Tanks Role Not To Fight Tanks??

Discussions on WW2 in Western Europe & the Atlantic.
Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 4905
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: Tanks Role Not To Fight Tanks??

Post by Richard Anderson » 03 Dec 2016 16:45

Yoozername wrote:As I said earlier, The US did some things right, and some things wrong. The US Tank Battalion is certainly a good example. The inclusion of halftracks with mortars gives a rapid response especially to ATG threats (they usually used the large HE 81mm along with the equally large WP), the somewhat unique inclusion of the 105mm armed shermans gave excellent direct firepower and indirect fire also.

The inclusion of the light tank company with M5 tanks so late in the war always struck me as odd. Did each tank battalion need them?
Couple notes to keep in mind.

The "light tank" was not a "cavalry tank'. Lightness was all tied to weight and thus battlefield mobility and maneuverability rather than fighting power by all nations until c. 1943 when the "universal" tank concept started taking hold and the medium-weight tank became the preferred type. Until the very end opinion was mixed in the American Army regarding keeping the light tank company in the battalion. BTW, they were there because that was how the 1943 organization placed them.

The 81mm mortar was also not universally liked or used. Many battalions thought them a waste of personnel and vehicles.

The 105mm was well-liked and pre-France the ETOUSA wanted the mix of T26 to be one 90mm for three 105mm. That was reversed by the fall of 1944.
"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

Yoozername
Member
Posts: 2553
Joined: 25 Apr 2006 15:58
Location: Colorado

Re: Tanks Role Not To Fight Tanks??

Post by Yoozername » 03 Dec 2016 17:05

Can you post a link or source regarding the 81mm?

Yoozername
Member
Posts: 2553
Joined: 25 Apr 2006 15:58
Location: Colorado

Re: Tanks Role Not To Fight Tanks??

Post by Yoozername » 03 Dec 2016 17:30

Richard Anderson wrote:
Yoozername wrote: An example of what? Use of indirect fire by TD's? Tanks were used the same way. Arguably, using the TD and armor as artillery saved the American Army's bacon during the great ammunition crisis of fall and winter 1944. Or do you mean use of HE? Again, no different than armor.

Yes, they did not engage armor much. Yes, they tended to assign the towed battalions to infantry divisions, but that was because that was all that were available, until the ETOUSA began the program to rearm the towed battalions as SP.
I see, two wrongs make right. Very good. Except the 76mm/3inch projectile was widely hailed as junk. The Sherman 75mm HE was widely hailed as better (not that better than others but somewhat better). Neither as good as a 105mm but, again, believe the oft-trotted-out BS if you want. Harassing rounds saved the bacon. What next? Also, many TDs and tank battalions needed artillery supervision to actually perform the indirect mode. Many lacked training or had not used it and if you think they were used for close support indirect dream on, they had to drag them into the front lines and shoot direct (spin that somehow, I dare ya). 3 inch and 76mm needed a reduced charge (fixed) round as said before. And the ammunition is long and it would take truckloads of these long-brass to feed a mission.

Arguably, the US used German weapons and ammunition (German 105mm projectiles were compatible) along with British 25 pdr. to get a real artillery substitute. And, the 'shortage' was actually an excessive consumption of ammunition in response to the schedule not being met. The need to change out so many 105mm barrels at the same time also contributed to this 'shortage'. There is another back story in regards to the manufacture of 105mm shells but I don't want the thread to get further side-tracked.
Last edited by Yoozername on 03 Dec 2016 18:15, edited 2 times in total.

Yoozername
Member
Posts: 2553
Joined: 25 Apr 2006 15:58
Location: Colorado

Re: Tanks Role Not To Fight Tanks??

Post by Yoozername » 03 Dec 2016 17:47

Richard Anderson wrote:
Well, the Americans and British were encountering Panzer III lang through the fall and winter of 1943. So the Germans had created a bunch of 1941 class weapons and waited till late 1943 to use them... In any case, my point was that while certain measure were quick, they weren't always a solution, while meantime the success of Ordnance getting a "1944 class weapon" in the field in 1944, after two years spent on development, wasn't all that good. But sure, lets blame lack of development, design, and manufacturing capability which was the result of 17 years of parsimony on the part of government, on "obstructionism" by a single general officer. Was he also to blame for the faulty testing techniques (it wasn't actually faulty projectile testing techniques; it was underestimation of the size and strength of German armor plate, most of which wasn't analyzed until 1944)? BTW, the Germans had a similar experience with their AP rounds in 1941 when encountering highly sloped and thick Soviet armor, and fielded solutions in the spring of 1942 - retooling and production takes time for everything.
Well, excuses are like...

The British and the US were up against Panzer IV Lang and Tiger I and StuG lang that the Germans were fielding, also Pak 40 as well as using 7,62 cm Pak 36 by the end of fighting in North Africa (and 88mm). They had captured specimens and certainly could (and did) do some shoots. They poo-poo'd the Germans and 'continued to march'. Unlike yourself. I expect leaders to manage and make decisions and not jokes and excuses. The Army I was in stressed 'Results, not Excuses'.

Again, you seem to harp about blaming one 'tool' when I have already said it doesn't matter. It was not a directed effort and the end effect is what happened in Normandy and the following battles. Having a 'Tank Destroyer Command' was ridiculous. It decentralized decision making and postured the TDC as some sort of authority. They were punching above their pay-grade and should have been reined in.

The Germans and Soviets (major producers of armored warfare) both seemed to evolve similar solutions. That is, assault guns and TDs based on proven and available chassis. Namely the StuG (built on Panzer III and IV chassis) and SU weapons built on the T34 and later JSU chassis. Something like M18 'Hellcat' requiring a complete R&D and testing etc. It is a peacetime boondoggle, not a wartime boondoggle. The fact that it was built in small numbers increases its actual cost, and the fact that the Soviets turned it down (as did the Brits), might indicate something as far as the mobility factor not being as great as some chairborne commando thought it was.

The German rounds were not similarly defective like the US rounds. You are bleating above your pay-grade now (smiley-emotey-tingy)

Yoozername
Member
Posts: 2553
Joined: 25 Apr 2006 15:58
Location: Colorado

Re: Tanks Role Not To Fight Tanks??

Post by Yoozername » 03 Dec 2016 19:51

It never was a "branch" during the war any more than armor was.
Yeah, they never had insignia huh?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_St ... h_insignia

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 4905
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: Tanks Role Not To Fight Tanks??

Post by Richard Anderson » 03 Dec 2016 22:50

Yoozername wrote:Can you post a link or source regarding the 81mm?
General Board Reports, Organization, Equipment, and Tactical Employment of Separate Tank Battalions, para. 4.b., p. 4. Much the same is in some of the "trip reports" filed by the 12th Army Group Armored Section and the ETOUSA AFV&W Section, but I'd have to dig through my files for those.
"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

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 4905
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: Tanks Role Not To Fight Tanks??

Post by Richard Anderson » 03 Dec 2016 23:20

You seem to be under the delusion that I don't know what I'm talking about. That is incorrect.
Yoozername wrote:I see, two wrongs make right. Very good.
Um, no, please don't start resorting to strawmen or arguing things I haven't said; its better to leave that sort of thing to posters who don't know what they're talking about.

First, the targets fired upon by armor and tank destroyers, whether direct or indirect, were predominately "soft" and the ammo loads usually carried reflect that.

Second, by "saving their bacon" I was referring to the shortage of artillery ammunition, especially the standard 105mm HE round, suffered in the ETO and MTO in the fall and winter of 1944, which resulted in stringent rationing orders from 12th Army Group and Fifth Army. That was a shortage created by Congressional interference in procurement after the "iron mountain" scandal in North Africa...Congresscritters junketing to the Med were horrified to find large stockpiles of ammunition unused and asked why the Army was so inefficient in ordering and shipping ammunition.

Except the 76mm/3inch projectile was widely hailed as junk. The Sherman 75mm HE was widely hailed as better (not that better than others but somewhat better). Neither as good as a 105mm but, again, believe the oft-trotted-out BS if you want. Harassing rounds saved the bacon. What next?
"Junk"? No, it didn't do what it was supposed to when confronted with high obliquities and armor harder than what it was tested against. The initial problem was discovered at Shoeburyness in May 1944 when it was found the base detonating fuze on the 3"/76mm was acting before penetration was complete, resulting in incomplete penetration. A related problem discovered about the same time was insufficient final heat treating for hardness on the nose and shoulders of the APC round, which could lead to nose failures, projectile shattering, and other not so good things. And it was the same for both the 76mm and 90mm APC, which led to using monobloc AP...which suffered from other problems ("...simple AP shot was more effective than APC in penetrating under-matched armor at all angles of impact and was more effective than both APC and HVAP shot at penetrating moderately overmatched armor (where the armor was no thicker than 1.25 times the diameter of the shot) at all angles of impact greater than approximately 45°. On the other hand, APC was found superior to AP in penetrating greatly overmatching armor, (where the armor was thicker than 1.25 times the diameter of the shot) at angles between 20° and 45°, but both APC and AP were greatly inferior to HVAP and HVAPDS striking at low angles of impact against heavily overmatching armor targets.) (From my research in the BRL studies).

Fundamentally, prior to the founding of the BRL in the late 30's at Aberdeen, the understanding of the mechanisms of penetration and the design of penatrators was not well understood in the Army (and of course they wouldn't go and ask the Navy about its research).
Also, many TDs and tank battalions needed artillery supervision to actually perform the indirect mode. Many lacked training or had not used it and if you think they were used for close support indirect dream on, they had to drag them into the front lines and shoot direct (spin that somehow, I dare ya). 3 inch and 76mm needed a reduced charge (fixed) round as said before. And the ammunition is long and it would take truckloads of these long-brass to feed a mission.
The problem was observed fire within the tank battalion, it required trained artillery observers and the preference was for one per company. However, if tied into an artillery program, all that was required were aiming stakes and a gunners quadrant and sight, which were standard equipment in the tank and TD battalions. There the fire was observed and corrected by a trained artillery observer and was done on a regular basis. It helped that a lot of officers in the tank and TD battalions were actually Artillery Branch (along with Infantry, Cavalry, and Engineers).
Arguably, the US used German weapons and ammunition (German 105mm projectiles were compatible) along with British 25 pdr. to get a real artillery substitute. And, the 'shortage' was actually an excessive consumption of ammunition in response to the schedule not being met. The need to change out so many 105mm barrels at the same time also contributed to this 'shortage'. There is another back story in regards to the manufacture of 105mm shells but I don't want the thread to get further side-tracked.
Basically two field artillery battalions used German equipment for an extended period of time, but the use of the 25-pdr was a post-Ardennes expedient that lasted a few weeks. And, no, the shortage was very real that had nothing to do with "changing out barrels".
"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

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 4905
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: Tanks Role Not To Fight Tanks??

Post by Richard Anderson » 03 Dec 2016 23:25

Yoozername wrote:
It never was a "branch" during the war any more than armor was.
Yeah, they never had insignia huh?
Where did I say they didn't have insignia? I said they weren't a "Branch". The "Armored Force" (later demoted to a "Command" and then "Center") was a provisional organization created "For Purposes of Service Test" (which happens to be the tittle of the book I'm working on). It began its existence on 10 July 1940 and was inactivated at 2400 hours 30 October 1945. It did not exist again in the Army until 1950.
"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

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 4905
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: Tanks Role Not To Fight Tanks??

Post by Richard Anderson » 03 Dec 2016 23:38

Yoozername wrote:Well, excuses are like...

The British and the US were up against Panzer IV Lang and Tiger I and StuG lang that the Germans were fielding, also Pak 40 as well as using 7,62 cm Pak 36 by the end of fighting in North Africa (and 88mm). They had captured specimens and certainly could (and did) do some shoots. They poo-poo'd the Germans and 'continued to march'. Unlike yourself. I expect leaders to manage and make decisions and not jokes and excuses. The Army I was in stressed 'Results, not Excuses'.
the Army you were in I suspect was not the Army of World War II. There was, objectively, little difference between the German 7.5cm KwK/PAK and the American 3"/76mm. It was principally the rounds which were different (and as far as American Ordnance was concerned the Germans were built with unacceptable safety margins.
Again, you seem to harp about blaming one 'tool' when I have already said it doesn't matter. It was not a directed effort and the end effect is what happened in Normandy and the following battles. Having a 'Tank Destroyer Command' was ridiculous. It decentralized decision making and postured the TDC as some sort of authority. They were punching above their pay-grade and should have been reined in.
Um, who else was supposed to "posture" and make decisions about antitank warfare when it took an intervention by Marshall to stop the intra-Branch squabbling, just as he did in creating the Armor Force. You seem to miss that I am well aware it was a decentralized and poorly coordinated effort...I am just aware of why it was so and why it was so difficult to correct.
The Germans and Soviets (major producers of armored warfare) both seemed to evolve similar solutions. That is, assault guns and TDs based on proven and available chassis. Namely the StuG (built on Panzer III and IV chassis) and SU weapons built on the T34 and later JSU chassis. Something like M18 'Hellcat' requiring a complete R&D and testing etc. It is a peacetime boondoggle, not a wartime boondoggle. The fact that it was built in small numbers increases its actual cost, and the fact that the Soviets turned it down (as did the Brits), might indicate something as far as the mobility factor not being as great as some chairborne commando thought it was.
Why yes, the tussle between the Panzerwaffe and Artillerie over control of the Sturmgeschuetz has absolutely no parallel anywhere else, does it? Meanwhile, 2,507 M18 was nothing to sneeze at. Jagdpanzer IV? Hummel?
The German rounds were not similarly defective like the US rounds. You are bleating above your pay-grade now (smiley-emotey-tingy)
Oh dear, I guess I'll just bleat away then. You see, the Germans were nonplussed to find their 8.8cm AP rounds shattering and glancing when fired at Soviet KV and other tanks armor at long-ranges and certain obliquities when they expected they should penetrate. It led to them re-specifying the heat treatment for their rounds in late 1941 and 1942. I'll see if I can dig out the reference to it. it wasn't so much a problem then with the 3.7cm, 5cm, and 7.5cm guns, which were pretty much always bouncing off due to armor overmatch...that led to other solutions, like the PAK/KwK 40 and KwK 42. :D
"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

Yoozername
Member
Posts: 2553
Joined: 25 Apr 2006 15:58
Location: Colorado

Re: Tanks Role Not To Fight Tanks??

Post by Yoozername » 03 Dec 2016 23:49

Richard Anderson wrote:
Yoozername wrote:As I said earlier, The US did some things right, and some things wrong. The US Tank Battalion is certainly a good example. The inclusion of halftracks with mortars gives a rapid response especially to ATG threats (they usually used the large HE 81mm along with the equally large WP), the somewhat unique inclusion of the 105mm armed shermans gave excellent direct firepower and indirect fire also.

The inclusion of the light tank company with M5 tanks so late in the war always struck me as odd. Did each tank battalion need them?
Couple notes to keep in mind.

The "light tank" was not a "cavalry tank'. Lightness was all tied to weight and thus battlefield mobility and maneuverability rather than fighting power by all nations until c. 1943 when the "universal" tank concept started taking hold and the medium-weight tank became the preferred type. Until the very end opinion was mixed in the American Army regarding keeping the light tank company in the battalion. BTW, they were there because that was how the 1943 organization placed them.

The 81mm mortar was also not universally liked or used. Many battalions thought them a waste of personnel and vehicles.
.

quote...
The light companies wore not employed in a uniform manner.
Some divisions, particularly the Ninth, attached the light company to
tho division recon ,troop, Thase companies were generally in
mobile reserve, and at times used to reinforce medium companies, However,
the lack of fire power, particularly with ,the 37mm gun, and the
very light armor, made them generally incapable of accomplishing the
desired missions
...And you are referring to independent tank battalions, I was referring to armored division tank battalions...

If you really read, and understood, that report its from, you would had an 'Ahah' moment in that the independent tank battalions were often split up amongst the infantry division they were supporting, hence the attachment of the halftrack mortars to the infantry mortars. Much like the TDs that were split up and the officer staff didn't have much to do but sop up liquor and deliver ammunition.

Yoozername
Member
Posts: 2553
Joined: 25 Apr 2006 15:58
Location: Colorado

Re: Tanks Role Not To Fight Tanks??

Post by Yoozername » 03 Dec 2016 23:57

Egads. You're really writing a book? :lol:
Oh dear, I guess I'll just bleat away then. You see, the Germans were nonplussed to find their 8.8cm AP rounds shattering and glancing when fired at Soviet KV and other tanks armor at long-ranges and certain obliquities when they expected they should penetrate.
Will your book detail just how the Germans knew about the KV-1 and its specifications prior to invading? Put a number in parentheses, I think, and then real book readers will look at the bottom of the page and know where it came from. I still needs lots of pictures so count me out...
Why yes, the tussle between the Panzerwaffe and Artillerie over control of the Sturmgeschuetz has absolutely no parallel anywhere else, does it? Meanwhile, 2,507 M18 was nothing to sneeze at. Jagdpanzer IV? Hummel?
The Sturmartillerie kept control of its units and training etc. through the war. The vehicles themselves were produced in great numbers and the use of the vehicle was widespread. In the US Army, there could have been a Light Tank Command Center that dictated everything about them...Imagine all the The Light Tank Command meetings and Officers....

M10 were built in 6000 AFV? I guess you don't get it that they were supposed to be inexpensive? The M18? Maybe look into how much it cost to cancel the contract while you are not sneezing...

Aber
Member
Posts: 970
Joined: 05 Jan 2010 21:43

Re: Tanks Role Not To Fight Tanks??

Post by Aber » 04 Dec 2016 00:35

Yoozername wrote:Egads. You're really writing a book? :lol:
...
Hint; it's not his first. :D

And all reviews on Amazon 4stars plus (despite the maps :wink: ).

Yoozername
Member
Posts: 2553
Joined: 25 Apr 2006 15:58
Location: Colorado

Re: Tanks Role Not To Fight Tanks??

Post by Yoozername » 04 Dec 2016 01:17

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1937 ... magic-of-s

I read this and it split my Chakra...

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 4905
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: Tanks Role Not To Fight Tanks??

Post by Richard Anderson » 04 Dec 2016 01:25

Yoozername wrote:...And you are referring to independent tank battalions, I was referring to armored division tank battalions...

And you realize they were organizationally identical and the same comments appl? Most of the 1943 separate battalions were from the reorganized armor regiments.
If you really read, and understood
My only a-hah moment anymore seems to be the realization that yet another poster needs to go on the smart-ass ignore list.
"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

Yoozername
Member
Posts: 2553
Joined: 25 Apr 2006 15:58
Location: Colorado

Re: Tanks Role Not To Fight Tanks??

Post by Yoozername » 04 Dec 2016 01:58

I get it...I get it...YOU are the well known author and town-smart-ass, and others are beneath you....

You aren't going with that well worn "Congressional ammunition story are you"? I mean, its so "Ambrose" {chills}

Return to “WW2 in Western Europe & the Atlantic”