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The Devil's Due


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Hellspur #41 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 04:42

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DerJager, on Feb 17 2012 - 04:31, said:

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.


Well...becomes a bit of a he says she says argument.

I think the real reason the Americans did not adopt it was because of the reliability issues which the British had gone through...and solved. The Americans did not accept the fixes (they were offered) and given the choice between a very deadly but unreliable cannon vs. a very reliable and still effective machine gun they chose the latter. More ammunition is always nice...but most of the world chose the cannon by the end of the war and post war.

I think that is the biggest endorsement.

Cheers

ARM

Valdez #42 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 04:44

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Was anyone able to find the airshow in TX that the Mi-24Ds would be attending?

Also, good read. Thanks!

srmalloy #43 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 04:54

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Otto_von_Boris, on Feb 17 2012 - 03:43, said:

“quantity has a quality of its own.” That one line sums up the russians so well.
And if you look at the Soviet Navy, and pay attention to the designs, you can see that they follow a fundamentally different principle than US warships. The US Navy is built around the principle of taking control of the ocean, and its ships are expected to stay out and provide presence over an extended period of time. The Soviet Navy is designed to go out and fight battles, then return to port. Look at the Cold War-era Soviet warships. With the exception of the Kynda-class cruisers, none of them carry reloads for their anti-ship missiles. They sail from port and engage the enemy, firing a barrage of missiles, then the survivors return to port for more missiles. The same is true for their offensive naval air operations -- a Bear-D would provide targeting data for the bombers loaded with air-to-surface missiles, who would fly close enough to be in range, launch their missiles, and turn around for home.

And it's interesting to consider how much of modern warfare relies on a tactic institutionalized by the Japanese as a desperation measure at the end of WWII -- for what is a guided missile if not a robotic kamikaze, intended to destroy itself along with its target?

thejoker91 #44 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 04:55

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DerJager, on Feb 17 2012 - 04:31, said:

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.

Im not saying the .50 cal was a bad gun. It was a good gun that did it job, but it wasnt the best at the job.

When crossing shots, I feel the 20mm destructive power is of more value than the higher hit chance of the .50 cal. Especially when comparing planes with high number of either guns. Even a quarter of a second was enough for the 20mm to shoot down the average fighter(the MG 151 needed on average 4 shots to destroy a fighter, and it had a very similar performance to the Hispano MK II), but was it enough for the .50 cal? I dont think so. After all, the little room to fire of the cold war showed the shortcomings of the 6x.50 cal configuration and it was changed in favour of the 4x20mm.

Also, Tempest MK V and VI had 200 rpg while MK II had 162 inboard and 152 outboard.

das_nooblet #45 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 05:07

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One of the biggest things i find  people forget or do not realise is that the Red Army was largely a conscript army. Officers were lifers, but everyone below from noncoms to privates were conscripts. Thus, the Russians had to design their equipment to be easy to use, and also capable of taking not just general abuse, but abuse and rough handling from those who used it.

lazeanbaze #46 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 05:07

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As a tanker in the 3rd acr I never feared any Russian vehicle. It wasn't because I was cocky just knew what the Abrams was capable of. When you spend time on that tank and the crew is on the same page it would take a act of God to stop it and even then I still think the Abrams would say is that all you got and even God's asshole would tighten up. Oh how I miss Freak nasty that tank was badass. The only tank I know of that actually had a ghost in the machine. I remember standing in formation getting our weekly safety briefing and that tank would turn on by it's self.  And everyone looking for me to see if I was in formation, I was driver at time, lol. I. Would of drove that tank to the gates of hell.

Zepheris #47 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 05:15

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Hellspur, on Feb 17 2012 - 04:37, said:

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.
Impossible because given the late arrival of effective HE shells for fireflies and the fact that the german armor encountered dropped as the winds of the war swings in favor of the allies means there's little logic to switch entirely to firefly.

Zepheris #48 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 05:19

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thejoker91, on Feb 17 2012 - 04:55, said:

Im not saying the .50 cal was a bad gun. It was a good gun that did it job, but it wasnt the best at the job.

When crossing shots, I feel the 20mm destructive power is of more value than the higher hit chance of the .50 cal. Especially when comparing planes with high number of either guns. Even a quarter of a second was enough for the 20mm to shoot down the average fighter(the MG 151 needed on average 4 shots to destroy a fighter, and it had a very similar performance to the Hispano MK II), but was it enough for the .50 cal? I dont think so. After all, the little room to fire of the cold war showed the shortcomings of the 6x.50 cal configuration and it was changed in favour of the 4x20mm.

Also, Tempest MK V and VI had 200 rpg while MK II had 162 inboard and 152 outboard.

MG151 was not intended as the primary weapon to destroy fighters, it supplements the MG131 instead to provide more firepower especially when up against targets resistant to the machine guns like heavier aircraft and bombers especially...

their rate of fire generally makes them less useful in a dogfight where planes have seconds if not less of window of opportunity to lay shells into the path.

if you think about it, it makes sense then why the US didn't really adopt cannons with their fighters... the british, russians, and germans had to intercept bombers and their fighters/interceptors need the heavier firepower the cannons provide to quickly down a bomber in an attack pass against bomber formations. But the US didn't exactly have the same pressing need.

thejoker91 #49 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 05:25

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Zepheris, on Feb 17 2012 - 05:19, said:

MG151 was not intended as the primary weapon to destroy fighters, it supplements the MG131 instead to provide more firepower especially when up against targets resistant to the machine guns like heavier aircraft and bombers especially...

their rate of fire generally makes them less useful in a dogfight where planes have seconds if not less of window of opportunity to lay shells into the path.

MG 151 was the primary weapon. the bomber destroyer was the MK108 wich required an average of four hits to take down a bomber, but had a muzzle velocity of 540 m/s, making it highly innefective in fighter vs fighter situations.

Even so, I dont think highly of the MG 151, I just cited it as an example, my favourite cannon is the Hispano MK II.

Also, neither RAF nor russia saw that much bombing intercepting, specially after the battle of britain. Germans didnt used a Heavy bomber much (the only one had severe flaws until very late in the war and was used the wrong way.) and the few heavy fighters were hardly in service by 1944 when the Tempest entered service.

Zepheris #50 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 05:39

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Our favorite choice is irrelevant, what matters is what they were intended for and how it fits into the use...

The fact is that they did not consider either cannon fighter design or MG armed design to be adequate... as each have their drawback.

If the cannons were perfectly adequate for air superiority role, they'd have introduced more of it into the late air superiority fighters but such is not the case.

Most of the late war air superiority fighters are armed with mixture of both, the Hurricane with it's quad hispano ended up more as a ground attack aircraft rather than a dogfighter given it's age.


thejoker91, on Feb 17 2012 - 05:25, said:

MG 151 was the primary weapon. the bomber destroyer was the MK108 wich required an average of four hits to take down a bomber, but had a muzzle velocity of 540 m/s, making it highly innefective in fighter vs fighter situations.
MG151 is in the same role... when they needed to improve it's performance against bombers they resorted to installing external MG151 to increase it's firepower against bombers.

heavy bombers were NOT the sole intended targets for the cannons like MG151, rather they were utilized against anything where the advantage of their destructive power outweigh their rate of fire which generally means targets that are not very maneuverable, which pretty much includes anything from bombers, fighter bombers, ground attack aircraft, etc.

VonSchmuke #51 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 06:34

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I wonder how many who complain about soviet quality have wwent through an in-game T-59 "swarm", Fulda gap would have been that on a much larger scale, with both sides clawing for air superiority, and arty trying to fill in for it. It would have been a mess, providing someone didn't panic and use a tactical nuke, wich would have been a nightmare.

Pacesetter6 #52 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 07:16

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Good article. It pretty much covers a lot of the discussion that was going on among the tankers in Europe back in the 70's and 80's.

Our main concern was not the quality of the Soviet tanks. We were all confident that we could kill them at ranges greater than their main guns could reach, but it was their numbers that gave us the willies. The 63 rounds that we carried in each tank would not have been enough to get all the bad guys.

Ammunition was such a concern that we spent quite a bit of time scoping out places to cache main gun rounds near our various battle positions. The plans were for the ammunition to be stashed up forward prior to us reaching our border positions so that we wouldn't have to try to resupply from 5 ton ammo trucks in the middle of a battle. Whether that theory would of worked or not, we thankfully never had to find out.

Years later I was in my hometown and met a fellow who worked as an engineer for the city street department. He was from Moldavia, by then an independent country but in the 70's and 80's it was part of the Soviet Union. It turns out that he had been a tank platoon leader on the east side of the border not too many kilometers from where I was to have taken up positions. He told me that I needn't have worried so much about their numbers of tanks. It seems that their operationally ready rate was quite often between 50% and 60%.

I still think that there would have been more of them than the number of APDS rounds we had available.  :D

The_Chieftain #53 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 07:22

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Hellspur, on Feb 17 2012 - 04:37, said:

As for the rifle...everyone knows that the Lee-Enfield was the best bolt action of 2 wars...;-)

The only bolt-action I own is a No4 Mk2.

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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?

A very good question.

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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?

It is incorrect. The medium tank, both by doctrine and by the equipment designers, was supposed to be able to deal with enemy armour. The TD doctrine was more a matter of the technique used to defeat enemy armoured formations, not the equipment used to destroy individual tanks. Even back in WWII it wouldn't have been too hard to figure out that the TD only fifteen minutes away wasn't going to be of much use to the M4 tanker with the Pz IV over yonder that bush over there.

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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.

I agree, they didn't see them as inadequate. The US was behind in that: It had invented the next two generations of guns, the 76mm and 90mm, but the former was not considered necessary on the tank, and the latter impractical anyway.

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Good discussing it and thank you for your reply.

Hey, I like a discussion. Part of the reason I write these. Even if there is a threadjack in progress better suited for WoWP. Well, I'm sure a pony will be along shortly.

HLS30 #54 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 07:25

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Great write up! One thing I didn't see you touch on, but that I've seen mentioned elsewhere, is that the Russians seemed to produce two versions of anything they exported. They made an export version, and then they made a domestic version. On the subject of tanks, the guys I've talked to who would know indicated that the non-export versions tended to be a good bit scarier than the (exact words here) "Monkey-market export version" when the west finally got a good look at them after the wall fell.

Harlech #55 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 07:39

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I think one of the failings of Western perception is failing to realize the purpose and environment said tanks were made to operate under. It's easy to deride a T-72 when it's set against an M1A2 with a crack crew. And that is how we tend to find them. On something of an individual basis with poorly trained crews. Not really using the tool as intended. 1 on 1... "ROFL"... 2 on 1.. "HEHE".... 3 on 1 .... "MEH"..... 10 or 20 on 1.... "er, Battalion, we have a problem!"

I vividly remember always expecting to get up to go to class, flip on the TV and hear that the balloon had gone up in Germany. I have talked to Cobra pilots who patrolled the border who said they went up every flight expecting to find columns of armor streaming over the border. I have talked to F-15 drivers who expected to come back from every 'routine' patrol with empty pylons.

I am really glad we didn't find out which doctrine of warfare was better.

Edit: Forgot to thank you for your article, Chieftain.

Toxn #56 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 08:27

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I think there is definitely something to the comments regarding the 'look' of soviet equipment. War is grim calculus & the Soviet design philosophy did exactly nothing to hide the fact that the machines and operators were both equally expendable.
Which is a pity, because crew quality really is the biggest single factor in improved combat performance. I'm thinking here about a local example, of 20mm-armed Ratels (a large, wheeled IFV) successfully engaging Angolan T-34/85s and T-55s during the 1980's. The ability to produce crew quality in quantity, however, is a rare thing for any army to achieve. Probably the Soviet designers were right to design for the one and not count on the other.

Finally, I've always thought that there is something inherently admirable (aesthetic even) about a design shows singularity of purpose. This is as true of supercars and aircraft as it is of tanks. If nothing else, old Soviet designs have that in spades.

Zepheris #57 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 08:31

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Harlech, on Feb 17 2012 - 07:39, said:

I am really glad we didn't find out which doctrine of warfare was better.

Israel did, during the fight in Yom Kippur their armored brigade faced tanks in such disproportionate number that their tanks were running out of shells.

They despite all the odds held... not really the fault of the tanks per say of course, as it was as much the failing of Syrian commands and their strategy but it was a very impressive showcase of what well trained tankers with solid hardware can do given they are so heavily outnumbered and against foes with tanks which at the time of the era was considered potent.

The_Chieftain #58 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 08:42

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Harlech, on Feb 17 2012 - 07:39, said:

Not really using the tool as intended. 1 on 1... "ROFL"... 2 on 1.. "HEHE".... 3 on 1 .... "MEH"..... 10 or 20 on 1.... "er, Battalion, we have a problem!"

Many moons ago, there was a one-page in Armor Magazine entitled "You're having a bad day at NTC when..." and amongst the situations one was "Your first fire command is 'Gunner, sabot, tank regiment, left tank first'"

Another was "You find OpFor in the chow line"

I haven't seen it in years.

That said, there's more to it than just numbers. We would generally say that a trained unit will succeed when facing one form of contact. A good unit will handle two, and an excellent can handle three and still come out on top. We've never seen a unit handle four. (Not least because it's very rare to be able to cause four). You can rest assured that the WarPac doctrine was more than just the one form of contact.

Splattimus #59 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 09:20

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I think the biggest point to make about it all is in Engineering, Perfection is not when you've nothing more to add, but when there is nothing more to take away...

The Abrahams may be a much better tank, but lets put it into a war situation.

How quick can you make a new Abrahams to replace those lost in combat.
Now how quick can you make em when the factory is / has been bombed.
How easy is it to maintain when the Russians have finnished bombing C3 and Logistics and maintainance areas and killed or injured all those trained mechanics and technicians?

All of a sudden the slapped together with hammers and as basic as mud seems to look a lot better, if you can basically train a fresh conscript to repair it, and slap it together in a bike shop, its gunna be a better tank in a conventional war. Its also the reason why the Sherman and T34 were so popular in WW2. You could pump them out faster than they broke. The Russians just continued with the theory.

Zepheris #60 Posted Feb 17 2012 - 09:38

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it's Abrams...

i don't understand why ppl so often misspelled it as Abraham, even americans...

and technically you don't exactly have to compromise with complexity of design just to make it's repair easier, modular design is partly intended to do just that... expedite maintenance and repair.

and compromising on performance is always done with careful consideration..

sure a very simple and no feature hardware can be recovered from damage and attrition quickly, but on the other hand it may well suffered that very damage precisely because it was not equipped with the function it needed to avoid it in the first place.




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