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Panther Gets Too Much Love And Hate?


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#341 cbo

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 1343 PM

 

 

As said, I dont think anyone doubts it happened. What I  doubt is that a gunner could arrange his show to go in that matter without providence a significant amount of luck on his shoulder. Is there anyone that could boast they did it more than once?

 

Yes - well, not the bounce but the ability to hit a very specific target with a tank gun at normal combat ranges.

 

A certain L. R. Price from APG, who was a civilian expert on the 90mm M3 gun, gave a lecture on boresighting of the 90mm gun at Aachen in Germany in February 1945. He showed the gunners that the 90mm gun was sufficiently accurate that gunners should not"...just aim at the enemy tank, but to aim at a particular spot on that tank and his demonstration showed it was possible to hit that spot." Later, he used German steel helmets as targets, picking the off with the 90mm at 625 yards. "...veterans rapidly duplicated his markmanship, once they got the feel of the weapon."

 

Source: Hunnicutt: "Pershing" p. 16-17

 

If you believe that then you have to believe that the tanks of the US military, tank cannons, and ammunition have become less accurate over the last 70 years.

 

 

Maybe Price was just a better gunner than you.

 

Anyway, the point is:

 

  1. The Panther mantlet bounce was possible and it happened from the Panthers first time in combat
  2. For most allied tankers, trying to hit the lower half of the mantlet was a much better choice than to try to hit any other part of the Panther. And if more gunners try that, more will succed, even if the chance of achieving it is small.

 

What seems odd to me, is that people seems to think that allied tank gunners in WWII were just blindly firing in the general direction of the enemy. And the assumption that they could always just "move to get a side shot" or something similar. That shows a distinct lack of knowledge and understanding of the WWII battlefield. It probably comes from trying to fit a 1940ies reality to a 1970ies or 80ies experience, something which amateur historians among modern soldiers often do.



#342 Tim the Tank Nut

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 1436 PM

I met a WW2 gunner back in 2004 that could really shoot.  Assuming his stories weren't just tall tales (he drove the M5 that day and seemed very capable) then I got the impression he could hit whatever he could see. 

There's a big difference in accuracy depending on who gets the jump on who



#343 DKTanker

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 1852 PM

Maybe Price was just a better gunner than you.

Sure, sure. When you don't have an argument, when you don't even understand the topic under discussion, resort to personal attacks.  You won, you are the anecdote expert.  I genuflect in your general direction.



#344 Jim Warford

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 2316 PM

As a tank commander over the years, I've known a few gunners who could very reliably hit exactly the spot they were aiming at on a given target...using 105mm training-practice ammunition. As I mentioned before, those guys are out there... 

 

T-72M1%20KO%20OIF_Good%20Shot_2.jpg



#345 DKTanker

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Posted 14 February 2017 - 0058 AM

As a tank commander over the years, I've known a few gunners who could very reliably hit exactly the spot they were aiming at on a given target...using 105mm training-practice ammunition. As I mentioned before, those guys are out there... 

 

Interesting.  So why the huge expense for fire control systems?  But beyond that, how do you suppose they divine how round to round dispersion will affect their next shot so they can compensate with a bit of aim off?  I never saw anybody never miss a target, truly it must have been a wonder to behold.

 

I'm reminded of the time we were in the field and a couple of grunts attached to our company were trying, without success, to throw and stick their bayonets in a tree. They were holding them by the tip of the blade when I suggested that if the bayonet was balanced correctly it shouldn't matter how they held them.  At that they had me try my hand at it.  So I took the bayonet by the handle, threw it, and promptly stuck it in the tree ten feet away.  Luck, or am I just that good?  


Edited by DKTanker, 14 February 2017 - 0110 AM.


#346 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 14 February 2017 - 0315 AM

 

 

 

As said, I dont think anyone doubts it happened. What I  doubt is that a gunner could arrange his show to go in that matter without providence a significant amount of luck on his shoulder. Is there anyone that could boast they did it more than once?

 

Yes - well, not the bounce but the ability to hit a very specific target with a tank gun at normal combat ranges.

 

A certain L. R. Price from APG, who was a civilian expert on the 90mm M3 gun, gave a lecture on boresighting of the 90mm gun at Aachen in Germany in February 1945. He showed the gunners that the 90mm gun was sufficiently accurate that gunners should not"...just aim at the enemy tank, but to aim at a particular spot on that tank and his demonstration showed it was possible to hit that spot." Later, he used German steel helmets as targets, picking the off with the 90mm at 625 yards. "...veterans rapidly duplicated his markmanship, once they got the feel of the weapon."

 

Source: Hunnicutt: "Pershing" p. 16-17

 

If you believe that then you have to believe that the tanks of the US military, tank cannons, and ammunition have become less accurate over the last 70 years.

 

 

Maybe Price was just a better gunner than you.

 

Anyway, the point is:

 

  1. The Panther mantlet bounce was possible and it happened from the Panthers first time in combat
  2. For most allied tankers, trying to hit the lower half of the mantlet was a much better choice than to try to hit any other part of the Panther. And if more gunners try that, more will succed, even if the chance of achieving it is small.

 

What seems odd to me, is that people seems to think that allied tank gunners in WWII were just blindly firing in the general direction of the enemy. And the assumption that they could always just "move to get a side shot" or something similar. That shows a distinct lack of knowledge and understanding of the WWII battlefield. It probably comes from trying to fit a 1940ies reality to a 1970ies or 80ies experience, something which amateur historians among modern soldiers often do.

 

 

Nobody is suggesting this. What I am suggesting is that the capability of gunners to overcome their equipment limitations in that period must be questioned. I mean you have a modern day Canadian tank commander amazed at the accuracy of the gunnery that a WW2 Sherman Commander was claiming. That should flag up how exceptional this kind of shooting must be even in the modern era.

 

I mean I can relate the tale of Trooper Ekins of the 1st Northhants Yeomanry. He only ever fired a gun once during training, went to Normandy as a combat replacement on a Firefly and killed 3 Tigers in a row, and never killed a tank again for the rest of the war. Was that typical? Probably not. Is it reasonable we assume that every tank gunner was as well trained (or as badly trained) as him, or that all tank gunners were as lucky?

 

I fully admit that Panthers were killed by this method. No doubt about it. What im suggesting is that it was certainly not typical, something just a browse through Panzers in Normandy seems to indicate. Something tells me, staring down a panther, you are really not going to be able to get a good shot in. From ambush, when you have time to think, yes, of course its more likely. How typical was that kind of engagement in the Western Allies experience through the campaign in France or into Germany? It was usually the other way around.

 

Seems to me the real question we are arguing is how often it happened. You dont tend to note many Panther veterans writing how horribly vulnerable their tanks were, which suggests it as not as common as perhaps suggested.



#347 lastdingo

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Posted 14 February 2017 - 0336 AM

It's a common thing that something like the Pareto principle exists in battle; few per cent of the men score half the kills, half the men score no kills whatsoever.

It happened with fighter pilots, submarine captains etc etc. There's little reason to not believe in outliers among tank gunners, but their existence says very little about the quality of the equipment.

 

IIRC the dispersion figures for 8-8 were

0.30% of range for L/56

0.35% of range for L/71

Don't remember if this was radius or diameter of dispersion or CEP.

Range estimation errors were worse than dispersion past a couple hundred metres afaik.

 

The fin-stabilised (de facto mortar bomb) projectile on the PAW 600 did hit a 1x1 m box at 750 m, which was considered good enough at the time.



#348 seahawk

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Posted 14 February 2017 - 1115 AM

Imho the question is not if it happened, the question is if it is a valid tactic. And imho if you have so much numerical superiority that you can intentionally take down a Panther with a mantlet bounce, you could much more effectively flank him and hit the sides.



#349 lastdingo

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Posted 14 February 2017 - 1145 AM

Depends on terrain. Sometimes all routes end in a frontal fight or worse.

 

The more typical response was AFAIK to call in the fighter-bombers or heavy field arty.

WW2 155 mm howitzers and P-47s could even destroy or scare away a Leopard 2 company.



#350 Paul G.

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Posted 14 February 2017 - 1553 PM

I met a WW2 gunner back in 2004 that could really shoot.  Assuming his stories weren't just tall tales (he drove the M5 that day and seemed very capable) then I got the impression he could hit whatever he could see. 
There's a big difference in accuracy depending on who gets the jump on who


I recall reading about an M8 Greyhound gunner whom would plink German TC's heads with the 37mm.

#351 Tim the Tank Nut

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Posted 14 February 2017 - 1649 PM

well, I shot a concrete block off the top of a water heater with the 37mm using the regular sight but it wasn't very far away.  I feel like I could have done it at a much further distance than the range would allow. 

I feel like bore sighting is super important on the old gear.  If the tube doesn't point where the sight does no amount of Kentucky Windage will help.

Maybe our local WoT folks would like to sponsor an old vs new shoot out at a local tank range?



#352 Rick

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 0652 AM

well, I shot a concrete block off the top of a water heater with the 37mm using the regular sight but it wasn't very far away.  I feel like I could have done it at a much further distance than the range would allow. 

I feel like bore sighting is super important on the old gear.  If the tube doesn't point where the sight does no amount of Kentucky Windage will help.

Maybe our local WoT folks would like to sponsor an old vs new shoot out at a local tank range?

Well, one time I shot a chipmunk (it just finished burrowing under the patio and popped up) from the opposite side of the house one early morning with my Ruger .357 revolver. Head shot. And no, couldn't do it again if I tried.



#353 Mikel2

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 0742 AM


well, I shot a concrete block off the top of a water heater with the 37mm using the regular sight but it wasn't very far away.  I feel like I could have done it at a much further distance than the range would allow. 
I feel like bore sighting is super important on the old gear.  If the tube doesn't point where the sight does no amount of Kentucky Windage will help.
Maybe our local WoT folks would like to sponsor an old vs new shoot out at a local tank range?

Well, one time I shot a chipmunk (it just finished burrowing under the patio and popped up) from the opposite side of the house one early morning with my Ruger .357 revolver. Head shot. And no, couldn't do it again if I tried.

Was the chipmunk shooting back?

#354 Rick

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 0851 AM

 

 

well, I shot a concrete block off the top of a water heater with the 37mm using the regular sight but it wasn't very far away.  I feel like I could have done it at a much further distance than the range would allow. 
I feel like bore sighting is super important on the old gear.  If the tube doesn't point where the sight does no amount of Kentucky Windage will help.
Maybe our local WoT folks would like to sponsor an old vs new shoot out at a local tank range?

Well, one time I shot a chipmunk (it just finished burrowing under the patio and popped up) from the opposite side of the house one early morning with my Ruger .357 revolver. Head shot. And no, couldn't do it again if I tried.

Was the chipmunk shooting back?

 

Didn't give it the chance :P



#355 ChuckFan4

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 1811 PM

Curiously the Germans reportedly remedied the mantle bounce to cure the turret jamming instead of the killing of the driver.


The driver actually sits quite a ways in front of the front edge of the turret. The driver's seat is actually located entirely in front of the driver's hatch, and the driver has to recline the back of his seat to use his hatch. So I think not many shots that bounced down into the hull top actually killed the driver or co-driver.

#356 Marek Tucan

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 1857 PM

 

What seems odd to me, is that people seems to think that allied tank gunners in WWII were just blindly firing in the general direction of the enemy. And the assumption that they could always just "move to get a side shot" or something similar. That shows a distinct lack of knowledge and understanding of the WWII battlefield. It probably comes from trying to fit a 1940ies reality to a 1970ies or 80ies experience, something which amateur historians among modern soldiers often do.

 

 

It's not "blindly firing", it is just firing at a logical aimpoint - center mass (given that the lower hull is usually hidden), turret ring, mantlet (where even a non penetrating hit may not be good for optics and general crew comfort)... Might be the "mantlet bounce" was just a generic thing (based on occassions when it actually happened) spread around to make gunners take notice and make sure they are going for that aimpoint as it was simply the best chance how to mess up a Panther if firing from the front (after all, glacis was resistant to 76mm and 17pdr AP anyway)... And obviously the more shots fired, the better chance of breaking something (or even causing spalling and cracks). 



#357 Jim Warford

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 2335 PM

 

As a tank commander over the years, I've known a few gunners who could very reliably hit exactly the spot they were aiming at on a given target...using 105mm training-practice ammunition. As I mentioned before, those guys are out there... 

 

Interesting.  So why the huge expense for fire control systems?  But beyond that, how do you suppose they divine how round to round dispersion will affect their next shot so they can compensate with a bit of aim off?  I never saw anybody never miss a target, truly it must have been a wonder to behold.

 

I'm reminded of the time we were in the field and a couple of grunts attached to our company were trying, without success, to throw and stick their bayonets in a tree. They were holding them by the tip of the blade when I suggested that if the bayonet was balanced correctly it shouldn't matter how they held them.  At that they had me try my hand at it.  So I took the bayonet by the handle, threw it, and promptly stuck it in the tree ten feet away.  Luck, or am I just that good?  

 

 

Well, first off, I didn't say anything about "never missing" anything. I said reliably...there's a big difference. The "wonder to behold" in my experience was watching my Master Gunners at work...I'm confident that in the gunner's seat, they could reliably hit whatever they wanted to hit. Secondly, I'm all for the most effective fire control systems available...obviously; I'm only saying that really good gunners can do really good things.     



#358 DKTanker

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 0730 AM

 

Well, first off, I didn't say anything about "never missing" anything. I said reliably...there's a big difference. The "wonder to behold" in my experience was watching my Master Gunners at work...I'm confident that in the gunner's seat, they could reliably hit whatever they wanted to hit. Secondly, I'm all for the most effective fire control systems available...obviously; I'm only saying that really good gunners can do really good things.     

 

What you said is that they could reliably hit the exact spot they were aiming at.  To me, a master gunner as well, that suggests you are stating that they could reliably hit the point of the target covered by the center .1 mil dot of the reticle.  I merely extrapolated that feat to mean they never missed any targets, moreover, that they didn't need a fire control system, because there isn't a fire control system in the world that can compensate for round to round dispersion.

I've actually seen tank crews (M60A3 and M1)  go through a two week gunnery cycle without missing any targets.  I did it once myself, but I would never claim, except as a "war" story" that I could and did purposely hit the 2x4 that was supporting the target.  

"Damn.  Man, you broke the target by hitting the 2x4."

"Yeah, that's where I was aiming."  LOL  NOT.



#359 Jim Warford

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 2235 PM

 

 

Well, first off, I didn't say anything about "never missing" anything. I said reliably...there's a big difference. The "wonder to behold" in my experience was watching my Master Gunners at work...I'm confident that in the gunner's seat, they could reliably hit whatever they wanted to hit. Secondly, I'm all for the most effective fire control systems available...obviously; I'm only saying that really good gunners can do really good things.     

 

What you said is that they could reliably hit the exact spot they were aiming at.  To me, a master gunner as well, that suggests you are stating that they could reliably hit the point of the target covered by the center .1 mil dot of the reticle.  I merely extrapolated that feat to mean they never missed any targets, moreover, that they didn't need a fire control system, because there isn't a fire control system in the world that can compensate for round to round dispersion.

I've actually seen tank crews (M60A3 and M1)  go through a two week gunnery cycle without missing any targets.  I did it once myself, but I would never claim, except as a "war" story" that I could and did purposely hit the 2x4 that was supporting the target.  

"Damn.  Man, you broke the target by hitting the 2x4."

"Yeah, that's where I was aiming."  LOL  NOT.

 

 

O.k., to prevent further extrapolation...I've seen really good gunners shoot really good. There, that's all I'm saying...no extrapolation about .1 mil dots or not needing a fire control system is necessary...geeze.       



#360 Adam_S

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Posted 17 February 2017 - 0429 AM

Something else to consider of course is the number of Panthers and the number of guns firing at them. A low probability of hitting a weak spot times thousands of Panthers times goodness knows how many guns shooting at them over the course of their lifetimes and suddenly the chances of a few being knocked out by fluke hits goes up somewhat.






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