most feared tank of ww2

German weapons, vehicles and equipment 1919-1945.

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Osterhase
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Post by Osterhase » Mon Jul 18, 2005 11:01 am

Here is an interesting evaluation of the T-34/76 at the Aberdeen Proving
Ground in the USA in 1942. Also the KV-1


The silhouette/configuration of the tanks-

Everyone, without exception, approves of the shape of the hull of our tanks. The T-34's is particularly good. All are of the opinion that the shape of the T-34's hull is better than that of any American tank. The KV's is worse thanon any current American tank.

Armor-

A chemical analysis of the armor showed that on both tanks the armor plating has a shallow surface tempering, whereas the main mass of the armored plating is made of soft steel. In this regard the Americans consider that by changing the technology used to temper the armored plating, it would be possible to significantly reduce its thickness while preserving its protective ability the situation with American armor was even worse. Engineers in Aberdeen have criticized their armor on
Shermans. Soviet engineers have agreed with them because during the
comparative trials Soviet ZIS-3 gun could penetrate Sherman's galcis from 1100 metres - Valera). As a result the weight of the tank could be decreased by 8-10%, with all the resulting benefits (an increase in speed, reduction in ground pressure, etc.)

Hull-

The main deficiency is the permeability to water of the lower hull during a
water crossings, as well as the upper hull during a rain. In a heavy rain lots of water flows through chinks/cracks, which leads to the disabling of the electrical equipment and even the ammunition. The Americans liked how the ammunition is stowed.

Turret-

The main weakness is that it is very tight. The Americans couldn't understand how our tankers could fit inside during a winter, when they wear sheepskin jackets (Americans tested the T-34 with a two-men turret - Valera). The electrical mechanism for rotating the turret is very bad. The motor is weak, very overloaded and sparks horribly, as a result of which the device regulating the speed of the rotation burns out, and the teeth of the cogwheels break into pieces. They recommend replace it with a hydraulic or simply manual system.

Armament-

The F-34 gun is a very good. It is simple, very reliable and easy to service. Its weakness is that the muzzle velocity of AP round is significantly inferior to the American 3" gun (3200 feet versus 5700 feet per second).

Optic-

The general opinion: the best construction (please notice - the best
construction doesn't mean the best at all - Valera) in the world. Incomparable with any existing tanks or any under development.

Tracks-

The Americans like very much the idea of a steel tracks. But they believe that until they receive the results of the comparative performance of steel vs rubber tracks on American tanks in Tunis and other active fronts, there is no reason for changing from the American solution of rubber bushings and pads. The deficiencies in our tracks from their viewpoint results from the lightness of their construction. They can easily be damaged by small-calibre and mortar rounds. The pins are extremely poorly tempered and made of a poor steel. As a result, they quickly wear and the track often breaks. The idea of having loose track pins that are held in place by a cam welded to the side of the hull, at first was greatly liked by the Americans. But when in use under certain operating conditions, the pins would become bent which often resulted in the track rupturing. The Americans consider that if the armour is reduced in thickness the resultant weight saving can be used to make the tracks heavier
and more reliable.

Suspension-

On the T-34, it is poor. The Christie's suspension was tested long time ago by the Americans, and unconditionally rejected (American "Shermans" and "General Lees" had very poor suspension as well. At the same time the British used Christie's suspension and were quite satisfied – Valera). On our tanks, as a result of the poor steel on the springs, it very quickly (unclear word) and as a result clearance is noticeably reduced. On the KV the suspension is very good.

Engine-

The diesel is good and light. The idea of using diesel engines on tanks is
shared in full by American specialists and military personnel. Unfortunately, diesel engines produced in U.S. factories are used by the navy and, therefore, the army is deprived of the possibility of installing diesels in its tanks. The deficiency of our diesels is the criminally poor air cleaners on the T-34. The Americans consider that only a saboteur could have constructed such a device. They also don't understand why in our manuals it is called oil-bath. Their tests in a laboratory showed that:
The air cleaner doesn't clean at all the air which is drawn into the motor;
its capacity does not allow for the flow of the necessary quantity of air,
even when the motor is idling. As a result, the motor does not achieve its
full capacity. Dirt getting into the cylinders leads them to quickly wear out,
compression drops, and the engine loses even more power. In addition, the filter was manufactured, from a mechanical point of view, extremely
primitively: in places the spot-welding of the electric welding has burned
through the metal, leading to leakage of oil etc (that claim was accepted, and later T-34 variants received the new, better, "Cyclon" filter – Valera). On the KV the filter is better manufactured, but it does not secure the flow in sufficient quantity of normal cleaned air. On both motors the starters are poor, being weak and of unreliable construction.

Transmission-
Without a doubt, poor. An interesting thing happened. Those working on the transmission of the KV were struck that it was very much like those
transmissions on which they had worked 12-15 years ago. The firm was
questioned. The firm sent the blueprints of their transmission type A-23. To everyone's surprise, the blueprints of our transmission turned out to be a copy of those sent. The Americans were surprised not that we were copying their design, but that we were copying a design that they had rejected 15-20 years ago. The Americans consider that, from the point of view of the designer, installing such a transmission in the tank would create an inhuman harshness for the driver (hard to work). On the T-34 the transmission is also very poor. When it was being operated, the cogs completely fell to pieces (on all the cogwheels). A chemical analysis of the cogs on the cogwheels showed that their thermal treatment is very poor and does not in any way meet American standards for such mechanisms.

Side friction clutches-

Out of a doubt, very poor. In USA, they rejected the installation of friction
clutches, even on tractors (never mind tanks), several years ago. In addition to the fallaciousness of the very principle, our friction clutches are
extremely carelessly machined from low-quality steel, which quickly causes wear and tear, accelerates the penetration of dirt into the drum and in no way ensures reliable functioning. From the American point of view, our tanks are slow (Americans got the T-34 with a 4-speed gearbox. With such a gearbox, T-34 could use the 4th speed on a
firm and even surface - i.e. on roads. Thus, the max speed on the
cross-country was 25.6 km/h. On later modifications there was a 5-speed
gearbox to be installed. This gearbox allowed driving with a 30.5 km/h. – Valera. Both our tanks can climb an incline better than any American tank. The welding of the armor plating is extremely crude and careless. The radio sets in laboratory tests turned out to be not bad. However, because of poor shielding and poor protection, after installation in the tanks the sets did not manage to establish normal communications at distances greater than 10 miles. The compactness of the radio sets and their intelligent placement in the tanks was pleasing. The machining of equipment components and parts was, with few exceptions, very poor. In particular, the Americans were troubled by the disgraceful design and extremely poor work on the transmission links on the T-34. After much torment they made a new ones and replaced ours. All the tanks mechanisms demand very frequent fine-tuning.

Conclusions, suggestions-

On both tanks, quickly replace the air cleaners with models with greater
capacity capable of actually cleaning the air.
The technology for tempering the armor plating should be changed. This would increase the protectiveness of the armor, either by using an equivalent thickness or, by reducing the thickness, lowering the weight and, accordingly, the use of metal.

Make the tracks thicker.

Replace the existing transmission of outdated design with the American "Final Drive," which would significantly increase the tanks maneuverability.Abandon the use of friction clutches.
Simplify the construction of small components, increase their reliability and decrease to the maximum extent possible the need to constantly make adjustments. Comparing American and Russian tanks, it is clear that driving Russian tanks is much harder. Virtuosity is demanded of Russian drivers in changing gear on the move, special experience in using friction clutches, great experience as a mechanic, and the ability to keep tanks in working condition (adjustments and repairs of components, which are constantly becoming disabled). This greatly complicates the training of tankers and drivers.

Judging by samples, Russians when producing tanks pay little attention to
careful machining or the finishing and technology of small parts and
components, which leads to the loss of the advantage what would otherwise accrue from what on the whole are well designed tanks.

Despite the advantages of the use of diesel, the good contours of the tanks, thick armor, good and reliable armaments, the successful design of the tracks etc., Russian tanks are significantly inferior to American tanks in their simplicity of driving, maneuverability, the strength of firing (reference to muzzle velocity), speed, the reliability of mechanical construction and the ease of keeping them running.

The head of the 2nd Department of the Main Intelligence Department of the Red Army,
major-g

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Post by Reb » Mon Jul 18, 2005 11:56 am

Osterhase

Great post. Just one question though - I'm a little suspicious of our 3" inch piece getting 5700 fps - wouldn't that put it up there with 17 pounder? I'm assuming that is the same gun we used as a towed and sp TD (m-10).

I've never heard of the 76mm on Sherman being particulary good - was it the same as this 3" piece?

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Post by Epaminondas » Mon Jul 18, 2005 12:11 pm

incidently, how was Deathtraps?

Need to make some rules for armor recovery for a WWII historicals campaign, and looking for some primary source material... haven't found much so far.

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Post by Reb » Mon Jul 18, 2005 12:20 pm

'Deathtraps' is well worth the investement of time / money. Author goes into some stats, ie number of tanks hit (specific to 3rd US Armour Div) and which were recoverable etc. Photos good. Interesting change of pace too - since the officer who wrote the book was ordnance maintenance it gives us a different perspective than what I at least, am used to.

Pretty sobering read for anyone who has crewed a tank or thought about it.

cheers
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Post by liuanru » Mon Jul 18, 2005 1:50 pm

Isn't the answer to this question obvious?? For an allied tanker/soldier it would be an operational king tiger/tiger panzer.

For a german, it would be a JSII(ableit slow shooting speed) or a (sherman w/a 17pounder)

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Post by Osterhase » Mon Jul 18, 2005 7:24 pm

Not sure as to the exact nomenclature of the 3' gun in question. A friend emailed me that report some time ago and I held on to it as a reference piece. As far as the original question is concerned; I don't think the Germans had a sense of fear over ANY enemy tank in particular, just Western Allied airpower in general (and even that was late in the war).

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Post by Jan-Hendrik » Mon Jul 18, 2005 9:43 pm

According to my talks with german tankers who "experienced" Normandy 1944 Osterhase is right . They feared the heavy ship artillery and the permanent air attacks but for the allied tanks , well , they felt sorrow that their enemies were forced to fight with such material 8) ...

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Most feared Tanks

Post by Bittrich » Tue Jul 19, 2005 10:16 pm

What was that German joke about armor? It went someting like this: It took 10 Shermans to knock out one Panzer and they always had eleven. If I got it wrong please someone correct me. The point is that yes the Germans didn't seem to fearful of allied armour. Having said that I believe that they had to have some reservations about the T-34 especially when it was first encountered and their shells bounced off of it.
To those who fought reguardless of nationality

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Post by Jan-Hendrik » Tue Jul 19, 2005 10:26 pm

Well , that was interesting what tankers statet last year in Munster as we stood before the T-34 . They told us that it was quite a good tank , able to protect his crew on battlefield and easy to produce . Especially one who first encountered them in a Pz III. told us that sitting in Pz III ( he did not really liked Pz III , especially the Pz IIIN in which he was radio operator at this time ) and fighting against T-34 was terrible . After being equipped fully with Tiger I the situation changed , fighting T-34 with unexperienced crews was called "duck shooting" ...

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Post by redcoat » Wed Jul 20, 2005 4:11 am

Reb wrote:Osterhase

Great post. Just one question though - I'm a little suspicious of our 3" inch piece getting 5700 fps - wouldn't that put it up there with 17 pounder? I'm assuming that is the same gun we used as a towed and sp TD (m-10).
The correct figure for the 76mm M3 is 2600 fps when firing AP or APC ammo, or 3400 when firing HVAP.
The highest figure I have for an Allied A/T gun is the British 6 pdr(57mm) firing APDS shot with a figure of 4000 fps ( the figure for the 17 pdr firing APDS is 3995 fps)
I've never heard of the 76mm on Sherman being particulary good - was it the same as this 3" piece?
Very similar, it wasn't as good as the 17 pdr, but when armed with HVAP ammo which came into use at the end of the European campaign it was a useful A/T gun (penetration 138 mm at 30 degrees at 1000 yards)

t
if in doubt, PANIC !!!!

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Post by Reb » Wed Jul 20, 2005 6:09 am

Thanks redcoat!

cheers
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Post by nigelfe » Fri Jul 22, 2005 3:38 am

Most feared by who? - infantry, tanks, anti-tank guns, other guns deployed to defeat tanks? Although it varied a bit between armies, in WW2 the basic position was that the tank was defeated by guns, not other tanks. All this tank vs tank stuff is mostly trying to project 1950s and later tactics, when the tank was the primary anti-tank weapon, on to WW2. Ie it's mostly irrelevant (particularly since tanks crews in numerical terms were a relatively very small proportion of all armies - probably outnumbered by anti-tank gun crews!).

So what was the tanks role? In blitzkrieg and the Brit cavalry (at least) it was 'shock action', the target was infantry and their associates in defence. In defence the tanks' role was usually counter-attack, except when they were dug in, particularly important for Germans whose tanks were not noted for reliability. Conclusion, the people with most to fear from tanks were infantry, the extent of their fear was probably the extent of immunity tanks had to their anti-tank weapons, including associated anti-tank guns, and that most potent weapon 'battlefield mythology'.

Note that the first Tigers the Brits met were knocked out by 6-pdr anti-tank guns. Then remember Medennine, 3 Pz Divs (10, 15, 21) did a runner when they at last met properly organised defences. Shock action failed, there were very few 17-pdr and they didn't even get within range of the 3.7-in HAA deployed in primary atk posns, never mind the Brit armd bdes poised in the rear. It's like the Brit Jul 1940 training pam said 'tanks have achieved an undeserved reputation in this war'.

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Post by Reb » Fri Jul 22, 2005 5:02 am

NigelF

Tanks according at least, to German and American doctrine, were not supposed to attack well dug in infantry - they were to attack weak spots then do the old "expanding torrent" number in the enemies rear.

And trust me, no infantry man who ever faced tanks in action considers them "under rated."

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Post by nigelfe » Fri Jul 22, 2005 6:27 am

And exactly which weak spots were the pz divs at Medennine heading for? Do refresh my memory. They were trying shock action, which had usually worked in the past, but as the Heavy Cavalry types would have told them with shock action time and place is everything, get it wrong and you're stuffed. Talking about finding weak spots is merely modern jargon that obscures an older truth.

Suggesting that 'under-rated' is the alternative to 'over-rated' in this context is mere foolish wordplay. The point was that well trained and motivated troops could deal with tanks, just as a well disciplined infantry square would defeat heavy cavalry.

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Post by Osterhase » Fri Jul 22, 2005 7:32 am

Tank vs. Tank was more late war German doctrine than it was Allied or Soviet. The easiest to find evidence is the performance of German vs. Soviet/Allied HE shells carried by tanks and the relative proportion. German tanks carried mostly AP rounds to deal with the more numerous Allied armored targets. Even the SP and Assault guns shared a heavy AT burden. As far as fearing and enemy tank, I believe that if your own tanks can't handle an enemy's tank it generally causes fear.

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