British/Commonwealth performance

The Allies 1939-1945, and those fighting against Germany.

Moderator: John W. Howard

Gerry Chester
Member
Posts: 25
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2003 10:12 am
Location: Tucson, Arizona

Post by Gerry Chester » Mon Feb 09, 2004 9:22 am

Kapten Gars wrote: Issued to units from June 1944 onward (i.e Overlord/Normandy campaign)
AFAIK most Churchill's at that time were armed with the 75mm gun, although units in Italy may still have had the 6 pdr, don't know enough on that subject.
In Italy, Churchill 6-pdr gun tanks remained in service until the war's end, primarily due to the gun's superior performance as an anti-tank weapon over the 75-mm. With the arrival of the Mark V 6-pdr and APDS ammo it was an even more lethal weapon than the one mounted on our tanks in Tunisia.

It should not be forgotten that Churchills were the first tanks to knock out Tigers (in Tunisia) and the first of the Western Allies to do the same to Panthers (in Italy). It so happened that, in both instances, they were tanks of my Regiment, the North Irish Horse.

Having read with great interest the many postings on the subject of gun size, it seems that a very important point is being overlooked. In World War Two, when tank guns were hand-loaded, size of the gun was of less importance than the ability to get shots off faster than ones opponent.

Reb
Patron
Posts: 3166
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2004 4:49 pm
Location: Atlanta, Ga

Post by Reb » Mon Feb 09, 2004 9:42 am

Mr. Chester

What was the point of uparming the churchill to 75mm if it didn't have a comparable round to the apds? The Allies in Normandy certainly needed a tank that could stand up to the bigger German equipments and armour is not enough - the gun must penetrate enemy armour. Was the 75mm the same as on Shermans or different?

How was the Churchill for mechanical reliability? I've read that many of them were left behind after Monty started racing toward Antwerp, Rhine etc. I've assumed it was because they were slow but weren't they carried on transporters?

You may find that details that seemed commonplace to you will be very helpful to those of us trying to get a grip on what really transpired so I for one would be glad to hear any thing you have to contribute on the topic.

I learned through experience how important the 'B' echelon is - what was your opinion of their effectiveness in your situation? I imagine Italy and Africa posed their own specific challenges.

I've read that Sherman crews were very intimidated by Panther and Tiger. What was the feeling among Churchill crews? And if you don't mind I'd welcome your comments on facing Pz IV as well.

thanks
reb

User avatar
Freiritter
Associate
Posts: 628
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2003 9:56 am
Location: Missouri, USA

Post by Freiritter » Mon Feb 09, 2004 10:31 am

Well, I'm kinda curious as to what tanks comprised the majority of Brit/Commonwealth armored forces.

Darrin
Contributor
Posts: 371
Joined: Wed Feb 19, 2003 6:04 am

Post by Darrin » Mon Feb 09, 2004 12:03 pm

Gerry Chester wrote:
In Italy, Churchill 6-pdr gun tanks remained in service until the war's end, primarily due to the gun's superior performance as an anti-tank weapon over the 75-mm. With the arrival of the Mark V 6-pdr and APDS ammo it was an even more lethal weapon than the one mounted on our tanks in Tunisia.

The non apds 6 pdr gave only marginally better arm penetration then the sherman 75mm gun but the sherman gave much much better HE anti personal effectivness.

The 75 mm sherman HE round is better than the US 76 mm round and a bit better than even the 90mm rounds. The 75mm round is almost as good as the US 105mm round. It seems the CW 6 lb and even 17 lb HE rounds also pale in compariosn to this weapon.

Darrin
Contributor
Posts: 371
Joined: Wed Feb 19, 2003 6:04 am

Post by Darrin » Mon Feb 09, 2004 12:05 pm

Freiritter wrote:Well, I'm kinda curious as to what tanks comprised the majority of Brit/Commonwealth armored forces.

Shemans only one of thier divs was entirly compased of CW tanks.

michael kenny
Associate
Posts: 812
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2002 5:09 am
Location: Northern England

Post by michael kenny » Mon Feb 09, 2004 12:44 pm

Which Division was it you say was entirely composed of 'CW' tanks?
I dont know of it so please give a number-or at least the Armoured Brigade you refer to.
It may be you mistakenly believe 22nd Armoured Brigade was entirely 'CW' equiped but you are wrong.

http://www.battlefront.co.nz/Article.asp?ArticleID=244

I suspect your attempt to lecture Mr Chester on gun performance may backfire on you!

Rich
Associate
Posts: 622
Joined: Sun Nov 17, 2002 9:36 am
Location: Somewhere Else Now

Post by Rich » Mon Feb 09, 2004 12:51 pm

michael kenny wrote:Which Division was it you say was entirely composed of 'CW' tanks?
I dont know of it so please give a number-or at least the Armoured Brigade you refer to.
All of the Cruisers of 7 Armoured Division were British - you just have to ignore the Honeys. :D And, prior to about November 1941 all British armoured divisions were equipped with British tanks. :D

Rich
Associate
Posts: 622
Joined: Sun Nov 17, 2002 9:36 am
Location: Somewhere Else Now

Post by Rich » Mon Feb 09, 2004 12:56 pm

Gerry Chester wrote:
Kapten Gars wrote: It should not be forgotten that Churchills were the first tanks to knock out Tigers (in Tunisia) and the first of the Western Allies to do the same to Panthers (in Italy). It so happened that, in both instances, they were tanks of my Regiment, the North Irish Horse.
Hi Gerry!

By Panthers do you mean the fixed Panther-turm used in Italy? I believe the first mobile Panther "tanks" were lost by I./Pz.Regt.4 at Anzio during FISHFANG sometime between 29 February and 3 March. The likely "killers though were probably artillery or US TDs, I don't think they were engaged by US tank battalions of 46 RTR?

Rich Anderson
The Dupuy Institute

User avatar
Freiritter
Associate
Posts: 628
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2003 9:56 am
Location: Missouri, USA

Post by Freiritter » Mon Feb 09, 2004 12:58 pm

Question: What's a Cruiser tank? I think I figure that the infantry tank was for infantry support. So was the Cruiser tank similar in concept to tank destroyers?

Reb
Patron
Posts: 3166
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2004 4:49 pm
Location: Atlanta, Ga

Post by Reb » Mon Feb 09, 2004 1:15 pm

In early desert war parlance Cruiser was a faster tank which would equip the armoured divisions while 'I' tanks would support infantry.

Technically a Sherman could fit both categories I suppose.

Some books show 7th Armd (Normandy) as having given up all their Shermans for Cromwell. Makes me wonder how Wittman managed to knock out any shermans at Villers Bocage. I know the Brit armoured recon regiments were equipped with Cromwell at that time in I believe, all the armd divs.

Was the Cromwell 75 and 6 pdr the same as that fitted on Churchill?

Can anyone enlighten me on that? Specifically was 22 Armd Bde equipped exclusively with Cromwell in Normandy? I believe they at least had Sherman Firefly as a percentage of their equipment but I would like to know the facts. (How I miss my 7th Armd unit history)

thanks
reb

michael kenny
Associate
Posts: 812
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2002 5:09 am
Location: Northern England

Post by michael kenny » Mon Feb 09, 2004 2:37 pm

Quote:

"All of the Cruisers of 7 Armoured Division were British"

True but I never said otherwise.......

"you just have to IGNORE the Honeys"

Well no you can't if you are saying 7th Armored Division was entirely composed of 'CW' tanks.

Then of course there are the Fireflys.............

Quote:

"And, prior to about November 1941 all British armoured divisions were equipped with British tanks"

A self evident truth but I was under the impresion we were talking about a later date, Normandy to be precise.

Gerry Chester
Member
Posts: 25
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2003 10:12 am
Location: Tucson, Arizona

Post by Gerry Chester » Mon Feb 09, 2004 4:58 pm

Rich wrote:
Hi Gerry!

By Panthers do you mean the fixed Panther-turm used in Italy? I believe the first mobile Panther "tanks" were lost by I./Pz.Regt.4 at Anzio during FISHFANG sometime between 29 February and 3 March. The likely "killers though were probably artillery or US TDs, I don't think they were engaged by US tank battalions of 46 RTR?
Hello Rich,

It is pleasant to be in contact with you again.

The destruction of the Panthers is recorded in the Regiment's Battle Report, also in the citation of the award, to Major R.J.Griffith of a Bar to his Miltary Cross, from which I quote:
"Major Griffith controlled the battle on foot despite heavy enemy fire, and besides accounting for several snipers himself, his tanks destroyed two Mark V tanks (Panthers), 2 75mm anti-tank guns, one 88mm anti-tank gun and inflicted severe casualties on the enemy infantry."
The Regiment was later informed that the Panthers were the first to be knocked out by tanks of the Western Allies.

Some after battle photographs may well be of interest. See :
http://www.geocities.com/vqpvqp/nih/Articles/1-4a.html.

Gerry

User avatar
Freiritter
Associate
Posts: 628
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2003 9:56 am
Location: Missouri, USA

Post by Freiritter » Mon Feb 09, 2004 5:00 pm

If I could ask another question: What was the difference between armored units and tank units in Brit/Commonwealth parlance? Also, Was a tank destroyer in the U.S. Army essentially an AT gun on an armored, motorized carriage for use ( Offensively and defensively? ) against enemy armor? Sorry if I asked this earlier or in another thread. I'd like to know some more about the M-36 Jackson and how it compared to the M-10. If I remember right, the M-10 had a 76.2mm(?) gun with an open top turret. Was the M-36 a closed or open top turret?

michael kenny
Associate
Posts: 812
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2002 5:09 am
Location: Northern England

Post by michael kenny » Mon Feb 09, 2004 5:55 pm

The 3 Normandy British Armoured Divisions (11th and 7th and Gaurds) were made up of 1 Armoured Brigade and an Infantry Brigade with supporting Artillery and Recce Regiments. An Armoured Brigade was composed of 3 Tank Regiments and an Infantry Battallion plus 1 Tank Recce Regiment. The Infantry Brigade was 3 Infantry Battallions. However there were independent Armoured/Tank Brigades as well (up to 8) and these were 2 or 3 Tank Regiments strong.
So an Armoured Division would be 3 Tank Regs, 1 tank Recce Regiment and 4 Infantry Battallions.
For those who like to point out errors I am well aware of 4th Canadian Armoured Division, 1st Polish Armoured Division and 79th Armoured Division

r. burns
Member
Posts: 48
Joined: Mon Sep 30, 2002 10:02 pm

Post by r. burns » Mon Feb 09, 2004 7:14 pm

Reb wrote:
I've read that Sherman crews were very intimidated by Panther and Tiger. What was the feeling among Churchill crews? And if you don't mind I'd welcome your comments on facing Pz IV as well.
reb
Whether or not their opinions were valid...Allied tankers were definitely spooked by German tanks. Naturally they believed that all German tanks they faced were Panther's or Tigers with the ability to kill them from great distances.

"The following pre-D-day conversation was recorded by Andrew Wilson, himself a Churchill commander, and it sums up the balance of forces very succinctly:

"What do the Germans have most of?
'Panthers. The Panther can slice through a Churchill like butter from a mile away'
"And how does a Churchill get a Panther?"
'It creeps up on it. When is reaches close quarters, the gunner tries to bounce a shot off the
underside of the Panther's gun mantlet. If he's lucky, it goes through a piece of thin armour
above the driver's head.'

"Has anybody ever done it?"
'Yes. Davis in "C" Squadron. He's back with headquarters now trying to recover his nerve.'
"What's next on the list?"
'Tigers. The Tiger can get you from a mile and a half.'
"And how does a Churchill get a Tiger?"
'It's supposed to get within 200 yards and put a shot through the periscope'
"Has anyone ever done it?"
'No.'

Post Reply