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.
How do you make that work? It seems fairly obvious that it is better to get off one round that is virtually certain to penetrate the target if it hits than it is to get off three with little chance of penetrating the target if they hit. And how big can the variances in firing speed have been in practice, compared to the very great differences in penetration capability
By stating "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" is not to infer that penetration and punch of a gun didn't matter.
My Regiment (and no doubt all tank units) received a constant stream of paper containing penetration/range data on Allied and enemy weaponry. Problem was, the data was arrived at in non-combat tests, in battle the information, while relevant to the performance of A/T guns was less so for tank-mounted guns.
On the ground crews of A/T guns, the speed of reloading not being confined by being within a turret, knocked out more British tanks than did fire from Panzers, vide, "The comparative performance of German anti-tank weapons during WWII, dated 24 May 1950.")
Tigers were effectively put out of action in Tunisia principally due to their commanders' tendency fire too soon, thus enabling defending Churchills to get off two or three shots before the 88mm guns were reloaded. The report on early actions of Tigers in Tunisia by Lueder, commander Schwere sPzAbt.501 (Heavy Tank Battalion) included logical reasons why Tigers should not open fire too soon. Whether his recommendations were ignored and not acted upon by Schwere Panzer Abteilungen , or some higher authority, is a matter for conjecture, either way (at least in Italy) the Panzers invariably shot first. It is an imponderable, akin to the Germans being unable (or unwilling) to recognise the climbing ability of Churchills demonstrated, when fifteen of the twenty-seven that went ashore, were able to climb on to the promenade at Dieppe.
Post battle examination of the two Tigers, put out of action by Churchills of the North Irish Horse, found their 88-mm guns unloaded. I heard, but cannot confirm, that the Tiger later knocked out (now in Bovington) was also found with its gun unloaded.
Gunnery not being my thing, I cannot state for sure what Marks of 6-pdr ammo we used in action. I do know it was upgraded before leaving the UK which leads me to conclude that in Tunisia we probably had Mark 9 APCBC - later in Italy I know we had APDS and possibly APCR.
Lueder, in one of his reports, records that one of his Tigers, after missing a General Grant, was hit four or five times while the 88-mm was being reloaded. While the Grant's gun could not destroy a Tiger,
the 6-pdr certainly proved that it could. Whatever Mark of ammunition was used against the Tigers in Tunisia it was effective as acknowledged by the Schwere Panzer Abteilungen.
As translated from the German.
Referencing the Battle for Hunt's Gap:
" .....for the Operation Eilbote II" Eleven Tiger and 14 Pzk III are available. The minefields and a severe defense anti-tank devices stops the attack. Two Tiger succeed in penetrating the lines but are destroyed (bored frontal shielding!), the remainder is withdrawn."
Referencing the battle for control of the Medjerda Valley:
" .....the crew of Tiger "131" panics under the blows of Churchill and gives up his Tiger. Tiger "712" (ex n°112 of the s.Pz.Abt 501) is touched with the turret by Churchill and is given up by its crew after having destroyed Churchill of 4 Troop Leader, 48th RTR. "
It would seem that the Germans had more respect for the Churchill and its capabilities than did/does Andrew Wilson. Does anyone know in which unit he served?