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Author Topic: WW2 Tanks: Sherman v. Panther v. Tiger  (Read 2901 times)

Kidd

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Re: WW2 Tanks: Sherman v. Panther v. Tiger
« Reply #60 on: 20 February 2018, 12:09:46 »
Oh indeed, but the long 75 they had on the Panzer IV was still perfectly good as an AT weapon until the end of the war, again unless you ran into a IS-1 or a Comet.  But it's performance wasn't at Panther 75 levels, meaning it had to get closer to engage, and that meant that it was at risk too. 

Its a case of swings and roundabouts.  The Germans couldn't really do the WAllies/Soviet approach of 'good enough' and then churn it out by the gigaton.  With a smaller manpower base, the Germans couldn't afford to trade losses.  So making a superior tank, that can engage before the other side can and get them home again makes sense.  At which point it then becomes more expensive/harder/slower to produce at which point you're going to be massively outnumbered and even your more advanced tank can be drowned in numbers. 

So what do you do. Build a 'good enough' like the Panzer IV and accept heavier casualties, or build a lesser number of superior tanks and be outnumbered.
Exactly.

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Re: WW2 Tanks: Sherman v. Panther v. Tiger
« Reply #61 on: 20 February 2018, 13:11:51 »
Problem was, by 1945 the Pz IV's time was up.  It was still adequate against M4s and T34s and Cromwells - but with M26s, T44s and Centurions starting to reach the battlefield it's 75/L48 was no longer a viable gun.

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Re: WW2 Tanks: Sherman v. Panther v. Tiger
« Reply #62 on: 20 February 2018, 13:28:29 »
So what do you do. Build a 'good enough' like the Panzer IV and accept heavier casualties, or build a lesser number of superior tanks and be outnumbered.

As an aside to this discussion, one thing the Germans did was put their vets in Pz IVs & their greenhorns in Panthers. The idea was that the superior tank would compensate for the skill of the crew, giving more "equal" results. But then you also get results like the Battle of Arracourt, where one Combat Command of the US 4th Armored Div beat 2 Panzerbrigades (equipped with Panthers & green crews) as well as elements from actual Panzerdivisions.

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Re: WW2 Tanks: Sherman v. Panther v. Tiger
« Reply #63 on: 20 February 2018, 13:35:33 »
Another factor that helped drive Germany towards fewer better tanks was they just had too limited fuel and rubber production to build and support larger numbers of tanks.

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Re: WW2 Tanks: Sherman v. Panther v. Tiger
« Reply #64 on: 20 February 2018, 13:54:28 »
So what do you do. Build a 'good enough' like the Panzer IV and accept heavier casualties, or build a lesser number of superior tanks and be outnumbered.
How about a tank that is reliable and easy to maintain & repair? Sherman is that, Panther & Tigers are not, and T-34 may fall little short on reliability.
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Kidd

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Re: WW2 Tanks: Sherman v. Panther v. Tiger
« Reply #65 on: 20 February 2018, 14:28:56 »
How about a tank that is reliable and easy to maintain & repair? Sherman is that, Panther & Tigers are not, and T-34 may fall little short on reliability.
How good was the Sherman's armour, though?

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Re: WW2 Tanks: Sherman v. Panther v. Tiger
« Reply #66 on: 20 February 2018, 14:36:11 »
How good was the Sherman's armour, though?
I looked it up on Wikipedia:
Quote
Later Shermans had an upgraded glacis plate that was uniformly 63.5 mm (2.50 in) thick and sloped at 47 degrees from the vertical, providing an effective thickness of 93.1 mm (3.67 in) over the entire plate.
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Re: WW2 Tanks: Sherman v. Panther v. Tiger
« Reply #67 on: 20 February 2018, 14:38:31 »
In addition, some Shermans were issued with armor upgrade kits late in the war that added thickness to the glacis plate/transmision cover, & sides of the turret (not referring to the Jumbo here), so some late-model Shermans could be pushing over 100mm effective LOS armor thickness by the final months of the war.

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Kidd

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Re: WW2 Tanks: Sherman v. Panther v. Tiger
« Reply #68 on: 20 February 2018, 14:48:28 »
In addition, some Shermans were issued with armor upgrade kits late in the war that added thickness to the glacis plate/transmision cover, & sides of the turret (not referring to the Jumbo here), so some late-model Shermans could be pushing over 100mm effective LOS armor thickness by the final months of the war.
I don't know, but that wiki quote claims to give the figures: "later Shermans had an upgraded glacis plate..."

which is not far off from the Panzer IV Ausf H, right? and less than Panther Ausf A onwards.

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Re: WW2 Tanks: Sherman v. Panther v. Tiger
« Reply #69 on: 20 February 2018, 15:16:01 »
I don't know, but that wiki quote claims to give the figures: "later Shermans had an upgraded glacis plate..."

which is not far off from the Panzer IV Ausf H, right? and less than Panther Ausf A onwards.
Yes, but Panther wasn't made in tens of thousands. Oh, and one more thing about Sherman: hatches are right above the crew and getting out is faster & easier than in most (any?) other tanks of the time.
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Re: WW2 Tanks: Sherman v. Panther v. Tiger
« Reply #70 on: 20 February 2018, 15:28:41 »
I don't know, but that wiki quote claims to give the figures: "later Shermans had an upgraded glacis plate..."

which is not far off from the Panzer IV Ausf H, right? and less than Panther Ausf A onwards.

But the Panzer IV was a little square box with essentially no angling on the frontal armor, unlike the Sherman's well-angled front.

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Getz

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Re: WW2 Tanks: Sherman v. Panther v. Tiger
« Reply #71 on: 20 February 2018, 15:42:05 »
But the Panzer IV was a little square box with essentially no angling on the frontal armor, unlike the Sherman's well-angled front.

True, but the glacis plate of the Pz IV H and J was 80mm thick.  Thinner sloped armour is not necessarily superior to thicker vertical armour.

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Re: WW2 Tanks: Sherman v. Panther v. Tiger
« Reply #72 on: 20 February 2018, 15:55:43 »
True, but the glacis plate of the Pz IV H and J was 80mm thick.  Thinner sloped armour is not necessarily superior to thicker vertical armour.

The original M4's glacis plat was 50 mm thick and angled to give it effectively 90 mm of thickness.  There weren't a lot of anti-tank guns that would have penetrated the Sherman without penetrating the Panzer IV H at the same range.  And of course, by the time the Panzer IV H was out, the Sherman had already received armor upgrades.

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Garrand

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Re: WW2 Tanks: Sherman v. Panther v. Tiger
« Reply #73 on: 20 February 2018, 16:04:06 »
True, but the glacis plate of the Pz IV H and J was 80mm thick.  Thinner sloped armour is not necessarily superior to thicker vertical armour.

Not sure I would go with that. The LOS thickness of a Sherman's glacis plate was approx 90mm as posted above, which is still numerically better than 80mm. Plus sloped armor increases the chance of a ricochet or even other issues with fusing (the first HVAP round issued for the 76mm M1A1 cannon had issues with penetration due to the rounds shape ricocheting off the sloped armor of the Panther). The only time vertical armor would be at an advantage is vs high angle fire, such as long range shots that have to "arc" into the target & thus do not come in at LOS.

Edit: or side shots per the trick with the Tiger 1, though I would think any tank could take advantage of that...

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« Last Edit: 20 February 2018, 16:08:37 by Garrand »
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Scotty

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Re: WW2 Tanks: Sherman v. Panther v. Tiger
« Reply #74 on: 20 February 2018, 17:37:35 »
True, but the glacis plate of the Pz IV H and J was 80mm thick.  Thinner sloped armour is not necessarily superior to thicker vertical armour.

While you are technically correct that "Thinner sloped armour is not necessarily superior to thicker vertical armour", determining whether it was in this case is a math problem not an opinion.

80 mm of armor at 90 degrees is just 80 mm of armor.  50 mm of armor at 45 degrees is closer to 90 mm.

This diagram provides an excellent explanation:
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Re: WW2 Tanks: Sherman v. Panther v. Tiger
« Reply #75 on: 20 February 2018, 17:47:09 »
How about a tank that is reliable and easy to maintain & repair? Sherman is that, Panther & Tigers are not, and T-34 may fall little short on reliability.

Ease of repair and maintenance are important, but not at the expence of being combat effective. The Germans were horribly outnumbered by 1943. They needed a qualitive advantage at the point of contact over tanks like the T-34 and KV-1. Even if they could have produce enough Panzer IVs to compete on the quantative front, where would they have got the crews and fuel?

Realy the problem didn’t seem to have been producing enough tanks or replacing loses (combat or otherwise) half the tanks in a Panzer Div were Panthers by 1944 after all. The problem was replacing and training crews.

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Getz

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Re: WW2 Tanks: Sherman v. Panther v. Tiger
« Reply #76 on: 20 February 2018, 19:05:42 »
While you are technically correct that "Thinner sloped armour is not necessarily superior to thicker vertical armour", determining whether it was in this case is a math problem not an opinion.

80 mm of armor at 90 degrees is just 80 mm of armor.  50 mm of armor at 45 degrees is closer to 90 mm.

This diagram provides an excellent explanation:

This all assumes that the shell strikes the 80mm armour at a perfect 90 degree angle - in the real world, this will almost never happen.  Games like World of Tanks greatly overplay the importance of angling the tanks against incoming fire, but it was a factor in real world tank combat and the dynamics of a three dimensional battlefield can completely throw out the assumptions behind "optimal" sloped armour schemes.

More pertinently, overmatching the calibre of projectiles with sheer thickness of armour seems to be an important part of the shatter-gap phenomenon.  Whilst this is probably not applicable in the case of armour of the Pz IV, a monolithic slab of vertical 100mm armour will resist penetration by a 76mm shell better than 71mm of armour inclined at 45 degrees.

Of course, what you ideally want is sloped armour that also of overmatches the calibre of the attacking shell.
« Last Edit: 20 February 2018, 19:10:35 by Getz »

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Scotty

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Re: WW2 Tanks: Sherman v. Panther v. Tiger
« Reply #77 on: 20 February 2018, 19:35:21 »
This all assumes that the shell strikes the 80mm armour at a perfect 90 degree angle - in the real world, this will almost never happen.  Games like World of Tanks greatly overplay the importance of angling the tanks against incoming fire, but it was a factor in real world tank combat and the dynamics of a three dimensional battlefield can completely throw out the assumptions behind "optimal" sloped armour schemes.

You'll have to forgive me if I don't see how that's pertinent to the conversation - especially since it applies universally to all tanks.  The point of the illustration was to demonstrate how sloped armor materially and significantly increases the effective armor, and to prove that, yes, the Sherman had better armor than a late-model Panzer IV even though the latter had a physically thicker plate.

More pertinently, overmatching the calibre of projectiles with sheer thickness of armour seems to be an important part of the shatter-gap phenomenon.  Whilst this is probably not applicable in the case of armour of the Pz IV, a monolithic slab of vertical 100mm armour will resist penetration by a 76mm shell better than 71mm of armour inclined at 45 degrees.

Do you happen to have any experimental data to go with that assertion?  I don't doubt that the shatter-gap is a significant consideration, but in the instance of this particular comparison I'm interested in seeing the data on it.
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Re: WW2 Tanks: Sherman v. Panther v. Tiger
« Reply #78 on: 20 February 2018, 22:24:18 »
One important point about the sloped armor issue: just about every modern tank uses sloped armor to advantage, with only a few exceptions. Not only does sloped armor increase protection & increase the chances of a deflection, but also can be made lighter for a given level of protection (since the plate can be forged thinner). While the point about shells not always coming in at a 90deg angle is valid enough, most tank combat traditionally happened at ranges where the trajectoiry if an AP shell was very flat, & did not require much elevation to compensate for range (although a modern example, IIRC the APDS shell of the modern 120mm is essentially flat out to 900m). Finally, if sloped armor was not advantageous, then why did the German army adopt is so enthusiastically in tanks like the Panther & the Tiger II (just to name two)? If flat plate armor was so advantageous, why was it abandoned for sloped armor anyway?

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VhenRa

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Re: WW2 Tanks: Sherman v. Panther v. Tiger
« Reply #79 on: 20 February 2018, 23:59:51 »
In reality the Panzer IV with the long 75 was perfectly good for dealing with ANY allied Tank until something like the Comet or IS-1 came along.  Building more of them and working on that chassis would have been more workable than the Zoo.

The Panther, Tiger and Tiger II were magnificent machines, and the Panther along with the T-34 helped set the development of modern AFVs, but what the Germans needed was easier, quicker to produce and cheaper machines, and they had that with the Panzer IV.

Eh, the Panther was in fact cheaper and faster to produce then a Panzer IV. The benefits of being built on a production line instead of by hand. Now if they had applied that production line technique to something less complicated... it would have been even cheaper and faster to build.
« Last Edit: 21 February 2018, 00:01:46 by VhenRa »

Nightlord01

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Re: WW2 Tanks: Sherman v. Panther v. Tiger
« Reply #80 on: 21 February 2018, 04:04:50 »
Eh, the Panther was in fact cheaper and faster to produce then a Panzer IV. The benefits of being built on a production line instead of by hand. Now if they had applied that production line technique to something less complicated... it would have been even cheaper and faster to build.

While I'm no tank expert, I know a bit about mass production. It's messy, wasteful and suffers a much lower reliability, while still suffering a lot of the drawbacks of being hand made. Noting that Germany during WW II was suffering serious shortages in just about every material required for making tanks, production lines may have left them with even less, just delivered faster!

VhenRa

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Re: WW2 Tanks: Sherman v. Panther v. Tiger
« Reply #81 on: 21 February 2018, 13:50:13 »
While I'm no tank expert, I know a bit about mass production. It's messy, wasteful and suffers a much lower reliability, while still suffering a lot of the drawbacks of being hand made. Noting that Germany during WW II was suffering serious shortages in just about every material required for making tanks, production lines may have left them with even less, just delivered faster!

Yeah, the Panther used significantly more metal for it's tonnage IIRC. On the other hand... it required nowhere near as much skilled labor to produce and the parts were significantly more standardised. The Panzer IV required basically artisans to produce it, extremely skilled craftsman. A Panther could be made by any half-educated idiot because each person only handled one part of the production line IIRC.

Cannonshop

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Re: WW2 Tanks: Sherman v. Panther v. Tiger
« Reply #82 on: 21 February 2018, 16:42:37 »
To whit the Panther could do 28mph at a time when most medium tanks could only do 24 to 26mph...

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Re: WW2 Tanks: Sherman v. Panther v. Tiger
« Reply #83 on: 21 February 2018, 16:53:35 »
On another note, people tend to ignore how well the Sherman did in North Africa in British service.

https://imgur.com/a/k0FzQ
Note the British considered it a Cruiser tank, not an Infantry tank.
For a bit of fun, scroll down to the bit about why the Germans revealed the Tiger so early

Making the other tanks and the standard Sherman de facto infantry support tanks.
No..they really really werent. Shermans were designed, planned, and expected to make killing other tanks a primary duty.

Some stuff I found after digging.
FM-17 Employment of Armored Units - Armored Division
https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/ref/FM/PDFs/FM17.pdf
"23. ATTACK FROM MARCH COLUMN
b. AGAINST ARMORED UNITS.--(1)
When enemy armored units are met during a march, attack will be made from march column. The tank units lead the attack. Missions and objectives for subordinate units will be immediately ordered by the division and column commanders. The tank destroyer units well forward in the column may be used to attack and delay the enemy
  (2) Once an enemy armored force is in position to intervene in the battle, its destruction is the main task of our own armored units. The enemy armored units must be attacked and destroyed by all available anti-tank weapons, and by the tank destroyer battalion, even if this entails the abandoning of a previously assigned mission."

And from FM17-10 Tactics and Techniques (1942)
"Ch2 Tactical Employment, Sec 5 The Defensive, 52. GENERAL.-a. Role.-The primary role of armored forces on the defensive is the tactical offensive. Their usual employment will be in the counterattack.
...
Ch2, Sec 5, 64. Tank Versus Tank Combat
5) Medium tank units, owing to their superior armor and armament, are used to lead attacks against hostile mechanized units. They are supported by tank destroyer units"

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Re: WW2 Tanks: Sherman v. Panther v. Tiger
« Reply #84 on: 21 February 2018, 18:04:24 »
Did you know, vikings did not have horns on their helmets. And ninja weren't assassins but spies. And wolves don't howl at the moon, they just howl regardless of is moon in the sky or not. In similar manner Sherman (and number of other tanks) seem to have some misconceptions going around.
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Re: WW2 Tanks: Sherman v. Panther v. Tiger
« Reply #85 on: 21 February 2018, 20:51:16 »
Do you happen to have any experimental data to go with that assertion?  I don't doubt that the shatter-gap is a significant consideration, but in the instance of this particular comparison I'm interested in seeing the data on it.

I'm afraid I'm not nearly expert enough to do more than repeat stuff I've read on other forums in the past.  Those guys seemed to know what they were talking about, however...

Finally, if sloped armor was not advantageous, then why did the German army adopt is so enthusiastically in tanks like the Panther & the Tiger II (just to name two)? If flat plate armor was so advantageous, why was it abandoned for sloped armor anyway?

You're misunderstanding.  Sloped armour is advantageous - 100mm of sloped armour is much better than 100mm vertical armour.  However, a thinner sheet of sloped armour will not necessarily outperform a thicker slab of vertical armour depending on whether the armour over matches the calibre of the projectile or not.  There's also the matter of the relative hardness of the armour - it's a pretty complicated topic...
« Last Edit: 21 February 2018, 21:02:12 by Getz »

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Re: WW2 Tanks: Sherman v. Panther v. Tiger
« Reply #86 on: 21 February 2018, 23:23:31 »
Did you know, vikings did not have horns on their helmets. And ninja weren't assassins but spies. And wolves don't howl at the moon, they just howl regardless of is moon in the sky or not. In similar manner Sherman (and number of other tanks) seem to have some misconceptions going around.

A pile of the Sherman misconceptions come from the writings of Belton Y. Cooper's autobiography, entitled Death Traps. The issue is... he is writing it from the perspective of himself, a tank mechanic in a high-level maintenance/recovery unit and most of the time when he saw a Sherman, he was dragging it back to the repair depot because it was crippled. He very rarely saw a Sherman in working order and thus in a startling cause of "Correlation does not imply causation" he inferred it because the Shermans were a death trap.

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Re: WW2 Tanks: Sherman v. Panther v. Tiger
« Reply #87 on: 22 February 2018, 01:26:04 »
A pile of the Sherman misconceptions come from the writings of Belton Y. Cooper's autobiography, entitled Death Traps. The issue is... he is writing it from the perspective of himself, a tank mechanic in a high-level maintenance/recovery unit and most of the time when he saw a Sherman, he was dragging it back to the repair depot because it was crippled. He very rarely saw a Sherman in working order and thus in a startling cause of "Correlation does not imply causation" he inferred it because the Shermans were a death trap.

IIRC Cooper was actually an ordinance officer, & specifically one of the jobs of his unit was to hose out knocked out tanks. So it is little wonder why he would have a negative perspective on the Sherman.

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Re: WW2 Tanks: Sherman v. Panther v. Tiger
« Reply #88 on: 22 February 2018, 02:46:57 »
The truth probably lies somewhere between such immediate first reactions and decades-later historical revisionism.

The Sherman was probably neither a tommy-cooker nor medium tank Wonderbread; the Tiger was probably neither a rolling lemon on tracks nor an invincible steel bogeyman.

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Re: WW2 Tanks: Sherman v. Panther v. Tiger
« Reply #89 on: 22 February 2018, 03:40:48 »
Eh, the Tiger wasn't too bad. It had better serviceability ratings then the Panzer IV in Normandy in 44. That is to say, more Tigers were operational as a percentage than Panzer IVs. Not a big surprise, considering it had enough development time, IIRC it was already in development when war were declared.

The Tiger II and Panther on other hand... 


 

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