You're all over the place with your argument, and none of it takes into account the reality that the Allies were producing the Sherman in great numbers. They couldn't stop production on the tank they were fielding in the greatest numbers before the Invasion and retool - to what, exactly? The M26 Pershing? The Comet? They wouldn't have been available in the numbers necessary.Username wrote:Any way you slice it, the US Army had a shortage of Medium tanks fielded during the ETO. In my opinion, this was due to them bringing weak tanks and even weaker light tanks to begin with. The 75mm M4 and the 37mm M5 were not the offensive weapons that were needed in the later half of 1944. The US Army was on an offensive mission to bring the war to a conclusion.
The shortage was due to AFV loss rates as the name of this thread implies. The inability to supply replacements and battlefield 'returns' from a nation that could produce so many tanks is damning evidence.
The US Army was well aware of the capability of German high velocity weapons. The 88mm had been encountered and captured. The 75mmL46 antitank gun had been fielded and encountered also. The Panzer IV 'special' was also known to be a standard weapon by 1944. The Tiger had been captured by the British as well as the Soviets. The Panther was known to be better than the Panzer IV at least. The StuG was known to be a tank killer on the Eastern Front also (The Allied Air Force targeted its manufacturing). At the least, the US Army must have known that they would be facing superior guns.
Since both the shipping constraints (tonnage) and bridge constraints (see earlier post about 90mm weapons development) were limitations on gross vehicle weight, the US Army should have put more effort into bringing bigger guns. I believe for the same weight as a M5 you could bring a M18 Hellcat (for example). All 76mm M4 should have been landed. All 105mm M4 should have displaced 75mm on ships and in companies.
In the field, any means to keep 76mm weapons on-line was done. I beleive the 105mm weapon could also be 'swapped-in' by design and they could have more battle days. So the basic M4 design was field 'modded' to keep things 'gunned-up'. The M5 was basically a dead-end design and brought little to the party. It was bringing a knife to a gun fight.
The need to get 90mm weapons on mobile platforms was known before D-Day and shot down by the bosses. After D-Day, when it hit the fan, M36 became available later and slowly.
But something like the M36B1 (90mm on a M4 sherman chassis) should have been available as a field refit. The kit should have been a fore-thought to D-Day since heavier armor might have been encountered. I don't accept the basic premise that the allies could have been as stupid as they acted.
This kit would allow some upgunning if needed. The kit would not have taken up as much space on ships as a full blown vehicle. Since many tanks are KO'd by the loss of the turret and retaining a working chassis, there would have been an opportunity to up-gun on the fly.
The basic sherman company in WWII should have had three mixed 76mm and 75mm M4 for platoons and a fourth platoon at the company HQ that fielded two M4/105mm and also two M36B1 type vehicles. This would have given them organic firepower that addressed most armor they encountered.
The light tank company should have been removed and replaced with a small squadren of M8 armored cars/jeeps.
The M5 light tanks were used in British and Canadian armoured regiments for reconnaissance also - there apparently was a requirement for them. It is interesting to note that the armoured reconnaissance regiments of the armoured divisions were organized identically to armoured regiments (i.e. with Sherman or Cromwell tanks), but each regiment (battalion) had its own light tanks. Did they need them or did they simply not have enough medium tanks? Either way, the answer kind of lies back in the factories in my opinion.
Most of your doctrinal arguments are elementary,unsupported and simply argumentative. By the autumn of 1944 German heavy armour wasn't a large threat in the west, so upgunning everything on the front to high velocity 76 and 90mm guns would simply have detracted from the main role the armour was playing by that point - infantry support. Take a look at the fighting in the Huertgen, the Scheldt or the Rhineland for an example of what the tanks' main purpose was.