5 Shermans 1 Tiger/Panther Myth?

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Richard Anderson
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Re: 5 Shermans 1 Tiger/Panther Myth?

Post by Richard Anderson » 15 Sep 2020 20:17

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
15 Sep 2020 19:36
So the US tanks are out numbered 2-1, inflict 50% losses on the German uber tanks, taking 35% losses. Of course its not clear what losses are executed by towed AT guns, or the 'rocket guns' carried by the infantry..
I don't recall that there were any towed AT, 57mm or 3-inch, engaged at Mairy, but then I haven't reviewed that material recently. I will eventually, since Mairy will be the endpoint of my book on my Dad's experience attached to the 90th.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: 5 Shermans 1 Tiger/Panther Myth?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 15 Sep 2020 20:40

I'd think the infantry battalions that came to the battle would have some AT platoons. & if the 90th ID had a TD Bn attached it would be logical some of those would join those infantry as well. I mean tanks are attacking would AT guns not be sent????

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Re: 5 Shermans 1 Tiger/Panther Myth?

Post by Richard Anderson » 15 Sep 2020 21:55

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
15 Sep 2020 20:40
I'd think the infantry battalions that came to the battle would have some AT platoons. & if the 90th ID had a TD Bn attached it would be logical some of those would join those infantry as well. I mean tanks are attacking would AT guns not be sent????
Mairy was a "confused" action, much of which occurred at night. The German columns actually managed to avoid the somewhat scattered American front lines and the west-most column actually managed to motor up to the division HQ area undetected. The 2d and 3d Bn, 359th Infantry attacked the rear of that German column and closed off the escape route, while the 1st Bn, 358th Infantry, supported by 4 3-inch towed TD of the the 607th TD Bn halted the attack of the head of that column (they bagged 31 SdKfz 251 and 3 tanks, probably Panthers, accounting for many of the German infantry lost). Much of the destruction of the body of the German column was done by the three tanks of Company A, 712th Tank Bn, stationed to protect Division HQ, two of which were lost, and the other tanks of Company A in the vicinity that responded. The 1st Bn, 358th, supported still by the platoon of the 607th TD as well as by direct fire from two M3 howitzers of Cannon Company, 358th Infantry, supported by the fire of the 344th and 345th FA, completed the destruction of the German column in Mairy.

Yes, bazookas definitely played a part, but no more tanks or TD were available to be sent.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: 5 Shermans 1 Tiger/Panther Myth?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 15 Sep 2020 23:16

Lots of material for cynical inside jokes there.

Night attacks are tough. Given the state of training of the Germans its not surprising they drove right past the enemy defense zone.

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Re: 5 Shermans 1 Tiger/Panther Myth?

Post by OldBill » 15 Sep 2020 23:37

Has there ever been a good write up on Mairy, ie, a book?

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Re: 5 Shermans 1 Tiger/Panther Myth?

Post by Richard Anderson » 16 Sep 2020 00:38

OldBill wrote:
15 Sep 2020 23:37
Has there ever been a good write up on Mairy, ie, a book?
Will be working on it. Like I said it'll basically be the last chapter.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: 5 Shermans 1 Tiger/Panther Myth?

Post by Richard Anderson » 16 Sep 2020 00:40

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
15 Sep 2020 23:16
Lots of material for cynical inside jokes there.

Night attacks are tough. Given the state of training of the Germans its not surprising they drove right past the enemy defense zone.
Um, the state of training of the Germans was abysmal. The attack was poorly planned and poorly executed...that it got so far was due to the accidental placement of units resulting from the pursuit. It was one of those rarest of birds, a true meeting engagement.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: 5 Shermans 1 Tiger/Panther Myth?

Post by Richard Anderson » 16 Sep 2020 05:03

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
15 Sep 2020 23:16
Lots of material for cynical inside jokes there.

Night attacks are tough. Given the state of training of the Germans its not surprising they drove right past the enemy defense zone.
I just noticed, the 40mm guns of my Dad's Battery A, 537th AAA Bn claimed a "75mm SP Gun" during the action at Maisy. He never mentioned the engagement.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: 5 Shermans 1 Tiger/Panther Myth?

Post by OldBill » 16 Sep 2020 12:07

Richard Anderson wrote:
16 Sep 2020 00:38
OldBill wrote:
15 Sep 2020 23:37
Has there ever been a good write up on Mairy, ie, a book?
Will be working on it. Like I said it'll basically be the last chapter.


Thanks for this, I very much look forward to seeing it published. PLEASE give me a shout when its ready, I'd love to have a signed copy.

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Re: 5 Shermans 1 Tiger/Panther Myth?

Post by Sheldrake » 16 Sep 2020 15:48

Richard Anderson wrote:
15 Sep 2020 17:04
Um, the British had effectively four Sherman 17-pdr in a regiment of c. 60 medium tanks. In the armoured division they also had 12 M10 3-inch and 12 M10 17-pdr (in theory), so the four Sherman 17-pdr could be augmented by possibly four M10 3-inch or 17-pdr. In the American corps, typically the Tank Battalion could depend on pairing with a TD battalion...at the least as in the armored division, a tank battalion with 53/54 medium tanks could be paired with a company of 12 SP TD, 3", 76mm, or later 90mm. How is that different?
I think someone else mentioned that there were more than four Fireflys in an armoured regiment.

Each British Armoured Division had a anti tank regiment with 24 x M10 SP and 24 x towed 17 pounder.
Each British Army Corps had a anti tank regiment with 24 x M10 SP and 24 x towed 17 pounder.
The three D Day assault Divisions each had an anti tank regiment with 16 x M10

So by 7th June the Second British army had 120 x M10 ashore: 48 x M10 SP in their corps Anti tank regiments and 48 x M10 SP in the infantry divisions and 24 with the anti-tank regiment of 7th Armoured Division

Initially only the 1st and 30th Corps anti tank regiments had 17 pounder M10 initially referred to as the "Firefly" version of the M10. Only 24 were available due to an industrial dispute in the factory that carried out the conversions. 12 went to each Corps anti tank regiment. During the Normandy campaign, more became available, but I don't know how they were distributed at any one time. The anti tank gunners thought the 3" M10 was a good SP but the 17 pounder was a terror.

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Re: 5 Shermans 1 Tiger/Panther Myth?

Post by Richard Anderson » 16 Sep 2020 16:47

Sheldrake wrote:
16 Sep 2020 15:48
Richard Anderson wrote:
15 Sep 2020 17:04
Um, the British had effectively four Sherman 17-pdr in a regiment of c. 60 medium tanks. In the armoured division they also had 12 M10 3-inch and 12 M10 17-pdr (in theory), so the four Sherman 17-pdr could be augmented by possibly four M10 3-inch or 17-pdr. In the American corps, typically the Tank Battalion could depend on pairing with a TD battalion...at the least as in the armored division, a tank battalion with 53/54 medium tanks could be paired with a company of 12 SP TD, 3", 76mm, or later 90mm. How is that different?
I think someone else mentioned that there were more than four Fireflys in an armoured regiment.
Yes, among others, I did after being jogged by Michael. :lol: I plead late night posting affecting my maths skills.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: 5 Shermans 1 Tiger/Panther Myth?

Post by Delwin » 16 Sep 2020 19:52

Richard Anderson wrote:
15 Sep 2020 17:04
And it wasn't until May 1944, after testing at Balleroy demonstrated the fuzing problems in all the APC rounds, and the analysis of the Panther was completed, before the full realization of the problem sunk in.
Still - even with properly functioning projectiles 76 mm/3-Inch the penetration would not be sufficient. Of course shattering "helped' a lot...
That British gun BTW, could not be fitted in the Medium Tank M4 any more than the 3-inch M7 could. It too had to go through a "slimming down" process in order to fit, and such a model, the Mark IV, was not completed until August 1943, long after the development of the 76mm and its fitting in the M4 was completed, along with production plans and phased retooling at the arsenals.
Fully agree - it is highly unlikely that (even if the gun was available) anybody would have contemplated using UK. On the other hand - 17-pdr history clearly shows that it was perfectly possible to put into even "small" turret so putting bigger gun into T23 should not be a problem. Actually it was fully possible to modify the turret for 90mm.

The actual thinking was a bit more complex and also suffered from competing and contrary requirements from different agencies. Ordnance had one "solution" for the need for greater penetration, a bigger gun, and pushed for the 90mm. However, AGF, via the Armored Force wanted to keep a "3-inch caliber" for the ease of handling, the ergonomics in the turret and thus rate of fire, along with greater ammunition stowage. APDS and all projectile development was essentially a back-burner issue, Ordnance believed penetration issues would be solved by bigger projectiles and the Armored Force believed higher velocities was the solution. Both were wrong, the actual key was improved projectile design and manufacture. APDS was an end around to get better penetration without increasing overall projectile size, but never got beyond the separation problem until the Canadians solved the problem postwar. APCR was a simple brute force solution, which had its own problems. It was such a simple "solution" that it required only six weeks for development (although another year or so of refinement went on as well). In the end, 76mm/3-inch APCR and 17-pdr AP/APC/APCBC all performed about the same...17-pdr was "better", but only when it hit.
Yes, but 17-pdr ABCBC was widely available while HVAP sadly not. Zaloga quotes documents requesting "one-off" requirement for 43000 pieces for ETO (half for 76mm and half for 3inch) and 10000 monthly afterwards. This was estimated level of requirements - which makes actual deliveries heavily insufficient.
On top of that you had competing personalities. In American Ordnance, Gladeon Barnes was the final arbiter for tank development decisions, and was convinced he knew best (he also got to write the historical narrative that became popular and was able to paint McNair as the "villian" with no evidence, McNair being conveniently dead and the organization he led non-existent).
That's other story- I believe that final negative view of McNair and concept of TDs is partially unfair. It needs to be stated that because of this imperfect idea US Army (UK as well) obtained fine piece of (mostly) mobile ATGs with well trained crews which perfectly matches the approach other armies - also cheaper than contemporary tanks. One may even say that to some extent even better than Germans or Russians - OK, they fielded heavier guns and more armor but open (although the covers were welcomed addition) turret has its advantages. Germans from the very beginning trained tank crews to act "button up", increasing their situational awareness, which is critical on the battle field. Additionally - turret itself has its very significant advantages. Consequently defensive use of the TDs was very effective - despite insufficient guns. Of course - offensive use of TDs did not make much sense.
Initially only the 1st and 30th Corps anti tank regiments had 17 pounder M10 initially referred to as the "Firefly" version of the M10. Only 24 were available due to an industrial dispute in the factory that carried out the conversions. 12 went to each Corps anti tank regiment. During the Normandy campaign, more became available, but I don't know how they were distributed at any one time
Polish 1st Armoured had M10 17-pdr in Normandy but they started in August 1944.

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Re: 5 Shermans 1 Tiger/Panther Myth?

Post by Sheldrake » 16 Sep 2020 21:08

There is a contemporary British source for the five Shermans = 1 Tiger in the records of parliament in a statement by Captain Stokes (Lab) in the debate on the war situation 2nd August 1944.

My experience as a soldier has been that I know how good and how bad my weapons are, and my grouse is that the House of Commons does not do more about it. I find that to be the point of view of almost every soldier I talk to. I spoke to a friend of mine, who is the commander of a squadron of a very famous regiment, about the relative merits of the Sherman tank, of which we have heard so much to-day, and the Tiger. He told me: "I know what happens, because it has happened to me twice. My squadron, goes over and bumps into one of these Tigers. There are four bangs and there are four of my tanks gone." So far as I know, we have nothing in production which is a complete answer to the Panther or the Tiger. I know that the Secretary of State does not like to hear this, but perhaps he will pay attention to me because I want to quote what some of his own soldiers say. Hansard https://api.parliament.uk/historic-hans ... -situation

The tank men on both the British and American army had an exaggerated view of the threat to their mortality compared to the infantry. Infantry and other arms on foot bore the brunt of casualties. Inside a tank or SP gun the detachment was protected form the fragments of mortar bombs or artillery shells that caused 80% of casualties. A significant number of armoured corps casualties were sustained outside the vehicle. This raises questions about the leadership in the allied armoured corps.

In my research on the Gunners in Normandy I could find no whining about how crap the M10s armour was or how many M10s a Tiger could take out. The Anti tank Gunners thought their lightly armoured tank destroyers were good (if 3 inch) or a terror (if 17 pounder). They believed that the 17 pounder would penetrate any tank it hit and that the sound of the crack from a 17 pounder might even send the Germans running. (1) They were bloody glad not to be in a towed 17 Pounder battery faced with 12 hours to dig the beast in, and behind armour rather than in an unarmoured Quad Field Artillery Tractor.
1. Reference Flower Desmond: The History of the 5th Argylls (91st Anti Tank Regiment 1939-1945)
Last edited by Sheldrake on 16 Sep 2020 21:45, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: 5 Shermans 1 Tiger/Panther Myth?

Post by Delwin » 16 Sep 2020 21:24

Bumps into... So they got ambushed by the Tiger. I am afraid that Pz IV would have been equally deadly...

As to ATG gunners and TDs (especially with 17-pdr) - what's not to like?

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Re: 5 Shermans 1 Tiger/Panther Myth?

Post by Sheldrake » 16 Sep 2020 21:47

Delwin wrote:
16 Sep 2020 21:24
Bumps into... So they got ambushed by the Tiger. I am afraid that Pz IV would have been equally deadly...

As to ATG gunners and TDs (especially with 17-pdr) - what's not to like?
So the real German triumph was to add armoured screens to the Pz IV so it looked like a Tiger....

What we are talking about is the morale factor in war.

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