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American Equipment And Generals Suck, Part Whatever


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#21 Adam_S

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Posted 08 September 2018 - 2257 PM

Could you get a 90mm into a tank that could be easily shipped around the world like the Sherman though and could you do it in vast numbers by the start of 1943?

 

On a sort of related note, US tanks are rightly acknowledged as being good in terms of ergonomics and crew comfort, but did they take that too far? By being willing to make a few more compromises, could they have squeezed a 90mm or, heaven forbid, a 17pdr into a Sherman in time to have lots ready for D-Day?


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#22 R011

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Posted 08 September 2018 - 2313 PM

It is not that it was not a good tank, but it would have been better with a high velocity 90mm.  Just as the Garand would have been better if it had morphed into an M-14 style rifle with a detachable box magazine.


Ok, the Sherman was good and got better, but it still a 32 ton tank that sometimes had to fight 45 and 69 ton tanks with a gun and ammo that was not always up to the job. There were reasons for that and it wasn't as if the Germans, British, or Soviets were perfect either.

You're absolutely right. In fact, they should have just built Abrams and equipped the infantry with phased plasma rifles.

Edited by R011, 08 September 2018 - 2317 PM.

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#23 DougRichards

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Posted 08 September 2018 - 2315 PM

 

 

Devers was pretty good compared to Omar Bradley (hurtgen forest). Mark Clark was a disaster. The refusal to see reality by AGF and put a decent gun on the Sherman.

 

The M1918 BAR was an exceedingly effective squad automatic weapon for a RIFLE squad. The weakness was the lack of machine gun back up for the rifle platoons from the company weapons platoon.
I'll see your Mark Clark and raise you Jacob Devers.


I understand you're trying to spark debate, but is there any point to rehashing the Sherman issue? An influx of new members since last time? New insights or information?

 

 

That being said Dave,Switching gears abruptly

I sometimes wonder about the US High Command during Vietnam; the whole idea of replacements seemed half assed==almost like the men were just 'spare parts' to be slotted into vacancies with little thought to stand downs, rest & unit cohesion. On top of that, I sometimes wonder if 'higher up' had any idea what was happening on the ground-I recall it was the policy of 1st ID commander Depuy that when the day's march was done he expected the grunts to dig a deep foxhole/trench & reinforce it with sandbags-as if after 8 hours of marching they had the strength to do anything. AND while we're on the subject of the 1st ID I read a book (the beast is out there? they marched into daylight?) about the son of The WW2 Commander Terry Allen, who was in command of battalion. His higher ups put a lot of pressure on him to 'get contact with the enemy', so he ill advisedly peeled off two very understrength companies, attached his command element to them & marched right into an ambush set by an NVA Regiment. Needless to say, Col. Allen & most of his command staff were killed in the opening ambush and the survivors were fighting for their lives with multiple brigade, regiment & division commanders buzzing overhead in helicopters trying to 'support & advise' the unlucky grunts on the ground via radio.

 

 

It worked for the Romans.


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#24 DougRichards

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Posted 08 September 2018 - 2327 PM

Could you get a 90mm into a tank that could be easily shipped around the world like the Sherman though and could you do it in vast numbers by the start of 1943?

 

On a sort of related note, US tanks are rightly acknowledged as being good in terms of ergonomics and crew comfort, but did they take that too far? By being willing to make a few more compromises, could they have squeezed a 90mm or, heaven forbid, a 17pdr into a Sherman in time to have lots ready for D-Day?

 

It could be argued that for Normandy itself, the M4(105) would have been more useful, and those vehicles had gone into production in February 1944.  The parallel being the Royal Marine Armoured Support Group taking their 95mm howitzer equipped Centaurs (not the world's best tank at the time) that were only intended to fight on the beached themselves against fixed defences and mostly to fire whilst still afloat on landing craft, inland to support infantry until their withdrawal two weeks after the invasion.

 

And please, lets not get into the argument again as to why the 76mm armed M4s that were in Britain at the time of Normandy were not  taken over for the initial battles.


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#25 Colin

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Posted 08 September 2018 - 2331 PM

Recalling that the 76mm gun could have had a significant improvement in MV and penetration had they produced more of the improved AP ammo for it. but they were worried about barrel wear. Why they didn't have 75mm equivalent velocity ammo and the higher velocity, i don't know. The British realized early on they were on the wrong end of the MV stick, but struggled to catch up till they got the 17pdr. The Boffins in the US were just a tad to insulated from the reality of the threat. they were also ill-advised by their own the ground "experts".


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#26 DougRichards

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Posted 09 September 2018 - 0120 AM

Recalling that the 76mm gun could have had a significant improvement in MV and penetration had they produced more of the improved AP ammo for it. but they were worried about barrel wear. Why they didn't have 75mm equivalent velocity ammo and the higher velocity, i don't know. The British realized early on they were on the wrong end of the MV stick, but struggled to catch up till they got the 17pdr. The Boffins in the US were just a tad to insulated from the reality of the threat. they were also ill-advised by their own the ground "experts".

 

Yes and no: Churchills in Italy mostly had the 75mm but a proportion were retained with the 6pdr for those occasions when a tank killer had to be employed.  I cannot quote a reference but there was an incident when a troop of Churchills with 75mm had cornered a Tiger.  The Tiger could only come out exposing its flank.  A 6pdr Churchill was called in, that dispatched the Tiger fairly quickly.

 

Other examples can be found on the eastern front, where 57mm Valentines knocked out heavy German armour.

 

This pattern was continued with British Sherman Troops having, in general terms,  a Firefly as part of their TOE at Normandy.


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#27 lastdingo

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Posted 09 September 2018 - 0338 AM

Honestly it's not like any country's choice of small arms made a significant impact on the war. But if you want to play that game, then I'll raise you the Garand.

 

Yeah, that would be the one real success in U.S. Army  small arms development procurement of 150 years (I consider the choice of BAR as an inferior choice compared to handing out a Lewis gun to every squad instead). Moreover, the design phase was quite botched; it's long become obvious that they should have gone for the other calibre.

 

Look at today's U.S.Army guns and at countries like Singapore, Israel, South Africa get competitive and even indigenous small arms types into service and I don't see any advantage of big procurement bureaucracies over tiny ones.

 

There's something similar going on in regard to the extremely demanding submarine and combat aircraft procurement; how do the Swedes do it? How can the Israelis have an avionics and ECM industry capable of replacing practically all combat-related avionics of a strike fighter? How can Sweden and Israel get indigenous AEW radars of such high quality?


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#28 DougRichards

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Posted 09 September 2018 - 0522 AM

 

Honestly it's not like any country's choice of small arms made a significant impact on the war. But if you want to play that game, then I'll raise you the Garand.

 

Yeah, that would be the one real success in U.S. Army  small arms development procurement of 150 years (I consider the choice of BAR as an inferior choice compared to handing out a Lewis gun to every squad instead). Moreover, the design phase was quite botched; it's long become obvious that they should have gone for the other calibre.

 

 

BREN


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#29 bojan

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Posted 09 September 2018 - 0708 AM

 

Yeah, that would be the one real success in U.S. Army  small arms development procurement of 150 years (I consider the choice of BAR as an inferior choice compared to handing out a Lewis gun to every squad instead). Moreover, the design phase was quite botched; it's long become obvious that they should have gone for the other calibre.

 

 

You don't consider that BAR and Lewis/Bren/MG34/42 are weapons fitted to a fundamentally different rifle section doctrine.

First one is 'French' (since French introduced it) where LMG supplements section rifle firepower helping them maneuver. In other, let's call it 'German' (since Germany pioneered it) section main firepower is a LMG.

US always stuck with 1st, even today, new Marine org being pinnacle of development.

Rest of world varied, I personally prefer 'German' version with a proper belt fed LMG, but both have own merits.

 

For the US, especially considering abundance of semi-auto rifles decent slimmed down version of BAR would be pretty good.

As for mag capacity, ZB-26/30 also had 20 rounds mags yet none complained.

 

You also don't consider the fact that US had abundance of the support weapons at Plt and Co level that most other nations lacked.


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#30 Murph

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Posted 09 September 2018 - 0749 AM

I think so, or at least one tank per platoon with the 90mm to start off with,.

Could you get a 90mm into a tank that could be easily shipped around the world like the Sherman though and could you do it in vast numbers by the start of 1943?

 

On a sort of related note, US tanks are rightly acknowledged as being good in terms of ergonomics and crew comfort, but did they take that too far? By being willing to make a few more compromises, could they have squeezed a 90mm or, heaven forbid, a 17pdr into a Sherman in time to have lots ready for D-Day?


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#31 Murph

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Posted 09 September 2018 - 0750 AM

No snark please.  The Garand would have been better with a detachable magazine.  

 

It is not that it was not a good tank, but it would have been better with a high velocity 90mm.  Just as the Garand would have been better if it had morphed into an M-14 style rifle with a detachable box magazine.

Ok, the Sherman was good and got better, but it still a 32 ton tank that sometimes had to fight 45 and 69 ton tanks with a gun and ammo that was not always up to the job. There were reasons for that and it wasn't as if the Germans, British, or Soviets were perfect either.

You're absolutely right. In fact, they should have just built Abrams and equipped the infantry with phased plasma rifles.

 


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#32 R011

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Posted 09 September 2018 - 0836 AM

 

Could you get a 90mm into a tank that could be easily shipped around the world like the Sherman though and could you do it in vast numbers by the start of 1943?

 

On a sort of related note, US tanks are rightly acknowledged as being good in terms of ergonomics and crew comfort, but did they take that too far? By being willing to make a few more compromises, could they have squeezed a 90mm or, heaven forbid, a 17pdr into a Sherman in time to have lots ready for D-Day?

 

It could be argued that for Normandy itself, the M4(105) would have been more useful, and those vehicles had gone into production in February 1944.  The parallel being the Royal Marine Armoured Support Group taking their 95mm howitzer equipped Centaurs (not the world's best tank at the time) that were only intended to fight on the beached themselves against fixed defences and mostly to fire whilst still afloat on landing craft, inland to support infantry until their withdrawal two weeks after the invasion.

 

And please, lets not get into the argument again as to why the 76mm armed M4s that were in Britain at the time of Normandy were not  taken over for the initial battles.

 

 

The 105 Sherman wouldn't have been much better as an AT gun, if at all, than the 75 mm and as I understand it, those tanks lacked power traverse.

 

As for a 90 mm, they did put a T26 turret on a Sherman as a test.  The turret rings were the same size.  They didn't proceed because by then, all the 90 mm guns and turrets were needed for T26 production.  It may or may not have been practical to make a 90 mm armed Sherman, but to be at all useful, they would have needed it in production by the beginning of 1944.  At that time, they believed the 76 would be more than good enough and it was probably more available at that time.


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#33 R011

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Posted 09 September 2018 - 0840 AM

Recalling that the 76mm gun could have had a significant improvement in MV and penetration had they produced more of the improved AP ammo for it. but they were worried about barrel wear. Why they didn't have 75mm equivalent velocity ammo and the higher velocity, i don't know. The British realized early on they were on the wrong end of the MV stick, but struggled to catch up till they got the 17pdr. The Boffins in the US were just a tad to insulated from the reality of the threat. they were also ill-advised by their own the ground "experts".

 

There was not much more one could do with the 75 mm given its muzzle velocity until they got decent HEAT post war.  I'd argue the British struggled until they got the Comet.  The 17 pounder Sherman was a kludge that could never be the sole troop tank.


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#34 Murph

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Posted 09 September 2018 - 0909 AM

Was it a problem with caliber? Or perhaps the cartridge itself?  IIRC the 75mm Sherman used the same cartridge that the 75mm pack howitzer used (I am not sure about this, so please fell free to correct me)?  Perhaps an L/60 caliber barrel?

 

Recalling that the 76mm gun could have had a significant improvement in MV and penetration had they produced more of the improved AP ammo for it. but they were worried about barrel wear. Why they didn't have 75mm equivalent velocity ammo and the higher velocity, i don't know. The British realized early on they were on the wrong end of the MV stick, but struggled to catch up till they got the 17pdr. The Boffins in the US were just a tad to insulated from the reality of the threat. they were also ill-advised by their own the ground "experts".

 

There was not much more one could do with the 75 mm given its muzzle velocity until they got decent HEAT post war.  I'd argue the British struggled until they got the Comet.  The 17 pounder Sherman was a kludge that could never be the sole troop tank.

 


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#35 Murph

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Posted 09 September 2018 - 0917 AM

Mark Clark has a special place in h*ll.  One of my great uncles was the survivor of an infantry company at the Rapido.  He went in leading his company, and he, and two others managed to get out, he was never the same afterwards according to family.  The Rapido battle where the flower of Texas youth was slaughtered so that Marcus Aurelius Clarkus could get to Rome first was a travesty.  Keyes and Clark should have been relieved for that fiasco rather than blaming it on the 36th Division and General Fred Walker.  


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#36 Rich

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Posted 09 September 2018 - 0932 AM

Devers was pretty good compared to Omar Bradley (hurtgen forest).

 

Yes.

 

 

Mark Clark was a disaster.

 

Yes.

 

 

The refusal to see reality by AGF and put a decent gun on the Sherman.

 

Never actually happened and the course of events as it did happen was every bit as much the fault of Gladeon Barnes' technological hubris at Ordnance, as it was McNair's doctrinaire attitude. Nor did Dever's waffling on the 76mm when he was Chief of the Armored Force help much. There was plenty of blame to go around. 


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#37 Rich

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Posted 09 September 2018 - 0938 AM

Recalling that the 76mm gun could have had a significant improvement in MV and penetration had they produced more of the improved AP ammo for it. but they were worried about barrel wear. Why they didn't have 75mm equivalent velocity ammo and the higher velocity, i don't know. The British realized early on they were on the wrong end of the MV stick, but struggled to catch up till they got the 17pdr. The Boffins in the US were just a tad to insulated from the reality of the threat. they were also ill-advised by their own the ground "experts".

 

Bit backwards there. The improved ammo - HVAP - was an emergency measure begun in June 1944. The improved ammo - AP-T - was a postwar development that went along with the new and improved 76mm gun, during the war only an improved 90mm AP-T was produced. There was no attempt during wartime to improve the problematic 3"/76mm APC-T. The barrel wear excuse was used to forbid increasing the propellant load in the 76mm cartridge, which probably just would have increased the shattering of the problematic ammunition.


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#38 R011

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Posted 09 September 2018 - 0953 AM


Was it a problem with caliber? Or perhaps the cartridge itself?  IIRC the 75mm Sherman used the same cartridge that the 75mm pack howitzer used (I am not sure about this, so please fell free to correct me)?  Perhaps an L/60 caliber barrel?


 


Recalling that the 76mm gun could have had a significant improvement in MV and penetration had they produced more of the improved AP ammo for it. but they were worried about barrel wear. Why they didn't have 75mm equivalent velocity ammo and the higher velocity, i don't know. The British realized early on they were on the wrong end of the MV stick, but struggled to catch up till they got the 17pdr. The Boffins in the US were just a tad to insulated from the reality of the threat. they were also ill-advised by their own the ground "experts".

 
There was not much more one could do with the 75 mm given its muzzle velocity until they got decent HEAT post war.  I'd argue the British struggled until they got the Comet.  The 17 pounder Sherman was a kludge that could never be the sole troop tank.
 

Both. Like trying to get .30-06 performance from an M1 carbine. You need the big chamber so you can fit a big casing with a shitload of propellant and a longer barrel to give the propellant space to burn completely.
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#39 R011

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Posted 09 September 2018 - 0953 AM


Was it a problem with caliber? Or perhaps the cartridge itself?  IIRC the 75mm Sherman used the same cartridge that the 75mm pack howitzer used (I am not sure about this, so please fell free to correct me)?  Perhaps an L/60 caliber barrel?


 


Recalling that the 76mm gun could have had a significant improvement in MV and penetration had they produced more of the improved AP ammo for it. but they were worried about barrel wear. Why they didn't have 75mm equivalent velocity ammo and the higher velocity, i don't know. The British realized early on they were on the wrong end of the MV stick, but struggled to catch up till they got the 17pdr. The Boffins in the US were just a tad to insulated from the reality of the threat. they were also ill-advised by their own the ground "experts".

 
There was not much more one could do with the 75 mm given its muzzle velocity until they got decent HEAT post war.  I'd argue the British struggled until they got the Comet.  The 17 pounder Sherman was a kludge that could never be the sole troop tank.
 

Both. Like trying to get .30-06 performance from an M1 carbine. You need the big chamber so you can fit a big casing with a shitload of propellant and a longer barrel to give the propellant space to burn completely.
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#40 Rich

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Posted 09 September 2018 - 1044 AM

 

Both. Like trying to get .30-06 performance from an M1 carbine. You need the big chamber so you can fit a big casing with a shitload of propellant and a longer barrel to give the propellant space to burn completely.

 

 

More like all three, the third being the forging and final heat treatment of the projectile. American APC was very badly designed and failed repeatedly against heavy armor in all its iterations. The large HE cavities and faulty fuzes led to shatter and partial penetrations. It was never corrected during the war. The postwar improvement, AP-T M339 was a solid tungsten-carbide shot rather than wartime APC, which was AP-HE. Additional propellant and barrel length would have increased velocity, but likely also would have increased shatter and premature fuze action.


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