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Why the change in position for commander's hatch in German tanks?


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Not_Connery #1 Posted Apr 27 2018 - 15:47

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So I've noticed that on the panzer III and IV, the turret was a three man turret with the TC (and his hatch) located in the rear center.  As I understand it, this was a seating arrangement/design that was rather comfortable and easy to work with (though I am curious to know if you agree with that assessment, sir).

 

If you jump ahead to the next tanks produced by Germany (Panther, Tiger, King Tiger), however, they have now moved the TC's position and hatch to the left-hand side of the turret.  Why did they not still have him in the center rear of the turret? 

 

My theory is that the larger guns in these tanks meant a larger breech/recoil mechanism, and so there was no longer room in the center rear of the turret.

 

Am I correct in my assumption, or is there a different answer or more to the story?



Greentea_Neko #2 Posted Apr 27 2018 - 16:09

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While the central cupola design was a lot less cramped over shifted cupolas the larger caliber weapons led to more recoil needing more turret space which then lead to the shift of the commanders seat to avoid the risk of the commander being impaled by the gun breach.

I would assume its a combination of the commander being able to communicate with the driver & gunner better, better flexibility with larger gun mounts and recoil springs, and also allowing for multiple roof hatches as the centralized design like on the Panzer 4 didn't allow crew to exit through the roof and had to leave through side hatches while on tanks like the Tiger 1 and Königstiger both had roof hatches.


Edited by Greentea_Neko, Apr 27 2018 - 16:13.


FrozenKemp #3 Posted Apr 27 2018 - 16:13

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I wonder if this had anything to do with the size of the gun?  If the commander was in the rear centre, then the gun was in front of him and it would recoil towards him.  As they put larger and larger guns into tanks, it's possible that they simply needed the space in the rear centre for the gun to recoil into.  Alternatively they would might need an even larger turret. 

Edited by FrozenKemp, Apr 27 2018 - 16:13.


the_dude_76 #4 Posted Apr 27 2018 - 16:29

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The recoil on the 8.8 in the Tiger 1 was so great that if the muzzle brake was damaged the crew was instructed not to attempt to fire the gun.

Pongo #5 Posted Apr 27 2018 - 16:48

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Recoil combined with rationing the interior space so that weight is conserved combined with wanting the commander out of the loaders way and aligned with the gunner.

The_Chieftain #6 Posted May 02 2018 - 06:04

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Fundamentally, it’s recoil space and loading space. Remember that for the Pz3 and 4, the rounds were very small, and the recoil stroke not that long. Legs of the commander won’t get in the way. 

ket101 #7 Posted May 02 2018 - 06:09

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There's also the use of the rear of the turret for things like additional ammo racks and radio equipment.  Doesn't apply to all designs, of course, but the back of the turret was increasingly used for those purposes.  That further limits the kind of room you need for someone to sit at the back.

NutrientibusMeaGallus #8 Posted May 02 2018 - 14:48

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  I forget the term for it.... Not ergonomic.... There's a term for efficiently using space and planning things out for people to work optimally with the machine being designed.... Manufacturers pretty much try this for everything with varying results.... But it's pretty much why certain setups are considered standards now.....

Not_Connery #9 Posted May 02 2018 - 16:44

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View PostNutrientibusMeaGallus, on May 02 2018 - 14:48, said:

  I forget the term for it.... Not ergonomic.... There's a term for efficiently using space and planning things out for people to work optimally with the machine being designed.... Manufacturers pretty much try this for everything with varying results.... But it's pretty much why certain setups are considered standards now.....

 

Optimization?

FrozenKemp #10 Posted May 02 2018 - 17:40

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View PostNutrientibusMeaGallus, on May 02 2018 - 08:48, said:

  I forget the term for it.... Not ergonomic.... There's a term for efficiently using space and planning things out for people to work optimally with the machine being designed.... Manufacturers pretty much try this for everything with varying results.... But it's pretty much why certain setups are considered standards now.....

 

In WW2 tanks, the British called the ability of the crew to use the tank based on its layout etc fightability.  I don't know if that's the universal term? 

Edited by FrozenKemp, May 02 2018 - 17:40.


NutrientibusMeaGallus #11 Posted May 02 2018 - 19:24

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View PostNot_Connery, on May 02 2018 - 10:44, said:

 

Optimization?

 

View PostFrozenKemp, on May 02 2018 - 11:40, said:

 

In WW2 tanks, the British called the ability of the crew to use the tank based on its layout etc fightability.  I don't know if that's the universal term? 

 

No it's like an engineer term...... reminiscent of ergonomics..... It's like along that line of thinking..




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