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10 anti-tank weapons which flopped

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

  1. m kenny

    m kenny Member

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    Statistics are good ways of dispelling myths.
    For instance statistics prove conclusively that tales of Uber-Panzers knocking out 5 Shermans and killing all the crews with single shots is complete rubbish. Fact is even the one-shot-one-kill super accurate 8.8cm used c.10 rounds for every claimed tank kill (on average) and 1 dead tank crewman per KO Sherman was the norm.
     
  2. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    Except that the BREN was not a new design, it was an adaptation of the ZG vz. 26 to the British 7.7 cartridge and a lot of people believe the original in 7.92 was the better weapon. Also the Germans had access to the factory producing the ZG vz. 26 but made no big efforts to pump up production though they used them to supplement their own MG34 that were always in short supply so it looks like they were not overwhelmed by it.

    If you go for "box-fed LMG" the competition is pretty poor, the type 99 with it's bayonet?, the BAR that is not an LMG at all ?, the only real competitor would be the FM 29, that soldiered even longer than the BREN as we cannot include the drum fed soviet designs or the horrible Breda that was clip fed.

    I doubt very much the Matilda 1 can be called cheap, it offered very little bang for the buck. Comparisons can possibly be made looking at man hours (figures for that are relatively easy to find though you may get quite different ones for different production years as the processes improved) and metal consumption (harder ro find), using currency is a non starter.
     
  3. m kenny

    m kenny Member

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    Would that be the same soldiers who say every German tank was a Tiger and that Foo Fighters were real?
     
  4. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Oh, remember I did say I was afraid you might be slipping down the rabbit hole? Please don't. :) The thing is a derivation is obtaining or developing something from a source or origin. The M2/M3 derived from the 75mm T6 Antiaircraft Gun, a system under development since the 1920's. Again, the only thing in common was the ammunition. It is like saying that the M1 Garand was "derived" from the M1903 Springfield because they used the same cartridge.

    Okay. The 75mm T6 Antiaircraft Gun was the product of some 15 years of desultory development. However, it was easily adapted to be a tank gun, since the design had eliminated the separate recoil surface with roller bearings so prominent in the M1897 and substituted cylindrical recoil surfaces on the tube itself, making it suitable for mounting in a gun shield. They added a vertical, semi-automatic breech and electrical firing mechanism to the T6, resulting in the 75mm T7 which was standardized as the 75mm M2 Tank Gun. Then, by adding a longer tube, it became the 75mm M3 Tank Gun. The M2 appeared in both early production of the Medium Tank M3 and in the first few of the Medium Tank M4 (including the pilot T6). It is distinguished by the large counterweight at the muzzle. However, both the Medium Tank M3 and M4 were always planned to use the M3 gun, the M2 was just an interim piece until the longer tubes could be manufactured.

    The 75mm Tank Gun M1 apparently never existed. It appears that when the Medium Tank T5 was trialed with a 75mm M1A1 Howitzer in a sponson in 1939, Ordnance decided that counted as the "M1 Gun" even though it was a howitzer. It was pretty arbitrary. The 105mm Howitzer M2 after all, was really the M1, but the Ordnance Committee decided there was enough changes between the original M1 design of 1928, designed for horse draft, and the M2, designed for motor draft, and so assigned it the new designation.

    Yep...it was as arbitrary as that. :)
     
  5. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    It wasn't supposed to offer a big bang for the buck anyway....more a rat-at-at-tat. And IIRC was a very quickly-designed way of getting an infantry support tank into the field.
     
  6. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    "Spanish" tungsten and wolfram...actually mined in Portugal and sneaked across the border onto the Spanish metals market...was never available in QUITE the quantities the Germans would have liked - as it was an open metals market, the British tried to buy up as much as they could. Often in the early war years the funding wasn't available for the MEW to win an outright bidding war....or bribe enough high-ranking Spaniards lol - and in either '42 or '43 failed totally to make a dent in sales to Germany (up by train through the Pyrenees), allowing Speer to build up a temporary reserve, but through early '44 U.S. money made a much bigger dent in the supply available to him - and of course events following OVERLORD and DRAGOON cut the rail routes completely by the end of the summer. This was IIRC the period when he ordered refined metallic uranium, refined from the Union Miniere stocks seized in Belgium (mined in the Belgian Congo) in 1940, machined as penetrators for AT rounds.


    Incidently - postwar a lot of machined and unmachined metallic uranium was found; does anyone know if these U penetrators were actually used?

    Meanwhile, the supply of nickel and molybdenum from Occupied Norway was being pressurized too by the RAF's interruption of Norwegian coastal maritime traffic. Which is why, generally, we see alloying metals disappearing from some vital uses...like the impellor vanes and other engine parts of the Me262...
     
  7. OhneGewehr

    OhneGewehr New Member

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    Matilda 1 cost about 15000 p, i don't know if this is cheap. From min 22.55:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IqUHf88RIHM
    But this is no statistic. Just a statement from an older man with a moustache...
     
  8. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Well, if the "older man with a mustache" :eek: is correct, then it would cost around 925,000 pounds today. Or at the 1939 rate of $4.35 to the pound, $65,217. Given the Medium Tank M4 "cost" was between $47,339 and $82,723, not "cheap" by any means. BTW, the Panther "cost" roughly $46,840 at 1939 exchange rates.
     
  9. OhneGewehr

    OhneGewehr New Member

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    If it wasn't cheap, why did they order it? It looks crude and simple, was incredibly slow and poorly armed.

    The Reichsmark was almost worthless in foreign countries in 1939, so $ to pound may be useful, but $ to Reichsmark is useless. Nazi-Germany was almost bankrupt when the war started.
     
  10. Pacifist

    Pacifist Active Member

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    As a sailor I could tell you how often our CWIS system was down for maintenance. However I couldn't tell you how often a Chinese ships CWIS was. This is why Cooper's Deathtraps is so misleading it comes from the point of view of 1 soldier whose very job was to repair damaged Shermans. No wonder he thought it was shit.

    British tanks (save for HE) were equal or superior to German tanks until the Tiger arrived in late 42. Even then Tigers were rare. However the Germans tactics proved superior during much of that time. After 42 the Germans were on the defensive for the most part giving them a decided advantage in the Bocage and hills of Italy.

    There's a reason my signature has a quote from General Beaufre.
     
  11. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    p
    British tanks (save for HE) were equal or superior to German tanks until the Tiger arrived in late 42. Even then Tigers were rare. However the Germans tactics proved superior during much of that time. After 42 the Germans were on the defensive for the most part giving them a decided advantage in the Bocage and hills of Italy.

    Don't agree here, barring the Matilda II, that had some significant reliability issues, was pretty slow, and hard to produce (not exactly irrelevant faults though the Tiger has very similar limitations) British tanks were not superior to the best contemporary German ones
    1939 Cruiser Mk II vs Pz IIIe or Pz IVc
    1940 Cruiser Mk III vs Pz IIIg or Pz IVd
    1941 Crusader I (let's skip the Covenanter as by the rime they managed to debug it it was obsolescent so never saw service) vs Pz IIIh and Pz IVe
    1942 Crusader III or Churchill I vs Pz IIIJ and Pz IVg

    If you look at the main "tank" characterisics (gun, armour, mobility) the British are almost always behind except in top speed that is nonetheless compensated by iffy reliability for the Crusader, (that's what happens when you pit a 15t tank vs a 22t one) the Churchill outmatches the competition in armor, though a Pz VIg has respectable 60mm plates, but sill falls pretty short in firepower.


    They are actually more evenly matched late war, a Comet can hold it's own against a Panther and the Centurion is just round the corner.
     
  12. OhneGewehr

    OhneGewehr New Member

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    I refuse to paticipate in a stupid Sherman "bashing" too. The Sherman had his faults but was easy to produce, reliable, not poorly armored. It was the tank which won the war in the West. A little bit narrow and tall but for the benefit of easy transportation on railroads.
    The british army dropped their Crusaders as soon as possible when american tanks were available and they proved to be good enough to deal with the Mk IIIs and Mk IVs. The Tiger will always be overrated by tank enthusiasts, i think it was simply a waste of ressources. More a propaganda weapon and the old fashioned boxy design turned out to be clever, it was often confused with the Mk IV by unexperienced soldiers.
     
  13. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    It was the development budget that was £15,000, each individual production tank cost c. £5000. This from the Tank Museum's own site.
     
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  14. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    I dug up the heights of the Sherman vs the German medium and heavy tanks in another thread. There is no appreciable difference in height; they are all within a few inches of each other. It's just a matter of perspective - the narrow Sherman just appears taller than the wider German tanks. And that narrowness was not just a factor in rail transport, it also meant the Sherman could cross bridges or use narrow roads that would divert a German armored column. Really (aside from the gun), it was the perfect tank for heavily populated western Europe. As a German, I'm sure you know that much of that country (in 1944) was still congested by narrow medieval streets in villages, and narrow bridges in the countryside. That meant that allied armor could take much more direct routes than German armor which often had to detour long distances to find passable roads when thwarted by a narrow bridge or the like. It also meant that those few wider rollbahns were often congested by multiple German units trying to move to the same point, while allied movements could spread out over parallel roads that were impassable to German armor.

    The Sherman was certainly not designed with that narrow profile, for that reason. It was just lucky happenstance that it worked so well in that theater. In different terrain (say Russia), it was of no consequence, or even a drawback since those flat sides were more susceptible to AT rounds.

    If the firefly and 76 guns had been 6 months ahead of schedule (widely available on D-Day), nobody would be arguing about the Sherman today.
     
  15. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    In a sense though it was designed that way for that reason, but not to fit medieval European roads and bridges. It was to fit modern American roads and bridges. :) The width and weight restrictions for Army vehicles were embodied in Army Regulations in April 1922 as 5 tons for light tanks and 15 tons in medium tanks in order to accommodate the capacity of American highway bridges and Army engineer bridging equipment. In 1933 the regulation was relaxed...allowing light tanks to increase to 7 1/2 tons. :) The real trouble began in 1940 though. During the 30s the Engineers increased the design limit of their ponton bridges to 10 and 23-tons only to have Ordnance tell them the new generation of tanks would be 25 tons, so the Engineers finagled and increased the bridge weight limit...only to be told the Medium M3 would be 28 tons and the Medium M4 over 30 tons. So they re-engineered their bridges again to a 30 and 35-ton capacity while agitating for a regulation weight limit and got it in August 1943 - 35 tons max and 124 inch width.

    Possibly, but the problem was both the 17-pdr and 76mm were badly overmatched by the frontal armor of the Panther.
     
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  16. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    True, but with the numbers of Shermans vs Panthers you were likely to have somebody in position for a shot at the side. And remember even a failed shot rattles the crew inside the tank, sometimes into complete pandemonium. The Sherman's faster traverse meant they were likely to get off that first shot and there is the maxim that in a tank duel, the crew getting the first shot generally wins. Even with a miss, the shooter now has the range and is likely to get off a killing second shot before the other crew can calm down enough to get their gun on target for their first shot.
     
  17. OhneGewehr

    OhneGewehr New Member

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    I know that but do you really think, the Wehrmacht didn't know it? German tanks weren't designed for longer distances any more, there was a lack of fuel all the time. And Hitler built the Autobahn to move his troops around.

    The Wehrmacht added skirts, width wasn't a real problem in Northern Europe. Maybe in Italy.
    Take a look at this picture, a Tiger on a wagon:
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/61/Bundesarchiv_Bild_101I-732-0133-34,_Rum%C3%A4nien,_Panzer_VI_%22Tiger_I%22,_Eisenbahntransport.2.jpg
    Dimensions were for sure a problem for railroad transportation.

    The Sherman was a design for all battlefields, even in the Pacific theatre. They just built it as small as possible, which is always a good thing. They added some width when designing the M10, but i don't think there was much of a benefit.

    The Sherman was developped after analyzing the Battle of France in 1940, in which the Somua S-35 proved to be the best design so far. I think, they just improved this design and that's why the Sherman looked like it did.
     
  18. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    In practice, yes it was so, however. there was another factor at play, which was the poor quality of the standard American 75mm, 76mm, and 90mm APC projectiles and fuzes. There are simply too many reliable accounts of flanking shots at close ranges "bouncing" off the side armor of German tanks to be anything other than a reflection of that problem. The measures to correct the problem were never taken with the 75mm since it was already considered replaced as an anti-armor weapon. The 76mm APC was also not re-engineered since HVAP was considered the solution, although it had its own problems. The 90mm was re-engineered and was a very good round, but it was too late to have an effect against the German armor threat.
     
  19. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    The depth of the analysis was pretty much limited to "the Germans fielded a large number of 75mm-armed 'heavy' tanks, so we must do the same". There was zero influence from French designs, although the French began exploring the possibility of having French tanks manufactured in the US before their collapse; the British did so as well. The end result was the Medium Tank M3, which was an adaptation of the pre-war Medium Tank T5/M2/M2A1.
     

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