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Antare #21 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 02:25

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Awesome article Chieftain, you don't get much insight into the kinks of Russian hardware today. All you usually hear is bashing, because on paper their hardware is inferior and few people ever bothered to

For anyone more interested in the philosophy of Russian hardware design I recommend reading books by Viktor Suvorov:
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DerJager #22 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 02:43

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I would like to point out that, while the soviets built cruedly, it was in large part because they wouldn't have been able to build more advanced tanks in numbers sufficient to fight an offensive war with NATO forces. Lets face it, man for man, the NATO tankers (Germany especially, during WWII) were probably better. Not to knock on the soviets, but even later in WWII, when their tactics improved, this didn't mean that the individual soviet tankman was more skilled than his 1941 counter-part, only that command had finally worked out a more efficient way to use those relativly unskilled tankers. Its not likely that, without a war to provide actual expierience for new tankers and to sharpen the skills of veterans, overall Soviet skill would have improved. The same is true of the NATO forces, but even if the average skill of both side's deteriorates, the weterners are still starting off from a higher level.

And conversly, when the Wermact began to fight less effectivly later in the war, it wasn't really caused by a decreased quality of their average tankers, or that their commanders were getting stuppider. Panzer Lehr remained the finest training unit in the world. It was because Hitler was taking an ever larger hand in not only strategy, but even tactics. Early in the war, the wermacht units were often just given an objective and a rough time-table for advance, but how and why the objective was taken were left entirely upto them. Compare this to later in the war, when hitler was micro-managing things, sometimes plotting routes of advance for major offensives as far down as the Battalion level, and specifying which supporting units would be used and when, and leaving his commanders virtually no room for disgression.

But anway, I've gone off on a tangent there. Point is that if you compare the likely Soviet operations to those of NATO forces, clearly NATO is going to be sitting on the defensive almost exclusivly during the start of hostilities. Because they would have the defender's advantage, as well as the advantage of superior air assets (lets face it, the USA had everyone else's air forces beat at the end of WWII, and has likely held a slight advantage, even compared to other western nations, ever since), they wil face lighter casualties.

We can reasonably assume NATO, especially if the fictional hostilities are immediatly post-war, will have air-parity at minimum, leaning towards air-dominance, at least initially. The soviets also lack a ground-attack plane to match the P-47 or the Hawker Typhoon. So we can expect that advancing soviet tanks will suffer heavy casualties (numbers wise, even if not by percentages), especially if their offensive is launched through the Falda Gap, where they will be heavily concentrated. Later, the difference in airpower will have shrunk, but would probably still favor NATO. This being true, the Soviets would only have even greater need for a cheap, reasonably effective tank that they can make litteral hordes of.


And as you stated, NATO armor was, one for one, probably superior. Immediatly post-war, the US M4A3 with the 76mm was probably superior in combat to the T-34/85. Its gun was certinally superior, as was frontal armor, even if only marginally. With the M26 and the first Centurion tanks, they had tanks comperable or superior to the Is2. The overall defecit of quality likely even grew a hair as the years progressed, and more advanced electronics were developed.

In my admittedly unexpierenced assment, the Soviets wouldn't have been able to make an invasion of the west work. Mostly because an invasion of the west would lack any clear stratgic goals (they are effectivly fighting an entire hemisphere). Intially, most production centers are located in the USA and UK. Later, when Germany got back on here feet and attack of production facilities would have been a viable stratgic move..... well so what? They're fighting every part of the Western Hemisphere thats worth anything in combat.

Military victory being essentially impossible later on in the Cold War, their best chance would have been immediatly post-war, when England was reeling from the war, France and Germany were effectivly out of the fight for the imediate future, and the USA was both war-weary and still setting things up in Japan. If they do that.... well, they're still at an overall military disadvantage, and they couldn't have done anything about nukes.

Hellspur #23 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 02:58

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Chieftan,


I do enjoy your articles so please don't take offence by the following:

Your present article about the advantages of Russian equipment is a bit of a "Duh, well obviously..." kind of argument. The fact that you are worried about its reception or even think that it is an unusual statement comes from...I think, someone who is American, and writes for Americans.

The T-34 won the war. Its that simple. A-K47's were better assault rifles then M-16's (certainly the early M-16's anyways). It is important for countries at war (or cold war) to downgrade their enemies abilities and inflate their own for morale purposes. Unfortunately, when it affects military decisions or tactics it becomes harmful. America has a bad habbit of doing just this. The examples are numerous (refusing to convoy when you joined WWII giving a second happy hunting time for german subs, not taking advice on how to modify the 20mm hispano for aircraft, ignoring your own soldiers advice about the crippling jam rate of m-16's during the vietnam war etc).

I was more upset by the previous article which did its best to defend the American TD policy which crippled tank tatics by slowing down the introduction of larger guns. I will not claim to be an expert, but your attempts to justify it seem...well ...RA! RA! RA! America! we never screw up.

As part of the article you comment on the firefly and the 17 pounder. It was not SLIGHTLY better. It was WAY better. It had penetration equal to or greater then an 88. The 90 mm by your own calculations had only the same or slightly worse. The 17 pounder was out earlier as well. But you swing stats. The americans were only fighting 30% of german armoured forces from D-Day to the break out. This is an amazing feat. You were one country, while the other 70% were fighting the commonwealth composed of several countries. So good on you. But the other 70% had the majority of the elite armoured forces. Since the commonwealth was using fireflies in ever increasing numbers the majority of the success against german armoured forces is probably because of that. American tankers could very well have been dealing with a necessary 5:1 ratio to kill german vehicles. Also...allies had near complete control of the air. How many AV's were killed by aeroplanes? Do your statistics take that into account? What is needed is the statistic of American kills to losses by AV against AV.

I don't want to harp on this too much as it looks like American bashing. America has a proud military history.

But lets knock down some sacred cows:

1) America does not make the best stuff all the time through all wars.
2) American military doctrine suffers from all the biases, veniality, ego and just plain stupidity that all countries suffer from.
3) America has lost battles as well as wars.

I liked this last article because it reminds people that the point of military hardwared is to kill and destroy the other guy faster then he can replace it. Whether that is done through quality/invincibility or quantity/wear him out with superior economy and/or numbers is unimportant. My readings show that America was more on the quantity side in a number of areas rather then the quality side. And good for America. They were an economic powerhouse.

A Canadian tanker who fought in Belgium in shermans told me: "The only thing we had was quantity."

Keep writing...I enjoy the articles.

Cheers

ARM

Zepheris #24 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 03:04

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View PostDerJager, on Feb 17 2012 - 02:43, said:

We can reasonably assume NATO, especially if the fictional hostilities are immediatly post-war, will have air-parity at minimum, leaning towards air-dominance, at least initially. The soviets also lack a ground-attack plane to match the P-47 or the Hawker Typhoon.
Actually

Il-2

Russians love it... even if they lost so many of them either due to pilot deficiency and/or faulty operational tactics.

pretty damn effective ground attack plane in the right hand though, and armored like flying tank. Granted though that it cannot fight in a dogfight worth a damn unlike thunderbolt or typhoon that can be an effective dogfighter still (assuming they jetisson their bombs of course, as only a lunatic try to dogfight with bombs aboard)

in fact unlike thunderbolt or typhoon, Il-2 were designed from the ground up as a pure ground attack aircraft. So the russians were never lacking in ground attack aircraft, they as a matter of fact along with German had aircrafts designed purely for the job.

David_90539 #25 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 03:09

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On a phone and accidentally -1'd him.  Someone fix that please?          Oh by the way nice post cheiftan :Smile_honoring:

DollarSoup #26 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 03:11

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The term 'asymmetrical warfare' has been used in recent times to differentiate the large-scale conflicts between major powers that were originally foreseen for many of the weapons systems composing a modern armed force, and the sort of counter-insurgency operations most of them have found themselves actually undertaking in the last few decades. Your fine article reminds us that in some sense all wars are asymmetrical -- very rarely are two opponents evenly matched in all respects, and wherever an imbalance exists one side will try to compensate for it and the other will try to exploit it. In the vast scale of the struggle on the Eastern Front during the Second World War, the Russians devised a highly economic approach based on their vast population & resources, manifested in those classic traits under discussion: mechanical simplicity, just-good-enough build quality,  and frequent disregard for aesthetic & ergonomic considerations -- or questions of crew survivability.
I think those last two characteristics are probably key to why the classic Soviet military vehicles tend to be less appreciated. First, they can be unattractive in a way that has nothing to do with fit and finish. They are often defiantly ugly, brutal-looking, not only rough around the edges but seemingly built in conscious ignorance of principles of unity or symmetry (their jet interceptors were, to my mind, the big exception -- probably redeemed from the heavy collective hand of the old Soviet design bureaus by the attenuating realities of aerodynamics).
Secondly, while they are often distinguished by deeply ingenious and efficient technical solutions, produced by designers working under severe constraints, it is difficult to look at old Russian AFVs without being reminded of the grim doctrine underlying their manufacture. As pointed out by  the author and others in this thread, they were inelegant weapons -- the whole point was to throw your carcass on a pile that would eventually overwhelm and suffocate the enemy. One can admire the fortitude of a people willing to pursue such a course, but as a design principle, it lacks appeal.

DerJager #27 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 03:13

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Hellspur, the T-34 only won the war in the same sense that the M4 won the war. Its not like the Soivets were fighting Germany alone, and that they beat the wermacht on their own. Without lend-lease equipment (particularly transport) and supplies, its entirely possible they would have collapsed.

As for the US and 20mm hispanos...... well, americans liked the .50 cal better. It had better balistics, higher rate of fire, more could be fit into the same space, and the two later points combined to give a higher volume of fire, which is better for crossing or snapshots.

I'm a veteran of 3 different air combat simmulators, with combined 7 years of expierence, and was considered qualified enough to help alpha-test WoWP. While I admit this isn't the same as real life expierience, it is enough for me to say with confidence that the .50 had advantages over the Hispano, and that its entirely possible, perhaps even leaning towards likely, that the USA opted for the M2 .50 cal over the 20mm Hispano for purely military reasons.


Not trying to be argumentative or anything. I completly agree with you on the Normandy campaign, and the M16.

Zepheris #28 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 03:22

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View PostDollarSoup, on Feb 17 2012 - 03:11, said:

In the vast scale of the struggle on the Eastern Front during the Second World War, the Russians devised a highly economic approach based on their vast population & resources, manifested in those classic traits under discussion: mechanical simplicity, just-good-enough build quality,  and frequent disregard for aesthetic & ergonomic considerations -- or questions of crew survivability.

If we take their WW2 example though that's not entirely true..

i mean the early T34 models were apparently quite well made, comparable to the western tanks in terms of finish and quality.

but as the war goes on and things naturally grows desperate (try being the country with Wermacht marching through half your lands and see how well that bode for the country) all other aspect had to be abandoned for expediency (that and experienced workers get drafted for the fight as things go into battle for survival and replaced with less capable workers).

When things grow as desperate as having the battle erupt right next to the tank's factory door step, workmanship don't mean a damn thing, releasing the tank as soon as possible so it can join the fight outside is far more important.


View PostDerJager, on Feb 17 2012 - 03:13, said:

As for the US and 20mm hispanos...... well, americans liked the .50 cal better. It had better balistics, higher rate of fire, more could be fit into the same space, and the two later points combined to give a higher volume of fire, which is better for crossing or snapshots.
20mm Hispano models in US employment had a bad record when they attempted to integrate them in, and it was never fully fixed so they never utilize it in any sizeable capacity.

DerJager #29 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 03:26

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View PostZepheris, on Feb 17 2012 - 03:04, said:

Actually

Il-2

Russians love it... even if they lost so many of them either due to pilot deficiency and/or faulty operational tactics.

pretty damn effective ground attack plane in the right hand though, and armored like flying tank. Granted though that it cannot fight in a dogfight worth a damn unlike thunderbolt or typhoon that can be an effective dogfighter still (assuming they jetisson their bombs of course, as only a lunatic try to dogfight with bombs aboard)

in fact unlike thunderbolt or typhoon, Il-2 were designed from the ground up as a pure ground attack aircraft. So the russians were never lacking in ground attack aircraft, they as a matter of fact along with German had aircrafts designed purely for the job.


Thats actually poorly reprasentative of the situation. The Il-2 was origionally intended to be a strafer aircraft, IIRC. In any case, its bomb payload was only around 800lbs of, even less than many WWI bombers, and its weapons were upgraded from 23mm to 37mm because of a lack of effectiveness when strafing. However, these weapons were of limited use, especially towards the end of the war. Strafing probably wouldn't get the job done on an M4, and almost certinally wouldn't do for an M26.

While the USSR had several bomblet-type weapons that were capable of engaging tanks, they're still limited in their payload. Soviet anti-tank rockets were complete shit, to be honest, so the rockets that could be  mounted under the wing were of limited value.

Compare this to the P-47's payload of 2 1000lb bombs on the wing, a 500lb bomb on the centerline, and 10 HVAR 127mm rockets. Taken all together, the P-47 could carry almost 4000lbs of ordnance. It was also pretty heavily armored itself. While not quite upto the standards of the Il-2, its not like the Il-2's armor will save it if enemy aircraft are nearby anyways.

The P-38 was capable of carrying 2 2000lb bombs, or 4 1000lb bombs, IIRC. The F4U-1D was able to carry 2 1000lb bombs, and a 2000lb bomb, if memory serves.

Soviet fighters were also considerably limited by range, and would be unable to provide extended fighter cover. This is not true for the USA's aircraft especially.



The Il-2 preformed admirably during WWII, but even during WWII it was showing signs of age. By the end of the conflict, it had pretty much reached the end of its usefull lifetime.

Xlucine #30 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 03:35

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Great article as always! something occurs to me - that nifty piece of engineering to reload the gun while taking up less room than a human would fall under "whizz-bangs", wouldn't it? Something tells me part 2 will lead to some glorious discussion... :P

Hellspur #31 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 03:36

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To Derjager.

A balanced answer. And you are not being in the slightest argumentative.

You are right about the t-34, M4 and we could add lancasters, spitfires or any piece of kit. They all won the war. What I am getting at is dispite my education/indoctrination, I am realizing that Russia probably sucked up more german resources then any one else. (There has gotta be a hard number on this somewhere). Germany lost their elite in Russia. Even as the western allies were landing Hitler kept more resources on the Eastern front. Hitler was (rightfully so after what the germans had done) terrrified of the Russians. The T-34 was a major component of the Russian victory. But of course you are right. No single machine or person wins a war.

I disagree with you about the Hispano. I too am a product of way too many digital battles and books. So we laughingly agree to fight this battle in "nerd space." If sheer volume of fire was important, the 8X 303 on early british spit and hurc would win the day. But they were just too light. Now of course the .5's are a different fish...much more dangerous. But they don't compare to cannons. The british (who honestly on the allied side know more then anyone about bringing down planes with planes)kept moving to more and more cannons...ultimately ending with 4 cannons. Most postwar aeroplanes meant to dogfight switched to cannons. American stayed stuck with the .5 longer then anyone. One of the reasons for this was on paper the .5 is so much more effective at long range then a cannon. But, as we know from our simulators, no one hits anything at 200+ knots at long range. Most kills are made well within the effective range of cannons. The germans knew it, the british figured it out...it was just the Americans who seemed unable to get it. That said and done...6 .5's are not fun to be hit by. But I think you agree, cannons do more damage.

Enjoyed your reply.

Cheers

ARM

Otto_von_Boris #32 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 03:43

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“quantity has a quality of its own.” That one line sums up the russians so well.

Zepheris #33 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 03:57

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View PostDerJager, on Feb 17 2012 - 03:26, said:

Thats actually poorly reprasentative of the situation. The Il-2 was origionally intended to be a strafer aircraft, IIRC. In any case, its bomb payload was only around 800lbs of, even less than many WWI bombers, and its weapons were upgraded from 23mm to 37mm because of a lack of effectiveness when strafing. However, these weapons were of limited use, especially towards the end of the war. Strafing probably wouldn't get the job done on an M4, and almost certinally wouldn't do for an M26.

Compare this to the P-47's payload of 2 1000lb bombs on the wing, a 500lb bomb on the centerline, and 10 HVAR 127mm rockets. Taken all together, the P-47 could carry almost 4000lbs of ordnance. It was also pretty heavily armored itself. While not quite upto the standards of the Il-2, its not like the Il-2's armor will save it if enemy aircraft are nearby anyways.

The P-38 was capable of carrying 2 2000lb bombs, or 4 1000lb bombs, IIRC. The F4U-1D was able to carry 2 1000lb bombs, and a 2000lb bomb, if memory serves.

Soviet fighters were also considerably limited by range, and would be unable to provide extended fighter cover. This is not true for the USA's aircraft especially.

The Il-2 preformed admirably during WWII, but even during WWII it was showing signs of age. By the end of the conflict, it had pretty much reached the end of its usefull lifetime.
1300 lbs maximum actually, and that is naturally still low compared to the thunderbolt or typhoon but that is the price of the armor it carries which was incredibly heavy in proportion to it's weight. It was designed specifically for ground attack role after all, and expected to endure ground fire and survive it.

Don't get me wrong, the thunderbolt was very effective in it's role... (ironically designed by russian engineers) but Il-2 formations with HEAT bomblets are most certainly going to cause severe casualties on any tank formation it encounters which is exactly what it was intended for.

They compensated for the lack of the payload each of the Il-2 carry individually with a dense number and sortie, and be careful when considering the effectiveness of strafing on AFV because while some tanks do have sufficiently thick roof armor the engine top armor were not usually as well protected.

Sure, it was relatively ineffective especially as the design progressed and the armor gets thicker, which is why the bomblets were designed to improve their performance against AFV they encounter in the field.

iirc the HEAT bomblets they designed for it had rated penetration around 60mm, more than sufficient to handle tanks they will face given the thin roof on the AFV.

The_Chieftain #34 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 04:01

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View PostHellspur, on Feb 17 2012 - 02:58, said:

Chieftan,


I do enjoy your articles so please don't take offence by the following:

Not at all.

Quote

Your present article about the advantages of Russian equipment is a bit of a "Duh, well obviously..." kind of argument. The fact that you are worried about its reception or even think that it is an unusual statement comes from...I think, someone who is American, and writes for Americans.

Although I do call America home these days, you wouldn't mistake me for an American born and bred were you to hear me speak (and you will in a month or so...). What I am attempting to do here is to break the preconceptions that are commonly held about Russian equipment, positive or negative. (Usually positive in the case of T-34, and negative in, say, the case of T-62).

Quote

The T-34 won the war.

Did it? Then why do the Russian army consider artillery to be the God of War and not the tank? As I said, T-34 was a great tank. But the Russians also had a great artillery park, a pretty reasonable air force and heck, even the Mosin Nagant is considered a decent rifle for people to own today. And, of course, professionals study logistics... Lots of which from the Russian perspective was transported by Studebaker, as it happens. But really, the Russian soldier won the war.

Quote

I was more upset by the previous article which did its best to defend the American TD policy which crippled tank tatics by slowing down the introduction of larger guns. I will not claim to be an expert, but your attempts to justify it seem...well ...RA! RA! RA! America! we never screw up.

Perhaps you should read it again. My last article said absolutely nothing about the TD doctrine. My TD article "The Can Openers" pointed out that the common perception of the TD doctrine slowing down the introduction of larger guns on the tanks was not correct. All three articles, the Can Openers and the two US Guns/German Armor make mention of the fact that US tanks were upgunned to the levels considered necessary to deal with all threats on the battlefield, to include tanks. TD doctrine didn't enter into the equation. That the US screwed up in thinking that the guns on the tanks were adequate was another matter entirely but entirely unrelated to the TD doctrine.

Quote

As part of the article you comment on the firefly and the 17 pounder. It was not SLIGHTLY better. It was WAY better. It had penetration equal to or greater then an 88.

And it couldn't hit the broad side of a barn using the APDS ammunition: See the results of the August test at Isigny (USGGA Pt 1) from which the US Army considered 17pr APDS to be "definitely inferior" to 76mm HVAP T4.

Quote

But you swing stats. The americans were only fighting 30% of german armoured forces from D-Day to the break out. This is an amazing feat. You were one country, while the other 70% were fighting the commonwealth composed of several countries. So good on you. But the other 70% had the majority of the elite armoured forces. Since the commonwealth was using fireflies in ever increasing numbers the majority of the success against german armoured forces is probably because of that. American tankers could very well have been dealing with a necessary 5:1 ratio to kill german vehicles.

The practical benefit of the numbers of Fireflies is questionable. The British reported that the mean engagement range in close terrain was about 400 yards, and 1,200 yards in open terrain, in the same report that they determined a 2.2 ratio. By the British army's own tests, APDS would hit about 50% of the time on the one-way range at 400 yards, and at 1200 yards it was one round in eight. Non DS rounds were far more accurate, but the increased penetrative ability of 17pr vs 76mm was somewhat irrelevant, as neither ammunition could reliably penetrate the front of the Panther. The only advantage that the 17pr gave over the 76mm M4 in the initial stages was the fact that HVAP ammunition needed to be shipped to the US forces, and again, it wasn't done earlier simply due to the intelligence failure.

Quote

Also...allies had near complete control of the air. How many AV's were killed by aeroplanes? Do your statistics take that into account? What is needed is the statistic of American kills to losses by AV against AV.

Why? What is needed is a statistic of who won the war, AV vs AV was only one component of a fight. Patton considered the tracks of his tanks to be more important than the gun anyway. I had a radio in my tank, I was not averse to calling for air or indirect. As one person put it, the difference between the Americans and everyone else is that the American soldier will hide and use a ten-round artillery TOT when any normal fighting man would use a hand grenade. Where I'm going with this is that even though the US screwed up by not giving their tankers the weapons they needed to fight one-on-one on the rare occasions that they had to do it, the fact that they didn't, though it gets huge amounts of public attention, really wasn't all that important in the large scheme of things.

Quote

1) America does not make the best stuff all the time through all wars.
2) American military doctrine suffers from all the biases, veniality, ego and just plain stupidity that all countries suffer from.
3) America has lost battles as well as wars.

No arguments against any of those.

FRUITKOMMANDO #35 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 04:02

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Countries make equipment that do what they want it to do, it applies to all cases and whenever people say something was inferior to another thing, most of the time there was a reason for it being like that, not just to screw people over.

DerJager #36 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 04:17

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View PostHellspur, on Feb 17 2012 - 03:36, said:

If sheer volume of fire was important, the 8X 303 on early british spit and hurc would win the day. But they were just too light. Now of course the .5's are a different fish...much more dangerous. But they don't compare to cannons. The british (who honestly on the allied side know more then anyone about bringing down planes with planes)kept moving to more and more cannons...ultimately ending with 4 cannons. Most postwar aeroplanes meant to dogfight switched to cannons. American stayed stuck with the .5 longer then anyone. One of the reasons for this was on paper the .5 is so much more effective at long range then a cannon. But, as we know from our simulators, no one hits anything at 200+ knots at long range. Most kills are made well within the effective range of cannons. The germans knew it, the british figured it out...it was just the Americans who seemed unable to get it. That said and done...6 .5's are not fun to be hit by. But I think you agree, cannons do more damage.


Speaking purely from the perspective of volume of fire on a target, the 8 .303's WERE superior to the 20mm's, vastly so when the shot in question is a crossing- or snap-shot. As a fellow cartoon-warrior, I'm sure you've noted this yourself.

However, as you noted, sheer volume of fire isn't the only thing that was important. Particularly in online enviornments, where the damage models often simply place a hit value on specific parts of an aircraft and/or aircraft as a whole, and damage values to a gun, there is an increased emphasis on a higher instantaneous damage, or at the very least, a relativly high damage per second through other means.


For those not keeping up with the technical talk, in essence, what I just said was that all guns are assigned a damage value. In Aces High, the .50 caliber M2 has a damage value of about .3, and the 20mm Hispano a value of about 1. This means that each 20mm round is roughly three times as effective as each .50 caliber round. The .303 (equielant to the 30-06, or 7.92mm) is the worst, with a damage of only around .083, which means that each 20mm round is roughly 12 times as effective as each .303 round. While the .50 caliber can be as effective as the 20mm because each plane can carry more of them, and because they fire faster, the .303 cannot, because they do not fire fast enough, and the size is not small enough for them to carry sufficent numbers.

Because each part of the aircraft is assigned a hit value, and there is no decrease in preformance until the part is actually destroyed (something thats pretty common among flight sims), the mechanics of the game favor the .50 and 20mm over the .303 even in an extended fight. This is because the .50 and 20mm will do more damage quicker than the .303, and are more likely to damage an important component of the enemy aircraft, such as an aileron or elevator. As parts are lost, adverse effects continue to mount, reducing the ability of the enemy to fight back, and even avoid attacks. Hence the damage compounds, and the faster you do damage, the more effective you are in combat, because you will kill your opponent faster.



And Hellspur, I think you have it backwards. The 20mm is more effective than the .50 caliber at extended range, because the .50 caliber does damage purely through kinetic energy (ie, it fires solid bullets, that lose kinetic energy with distance traveled), where as the 20mm fires a mix of kinetic and HE filled rounds which maintain their damage potential regardless of distance.

But the .50 caliber is about equal to the 20mm up close, because of its ability to 'saw' off parts of an opponent's aircraft.

MajorDonCornaldie #37 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 04:19

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Very good history lesson. I don't know much about tanks, but reading your work does provide some enlightenment, thanks alot. :Smile_honoring:

thejoker91 #38 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 04:22

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View PostDerJager, on Feb 17 2012 - 03:13, said:

Hellspur, the T-34 only won the war in the same sense that the M4 won the war. Its not like the Soivets were fighting Germany alone, and that they beat the wermacht on their own. Without lend-lease equipment (particularly transport) and supplies, its entirely possible they would have collapsed.

As for the US and 20mm hispanos...... well, americans liked the .50 cal better. It had better balistics, higher rate of fire, more could be fit into the same space, and the two later points combined to give a higher volume of fire, which is better for crossing or snapshots.

I'm a veteran of 3 different air combat simmulators, with combined 7 years of expierence, and was considered qualified enough to help alpha-test WoWP. While I admit this isn't the same as real life expierience, it is enough for me to say with confidence that the .50 had advantages over the Hispano, and that its entirely possible, perhaps even leaning towards likely, that the USA opted for the M2 .50 cal over the 20mm Hispano for purely military reasons.


Not trying to be argumentative or anything. I completly agree with you on the Normandy campaign, and the M16.

"It had better balistics, higher rate of fire, more could be fit into the same space, and the two later points combined to give a higher volume of fire, which is better for crossing or snapshots."

You also need to hit more to shot down a plane with a .50 cal than with a 20mm cannon. The 20mm hispano had 11g of explosive filler (an MK2 grenade had 56g )while the .50 API round had 0,6.

A hawker tempest for example could fire 40 20mm rounds per second of trigger pull while the P-51 mustang could fire 78 .50 cal rounds. But 20mm had almost 4 to 5 times the destructive power of the .50 and the superior ballistics of the .50 didnt change much in the 100-500 meters most shoot-downs most took place. Even if shoot downs for longer ranges happened, they were rarely usual and usually involved bombers being shoot down.

DerJager #39 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 04:31

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View Postthejoker91, on Feb 17 2012 - 04:22, said:

"It had better balistics, higher rate of fire, more could be fit into the same space, and the two later points combined to give a higher volume of fire, which is better for crossing or snapshots."

You also need to hit more to shot down a plane with a .50 cal than with a 20mm cannon. The 20mm hispano had 11g of explosive filler (an MK2 grenade had 56g )while the .50 API round had 0,6.

A hawker tempest for example could fire 40 20mm rounds per second of trigger pull while the P-51 mustang could fire 78 .50 cal rounds. But 20mm had almost 3 times the destructive power of the .50 and the superior ballistics of the .50 didnt change much in the 100-500 meters most shoot-downs most took place. Even if shoot downs for longer ranges happened, they were rarely usual and usually involved bombers being shoot down.

I don't deny that the 20mm was more effective. I simply said that they can be AS effective. Personally, I favor cannon's better firepower, even to the point that I love the German 30mm Mk 108 on the K4, as opposed to most people, who hate it.

However, the .50 caliber does have those benefits, and they aren't the ONLY benefits. More ammunition (the tempest was limited to 150 rounds per gun, IIRC), ease of logistics (the .50 was very widely used, and the 20mm was hardly used at all, ouside of the navy).

And the increased volume of fire is of very high value in a crossing shot. There, you might only have 1/2 of a second where your bullets or shells will land on target. Because of this, I personally favor the .50 cal in this situation.

Hellspur #40 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 04:37

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To Chieftain (Spelled your name right this time :-)  )

Of course artillery and all arms are important and the soldier is pe-eminient. This is a site devoted to tanks which magically reload themselves...so I concentrated on that. As for the rifle...everyone knows that the Lee-Enfield was the best bolt action of 2 wars...;-)


Statistics ARE important...as you used them in your article...which I certainly will read again. In your article you state that the 5-1 ration so often quoted by tankers is inaccuarate. But if your quoted stat ignores other sources of kills, it is small comfort to a WWII allied tanker facing a panther that the war will overall make a ratio of 2-1 if he needs 5-1 to survive. Combined arms combat was not as refined with ally forces as it is today or as Germans in WW II (the principal reason for German success I suspect). So allied tankers were facing german AV's without benefit of instant air or artillery. So the ratio is interesting. Where does the 5-1 ratio come from?

The TD doctrine I believe is also important as it slowed down the American's acceptance of larger guns into the Tanks. Certainly I am not as well read up on AV as some as other areas...but is this incorrect?

As for the intelligence failure...that was again the American failure to accept British warnings. The British began to suspect that something was up and started making the fireflies. They certainly did not see them as useless. There were significant sacrifices in using fireflies...notably the lack of a useful high explosive shell for disposing of infantry. Interestingly...the British switched from I believe a 1/5 ratio to 100% fireflies.

I believe that there were some large mistakes in the american tank destroyer doctrine on par with the British obsession with "cruiser" and "infantry" tanks, which hindered tank development for both countries. I also believe that fireflys were very effective in their "assassin" role of heavy German armour in a way that the standard sherman of the time could not be.

Your article seemed a bit apologetic for the American side but haveing listened to a bit too much US aggrandization...I may be sensitive to it. (The lack of British tanks in the game certainly does not help LOL).

I am, in the end only more curious about AV's and WWII.

Good discussing it and thank you for your reply.

Cheers

ARM




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