Comet Tank v Sherman Tank

Discussions on WW2 in Western Europe & the Atlantic.
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Pips
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Comet Tank v Sherman Tank

Postby Pips » 15 May 2018 00:41

First off let me say that I'm behind the eight ball when it comes to knowledge on tanks. I find them fascinating, but my main interest is in aircraft.

That said, it would appear that the Comet Tank, on paper, was superior to the late war Sherman tank (not Firefly) in terms of armor, speed, terrain capability, concealment and firepower. Although in many cases the advantage was only slight. And although armor protection was thicker, without sloped armor how well would that in fact have been? The Comet is all sharp angles and flat sides, whereas the Sherman enjoyed some benefit from sloped armor.

Was it the intention of the British Army to ultimately replace Shermans with Comet's as they became available?

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Re: Comet Tank v Sherman Tank

Postby aghart » 15 May 2018 22:07

The Comet was more of a Cromwell rather than a Sherman replacement. It's main benefit was that it had a 77mm gun which was a derivative of the
17 Pdr fitted to the Firefly. This tank was designed to be fitted with the gun, rather than have the gun squeezed and shoe horned into a tight space as per Firefly. The UK did not have the ability to equip all it's Tank Regiment's with UK built types during the war so there was no danger of the Sherman disappearing from the British Order of Battle. The Comet was the last British Cruiser Tank and it was apparently an exellent vehicle as it had benefitted from the British experience with the earlier cruisers like the Crusader. It was the first British built tank that could take on a Tiger or Panther on anything like equal terms. It did remain in British Army Service long after the Sherman was retired.

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Re: Comet Tank v Sherman Tank

Postby Sheldrake » 16 May 2018 09:21

The Comet was a British design. That was a major benefit and very important towards the end of the war because the Shermans were lease-end would end and we would have to give the Americans back what was left of their fire hose. That drives all late war procurement and goesa;long way to explain enthusiasm for,say the Archer SP over the M10 or the Sexton (On the Canadian Ram chassis) over the M7 Priest.

The Comet was intended to replace both Cromwell and Firefly. The 77mm gun wasn't the same as the 17 pdr. It had better accuracy at range with APDS and a claimed decent HE round. It was eclipsed by the Centurion - an even better design. That was the trouble with British tank design. The London bus problem. You wait ages for a decent tank and then two turn up at once

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Re: Comet Tank v Sherman Tank

Postby LineDoggie » 16 May 2018 16:47

Sheldrake wrote:The Comet was a British design. That was a major benefit and very important towards the end of the war because the Shermans were lease-end would end and we would have to give the Americans back what was left of their fire hose. That drives all late war procurement and goesa;long way to explain enthusiasm for,say the Archer SP over the M10 or the Sexton (On the Canadian Ram chassis) over the M7 Priest.

OR buy them at 10 cents on the dollar like the UK did with Jeeps, C-47's, M1 carbines,.30 Brownings, .50 Brownings, M3A3, M5A1 Stuarts, etc. a C-47 that Cost the US taxpayer US$38,000 cost the UK $3,800

M7 Priest was replaced because it used a Non Standard gun and Ammo (the 105mm) when the normal field gun of the UK was the 25 pounder (88mm)
"There are two kinds of people who are staying on this beach: those who are dead and those who are going to die. Now let’s get the hell out of here".
Col. George Taylor, 16th Infantry Regiment, Omaha Beach

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Re: Comet Tank v Sherman Tank

Postby Sheldrake » 17 May 2018 00:10

LineDoggie wrote:M7 Priest was replaced because it used a Non Standard gun and Ammo (the 105mm) when the normal field gun of the UK was the 25 pounder (88mm)


True for the Priests used in NW Europe, but IIRC the British ere happy to soldier on in Italy with the M7 a little longer

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Re: Comet Tank v Sherman Tank

Postby Pips » 17 May 2018 03:47

Thanks for the replies guys.

So are we saying that the Comet was a superior tank (performance and gun wise) to the Sherman? Or just a more modern alternative for the British Armoured forces?

What does strike me about the Comet is it's box shape. No angles, all flat sides. So while it had thicker armor than the Sherman, a shot hitting it would more likely penetrate rather than ricochet no?

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Re: Comet Tank v Sherman Tank

Postby aghart » 17 May 2018 07:20

Pips wrote:Thanks for the replies guys.

So are we saying that the Comet was a superior tank (performance and gun wise) to the Sherman? Or just a more modern alternative for the British Armoured forces?

What does strike me about the Comet is it's box shape. No angles, all flat sides. So while it had thicker armor than the Sherman, a shot hitting it would more likely penetrate rather than ricochet no?


As the Comet was in essence an "improved" Cromwell, there was no redesign of the basic shape. Although it lacked sloped armour it had a much lower silhouette than the Sherman, excellent performance, a superb gun and adequate armour protection for a tank of it's size and weight. Sloped armour is preferable to flat sides, but it is not the most important factor. Plenty of T34's were destroyed despite the sloped armour. Comet was in my opinion a better tank than the Sherman, but by the time Comet entered in service Sherman had been around for over 2 years (a lifetime in a major conflict) so although the superior performance of Comet over late war Sherman's may have been marginal, Sherman was coming to the end of it's reign (in western forces) whilst Comet was just entering the fray and had the same ability for upgrades later on. This never really happened though due to the arrival of Centurion. Also we must not forget that the sheer height of a Sherman was a big disadvantage, it made a "big" target and that disadvantage is in my opinion more of a problem than the Comet's lack of sloped armour.

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Re: Comet Tank v Sherman Tank

Postby Michael Kenny » 17 May 2018 10:47

aghart wrote:Also we must not forget that the sheer height of a Sherman was a big disadvantage, it made a "big" target and that disadvantage is in my opinion more of a problem than the Comet's lack of sloped armour.



Tank size comparison ..-vertg.jpg
Tank size comparison ..-vert t.jpg


COMPARISON height0001.jpg
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Re: Comet Tank v Sherman Tank

Postby reedwh52 » 17 May 2018 15:03

Just a point for consideration. The actual comparison would be the M26 Pershing (entered Production 11/1944) since it would be the contemporary to the Comet (entering production 9/1944)

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Re: Comet Tank v Sherman Tank

Postby LineDoggie » 17 May 2018 17:25

reedwh52 wrote:Just a point for consideration. The actual comparison would be the M26 Pershing (entered Production 11/1944) since it would be the contemporary to the Comet (entering production 9/1944)

M26 Pershing of course was Type classified as a Heavy tank, not a medium (during the war)
"There are two kinds of people who are staying on this beach: those who are dead and those who are going to die. Now let’s get the hell out of here".
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Re: Comet Tank v Sherman Tank

Postby Aber » 17 May 2018 19:48

reedwh52 wrote:Just a point for consideration. The actual comparison would be the M26 Pershing (entered Production 11/1944) since it would be the contemporary to the Comet (entering production 9/1944)


Pershing is more likely to be compared with the Centurion (1/1945)

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Re: Comet Tank v Sherman Tank

Postby Gooner1 » 18 May 2018 10:21

LineDoggie wrote:OR buy them at 10 cents on the dollar like the UK did with Jeeps, C-47's, M1 carbines,.30 Brownings, .50 Brownings, M3A3, M5A1 Stuarts, etc. a C-47 that Cost the US taxpayer US$38,000 cost the UK $3,800


Even at 10 cents on the dollar, that's a huge cheque for all the Shermans the UK had on hand May '45.

Anyone know what happened to all the British Shermans post-war?

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Re: Comet Tank v Sherman Tank

Postby Michael Kenny » 18 May 2018 16:23

Gooner1 wrote:
Even at 10 cents on the dollar, that's a huge cheque.............



When you have taken every last penny your customer has then you have limited options in regards to future sales

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Re: Comet Tank v Sherman Tank

Postby Sheldrake » 18 May 2018 16:26

Gooner1 wrote:
LineDoggie wrote:OR buy them at 10 cents on the dollar like the UK did with Jeeps, C-47's, M1 carbines,.30 Brownings, .50 Brownings, M3A3, M5A1 Stuarts, etc. a C-47 that Cost the US taxpayer US$38,000 cost the UK $3,800


Even at 10 cents on the dollar, that's a huge cheque for all the Shermans the UK had on hand May '45.

Anyone know what happened to all the British Shermans post-war?


We finished paying the HP installments in 2006

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Re: Comet Tank v Sherman Tank

Postby LineDoggie » 18 May 2018 19:12

Gooner1 wrote:
LineDoggie wrote:OR buy them at 10 cents on the dollar like the UK did with Jeeps, C-47's, M1 carbines,.30 Brownings, .50 Brownings, M3A3, M5A1 Stuarts, etc. a C-47 that Cost the US taxpayer US$38,000 cost the UK $3,800


Even at 10 cents on the dollar, that's a huge cheque for all the Shermans the UK had on hand May '45.

Anyone know what happened to all the British Shermans post-war?


LL items could be
Written off as used or destroyed by enemy action- Cost to LL Recipients? 0
Returned to US control within 90 days of end of hostilities- Cost to LL Recipients? 0
Disposed of (FAA dumping New F6F Hellcats and F-4U Corsairs over the side) cost to LL Recipients? 0
Purchased @ 10 cents to the dollar
Purchased by certain "Return LL" Bases, manufacture of equipment for US forces (ETO Battle jackets, Webbing, etc.)
Put into Nominally US controlled collection points (Belgium had several and the new Belgian Army freely took items for itself. it was NOT supposed to take like Sherman Firefly's)
"There are two kinds of people who are staying on this beach: those who are dead and those who are going to die. Now let’s get the hell out of here".
Col. George Taylor, 16th Infantry Regiment, Omaha Beach


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