Most Popular Tank of WW2?

Discussions on the vehicles used by the Axis forces. Hosted by Christian Ankerstjerne
Michael Kenny
Member
Posts: 4785
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Re: Most Popular Tank of WW2?

Postby Michael Kenny » 28 Sep 2010 02:06

I like how Jentz gives a 98% readiness for Tigers in the West in September 1944. I do not think even a modern peacetime Army can match that!

User avatar
bf109 emil
Member
Posts: 3626
Joined: 25 Mar 2008 21:20
Location: Youngstown Alberta Canada

Re: Most Popular Tank of WW2?

Postby bf109 emil » 28 Sep 2010 02:43

Michael Kenny wrote:I like how Jentz gives a 98% readiness for Tigers in the West in September 1944. I do not think even a modern peacetime Army can match that!


Does it say how many Tigers where in the west in Sept. 1944?

Meyer
Member
Posts: 193
Joined: 12 May 2006 22:05
Location: a1

Re: Most Popular Tank of WW2?

Postby Meyer » 28 Sep 2010 03:24

Michael Kenny wrote:I like how Jentz gives a 98% readiness for Tigers in the West in September 1944. I do not think even a modern peacetime Army can match that!

What, do you have one of your "photos" that shows otherwise? :roll:

Meyer
Member
Posts: 193
Joined: 12 May 2006 22:05
Location: a1

Re: Most Popular Tank of WW2?

Postby Meyer » 28 Sep 2010 03:25

bf109 emil wrote:
Michael Kenny wrote:I like how Jentz gives a 98% readiness for Tigers in the West in September 1944. I do not think even a modern peacetime Army can match that!


Does it say how many Tigers where in the west in Sept. 1944?


Yes, 45.

Meyer
Member
Posts: 193
Joined: 12 May 2006 22:05
Location: a1

Re: Most Popular Tank of WW2?

Postby Meyer » 28 Sep 2010 03:35

andreobrecht wrote:
Regarding the safety of the tanker crews, it was about as dangerous to be in a Sherman as in a PzkwIV/Panther/Tiger facing Patton's 3rd Army on the way to the Rhine. About as many tanks were lost on both sides according to the US military records. The 3rd Army lost about 800 tanks and killed 800 German tanks including 400 Panthers/Tigers. Patton stated that his historic advance on the Rhine could never have achieved had he been using Panther and Tiger tanks, a comment about reliability and ease of use of the US equipment, nothing else.

.


Let me help you here, this is what Patton actually said:

Since 1 August 1944, when the Third Army became opera- tional, our total tank casualties have amounted to 1,136 tanks. During the same period we have accounted for 2,287 German tanks, of which 808 were the Tiger or Pan- ther variety, and 851 on our side were the M4. These figures of themselves refute any inferiority of our tanks, but let me add that the Third Army has always attacked, and therefore better than 70 percent of our tank casualties have occurred from dug-in antitank guns and not enemy tanks, whereas a majority of the enemy tanks have been put out by our tanks.

In the current operation, had the 4th Armored Divi- sion been equipped with Tiger and Panther tanks and been required to make the move from Sarreguemines to Arlon, then through to Bastogne, from Bastogne to the Rhine, and now to Mainz, it would have been necessary to re-armor it twice; and furthermore, it would have had serious if not insurmountable difficulty in crossing rivers.

Finally, we must remember that all our tanks have to be transported on steamers, and the difference between forty tons and seventy tons is very marked. The seventy- ton tank could never have been brought ashore in landing boats as many of our medium tanks were. Nor could they have marched from the Cotentin Peninsula to the Rhine as practically all of our tanks have been required to do.


Now, I don't think he consulted any German documents regarding their losses, so most likely he based those numbers on the American units claims. And everybody knows (or should) that claims are not valid to compare loss/loss or kill/loss ratios...

Meyer
Member
Posts: 193
Joined: 12 May 2006 22:05
Location: a1

Re: Most Popular Tank of WW2?

Postby Meyer » 28 Sep 2010 04:00

andreobrecht wrote:My statement regarding one-on-one tank engagements seemed pretty clear to me but I will expand on it: In determining which was the best tank of WW2 every AFV site analysis focuses primarily on which tank gun could pierce which tank armor from which angle and at what distance. This is a narrow minded view - in my opinion - judging the value of a tank on a pure tank-against-tank combat role and disregarding its infantry support role, urban combat role, mobile artillery role etc. Not saying that the Panther was inadequate in those other roles, but it was overkill because it was built primarily to be a superior tank killer.


AT capability was paramount, that's why the Americans accepted the inferior HE round of the 76mm, and the British fielded the Firefly which was practically a TD
While the tractor-pulled 88s were also a tank killing factor the Sherman was not particularly more vulnerable to such a gun than the Panther would have been. The same comment could be made in regard to Panthers and Tigers exposed to P-47s, IL-2s and Typhoons... once you are dealing with that kind of tank-killing power you might as well be driving a convertible.

I can't see the relevance of that, besides Air power was not very effective against armor during WW2

Now to the urban combat comment. Drive a Panther or a Sherman into a narrow street, where a close range side shot from a Bazooka or Panzerfaust is the most likely threat to your survival and most of the open terrain advantages of the Panther gun and armor are negated, while its bulk and long gun barrel makes it less maneuverable. In that role a smaller, more nimble tank firing HE rounds from a short barrel gun is undoubtedly a better choice, especially when you can have three for the price of one.


Agree, except for the three for one thing, which is just an speculation (anyway, it's nice to see the drop from the 20/1), but that is just a narrow view of the "infantry support" mission, which I may add, also benefits greatly from having tanks that are better are "tank killing" than of your enemies (what better way to support your infantry that destroying tanks?).



As for production, 380 units per month is not one bit impressive. They reached that mark once in July 1944 and never again. Most production was well below 300 units. These numbers also do not count those units rejected by inspectors. Fewer than 6000 were built by war's end. They couldn't produce enough to fill out their fleet much less make up for losses.

yet, the production of the Panther, from 1944 on, was 20% higher than the Pz IV, which, lets remember, you stated that they could field twenty for every Panther.. :roll:

Going back to the Allied bombing issue: You bet, it played havoc on production, transport and supply. Considering that only makes the German obsession with the Panther all that more puzzling: They build a tank that needs to be shipped back for overhaul after an absurd 600 miles along rail lines and to factories that are being bombed. I call that just plain stupid. And Panther losses cannot be explained away to Allied air power. Planes knocked out only a small number of tanks in combat (blew the H--- out of 'em on highways and rail cars though).


Any source on that? I wouldn't hold my breath

I'm not sure where you are getting your %'s but they are not realistic. Panther formations not under the stress of combat could have pretty high availability rates such as the two battalions immediately available for Normandy. Between them there was one non-serviceable Panther. Under the stress of combat, Panther formations were depleted quickly. For the sake of space I will give only a couple of examples (I'll also throw in %'s since you seem to like them). On 12/15/44 there were 471 Panthers massed on the Western Front in preparation for Watch on the Rhine. Of these, 336 were operational (71%). By 12/30/44 there were 240 operational out of 451 (53%). By 1/15/45 there were 97 operational Panthers out of 282 (34%). Another example is Panzer Regiment 4 in Italy (May, 1944). They entered combat on May 23d with 62 Panthers. By the 26th they had 13 operational tanks out of 48 survivors (27%). However, by June 14th the percentage was back up to 65%--but don't be impressed as they had only 17 tanks left of which 11 were operational. These are not unusual for either the Western or the Eastern Fronts.


And how is that contradicts the official numbers?

Michael Kenny
Member
Posts: 4785
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Re: Most Popular Tank of WW2?

Postby Michael Kenny » 28 Sep 2010 04:08

Meyer wrote:
Let me help you here, this is what Patton actually said...........we have accounted for 2,287 German tanks.............


But the original was not refering to what Patton 'said'.
He quite clearly said German losses were 'about' 800.
You are tilting at Windmills.

Meyer
Member
Posts: 193
Joined: 12 May 2006 22:05
Location: a1

Re: Most Popular Tank of WW2?

Postby Meyer » 28 Sep 2010 04:13

Michael Kenny wrote:
Meyer wrote:
Let me help you here, this is what Patton actually said...........we have accounted for 2,287 German tanks.............


But the original was not refering to what Patton 'said'.
He quite clearly said German losses were 'about' 800.
You are tilting at Windmills.


It sounded very similar to what Patton said, and I think that andreobrecht was going from memory which could explain his mistake.
But hey, if this come from another source I'm all ears.

User avatar
andreobrecht
Member
Posts: 191
Joined: 15 Sep 2007 01:58
Location: USA

Re: Most Popular Tank of WW2?

Postby andreobrecht » 28 Sep 2010 05:02

Thank you for the exact quote... at least I had the essence of Patton's words right if not the details. I re-quoted this from another person's quote.
As to the figure of over 800 Tigers/Panthers destroyed by the 3rd army I am a bit surprised... I am not sure there even were that many Tigers/Panthers on the western front during that period?
By September 1944 there were less than 350 Tiger I's left between the Western Front, Eastern Front and Italy. The figure of 98% would mean 44 out of 45 Tigers were ready for combat.

Some of the "availability" figures are a bit skewed by circumstances. As an example the 506th Heavy Tank Battalion 3rd Company sent their 16 operational Tigers against the Allies from Cori, Italy on May 23 1944. During the advance 3 Tigers were left behind at an embankment crossing due to track and gearbox problems. In the following combat action the Tiger Company destroyed 6 Shermans while one Tiger was damaged by Allied artillery and had to withdraw. Another was damaged by an Anti tank gun on the 24th and was blown up by its crew, leaving the company with 11 working Tigers. On the 25th they were ordered to withdraw to Cori and in the process had to tow back the three disabled tanks left behind on the 23rd. The mechanical strain of towing the disabled tanks caused 4 four more Tigers to break down. Another tank was hit by Allied tanks and knocked out and another blew its gearbox while fighting a rearguard action against the advancing Allies. Trying to tow the six disabled tanks two more Tigers blew their transmissions. Ultimately the commander ordered his crews to blow up nine disabled tanks, and pulled out of Cori with just four remaining Tigers (Still 100% availability) after having lost 12 tanks, 10 to mechanical failure and just 2 to enemy fire...

Michael Kenny
Member
Posts: 4785
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Re: Most Popular Tank of WW2?

Postby Michael Kenny » 28 Sep 2010 05:32

Meyer wrote:It sounded very similar to what Patton said, and I think that andreobrecht was going from memory which could explain his mistake.


Sounds like he was, my mistake !
I thought he had other data because the 'about 800' German tank/Stug losses is in the right area at least.
There are no agreed totals on the German Bulge losses and I don't think that will ever be solved.

Michael Kenny
Member
Posts: 4785
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Re: Most Popular Tank of WW2?

Postby Michael Kenny » 28 Sep 2010 05:47

andreobrecht wrote:
Some of the "availability" figures are a bit skewed by circumstances.............................................after having lost 12 tanks, 10 to mechanical failure and just 2 to enemy fire...


Nothing unusual in losing the bulk of your tanks to mechanical failure in a fast moving situation. The Allies had the same problems.
For the period Aug 28 to Sept 7th (10 days) 21st Army lost 383 tanks. 78 to enemy action and 305 to mechanical failure.
The difference was that as the Allies were advancing they could recover and repair the losses.

User avatar
andreobrecht
Member
Posts: 191
Joined: 15 Sep 2007 01:58
Location: USA

Re: Most Popular Tank of WW2?

Postby andreobrecht » 28 Sep 2010 05:54

Any source on that? I wouldn't hold my breath

As I stated in the intro to the posting that entire statement is not by me but re-posted from another Armor BBS. I simply quoted it since it seemed to support my assertions.

I was obviously wrong regarding the complexity of the PzKw IV which appears to have been another over-complicated German design, but at least a reliable one.

My speculative initial cost ratio of 3-to-1 is only one of the factors that plays into how much tank you get for your investment. Maintenance costs get added to that and logistics associated with bringing the tanks back for repair get added. And them the cost gets divided by the availability - number of hours on the front ready to fight divided by total life of the tank. I do not know if those numbers have been recorded but from just reading numerous tank combat reports it seems obvious to me that the Tiger & Panther had very low availability. Now if a tank is 3 times as expensive to produce, 3 times as expensive to maintain, requires 10 times the logistic support, uses 3 times the amount of fuel and spends twice as much time as another tank in the repair shot, what is the true cost ratio between the two? All my numbers are pure speculation but the thought process is not.

The drive train, gearbox, track/wheel/suspension and engine problems that plagued both the Tiger and Panther for their entire lifespan are reported by numerous authors including Jentz and Hart. Hart quotes the life of all Panther engines, before a total rebuild was required, to be less than 1000 miles. The expensive, complicated, fragile, and difficult to maintain interlocking wheel system of the Tiger and Panther was a major design flaw that was never eliminated. Porsche's proposed design for the Tiger did not use the interlocking wheels and no other AFVs have ever copied the design which I think supports my point that the Panther's entire drive train was crap.

User avatar
andreobrecht
Member
Posts: 191
Joined: 15 Sep 2007 01:58
Location: USA

Re: Most Popular Tank of WW2?

Postby andreobrecht » 28 Sep 2010 06:04

Michael Kenny wrote:Nothing unusual in losing the bulk of your tanks to mechanical failure in a fast moving situation. The Allies had the same problems.
For the period Aug 28 to Sept 7th (10 days) 21st Army lost 383 tanks. 78 to enemy action and 305 to mechanical failure.
The difference was that as the Allies were advancing they could recover and repair the losses.


Magnitude is the problem... in three days this unit lost 75% of its tanks including 62% to mechanical failure while moving only 8 miles... With this kind of reliability, Patton would still be in Brittany today!

What the Cori engagement proves is that Jentz's high availability numbers do not mean the tanks were reliable but are more likely to be a reflection of the fact that when fighting a war of retreat mechanical failure often equated to a total loss and did not lower the availability number. That high September 1944 figure only says that "every disabled tank had recently been destroyed or abandoned (either removing the tank from the roster) and that not much effort was put into salvaging disabled tanks to bring them back for repair"
Last edited by andreobrecht on 28 Sep 2010 13:07, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
achtungtshirt Bill
Member
Posts: 7
Joined: 16 Jan 2008 01:49
Location: ny, usa

Re: Most Popular Tank of WW2?

Postby achtungtshirt Bill » 28 Sep 2010 06:41

That was answered when I first posted this last year...it's the Tiger that is the most popular. Ok, now why is it so popular? I know it looks great on a t shirt.
Achtung Bill

Phil Bishop
Member
Posts: 276
Joined: 23 Aug 2005 21:41
Location: UK

Re: Most Popular Tank of WW2?

Postby Phil Bishop » 28 Sep 2010 22:53

Most popular or best? Best tank deployed (just) in WW2 was without a doubt the Russian JSIII. Shaped armour, low target and a killer gun. Plus nice and smoothe for the tank riders to sit on. No sharp edges. Nothing else compares.


Return to “The Ron Klages Panzer & other vehicles Section”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: CommonCrawl [Bot]