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Germany and the heavy tank

Discussion in 'The Tanks of World War 2' started by Che_Guevara, Dec 18, 2007.

  1. Che_Guevara

    Che_Guevara New Member

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    The Wehrmacht saw several examples during their advance 39-42 of the uselessness of a few heavy tanks against a balanced and adequate tank force and of course of an effective airforce. For example at the early stages of war the wehrmacht faced the Char 2C, Char B1, KW 1-2, T-28, T-35 etc with their inferior medium/light tanks, but with an highly effective airforce and air superiority.

    During Operation Barbarossa, ninety percent of the T-35s lost by the 67th and 68th Tank Regiments were lost not to enemy action but through either mechanical failure or because they were abandoned and destroyed by their crews.

    That sounds like the story of the Kingtiger

    In 1940 the vast majority of Char B1 combat losses was inflicted by German artillery and anti-tank guns.

    Like german losses in normandy.

    In direct meetings with German tanks the Char B1 usually had the better of it, sometimes spectacularly so as when the Eure on 16 May frontally attacked and destroyed thirteen German tanks lying in ambush in Stonne, all of them Panzerkampfwagen III and Panzerkampfwagen IV's, in the course of a few minutes. The tank safely returned despite being hit 140 times.

    Like Wittmann, Barkmann and co.

    So the heavy tank was able to perform quite well and to win spectacular battles, but was doomed by air superiority, logistic means (if you´re on retreat) and even by inferior enemy tank forces. So why did the Wehrmacht develop the Tiger I., Panther and even planned the Maus or an
    1500 ton tank with an 80 cm gun. Why didn´t the Tiger I get the Kwk 40 instead of the Kwk 36, wouldn´t this mean an important saving of its weight. Hate so many whys, but why didn´t they copy the T-34 with all its ingeniously characteristics and/or modify them ?

    Regards,
    Che.
     
  2. Quillin

    Quillin New Member

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    First and for all, th eMaus had a 128mm gun, not an 80mm. :)
    The Germans did try to copy the T-34 but they weren't able to copy the type of steel the russians had. Anyway, the german version of the T-34 is nothing else then the Panther tank.
    The biggest problem with the Tiger was its weak engine. I'm sure that the Tiger could do a lot better if it had a better engine.
    Rest of the topic i leave to our tank specialists.
     
  3. Che_Guevara

    Che_Guevara New Member

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    Yes, but compare the complexity of the Panther with the simplicity of the T-34 and the brilliance of the russian tank designers.

    60.000 T-34s vs. 6.000 Panthers (a large part also saw combat on other fronts)

    Field Marshal Paul Ludwig Ewald von Kleist said in 1951 that the T-34 might be

    The finest tank in the world


    [​IMG]
     
  4. Simonr1978

    Simonr1978 New Member

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    That's not what Che said, he said they planned the Maus or a 1500 ton tank with an 80cm gun. (I'm guessing this would be a version of the possibly mythical P1000 Ratte Landcruiser?)
     
  5. Che_Guevara

    Che_Guevara New Member

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    Yep, however I wonder why the german tank engineers even planned such a project on the drawing board (at the end of war). The weight of the P1000 Ratte would be ca. 1000 tons with a lenght of 35 and a width of 14 meters, he wouldn´t be able to pass neither villages and small towns nor any bridge. The
    waste of the few resources for production and operation would be immense.
    With its armament of 28 cm, which is unfit for hunting tanks, and some flak guns it would be a little bit less useless as a 80 cm gun, wonder how they wanted to use it ?
    Back to the heavy tanks, weren´t they the most useless tanks for the maneuver warfare, difficult to recover and hard to replace, a waste of resources with five Stug IIIs build for one Tiger, this would be a bad exchange.
     
  6. Ricky

    Ricky New Member

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    Well, the Tiger I was designed as a 'breakthrough' tank, to penetrate strong defensive lines.

    The following heavy tanks I think came around because Hitler decided that bigger = better.
     
  7. Che_Guevara

    Che_Guevara New Member

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    Am I the only one, who see the russian tank designers as the most competent
    of WW2. Pretty amazing that they planned to use the 85 mm FLAKgun in a tank even in 1939. Of course they just planned it, but it seems that they were
    the most prospective tank engineers, especially in comparison with their german counter parts.

    What does a "breakthrough" tank do, destroying the T-34s and KW-1s alone? Nearly all german tanks before the Pz.IV F-version were obsolete, when they encounter soviet tanks in 42, so why didn´t they produce more n more long barreled and modified Pz.IVs, so they didn´t have shift the production to the V. they would have produced more tanks and would have destroyed more tanks (if this reckoning isn´t to easy^^). To produce the Pz IV would have eliminate some serious disadvantges in logistical means and wasteful things, like "loading tracks" of the Tiger tank, when it was transported by train. Also it was hard to recover this 45 ton monster and even to find spare parts in the depot. With more tanks of one production line you could use (and find more) parts from knocked out tanks to bring the damaged one back to action. With germany´s mix of all types of tanks it would be impossible to win the war, even without the strategical mistakes of the High command.
     
  8. TISO

    TISO New Member

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    Just a little note.
    Kolobanov's tank was KV-1 "s ekranami" i.e. with add on armour. Even standard KV-1 from 1941 was far superiorbut with add on armour it was pretty much impregneble for standard german 1941 tanks ( bulk of german armour during barbarossa were czeh 38 (t) tanks).

    It is interesting to note that after the Barbarossa KV-1 was judged as not a priority by the soviets. It was considered as to complicated (comparing to T-34) and light ( T-60, T-70) and medium tanks (T-34) were given priority over heavy tanks which were not realy needed to combat relatively light german tanks in 1941. Basicly heavy tank concept was dicredited as not real priority as lighter tanks preformed satisfactory. KV-1 was given new lease for life with KV-1s which was lightened KV and especcialy with SU-152 assult gun ( and excellent wheicle in 1943 by all standards) that was kept in production.

    This presented a problem in 1943 when new Panthers and Tigers apeared leaving soviets outgunned and outarmoured. IS-2 was rather hasty adaptation of KV and rushed on the front in late 1943 / early 1944
     
  9. Ricky

    Ricky New Member

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    The Soviet Union did produce many of the best tanks of WW2 (T-34 & IS-2 for example) - however they had their weaknesses. One was their almost total disregard for features like crew comfort and ergonomics.

    No, a breakthrough tank is one that breaks through strong defensive lines. It has thick armour so it doesn't get destroyed by enemy AT guns and a big gun so it can knock out pillboxes and other defensive positions.
    However, while it was designed for that purpose the Tiger was soon discovered to be an excellent tank killer as well, and Tiger units became used as 'emergancy' units, called in to defeat a strong counter-attack or overcome a tough target.

    But to keep producing the PzIV means that Germany loses the ams race. The final models (Ausf. H and Ausf. J) were at the very limits of their capability and were at best only the equal of the equivalent enemy medium tanks - and the USSR and the USA could out-produce Germany without even trying. What Germany needed (and tried to do) was produce large-ish quantities of superior tanks (in this case the Panther).
     
  10. Simonr1978

    Simonr1978 New Member

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    It's the same story across the board, Germany's only hope lay in being able to produce equipment (Whether on land, in the air or under the sea) that would so vastly exceed the quality of the opposition that Germany's numerical deficiencies in both equipment and manpower were cancelled out.

    Even if Germany had been able to match Soviet tank production the men required to crew them simply weren't there.
     
  11. majorwoody10

    majorwoody10 New Member

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    perhaps they should have copied the japanese and used attractive teenage girls in bikinis as tank crew , they do tend to be slim , light and small and would fit well in the cramped spaces . certainly the crew space would smell much better than one occupied by five sweaty and unwashed germans.

    even the most hardened and bitter red army gunner would be had pressed to shoot at such soft targets , instead they would try to woo them out with flowers ,vodka and black bread .
     
  12. sinissa

    sinissa New Member

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    Nothing in in WWII done without reason. T-34 was clearly superior to any german tank in 1940/41. Tiger and panther was response for that. Bouth was extreemly good tanks ,but that pushed SSSR to develop SU 152, and whole family of bigg caliber tank hunters and assault guns,as on end of war IS-2,IS-3 and T-44 one of best medium tanks in end of war,but it probably does now sow combat.
    To make atrong armor on tank,he must be bigger.That mean stronger engine,so bigger tank can carry bigger gun,and so on...But shure maus and KT was disaster ,coz real combat value was limited.

    U can penetrate thick armor on 2 ways:
    1. is high velocity gun,with high speed of shell,usualy not so bigg caliber,but u need longer gun for that,in more expencive and priecise work to do it.

    2.Just bigger caliber,more weight on shell. Tipical exsample is panther 75mm gun shell weight 4 kg, and SU-152 with 152mm gun,and shell weight over 40 Kg. Simple SSSR did not had enough resources to mass produce quality gun (they had excelent 57mm ZIS-2 gun,but it was to expencive to made and simply ZIS-3 76mm coud do job on lower price,and easyer production.).
     
  13. machine shop tom

    machine shop tom Member

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    Or

    3). Destroy from the air. (Typhoon, P-47, Sturmovik).

    4). By-Pass and leave them to command the little area in their sight.

    tom
     
  14. me262 phpbb3

    me262 phpbb3 New Member

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    we already discused this, no plane was capable to penetrate front amour
     
  15. Ricky

    Ricky New Member

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    It was possible to knock out even a Tiger II wil rockets - the trick was hitting the thing. The more effective use of aerial support is knocking out its fuel wagons. If it can't even get to the battlefield, how can it fight you?
     
  16. machine shop tom

    machine shop tom Member

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    Quite true, but airplanes had the advantage on firing down upon a tank, where frontal armor was not a factor.

    tom
     
  17. Canadian_Super_Patriot

    Canadian_Super_Patriot recruit

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    The metal used in the armour on T-34 tanks was inferior
     
  18. me262 phpbb3

    me262 phpbb3 New Member

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    so the germans at the last stages of the war!!!!!
     
  19. TISO

    TISO New Member

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    Depends on zavod (factory) and year of production.
     
  20. FNG phpbb3

    FNG phpbb3 New Member

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    back to the original post......

    The germans developed heavy tanks as a natural progression of their armour development in the same way the allies did.

    The Tiger can clearly trace it's design process back through the PIV and was requested by the army either just prior to or early into the war as the race on guns vs armour was taking shape.

    The super heavies like the Maus and Tiger 2 are different. I personally think that the request for their design and manufacture came not from the army, but from Hitler. Given the set up of Germany at the time, the designers and factories just did what they were told to the best of their ability and available resources, much like the army.

    FNG
     

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