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American Equipment And Generals Suck, Part Whatever


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#41 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 09 September 2018 - 1053 AM

 

 

 

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.

 

 

The Romans also had the Teutoburg forest. But more to the point, I dont think the Roman Army in its formative days had conscription. Certainly not the abortive system as used in Vietnam which seemed to do little for combat efficiency.


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#42 Chris Werb

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Posted 09 September 2018 - 1103 AM

FWIW I think the M3 and particularly the M3A1 sub machine gun rates as one of the cleverest pieces of firearms design and production engineering of WW2. The stock alone is a multi function tool. It was also, by all accounts, very good at its job and much better than any flavour of Thompson.

 

Personally, I don't see what the BAR brought to the fight that giving everyone an M1 with a detachable magazine and a bipod wouldn't have. That's essentially what the BAR's replacement, the M14 was. Late in the War (and Bojan will have seen this) Winchester came up with their own BAR replacement that was essentially (at least tactically) an M14A1 or M15, only 15 years early. The war ended before it could see service.

 


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#43 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 09 September 2018 - 1110 AM

Thought this was clever, if abortive. They claim part ancestry of the AR-15.

https://en.wikipedia...son_machine_gun


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#44 shep854

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Posted 09 September 2018 - 1343 PM

"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)"--Murph

The 75mm tank gun used a 75x350mmR cartridge, but it could use pack how (75x272mmR) ammo in a pinch; the Marines did at Tarawa.


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#45 Chris Werb

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Posted 09 September 2018 - 1445 PM

"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)"--Murph

The 75mm tank gun used a 75x350mmR cartridge, but it could use pack how (75x272mmR) ammo in a pinch; the Marines did at Tarawa.

 

It used the same cartridge as the M1897 series field guns and the M1916 and M1917. The pack howitzer used the same chambering as the M8 SPH and LVT(A)4 and 5, IIRC. Wasn't there a case where 75mm tank rounds were dropped to our troops in Arnhem which had the 75mm pack howitzer and couldn't shoot them?


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#46 Ken Estes

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Posted 09 September 2018 - 1457 PM

Pack howitzer ammo in an M4A2 tank at Tarawa was nothing but a field expedient, and nobody took it for a substitute. There simply was no 75mm tank ammo landed for 2 days or more. 

 

There is a simple problem for the US developing high velocity guns for its tanks.  The technical specs of tigers and panthers remained unknown for the most part in 1943 [none captured in the West before mid-year, analysed months later, etc.] and [what Rich terms] the omigosh moment when Army Ordnance found they had a problem, came way late for a quick fix. In addition, some screwup in testing led the TD Command to state that their 3-inch could penetrate the Tiger at 2000 yds.

 

Some screw-ups are so simple, yet hard to believe.


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#47 Markus Becker

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Posted 09 September 2018 - 1524 PM

Dons flame retardant underwear. :)
 
 
So why were the US so incapable of developing a decent supercharger for the Allison engine that they had to scrounge a proper engine design off the Brits?


I say let's burn the heretic on a pile of dry stowage Pant...err Shermans, Shermans! ;)

The P-63 got just that kind of supercharger and it rocked. Particularly the automatic, barometric controls. No fiddling with settings and a speed altitude curve not unlike a turbocharger. Why they didn't put it into the P-40? Curtiss' efforts to replace the plane entirely and the belated realisation that they could improve it(XP-40Q)?
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#48 lastdingo

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Posted 09 September 2018 - 1723 PM

 

 

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

 

No, I was thinking of the early BAR time (its production began in WWI). The contemporary then were the Lewis and the Madsen.


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#49 bojan

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Posted 09 September 2018 - 1903 PM

 

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

Yes, in theory, but would it really be? Loading en-bloc is as fast as loading mag, and you don't have to bother with removing the mag. 8 round en-bloc vs 10 rounds mag where mags are limited commodity I would pick 8-round en-bloc every day.

You would get two more rounds but give potential magazine damage - increasing chance for stoppage. Internal mag with one use en-bloc practically removed all the magazine related feeding issues that might have plagued it.

 

20 rounder on M1 would make it more into unbalanced pig, like Italian BM59 is.


Edited by bojan, 09 September 2018 - 1905 PM.

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#50 Argus

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Posted 09 September 2018 - 2058 PM

 

 

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

Yes, in theory, but would it really be? Loading en-bloc is as fast as loading mag, and you don't have to bother with removing the mag. 8 round en-bloc vs 10 rounds mag where mags are limited commodity I would pick 8-round en-bloc every day.

You would get two more rounds but give potential magazine damage - increasing chance for stoppage. Internal mag with one use en-bloc practically removed all the magazine related feeding issues that might have plagued it.

 

20 rounder on M1 would make it more into unbalanced pig, like Italian BM59 is.

 

 

You beat me to it :)

 

For 10 rounds or so the enbloc clip is a better bet than a detachable mag in many ways. It's certainly lighter, and an M1 in full rattle was about 11.6lb - add another dozen rounds and a mag isn't going to make that any lighter.  A .276 Garand with a 20rnd detachable mag could sort of work out at about the same 11.6lb... ish. 

 

shane

The .276 version was still 8lb 12oz with 10 rounds  


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#51 Rich

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Posted 09 September 2018 - 2142 PM

I still have Ricks' The Generals sitting on my shelf waiting to be read.  It's been on the back burner after I saw a fairly lengthy talk he gave on the book when it was released.  While the premise is pretty straightforward (we had better leadership in WW2 and we happened to fire Generals all the time... since WW2 we haven't fired anyone and our leadership has sucked since) he never touched on the why underlying what seems like an obvious connection.  Maybe he was saving that part for when you read the book.  Still, I'll get to it one of these days.

 

 

 

Sorry guys, been a busy weekend so I'm still catching up.

 

No, I would not say that is Ricks' premise at all and it would be hard for him to develop such a premise. It wasn't the threat of firing that kept American generals up to snuff in WW2. That has been rather overblown. They were in fact relieved, often, but that was not a career ender unless they really, really screwed the pooch. The thing was though that all were aware they WERE ACCOUNTABLE and were expected to have a wide-ranging set of interests in the military and political realms. They were not simply technicians, tactical and operational savants like the Germans, they were also expected to have some understanding of strategy and forward thinking, especially thinking beyond the war (which was why Patton was justifiably relieved). I have yet to think of a "modern" American senior general - theater level and above - who could think beyond tactics and operations. And I hold up as an illustration every single senior commander deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. None of them, including Petraeus, could really manage to think beyond "bang". Instead, they left it to the politicians and claimed it was "beyond their pay grade", which is the most egregious cop out of all time, especially since it left things in the hands of such intellectual heavy weights like George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Don Rumsfeld.


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#52 DougRichards

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Posted 10 September 2018 - 0206 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.

 

 

If you wanted an AT gun you would have done better with a 6pdr/57mm gun being mounted.  By that stage there were HE rounds available for those guns both in British and US service so could still provide HE support.

 

If you wanted a gun to blast obstacles on the beaches and immediately inland then the 105mm howitzer would have been the choice. The effect of a 105mm shell hitting a PZ IV should not be immediately discounted.    It should be remembered that when US crews saw panzers at longer range than their 75mm AP would have an effect, they fired HE just to try to do something. 

 

If you wanted a gun that had some AT potential under good conditions, and a fair HE capability, then the 75mm gun was the way to go.  Jack of all trades and master of none.  That seems to be the choice that was made.


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#53 DougRichards

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Posted 10 September 2018 - 0214 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?

 

M36: a 90mm gun on an "M4" hull.  Made it into action in October 1944.

 

Another possibility the:

 

M4A3E2 Assault Tank - postwar nickname "Jumbo" - extra armour (including 1 inch on front), vertical sided turret, but about 3-4 mph slower. Built with 75mm gun but frequently re-armed by the using units with 76mm guns. (wiki)

 

By that stage the 76mm was penetrating around the same as the Tiger 1 88mm, and the armour of the M4A3E2 was not too far short of a Panther.

 

With some aforethought would have been available for Normandy, but in reality that thought is just fantasy.


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#54 Adam_S

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Posted 10 September 2018 - 0446 AM

The Jumbo's mobility sucked though and I'm not sure what effect all that extra weight would have had on reliability.

 

Tank crews seemed to have prioritised mobility and firepower when given a choice.


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#55 Adam_S

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Posted 10 September 2018 - 0448 AM

Just a thought too, but the most common opponents for a Sherman were most likely infantry and antitank guns and it was arguably better than a Panther for dealing with those.


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#56 Adam_S

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Posted 10 September 2018 - 0449 AM

So what are the forum's thoughts on Dugout Doug?


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#57 DougRichards

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Posted 10 September 2018 - 0615 AM

Just a thought too, but the most common opponents for a Sherman were most likely infantry and antitank guns and it was arguably better than a Panther for dealing with those.

 

Exactly, which was why a 105mm with powered traverse would have been so useful!


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#58 shep854

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Posted 10 September 2018 - 0813 AM

Manic must be sitting this one out...


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#59 Tim the Tank Nut

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Posted 10 September 2018 - 0846 AM

as regards to bad US Generalship I hold forth the same example that I always have which is FREDENHALL!

Irrefutable evidence that the United States can produce a very bad General.

 

I would not have characterized Devers as a bad general and I am curious to wonder why someone would?

 

If one feels the need to pop balloons then Bradley and Hodges at the Huertgen


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#60 Markus Becker

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Posted 10 September 2018 - 1010 AM

A few more words about the Allison. It suffered from two major problems. One was the (lack of) funding. Unlike the Merlin its development wasn't subsidized. The US government ordered very few test engines then and now. And the American standards for acceptance were higher. A 150 hours vs. a 50 hour test I think. Not surprisingly the engine went hardly anywhere until 38/39. By that time the Merlin was up and running at 1060hp for years.

The second problem was altitude rating. The Allison was sea level rated because it was intended to be paired with the GE turbocharger. Thus the internal, single speed, single stage supercharger was merely intended to optimize fuel distribution inside the engine. Then the military realized he turbo was a long way from being ready and the barely ready Allisons had to be altitude rated. Which was done very nicely by 1943. See late model P-39s and P40-N. Early version left a bit to be desired compared to European contemporaries. The P-39 D was a real stinker. The critical altitude was a mere 12k feet and the speed dropped rapidly one you got about 12k. That would have been acceptable in Europe in 38/39. 1940 less so and not at all in 42. Add to that the short range and you understand why US pilots didn't like the plane.

Recommended reading: Vees for Victory by D.D. Whitney

http://www.historyne...whitney-avh.htm
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