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German tanks too over designed

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by Prospero Quevedo, Jun 25, 2021.

  1. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    :D


    That may have been your intent, but the link to that rather excellent website was not to the analysis of its combat effectiveness, but rather to what it was like to drive.

    In any case, the problem as I see it was the Germans tried to invent a "better mousetrap" than the Marder series of vehicles, but only succeeded in getting a less effective, albeit fully enclosed, vehicle. It is analogous to the discussions regarding providing an armored cover for the open top turret of American GMC...it may have better protected the turret crew from mortar and artillery fragments, but it also negated the excellent visibility and situational awareness the open top granted TD crewmen.


    They were not as effective as the StuG, but then that was because the StuG btterer suited the requirements for an "infantry accompanying gun" combined with a "mobile antitank gun". So I think it evident that is directly related to the vehicle. I suspect it may actually have been better - or at least more effective - to keep the early 1944 Inf-Div Typ 44 Pz-Jg-Abtl organization with one company of StuG and one company of Marder. The later organization of one company of JgPz 38(t) and one company of 7.5cm towed guns was a major retrograde in capability.

    Indeed, but that applied to all tactical capability, so was an even-handed deficit that applied to all equipment. Thus, all things being equal, less capable equipment reduced the effectiveness even more.
     
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  2. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Indeed, the major reason BMM kept producing the old CKD designs was because they could do so without drawing on the resources of Zahnradfabrik amd Maybach in Friedrichshafen for transmissions and engines. The downside was that meant that the designs were limited to what the BMM and Skodawerk could produce for transmissions and engines, which combined with the limitations of the assembly plants meant they built variants of a 1937 design until 1945.
     
  3. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    I found it awful that early 1944 The nachtjagd planes ( Bf 110, Ju 88 etc) were ordered to daytime offensive action. Shows how nuts Göring et co were.
     
  4. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Desperate times call for desperate measures.

    No worse than giving young teens a uniform, a gun, and pointing them towards the front lines.
     
  5. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Jumping in here: It's my opinion that many of the examples of "over-engineering" had real-world advantages:
    1. Panther's overleaved road wheels and torsion-bar suspension: The advantage here was a much smoother ride than almost any other tank. This means less crew fatigue and the ability for the gunner to get mostly on target before having the tank stop so he could make the final few sighting tweaks.

    2. German tanks had a fan to clean powder fumes out of the fighting compartment. I've read several individual accounts of British, American, and Soviet tank crews having problems functioning when fighting "buttoned up" due to poisonous powder fumes. A German tank was not considered battle ready if the venting fan was U/S.

    3. Complicated gun sights: Yes, but they were damn good and helped the gunner get a quick aimed shot off and get that all-important first-round hit.

    4. Tiger's power steering and automatic transmission: These made the Tiger very easy to drive and lessened driver fatigue,
     
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  6. harolds

    harolds Member

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    One of the main reasons that American tanks had better serviceability was that we had an unlimited supply of spares and Germany did not. Many German tanks languished in repair depots for days and weeks waiting for a spare part. American repair depots could have the same part in 24 hours or less.
     
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  7. ltdan

    ltdan Member

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    The Hetzer gave the opportunity to use existing factory equipment and an already existing and proven chassis with relatively few modifications. In view of the war situation and the increasingly dwindling production possibilities, this was a consistent exploitation of existing resources - And these became dramatically scarcer

    Ultimately, however, it remained a mobile anti-tank gun with some armor. But beggars can't be choosers:
    This meant that at least a reasonably sufficient number of mobile Pak under armor protection could be brought to the front for the infantry, where they were also urgently needed (The bird in the hand....)

    Certainly, the StuG was far better suited for the role, but here, constant competence disputes between infantry, tank troops and artillery played a weighty role. Their generals jealously guarded "their" mechanized units:
    For StuG actually belonged to the artillery, but were increasingly used by the infantry as tank destroyers - over which the Panzertruppe would have been quite happy to take control. The result was the leadership anarchy common in the Third Reich, which of course did not simplify the assignment to the respective troop units.
    But that's a whole other topic again....
     
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  8. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    In Finland Carelia we indeed loved. The Stug!
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2021
  9. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish

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    I feel Interleaved wheels are one of the harder technological choices to defend.
    The first clue is in evolutionary terms. Who else did it any post-war designs? I believe the answer is some French & Swedish tinkering.
    Despite the well-covered work on Panther to achieve that 'tractional stability' (one might even say the designers became somewhat obsessed with it) it remained German doctrine not to fire on the move, so while other nations worked hard at gun stabilisers Germany followed a path that brought complication (and more importantly, fragility) with only fractional/secondary advantages to aim.

    Obviously not a real primary flaw of interleaving, though.
    The layout was frankly disastrous for reliability. Really rather common for German crews to complain about jamming of the wheels, and the massive amount of work to maintain those fragile torsion bars. With multiple wheels having to come off to reach each bar & their intrinsic design on Panther leading to removal of damaged bars being very difficult, even after the wheels had been removed.
    All of that might have been fine with the proper amount of attention devoted to maintenance & support, but again; it wasn't there.

    It's that extreme end of the envelope again, isn't it.
    The thin double bar arrangement happened because it proved impossible to make single bars that served the stability requirements. It's exceptionally clever, but introduced weak bars in relation to the vehicle's weight, along with a serious stress point at the crank between them. And as we know, It also near completely filled the bottom of the hull, with associated issues.

    Everything has to be looked at through the lens of hoped-for battlefield advantage, but Panther's suspension, & interleaving in general, were really a step into the evolutionary slops bucket.

    1636-C3.jpg

    'I'll have you sorted as quickly as the Amis unbolt & replace their old-fashioned external units, Sir.'
    Screenshot 2021-06-30 035129.jpg

    'Oh...'
    Screenshot 2021-06-30 034036.jpg


    I remain convinced that's a point not widely enough appreciated in the world of 'Tank-Destroyers'.
    I still sort of prefer 'SPATG' (Self-Propelled AT Gun) as a term. Despite it being a bit nerdy it seems far more descriptive for most vehicles in that area.
     
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  10. ltdan

    ltdan Member

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    The Panther running gear was a typical German solution:

    It was in its entirety optimized for high off-road speed, mobility and good running characteristics even in rough terrain
    This was due to the terrain conditions on the Eastern Front, which had long since pushed Mk III + IV to their limits.

    In addition, there were forward-looking plans for firefights from the movement (which could no longer be realized due to the war) or the idea of physically relieving the crews, because experience had shown that they often had over-proportionally high combat times.

    In line with the thinking of the time, the German developers consequently opted for "gold-plated" solutions where ease of maintenance was of secondary considerations (And a reliable supply of spare parts did not play any role in their considerations.)

    And in general, it can be stated that the Panzertruppe was quite enthusiastic about the capabilities of the Panther.
    Also, because the high maintenance effort - of course only unofficially - was a more than welcome opportunity for the crews to escape the increasingly demanding combat actions for a while, to find some rest and recuperation...
     
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