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German favour Mark IV as main battle tank?

Discussion in 'What If - Other' started by Jaeger, Oct 6, 2007.

  1. Triton

    Triton New Member

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    When everything is changed, it isn't a Mk IV anymore.
    Hitler proposed a new front with sloped armor for the Mk IV after the T-34 appeared, but it was considered to be too complicated.
    The Panther was cheaper to produce and had everything what was mentioned in post No.7. A more powerful engine, sloped armor, a bigger gun, wide tracks.

    In 1943/44 the Mk IV had reached the end of his career as a battletank, it was a successful design of the late 30ies and still capable to deal with the Sherman or the T-34, but it wasn't designed to be mass-produced.
     
  2. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    I would agree the Pz IV reached the end of it's evolution in 1943 with the G model, the H was overweight and the J was a stripped down H to save on production time but actually a step back in combat capability. But I would question the "designed to be mass produced", IIRC it was a cheaper design than the Pz III and didn't have any of the large cast piece requirements that made the early the French and early British "heavies" expensive.
     
  3. USS Washington

    USS Washington Active Member

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    The Germans should've designed the Panther and Tiger with simplicity in building and ease of maintainance in mind as well though, I know they are two completely different things but look at the MG 42, it was simple to build and easy to maintain, why couldn't they have done that with their tanks?
     
  4. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    To look at the MG 42, you must first look at the MG 34, which, while good, took twice as long to produce as opposed to the MG 42.
     
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  5. edhunter76

    edhunter76 Member

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    They should have put their focus on only one main battle tank, let it be MkIV or Panther or whatever and stop spending their resources on developing more and more sophisticated but very expensive new models.

    It seems that they realized this at some point and started to develop so called Entwicklung series (Standard series). All six basic E-series models were supposed to have standardized parts and production lines to make manufacturing much faster and cheaper.

    http://www.achtungpanzer.com/entwicklung-series-standard-series.htm#eseries

    Panther came into the service too late for Germany to be able to manufacture them enough. The decision to stick with MkIV should have been done earlier and all focus to develop it further should have been priority number one. There really wasn't real need for heavy tanks as Tiger was.
     
  6. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Good example, especially if you consider the Panther to be the MG 42 in comparison to the Tiger, which was the MG 34. Panther was optimized as much as possible for ease of manufacture and for minimal use of exotic alloys and machining practices, which is why it used a simple double spur gear system instead of the Tigers' more complex planetary gearing and helical final drives.

    Furthermore, there is only so far you can go in compromises with an armored vehicle to make it maintenance simple. The suspension was required for mobility, but was more complex and maintenance intensive...great ride = more maintenance. Transmission in front means its also harder to maintain, since you have to go through the hull roof, but the option of rear drive would have required and even more compact engine, when the engine's compactness was already causing other problems.

    And so on...it's all compromises.
     
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  7. Triton

    Triton New Member

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    The german answer to simplicity was: get rid of the turret!
    You can build 3 StuGs or two Mk IIIs. And the StuG has a larger gun, a smaller silhouette and less weight.

    The Tiger was the simpler design compared to the Porsche prototype. Even if it was complex in other areas, the boxy design with the flat armor was simple to produce. Porsche developped a hybrid engine and an even heavier chassis. What was he thinking? When the Wehrmacht needed tanks to deal with the simple T-34 he experimented with sophisticated engines and superheavy designs, no maintanance unit was able to work with? If a Tiger breaks down, there was barely a possibility to tow it. It doesn't fit on the railroad without changing the tracks...

    And all that when there is a chassis of the Pz 38(t) available, which was mobile and very reliable and later showed to be capable of dealing with much heavier tanks than originally designed.
     
  8. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    The Tiger was the simpler design compared to the Porsche prototype. Even if it was complex in other areas, the boxy design with the flat armor was simple to produce. Porsche developped a hybrid engine and an even heavier chassis. What was he thinking? When the Wehrmacht needed tanks to deal with the simple T-34 he experimented with sophisticated engines and superheavy designs, no maintanance unit was able to work with? If a Tiger breaks down, there was barely a possibility to tow it. It doesn't fit on the railroad without changing the tracks...

    And all that when there is a chassis of the Pz 38(t) available, which was mobile and very reliable and later showed to be capable of dealing with much heavier tanks than originally designed.

    [/QUOTE]
    Not quite, or at least not quite the initial rationale. The Sturmgeschuetz was originally a means of giving direct fire support for the infantry via a mobile armored gun system. However, its continued life after "better" alternatives/chassis were developed was quite simple, the two factories it was produced at originally produced the Panzer III and were incapable of assembling the Panzer IV chassis without major, labor and capitol-intensive expenditures for the Alkett factory. So they decided to continue it and even converted a second factory, MIAG, to produce them because they had become so integral to infantry operations Then when Alkett was bombed out a secondary facility was converted to do assembly, while Krupp came up with its own conversion of the Panzer IV, the StuG-IV.

    BTW, the Czech-based Pz 38(t) design was even more problematic. The MBB and Skodawerke factories which produced them were even more restricted in the size vehicles they could produce than the German factories. So the 38(t) chassis was quickly adapted to carry heavier AT guns as a Panzerjaeger, which was open topped, and then a 20mm antiaircraft gun. The final iteration, the PzJg 38(t), aka Hetzer, was an effort to produce a fully armored vehicle on the small chassis. It worked, but barely, and was much less effective than its cool silhouette woud indicate.

    Much of the German production decisions were based upon the simple fact that they had limited resources for plant expansion and improvement. An indicator is that the only completely new tank factory built was Nibelungenwerke in St Pulten Austria, and it did not start production until 1942.
     
  9. Captain Caveman

    Captain Caveman New Member

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    Great read folks and there is no wrong or right in this matter...

    "What if the Germans adopted the up gunned mark IV as a 'main battle tank' in 1942? Dropping the production of mark III and scrapping the plans for the Panther?"

    Well - couple of points here worth noting - the date first of all - if the Germans went towards quantitative superiority in 42' by concentrating on mk4 - then they would have seen no benefit in production until 43' - and indeed would have suffered fall in production during the key year of the war when they had the best chance of winning (should have done this at the beginning). The second point is the dropping of mk3 again would have denied the pz arm the stug - already a key weapon at this point - termination of mk3 production and concentration on stug would have been a better option. As noted far better than I can earlier - the mk4 by the latter years of the war was getting to its design ceiling and being on a par with Russian or Allied tanks was simply not good enough when you compare production rates between the combatants so the Panther was a necessity rather than anything else - ie Germans recognised that they could not beat Allies in quantity and therefore had the try quality- hense the cats...

    "The germans had trouble throughout the war to get the full compliment of tanks in their Panzer divisions. Would an all out production of Mark IV have remedied this?"

    The Germans built up a stock of tanks in the pre war years but we're never able to meet demand, even with captured equipment pressed into service and certainly prior to '42 and arguably before 39' - it is worth noting that the numbers of armoured battalions in a pz division were halved after the fall of france in part to increase the number of pz div for Russia but also as a recognition that the number of batts in a organic 39' div couldn't be sustained in 41' - no matter what they did - they would never have had enough.

    "Reading from my papers the production of mark IV peaked in '44 with around 300 per month. But from '43 to the end of the war there was produced some 5987 Panthers. During 42-43 well over 1000 mark III were produced. What if the resources 'wasted' on mark III and V were allocated to an all out production of mark IV, would the germans have fared better?"

    Key year of the war was 42' - by 43' the writing was on the wall - all out production of current types in this year was the best course of action with perhaps concentration on stugs (rather than mk3) and mk4 current lines with developmental/new plants set up to deal with next gen of armour to minimise retooling (upgrades accepted). But by 44' the lack of the cats would have been devesting to the Germans.

    "Less fuel consuming than Panther and Tiger it would help on the operational side to.. Or would it?"

    Yes it would - but mention here to the panzer fear created by the tiger on the battlefield has not been mentioned and should not be understated - it had a real impact on those opposed to them far in excess of actual warranting a number of investigations from the allies with regards to inferiority of their own machines.

    Was qualitive superiority the answer, history tells us not, and quantative superiority was the certainty the winner for the Germans in the early years (localised quantitative superiority in tactical doctrine), and for the Allies at the end.

    Hiwever it was perhaps the only option the Germans had left in 42/43 and probably extended the war substantially noting the numbers of allied tanks available at the time and yet it still took several years to bring the panzer arm to heel.
     

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