Discussion in 'Weapons & Technology in WWII' started by OhneGewehr, Feb 3, 2017.
Ok. That's better.
Yes, the Panther was the best german tank considering what is was and how diificult it was to manufacture. But it was still very heavy and guzzles fuel. It should have been the heavy german tank and instead of developping a Tiger they should have chosen a T-34 like vehicle with the advantages of the german tanks. Optics, radio and an accurate and powerful gun.
This tank, mass produced and replacing the Mk IV, would have helped to deal with the numerous T-34s and Shermans.
The german obsession with building a large variety of different tanks and tank destroyers on several chassis must have been a logistic nightmare.
Panther was the "T-34 like vehicle". Again, it was explicitly designed for mass production, thus the maximum use of simple, interlocking flat plates, and the minimal use of multiple-angle welding as in the Panzer III and IV. Just look at a schematic to see how simplified the basic structure of the Panther is compared to the Panzer III and IV and the Tiger I. Note also the use of a simplified steering system and final drives as I already noted - again they were explicitly designed for mass production.
The problem - and contradiction - for the Germans is where and how the Panther was produced. The prime contractor was MAN at Nuremberg, which previously produced the Panzer III. Daimler Benz Marienfelde was added to the production pool after it too switched from Panzer III production as did MNH. They were all designed as mass production facilities. Then there was Henschel, which also built a few Ausf. D, but it was concentrated on the Tiger and was a station production rather than a mass production facility. However, the largest and most advanced mass production facility in the Reich was the Nibelungenwerke. And what did it produce? Panzer IV and variants (along with a small number of Elefant and Jagdtiger.
It wasn't that they did not design a tank optimized for mass production, they didn't have enough plants available to do that mass production on the scale they required. Shifting production at Nibelungen to Panther would have resulted in a three to six months-long production hiatus and Germany couldn't afford that. In comparison, a single US facility designed for mass production, the Detroit Tank Arsenal, produced nearly as many tanks as the entire German production pool, in a shorter period, and without producing at its maximum output capacity (except for one month).
Nor was it an obsession with building a large variety of different types. For example, shifting MAN, DB, and MNH from Panzer III to Panther production left just Alkett as the StuG III producer...and it was critical to the functioning of German infantry doctrine in offense and defense. So critical, that when Alkett was bombed out extensive effort went into a replacement, including shifting Panzer IV tank production to StuG IV production and the conversion of a final assembly facility at Falkensee.
In essence the production pool was so small that marginal types were kept in production out of necessity...something being better than nothing.
Yes, it is absolutely clear that the german industry could never equal production numbers of the american, british and soviet industry together.
Even Hitler and Speer weren't complete idiots, they knew that and tried to compensate quantity with quality. That's why the Panther was getting heavier and heavier.
When they really needed more mass produced medium tanks was in 1941 and 1942 to eliminate the Soviet Union out of the war.
Yes, they needed more medium tanks produced in 1941 and 1942. So they expanded the existing six German and two German-controlled plants by adding Nibelungenwerke (planned and funded in 1939 before the start of the war, but not opened until spring 1942), VOMAG (late 1940), MNH (late 1940), DEMAG (September 1943), and MBA (November 1943). Which of course was too late.
That philosophy or strategy does not usually work. It certainly did not in the case of Germany in WWII.
The YouTube clip about the PIAT is the modern-day opinion. For WW2 we can consult a paper that asked the end users to rate their weapons effectiveness. The PIAT was rated as “outstandingly effective”
A few particularly prevalent patterns of weapons use stand out, however. The PIAT was listed as being “outstandingly effective” far more than any other weapon (it was listed as such in 74 surveys). This was due not only to its tank-killing power, but also owing to the fact that
its high-explosive bomb could also be put to good use against “soft” infantry targets, either in direct or indirect roles, making it a good source of suppressing fire.
Furthermore, only three officers listed the PIAT as being an “ineffective” weapon.
“Infantry weapons,” commented
Captain Yuile, “are sufficient and very effective. The PIAT as we learnt by bitter
experience should always be carried by platoon.
Part of the problem is they tried to do both. The Tiger was the epitome of 'quality" while the Panther was the same for "quantity".
Cool it, Poppy.
Well, all I can say is what I have read, namely that TD Command found SP equipments more useful than towed based on field experience. And an M18 could indeed keep up with the recce element.
You really do have to go back to the documents. I dug into a survey of infantry weapons by 8th Army after the end of the Tunisian campaign and found that most British units were pretty satisfied with just about all their equipment except the Boys ATR, which was still hanging around. If you read some (poorly researched) modern works, you may get the impression that British stuff was generally inferior--which it certainly wasn't.
See post #51. The idea that British equipment in WWII was generally poor is simply wrong.
the Germans also had problems with hardening steel for panzers. I have read that already by summer 1944 the minerals wolfram,zinc etc were not anymore enough available and for instance a nice straight hit in the armour in the front might make the Panther´s steel plate have small cracks already. Not so self-sure anymore.
I've read that too. But there is still a difference in the philiosophy of tank production. Especially soviet tanks were cobbled together all the time. Which turned out to be the right way to do it. Tanks in WW2 usually had a short life span or became obsolete after a year or two. Why bother with quality?
Often poor isn't wrong. The Sten Gun, the Crusader or the Matilda 1 were simply cheap weapons. The british soldiers dompensated it with good performance. But when i think about it, there were a lot of bad weapons in all armies.
The PIAT was effective, but the soldiers didn't like it.
That's pretty debatable. It worked for the Soviets but I doubt it would have worked for the US for instance.
Useful, yes...but K-P's comment and my reply was just regarding speed (deployment and movement), not versatility. And the Hellcat really only arrived in widespread use in the summer of 1944. There were plenty of offensives on both sides before that during the war, and in the widest variety of environments.
And of course, by the time the M18 arrived the best of Allied AT weapons...whether towed, tracked or carried...had come to overawe the tanks they were designed to fight in most circumstances. AT technology had rapidly narrowed the gap between them and their targets, they weren't any longer...as they seem to have been for a couple of years midwar...a solution for the infantry that was a few steps behind the speeding development of tanks.
Cheap? Give some specific and comparative figures on cost before you make an assertion like that. How much was a Sten vs an MP 40, how much was a Crusader vs a Panzer III, etc. I promise you that it won't be easy, though; I have seen discussions on the cost of weapons on the other forum go on and on. If you dig you can find the numbers but sorting out what they really mean is not easy.
The Crusader was not terribly successful and the Sten certainly had its problems, but you are simply overgeneralizing from a few types; it's like saying that German weapons were often poor because look at the HE 177 and the Ferdinand. Most British equipment (like most American, Soviet, and German equipment) was good to excellent. Sticking to infantry weapons only, the Lee-Enfield was probably the best bolt action military rifle ever made; it may not have quite matched the Mauser for accuracy, especially over longer ranges, but it was clearly superior in firepower and firepower was what mattered most on the WW2 battlefield. In the judgement of many the Bren was the best orthodox box-fed LMG ever designed. The Vickers may have been heavy but it could shoot accurately all day and it did a good enough job to stay in British service for 56 years. The 3 inch mortar was fine after better ammo lengthened the range, and the 4.2 mortar was an outstanding weapon much feared by the Germans. I have never read a complaint about the 36M hand grenade. The Enfield and Webley revolvers were up to the job and the Browning HP was a fine design. Even the much-hated Boys Rifle was a better anti-tank weapon than some other anti-tank rifles in service at the outbreak of the war. I know very well that the troops often disliked the PIAT for its weight and the awkward loading process; sometimes they threw it away, but they soon learned not to do that because as previous posts have shown it could and did KO German tanks.
I believe that the generally negative view of all British WWII weaponry is based more on the handing-down of opinions from older secondary works than on analysis and comparison of performance and contemporary evaluation. You couldn't get away with such dated generalizations on our sister forum, where there are a lot of British guys who really know their stuff.
Nitpicking a bit.... but I said "derivative" not "adaptation", IMO having the same ammo justifies that term, just as I would call most WW2 81 mortars "derivatives" of the 81mm Brandt. The US did a major redesign of the 40mm Bofors, including changing from metric to US measurements for parts and adapting specs to mass production where the originals contained some "machine to fit" instructions that would be more familiar to a XIX century gunsmith than Detroit, but they still called it a Bofors..
Back to the subject gun, if the M3 (tank gun) of the M4 (medium tank) was a new design with only a remote connection with the 75mm Modelle 1897, what about the M2 (tank gun) of the M3 (medium tank) ? Where did the redesign take place ? My assumption has always been that the Sherman's 75mm had it's roots in the Grant's 75mm and that the adaptations required to make it fit for tank use had happened with the M2 (tank gun).
And was there ever a 75mm tank gun M1 ?
The US nomenclature seems to be designed to give a quartemaster nightmares, instead US logistics usually worked better than everybody else's, go figure .
Who did that?
No, it is based on statements from experts like David Fletcher and reports from soldiers who used these weapons. With statistics you can even proof that the Elefant/Ferdinand was a successful weapon.
You have been a soldier yourself? If you have to deal with equipment everyday you know exactly if there is something wrong with it. Never heard or read: "British tanks were vastly superior" or "we wished we had something like the Sten too" from german soldiers.
One example. Jentz, Panzertruppen 2 page 150-151
The preferences of the crew for lighter, more maneuverable Panzers was recorded in a report written on 1 November 1944 by Albert Speer on his trip to Italy during 19 to 25 October 1944:
On the Southwest Front, opinions are in favor of the Sherman tank and its cross-country ability The Sherman tank climbs mountains that our Panzer crews consider impassable. This is accomplished by the especially powerful engine in the Sherman in comparison to its weight. Also, according to reports from the 26.Panzer-Division, the terrain-crossing ability on level ground (in the Po valley) is completely superior to our Panzers. The Sherman tanks drive freely cross· country while our Panzers must remain on trails and narrow roads and therefore are very restricted in their ability to fight.
All Panzer crews want to receive lighter Panzers, which are more maneuverable, possess increased ability to cross terrain, and guarantee the necessary combat power just with a superior gun. This desire by the troops corresponds with conditions that will develop in the future as a result of the drop in production capacity and of the fact that, because of a shortage of chrome, sufficient armor plate can’t be produced to meet the increased production plans. Therefore, either the number of Panzers produced must be reduced or it will be necessary to reduce the thickness of the armor plate. ln that case, the troops will unequivocally ask for a reduction of the armor thickness in order to increase the total number of Panzers produced.
Note that a detailed nit-picking of the above misses the point. It is not a question of the moaning German crews being right but more it being what they believed to be right.
Most of the post-war British accounts are variations of the 'our tanks/weapons were crap. Our Generals were crap and the Germans were better at everything' version of WW2. This fed into the Unber-Panzer mythos and became so ingrained you can find current 'experts' on You Tube describing one of the most popular British weapons (the PIAT) as useless!
I think you should also check out Goering's opinion on that other 'crap' British weapon The Mosquito.