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The Chieftain's Hatch: Undergunned in Italy


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Au_leui_panzer #61 Posted Jan 15 2018 - 00:10

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View PostZinegata, on Jan 12 2018 - 03:15, said:

A close observation of actual tank vs tank engagements (wherein tanks actually shoot at each other instead of waiting for each other's tracks and engines to fall apart) would in fact reveal that they tended to be extremely rare, and that the Allied tankers generally gave as good as they got. The Brits tended to lose on a 1:1 basis, while the American study showed that the Sherman in Armored Divisions notched a 3.6:1 kill ratio in their favor. It didn't take five Shermans to kill a Panther. It in fact took four Panthers to kill a Sherman.

 

im not really immediately able to respond to your us 3.6:1 ratio you have there. the brit 1:1 ratio you give, most likely to be accurate would probably be for their duration in the war. hence at one time for some time, into 1943 easily they were fighting against ealry german armor, at one time their battles could be against pz1s of many types, pz2s of types, improving pz3s, plenty of them, pz4s of different, improving types. a comment on *our*, the us, 3.6:1 ratio, we got into this near the middle of the war,, and like i posted above a majority of ger military deployment was on or had been expent  on the eastern front. that was their most urgent and consequential theatre(s). we were the back door, once we got in france we had a much more urgent front(s) to the war effort. by then germany was being/had been ground down, mainly on the east, but also by the brits staying in the war, and their efforts. id like you to take one single sherman vs how many panthers do you want to copp-out to, one?alone? it ll slice you quik, if in most practices you take 5shermans, you engage panther (lets say for our example it somehow turns out to be a single1,) lets also say, for ease of our example, all crews have awareness, just for the example mind you, common practice here easily puts 3 of those shermans in jeopardy, the others (2) wont feel so secure either. calling in air-power wasnt , neither would it ever be a gimme. good chances you just have to slogg-it/slugg-it out. shermans lose all 1v1 battles to a pz mk5. unless you want to look it on paper, as we all do, this is 70years ago, so we have arm-chair talk. you *could* have a chance. thats on paper, in the history books, uuh 2 generations ago(from me, getting along further now the last few decades, as time passes).



Zinegata #62 Posted Jan 15 2018 - 07:05

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im not really immediately able to respond to your us 3.6:1 ratio you have there. the brit 1:1 ratio you give, 

 

The US Army study was for the period of August 1944 to the end of the war, covering 4th and 3rd Armored Divisions. The British study by Buckley was for Normandy 1944.

 

Soviet tank losses in 1945 had also been decreasing, with the ratio off losses tapering to 1:1 by 1945 from the previous nadir of 7 losses per kill in 1941.

 

The kill ratio was in fact in Germany's favor until they started using Panthers and Tigers, because the German Army for the most part was reliant on winning without engaging in too many direct tank vs tank engagements. Which should easily demonstrate why actual field commanders (e.g. Panzer Lehr's Divisional commander) preferred the older Mk IIIs and Mk IVs over the toys designed to satisfy Hitler's demands. 

 

Again, it is a complete myth that the introduction of Panther or Tiger tanks improved the German kill ratio. The German tank losses in fact increased enormously during the period they were introduced, while Allied tank losses (particularly on the Soviet side) were drastically reduced.

 

It is only because of the Internet's persistence in refusing to look at the actual tank vs tank engagements of 1944 - 45 in favor of "stories" of Panther/Tiger superiority that the myth persists.

 

German tank losses in actual engagements for instance we enormous not only during the Battle of Arracourt, but during the Bulge as well; yet as one poster has already demonstrated they insist on just focusing on US tank losses (which include a high number of non-combat losses) rather than admitting that the German Panzers were getting massacred. Indeed, there are even instances of lone tank destroyers taking on five or more Panzers solo and winning, easily exceeding achievement of the one engagement in Northwest Europe (Villers-Bocage) where the Tigers actually won when they were outnumbered.

 

Pretty much in all other instance, the Germans needed a numerical superiority in addition to having bigger and heavier tanks to make any headway against Allied tank Divisions. And even when they had numerical and tank weight superiority they often lost anyway. They were simply never that good. 


Edited by Zinegata, Jan 15 2018 - 07:08.


Zinegata #63 Posted Jan 15 2018 - 07:56

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View PostGePunkt, on Jan 13 2018 - 18:03, said:

 

Being able to aim at the lower hull area (for instance) and not just some random point on a fuzzy shape in the distance can be valuable. 

 

For reference: 70% of German hits to enemy vehicles were to the side and rear.

 

Why aim for specific weak points when the proper method of destroying enemy tanks was to attack from a flanking position to begin with? Have you even ever read the actual German Panzer manuals? 

 

Not even the Germans - at least those who actually fought in the real Panzer tanks - thought that long-ranged shooting was a winning tactic. This kind of thinking was invented by wargamers in the 1970s who thought memorizing tank armor thickness and gun penetration values was all that was needed to be a good tactical commander.

 

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Also, France (and the Netherlands and the Ardennes later on) did not just feature hedgerows. 

 

Except the Ardennes was also as restricted and engagements were generally limited to under 500m range. Indeed, the Germans frowned upon long-ranged shoots to begin with because they tended to waste ammunition, with units in the wide open desert reporting that they needed as many as 20 (!) shots to kill an enemy.

 

Actual German tactical practice had always focused on short-ranged shooting for a reason. It was more effective. 

 

The Panther - with its long-ranged gun - was in fact a reflection of how the designers back in Germany were completely insulated and divorced from the realities in the field; which is no surprise given that these people tended to be more focused on pleasing Hitler and his cronies than winning the war. That's why Germany developed such a huge number of useless equipment - the V2, the Maus, and the Type XXI - based on wishful thinking instead of operational practice. That's why the German kill rate in fact collapsed the moment the Panzer Divisions started getting the Panther tank, and why it took 3.6 Panthers to kill a Sherman. 

 

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Zaloga and other authors (Green et al.) interviewed tank veterans and also collected various veteran accounts that confirm that German optics were superior.

 

Veterans who tended to never have actually ridden the German tanks to do a comparison, which is why veterans often tend to say very strange things like claiming that they fought Tigers or Panthers when they were fighting Infantry Divisions which were never issued with any; or you have American Tank battalions commanders writing reports about how the Panther is a much better tank despite his battalion turning out to have never faced any.

 

Indeed, it's actually worth noting that The Chieftain's videos - which you seem to be insistently ignoring despite showing the actual vehicles and how their optics and sighting systems work - have actually shed a lot of light on previous misconceptions precisely because he actually looks at the vehicles instead of just relying on "what the veterans say". Veterans are very often wrong, particularly when they are talking about things they did not necessarily use or understand. 

 

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It took 1.63 hits to knock out a Sherman, statistically. Technically, when the Sherman got to France, the bulk of the Sherman pool was inadequately armed, as it sported the 75 mm gun.

 

You don't make it clear but you seem to be referencing the British tank hit study, and already it's rather abundantly clear you don't understand the data and are simply trying to reinterpret it to support a wrong conclusion of the Sherman being a death trap.

 

It took 1.63 hits to knock out a Sherman, meaning these only count the shells that actually struck the tank. In practice it took several shots to kill a Sherman (five was not uncommon at 500 meters based on German ammo expenditure, hitting on the first shot was rare except at point-blank range). Again, this is why long-ranged shooting for the Germans was seen as largely pointless - they would run out of ammo before they killed a significant number of enemy tanks!

 

Moreover, the fact that it generally took at least two shells before achieving a knock-out means that most Sherman crews had already evacuated before the second, killing shot had struck.

 

What, you think Sherman crewmen were stupid enough to sit in their tank while shell after shell crashed into them? Almost no tanker ever did that - not even the Germans in their Tiger tanks. The few tankers who were brave enough to keep enduring hit after hit are guys like Billotte at Stonne or the KV-2 crew at Raisenai: extremely brave men who were the extreme exception rather than the rule (and who would often receive their country's highest award for bravery, posthumously).

 

Which again points back to the primary fact that you ignored - which is that the US Tank arm lost only 3% of its manpower in Northwest Europe to deaths. Losing only 80 tankers in North Africa was well within these proportions. That you act so shocked over these facts and dump walls of text that don't actually say useful facts doesn't overturn the reality that the Sherman wasn't a death trap, but a reflection of how deeply in denial you are that your narrative is wrong. Shermans were not death traps. They were in fact probably the best tank in the entire war in terms of crew survivability!

 

And really, let's not kid ourselves. The only reason why people insist on the Sherman = Death Trap narrative is simple: They don't want to admit that the longstanding narrative on German armor superiority by 1944 was a complete sham

 

In reality by 1944 they tended to lose tank vs tank engagements they fought in. That is why the Allies were on the Rhine by the end of the year despite needing to ship tanks all the way from America while the Panzers were literally scraping together its last reserves. That's why an entire Army Group was obliterated in Russia in July 1944 and the Panzers could do nothing about it. The Germans - the Panzer Corps included - were in fact losing, and losing badly, because the Allies now had the men and equipment who could beat them.

 

Edit: Oh, and since you also repeat the "Tommy Cooker" myth...

 

Tell me, why are the Germans using an English name for an enemy tank? Note that "Tommy Cooker" is actually "Tommy Kocher" in German.Are Germans unaware of their own language and must name even enemy tanks in English? Also why would the Germans give a special nickname to the Sherman when they didn't give nicknames to any of the other tanks they regularly encountered, like say the T-34?

 

The fact is the nickname, as with most Sherman nicknames like the "Ronson", is almost certainly a post-war nickname invented by the British. "Tommy Cooker" was an actual obscure piece of British kit (an unreliable stove) that was disliked in the First and Second World Wars. 

 

The problem is that the British nicknames were all invented to cover up the fact that the British tank industry was a mess; and it was British tanks which tended to be actual death traps. Why the heck do you think the British were forced to switch to using Shermans instead in the first place?


Edited by Zinegata, Jan 15 2018 - 08:19.


Anlushac11 #64 Posted Jan 15 2018 - 09:08

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The "Tommy Cooker" name came from the British Army stove that had the name printed on the side and box...in English. I would assume that its literary license like how we auto translate some words meaning instead of using the actual spelling.

 

Last I remember rom the last argument about Ronsons The Chieftan even chimed in that argument about "Ronson" was inconclusive. While the term "Lights first time every time" was not a company advertising slogan til after the war there is proof the slogan was used in advertisements before the war. The picture of the full page advertisement has been posted here before. You have seen it and so have I.

 

British took Shermans for same reason they took Grants. British tank industry was not up to task of replacing the high losses at Sidi Rezegh and Gazala and America was offering a virtually unending stream of what was at the time one of the worlds best tanks, the Sherman. On top of which Brits didnt have a tank with a dual purpose gun that could effectively fire HE and AP from same gun until Cromwell with ROQF 75mm was fielded. Okay yes technically the Valentine got the ROQF 75mm first the 3 man turret was so cramped with the 75mm that most tanks did away with loader. While Valentine was reliable and well armored for its time it was no where near as mobile as Sherman was. I am surprised Brits didnt try ROQF 75mm in Crusader III in place of its 6lbr.

 

I must have missed the part where you were telling about the fact that by mid 1944 the Germans were having problems filling seats in tanks. Tankers with most experience went into Commanders seat. If you were lucky you had a experienced Gunner and the rest were warm bodies. If you were really lucky you might get a experienced driver.

 

I know in past you have loved to harp on fact that Panther didnt have a panoramic sight so crew had to instruct gunner on to target. Can you show me a German tank that did have a panoramic sight? As far as I know not even Tigers got panoramic sights or even 36-deg periscope for gunner.

 

While Germans did not have a roof mounted panoramic sight they were praised on having sights with a wide field of view mostly free of obstructions. Almost all German tanks of WW2 had a gunsight mounted side by side to the gun. This was easy to install, setup, and relatively maintenance free.

 

Add to this the horrible nightmare of German logistics or lack thereof and the need to cannibalize damaged tanks for spare sparts to keep other tanks running.  The close to 50% operational rate of PzIV's, Panther's and Tiger's were not because the vehicle's sucked. Its because Germany built a new tank with little effort to producing the parts needed to keep tank running.

 

Add to this the Allied bombing of German factories that destroyed the StuG III factory and the bombing of tank factories that stopped production for weeks and months at a time.

 

Add to this the shortage of ammo and fuel needed for training let alone operations. When Panzer Lehr was decimated on Eastern Front it was sent West to rest and refit and received new recruits. On average the drivers got very little time actually driving because there was no fuel. Gunners were lucky to fire three live rounds before going into combat. On top of which Panzer Lehr IIRC received its first Panthers, a type the already inexperienced crews had no familiarity on.

 

But in the end we all know there was no way in hell Germany could win. At best the changes could have bought it a few months.



Zinegata #65 Posted Jan 15 2018 - 09:58

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View PostAnlushac11, on Jan 15 2018 - 16:08, said:

The "Tommy Cooker" name came from the British Army stove that had the name printed on the side and box...in English. I would assume that its literary license like how we auto translate some words meaning instead of using the actual spelling.

 

Last I remember rom the last argument about Ronsons The Chieftan even chimed in that argument about "Ronson" was inconclusive. While the term "Lights first time every time" was not a company advertising slogan til after the war there is proof the slogan was used in advertisements before the war. The picture of the full page advertisement has been posted here before. You have seen it and so have I.

 

 

Except that I have never seen a German source cite the "Tommy Cooker" nickname to begin with, and that pretty much all of their other nicknames for military gear is in (surprise, surprise), German. Because the whole point of slang is that it's said in the language of the troops speaking it. If it's not in the native language then it's a clear reference that the troops would know. Besides, where's the nickname for the T-34? And gee are American soldiers Tommies now too despite them using the Sherman a lot more than the Brits? 

 

Tommy Cooker by contrast is a reference known to British soldiers - it's an obscure piece of kit they would have used - and given that the sources who tend to parrot the nickname tend to be British (e.g. the BBC) then it's rather blindingly obvious where the nickname actually comes from. It's just that too many people like you prefer to hide behind "uncertainty" rather than accept the obvious - it's British slang invented by the British; who had very good reason to invent that slang to hide the fact their own tanks were death traps. 

 

As for Ronsons... really, the fact that one ad showed the slogan during wartime is again demonstration of how people should stop insisting on how exceptions are the rule.

 

American troopers carried Zippos. This is a fact. Hence actual American flamethrower tanks getting nicknamed Zippos.

 

Why would American troops call their flamethrower tanks Zippos (and these would be more likely to burn up), but at the same time insult their non-flame thrower tanks as Ronsons? 

 

The obvious answer which you again tip-toe around to cling unto your myths is simple: It's again another British invention. Ronsons are more expensive lighters not commonly issued to the troops. The people who would want to hide the fact that British armor sucked tend to be upper-class Brits or officers. That's why the American troopers were naming flamethrower tanks after their lighters as an affection whereas the "Ronson" nickname comes out of nowhere as an insult despite the said troops being unlikely to carry any Ronsons to begin with. It wasn't Americans who invented the nickname, but another party with very clear motives to trash a tank that proved their own tank establishment was an embarrassment.

 

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British took Shermans for same reason they took Grants. British tank industry was not up to task of replacing the high losses at Sidi Rezegh and Gazala and America was offering a virtually unending stream of what was at the time one of the worlds best tanks, the Sherman.

 

Again, read up on Death by Design. There was even a Parliamentary inquiry on the awful quality of British tanks. The Parliament's response was to laugh at the problem and deny it, claiming that the Tank Board knew what it was doing despite it insisting that 75mm gun tanks weren't necessary and that Covenanter should continue production regardless.

 

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I must have missed the part where you were telling about the fact that by mid 1944 the Germans were having problems filling seats in tanks. Tankers with most experience went into Commanders seat. If you were lucky you had a experienced Gunner and the rest were warm bodies. If you were really lucky you might get a experienced driver.

 

Boohoo, our crews suck now. But wait Germans are still winning apparently instead of having a collapsing kill rate.

 

Really, stop with the whining over the difficulties of the German Army at this point. The Allies had plenty of problems in terms of crew training and capability early in the war too and yet you're glossing over that.

 

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I know in past you have loved to harp on fact that Panther didnt have a panoramic sight so crew had to instruct gunner on to target. Can you show me a German tank that did have a panoramic sight? As far as I know not even Tigers got panoramic sights or even 36-deg periscope for gunner.

 

While Germans did not have a roof mounted panoramic sight they were praised on having sights with a wide field of view mostly free of obstructions. Almost all German tanks of WW2 had a gunsight mounted side by side to the gun. This was easy to install, setup, and relatively maintenance free.

 

Most German tanks did not have a 360 degree periscope because these needed ball bearings which were focused on aircraft production. However, the Tiger losing even that in favor of leaving just the sights was a result of the corrupt German designers thinking (wrongly) that they were going to be focused on long-ranged shooting at this point. This document in particular should be particularly illuminating:

 

https://panzerworld....-firing-methods

 

Key thing to note in this report: It states that "Todays tank battles take place at increasing ranges, with firing beginning at 3000 meters, or more". But then the report quickly turns around and states that "At these distances, even ammunition with very flat trajectories will experience significant drop, and the target area will be small. Consequently, hits are rare".

 

In short, while the designers were thinking in terms of tanks that could hit targets at 3km range, the reality was that hits at that range were hard to achieve. Indeed, for the rest of the report they don't mention the 3,000 meter range ever again - instead looking at maximum ranges of 1,500m to 2,000m.

 

More importantly, the report points out that at those ranges the "drop" in the shell becomes so significant that it's less about aiming directly at an enemy tank, and more about properly figuring out the proper arc that the shell would travel like an artillery gunner. In fact, the report concludes:

 

As this method of fire adjustment is the same one used by the artillery, it would simplify the process if the training of the anti-tank gun and armored forces were supervised by the artillery training school, similar to the existing technical training of engineers.

 

Gee, were there any German armored vehicles in 1943 that were crewed by artillerymen and would have understood that long-ranged shooting was about range-finding and curvature math, rather than optics? 

 

Oh, right, they did have a unit like these - the Sturmgetchutze assault guns! Which did have a reputation for devastating accuracy thanks to their artillerymen crews rather than because of their optics, to the point that one Stug battalion - 667 - had already claimed 1,100 kills by the end of 1943!

 

To top it all off, yes, Stugs did in fact have a periscope for the gunner, because the lovely thing is an assault gun after all and close quarters combat wasn't out of the question! 

 

So again, the Panther sighting system was regressive. That's why Shermans were getting the drop on them all the damn time, whereas the Stugs retained a gunner periscope for when they were in "assault gun" mode and supporting the troops up close.

 

Moreover if they really wanted long-ranged shooting from the Panther or Tiger, then they needed to send the gunners to artillery school and not pretend that shinier optics was going to make up for it. That probably accounts for why the early Tiger units were so effective in the first place. They weren't reduced to plopping down random recruits in the gunner's seat yet.

 

But as usual, rather than pausing to consider the actual merits of deleting the gunner's periscope, you immediately assumed that people knew what they were doing and ignored all other examples even from the same army (e.g. the Stugs) which directly contradicted the wisdom of the no-periscope setup. People really need to stop pretending that the German Tank Board-equivalent knew what it was doing. The fact that this is the same idiotic institution who allowed the construction of the Maus should demonstrate how there was a clear disconnect between the operational requirements of the Army in the field and what the people back in Germany thought it needed; and this disconnect was at least as bad as the one America experienced (albeit the British might aim to claim they had it even worse).

 

Edit: Oh, and because the linked report came out in September 1943 (after the Panther's debut) I checked if there were any plans to act on these recommendations. And it turns out that the Panther F did act on the report's recommendation - by adding a rangefinder. They also added a gunner's periscope too, which is basically a damning admission that the original omission was a bad idea.


Edited by Zinegata, Jan 15 2018 - 10:26.


GePunkt #66 Posted Jan 15 2018 - 16:22

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View PostZinegata, on Jan 15 2018 - 06:56, said:

 

For reference: 70% of German hits to enemy vehicles were to the side and rear.

 

Why aim for specific weak points when the proper method of destroying enemy tanks was to attack from a flanking position to begin with? Have you even ever read the actual German Panzer manuals?

 

According to the ORS 88% of the penetrating rounds were fired from the front, 51 % at angles between 0° (straight on) and 5 degrees, 37 % from angles between 5 and 30 degrees.

At that stage of the war, German gunners were not picky anymore, as all of their guns (TDs, tank guns and AT guns) could penetrate Shermans at ranges between 1000 and 2000 meters.

 

In turn, for the gunner of a Sherman, being able to go for weak points actually would have mattered. As Sherman veterans reported, US gun sights pretty much provided an image that just delivered a blurry shape of an enemy tank above 800 meters, due to the inferior clarity.

Zaloga, rather a fan of the Sherman, states that a Panther could engage a Sherman at distances from which the Sherman could not respond, be it due to optics, penetration power of the gun, or lack of HVAP ammunition.

 

The Tiger manual encouraged crews to go for long range shots to benefit from the superior range. It even suggested shots above 2400 meters with a curved trajectory on stationary targets, such as AT gun positions or small strongholds.

Some units and tank commanders (of Tigers as well Panthers) did not support that idea and stuck to ranges of 1500 meters and below.

In turn, the Hetzer manual suggested to wait until the distance to the target would be sufficient to support a likely penetration.

These are 2 different philosophies implemented at different stages of the war. The Hetzer could only hold 40 rounds, while the Panther could carry 79 (D) and 82 rounds (Ausf. G), and the Tiger I 92 rounds. Also, the supply situation had worsened when larger numbers of the Hetzer saw combat, plus it was rather an ambush tank (which the manual pointed out), that was supposed to be kept hidden until the enemy got into the effective range.

 

Zinegata

Except the Ardennes was also as restricted and engagements were generally limited to under 500m range. Indeed, the Germans frowned upon long-ranged shoots to begin with because they tended to waste ammunition, with units in the wide open desert reporting that they needed as many as 20 (!) shots to kill an enemy.

 

The Ardennes offer open terrain (with hills overlooking up to 20 km of terrain) as well as rather confined areas with villages, woods and so on. Have you ever been there? Well, I've been there.

 

Zinegata

That's why the German kill rate in fact collapsed the moment the Panzer Divisions started getting the Panther tank, and why it took 3.6 Panthers to kill a Sherman.

 

The 3.6:1 ratio refers to 3.6 killed Shermans for 1 Panther tank. You misinterpret that assessment. Also, the ratio was derived from 30 battles, where it is questionable whether the 30 battles sample was a presentative sample, or not. The number came from US study authored closely after the war, and which was then questioned by a good number of historians. Like I said, 2:1 (Overlord) and 1.6:1 (Brits at Caen) seem to be more realistic for both of these operations. There were other battles (eg. Arracourt = disaster for the Germans, as totally green crews were given brand-new Panthers and as they were rushed in for the Attack on the Moselle, or eg. Roer and Rur offensive = very high losses for the US, as the Shermans could not manoeuvre), with high losses either on the German side or on the Allied side (and with low numbers of losses on the corresponding other side).

 

Zinegata

Which again points back to the primary fact that you ignored - which is that the US Tank arm lost only 3% of its manpower in Northwest Europe to deaths. Losing only 80 tankers in North Africa was well within these proportions.

 

During the battle Battle of the Kasserine Pass (early 1943) the Allies lost 183 tanks, 208 artillery pieces and 616 armored cars and halftracks. US, British and French units were deployed on the Allied side.

 

The 2nd Armored Divsion lost 98 tanks, and 95 halftracks were captured by the Germans and incorporated into their ranks immediately. Several Shermans that were abandoned but operational were sent back to Germany for close inspection and firing tests.

The Germans lost 34 tanks.

Let me quote Robert A. Newton:

 

Robert A. Newton in the September 2002 issue of World War II magazine.

The Germans were elated. They had decimated an entire American tank battalion. Acrid, dark gray and black smoke filled the air. The American tanks huddled beside the wadi Oued Rouena, at the edge of Sidi Salem, flames flickering in the desert night.

 

In just two days, the strength of the 1st Armored Division had been depleted by a total of 98 tanks, 57 halftracks, 29 artillery pieces and 500 men. Instantly swept away were 100 of its highly trained tank crews. These were the darkest days of the division’s history. Alger later likened his doomed attack to the Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava during the Crimean War, lamenting that ‘there was little or no foresight in planning or execution of the operations.’

 

And this was just that particular Battle, the US had lost additional tanks during the "Run for Tunis" between November and December 1942. On 28 November the 1st Armored Division lost 19 tanks to German AT guns. On 10 December, Axis tanks attacking Combat Command B bogged down in the mud, where then the US tanks tried to counterattack just to get bogged down as well and picked off by the very same bogged down axis tanks, resulting in the loss of 18 US tanks.

 

There are even more engagements up to the fight for Tunis, so I could probably go on and on and present numbers showing that more than the alleged number of 80 tankers were taken out of the fight.

 

You try to prove an alleged supriority of the Sherman (which didn't exist) from misinformation and faulty numbers. You also ignore that parts of crews could usually bail, on all sides, which means that the total number of killed tankers does not give clues regarding the actual number of lost tanks.

 

 



GePunkt #67 Posted Jan 15 2018 - 18:01

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Zinegata

Edit: Oh, and since you also repeat the "Tommy Cooker" myth...


Tell me, why are the Germans using an English name for an enemy tank? Note that "Tommy Cooker" is actually "Tommy Kocher" in German.Are Germans unaware of their own language and must name even enemy tanks in English? Also why would the Germans give a special nickname to the Sherman when they didn't give nicknames to any of the other tanks they regularly encountered, like say the T-34?


The fact is the nickname, as with most Sherman nicknames like the "Ronson", is almost certainly a post-war nickname invented by the British. "Tommy Cooker" was an actual obscure piece of British kit (an unreliable stove) that was disliked in the First and Second World Wars.

 

 

The term Tommycooker was first coined as "Tommy's cooker" by a British company producing ration heaters for military and civilian use during World War I.. The "Tommy's Cooker Co. Ltd." producing the cookers applied for a patent for their cooker and even advertized it in Singapore newspapers in 1916, and they also sold it in large numbers to the British Army. At that time the British had already coined the term "huns" as nickname for the Germans, and the Germans had come up with the term "Tommy", as nickname for the British soldier.

Since both terms were then widely known by 1916, the company had picked up the term as company name and as product name to market its cookers. Other brand names were "ThePALS Cooker" or the "Little Kitchener Trench Cooker" from Jackson & Sons. The Tommy's Cooker had a metal plate or engraving that outlined the company name. Since in the trench warfare trenches had changed multiple times, in quite some sectors, the German's came across the British cookers and the brand names.

 

Since quite some German officers in the Africa Corps had also fought in World War I (and spent their time in the trenches), the term was still remembered and then eventually used to make fun of US tanks. According to veteran accounts on German TV and published by German vets in their books, the German term "Tommykocher" was actually used and quickly spreading among troops. If you see a reference stating "tommycooker", then it is a translation aiming to make it more digestable for the native English readers.

 

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In reality by 1944 they tended to lose tank vs tank engagements they fought in. That is why the Allies were on the Rhine by the end of the year despite needing to ship tanks all the way from America while the Panzers were literally scraping together its last reserves. That's why an entire Army Group was obliterated in Russia in July 1944 and the Panzers could do nothing about it. The Germans - the Panzer Corps included - were in fact losing, and losing badly, because the Allies now had the men and equipment who could beat them.

 

a)The Allies reached the lower Rhine on 5 March and higher parts on 10 March. On 7 March they had reached the only usable bridge over the Rhine at Remagen, which then could be used for 10 days, until it collapsed on 17 March. At the end of December 1944, the Western Allies were still busy with having to rectify the bulge that was created by the failed German attack.

 

b)The German Army Group Center (4 armies) collapsed in summer 1944 because it had to defend a large front that couldn't be sufficiently covered with the troops at hand.

Army Group Center possessed 118 tanks and 377 assault guns (495) according to Frieser, another author counts 570 (tanks and assault guns), all sources agree on 486,493 available German troops.

 

Glantz and House conclude that the Russians had 1,670,300 personnel, Frieser's count amounts to 2,331,700 Soviet troops (without reinforcements). Frieser gets to a total amount of 2,715 Russian tanks and a total of 1,355 assault guns that could be fielded for the operation.

The Russian offensive just aimed at recapturing Minsk, but actually turned into to a pincer movement that surrounded the German 4th Army, which resulted in the near-destruction of the entire Army Group Center.

The Russians lost 2,957 tanks and assault guns and 822 aircraft (according to Krivosheev, 1997) during the operation.

 

That 118 tanks couldn't do as much as they had probably wished for, given the overwhelming number of Russian forces, is a no-brainer, but the Germans obviously still gave a good run for their money, if you look at the amount of Russian materiel lost.

As the Germans had lost 399,102 troops (26,397 killed, 262,929 captured or missing and 109,776 men wounded), the Eastern Front never recovered from that single large drain of manpower. The Germans had lost too many men earlier in the war (especially at Stalingrad), so that the large front from the Baltics down to the Black Sea could not be sufficiently manned in 1944. It wasn't about some alleged lack of quality in armor and armament of the tank force, but about the general lack of tanks and personnel on the Eastern Front, in 1944. Despite this, engagements at the Rur plains and during the Battle of the Bulge demonstrated how inferior the Sherman's armor and gun was.

 

Zinegata

Veterans who tended to never have actually ridden the German tanks to do a comparison, which is why veterans often tend to say very strange things like claiming that they fought Tigers or Panthers when they were fighting Infantry Divisions which were never issued with any; or you have American Tank battalions commanders writing reports about how the Panther is a much better tank despite his battalion turning out to have never faced any.

 

Just like the Germans tested captured Shermans at the Kummersdorf testing ground, US units tested and evaluated captured German tanks. In particular, the 2nd Armored Division conducted comparative tests. Lieutenant Colonel Wilson M. Hawkins of the 2nd Armored Division compared the Sherman to the Panther in a report to Allied HQs:

 

"M4 Sherman At War" by Michael Green & James D. Brown, page 53

"It has been claimed that our tank is the more maneuverable. In recent tests we put a captured German Mark V against all models of our own. The German tank was the faster, both across country and on the highway and could make sharper turns. It was also the better hill climber."

 

Platoon sgt Charles A. Carden of the same division states in his report that " The Mark V [Panther] and VI [Tiger] in my opinion have more maneuverability and certainly more flotation. I have seen in many cases where the Mark V and VI tanks could maneuver nicely over ground where the M4 would bog down. On one occasion I saw at least 10 Royal Tigers  make a counterattack against us over ground that for us was nearly impassable."

 

So, US tankers who actually got to sit in a Panther and drive it and perform  common combat manoeuvre routines, as well as stress-tests on the enemy hardware, should be able to provide a realistic assessment, very well.

You can go on to deny and to doubt that ppl actually ever saw a Panther, but there are veteran accounts, and there are also official reports that were passed up the command chains up to the highest echelons.

 

So, keep assuming, keep coming up with faulty numbers, but the more you post, the more you display that many of your statements are based on misinformation, misinterpretation, incomplete knowledge and assumptions.



The_Chieftain #68 Posted Jan 15 2018 - 20:25

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I promise, I will dive into this, but I've been on military leave the last week, and am now enjoying my three-day weekend.

GePunkt #69 Posted Jan 15 2018 - 20:56

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View PostZinegata, on Jan 15 2018 - 08:58, said:

 

a) Gee, were there any German armored vehicles in 1943 that were crewed by artillerymen and would have understood that long-ranged shooting was about range-finding and curvature math, rather than optics? 

 

 

b) Edit: Oh, and because the linked report came out in September 1943 (after the Panther's debut) I checked if there were any plans to act on these recommendations. And it turns out that the Panther F did act on the report's recommendation - by adding a rangefinder. They also added a gunner's periscope too, which is basically a damning admission that the original omission was a bad idea.

 

 

a) If you can't even tell whether you are looking at a bush or at a tank at very long ranges, due to your blurry optics, then you don't even have to worry about curved trajectory shots.

Halfway experienced crews knew how to perform very long shots by using the range tables and formulas. The mili-radian reticles had predefined ranges to help with rangefinding and providied triangles for fast distance measuring (the procedure took around 30 seconds, and the other crew members were obliged to help with the calculation).

The idea to involve artillery officers for training long-range shots (well above 2400 meters) was to speed up the process of spotting, rangefinding and firing. For their method a rangefinder (scissor scope) and another tool (to measure the gun position) would have been needed.

 

b) The rangefinder you are talking about was an optical stereoscopic (actually revolutionary) rangefinder that was installed on several turrets/tanks on the Panther production line, but they had not left the factory yet. The turrets were captured by the US and the technology implemented on the post-war Patton tanks. Such scissor optics (rangefinders) were also planned to be installed on French TDs (which can be seen in WOT).

Panther and Tiger commanders were actually using foldable rangefinders (scissor scopes) that were usually used by artillery observers to measure the distances to their targets. There are many pictures of Tiger and Panther commanders using those rangefinders in Russia, France and Italy, usually from their hatches, as they were also pretty useful to screen the area.

The German 360° cupolas made up for the lack of a dedicated obs scope to some extent, as well as the impressive FOV provided by the Panther's optics. In practice, the commander also had to be the observer, he had to use the cupola ports to maintain battlefield awareness, and some even risked to pop their heads out, which led to quite some casualties. Tank ace Otto Carius secured himself a foldable scissor scope, to keep up with events and maintain full battlefield awareness even during (!) a tank battle, so he kept the hatch open and just popped out the scope. The Panther's gun sight could be switched between 2.5x magnification (FOV: 28 degrees) and 5x (14 degrees). Other gunners used to turn their turrets somewhat to the left and right, in order to screen the battlefield with their 28° FOV sight.

 

The Sherman's (telescopic) gun sight sported a FOV of 9 degrees. The Sherman's secondary periscope had no magnification in the unified version (periscope and telescope in one body).and the telescope had a FOV of 11 degrees, the older gun sight with divided sights, which was declared to be limited standard (means supposed to be replaced) at one point, had 1.5 magnification on the persiscope and a FOV of 9 degrees on the telescope.

 

While the obs periscope in the Sherman was a neat feature, as it definetly made short and medium range target spotting easier and faster, as it - in conjunction with the fast turret traverse gave - a Sherman the ability to fire before the Panther could focus on such new target in rather close-range encounters, but the magification level still mattered. If you don't become aware of additional threats in the distance, because your obs periscope has no magnification, then such periscope degenerates into a glory-hole that's waiting for the next shot from an undetected Panther in the distance. Magnification matters, if you are screening the battlefield. The Sherman gunner also had to move his head from the gun sight to the obs periscope, constantly, if he tried to keep up with events.

 

This gives a good idea about the pro's and cons in a Panther:

 

http://forum.worldof...rench-panthers/

 



KilljoyCutter #70 Posted Jan 15 2018 - 21:10

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:popcorn:The amount of vitriol generated within these topics is astounding. 

 



thandiflight #71 Posted Jan 15 2018 - 22:50

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The Ronson lighter was/ is American and not British. It was patented in 1926 and marketed in 1927. It proved very popular but supply was limited and fairly exclusive. The company was bought by Zippo. The "cadet" version of the Ronson that was produced exclusively in Britain was only released in the UK in 1959. It seems that the appellation for the M4 is very much a retrospective appellation and has much to do with Belton Cooper's book and little do do with the tanks actual reputation during the war.

Blackhorse_One_ #72 Posted Jan 16 2018 - 01:51

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View Postthandiflight, on Jan 15 2018 - 16:50, said:

It seems that the appellation for the M4 is very much a retrospective appellation and has much to do with Belton Cooper's book and little do do with the tanks actual reputation during the war.

 

The "appellation" was in-place many years before Belton Cooper's book.

 

I heard it as a boy, and I was more than 40 when Cooper's book was published.


Edited by Blackhorse_One_, Jan 16 2018 - 01:56.


Sad_But_Drew #73 Posted Jan 16 2018 - 02:22

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Most of the British talking down on Sherman's wasn't so much to cover for their eclipsing British tanks (though that's part of it).  It's really to cover for the lack of success British armor had in a lot of the Northwest European battles.  A lot of bloody, not-really successes and a some absolute fiascos around Caen, and the simple fact that they were definitely the junior partner in the Alliance by then.  It's interesting to read Armor in Normandy and compare (the Germans are taking serious losses in every offensive, but they are stopping every offensive).  Then Cobra finally gets going and it's "find resistance, flank it move on".  Tank losses are pretty near 1 to 1 (and the Americans would recover anything that didn't burn, one reason the Germans kept shooting after the crew bailed).

 

Then there's Arracourt, which is just a beatdown (and has NEVER been wargamed, probably because it didn't match what the numbers said). 

 

BTW, if you don't believe the (researched, official) numbers for tanker casualties, please cite a source or something instead of standing on incredulity.  This isn't a conspiracy forum.

 

Sure, a theoretical Panther or Tiger could engage at over a mile, it was REALLY rare when it happened (Chieftain brings up one case of dug-in King Tigers near the Westwall, who were a problem for a day or two).  Think about it, to set up such a position you need recon and secure flanks (and really good camo from air observation, top of a hill ain't gonna cut it), and you have to park your tank (when Panzer fire-brigades are often the only thing holding something resembling a front).  There just weren't that many tank v tank fights in the west and the only one that had enough effect to get noticed was the Bulge (The Normandy counter-strikes, didn't just fail, some of them didn't even register as attacks).  If a tanker was reminiscing about the war, he's probably talk up the handful of times he saw other tanks.  It's certainly more colorful than worrying about some Teenager with a Panzerfaust and nothing to lose, or spending half the evening humping fuel and ammo over hill and dale to wherever the tank got parked.

 

The amazing thing about the low tank crew losses is that it was STILL enough that replacements didn't keep up, and many had to be trained in theater. It's known that there was WAY too much emphasis on building divisions (and training specialists) than training up enough riflemen to fill losses (the Brits were running out of men, we just had them in the wrong places and jobs).  Was this a case of replacements not having a "commander" and new divisions having one to argue (and grab bodies) for them? 



mrmojo #74 Posted Jan 16 2018 - 02:26

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View PostKilljoyCutter, on Jan 16 2018 - 04:10, said:

:popcorn:The amount of vitriol generated within these topics is astounding. 

 

 

I am enjoying the discussion and not seeing much vitriol at all.

 

Both sides making point and counterpoint - both displaying knowledge and research. Great stuff!!



Zinegata #75 Posted Jan 16 2018 - 04:08

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View PostGePunkt, on Jan 15 2018 - 23:22, said:

 

The Ardennes offer open terrain (with hills overlooking up to 20 km of terrain) as well as rather confined areas with villages, woods and so on. Have you ever been there? Well, I've been there.

 

 

Lol, well I've been to Normandy and it had plenty of open fields, but I'm not stupid enough to claim it was "open ground" because you're losing an argument very badly.

 

Meanwhile here is what the Ardennes actually looks like from space:

 

https://www.google.c...4.6285053?dcr=0

 

Notice all of the dark green areas that are forests which block LOS?

 

Having a couple of hills with good visibility doesn't change the fact that the majority of engagements fought there happened at around 500 meters.

 

Quote

The 3.6:1 ratio refers to 3.6 killed Shermans for 1 Panther tank. You misinterpret that assessment. Also, the ratio was derived from 30 battles, where it is questionable whether the 30 battles sample was a presentative sample, or not. 

 

Lol, no. It was 3.6 Panthers lost for every Sherman.

 

https://books.google...Sherman&f=false

 

That you think it's the opposite is really a stark demonstration of how you need to stop letting your misconceptions color your comments. And again this is data available from the 1950s! The "it took five Shermans to kill a Panther" thing was in fact a myth invented by a couple of Avalon Hill boardgames that model-making companies popularized in their quest to sell more plastic tanks.

 

Quote

Just like the Germans tested captured Shermans at the Kummersdorf testing ground, US units tested and evaluated captured German tanks. In particular, the 2nd Armored Division conducted comparative tests. Lieutenant Colonel Wilson M. Hawkins of the 2nd Armored Division compared the Sherman to the Panther in a report to Allied HQs:

 

You do realize his Division actually obliterated Second Panzer Division at the Ardennes, yes? And frankly he's one of the people I talk about wherein veterans claim things that aren't necessarily true.

 

More specifically, Wilson's "test" was basically just driving the tank around and "feeling" it was more maneuverable and a better hill climber. Now, in some cases the Panther has better maneuverability. But people like you keep treating it as an exhaustive long-term test, when it was in fact nothing of the sort and the French who actually operated the Panthers long-term found a lot more problems with its maneuverability. More specifically, most of the time the Panther just wouldn't run at all.

 

Quote

During the battle Battle of the Kasserine Pass (early 1943) the Allies lost 183 tanks, 208 artillery pieces and 616 armored cars and halftracks. US, British and French units were deployed on the Allied side.

 

The 2nd Armored Divsion lost 98 tanks, and 95 halftracks were captured by the Germans and incorporated into their ranks immediately. Several Shermans that were abandoned but operational were sent back to Germany for close inspection and firing tests.

The Germans lost 34 tanks.

Let me quote Robert A. Newton:

 

 

And this was just that particular Battle, the US had lost additional tanks during the "Run for Tunis" between November and December 1942. On 28 November the 1st Armored Division lost 19 tanks to German AT guns. On 10 December, Axis tanks attacking Combat Command B bogged down in the mud, where then the US tanks tried to counterattack just to get bogged down as well and picked off by the very same bogged down axis tanks, resulting in the loss of 18 US tanks.

 

There are even more engagements up to the fight for Tunis, so I could probably go on and on and present numbers showing that more than the alleged number of 80 tankers were taken out of the fight.

 

You try to prove an alleged supriority of the Sherman (which didn't exist) from misinformation and faulty numbers. You also ignore that parts of crews could usually bail, on all sides, which means that the total number of killed tankers does not give clues regarding the actual number of lost tanks.

 

Because Allied tank losses counted all causes. To note:

 

https://panzerworld....ank-kill-claims

 

"The British tank casualties for the Goodwood campaign is cited as 493, which is the sum of all tanks being repaired from 18 to 20 July for the above units plus an additional 24 tanks for the 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade for 21 July. As is evident from the breakdown of the numbers, however, this is a summary of tanks that are not combat ready rather than write-offs. This includes those tanks that would have been repaired within 24 hours and therefore before the next strength status. All those tanks that were not repairable within 24 hours were of course not write-offs either; German status reports used a three week cut-off for short-term repairs rather than 24 hours, yet these tanks are not usually not counted as losses.

 

...

 

Even if it is assumed that the total number of tanks not yet recovered would be written off, the total number of lost tanks for 11th Armoured Division and Guards Armoured Division would be 103 tanks. Compared to the 350 tanks that are often considered casualties in post-war litterature for these two units, this is a considerable reduction."

 

In short, Allied tank losses were often three or four times higher than actual combat losses - because they counted stuff back in the depots that were downlined for various reasons. A Sherman that threw its track would be counted as a casualty just the same as a Sherman that got blasted apart by an 88.

 

That's why the "beat your chest by citing Allied losses" crowd has pretty much lost all credibility. If they were actually losing that much then the Germans should have won. Indeed, if we listen to German kill claims they killed every Allied tank that were present in some battles and an equal number of imaginary ones!

 

The German tank kill numbers were simply never accurate. They were in fact largely propaganda - Carius admitted as much in his final interview. Which shouldn't be a surprise given that by 1944 the German regime was too busy trying to deny reality that it was losing the war.


Edited by Zinegata, Jan 16 2018 - 04:58.


Zinegata #76 Posted Jan 16 2018 - 04:22

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View PostGePunkt, on Jan 16 2018 - 03:56, said:

 

 

a) If you can't even tell whether you are looking at a bush or at a tank at very long ranges, due to your blurry optics, then you don't even have to worry about curved trajectory shots.

Halfway experienced crews knew how to perform very long shots by using the range tables and formulas. The mili-radian reticles had predefined ranges to help with rangefinding and providied triangles for fast distance measuring (the procedure took around 30 seconds, and the other crew members were obliged to help with the calculation).

The idea to involve artillery officers for training long-range shots (well above 2400 meters) was to speed up the process of spotting, rangefinding and firing. For their method a rangefinder (scissor scope) and another tool (to measure the gun position) would have been needed.

 

b) The rangefinder you are talking about was an optical stereoscopic (actually revolutionary) rangefinder that was installed on several turrets/tanks on the Panther production line, but they had not left the factory yet. The turrets were captured by the US and the technology implemented on the post-war Patton tanks. Such scissor optics (rangefinders) were also planned to be installed on French TDs (which can be seen in WOT).

Panther and Tiger commanders were actually using foldable rangefinders (scissor scopes) that were usually used by artillery observers to measure the distances to their targets. There are many pictures of Tiger and Panther commanders using those rangefinders in Russia, France and Italy, usually from their hatches, as they were also pretty useful to screen the area.

The German 360° cupolas made up for the lack of a dedicated obs scope to some extent, as well as the impressive FOV provided by the Panther's optics. In practice, the commander also had to be the observer, he had to use the cupola ports to maintain battlefield awareness, and some even risked to pop their heads out, which led to quite some casualties. Tank ace Otto Carius secured himself a foldable scissor scope, to keep up with events and maintain full battlefield awareness even during (!) a tank battle, so he kept the hatch open and just popped out the scope. The Panther's gun sight could be switched between 2.5x magnification (FOV: 28 degrees) and 5x (14 degrees). Other gunners used to turn their turrets somewhat to the left and right, in order to screen the battlefield with their 28° FOV sight.

 

The Sherman's (telescopic) gun sight sported a FOV of 9 degrees. The Sherman's secondary periscope had no magnification in the unified version (periscope and telescope in one body).and the telescope had a FOV of 11 degrees, the older gun sight with divided sights, which was declared to be limited standard (means supposed to be replaced) at one point, had 1.5 magnification on the persiscope and a FOV of 9 degrees on the telescope.

 

While the obs periscope in the Sherman was a neat feature, as it definetly made short and medium range target spotting easier and faster, as it - in conjunction with the fast turret traverse gave - a Sherman the ability to fire before the Panther could focus on such new target in rather close-range encounters, but the magification level still mattered. If you don't become aware of additional threats in the distance, because your obs periscope has no magnification, then such periscope degenerates into a glory-hole that's waiting for the next shot from an undetected Panther in the distance. Magnification matters, if you are screening the battlefield. The Sherman gunner also had to move his head from the gun sight to the obs periscope, constantly, if he tried to keep up with events.

 

This gives a good idea about the pro's and cons in a Panther:

 

http://forum.worldof...rench-panthers/

 

 

Lol, again it's clear that you didn't bother to read the link:

 

https://panzerworld....-firing-methods

 

Again, for reference: This is an actual German Ordnance Department report, meaning this is a document written by the wartime Germans explaining how long-ranged tank shooting actually worked.

 

And the key portion to note is this:

 

These ballistic effects are strange and new to anti-tank gunners and tank gunners. Until now, like the hunter with a rifle, they have been used to fire the gun and expect the trajectory to be a straight line. Their firing corrections works by adjusting the aiming point to the height and width of the target. This method - the so-called "swinging of the flight path" - fails at long ranges because of the strongly curved trajectory. It is therefore necessary to pay more attention to range finding. The most obvious mean is the optical rangefinder. Already at 2000 meters, however, it becomes inaccurate without range correction, even without measurement errors and rangefinder defects. It should also be noted that it would take a long time to equip all tanks and tank destroyers with rangefinders.

 

What this means is that it was inaccurate to shoot at long range if you treat the gun like a hunting rifle. Looking at your scope and trying to aim for the tank basically did not work, because at that range the shell had a curved flight path due to the distance it had to travel, and was thus more similar to an indirect-fire artillery round.

 

That was why the report had this damning fact about tank gun accuracy:

 

  • The assault gun battalions have significantly higher kill scores than tank battalions, even though they use the same guns and the latter have rotating turrets.

 

And again, why did the assault gun battalions have better kill rates? It wasn't because of the optics. Indeed, how can you even use the gunner's optics in indirect-fire mode? Indirect fire implies you might not even have direct LOS to the target! The spotting was entirely handled by the commander in these cases - which is why the Stug's commander had a dismountable artillery periscope.

 

Instead, the report concluded that what was needed was artillery training for tank gunners. Because at 1.5-2km range you need artillery rangefinding and curvature math skills more than a really nice sight.

 

And yet here you go again repeating how shiny the optics are, when the Germans themselves admit that the best way to kill enemy tanks at long range is via artillery shell aiming methods that could even involve indirect fire with no LOS to the target?

 

Blurry optics isn't the issue. They needed the same range-finding kit and artillery shooting methods familiar to the Stug battalions. That's why the Panther F looked to add a rangefinder!

 

===

 

Moreover that you keep confusing the long-ranged shooting mechanic with the need for a gunner's periscope is yet another clear indication of armchair general evaluations.

 

You don't use the gunner's periscope to shoot. That's what the gunner's sights are for. The gunner's periscope is instead there to help him spot and acquire the target. That's why the Stugs had them because the assault gun was designed to get up close and support the infantry and its designers never forgot this spotting requirement. The Panther deleting this was a mistake. That's again why the Panther F put it back on.

 

Pet-peeving about the Sherman's spotting periscopes having no magnification is thus pretty much pointless, and demonstrates that you don't understand the basic difference between the gun sights and the periscopes in your insistence that they all be considered "optics".

 

Instead, the point of these periscopes is to let people inside the tank see what's around it. It is a fighting machine - basically a mobile bunker when buttoned down - and not a bloody high-definition mega pixel camera. Soldiers aren't going to carefully scan through each and every little bush and hope to make out an enemy tank or soldier behind it, especially if they're buttoned down.

 

If they're going to do that kind of recon then the TC probably already dismounted and hid himself in a bush (or asked the unit's scouts to do it for him). More likely buttoned-down tanks are instead going to be scanning for flashes of light and smoke - sources of weapons fire - which is more effectively done with a wide view instead of staring directly at a gun muzzle flash at high definition. 

 

===

 

TL;DR: Better sights on a gun is the equivalent of adding a scope to a hunting rifle and thinking it's now a sniper rifle without changing the way you use it. It's basically a pointless and cosmetic addition without the more important training to account for range-finding and curvature.


Edited by Zinegata, Jan 16 2018 - 05:03.


Zinegata #77 Posted Jan 16 2018 - 05:05

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View PostBlackhorse_One_, on Jan 16 2018 - 08:51, said:

 

The "appellation" was in-place many years before Belton Cooper's book.

 

I heard it as a boy, and I was more than 40 when Cooper's book was published.

 

I wouldn't be surprised if there were people using it before Cooper, but I would be very surprised if it was from an American publication given that American military literature was much less prevalent than British ones until the 90s; and even today British publications still predominate.

Au_leui_panzer #78 Posted Jan 16 2018 - 06:10

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View PostSad_But_Drew, on Jan 16 2018 - 01:22, said:

 Tank losses are pretty near 1 to 1 (and the Americans would recover anything that didn't burn, one reason the Germans kept shooting after the crew bailed).

 

this brings up another, should be well known real tale. recover vehicle(s), this is where 3 men and with buckets, after a while with a need for tankers, you d take 3 at the least infantry 'boys', they could just use their helmets to clean out a busted up tank. your getting the point, or know the story, cleaning out body parts, brains, guts, blood. clean up the inside of the tank some. with out much training, perhaps a conscripted 'crew' like this may get an woefully little hour, before trying to make it to the front, still quite sick, green, blue, whatever, from cleaning up a mess, and having to now man it. it still stunk of pre-and death, burning metal and body parts. not fun at all for a 18yr old or so rifleman to have to find himself to do.  

 



GePunkt #79 Posted Jan 16 2018 - 13:00

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View PostZinegata, on Jan 16 2018 - 03:08, said:

 

Lol, well I've been to Normandy and it had plenty of open fields, but I'm not stupid enough to claim it was "open ground" because you're losing an argument very badly.

 

Meanwhile here is what the Ardennes actually looks like from space:

 

https://www.google.c...4.6285053?dcr=0

 

First, I said areas with open ground, second I also pointed out that the Ardennes featured a lot of confined spaces especially around some villages and some roads, and it should have been clear that that remark referred to villages and roads that were surrounded or separated.by woods or that resided in river valleys and depressions.

 

Your google link:

Nice try.

 

The area you marked is part of the French National wildlife park, which had been formed by picking small French parts of the region, but that park is in fact just a small southern part of the Ardennes, plus it's in France, whiile the Battle for the Bulge raged in Belgium.

This gives you an idea how large the Ardennes region is:

https://upload.wikim.../Ardennen03.png

 

Battle area (101st near Foy, after the offensive had failed) marked in Google:

https://www.google.c...32,12.04z?dcr=0

 

The Germans in the North got as far as Trois-Ponts (and close to Manhay), went through Stavelot (where they shot civilians), Malmedy (site of the massacre) and to a point in front of Spa, with Peiper's group.
In the West the Germans got almost to Dinant, but were stopped by the Allies, and they also suffered of lack of fuel.
In the South they had dashed past Wiltz and Bastogne, into the region west of Bastogne - towards Dinant.

Let's start the battlefield tour:


Area SE of Dinant, one of the most Western points of the bulge (ie. its northern tip). In this area, the Germans pulled into the woods for cover to avoid air raids in the open, waiting for fuel. Quite a number of tanks were abandoned and destroyed by their crews in this general area, due to lack of fuel:

https://www.google.c...12!8i6656?dcr=0
https://www.google.c...12!8i6656?dcr=0

 

The terrain N and NW of Dinant is even more flat (if compared to the mountainous and rocky eastern edge (mostly in Luxemburg and at the border to Belgium, but also right around the town of Houffalize) of the Ardennes, that's why the Dinant sector had been picked for the 5th Panzer Army's envisioned turn and subsequent push towards Brussels (which never materialized):

https://www.google.c...12!8i6656?dcr=0

 

The highest elevation is around 600 something meters high, but outside the TO, IIRC.


Road to Houffalize, the fields on the left and right offered far view (2-4 km) at some points:

https://www.google.c...12!8i6656?dcr=0


Road sector close to Houffalize, the elevation west of the road (behind the house) offers far view (my guess 2 km or more), all the fields in the east and on the elevation are Panther- and Tiger-II-friendly. If not on the attack/defense, both sides would stick to this main road to Bastogne: The Germans because they were behind the schedule, the US because their tanks would sink in on the fields.

https://www.google.c...12!8i6656?dcr=0


Approaches to the Highway to Bastogne, which didn't exist back then, of course:

https://www.google.c...12!8i6656?dcr=0
https://www.google.c...12!8i6656?dcr=0
Embankments that can be seen along the entire road were added after the war, as protection against erosion, but also as acoustic baffle to protect residential houses.


The town of Houffalize. A challenge for both attackers and defenders, the surrounding hills offered good positions for shots at bldgs and outposts, while the town offered to perform reverse-slope defenses on the bottom of this valley.

https://www.google.c...12!8i6656?dcr=0

 


Serpentine road south of Houffalize (leading to Noville), the town itself resides in a valley/depression:
https://www.google.c...12!8i6656?dcr=0

 


Road between Noville and Foy:

https://www.google.c...12!8i6656?dcr=0


Foy, one episode of Band of Brothers depicted the fight for Foy, when US units managed to retake Foy (which was on the road leading to Bastogne) eventually, after the offensive had failed:

https://www.google.c...12!8i6656?dcr=0
Foy is in the North, towards the bottom of the slope. None of these houses existed in 1944, maybe except for the grey building in the back.


"Downtown Foy":

https://www.google.c...12!8i6656?dcr=0
You can snipe up to 2 kilometers from the houses or places between houses and stables. US stragglers filtering back towards Bastogne used that road, during the German onslaught.


This is the Bastogne Historical Museum near Bastogne, maybe 1 km away from Bastogne, the elevation and hill ranges in the background allowed to screen the roads to Bastogne:

https://www.google.c...12!8i6656?dcr=0


Road (south-)east of Bastogne, this was one of around 2 or 3 approaches (this one from the East, 1 or 2 from the S) , and US troops had outposts in this area. Some of the elevations offered sneak peeks on the outskirts of Bastogne. In the main, this area consisted of acres and grassland situated around the city, with few trees and large open fields:

https://www.google.c...!1b1!2i41?dcr=0

 

This elevation in the SE is on the same road (from the East, which was used by those German units that were coming from Wiltz/Wardin). It offered a direct view on the city. Almost none of these houses, shops and factory facilities existed back then. There were no woods. Patton's final approach to link with the Bastogne defenders used 2 roads south of this road. 2 German Fallschirm units and other inf units were holding the sector south of Bastogne, during the siege of Bastogne (south of Wachenaule), but had to deal with the 4th Armored Division eventually. The US troops had some outposts on this elevation, early in the battle:

https://www.google.c...12!8i6656?dcr=0

 

Road just S/W of Bastogne:

https://www.google.c...12!8i6656?dcr=0

 


Bastogne is in the South, the houses to the left and right and in the distance are modern houses that didn't exist back then. Most of these trees were planted after the war. This area was farmland, in other sectors trees had been planted next to the road, to protect pedestrians and travelers from the strong winds in this open landscape. Placement was rather sporadic and not like the typical long lines of trees in Germany or Holland:

After attacks from other directions (SW and West, i believe) had failed several times, the German Inf tried to renew their attack from the North (which had failed before), but as they had to cross these open fields to close in from the North as well, even StuG support did not deliver the desired result and US inf., AT guns and TDs fended off all attacks. During one of those attacks the Germans tried to use heavy upcoming fog as cover, but the fog screen did not reach out to the US positions, so that the German uniforms (grey) created perfect silhouettes against the fog screen behind them. They were cut down by US small arms fire, MG fire and HE shells in numbers:

https://www.google.c...12!8i6656?dcr=0


In general, the German planners had picked the only viable road networks for their advances. Unlike during early stages of the war, Model went as far as to pre-define routes and even individual roads for individual armored units (sometimes even down to Coy level) and ordered them to move at night only and to hide in woods during the day, as he feared Allied air raids. Since Allied sorties were rare or even non-existent during the German onslaught, due to the weather conditions at Allied airfields and over parts of the Ardennes region, German units just dashed along, even during the day.

 

Keep it coming.



jd1986 #80 Posted Jan 16 2018 - 18:11

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Hey chief can u ask the mods to check out what we get if we have the tier 9 And 10 tds in the 263 line bc q is not paying attention to his thread




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