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Allied Tanks

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by TA152, Oct 17, 2002.

  1. TA152

    TA152 Ace

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    I always wondered why the allies did not copy or "borrow" the T-34 tank design and produce it for their soldiers instead of sending them off to die in the klunkers that were built in the USA and the UK during the war. The Russians used allied aircraft and had no problem with it that I am aware of. If I were in WWII and in a Sherman tank and saw a Panzer tank coming my way, I would not feel so good!!!
     
  2. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Hello TA152 and a warm welcome !

    ( Going to work just now - now time to answer your posting...! )
     
  3. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    TA 152,

    I can only think of the reason that changing the mass production lines would have taken time they did not have, but anyway using Shermans against Germans ( Tigers, Panthers ) was like sending them to certain death at that point so I wonder were there any investigations made on what to do about this problem? Any ideas?

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    The Sherman tank, so important to the Allies in World War Two, had an unpleasant tendency to burst into flames when hit: in dark humour it was sometimes called a ‘Ronson’ (after the cigarette lighter) by its crews or ‘Tommy cooker’ by the Germans.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/lj/warslj/guns_10.shtml

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    http://hem.passagen.se/plasticwarrior/ronson.html

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    More than one Canadian has reported that their German enemies always smelled of Turkish tobacco, and wondered if the Germans thought that the Canadians in turn smelled of Virginia tobacco.

    In civilian life, the Ronson's slogan was "lights every time", a slogan applied to the Sherman tank, whose faulty ammunition stowage and gasoline fuelled engine caused them to burn without fail when hit by German anti-tank rounds.

    http://www.canadiansoldiers.com/ronson.htm
     
  4. Sniper

    Sniper Member

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    TA152 welcome to the forums.

    Not to get too technical on your question. Basically, it all comes down to everyone having their own idea about what a tank should have and look like.

    The Russians had good tank designers, and good aircraft designers too. So did the US, British and Germans etc.

    The British used American tanks because the US had the manufacturing ability to produce tanks as quickly as cars. The British didn't.

    Same goes for the Russian aircraft industry. At the beginning, the Russians needed aircraft badly so they accepted planes from the US. Later on they had their own unique aircraft (IL-2's, Yaks etc.).

    You've just got to remember, although they were all fighting the same enemy, they were still different countries, with different ideoligies and different ways of looking at the same problem.

    Hey, if they all used the same designs, half of these forum pages would be blank. :D :D :D :D

    ________________________

    "Get us tanks! Without them this magnificent force will be ruined!" Col. Phelps to gen. Steiner, Commander 5th SS 'Viking' Division, 1941.

    "They're acting as if they'd won the war already, sir."
    "We're going to prove them wrong."
    Corporal Bobby Woll to Lt. Michel Wittmann, 12th SS Panzer Division, June 1944.
     
  5. CrazyD

    CrazyD Ace

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    Welcome, TA!

    I think timeliness is also an issue here. I'm not sure about the date when the Sherman was designed, but I would imagine that the US had not yet really heard about the successes of the T-34. Shermans first appeared in 1941, having only been designed in 1939. Thus, by the time the T-34 was earning it's reputation on the eastern front, the sherman was already in production.

    I think part of this is also the isolationism of the US. Before WW2, the US did not have a great army, and not too much was put into tank design. An interesting (and unfortunate) coincidence came from this. One American inventor, Walter Christie, was unable to sell the plans for tank suspension and design he had to the US army. Christie finally found an interested buyer- in the Russians. The american-designed Christie suspension was the basis for the T-34.
    Defnetely too bad that the US army ignored Christie...

    [ 17 October 2002, 01:53 PM: Message edited by: CrazyD88 ]
     
  6. sommecourt

    sommecourt Member

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    The much maligned Sherman was not as unpopular with its crews as is often thought. It was a good infantry tank (in that its HE capacity was good), and its reputation as a 'Tommy Cooker' or 'Ronson' was largely in the early versions which had petrol engines; by Normandy most had diesel and the chances of flamers was less. Steel plate, sandbags, track links etc were also added to the tank structure to prevent penetration, and due to the high production rates, while tanks were often KO'd or disabled, the crews normally got out and had a new vehicle within a day or two.

    The up-gunned 17-pdr Firefly, which the US never used, also proved a match for many German MBTs by mid-Normandy campaign.

    This contrasts strongly with the German experience; while most German tanks were superior technology, by 1944 they suffered problems with ammunition and fuel supply, which often rendered them useless. You can have the best armoured and best gunned tank in the world; if it has no fuel or ammo, its just a lump of scrap metal!

    I would also add that even the 88mm didn't penetrate every time; my father was in a M4 Sherman OP tank in 1945 when it was struck by an 88 which bounced off! Otherwise I wouldn't be here now!!! :eek:
     
  7. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Thanx Sommecourt,

    indeed important information on the US tank armor. It´s great to gather these pieces of knowledge, as the "usual" readers only know about Shermans being destroyed as they were in reach of the 88´s. I did know that Shermans were great to handle which is one thing the tank commanders in German army as well respected.The Diesel system makes the Ronson name totally obsolete I think.
    Just shows that history is not what it seems at the first sight!

    [​IMG]
     
  8. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    TA, glad to "see" you here as a new member.
     
  9. Jumbo_Wilson

    Jumbo_Wilson Member

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    The technology to produce a "copy" of the T-34 was certainly beyond the British and the French, and possibly beyond the US to start with. The T-34 used lot of welding and casting in production, which the Russians had developed in their 5-year plans. Britain had very little experience with either, leading to the continued use of riveting even in the Cromwell. The Matilda II used a lot of large castings which hampered production, compared to, say, the Valentine, which was very easy to make.

    Jumbo
     
  10. dasreich

    dasreich Member

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    The regular m4 sherman was a horrid mess. However I have heard many good things about the Easy-Eight Shermans. They were reliable, well armed and protected, and had good speed. Of course not a match for a Tiger, but still a respectable tank. I believe it was the favorite American tank for use in the Korean war just 5 years later.
     
  11. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    I'm going to be a nuisance here, guys, but are we certain about the Sherman petrol/diesel question ?

    According to Chamberlain & Ellis ( 'Profile' M4A3E8 Sherman & 'British & American Tanks of WWII' ) petrol engines were most commonly used in front-line Allied Shermans due to logistical reasons and production difficulties with Diesel engines.

    To extract from their research : -

    M4 / M4A1 : Continental R-975 Radial ( petrol )
    M4A2 : GM 6-71 ( Diesel ) but only used by USMC in Pacific and supplied to Russia/ Lend-Lease (UK?)
    M4A3 : Ford GAA V8 ( petrol )
    M4A4 : Chrysler WC Multibank ( petrol )
    M4A5 : not produced
    M4A6 : Caterpillar RD-1820 radial ( diesel ) only 75 produced.

    There were over 10,000 A3s and A4s produced so it does look as if there were a lot more petrol than Diesel versions on the battlefield. Certainly British tanks such as the Cromwell were petrol-engined & I'd think that having petrol and Diesel in the same supply-chain could cause problems ?

    Has anyone got more info on this ??

    I'm actually quite interested as I've always found the Sherman engine question confusing.
    :confused:
     
  12. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Ok,Martin, back to work it seems...No, it´s not a problem as the truth is all that matters!

    "The M4A2 with diesel engine shipped to the USSR as a part of lend-lease agreement. The Americans used those tanks in marine units only since there were no problem with diesel fuel."

    http://www.battlefield.ru/library/lend/sherman.html
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    Production of the Sherman during the war totaled 48,347 tanks.
    M4A2 - Welded hull and with a General Motors diesel engine. The majority of these appears to have been sent to Soviet Russia in 1942. Others were used by the US Marines and by the British Army and a few by the US Army.
    The principal bottleneck threatened to be the supply of engines; the designated engine was the Wright Continental radial air-cooled engine which had been derived from an aviation design, but these could not be produced in the vast quantity required and alternative engines were therefore tested and approved. This led to a variety of different modeals, according to the engine fitted and the type of hull construction.

    http://www.expage.com/tanksus1

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    http://mailer.fsu.edu/~akirk/tanks/UnitedStates/mediumtanks/M4/M4.html

    Indeed the diesel version ads up to some 10 000 pieces I think and most of them were shipped to the Russian front, that´s what I think it says here. So the Shermans were "Ronsons"?
     
  13. sommecourt

    sommecourt Member

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    Some interesting stuff turning up here.

    My only question is if the Sherman was just petrol, how come so many veteran accounts talk about the relief of replacing petrol engines with diesels? Maybe it was more common in British units?

    Perhaps an email to the tank museum at Bovington will answer it?

    Incidentally, I presume the majority of German tanks were diesel? If this was the case, and US Shermans were petrol, why were so many German units racing to reach fuel depots in the Ardennes in 1944?
     
  14. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    I am not an expert on these tank engines but it started to interest me..

    "The tanks you have listed, just like all previous marks before them, did not have diesel engines. The Panther, Jagdpanther, as well as the Tiger I and II had the same Maybach HL230P30 gasoline engine. In fact, Maybach never produced diesel engines."

    http://www.feldgrau.net/Messages/25895.html

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    The next 600 Ausf D (also called Ausf D2) were powered by a more powerful 700hp HL 230 P 30 engine, which became the standard power plant for all later models of the Panther.

    http://www.achtungpanzer.com/pz4.htm
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    The Ausf D and G both had the same engine at least ( as well as Jagdpanther )

    ( Maybach HL 230 P 30 / 12-cylinder / 700hp )

    Stats from http://fly.cc.fer.hr/~mesic/panzer/panzer5.html

    And the same engine for Tiger II

    http://www.panzerworld.net/TigerII.htm

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    Just a site on this engine model
    but interesting

    http://www.panzerworld.net/HL230.htm

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    This might explain the diesel thought:

    The Daimler-Benz version, VK 3002 (dB), had leaf springs and a diesel engine.
    The MAN design followed more of the traditional German tank designs. Torsion bar suspension, Maybach HL 210 gasoline engine with power to the front sprockets. The engine was later changed to the Maybach HL 230 P 30.

    http://www.wwiivehicles.com/html/germany/pzkpfw_v.html

    [​IMG]
     
  15. sommecourt

    sommecourt Member

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    Having had a look around on the net, I’ve found some useful sites connected with this issue.

    This one confirms that the majority of Sherman engines were made by Wright and were petrol. However, the British used a GMC Diesel on the Sherman III and IIIc:

    http://mailer.fsu.edu/~akirk/tanks/UnitedStates/mediumtanks/M4/M4.html

    On the same site is a good, personal, view of the Sherman from George Forty:

    http://mailer.fsu.edu/~akirk/tanks/UnitedStates/mediumtanks/M4/Introduction.html

    One of its central points is:

    “While I was researching for an earlier book about American tanks in World War Two, I remember receiving an anecdote from one of my correspondents, an American named Frank Woolner, who had served as a reconnaissance tank destroyer Sergeant and later as a combat correspondent with 3rd Armored Division. He wrote that most of the German tankers they captured seemed to have the same stock joke: "Von off our tanks iss better than ten off yours", the captured German would say. "Then, just about when you had decided to punch the guy on the whiskers, he would shrug, grin and say "But you always haff eleven!" I would take any odds that the vast majority of those eleven were M4 Shermans of one type or another.”

    From the Sherman Register site is an interesting document from the Tank Museum archives which certainly indicates the British were using diesel Shermans in the desert campaign.

    http://web.inter.nl.net/users/spoelstra/g104/na_notes.htm

    A good listing of the different types of Sherman can be found at:

    http://www.wwiivehicles.com/html/britain/sherman.html

    [ 19 October 2002, 05:37 AM: Message edited by: sommecourt ]
     
  16. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Thanks for the links Paul ! Interesting stuff...
     
  17. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    Welcome to the forums, Ta-152! ;) I hope you enjoy yourself over here and post a lot! ;)

    The Sherman was designed early in the war and it should have been manouvrable, fast and reliable. And actually it had a very good gun for the time. If you take on account that when the Sherman entered service there was no real match for it, just PzKmpfw III and IV which could easily pierce and destroy. But with the special PzKmpfw IV they started realising about the Sherman's weakneses. I wonder why, after they started meeting more special Panzer IVs, Tigers and Panthers they didn't deploy anything better on the battle field. :confused:
     

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