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WWII Myths - T-34 Best Tank of the war


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Spike1958 #21 Posted 30 August 2017 - 06:08 PM

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The nod really does have to go to the US M4 series for best all around(combat capability, reliability, quantity) tank of the war. The T34 was 'good enough'. Most of the production failings of the T34 series have to do with the circumstances of how the war time ones were built. if you look at the fit and finish of the pre war series, they are just as well made as any other tank of the period.

 

If the T34 was as bad as many claim, then why did the Germans try to fix and use as many as they could in 41-42?



WidowMaker1711 #22 Posted 30 August 2017 - 06:31 PM

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View PostSpike1958, on 30 August 2017 - 06:08 PM, said:

The nod really does have to go to the US M4 series for best all around(combat capability, reliability, quantity) tank of the war. The T34 was 'good enough'. Most of the production failings of the T34 series have to do with the circumstances of how the war time ones were built. if you look at the fit and finish of the pre war series, they are just as well made as any other tank of the period.

 

If the T34 was as bad as many claim, then why did the Germans try to fix and use as many as they could in 41-42?

 

Because there were a lot of them lying about, they were better than the pz 38t and pz IIs that were equipping the wehrmacht at the beginning of Barbarossa and why waste a tank that has only been abandoned not destroyed??


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Metalrodent #23 Posted 31 August 2017 - 06:39 AM

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Few people claim it to be bad, it's just become rather over-hyped. It was decent and easy to make/maintain in numbers, not an all conquering tank killer on it's own.

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Panthergraf #24 Posted 31 August 2017 - 07:17 AM

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View PostSpike1958, on 30 August 2017 - 07:08 PM, said:

The nod really does have to go to the US M4 series for best all around(combat capability, reliability, quantity) tank of the war. The T34 was 'good enough'. Most of the production failings of the T34 series have to do with the circumstances of how the war time ones were built. if you look at the fit and finish of the pre war series, they are just as well made as any other tank of the period.

 

If the T34 was as bad as many claim, then why did the Germans try to fix and use as many as they could in 41-42?

 

The German's design philosophy was: "Counter the tanks the enemy builds tomorrow", not "counter the tanks the enemy has now" like the US. The T-34 shock of 41 wasn't only about the T-34, but the fear what the Soviets would bring up NEXT. That's why the Germans went overkill. 

 

 



Ogre4Hire #25 Posted 31 August 2017 - 05:10 PM

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View PostSpike1958, on 30 August 2017 - 06:08 PM, said:

If the T34 was as bad as many claim, then why did the Germans try to fix and use as many as they could in 41-42?

 

The Germans tried to fix and use every captured enemy tank they got their hands on because Germany's industrial capability wasn't sufficient to support their need. The Soviet Union built more than twice as many T-34s during the war as the total number of tanks and TDs that Germany managed to produce.  Even if the T-34 had turned out to be a junk tank, the Germans would have figured out some way to start using it.

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Panthergraf #26 Posted 01 September 2017 - 10:28 AM

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View PostOgre4Hire, on 31 August 2017 - 06:10 PM, said:

 

The Germans tried to fix and use every captured enemy tank they got their hands on because Germany's industrial capability wasn't sufficient to support their need. The Soviet Union built more than twice as many T-34s during the war as the total number of tanks and TDs that Germany managed to produce.  Even if the T-34 had turned out to be a junk tank, the Germans would have figured out some way to start using it.

 

Germanys industrial capacity was capable to outpruduce the soviets, but industrial management of production, ressources, workforce and workflow was a terrible mess, due to pure chaos, corruption, personal vanity, shortsight, diversification and the fear to start a total war industry from the get-go. Add pure madness (Hitler) and - may sound cynical - logistical nightmares like the Holocaust and allied bombing raids and forced labor and the industrial potential goes boom.

 

Soviet intelligence overestimated the yearly german tank production by factor 3.

 



Shockwave IIC #27 Posted 16 September 2017 - 11:34 AM

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View PostPanthergraf, on 01 September 2017 - 10:28 AM, said:

 

Germanys industrial capacity was capable to outpruduce the soviets, but industrial management of production, ressources, workforce and workflow was a terrible mess, due to pure chaos, corruption, personal vanity, shortsight, diversification and the fear to start a total war industry from the get-go. Add pure madness (Hitler) and - may sound cynical - logistical nightmares like the Holocaust and allied bombing raids and forced labor and the industrial potential goes boom.

 

Soviet intelligence overestimated the yearly german tank production by factor 3.

 

 

IIRC it wasn't until Guderian became inspector of Panzer Troops and had a chat with Speirs in 43/44 that production went 24hr. Up until then the factories shut down at night.

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darrenv64 #28 Posted 16 September 2017 - 05:45 PM

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Germany was plagued with an artisan's outlook towards production. Most everything was done to precise individual fit and function. They used locomotive manufacturing, a process that utilizes little in regard to part interchangeability and standardization. The Soviets just made as much as humanly possible with little regard to quality, fit, function, and standardization. American equipment, the M4 being just an example, used interchangeable, standardized parts and components, with a set minimum quality level that didn't slow production. The M4 could be repaired easier and faster with a ready supply of spare parts and components (or cannibalized from un-reparable M4's) that fit without re-machining, could be upgraded and modified in the field, had unequaled automotive reliability, excellent crew survivability, and was easy to operate and fight in. It was the war winning tank of the second world war.

Pit Friend #29 Posted 17 September 2017 - 01:11 PM

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View PostSpike1958, on 30 August 2017 - 01:08 PM, said:

If the T34 was as bad as many claim, then why did the Germans try to fix and use as many as they could in 41-42?

 

Germany's needs far exceeded its production capabilities for the entire duration of the war. They would capture and use any working vehicles they could and use them as long as they stayed useful. The most common ones were the Czech tanks but they also used French, British, US, and yes even Soviet tanks when they could. Here's a link to an article on the Beutepanzers:

 

https://m.warhistory...y-vehicles.html

 

 


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Panthergraf #30 Posted 17 September 2017 - 04:00 PM

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The germans scratched together every weapon and vehicle they could. As bad as their logistics were, the germans were masters of improvising.

Panthergraf #31 Posted 17 September 2017 - 04:10 PM

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Another impressive Sherman detail is that the US tank force startet literally at Zero in 41. They lacked the complete tank development history and experience of the 30ies, the tactical and stratetic experiences of the spanish civil war and early WWII and a tank industry as a whole.

So they stomped out an industry, made first steps with the M3 and Stuart and made the next step with the M4. All within 2 years. And they learned some bitter lessons ar Sidi Bou Zid and Kasserine Pass.

darrenv64 #32 Posted 20 September 2017 - 05:26 PM

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Key to the M4's success was it's universal parts interchangeability and upgradability potential. Besides producing them in vast quantity, the eleven manufacturers of the M4 medium tank, along with subcontractors, maintained the same level of standardization. Every part and component, regardless of who made it, had the same tolerances for fit, function, and durability. A damaged or broke down M4 could be easily repaired using cannibalized parts and components from other unserviceable M4's. The T-34 was incapable of this.

Knot3D #33 Posted 24 September 2017 - 02:22 PM

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A lot of people forget the great features the Pz III brought forward : 

 

- one of the first to successfully optimize full combat efficiency with the 3-man turret ;     commander - gunner alligned sights.

Other tanks can have all the armor and firepower they want, if their commander and gunner need to redo the cycle of spotting & lining up aim reticle every time an enemy vehicle moves, it won't do them much good. 

 

- one of the first to implement proper inter communication with the throat mics.

 

- superb implementation of torsion bar suspension which to this day has outlived all the other suspension systems like Christie suspension, Sherman tank suspension and Leaf Spring suspension.

 

 



Panthergraf #34 Posted 24 September 2017 - 02:36 PM

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I second that. The Pz III was a fine example for excellent "soft stats" like command&control, field of vision and crew efficiency (and mechanical reliability), which are too often overlooked compared with stronk armor and big guns. The stronk french and early soviet tanks were really flawed in this category.

Albapfalzd3 #35 Posted 24 October 2017 - 03:42 PM

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View Postdarrenv64, on 20 September 2017 - 05:26 PM, said:

Key to the M4's success was it's universal parts interchangeability and upgradability potential. Besides producing them in vast quantity, the eleven manufacturers of the M4 medium tank, along with subcontractors, maintained the same level of standardization. Every part and component, regardless of who made it, had the same tolerances for fit, function, and durability. A damaged or broke down M4 could be easily repaired using cannibalized parts and components from other unserviceable M4's. The T-34 was incapable of this.

 

     Actually the T-34 was very capable of being repaired from scavenged parts from other T-34s. Even those built by other factories. A turret from one factory's built T-34 could be placed on the hull of another factory's built T-34 quite easily.  The biggest problems with the T-34 was the use of only a two man turret (in the early marks) and lack of radios. Training (or lack there of) was also a big factor in it's lack luster performance early on. It also suffered from serious mechanical problems early in the war as it was a very new tank when the war started. Many had replacement transmissions strapped to the engine decks when they were captured by the Germans.

     Now having said all that I still feel the U.S. M4 Sherman was a superior tank. Especially those manufactured with the Easy Eight Suspension. It was just so much more mechanically reliable. It had better ergonomics which led to better crew performance. The 76mm M1 had similar performance to the 85mm of the T-34/85 but with much better optics while the U.S. 75mm was a better gun than the Soviet 76mm (especially the HE round) and again also had better optics. 

 

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darrenv64 #36 Posted 27 October 2017 - 04:52 PM

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View PostPanthergraf, on 27 August 2017 - 12:54 PM, said:

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.

 

True. However, the M4's automotive reliability, drivability, ease of use, ergonomic layout, and quick responsiveness, were key factors that enabled its crews during the Battle at Arracourt. It should also be pointed out, that when armored forces were attacking an emplaced defensive network, such as Operation Goodwood or in the Bocage, tank casualties were high. In all, it was the Western Allied ability of coordinated, combined arms employment, that made the difference. The M4 was just one of the many, highly reliable, components.

Edited by darrenv64, 27 October 2017 - 04:53 PM.


Albapfalzd3 #37 Posted 27 October 2017 - 07:38 PM

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View PostPanthergraf, on 27 August 2017 - 09:54 PM, said:

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.

 

Arracourt, although a German attack, was more of an example of a meeting engagement. Due to the very low visibility present during the battle the U.S. forces couldn't sit back and let the German tanks roll in. There fore they moved forward and engaged them and were decisive in the victory. They were decisive because of all the things you mentioned, but part of crew skill is using the strengths (qualities) of your tank to exploit the weaknesses of the enemies. The Sherman was quicker and had a much faster turning turret which allowed it to better flank bigger slower enemy tanks such as the Tiger and Panther. The Sherman also had another important strength I didn't mention earlier and that is it had a rudimentary gyro stabilized gun allowing it to reacquire targets and fire on the move with much more accuracy than anything the Germans had. 

 

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Aelgyn #38 Posted 27 October 2017 - 11:19 PM

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I liked this paragraph:

 

Block Quote

Then there is the aspect of losses. A cheap but poorly designed tank system will suffer more losses than an expensive but well armed and armored one. Machines can be mass produced but what about trained crews? A tank force that has limited crew casualties will have many tank aces and even the rest will be able to perform well in combat. On the other hand a country that builds large numbers of inferior tanks will lose them quickly, together with their crews. This will create a downward spiral as inexperienced crews will make up the majority of crews and thus severely limit the capability of the armored force.

Interesting post and information - thanks for sharing it!

 



darrenv64 #39 Posted 28 October 2017 - 04:03 PM

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The point here is this; judging an AFV's qualities through the narrow lens of the "iron triangle" (armor, firepower, and mobility), and ignoring those factors that give it combat effectiveness as part of a combined arms team, are short sighted.

As an example using WoT; three players are in a match with their Tier V mediums. One has a T-34, another is in a Pz.Kpfw IV (H), and the third is in the M4 Sherman. All three have their engines hit. No problem, their crews are trained in repairs (in reality all three would be out of the fight for the remainder of the game, but for playability they can quickly repair the damage and get rolling). If the game had relative realism in regards to the repair-ability of these three tanks, the German and Russian crews would take 45 and 60 seconds respectively, the Americans would have it fixed in ten seconds. Furthermore, a player in his T-34 would be hit three times by an enemy tank, from less than a hundred meters, before they showed up on his map. By the time he gets his gun turned, he's destroyed.

The M4 player would have near instant and sustained artillery support. Soon as he lights a target and requests it, shells from four artillery start raining in, complete with white phosphorus to hide the Sherman from other enemy team players. He sends a platoon request to one of his friends, four additional friends in Sherman's show up at the spawn point.

The Pz. IV player platoons with three other Pz. IV players prior to the match, but only one other shows up in game (the Tier VII Panther ends up by himself while his Panther platoon mates are repairing themselves at the spawn point, the Tiger I's platoon mates are stuck in the garage).

The T-34 player has ten platoon mates, who subsequently drive strait to the enemy cap and are all destroyed in one clump at the middle of the map. Then all praise their Soviet leadership and equipment out of fear Wargaming will delete their accounts.


 



Panthergraf #40 Posted 28 October 2017 - 07:28 PM

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M4 players would have their [edited]handed in their first 10 games (10x Kasserine Pass, Sand River) and watch some tutorials after that, train their crews and platoon with 4 Artys.




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