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The Sherman and The Cat


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Matthew J35U5 #61 Posted 04 January 2016 - 10:41 PM

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View PostJAG THE GEMINI, on 04 January 2016 - 05:28 PM, said:

That's why I presented multiple reasons why the tiger was better because kill claims might only get you so far....

One might HAVE THE BETTER WEAPON AND STILL LOOSE BECAUSE NUMBERS/LACK OF OPTIONS. The germans were almost ALWAYS outnumbered even with easier to produce tanks(PZ4). Think about that.

 

Really, because it looked like you wrote nothing but kill claims. 

KeystoneCops, on 14 June 2015 - 12:51 PM, said:


Sqn Ldr B #62 Posted 04 January 2016 - 10:42 PM

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View PostMatthew J35U5, on 04 January 2016 - 10:39 PM, said:

 

I don't really know much about planes, but aren't those both single-seat fighters, that could be compared directly?

 

Dear god, do you need to ask?

109 is faster, 2 7.92mm MGs and 1 20mm cannon, Spitfire is still pretty quick, but not very good in the dive, insanely nimble and has 8 .303 MGs.


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SpartacusDiablo #63 Posted 04 January 2016 - 10:43 PM

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View PostSqn Ldr B, on 04 January 2016 - 05:35 PM, said:

 

Spitfire and 109...

Tomcat and any other fighter from its time frame.  :trollface:


 


WidowMaker1711 #64 Posted 04 January 2016 - 10:52 PM

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View PostSqn Ldr B, on 04 January 2016 - 10:42 PM, said:

 

Dear god, do you need to ask?

109 is faster, 2 7.92mm MGs and 1 20mm cannon, Spitfire is still pretty quick, but not very good in the dive, insanely nimble and has 8 .303 MGs.

 

Altho the Gustav doesnt hold up well against the Spitfire Mk XVI


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Matthew J35U5 #65 Posted 04 January 2016 - 10:58 PM

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View PostSqn Ldr B, on 04 January 2016 - 05:42 PM, said:

 

Dear god, do you need to ask?

109 is faster, 2 7.92mm MGs and 1 20mm cannon, Spitfire is still pretty quick, but not very good in the dive, insanely nimble and has 8 .303 MGs.

Uh-huh, because I was making a list of things that are nothing alike, and couldn't be compared, and you added on to my list the above match-up, which it really seems like can have a direct-comparison made of them. So, I guess what I'm saying, is I have made a list where the first entry is Iowa (45,000 ton BB with 9 16" guns) vs Atlanta (6800 ton CL with 16 5" guns). Is that the kind of list that 109 vs spitfire belongs on?


KeystoneCops, on 14 June 2015 - 12:51 PM, said:


Sqn Ldr B #66 Posted 05 January 2016 - 07:21 AM

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View PostWidowMaker1711, on 04 January 2016 - 10:52 PM, said:

 

Altho the Gustav doesnt hold up well against the Spitfire Mk XVI

 

Nothing does. :P

View PostMatthew J35U5, on 04 January 2016 - 10:58 PM, said:

Uh-huh, because I was making a list of things that are nothing alike, and couldn't be compared, and you added on to my list the above match-up, which it really seems like can have a direct-comparison made of them. So, I guess what I'm saying, is I have made a list where the first entry is Iowa (45,000 ton BB with 9 16" guns) vs Atlanta (6800 ton CL with 16 5" guns). Is that the kind of list that 109 vs spitfire belongs on?

 

I know, I know, but I don't know about boats much.

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KanonFyodor #67 Posted 17 January 2016 - 05:26 PM

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Sorry to add on a dying thread but I noticed that no one commented on the details of the after action report. It is dramatic reading but is not as persuasive a document as it might seem. The OP has made many assumptions and leaps of logic and the report is more ambiguous than one might realize. 

Point 4 indicate the ranges were 150 yards or less! That is not normal engagement range by any imagination. That is point blank range, less than 450 feet. Absolutely the 75mm could penetrate at this range, virtually any contemporary tank gun could. At ranges like that it depended on who saw who first, how fast the turret could turn, and the orientation of the target. Now that is a far, far thing from a blanket statement that the Sherman could knock out Panthers and Tigers. Yes, if it was extremely close and got the drop on them, but the German tanks could just as easily knock out the Sherman in the same situation. In all other circumstances the German tanks would have the advantage. The point blank brawl didn't give an advantage to the Sherman, it reduced all the other advantages of the Panther and Tiger!

 

To that point, all of the other engagements mention the range but not the facing of the target. I note in bullet 5 the Sherman was firing as the Tiger was traversing it's turret. This indicates the Tiger was engaging another target and it is certainly possible that it's side or rear was facing the Sherman. Again, the 75mm could penetrate these tanks from favorable angles and ranges but their opponents could do so from any angle and range. The reports also make no mention of other tanks involved. From the above example it is clear that the Tiger was preoccupied and that allowed the Sherman to get a favorable shot but other reports indicate more impacts than were accounted for by the Sherman in the report. 6 shots fired but at least 11 impacts observed, indicating that there was more than just this Sherman engaging and thus it is not the one-on-one standoff that I think the OP may have envisioned but a small piece of a larger battle that the Sherman used to its advantage to score victories beyond it's normal capabilities.

 

Lastly I note that some of the German tanks defeated were abandoned after the track, bogey, or drive wheel was damaged. Some brewed up, some didn't, and some brewed up long after the crew had abandoned the tank. This is a very conditional defeat as the crew made a choice that an immobilized tank was not worth fighting from. It's not hard to imagine that may not be the case in another situation. No penetration was caused and the tanks gun and turret were still operational. This also indicates that the German tank were engaged by multiple enemies and flank shots would be a real danger or that allied air support was near to hand and thus an immobile tanks was a death trap. It is important to realize this doesn't elevate the Sherman to the Panther's equal, tank to tank, by any means. Simply that other battlefield conditions achieved by that allies helped to make up for the Shermans shortcomings just as it muted the advantages of the Panthers and Tigers. Pound for pound the german tanks were superior by every measure but maintenance, cost, mileage, and numbers available.


Edited by KanonFyodor, 17 January 2016 - 05:26 PM.


Matthew J35U5 #68 Posted 17 January 2016 - 09:00 PM

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View PostKanonFyodor, on 17 January 2016 - 12:26 PM, said:

 At ranges like that it depended on who saw who first, how fast the turret could turn, and the orientation of the target. 

 

To that point, all of the other engagements mention the range but not the facing of the target. I note in bullet 5 the Sherman was firing as the Tiger was traversing it's turret. This indicates the Tiger was engaging another target and it is certainly possible that it's side or rear was facing the Sherman.

 

Pound for pound the german tanks were superior by every measure but maintenance, cost, mileage, and numbers available.

I wanted to comment on the three selected statements here:

1. This is true of all ranges really. Generally, the tank that saw first, shot first, and hit first, would win the engagement. The relative technical characteristics of the tanks didn't usually come into it that much. (Outside of obvious things like tank A being literally unable to penetrate tank B, e.g. Pz. II vs KV-1)

2. American studies on the Sherman (which as you've noted can be penetrated from any angle by the majority of its opponents) considered up-armouring its frontal armour, but discarded the idea, because they found that it would only decrease the # of penetrations it would receive by 15% (and a better use of the weight would be up-gunning the tank). This is because most of the time tanks would be shots in their sides/rear, not so much in their fronts. This is because, as noted above, most of the time the winner of a tank fight was the guy who shot someone that didn't even know they were there, which usually means shooting someone in their side/rear. 

3. "Pound for Pound" is a particularly poor way of claiming superiority for the German cats, considering that they weighed 30% (Panther) to twice as much (Tiger) as their most-common opponents. Considering that "pound-for-pound" the Tiger and Panther were pretty awful (consider that the IS-2 weighs the same as the Panther, and has enough armour to resist either the Tiger&Panther's guns, while having the ability to knock out the German tanks from 2 km frontally*) I think it would be pretty reasonable to say that pound-for-pound the Sherman was better. 

 

*Not that kills from 2 km is particularly common outside a firing range, but I thought it was illustrative that the Tiger&Panther need to "aim for weakpoints" against an IS-2 from the front, and the IS-2 so little needs to care for weakpoints that it can knock out the German tanks from pretty much any range. 

 


KeystoneCops, on 14 June 2015 - 12:51 PM, said:


KanonFyodor #69 Posted 18 January 2016 - 05:14 PM

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Point to you, however I was specifically referring to the conclusions the OP drew from the AAR posted earlier rather than an overall evaluation of performance but OI also can't resist the bait. Pound for pound may be poor phrasing but I must point out that the third point you made is equally true if you replace Tiger/Panther with Sherman and IS-2 with Tiger/Panther. In that fashion doesn't seem to score points in the Sherman's favor by your estimation. I also disagree that the Tiger and Panther were "pretty awful". Why do you say that? Considering the Tiger entered combat in Sept '42 and the Panther in early '43 and both remained very dangerous until the end of the war I think they were outstanding tanks. The IS-2 was also excellent but for it's slow reload time and low ammunition capacity but it didn't see combat until 1944. The combat performance of the Tiger at Prokhorovka was excellent despite the failure of the German operation, and the US army found it necessary to engage them with 5 to 1 odds minimum. It seems that the soldiers that fought against them don't agree with you.

 

I believe your first point is a little further off the mark (pun intended). It is simply not true of all ranges as penetration falls off sharply with range, particular for the (relatively) low velocity US 75mm. Also the amount of armor and it's angle is very much a technical characteristic, wouldn't you say? My point was that he Sherman could only succeed at range from the sides or rear while the Tiger and Panther could pen from any angle at any range without relying on luck or special ammo. Specifically regarding the AAR posted earlier it seem clear that the Sherman was at close range, with favorable target aspect, and operating in cooperation with other forces unmentioned in the AAR which enabled a performance higher than average.



Matthew J35U5 #70 Posted 18 January 2016 - 10:36 PM

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View PostKanonFyodor, on 18 January 2016 - 12:14 PM, said:

Pound for pound may be poor phrasing but I must point out that the third point you made is equally true if you replace Tiger/Panther with Sherman and IS-2 with Tiger/Panther. In that fashion doesn't seem to score points in the Sherman's favor by your estimation.

 

I also disagree that the Tiger and Panther were "pretty awful". Why do you say that? Considering the Tiger entered combat in Sept '42 and the Panther in early '43 and both remained very dangerous until the end of the war I think they were outstanding tanks. The IS-2 was also excellent but for it's slow reload time and low ammunition capacity but it didn't see combat until 1944. 

 

...the US army found it necessary to engage them with 5 to 1 odds minimum. It seems that the soldiers that fought against them don't agree with you.

 

I believe your first point is a little further off the mark (pun intended). It is simply not true of all ranges as penetration falls off sharply with range, particular for the (relatively) low velocity US 75mm. Also the amount of armor and it's angle is very much a technical characteristic, wouldn't you say? My point was that he Sherman could only succeed at range from the sides or rear while the Tiger and Panther could pen from any angle at any range without relying on luck or special ammo. Specifically regarding the AAR posted earlier it seem clear that the Sherman was at close range, with favorable target aspect, and operating in cooperation with other forces unmentioned in the AAR which enabled a performance higher than average.

I split your post up into smaller paragraphs so it would be more clear which I was referring to. 

1. I'm not really sure what you mean here, do you mean my logic would indicate the Sherman>IS-2 or vice versa? What I would say is that both the IS-2 and Sherman are good for their weight class, and it would be hard to say which is better "pound-for-pound". Arguably low-weight, general purpose tanks are better than heavy, specialist tanks, but that doesn't necessarily follow from the tank's characteristics. 

 

2. I was saying that they were bad "pound-for-pound" in that, relative to their resource cost & logistical cost, you would expect more out of them than what you got. In absolute terms, they might be good, but they are not hugely superior to their smaller counterparts. 

Example: The Panther and the T-34-85; Despite being almost 50% heavier (45:~30 tons), the Panther does not have a hugely superior gun (arguably the 85 mm, and the German equivalent were better, despite their lower penetration), and only has meaningful armour in a very narrow frontal arc. 

 

A more clear-cut example would be the T-44, which weighs ~34 tons or so, and has better armour & a better gun, but I wanted to only use full-production vehicles. 

 

Is the Panther better in absolute terms than the T-34-85? Maybe. Is it enough better to justify the cost of building a 45 ton tank instead of a 30 ton tank? I wouldn't really think so. Would an up-gunned Pz. IV been pretty much just as good? Probably. 

 

Example: The Tiger and the KV-85;

Both of these carry effectively the same gun, but the Tiger has better frontal armour, and is ~15 tons heavier. I think its obvious from the outset that the Tiger is not a very efficient use of weight, due to its lack of sloped armour, and the same is true of the KV-85. In absolute terms, the Tiger is probably better, since the two vehicles are almost the same, the Tiger is just scaled up 30% (in mass), but you could have pretty much the same success with a KV-85 as you had with a Tiger: Both are well protected frontally against the F-34, both are vulnerable from the side to the F-34, and both have the same gun. So why build a 60 ton tank when a 45 ton tank can do the same job?

 

Example: The IS-2 and the Tiger II;

(Using the model 1944 IS-2 with the fully sloped bow)

I know you didn't mention the Tiger  II, but I thought I would bring it up anyway, and it is a better chronological counterpart for the IS-2 than the Tiger anyway. It's obvious when comparing these two, that the Tiger II has significantly more armour, and that the  Tiger II weighs significantly (35 tons) more than the IS-2. The unadvertised part of the Tiger II is that by 1944 Germany didn't have the ability to make high-quality 150 mm thick plates, so in practise the Tiger II doesn't have significantly better protection than the IS-2 does. The guns are pretty much the same, except the Tiger II is optimized for killing tanks, and the IS-2 for lobbing HE at things, but since the D-25 is as good a tank-killer as the KwK 43 (other than rate of fire ofc), I would lean towards that as a better multipurpose gun. 

 

(Though a nice 100-105 mm might be better than either)

 

So, both have good guns, and both are well-protected frontally against almost everything they might meet but each other. However, even if we were to assume that the Tiger II did have high-quality armour, what is it actually protected against that the IS-2 isn't? For the most part, there weren't many things that could penetrate either's frontal armour, except high-velocity sub-calibers that could penetrate either anyway. It seems to me, that the Germans would have been better off building IS-2 sized heavies rather than Tiger II sized heavies, because a 70-ton tank is a huge waste of resources, and had very little actual advantage in protection over the IS-2.

 

I apologize for the length of this section, but I will be try to be more concise in the remaining points:

 

3. This is just factually inaccurate.There's no real data on Sherman vs Tiger engagements (because there were so few Tigers there isn't an adequate sample size), but for the Sherman vs Panther:

 

“The overall record suggests that the Sherman was 3.6 times more effective than the Panther. This ratio was probably not typical of all Sherman-versus-Panther exchanges during the war and may also be due to inadequate data collection. Nevertheless, the popular myths that Panthers enjoyed a 5-to-1 kill ratio against Shermans or that it took five Shermans to knock out a Panther have no basis at all in the historical records.”

Excerpt From: Zaloga, Steven. “Panther vs Sherman.” Osprey Publishing. iBooks. 
This material may be protected by copyright.

Check out this book on the iBooks Store: https://itun.es/ca/UoaTz.l

 

4. I wasn't intending to imply that a Sherman could knock out a Tiger from any range, I meant that at all ranges you would pretty often be shooting other tanks in their sides. 

 

I think that in retrospect, I stand by my judgement of the Panther being (pound-for-pound) pretty awful, mostly because its armour configuration gave it very little "real" improved survivability over the Pz. IV, and despite being heavy-tank sized, only carried a medium-tank gun. 

 

The Tiger, I was perhaps a little unfair to, considering that the design is basically pre-war, I should probably look at it in the same way as the M3 Lee, a stop-gap that was pushed out to solve a problem while a better follow-up was made. Even if the follow-up was as simple as sloping the frontal armour, and giving it a more powerful gun (like a nice 105), that would be a pretty good counterpart to the IS-2, which was basically just a KV-1 with sloped frontal armour and a more powerful gun. 

 

Unfortunately, the follow-up was the Tiger II. 

 

Spoiler

 


KeystoneCops, on 14 June 2015 - 12:51 PM, said:





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