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Panzer IV J mesh skirts

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

  1. Prospero Quevedo

    Prospero Quevedo Active Member

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    The panzer IV J mesh skirts how effective were they. They seem so flimsy. Funny cando dml made a kit a panzer IV spg in 144 with photoetch mesh side skirts. Thought I would use them to make a J. I was curious as to whether they were really of any use or just a desperate attempt to save steel. They were running low on everything. I really think even if Germany had been able to match Soviet tank production would they had fuel enough for them. Look at all the tanks lost at the bulge due to lack of fuel.
     
  2. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    What I read in one book the opening offensive was left to Volkssturm to open the way to tanks. This did not happen and the German tanks were forced to open the attack instead and the power of the punch was lost. Yes, the fuel problem was big, and the attack probably ended because they could not continue the offensive. I guess they thought they would find US fuel tanks to continue the offensive but things like Bastogne and Patton from the south as well hit the German offensive to pieces. Not to forget the British troops who came from north to guard the bridges and in case counterattack.
     
  3. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    I have not seen anything concrete in Jentz(Panzer Tracts) or Spielberger(German Armor & Military Vehicles) regarding the change from sheet steel to wire mesh.

    The mesh seems to have been better at defeating shaped warhead charges. Weight was also creeping up(stressing the suspension) - so it could have been a weight saving measure. Or it could have been done to save steel.
     
  4. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    ..even if they matched production, did they have the manpower for crews--and the Landsers/AAA/etc? Russian population twice as much as Germany
    ...wasn't the mesh intended to detonate the AT round before it hit the main armor? or even deflect it?
     
  5. ltdan

    ltdan Member

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  6. Prospero Quevedo

    Prospero Quevedo Active Member

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    I read it was supposed to detonate high explosive type anti tank rounds but they just look so flimsy I just wondered if they were actually effective. Anyway I think a IVJ will still be interesting to add to my collection.
     
  7. Riter

    Riter Active Member

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    Just like the Soviets who covered their T34s with matress springs? What they did was give stand off distance from the shaped charge.
     
  8. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish

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    A personal hobby horse.

    Worth reading LtDan's link. It took a long time for stuff like that to appear more widely on the web.

    Schurzen were absolutely originally intended to deter AT rifles like the PTRS/D. Shaped charges do not appear to play a part in their first development & deployment.
    Counter-intuitively, the best form of skirt in initial trials proved to be a mesh. Only production difficulties made them plump for the solid shields.

    It's even debatable that heavy plate or mesh skirts defended very well against shaped strikes.
    Depending on arrangement and munition type, they might even sometimes make things worse. (V rusty on the area, and long-lost a solid article discussing it.)
    The Germans did like to defend against their own technology (see Zimmerit & a paucity of opposition magnetic charges), and they certainly had a widespread system of 'RPG-ish' devices, but they weren't initially thinking along those lines.

    There's a US report/snippet from '43 that makes the shaped charge assumption, along with speculation of effect against HV, but that's in many ways exactly what Tactical & Technical Trends was for - dissemination of potentially useful possibilities. It's not a 100% accurate or complete record in any sense. It couldn't be.
    Lone Sentry - "Armor Skirting on German Tanks" - Tactical and Technical Trends 16/12/43

    Mesh made a limited comeback later on, when opposition began to field a supply of PIAT & Bazooka. Again, probably not so much as stand-off, but to disrupt the munition's trajectory enough to hopefully weaken its effect. (Trouble is, I'm rusty on this too, and no longer have the relative weights/type of prototype & later mesh without checking.)

    Worth a watch:

    And, again, lordy it's refreshing that this stuff's gaining traction.


    Plus ca change...

    mastiff-image-inside.jpg
     
  9. Prospero Quevedo

    Prospero Quevedo Active Member

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    Thanks for your time and info
     
  10. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Wire mesh could also help defeat kinetic energy projectiles. When they hit the mesh, it's possible that they would then begin to yaw/deflect. This would seriously compromise their ability to penetrate conventional armor.
     
  11. Prospero Quevedo

    Prospero Quevedo Active Member

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    Yes I agree any slight deflection could seriously affect penetration ablity. In any case I will enjoy building one I have the photoetch skirts and have to modify one of my H as the book says they were identical to the H but three return rollers instead of four.
     
  12. ltdan

    ltdan Member

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    For Mk III + IV, armor was initially sacrificed in favor of speed and armament.
    In the SU, the flanks of the undercarriage in particular were very susceptible to bullets from the numerous anti-tank rifles. Hence the skirts. (The Finns have for this reason their StuG "armored" with wooden logs)
    However, these had several disadvantages: increased weight, they were extremely sensitive to shearing, and the effect of explosive charges thrown between the skirt and the hull was increased.
    For this reason, it was later decided to switch to Thoma skirts.

    By the way, they would not have reflected hits: but ANY projectile hitting an obstacle starts to tumble, this effect minimizes the potential penetration power
    In the case of a tank shell, the effect would be de facto negligible; in the case of an anti-tank rifle, it has a noticeable effect on terminal ballistics.

    The Soviet tankers, on the other hand, mounted bedframes and similar latticework on their tanks to achieve a standoff effect against shaped charges
     
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  13. Prospero Quevedo

    Prospero Quevedo Active Member

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    Thanks for your time and information
     
  14. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    The Finnish StuGs and logs....

    [​IMG]

    And today´s version. Surprised they have not sold the damn thing....
    [​IMG]

    www.andreaslarka.net
     
  15. Prospero Quevedo

    Prospero Quevedo Active Member

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    Great pics the stug still looks in great shape. I am impressed they still have it.
     
  16. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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  17. Prospero Quevedo

    Prospero Quevedo Active Member

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    I
    think it was a bit of both, also Germany was having a lot of supply shortages of steel, look at the planes where they made the tail and stabilizers with wood framing and the wooden propellers. Wooden eauiptment boxes wood for steel. They would have built lots ore of their moskitos but allied bombing blew up the factory that made the adhesive they needed to build then. Too funny they wer so impressed with the British mosquito they had to show they could build one too. If they could have made wooden armor they would have tried it as a form of despairation. Anyway tanks lost skirts all the time, mesh would be cheaper and easier to replace.
     
  18. ltdan

    ltdan Member

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    Everything You Always Wanted to Know About German Armor Skirts * But Were Afraid to Ask:
    Add-on Armor
     
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  19. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    The Germans also made lower at-tanks so they could not be noted as soon as previously the usual tanks. This led to Stug type tanks but lesser cupola movement could be replaced by the tank movements to left and right.
     
  20. Prospero Quevedo

    Prospero Quevedo Active Member

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    That was very informative even explaining how additional armor could be a disadvantage, I didn't realize the anti tank rifles were so effective thought only light or the very early mediums were vulnerable. No wonder the Russians had so many of them seen pictures of dozens of men carrying them but thought it was more for show than an effective weapon. That's for your time snd info
     

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