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WWII Myths - T-34 Best Tank of the war


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ChekmateKingTwo #1 Posted 25 July 2017 - 02:15 PM

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Interesting evaluation for the T-34.

http://chris-intel-c...of-war.html?m=1



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WidowMaker1711 #2 Posted 25 July 2017 - 03:22 PM

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View PostChekmateKingTwo, on 25 July 2017 - 02:15 PM, said:

Interesting evaluation for the T-34.

http://chris-intel-c...of-war.html?m=1

 

Ouch that makes harsh reading. It basically reads as given a little further to travel the tanks of the SU would have broken down before they got to the fight


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Panthergraf #3 Posted 25 July 2017 - 04:25 PM

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Many books (Zalonga etc) second that the T-34 is a bit overrated due to the reasons explained above.

My vote goes to the Sherman (allies) and the Stug III (axis) and the T-34-85 (soviets). The T-34-85 ironed out many flaws the T-34-76 suffered. Reliability, firepower, crew layout etc.

WidowMaker1711 #4 Posted 25 July 2017 - 05:04 PM

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View PostPanthergraf, on 25 July 2017 - 04:25 PM, said:

Many books (Zalonga etc) second that the T-34 is a bit overrated due to the reasons explained above.

My vote goes to the Sherman (allies) and the Stug III (axis) and the T-34-85 (soviets). The T-34-85 ironed out many flaws the T-34-76 suffered. Reliability, firepower, crew layout etc.

 

 

Reading what Chekmate posted the 85 didnt really iron out much more than increasing the firepower to a parity of the US 76mm M1 and having a 3 man turret.


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Panthergraf #5 Posted 25 July 2017 - 09:32 PM

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3-Man-Turret

Commander's Cupola, improved turret hatch

Radio shift from bow gunner to Commander

Uniformity on production plants

Strict quality control with 330 km trial run for every tank, which passed 7% in June 43, but 83% in Dec 44. Reliability became even better in 45, technical caused tank loss rate was 10-11 %.

85 mm gun

(Source: Zalonga, "Armored Champion")




Matthew J35U5 #6 Posted 25 July 2017 - 09:41 PM

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According to the first part of the blog, describing the design deficiencies of the T-34, the T-28 was a superior vehicle. That speaks volumes about the importance attached to certain qualities, which we can see in real life, to be judged less important. 

 

 
Overall, I was unimpressed by the author's analysis. I'm not going to go through it line by line and criticize (though I'd be willing to look at specific passages if someone wants me to), but this section stood out to me:

 

Block Quote

Soviet tests on newly built T-34’s (15) showed that in April 1943 only 10.1% could complete a 330km trial and in June ’43 this went down to 7.7%. The percentage stayed below 50% till October 1943 when it rose to 78%, in the next month it dropped to 57% and in the period December ’43 - February ’44 the average was 82%

 

wthis going on that in June, only 7.7% can complete a 330 km trip, but only 4 months later, 78% can complete that trip? Sadly, I don't have the book referenced there (Armoured Champion, chapter 8)

 

Was answered above.


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


Metalrodent #7 Posted 26 July 2017 - 06:06 AM

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The Chieftain commented on this on the IS2 thread

View PostChieftain WGA, on 25 July 2016 - 08:46 PM, said:

 

 

Do they? Folks like Zaloga and myself view the T-34 as an evolutionary dead end. That's not to say the tank wasn't effective, or very suited for the Soviet position, but it's also not stating that it's the best thing since sliced bread.


 

Face it, what actually has been kept over from T-34? What was introduced by T-34? About the best that can be said for it is the diesel engine / rear drive, but even at that, diesels were well familiar with other nations, and the British, at least, were also using rear engine rear drive, as had the US in the few rear-drive tanks that they had bought from Christie such as the T3 Medium.


 

Christie suspension? Ditched. Even the Soviets were planning on getting rid of it in favour of torsion bars. British moved to it, but then also ditched it. Sloped armor? Frontal sloped armor was long known, but the sides and rear of T-34 got un-sloped for the T-44 and onwards. It was an utter waste of space. Lack of sprocket wheel? Ditched in all following tanks.


 

Basically every feature of T-34 was already developed by the time it came along, or would be relegated to the dustbin of history. That's not to say that T-34 wasn't a very effective tank, and I can't imagine that the Soviets could have built one better suited to their needs. But revolutionarily the best tank? An arguable statement.


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darrenv64 #8 Posted 28 July 2017 - 09:36 PM

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The T-34 is possibly the only weapon system in history to be rated by most commentators as the finest all round weapon in a century of warfare, and yet never consistently achieved anything better than a one to three kill-loss ratio against its enemies. There's other sources that support the opinion that the T-34 (and other Soviet tanks) were/are crap. Also consider the "soft" aspects, optics, ventilation, crew space, ergonomics, etc., that allow the crew to put steel on target efficiently, that Soviet tanks inherently lacked till the end of the 20th Century. It's far easier for Western tank crews to quickly reposition, find a target, engage it with first shot hit probability (and likely destruction), follow-up if required, and engage another target, than it is for crews in Soviet designed tanks.

There appears to be confusion among T-34 enthusiasts between the strategic features of the T-34’s design (ease of manufacture, simplicity of design, etc) and the tactical features of its design (the overall combat power (OCPC) inherent in the individual vehicle). The T-34 was a ‘war winning’ tank, but this should not detract from the fact that at a tactical level its performance during four years of combat was relatively poor. If there was ever a case for not basing a tank’s overall combat power on over simplified parameters such as thickness and slope of frontal armour, and penetration of a single round from its main gun, then the T-34’s case is it. The T-34 in WoT is severely buffed for the sake of playability, balance, and to perpetuate the Russian "strunk" myth.

The Soviets had a choice regarding weapon system production during WWII: they could have mass produced more lower quality and less refined AFVs, or produced less, more refined, and higher quality AFVs. They chose the former and achieved strategic success, but payed an exceptionally high price in terms of human life. In terms of AFVs, this ‘price’ was the loss of 96 500 fully tracked AFVs compared to 32 800 German fully tracked AFVs (on the East Front) during WWII (2.94 to 1).

It should be noted: most AFV combat losses are the result of engagement by weapons systems other than opposing AFV's. Tanks are just a component of the combined arms team.


Edited by darrenv64, 28 July 2017 - 10:32 PM.


SlavicHammer187 #9 Posted 08 August 2017 - 09:16 PM

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The T-34-76, was produced to get as many of them into the fight as quickly as possible.....brought to you by the Red Army who also had NKVD "blocking divisions" who were ordered to kill any Russian troops who broke and ran during mass human wave assaults.   Why would a nation who was willing to lose 80,000 men to kill 8,000 Germans build a tank made to last?  Why build 4 good tanks when you can crank out 20 "good enough" ones?

 

I have a Mosin rifle with an oversized bore, it was made in 1943 , probably bored with a worn out boring tool.......but, it fired a bullet and it worked, when the Germans are at your doorstep you don't worry about tight QC procedures.  I had read some T-34's had welding so poor you could see light throug the cracks in the armor plate....also they were only built to last about 1,000 miles.



darrenv64 #10 Posted 10 August 2017 - 10:43 PM

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This falls down to a difference in mindset. Soviet leadership didn't value the lives of their soldiers to the extent the Western Allies did. Instead of brute force and sheer weight of numbers, they generally made an effort to fight smart. To be clear, I have a Soviet made rifle also, and regard it as the go-to weapon in the event of apocalypse, but if I'm fighting during WWII, give me an M1 Garand, M4 Sherman, 1911 pistol, P-38, -47, -51, B-17, -24, -25, aircraft, or their British equivalent, so I know I have a fighting chance at survival.

NombieLord #11 Posted 12 August 2017 - 02:08 PM

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The gross number of T 34's that the SU was able to put into action and the willingness of the Soviet command to sacrifice their soldier's lives in mass numbers definitely add to the tank's reputation of being the best tank of WWII.

 

Was it the single best tank design put into action during the war?  No. Not hardly.

 

 


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Ogre4Hire #12 Posted 12 August 2017 - 09:55 PM

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Most of the books I've read on WW2 tanks list the T-34 as the best tank of the early war, when it was up against underpowered Panzer IIIs and Panzer IVs.  I've never seen a source that called it the best tank of the entire war.

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Pit Friend #13 Posted 12 August 2017 - 11:03 PM

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Stalin said "quantity has a quality all its own." 

 

That sums up the Soviet mindset to warfare completely. Why bother making one good weapon when you can make several adequate weapons instead? Then just overwhelm the enemy with sheer numbers. It's an effective strategy when you have essentially unlimited manpower and an utter disregard for the men involved. 

 

The T-34 and the later T-34-85 were decent enough tanks for their time but they were nowhere near the best. 

 

 

 


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sulla1111 #14 Posted 22 August 2017 - 09:14 AM

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An average plan excuted right now is better than a perfect plan never executed.

 

The T34 worked well enough. It was easy enough to train crews in. It was cheap enough to mass produce and easy enough to retool tractor factories to build. These are all factors as important as armour, speed, firepower etc in a real war.

 

If we are to believe the commonly held belief that German crews were tactically superior and better trained, then we have to accept that no other tank in ww2 could have achieved the results the T34 achieved. Either they couldn't be produced in relevant numbers or were less reliable or less powerful. There's no denying that without the T34 the eastern front would have been very different and if the Russians don't beat the Germans in the east, it's unlikely the west wins either.

 

The T34 is like the Volkswagon; it doesn't have to be a sportscar to be a important.



Panthergraf #15 Posted 22 August 2017 - 02:26 PM

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View Postsulla1111, on 22 August 2017 - 10:14 AM, said:

Either they couldn't be produced in relevant numbers or were less reliable or less powerful.

 

Sherman. Produced in relevant numbers to equip US Army, US MC, UK, Canada, NZ and USSR, very powerful in 42-43, good enough (from a strategic point of view) after upgrades to do the job in 44, 45, most reliable tank of WWII.  The Sherman is the equivalent of the T-34. And if we speak of results a tank achieved in WWII in combined quanitity AND quality AND battle peformance we shall not forget the Stug III.  



darrenv64 #16 Posted 25 August 2017 - 08:57 PM

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View PostPanthergraf, on 22 August 2017 - 05:26 AM, said:

 

Sherman. Produced in relevant numbers to equip US Army, US MC, UK, Canada, NZ and USSR, very powerful in 42-43, good enough (from a strategic point of view) after upgrades to do the job in 44, 45, most reliable tank of WWII.  The Sherman is the equivalent of the T-34. And if we speak of results a tank achieved in WWII in combined quanitity AND quality AND battle peformance we shall not forget the Stug III.

 

I'll also add, the M4 Sherman had superior repairability, maintainability, upgradability, and adaptability than any other tank of the period. It's use during Middle East and India-Pakistani conflicts bare this out.

 



Panthergraf #17 Posted 26 August 2017 - 03:13 PM

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To be fair the Sherman's armor was lackluster and became a problem for the British in Normandy and for the US after France. Everything the Germans had in their arsenal could easily pen the Shermans, that's why every armored division/batallion startet with their own field modifications after the Bulge: sandbags'n'logs, concrete or bolted on armor plates.

darrenv64 #18 Posted 26 August 2017 - 11:45 PM

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Here's a good read. Gotta get this book.

https://tankandafvnews.com/2016/09/22/patton-versus-the-panzers-an-interview-with-steven-zaloga/

 

Read up on the Battle of Arracourt. The M4 Sherman with 75mm gun performed well enough against Panzer IV's and Panthers. Up armoring wasn't done solely because of German tanks, there was a far greater number of PAK 40 anti-tank guns, towed and on Stug III's and IV's, waiting in ambush. As a point of fact, the Sherman wasn't the lone tank susceptible to German guns, they could penetrate ALL armored vehicles used by the allies, to include Soviet armor. Alternately, the Sherman enjoyed a high crew survivability rate, something like 0.6 crewmen became casualties for every tank taken out of action by enemy fire. Casualty counts include killed, injured and captured, so for every two Sherman's taken out of action, 8.8 crewmen continued fighting in replacement/repaired vehicles. In all, the Sherman was easier to operate, repair, maintain, and most importantly, survive in, than any other tank at the time. The T-34 had none of these.



WidowMaker1711 #19 Posted 27 August 2017 - 07:30 AM

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View Postdarrenv64, on 26 August 2017 - 11:45 PM, said:

Here's a good read. Gotta get this book.

https://tankandafvnews.com/2016/09/22/patton-versus-the-panzers-an-interview-with-steven-zaloga/

 

Read up on the Battle of Arracourt. The M4 Sherman with 75mm gun performed well enough against Panzer IV's and Panthers. Up armoring wasn't done solely because of German tanks, there was a far greater number of PAK 40 anti-tank guns, towed and on Stug III's and IV's, waiting in ambush. As a point of fact, the Sherman wasn't the lone tank susceptible to German guns, they could penetrate ALL armored vehicles used by the allies, to include Soviet armor. Alternately, the Sherman enjoyed a high crew survivability rate, something like 0.6 crewmen became casualties for every tank taken out of action by enemy fire. Casualty counts include killed, injured and captured, so for every two Sherman's taken out of action, 8.8 crewmen continued fighting in replacement/repaired vehicles. In all, the Sherman was easier to operate, repair, maintain, and most importantly, survive in, than any other tank at the time. The T-34 had none of these.

 

 

The 75mm M3 could only penetrate the Panther at stupidly close range. For want of a better analogy it would be like (for our US cousins) standing within the swing radius of a baseball bat or for my fellow Brits who understand the Gentleman's Game of Cricket fielding at Silly Point.


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Panthergraf #20 Posted 27 August 2017 - 09:54 PM

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Arracourt had nothing to do with the quality of tanks, but tactical deployment, intelligence and crew skill. Germans won 100 Arracourts in 41 on the eastern front against "superior" tanks. And got spanked by "inferior" tanks at Mortain and Arracourt.

Zalongas "Armored Thunderbolt" is still a good read about the Sherman.




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