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10 anti-tank weapons which flopped

Discussion in 'Weapons & Technology in WWII' started by OhneGewehr, Feb 3, 2017.

  1. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Actually, the T12 was not created as either a tank destroyer - a term which came into existence after its development - or training vehicle. It was the initial attempt to develop a self-propelled mount (SPM) for the field artillery of the armored division. It was simply available at Aberdeen in June-July 1941 when the initial tests of the new antitank doctrine was tested at Fort Meade. In December, when the Tank Destroyers were created it was chosen as the interim self-propelled mount for the ten "heavy" battalions organized. By that time the field artillery had passed on it because they wanted a 105mm SP, given that the 105mm was selected to replace the 75mm as the divisional DS piece. The T19 then was tried, but of course even more overloaded the half-track chassis so was quickly discarded. The T12 and T19 combination then was tried as the interim weapon for the Infantry Regiment Cannon Company where they did reasonably good service, but foundered on McNair's dislike of SP artillery and "excess" divisional combat vehicles.
     
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  2. Terry D

    Terry D Active Member

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    Very interesting, wasn't aware of that. I should have checked sources before I posted, obviously. I do have an account by a cannon company officer whose outfit used a combination of T30s (75mm how) and M7s in North Africa. I doubt that those guys were happy when they got the towed M3 105mm how later.
     
  3. Terry D

    Terry D Active Member

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    No need to do any of that, really. The M5 tank/M8 SPH did not have a very high profile; height for the M8 was 7'6", just six inches higher than a StuG. The same turret with the same weapon also fit on the LVT (A) too, so there was no problem there either. The extra weight of the gun did slow the M8 down considerably when compared with the M5 (22 MPH vs 36), but that was not a problem for the SPH role. The M8 was not perhaps ideal in two respects: the 75mm how was a little too light for the job, and the open turret was vulnerable. But at that point the US Army seems to have wanted SPHs in the tank battalion to provide indirect fire (smoke and HE) to assist the M4 tanks--who used direct fire. In any case, the M8 was a stopgap; the real answer for the requirement was the M4 tank with the 105mm howitzer, which appeared later. Being more heavily armored and fully enclosed, the M4 105mm could perform both direct and indirect fire roles. As far as direct fire went (the StuG role), the US Army always preferred the tank, and I agree with their preference. Helpful though the StuG was, it was less tactically versatile than a tank.

    I am afraid that there is a tendency in too many discussions like this to take German equipment as the yardstick, a tendency I disagree with strongly. The Germans had some SPGs of various sorts from the beginning of the war, and in that respect they were ahead of all three Allied powers. By 1943, however, the Germans had gone SPG mad. Desperate as they were to get guns on tracks, they made far too damned many SPGs and not nearly enough tanks. StuGs were good and Jagdpanthers excellent, but they just couldn't do the things tanks could do. People criticize American TDs, but they could fulfill a wide range of roles at least adequately and the 360 traverse was a definite point in their favor.
     
  4. OhneGewehr

    OhneGewehr New Member

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    .. because the Wehrmacht had to deal with enormous amounts of enemy tanks and therefore had to be innovative.

    4 Flops out of 10 are german, one american and it is a minor one.
    There are more american weapons in my Top 10 and less german. The Bazooka was a great invention and is a big success until today.

    A lot of the german tank-destroyers used an otherwise obsolete chassis. This had nothing to do with "SPG mad", just a measure to keep the existing production lines busy. I didn't consider any of these stop-gaps as a Flop, actually they were a contrast to the overengineered heavy tanks.

    Where you are right: there was no german T-34 or M4 Sherman. Designed for mass production and good enough for the battlefield, fuel efficient.
     
  5. George Patton

    George Patton Canadian Refugee

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    How would you consider the Pz IV?
     
  6. Terry D

    Terry D Active Member

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    Innovative, or desperate? If they had planned their production lines properly and not as you said over-engineered their second generation of tanks so that they were difficult to make then the Germans would not have been in that fix to begin with. It all looks like bad planning to me, not innovation.
     
  7. OhneGewehr

    OhneGewehr New Member

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    Not suited for mass production. Otherwise a reasonable design.
     
  8. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    Here's the thing - the Home Guard expended SO much smoke munitions practising that eventually it impinged on the production of smoke mortar rounds for the Western Desert, ostensibly the reason the Projector was withdrawn from them in favour of the spigot mortar. They became HIGHLY proficient with them across 18 months...managing to hit moving targets at fifty yards and static ones at a hundred yards with a high rate of accuracy...but the point of the Home Guard's tactics was - no matter what weapons were used - they were to fight from ambush; one party to halt the front of a convoy or single vehicle - and a second or third party at the rear to attack the halted enemy vehicles. All ambush parties would be sited in advance, in locations spotted and if necessary developed months if not years ahead of when they might be needed, the HG kept training right until September 1944.

    Essentially, as an ambush weapon, the Northover Projector itself was less than mobile, it took a team of six to carry its tripod and tube. In reality it would have been a fire and forget weapon....ambush the enemy try to knock them out - then GTFO. Some Home Guard units altered their projectors...mounted them on wheeled trailers, or mounted wheels on the tripod...and one enterprising designer in the HG went as far as designing a MkII with a revolver-type magazine!
     
  9. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    "Ersatz" is more or less what the Marders are, what they really wanted were the JadgPanzers but those would no be available for a while, using the same base chassis the Marder III was available in 1942 the Hetzer in 1944, note that German doctrine favored armor over mobility and visibility, so they ended up with quite different vehicles from the US ones.

    The M3/75 does indeed look like it was designed with an SP arty role in mind, the Pak 40 of the Marders was much more of a specialized AT weapon than any derivative of the venerable French 75mm Modelle 1897 can ever be. I'm nor sure the M3 chassis could take the bigger recoil of the 76 without strenghtening, when the Germans mounted the PAK 40 on the Sdkfz 251 it proved to be a bit too much.
    But both the M3 and the early Marders were attemps to merge an existing cheap chassis with a big gun to get SPs fast, the front engined later Maders and the Wespe significantly differed from the original tank though.
     
  10. the_diego

    the_diego Member

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    didn't you have limpet-like devices which one fastened to the side of a (moving) enemy tank?
     
  11. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    I´d guess any AT gun needing towing during offensive. Self-propelled were ready straight away.
    If speed in reacton is needed and usually is.
     
  12. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    Is that actually a problem though? Despite limbering time etc...surely a towed AT gun on the road still has a faster road speed than most if not all tanks? And they could certainly travel at designated, "fixed" convoy speeds...

    And no matter how fast an offensive was moving - no AT gun would be right up at the pointy end. That's what your recce units were for.
     
  13. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Yes, there was. It was called Panther. It was partly because it was designed for mass production that it was so problematic early on. The final drive used a double-spur gear system instead of planetary, since they were easier to manufacture. Ditto the steering system, which was much simpler than the Tiger.
     
  14. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Careful, you may fall into the American Ordnance nomenclature trap. :salute:

    The 75mm Gun Motor Carriages M3 and M3A1 were the standardized version of the 75mm Gun Motor Carriage (initially designated "Self-Propelled Mount" or SPM) T12. They utilized the 75mm Gun M1897A4 on Mount M3 or M5.

    Note the repetition of the "M3"? They are all different M3...one is a Gun Motor Carriage and the other is a [Gun] Mount. Neither actually refers to the gun, which is an M1897A4. :confused:

    Those M3 are very different from the 75mm Tank Gun M3. :eek: It was not, repeat NOT (since virtually every source gets this wrong) an "adaptation" of the "French 75", which was properly known as the M1897 (A1, A2, A3, and A4, depending on various detail modifications). The ONLY thing common between them was the ammunition used and the chamber. The gun tube, breech and firing mechanism, recoil surfaces, and recoil mounting were all completely different. The 75mm Tank Gun M3 was actually a derivation of an antiaircraft gun under continuous development by Ordnance during the late 1920s and throughout the 1930s.

    Anyway, yes the 75mm GMC M3/M3A1 was an interim stopgap for the field artillery that then became an interim stopgap in other roles - as a tank destroyer vehicle and as a support weapon for infantry. It's companion piece, the 105mm GMC T19 was developed in September 1941, following the acceptance of the 75mm GMC T12 and was authorized for limited production in March 1942 as an interim vehicle until the 105mm GMC M7 (standardized in April 1942) could be produced.

    Similarly, the 75mm Howitzer Motor Carriage (HMC) T30 was an interim stopgap for the mechanized cavalry and armor begun in October 1941 and produced and fielded until the 75mm HMC M8 (developed via the T41 and T47 February-April 1942) was available.

    Meanwhile, Armor wanted to have a true "assault gun" as a supporting weapon and programmed in a 105mm-armed one when the Medium Tank T6 was conceived in August 1940, but that required a gun redesign similar to that which put the 75mm M3 Tank Gun into service, so it did not become available in the field as the 105mm Medium Tank M4 until mid 1944. In the interim, the assault gun company of the armored regiments in the "heavy" armored divisions retained the 75mm HMC M8, while the re-organized tank battalions after September 1943 usually equipped its assault gun elements with standard 75mm-armed Medium Tanks M4 (the few separate light tank battalions retained used the 75mm HMC M8 in a three-gun battalion headquarters platoon as its assault gun element).
     
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  15. Mussolini

    Mussolini Gaming Guru WW2|ORG Editor

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    Wasn't the Panzer IV and its variants the most produced German Tank of the war? Seems like it was fine for mass production if I am right.

    That Piat video is interesting...looks quite easy to load. I always thought the mechanism was a little strange though - the round seems a bit wobbly sitting like that, which makes me wonder on its accuracy? I know it was used quite effectively by British Paras during Operation Market Garden. One soldier scored something like 12 kills with it (mostly on armored vehicles, but I believe a few Tanks as well). The first crossing of Arnhem Bridge (I believe it was Arnhem) by the Germans saw something like 20-odd vehicles knocked about by the British Paras. Given they had no ATG, most of those kills would have been with Piats, which strikes me not as a flop but a successful weapon.
     
  16. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Having a large number of an item produced has nothing to do with it being mass produced or designed for mass production.
     
  17. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper Patron  

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    Pardon if not on topic or relevant-
    Did Germany have any cast tank parts?...Remembering German steel was hard in comparison to cast.
    Casting allowed faster production, but may not have had the tensile strength of German plate.
    The panzer IV was probably a better tank than the Sherman...but the Sherman was more mobile and easy to maintain.

    Back to regular programming if off base. Cheers.
     
  18. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Are you referring to just armor or to any part of the tank? However, the answer to both is yes. If you see a curved armor part, like the Topfblende or the cupola of a particular vehicle, you are looking at a casting.

    What does that mean? German plate tended to have a high Brinnell hardness, which at times could be problematic, because it tended to brittleness, i.e., it had less tensile strength. American castings tended to be of lower hardness, but were tougher. The problem was the overmatch between the weapons fired at them was too great.

    Casting doesn't allow "faster production' and was not the reason American Ordnance approved large castings for use in medium tanks. It allowed more steel makers, which did not have access to the large rolling press forges required for armor plate manufacture to be part of the production pool. If you look, you will find American medium tanks used a mixture of cast and rolled armor.

    Really? If you think that was probably true then you must have some good reasons for why a tank conceived in January 1934 and developed in 1936 and 1937 was so much better than one conceived in August 1940 and developed in September 1941-February 1942. What are they?

    Cheery-bye then.
     
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  19. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper Patron  

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    The German 75 on the MKIV was a much better gun than the short 75 on the Sherman.
    Optics.

    You know, Rich- swinging ur dick here only shows your arrogance...And it doesn't look good on you.
    To make you feel better- i'm an idiot...So we can carry on now
     
  20. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    It also severely overstressed a chassis that was never designed to carry such a weapon...to such an extent that eventually they dropped powered traverse entirely to save weight.

    Yes, German optics were second to none, but I don't see how optics makes a tank "probably better", especially given the field of view limitations the German designs accepted.

    So a factual response is "dick swinging"? That sort of arrogant ignorance doesn't look good on you either. However, if it makes you feel better, I'm not actually a Dick, I'm Rich or Andy, my late Dad was Dick...so by all means carry on.
     

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