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Panzer IV vs M4


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#1 Alpha_Cluster

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Posted 09 December 2003 - 07:48 PM

What tank is better (do you think) Panzer IV or the M4?
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#2 Erich

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Posted 09 December 2003 - 08:05 PM

which variant ?
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#3 Srdo

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Posted 09 December 2003 - 08:58 PM

Erich is right, be a little bit more specific because both tanks had many variants.
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#4 Erich

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Posted 09 December 2003 - 10:18 PM

My vote would be for the Pz. IV H or J model with the long barrel 7.5cm weapon The M4 would have the greater speed but higher profiled target....
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#5 Friedrich

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Posted 09 December 2003 - 10:39 PM

Definately the Panzer IV. It had a wider track, so its weight was better distributed. Its profile was shorter, it was as reliable, much more fire power (with a long-barrelled 75mm gun) and better armour.
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#6 KnightMove

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Posted 09 December 2003 - 10:51 PM

If we send the "best" versions of both tanks into the contest (of course, this is also a relative matter), it is a tough question.

Friedrich has stated the advantages of the Panzer IV. But the Sherman was faster, had a stabilized cannon, despite the height better shape and is often referred to as the more reliable tank.

I consider the match a rough tie, as everybody seems to favor the IV, I have voted for the Sherman.
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#7 T. A. Gardner

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Posted 09 December 2003 - 11:08 PM

The M-4 was definitely the superior of the two vehicles. It proved far more adaptable (in good part due to the selection of a fairly large turret ring) than the Pz IV. Gunwise, there isn't much to choose between the two. The 76/50 is roughly as good as the 75/48 and both had lower velocity 75mm guns originally that proved useful during the earlier stages of the war.
And, there was a wartime variant that mounted a 90/50 that was cancelled due to the M-26 coming into production. That model could have been available shortly after D-Day had it been ordered into production. A turreted Pz IV lacked the capacity to accept a weapon that large. Of course, post war the Israelis managed to shoehorn a 105 high velocity gun into it as well, not to mention the 105 models used in WW II.
The Sherman has far better turret traverse, being both faster and smoother with better fine movement control. This ensured a good Sherman crew was going to get the first shot in more of the time. The gyroscopic stabilizer was a useful addition when the crews bothered to learn to use and maintain it.
In terms of reliability again, the Sherman has a very distinct advantage. The tracks on the M-4 have several times the life of those on a Pz IV, the engine is both more reliable and easier to maintain. The Sherman's design also allowed the use of several different engines using both diesel and gasoline.
Up armoring proved more possible on the Sherman than the Pz IV too. The late models were about as heavily armored as they were likely to get at 80 or so millimeters on the front. The M4A3E2 'Jumbo' had 152+ mm on the front and side and rear armor almost up to Tiger I levels.
With improvements in suspension the Sherman's cross country performance continued to improve. The change to the 23" HVSS suspension puts it on par with the Pz IV. The earlier initial VVSS suspensions were no worse than those on early model Pz IV's either.
The Sherman also had fewer shot traps and better slope and distribution of its armor at least over the foward arc. With wet storage the Sherman was no more likely to burn when hit than a Pz IV either.
If you add in the use of HVAP ammunition the 76mm Sherman isn't all that bad as a tank killer and certainly has a big edge over a Pz IV.
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#8 KnightMove

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Posted 09 December 2003 - 11:41 PM

Originally posted by T. A. Gardner:
The Sherman's design also allowed the use of several different engines using both diesel and gasoline.

Well, at least this one is a hardly measureable advantage... maybe the Panzer IV could have worked with a diesel engine, too? We'll never know, as the Germans didn't try. smile.gif
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#9 Kai-Petri

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 12:46 PM

T.A. definitely proves his point but still "my heart" goes with the Pz IV, especially the long barrell version...
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#10 BratwurstDimSum

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 01:45 PM

Does the M4 designation include the "Firefly"? If so the M4 will kick the IV back to the Rhineland. Othewise I vote the IV.
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#11 Alpha_Cluster

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 03:17 PM

US M-4 and vars
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#12 Friedrich

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 03:29 PM

Certainly a 'Firefly' and a late version of the Panzer IV would have definately been a very tight duel! :eek: It would have been up to the crew's capabilities and training (which were superior on the German side)...

Certainly, I've read about some veterans who state that the Panzer IV was the best tank to face Shermans, since it could move almost as easily as them, or at least had better speed and manœuvrability than 'Panthers' or 'Tigers'.
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#13 Alpha_Cluster

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 03:36 PM

hay does anyone know the speed of a late war pz IV
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#14 T. A. Gardner

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 06:39 PM

For the H/J models it was down to 23 mph.

#15 Srdo

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 06:47 PM

Pz IV F2 and Pz IV G could make 40 km/h and Pz IV H and Pz IV J could make 38 km/h. Of course, those speeds were possible only on good road, cross-country performance was poorer.
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#16 Martin Bull

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 09:49 PM

Cross-country was around 16kph.
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#17 KnightMove

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Posted 11 December 2003 - 12:59 AM

Originally posted by General der Infanterie Friedrich H:
Certainly a 'Firefly' and a late version of the Panzer IV would have definately been a very tight duel! :eek: It would have been up to the crew's capabilities and training (which were superior on the German side)...

Certainly, I've read about some veterans who state that the Panzer IV was the best tank to face Shermans, since it could move almost as easily as them, or at least had better speed and manœuvrability than 'Panthers' or 'Tigers'.

Sorry, but I can hardly believe this.

First of all, the Firefly gun was a dignified counterpart to the Panther and Tiger guns, far superior to the Panzer IV L48.
Secondly, maneuverability is one thing, firepower and armor the other, and certainly Panthers and Tigers had a far better score against Shermans, than Panzer IV.

However, the Firefly was a British product, and I do not count it as M4 to take part in the poll.
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#18 T. A. Gardner

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Posted 11 December 2003 - 02:45 AM

Well, let's compare:

Firepower: Both have two machine guns mounted, one in the hull, one coaxially.
The Sherman gun-wise:

75/40: 103mm at 100 yds, 91 at 500, 76 at 1000.
76/50: 142mm at 100 yds, 131 at 500, 110 at 1000.
w/ HVAP: 213mm at 100 yds, 188 at 500, 163 at 1000.

The Pz IV:
75/48: 143mm at 100 yds, 130 at 500, 117 at 1000.

Armor: (slope is accounted for in all figures)
Sherman (M4A3 wet):
Turret:
Front: 84 mm, side: 51, rear: 51 Gun mantle:84
Hull:
Front: 102mm, side: 45, rear: 45mm

Pz IV:
Turret:
Front: 55mm, side: 36, rear: 36 Mantle: 80
Hull:
Front: 88mm, side: 30, rear: 33
Of course, this doesn't account for the brittleness of late war German armor due to lack of proper alloying agents. The armor is really effective at about 90 - 95 % of the thickness shown. Also, near penetrations will often shatter the armor (as will penetrating hits) causing far more lethal damage to the interior of the vehicle.

In mobility there is little to choose between the two. They are almost equally matched.
The Sherman is about 2 to 3 times as reliable.
As I pointed out earlier, the Sherman has a much faster turret rotation than the Pz IV H. The Pz IV J had power traverse removed and the donkey engine deleted. It is purely a manual traverse system. This means in an encounter the Sherman (assuming equal spotting) will get the first shot in. With either gun, a hit will almost always knock out a Pz IV out to about 1000 yards.
With HVAP issued there is no contest. Even a Panther is in trouble if the Sherman shoots first.
The Sherman can also be used as an indirect fire artillery piece, something the Pz IV cannot do.
On the whole, the Pz IV is slightly inferior in almost every category to a Sherman and in some it is significantly inferior.
If the M4A3E2 Jumbo is compared, there is no contest. The Pz IV cannot achieve a frontal penetration and, cannot penetrate the turret from any angle. The Jumbo is in roughly the same position versus a Pz IV that a Tiger is when attacking Shermans.

#19 TA152

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Posted 11 December 2003 - 05:21 AM

I vote for the Pz.IV in part because the German tank crews were better trained and had much more experience than Allied crews in a Sherman. The German tank Generals were better overall also and that makes a huge difference in how the tank is used in battle.

I think the US Army should have produced the T-34 under licence and scrapped the Sherman along with the M-3, but that is not part of the poll. :D
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#20 KnightMove

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Posted 11 December 2003 - 08:19 AM

Indeed it's strange... I have seen PIV/M4, M4/T34 and T34/PIV discussion threads several times, but never ever one involving all three tanks. smile.gif

I don't think it's worthy to start a new thread for this, so what do you all think comparing T-34/M4?

And maybe... what about the Cromwell? smile.gif
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#21 BratwurstDimSum

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Posted 11 December 2003 - 10:04 AM

Originally posted by T. A. Gardner:
The Pz IV J had power traverse removed and the donkey engine deleted. It is purely a manual traverse system. This means in an encounter the Sherman (assuming equal spotting) will get the first shot in.

Oh...my...god! Who thought of that?

I got 2 things to say to that:

1) Has anyone tried doing a manual traverse. I got the rare opportunity to sit in a T-64 one day and just out of curiousity, I decided to try the manual traverse (anyone seen "The Beast"? well its identical to that) basically in the gunner's position is a wheel about 5-6 inches in diameter, this wheel has a little handle which you crank to turn the ? ton turret. It took me 3 minutes to turn the b*gger 90 degrees to the right, and this was in a tank made 20 years AFTER the PzIV!!

2) If they were going to be used only for defence (god knows that's the only reason I can think of for removing the motor that powers the turret) why didn't they concentrate on Stugs or Jagdpanthers? I would've thought they were far simpler to construct.
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#22 Srdo

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Posted 11 December 2003 - 11:27 AM

I can tell you from the first hand experience what pain is to manually traverse. During the war in Croatia at one point I was forced on some drill in T-55. I was in infantry but due to shortage of trained tank men we were occasionally training with tank crews, just in case to jump in. Among other things, we were forced to manually traverse turret. Believe me, you DO NOT want to do that, specially during combat. First of all, it is a hard job. You must rotate wheel at enormus pace to rotate the damn thing. We didn't measure time for full rotate but it took an eternity. Furthermore, after that you are so exhausted that any other action is impossible. And I wasn't at that time out of shape, trust me ;) At that point I thought what would be like if during battle electric system went out. Conclusion: you are dead.
Anyway, if the German crews during the war had any similar problems and managed to get alive...I consider it a miracle.
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#23 BratwurstDimSum

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Posted 11 December 2003 - 11:59 AM

Totally agree Srdo, nice to see someone who "felt the pain" as well smile.gif

Now try doing that with about a hundred Churchills and British infantry coming at you on Hill 112...wave after wave.... :eek:
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#24 Srdo

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Posted 11 December 2003 - 02:19 PM

I can imagine a lot more than that, trust me...to be precise, not on that scale but all horrors are there and when I read some first-hand experience from war I always sleep bad and shivers are running up and down my skin.
Back to Sherman vs. PzIV. Almost everything was said but I must add something smile.gif I think that German crews in Pz IV felt more comfortable. PzIV interior was, as compared to many other tanks, quite luxurious ;)
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#25 Friedrich

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Posted 11 December 2003 - 04:24 PM

We are comming to the conclussion that technically ON PAPER, the M-4 Sherman was better than the Panzer IV.

Does anyone have combat figures of these two? Because I think that a low-silhoutte and better crews made a huge difference during combat.

Besides, no one has mentioned a very important aspect of Pz IV; reliability. Shermans were far more reliable, that is clear, but the Pz IV was the most reliable German tank, since it was a tank which had a long time to be tested and proved in combat. So, in comparisson to other German tanks, it was the better suited to fight Shermans at close range and in equal conditions.
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