Jump to content


Photo

Sherman vs the Panzer IV


  • Please log in to reply
858 replies to this topic

#41 Jonathan Chin

Jonathan Chin

    Crew

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 454 posts
  • Interests:Military history, infantry weapons, tanks.

Posted 20 July 2010 - 1037 AM

Jussi Saari

Even if 80mm hull would be invulnerable, the turret is a pretty big target and should be vulnerable to US 75mm and Soviet 76mm AP out to a good range, so that's not very surprising


That is what I thought when I read Max Hasting's assertion that the 75mm Sherman was "helpless" against a Panzer IV, which is now quoted ad nauseam on the web.

Martin M

and the engine is :
Continental R975C1 with 400 /350 hp and range given as 193 km on 660 liters of gas.
Being 342 liters per 100 km.


Without the perimeters within which the gasoline consumption rate was determined, it is hard to tell what do those numbers really mean.

Tuccy

re. hardening, table at Guns vs. Armor website:
http://www.freeweb.h...rman_hull6.html
suggests that IVH had FH front hull and turret and IVJ not.
As for "why harden IV and not Panther", maybe the hardening was viewed as more important on near-vertical IV armor vs. sloped Panther armor and for Tiger it was deemed unnecessary for side and rear?
Dunno, just wild speculations.


The Soviet Report is quite clear, it said the 82mm and 85mm armor plates of German tanks model 4, 5, 6 recovered around Kursk were not hardened. IIRC The source of the site you quoted is Jentz, who also wrote in his Panther book that hardening 80mm plate proved impossible or prohibitively expensive that the Germans abandoned it. The Tiger tank's 82mm side armor was not hardened either. Really bizarre stuff.

Edited by Jonathan Chin, 20 July 2010 - 1043 AM.


#42 Martin M

Martin M

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1,730 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 20 July 2010 - 1102 AM

This doesn't make much sense either with the lightest model, Ausf. A, requiring the most fuel for 100 km.

Correct. I saw that also. I´ll take my Spielberger home with me and see if I can finfd an explaination. ( My Martin M remark. I used the multi quote wrong. )


Still, one must account for the M4 being substantially heavier than the Pzkw IV when talking about fuel requirements. Such as, because the M4 weighs more than the Pzkw IV it requires more fuel for a given range.




Of course its heavier and so forth. I was just noting the "fact" of subst. different gas mileage. The Sherman is heavier and has a larger engine. Of course it will use more gas.

Edited by Martin M, 20 July 2010 - 1103 AM.


#43 Martin M

Martin M

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1,730 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 20 July 2010 - 1114 AM

[quote Without the perimeters within which the gasoline consumption rate was determined, it is hard to tell what do those numbers really mean.




Yes, as usual a lot of the parameters are missing to us.

But I assume both the Sherman and the P 4 test drivers in the case of road range filled the gas tanks up to the brim and drove down a hard surface road(s) at an intermedate speed until they run outa gas. Thats how far they got.

This probably was done more than once so if the milage acheived was way off an earlier number, they would change the number. So I kinda assume the nuzmbers are all in all correct.

#44 Martin M

Martin M

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1,730 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 20 July 2010 - 1120 AM

This doesn't make much sense either with the lightest model, Ausf. A, requiring the most fuel for 100 km.

Still, one must account for the M4 being substantially heavier than the Pzkw IV when talking about fuel requirements. Such as, because the M4 weighs more than the Pzkw IV it requires more fuel for a given range.




The Ausf. A has a different engine, a HL 108 TR with 250 PS, the B has a HL 120 TR with 320 PS and all the rest have HL 120 TRM with 300 PS.


Problem solved. No need to carry the heavy Spielberger home.

#45 Meyer

Meyer

    Crew

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 548 posts

Posted 20 July 2010 - 1156 AM

Frontal armor was FH in all Ausf F,G and H (and some early Ausf J). Starting in june 1944 the FH requeriment was dropped. (Jentz, Panzer Tracts No.4)

#46 seahawk

seahawk

    military loving leftist peace monkey

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 2,829 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:The land where time stands still

Posted 20 July 2010 - 1259 PM

They went from Cementation to Flame Hardening to no hardening. Considering that the Krupp Steel Works and the other steel works in the Ruhr Valley switched from Cementation to flame hardening in early 1943, it is possible that the Soviets were mistaking the changed hardening technology for no hardening.

Edited by seahawk, 20 July 2010 - 1302 PM.


#47 Getz

Getz

    Crew

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 284 posts

Posted 20 July 2010 - 1302 PM

If asked to sum this up quickly, I'd say that the M4 was the better tank, but the later Pz IV had the better gun, and as a result no version of the M4 could afford not to take the Pz IV seriously.

The remarkable thing about the Pz IV was that in 1945, when nearly a decade old, it was still a threat to the tanks designed to beat it. Thanks to that 75mm L48 there were very few allied AFVs around in 1945 that a Pz IV couldn't kill, even if it was itself pretty vulnerable at most battle ranges. You can't really say the same for the M4...

#48 Ken Estes

Ken Estes

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 13,457 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Seattle
  • Interests:USMC Tanker, Historian

Posted 20 July 2010 - 1308 PM

What tank could the 1945 M4A3E8 not kill?

Or is it your instance that only front to front engagements count? Most surviving tankers did not observe jousting rules.

Of course, by 1945 [Feb?], all M4 series production had ceased, except for the 105mm support tank, in favor of the M26.

#49 DKTanker

DKTanker

    1strdhit

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 22,472 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Texas

Posted 20 July 2010 - 1544 PM

The Ausf. A has a different engine, a HL 108 TR with 250 PS, the B has a HL 120 TR with 320 PS and all the rest have HL 120 TRM with 300 PS.


Problem solved. No need to carry the heavy Spielberger home.

Not really, almost each successive Ausf. was heavier than the previous so given the same engine, and ignoring Ausf. A*, the fuel requirements should go up with each increase of weight.

*Ausf. A was the lightest of the lot and had the smallest engine. One would think it should be the most, not least fuel efficient.

#50 CaptLuke

CaptLuke

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1,055 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:San Francisco, CA, USA

Posted 20 July 2010 - 1801 PM

Certainly T-34 owes one hell of a lot more to Pz-III and bits from various other designs and the perceived doctrinal need for a universal tank, than anything to do with what was, at the time an infantry support tank.


I'd be interested to know what the rear drive, diesel powered, Christie suspension, sloped armored, two man turreted, 76mm gunned T34 owed to the front drive, gas powered, vertical armor, three man turreted, 50mm armed PzIII with torsion bar suspension.

#51 CaptLuke

CaptLuke

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1,055 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:San Francisco, CA, USA

Posted 20 July 2010 - 1847 PM

Ever heard of T-34M?


Yes, all 5 hulls and 0 production vehicles.

Plus, while it was called the T-34M it was developed as a separate program as the A43 project while the T-34 was developed in a series from the A20 to A34. The T34M had a different suspension, different turret and different engine, i.e. it arguably had less in common with the T34 than the M48 had with the M46.

Also I haven't been able to find a reference on crew size for the T34M, was it four or five? Supposedly the Hexagonal turret for the T34/76 was based on the same turret used on the T34M which still only held 2 compared to the PzIII's 3. I'm ready to be wrong on this one if anyone does know the crew size.

Edited by CaptLuke, 20 July 2010 - 1900 PM.


#52 L.V.

L.V.

    Crew

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 476 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Helsinki

Posted 20 July 2010 - 1855 PM

I used to think the Germans standardized used 80mm armor on several types of their tanks due to both tactical and manufacturing reasons. However, the side hull armor of the Pz. VI E was actually 82mm thick whereas the Pz. IV and Pz. V front plate armor were 85mm thick so the ease of production might not have been what the Germans had in mind.


Armor plates for the Tiger I had a thickness tolerance of -0% to +5% and I suppose that tolerances for other tank armor plates were similar. It would be very impractical to produce plates with a zero tolerance because it would be much more expensive and the gain minimal. Some Tigers may have had 80 mm side hull plates and others 84 mm ones, but they are still within the tolerance. I think that the fairly common belief that all Tiger I tanks had exactly 82 mm side hull armor and 102 mm nose and driver's front plates, stems from the fact that Tiger I Fgst. Nr. 250570 that was examined by the British was found to have plates with the aforementioned thicknesses.

Summa summarum
: If you really want to nit pick about armor thickness, you'll have to know the specified thickness and acceptance tolerances.

#53 bojan

bojan

    Crew

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 8,809 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Belgrade, Serbia
  • Interests:Obscure tanks and guns.
    Obscure facts about well known tanks and guns.
    Obscure historical facts.

Posted 20 July 2010 - 1909 PM

Versicle homogeneous steel plate with 80mm of thickness was theoretically "immune" to Soviet 76 and US 75 at 500 meters and over--but I am sure a hit at 700m would be unpleasant.

80mm plate and Tiger's side 82mm armor were immune to 76mm F-34/ZiS-3/ZiS-5 firing BR-350A APBC @ 200m. F-22 firing same ammo could barely penetrate it. It got better with introduction of BR-350B APBC and BR-350P subcaliber in spring 1943.

I'd love to see the "Yugo gun versus Panzers" thread but it seems to be unavailable currently; I can see some of your material by google search, but they're on "best 60s MBT" thread and I cannot find data on US 75mm APC-HE rounds. If the data is in hand, please share! :)

There is no data for 75mm M3 gun (none in service) but there is for 76mm ZiS-3 (same balistics as T-34's F-34), 76mm M1, 85mm ZiS-S-53 and 75mm PaK40:
http://208.84.116.22...showtopic=18562

#54 bojan

bojan

    Crew

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 8,809 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Belgrade, Serbia
  • Interests:Obscure tanks and guns.
    Obscure facts about well known tanks and guns.
    Obscure historical facts.

Posted 20 July 2010 - 1935 PM

Certainly T-34 owes one hell of a lot more to Pz-III and bits from various other designs and the perceived doctrinal need for a universal tank, than anything to do with what was, at the time an infantry support tank


You are confusing it with T-50. Here is a LKZ's version of T-50 which was basically Soviet version of Pz-III:
http://www.aviarmor....0/t50_lkz_1.jpg
Kotin aparantly did not know about Pz-III while designing T-34.


...Also I haven't been able to find a reference on crew size for the T34M, was it four or five?

5. Turret was 3-men, basicaly bigger version of the T-50's turret (which was also 3 man and heavily influenced by Pz-III - note TC sitting behind gun.
http://www.aviarmor....34m/t-34m_3.jpg

Supposedly the Hexagonal turret for the T34/76 was based on the same turret used on the T34M which still only held 2 compared to the PzIII's 3. I'm ready to be wrong on this one if anyone does know the crew size.


Yes, it was based on as it was easier to produce, but it was not identical. All bells and whistles (3-speed electric rotation, TC cupolla etc) were ditched and crew was reduced to two in order to further simplify production.

Other then that a lot techniques that simplified production were picked from T-34M - just for example original T-34's glacis and lower front hull were SAME plate that was bent @ ~90deg to form front hull - clear leftover from BT series, but while it was quite posible with 13/20mm plate it was PITA with 45mm higher hardness plate. T-34M introduced two different plates joined by beam which got introduced to later T-34's (since mid-1941). Turret shape was taken from T-34M as it was simplier to produce, way later T-34's side armor was welded was also picked from T-34M (since late 1941) etc.

#55 Jonathan Chin

Jonathan Chin

    Crew

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 454 posts
  • Interests:Military history, infantry weapons, tanks.

Posted 20 July 2010 - 2053 PM

They went from Cementation to Flame Hardening to no hardening. Considering that the Krupp Steel Works and the other steel works in the Ruhr Valley switched from Cementation to flame hardening in early 1943, it is possible that the Soviets were mistaking the changed hardening technology for no hardening.


Does flame hardening change the depth of the hardened layer?

#56 CaptLuke

CaptLuke

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1,055 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:San Francisco, CA, USA

Posted 20 July 2010 - 2118 PM

No I was thinking of T-34M more than anything. A-34 gets finished in 1940, Russians have apparently already evaluated a captured Pz-III from Poland and buy two more and eval them against A-34 and then the next universal tank iteration in early 1941 calls for torsion bars, better armor, multi-man turret with better ergonomics, etc. I wasn't trying to point out a direct design lineage from Pz-III to T-34 but merely to show that "besting" Pz-IV had nothing to do with the design of allied medium tanks and that if any German vehicle inspired tank design in pre/early war Russia it was the Pz-III


PzIII may have influenced a couple lines of development, like the T50 and T34M, but production mediums went from the T34 to the very un-PzIII like T44 and then T54. Also don't forget the KV1, with small road wheels on torsion bars, was in production from '39 on and had a three man turret as well, so inspiration can come from more than one source.

Finally I don't think the Soviets were up armoring designs because of the PzIII; I think the PzIII was up armoring because of the Soviets. See Guderian's comment about Soviet visitors in 1941 refusing to believe that the PzIV was Germany's heaviest tank; a comment Guderian found odd until the Germans ran into the T34.

#57 Jonathan Chin

Jonathan Chin

    Crew

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 454 posts
  • Interests:Military history, infantry weapons, tanks.

Posted 20 July 2010 - 2258 PM

I thought that cementation hardening often required further induction/flame hardening after but that you generally got better hardness and depth control if you added the extra carbon.


The Soviets note the hardened layer was very thin on captured German tanks.

#58 Mk 1

Mk 1

    Difficile est saturam non scribere

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 5,083 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Pleasanton, CA, USA
  • Interests:Military history, collecting and shooting historic firearms, wargaming, a house full of kidlins, life in general.

Posted 20 July 2010 - 2329 PM

Reaching back in the sequence here a bit to grab what I consider to be the key concepts ...

All in all the Sherman BETTER be better. It is an about 5 years newer design.

I might suggest there are more perspectives on this issue than just the matter of time.

All in all the Panzer 4 BETTER be better. It was designed by a country that had all the traditions of, and viewed itself as, a world-class land power. The Sherman, on the other hand, was designed by a country that viewed a standing army as undesirable, which at the time of the tank's design had an army smaller than Finland, and was more closely comparable to Portugal. At the time that the Sherman design was begun, the US had built less than 5% as many tanks as Italy, and the US Army operated fewer tanks than Romania. How much superior to the Pz 4 were the tanks designed in those nations?

If you look at the US Navy in the 1935 - 1940 period, you will see a world-class military. This national emphasis is represented in the modern and powerful ship designs that were filling up the shipyards. As to the US Army ... well, the self-invisioned leadership is not so clear. Given that the US in 1938 supported an army that was less than 10% as large as Germany's, I am not surprised to find that the German army had more advanced weapons coming into service in that timeframe.

The US designers also had a look at P 3 and 4 characteristics when designing the Sherman, so I heard.

Indeed. The Sherman was designed to be better than the German Pz 3 and Pz 4 tanks of 1940. And it was. In 1942.

It was not designed to be better than any vision of anticipated improvements in German tanks by 1943.

But then neither the Pz 3 nor Pz 4 were designed to be better than expected future tanks. They just happened to be designed with sufficient room to accept upgrades when confronted by hard combat experience.

Which, by the way, was also true of the Sherman.

It is just that the Panzers went through their "Oh dear, we better up-gun those things" revelations earlier -- the Pz 3 in 1940, and the Pz 4 in 1941. So in 1942 the Pz 3 was a substantially more capable tank than it was in 1940, and in 1943 the Pz 4 was a substantially more capable tank than it was in 1941. The Sherman came into combat in late 1942, and was (correctly) seen as better than the Pz 3 and Pz 4. The US Army didn't go through its "we better up-gun" revelation until mid-1944, by which time the upgunned version was already in production, although it took some time to ramp-up to the levels needed to fill out the unit requirements in what was, by that time, a VERY large US Army.

I don´t accept the “ease of production” song and dance either without someone doing a whole lot of research, methodical counting of welds and components. Without a book or thesis by some student of mechanical engineering, count me sceptical.

Well, we might ask for specifics of numbers of welds or techniques used. Or we might look at the bigger issues. How many different manufacturing techniques could be used to assemble Pz 4s? How many different engines were fitted into Pz 4s?

The Sherman was not just a single tank that was somehow "easier" to produce. It was an entire tank program, with redundancies and back-ups to ensure an enormous production capacity could be built up from next to nothing in the shortest possible time.

How much research does it take to determine how many Pz 4s were built with cast hulls? Or how many were built with alternatives to the Maybach engine?

Gee, not much research needed. The answer is: effectively none.

Yet having multiple hull production techniques, and alternative engines, were critical to the Sherman production ramp.

If you want to know what would have happened to production numbers if the designs had been reversed -- if the US produced Pz 4s -- we might reach a quick approximation by looking at how many Shermans were produced with ONLY welded hulls and radial engines. That would be only the M4 models. Gee, not many more M4s were built than Pz 4s!

We could even take the lesser of the M4A1 (cast hulls with radial engines) and the M4A3 (welded hull but V8 engine) to approximate what would have been done with out the very deliberate efforts of the US tank board to proliferate Sherman production to facilities of differing capabilities, and to ensure no shortage of power plants.

So we might come up with 2x more Shermans with welded hulls and radial engines, than Pz 4s. 2x, rather than the 5x that were actually built. I think it is pretty clear that even if it cost the same to build a given version of the Sherman, the Sherman program was far more highly developed for production flow than the Pz 4.

That can also be a design decision. If you have more factories able to produce smaller patches of armor plate, it might makes more sense to do more welding, compared to using larger plates. But in general I think that the older design (IV) was also optimized for older production capabilities in Germany.

I would agree that it was a decision, but not just a design decision.

Let us try looking at it from an expanded perspective:
Seahawk suggests: If you have factories able to produce smaller patches of armor plate, it might make more sense to do more welding ….

Mark 1 observes: How many tank-building factories did the US have when the Sherman was designed? Answer: ONE. How many factories built Shermans? Answer: about half a dozen major producers, and a few more minor producers.

The US designed a tank that could be built in many factories. The US then designed factories to build many tanks. The Germans created tanks to fit into their limited factory capabilities. It is not hard to understand why the US built more tanks.

I still believe that the easier production of the Sherman was not only a result of the design but also of the industrial capacity of the US.
Germanies industrial base was not on the same level, especially not if you consider that the IV was an older design.

The German industrial base was not on the same level – this is true. Total industrial capacity of the US was greater than that of Germany.

But industrial demand was also greater. Germany didn’t produce dozens of aircraft carriers and battleships, hundreds of cruisers and destroyers, and thousands of auxiliary ships during the same timeframe. Nor thousands of four-engined bombers. Nor hundreds of thousands of trucks. All of those efforts competed with tanks for production capacity. How is it that Germany could not out-produce the US on even one major category of war production ... one that was so key to German military success in the early war years?

We are not speaking of some 3rd world economy here. Germany was the heavy-industry giant of Europe. The only land-power that could compete with Germany in industrial might, France, was by late 1940 producing for the German war machine as well. Other major arms producing nations of Europe – Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Italy were all also available to support the German war effort.

Yet not only could the Germans (and the resources they could have rationalized) not out-produce the Americans, they couldn’t even out-produce the Soviets. The Soviet Union was an agricultural economy just emerging from feudalism when the pre-WW2 re-armament cycle began. Even after squandering a 150 year industrial head-start, from late 1941 through late 1943 the Germany war effort still benefited from a larger industrial base, and also a larger population base, than the Soviet Union.

Yet both the US and the Soviet Union out-produced Germany in tanks. By substantial margins, too – by multiples, rather than percentages. Why?

Too many folks just assume that Germany was bound to be out-produced in the tank race. I don’t think that is at all true. Germany was out-produced because the US, and the Soviets, made a series of very deliberate decisions that the Germans did not make.

And tanks like the Sherman (and the T-34) were necessary components of those decisions. That is the point that so many seem to miss. You can’t ramp-up from 100 tanks produced over 5 years, to 50,000 tanks produced in three years, if you are not willing to select one design and GO WITH IT! Stumble around with new designs all you want. But if you’re top priority isn’t driving production of what you have, as if your nation’s life depends on it, you’ll wind up with 5,000 tanks to face off against your opponent’s 50,000.

The reason the Sherman was such a war-winning design has little to do with its performance on a given battlefield on a given day. Give a German panzer unit a company of Shermans, and there is little reason to expect them to do any better than they would in Pz 4s. Maybe they'd be a bit more mobile on the battlefield. Maybe they'd have a slightly higher availability on a given day. Marginal stuff. Crew quality would far out-weigh any difference in equipment.

Give the German nation the kind of industrial decision-making that created the Sherman, and they would have been a far more dangerous opponent.

-Mark 1

#59 APF

APF

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 981 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Interests:my children, RC, (push-)bike, kayak, electronics

Posted 20 July 2010 - 2351 PM

IIRC PzKW III and IV were limited production vehicles up to 38(?). And, as another of those blunders, were never percieved to be needed in huge quantities, as cars. So they were designed by (and ordered from) companies which specialized on small batches of *manifactured* (as in opposed to industrial mass production) vehicles: Krupp etc. Just like trains.
Another point v.Sengal & Etterlin (SP?) mentioned was that there were concerns about secrecy if Ford and Opel, the companies with the then-biggest experience in mass-production, would've been included in the tank design program due to their connections with America.

Nevermind, I'd rather live without the swastika.

Greetings

#60 seahawk

seahawk

    military loving leftist peace monkey

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 2,829 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:The land where time stands still

Posted 21 July 2010 - 0128 AM

There are many reasons why Germany could not produce more tanks than the US.

1. raw materials were limited - by 1944 many steel works in the Ruhr valley were desperate for raw materials
2. apart from the Navy, the needs for quality steel and metal from other users was equally high
3. when the industry went on a real war footing, the allied bombing campaign was in full swing
4. mobilisation of the industries happened too late.

and finally a different industrail base. The US enjoyed the advantage that they had many industries that could be switched to military production rather quickly. In that regard Germany had no chance to compete. Especialyl if it comes to how quickly new factories could be built. The US was without equal in the regard.

The Soviets only did out produce Germany after 1943. When the airwar was starting to seriously hurt Germany while Russian factories were msotly save from attack.

Working in Essen I have seen the old war diaries of Krupp steel works and many of the coal mines. There were air raids that caused stoppages in production but also raids on the transportation network had a huge impact. By 1944 they used horse carts to get a basic supply of coal to the steel works in Essen, so that the at least they could keep the smelting machines hot, evne when a damaged rail network meant they would not get any iron ore in the next few days.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users