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Old December 13th, 2012, 05:43 PM   #91
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I think that this appraisal is to harsh. There were certainly same shortcoming in British design but it was the same with all belligerent country. Nobody ever design and manufactured one ideal tank to satisfy everybody. American, German and Russian design had their shortcoming which could be a deadly factor during combat if skilfully used by opposite side.
Talking about tanks warfare in Africa (the only theatre where British vs German tanks were engaged between Battle of France and D-day)
We have been taking about Matildas. They have been liked by all users as they offered excellent armour to protection.
After Battle of France, the need for new, better armed and armoured tanks became evident.
So the Churchill tank has been rushed into production.
“Originally designed as an infantry tank, the British Churchill was rushed into production and first sow action in the Dieppe raid in August 1942, where 28 of them were lost or abounded. Its slow speed and initial mechanical unreliability almost saw its withdrawal from front line units, until the Tunisian campaign showed that it was better at going up hills than any other tank. It was well protected and its four inches of frontal armour meant that it could take a lot of punishment” from “Blood, Sweet and Arrogance” book.
Yes, 4 inches (over 100 mm) frontal armour was a formidable protection so talking about “murder” is a gross exaggeration.
There was certainly too many variants of Churchill which complicated mechanical design and had a negative influence on reliability but it was certainly not a “steel coffin”.



From the same book there is a comparison of tanks used by British (including US made) vs German before second El Alamein

“At first glance the British tanks were not only numerically superior to these of Axis, they were marginally better in quality, too.
At the usual range engagement of 1000 yards, British tanks could pierce the frontal armour of German tanks as follow;

Matilda; Could not penetrate frontal armour of German tank PzIII, PzIV, Pz III(J)

Crusader; Could not penetrate frontal armour of German tank PzIII, PzIV, Pz III(J)

Stuart; Could not penetrate frontal armour of German tank PzIII, PzIV, Pz III(J)

Valentine; Could not penetrate frontal armour of German tank PzIII, PzIV, Pz III(J)

Grant; Could penetrate frontal armour of all German tanks.

Note;Matildas Crusaders, Stuarts and Valentines could pierce the turret armour of all German tanks but it was to small target at 1,000 yards that only a lucky shot could do it.

German Tanks could not penetrate frontal armour of any British tanks at 1000 yards (with the exception of PzIII (J) which could penetrate all tanks except Valentine)

(My addition; PZIII(J) was armed with long barrelled (60L) 50 mm capable (just) to penetrate frontal armour of above mentioned British tanks except Valentine. It was inefficient against Russian T-34)

The Grants used by British could penetrate frontal armour of all German tanks at will.
But it was not entirely up to armour penetration.
German tanks had better sights than British, German ammo was marginally better and German tanks had better protection of ammo magazine.

In general, there was not much difference of tanks quality between British and German in North Africa.
British had usually more tanks than Axis but German tactics and training was better than British. The use of 88 mm guns as anti-tank gun gave German a huge advantage on long distance engagement.
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Old December 13th, 2012, 09:41 PM   #92
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26 October 2012
“On Thursday, in the backwaters of the river Warta, Valentine a tank was recovered from the Second World War.
This is the first tank of it’s kind in Poland and the only one in the world who took part in combat actions (in this area. It was a Red Army tank-my addition)!
Jacek Kopczynski of Lodz – a collector of vintage and military vehicles, one of the owners of Veteran Vehicles Bazaar . Jacek Kopczynski (the manager of recovery action-my addition) said on Wednesday that if he manage to recover the Valentine it will be a sensation in the world. It’s the first tank of this type found in Poland.
(Translated from Polish by Google Translate)
http://www.warhistoryonline.com/war-articles/valentine-tank-from-world-war-ii-found-in-polish-warta-river.html
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Last edited by Edward; December 13th, 2012 at 09:47 PM.
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Old December 14th, 2012, 03:39 AM   #93

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward View Post
I think that this appraisal is to harsh. There were certainly same shortcoming in British design but it was the same with all belligerent country. Nobody ever design and manufactured one ideal tank to satisfy everybody. American, German and Russian design had their shortcoming which could be a deadly factor during combat if skilfully used by opposite side.
Talking about tanks warfare in Africa (the only theatre where British vs German tanks were engaged between Battle of France and D-day)
We have been taking about Matildas. They have been liked by all users as they offered excellent armour to protection.
After Battle of France, the need for new, better armed and armoured tanks became evident.
So the Churchill tank has been rushed into production.
“Originally designed as an infantry tank, the British Churchill was rushed into production and first sow action in the Dieppe raid in August 1942, where 28 of them were lost or abounded. Its slow speed and initial mechanical unreliability almost saw its withdrawal from front line units, until the Tunisian campaign showed that it was better at going up hills than any other tank. It was well protected and its four inches of frontal armour meant that it could take a lot of punishment” from “Blood, Sweet and Arrogance” book.
Yes, 4 inches (over 100 mm) frontal armour was a formidable protection so talking about “murder” is a gross exaggeration.
There was certainly too many variants of Churchill which complicated mechanical design and had a negative influence on reliability but it was certainly not a “steel coffin”.



From the same book there is a comparison of tanks used by British (including US made) vs German before second El Alamein

“At first glance the British tanks were not only numerically superior to these of Axis, they were marginally better in quality, too.
At the usual range engagement of 1000 yards, British tanks could pierce the frontal armour of German tanks as follow;

Matilda; Could not penetrate frontal armour of German tank PzIII, PzIV, Pz III(J)

Crusader; Could not penetrate frontal armour of German tank PzIII, PzIV, Pz III(J)

Stuart; Could not penetrate frontal armour of German tank PzIII, PzIV, Pz III(J)

Valentine; Could not penetrate frontal armour of German tank PzIII, PzIV, Pz III(J)

Grant; Could penetrate frontal armour of all German tanks.

Note;Matildas Crusaders, Stuarts and Valentines could pierce the turret armour of all German tanks but it was to small target at 1,000 yards that only a lucky shot could do it.

German Tanks could not penetrate frontal armour of any British tanks at 1000 yards (with the exception of PzIII (J) which could penetrate all tanks except Valentine)

(My addition; PZIII(J) was armed with long barrelled (60L) 50 mm capable (just) to penetrate frontal armour of above mentioned British tanks except Valentine. It was inefficient against Russian T-34)

The Grants used by British could penetrate frontal armour of all German tanks at will.
But it was not entirely up to armour penetration.
German tanks had better sights than British, German ammo was marginally better and German tanks had better protection of ammo magazine.

In general, there was not much difference of tanks quality between British and German in North Africa.
British had usually more tanks than Axis but German tactics and training was better than British. The use of 88 mm guns as anti-tank gun gave German a huge advantage on long distance engagement.
That may well be a bit harsh. Remember though, this has come from a veteran whom had been sent to war with sod all training and had to suffer nighmares for years after. This particular veteran can call it murder if he wishes.
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Old December 15th, 2012, 01:25 AM   #94

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We were broke. Paying off WW1 and the the great depression meant the piggy bank was empty, so the theory wqas that small design runs would be given to a variety of companies, effectively keeping them in business and making sure the military got a few tanks when the government was trying to cut back on any penny it could.
Not quite. the economic revival of the thirties had improved the situation in Britain by 1940. I agree that WW1 had affected britains economic strength to some degree, especially the building and maintenance of a huge navy to police their colonial structure, and perhaps more tellingly, the amalgamation of railway companies in twenties had not produced investment in rail infrastructure needed to restore the network to vigorous condition. However, Britain was not nearly broke - it would have collapsed during WW2 had that been the case and certainly the second world war had brought Britains economy to the point of subsistence. Remember that rationing was maintained after 1945 but not after 1918 (although the twenties brought hard times for everyone).

It was in the nature of military procurement that private companies responded to military specifications and contracts - this was true of not just tanks. The problem was that although the British had initially been very forward thinking with regard to the use of armour (they experimented with combined arms in the twenties) the traditionalists regained influence as often happens in times of peace. WW1 had after all been regarded as the "War to end all wars" - no-one initially saw such a conflict ever happening again. No... I tell a lie... There was a political cartoon from 1918 that was very prophetic, showing the child of 1940 weeping as politicians leave the conference feeling very proud of themselves.

Tank design was also affected by the ideas prevalent in the mid war period that such vehicles would be used alongside infantry advances, which meant that armoured vehicles were either heavy slow moving slugs or lightweight reconnaisance machines, with a clear tendency toward the latter. The lessons of Fuller and Liddel-Hart were largely ignored in British circles and unfortunately viewed by Germany with some enthusiasm.

Don't be fooled by the comical armoured vehicles at the start of the war. Many were simply emergency measures such as the imminency of war or post-Dunkirk or vehicles adapted for exercises to avoid heavy military spending.

The Germans of course had invested in experiements conducted in Russia as part of their aim in rebuilding German military might. That included tank design. Notice however that all combatants began with lighter designs and the more formidable vehicles emerged as the need to compete with the enemy sparked an arms race.
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Old December 15th, 2012, 05:18 AM   #95

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Old December 15th, 2012, 06:18 AM   #96
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None of the WWII participants entered the war with fully adequate tanks. Each one had one or another deficiency. Theoretically, it was the Russians who came up with the best and most adequate tank designs of the time. But only theoretically as they suffered badly from a very poor-quality production and poor-quality materials. Therefore they could not realize in practice the advantages of their design. Besides, the totally inadequate two-man turret, unreliable transmission, a full of bugs engine, poor visibility coupled with inferior sights further degraded the practical value of the T-34 and KV-1.

The Germans, on the other hand, produced high-quality tanks with a good design but they failed to foresee the way tank technology was going to proceed.

Unlike the British and the Americans, the French made a decent effort to develop a strong tank force but they lacked the will to actually fight as the nation did not overcome yet the horror and terrible losses of WWI.

Last edited by inet_rover; December 15th, 2012 at 08:12 AM.
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Old December 15th, 2012, 06:38 AM   #97
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By the way, I'm looking for details on the Siddeley engine of the Vickers Mk E 6-ton tank of the early 1930s, in general, and its ignition system, in particular. The story of that engine development is also of interest to me. I think for UK residents to get access to that information is easier than from the US as those details are very hard to come by even though that tank and its engine are mentioned in numerous tank books but without some important spesifics.

By the way, if somebody has access to a book "The Vickers tanks" by Chris Foss, published in 1988, there may be there some detailed information on the subject (I hope but I'm not sure).

If anybody could help me with this search, send me a private message and we'll discuss that.
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Old December 15th, 2012, 07:02 AM   #98

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British officers of senior rank had little interest or understanding of tanks and armoured warfare. The Allies had captured an intact German 88mm gun 2 years before D-Day and the battle of Normandy, yet few if any lessons were learnt. British soldiers did not train as combined arms and rarely saw a tank during the training for D-Day. Only the desert war saw any real tank-infantry co-operation.

Montgomery himself stated before D-Day that a tank's gun was the most important thing, and that it should have an engine powerful enough to cope with no more than 35 tons and then after selecting the very best gun, armour should be fitted up to the maximum weight. Pretty much the perfect description of a Panther!

The Churchill had a low velocity gun which was no match even for a Panzer IV (which had a high velocity 75mm). It was terribly slow (about 12 kph) and its one virtue was thicker frontal armour than a Tiger.

The Cromwell was fast and reliable (Having a Rolls Royce Meteor engine: a de-tuned and unsupercharged Merlin), but had thin armour and a weedy gun.

The American Sherman was probably the best commonly available to the British until the very end of the war. Very reliable, although it had a high profile and thin armour and the standard 75mm gun was low velocity. The British did upgrade it with a 17 pounder which was a match for the German 88mm (it used discarding Sabot ammunition) but only 4 tanks in each company were fitted with it. This type became known as the "Firefly". Unfortunately, Shermans had a habit of catching fire easily when hit, earning them the name of "The Ronson Lighter" amongst the British and "The Tommy Cooker" amongst the Germans.

German tanks of the era were far, far better. And, very importantly, this was primarily because many German senior staff- including Hitler- took a keen interest in armoured warfare. Adolf meddled constantly with the development of both the Tiger I and Panther, and it was apparently him who insisted that the former be fitted with the 88mm. The Panther's upgraded very high velocity 75mm had even greater destructive power than the Tiger's 88mm at certain ranges.
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Old December 15th, 2012, 07:29 AM   #99
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Montgomery himself stated before D-Day... Pretty much the perfect description of a Panther!

Unfortunately, Shermans had a habit of catching fire easily when hit, earning them the name of "The Ronson Lighter" amongst the British and "The Tommy Cooker" amongst the Germans.

The Panther's upgraded very high velocity 75mm had even greater destructive power than the Tiger's 88mm at certain ranges.
1. Even though in duel situation the Panther was stronger due to a much higher armor penetration capability of its gun and much better frontal protection, the late-war T-34/85 was more useful as it was much more reliable mechanically (the Russians learned the lesson), had a much better off-road capability (flotation), much better range (thanks to its economical though powerful, to a large degree debugged, diesel engine) and its 85-mm HE round was much more powerful.

2. Practically all the tanks of WWII easily caught fire if penetrated by enemy fire. This doesn't apply only to the Sherman whose armored protection was pretty decent even though it was not on a par with the Panther and Tiger, of course.

3. The Panther's 75-mm exceeded the Tiger's 88-mm only in armor penetration. But even so, the much heavier 88-mm shell shattered the armor of a tank it hit which still caused injuries to the crew inside even without penetration. Not to mention that the 88-mm HE round was much more powerful.

Last edited by inet_rover; December 15th, 2012 at 08:15 AM.
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Old December 15th, 2012, 08:08 AM   #100

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. The British did upgrade it with a 17 pounder which was a match for the German 88mm (it used discarding Sabot ammunition) but only 4 tanks in each company were fitted with it..
On D-Day the ratio was 4 Sherman Fireflies per squadron (16 tanks) which was normally distributed as 1 Sherman Firefly per troop ( 1 Sherman Firefly, 3 Sherman 75mm), by February 45 the ratio had increased to 8 Fireflies per Squadron, distributed as 2 per troop (2 Sherman Fireflies, 2 Sherman 75mm)
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