017 - 11:54, said:

From what I've read and watched on the topic the primary threat to German armour during the mid to late war was allied air power which was superior in both quality and quantity. Thus the "quality" advantage of the tiger and panther in tank vs tank engagement did not necessarily manifest decisively in real combat. Meaning the m4 was not really supposed to fight them without support in most circumstances and actially served well for infantry support and vs German fortifications. 

 

This is my take although I'm not really a history or tank buff. 

 

From what I've read, the reports of # of tanks taken out by air strikes were actually massive overstatements. 

Kenshin2kx #58 Posted Sep 14 2017 - 23:42

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View PostThe_Chieftain, on Sep 14 2017 - 08:40, said:

 

I think it is unfair to say that the US did not do that do a large extent anyway.

Excluding the M1918/21 which isn't a traditional 'Christie' design, and the M1928 which seems to have been a demo model not paid for by the Army, the US Army acquired for testing or service 31 traditional Christie suspension tanks in the 1930s. 18 M2 Mediums were built in the 1930s, one or two T5 mediums, 89 Combat Car M1s, and a T7. So it's not as if the US Army did not give a significant amount of attention to the Christie design, being as some 30 out of 140 tanks purchased in the 1930s were Christie-based designs.

 

Hmmmm ... fair enough on the point of acquisition, we had a small fleet of the Christie inspired vehicles, but somehow, it seems to me that there is a gap in there regarding lessons learned from dissecting and acid testing these tanks?  As its been pointed out, all of these vehicles had their design strengths and weakness ... one would think that this would at the very least culminate into a design data for something generally more effective and refined ... or did this research manifest or influence the evolution of the M2, T5 or T7?

Edited by Kenshin2kx, Sep 14 2017 - 23:47.


Kenshin2kx #59 Posted Sep 15 2017 - 00:09

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View PostLethalhavoc, on Sep 14 2017 - 11:37, said:

I gotta say that this debate is rather silly.

 

Just having a Christie design, is not going to ultimately bring you to a T-34.

 

<Kenshin2kx>  This is true ... the greatest test would be actual usage in a war context, and Russia had a fair amount of that during that period.  

 

The British had tons of Christie designs and low and behold, they had nothing like the T-34.

 

<Kenshin2kx>  Hahaha true, but then again I don't understand how they think (even more than the Russians) ... 

 

You can't even argue that Stalin could/would have shared the design blueprints, tooling and molds with American industry, since Stalin didn't trust the west.

Then you must consider the fact that up until the actual invasion of Russia, Germany and Russia were in a non-aggression pact.

So it's not like the west exactly trusted Russia.

 

<Kenshin2kx>  Yes, but consider the nature of allies and potential enemies ... it can be argued that if anything, we would be more motivated to study and understand a potential enemy as opposed to an ally we trust.  So no, Stalin wouldn't give us any secrets ... no, more like steal them if important.

 

The US designed and built the Sherman to take on Panzer III's and IV's which it did, and did well in North Africa.

 

The Stalin quote of "quantity has a quality all it's own" came into play, not just for Russia, but for the west as well.

The US needed to arm itself and (re)arm numerous allied nations, who either lacked armour, or who's armoured qualities were lacking.

In an era of any weapon was considered better than none, the Sherman stands out as a better than average weapon.

 

<Kenshin2kx>  Yes, I'd agree, 'better than average' ... but in all honesty, if I had a son going to war, and they were a tanker, I'd unabashedly push for 'best in class'  or at the very least ... 'most survivable' as primary criteria ... better than average ... not so much.

 

 

 

 


Edited by Kenshin2kx, Sep 15 2017 - 00:11.


BillT #60 Posted Sep 15 2017 - 00:59

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View PostLethalhavoc, on Sep 14 2017 - 16:37, said:

I gotta say that this debate is rather silly.

 

 

Well, yeah.  That's the nature of alternate-history discussions.    The fact that things didn't turn out this way is very strong evidence that things wouldn't have turned out this way :-)  but it's still fun to speculate about what might have been.   Not only is it entertaining, it's also educational, because it forces you to learn about why things turned out as they did.







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