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 » 11 Sep 2020 15:58

Delwin wrote:
11 Sep 2020 12:56
That's also odd that the myth somehow "mutated" in 1970s and it is resurfacing again and again.
Why is it odd? It is pretty evident that most person's knowledge of the subject is based upon playing Panzerblitz in the 1970s...or from reading Cooper's ghost-written memoir. :lol:
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Re: 5 Shermans 1 Tiger/Panther Myth?

Post by paulrward » 13 Sep 2020 19:38

Hello All :

Though some people's knowledge comes from actually speaking to three individuals ( in the 1970s
and 1980s,) who served in M4 Shermans, one a driver, one a loader/gunner, and one a sergeant who
commanded an M4 in France and Germany, all of whom stated very clearly and distinctly that ,


1) The M4 Sherman was vastly inferior in terms of Gun Power and Armor protection to the
German tanks they ran into in combat, and

2) Verbal orders were issued to at least one unit that, if they ran into German tanks, they
were to pull back, and either wait for the T.D.s or until enough additional Shermans could
be called in to overwhelm the Germans by sheer numbers.


Also, some of us have studied enough Materials Science and Metallurgy to know that a Cast Gray-Steel
hull is no match in terms of ductility and shell resistance to a hot-rolled or cold-rolled sheet of steel
armor plate of the same thickness.

And anyone who is capable of understanding basic physics will realize that the German 8.8/KwK 36
fitted to the Tiger 1 and the 7.5/KwK 42 guns fitted to the Panther were far superior in terms of
muzzle velocity, range, and armor penetration to the guns fitted to the American M4s. Only the
17pdr with APDS was equal to the gun on the Panther, and APDS did not come into wide service until
September of 1944.


The only ' Myths' that I have ever seen written about the Sherman is that they were the equal of
the German tanks in 1944-45 - and most of these myths seem to be written by those whose only
knowledge of armored warfare came from playing with their Roco Minitanks in the 1960s, and reading
the U.S. Army's ' alibi ' reports written in the 1950s.

You get a lot of this from the ' Think Tanks ' that did studies under contract for the Pentagon, using
as their source information the U.S. Army's carefully whitewashed data. BSinBSout.
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Re: 5 Shermans 1 Tiger/Panther Myth?

Post by Delwin » 13 Sep 2020 19:52

Richard Anderson wrote:
11 Sep 2020 15:54
Delwin wrote:
10 Sep 2020 09:26
There is sth more to the story from the mentality perspective. US public and to lesser extent soldiers believed the US equipment and army to be superior in every single aspect. It was not that strong with Brits I believe - mostly due to direct experience in NA. Thus the level of expectation was very high and any single case of not being the most powerful player on the field was a bit shocking.
Possibly, but the best evidence is that the "shock" was oddly confined at the time and took quite a while to develop. In the extensive body of trip reports accumulated by the 12th Army Group Armor Section from August 1944-May 1945 there is little significant criticism or shock expressed until the winter of 1944 and even that is focused on the desire for greater gun power. Furthermore, the best-known criticism is from a single source, the "I. D. White letter", appears to have stemmed specifically from the events at Puffendorf, in November 1944, which is also what sparked Baldwin's series in the New York Times. However, the similar letter from Maurice Rose is less well known, probably because it does not as well support the Cooperholics.
I believe that shock (?) was more political/public opinio. n than purely military - as you correctly point around winter 1944. But this is not a coincidence. I do not want to diminish the difficulties of both Allies, but for sure it was British army (including Canadians and Poles) took most of the heavy lifting against German armor in Normandy. Luckily (because of superior 17-pdr modified vehicles and existence of Churchill) they were at better position than US Army. Consequently, there was no reason for much fear of US tankers until Bulge fighting.
As to focus on the great gun power - to some extent it is trade-off: If you can knock-out your opponent at the same distance as he can knock-out your tank, this works fine. On the other hand, process of creation of field expedite Jumbos as well as manner of use of "original" Jumbos suggest a bit different approach.

What "mistakes" were those? The ammunition and armor quality problems - there were multiple interwoven issues - mostly stemmed from a lack of funding for basic research before the war (and an apparent unwillingness to cooperate with the USN BUWEAPS). The lack of basic research results meant that the issues with projectile design and fuzing were not discovered until after late May 1944.

The HVAP story simply illustrates that brute force solutions were imperfect.
Actually the mistakes were "minimal" but in number of areas:
- TD doctrine: generally sound one - actually more less everybody else was doing that to some extent similarly (German Panzerjaegers/Stugs, Russian SUs etc). Contrary to other opinions I believe that existence a bit cheaper than tank but equally mobile AT gun was solid option with small mistake called: gun not big enough. Flawed doctrine was "suppressed" by great training and attitude of the soldiers.
- insufficiently powerful guns mounted on tanks (76 mm)
- ammo problem even in relation to those underpowered guns: not sure how much in practise theoretical penetration numbers should be reduced because of that.
- HVAP: to little to late

Funny thing is if any of those mistakes if avoided, any claims of "superior" German tanks would be totally baseless. The other thing is level of confidence in your weapon. The whole issue may not necessarily influence the level of losses that much but limited confidence for sure may have some impact. The question is - was it a real thing?
:D Yep that actually mirrors the US experience...in September 1939 the US Army had few more tanks than the whole Polish Army.
I would love to not had having any war in 1939 in my country ;-).
Last edited by Delwin on 13 Sep 2020 20:55, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 5 Shermans 1 Tiger/Panther Myth?

Post by Richard Anderson » 13 Sep 2020 20:42

Delwin wrote:
13 Sep 2020 19:52
I believe that shock was more political/public opinion than purely military as you correctly point until winter 1944 - anyway it is time coincidence anyway...
The "coincidence" is pretty much nothing of the sort. The "shock" was generated by a series of newspaper articles, all based on interviews done of 2d AD personnel in the immediate aftermath of Puffendorf.
I do not want to diminish the difficulties of both Allies, but for sure it was British army (including Canadians and Poles) took most of the heavy lifting against German armor in Normandy. Luckily (because of superior 17-pdr modified vehicles and existence of Churchill).
The Churchill nearly didn't exist as a tank; if Monty had his way they would not have. In any case, 31st Tk Bde deployed 20 June, but less than half its Churchills had the 6-pdr, the rest of the brigade's Churchills were armed with the 75mm...including its 4 Shermans. 31st Tk Bde arrived 4 July similarly equipped and 6th Gds Tk Bde did not deploy until 20 July...and two-thirds of its tanks had the 75mm rather than the 6-pdr "hole puncher".
Consequently, there was no reason of much fear for US tankers until Bulge fighting. As to focus on the great gun power - to some extent it is trade-off: If you can knock-out your opponent at the same distance as he can knock-out your tank, this works fine. On the other hand, process of creation of field expedite Jumbos as well as manner of use of "original" Jumbos suggest a bit different approach.
Well aside from Panzer Lehr at Le Desert, 1. SS, 2. SS., 2. Pz., and 16. Pz. at Mortain, and 9. Pz at Domfront, then the Pz. brigades and 11. Pz. in Lorraine, I suppose that is true... :D
Actually the mistakes were "minimal" but in number of areas:
- TD doctrine: generally sound one - actually more less everybody else was doing that to some extent similarly (German Panzerjaegers/Stugs, Russian SUs etc). Contrary to other opinions I believe that existence a bit cheaper than tank but equally mobile AT gun was solid option with small mistake called: gun not big enough. Flawed doctrine was "suppressed" by great training and attitude of the soldiers.
- insufficiently powerful guns mounted on tanks (76 mm)
- ammo problem even in relation to those underpowered guns: not sure how much in practise theoretical penetration numbers should be reduced because of that.
- HVAP: to little to late
The major problem was that more powerful guns would not solve anything because of the problems with the projectile design and production as well as the fuzing issue. Those were not 'mistakes", but rather lack of basic knowledge.
Funny thing is if any of those mistakes if avoided, any claims of "superior" German tanks would be totally baseless.
Possibly.

I would love to have not having any war in 1939 in my country ;-).
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Re: 5 Shermans 1 Tiger/Panther Myth?

Post by Delwin » 14 Sep 2020 10:22

Richard Anderson wrote:
13 Sep 2020 20:42
The "coincidence" is pretty much nothing of the sort. The "shock" was generated by a series of newspaper articles, all based on interviews done of 2d AD personnel in the immediate aftermath of Puffendorf.
I am merely pointing out to coincidence of data of publishing of articles based on Puffendorf with Bulge fighting. The effect of the articles would be minimal if not for the incoming news of heavy battles with advancing Germans. I believe this created that effect to some extent.
The Churchill nearly didn't exist as a tank; if Monty had his way they would not have. In any case, 31st Tk Bde deployed 20 June, but less than half its Churchills had the 6-pdr, the rest of the brigade's Churchills were armed with the 75mm...including its 4 Shermans. 31st Tk Bde arrived 4 July similarly equipped and 6th Gds Tk Bde did not deploy until 20 July...and two-thirds of its tanks had the 75mm rather than the 6-pdr "hole puncher".
That's correct - but as far as I can recall Fletcher, he mentioned 350 Churchills as maximal number at the same time which is much more that Jumbos in total. While the armament still has a lot to desire from, the armour of the tank (especially of VII-VIII versions and remodeled older ones) was found solid enough. Adding some numbers 6-pdrs in field created maybe imperfect but almost acceptable. The other issue is that ROQF 75 mm was likely at least slightly less effective that its UK counterpart - e.g. due to the shorter barrel.

One may sum up that while UK thinking was relatively solid (pressure to go for 17-pdr tanks) they simply almost failed in fielding proper tanks. On the other hand US failed being not predictive enough while being fully able to field almost whatever would necessary.
Well aside from Panzer Lehr at Le Desert, 1. SS, 2. SS., 2. Pz., and 16. Pz. at Mortain, and 9. Pz at Domfront, then the Pz. brigades and 11. Pz. in Lorraine, I suppose that is true... :D
I would need to dive in Bucknell but I believe as for Normandy he provides some convincing numbers suggesting that most of the German tanks were met in UK area...
The major problem was that more powerful guns would not solve anything because of the problems with the projectile design and production as well as the fuzing issue. Those were not 'mistakes", but rather lack of basic knowledge.
That's true - which is extremely odd for me having in mind US experience in the navy guns as well as ability to check both UK and German weaponry. One may ask how the testing was done that just 1944 testing (Isingy?) disclosed this weakness. On the other hand - if more powerful guns (i.e. higher velocity) are fielded, testing (at least in theory) should have disclosed the problem earlier.

Question - how would you quantify effect of this in practice? Did it make 76mm/3-Inch barely (if at all) more effective than 75 mm or it can be just summarized that official details for penetration (i.e. 88 mm at 30 degrees at 1000 yards as per Hunnicut) were met only occasionally (if the projectile forgot to shatter)? As far as I can recall forum discussion it was mentioned that shattering limited theoretical penetration about 1/3.
Why is it odd? It is pretty evident that most person's knowledge of the subject is based upon playing Panzerblitz in the 1970s...or from reading Cooper's ghost-written memoir.
Frankly speaking I have never heard of Panzerblitz for obvious reasons prior to reading about it here ;-). I believe however that currently myth is encouraged by the computer games when one is to drive single tank in computer "combat". This reduces all operational aspects of the battle to non-existent, leaving just gun and armor in the front.
Last edited by Delwin on 14 Sep 2020 13:49, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 5 Shermans 1 Tiger/Panther Myth?

Post by Ironmachine » 14 Sep 2020 13:24

paulrward wrote:
Though some people's knowledge comes from actually speaking to three individuals ( in the 1970s
and 1980s,) who served in M4 Shermans, one a driver, one a loader/gunner, and one a sergeant who
commanded an M4 in France and Germany, all of whom stated very clearly and distinctly that ,

1) The M4 Sherman was vastly inferior in terms of Gun Power and Armor protection to the
German tanks they ran into in combat, and
Even though I have had some less-than-satisfying previous experiences with your knowledge acquired from speaking to individuals, I'm going to give those statements the benefit of the doubt and so I have to ask:
Did the three individuals very clearly and distinctly state that the M4 Sherman was vastly inferior in terms of gun power and armor protection to the Panzer IV, or did they all very clearly and distinctly state that they only ran into Panthers and Tigers in combat?
paulrward wrote:2) Verbal orders were issued to at least one unit that, if they ran into German tanks, they were to pull back, and either wait for the T.D.s or until enough additional Shermans could be called in to overwhelm the Germans by sheer numbers.
Again, did those verbal orders given to at least one unit say that if they ran into any German tank they were to pull back and wait, or that order was only applied in case of running into Panthers or Tigers?
Moreover, and of great relevance to this thread, did those verbal orders specify what was the mínimum ratio of Shermans to German tanks that allowed overwhelming the Germans by sheer numbers, or was that little practical aspect of the matter left to the free will of the individuals involved in each particular combat action?
And just in case you know, which one was the unit issued such orders and by whom?

Regards.

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Re: 5 Shermans 1 Tiger/Panther Myth?

Post by Richard Anderson » 14 Sep 2020 16:53

Delwin wrote:
14 Sep 2020 10:22
I am merely pointing out to coincidence of data of publishing of articles based on Puffendorf with Bulge fighting. The effect of the articles would be minimal if not for the incoming news of heavy battles with advancing Germans. I believe this created that effect to some extent.
True, except the effect of the articles was in fact minimal. The original 24 November article was essentially unnoticed, it was not until Hanson's first three-part article that there was any reaction at all. Congressional reaction wasn't sparked until Hanson's second three-part article was published beginning 5 February...and it went nowhere. It is curious that it took 30-odd years to reach the a general audience and 55 years before it became a scandal.
That's correct - but as far as I can recall Fletcher, he mentioned 350 Churchills as maximal number at the same time which is much more that Jumbos in total. While the armament still has a lot to desire from, the armour of the tank (especially of VII-VIII versions and remodeled older ones) was found solid enough. Adding some numbers 6-pdrs in field created maybe imperfect but almost acceptable. The other issue is that ROQF 75 mm was likely at least slightly less effective that its UK counterpart - e.g. due to the shorter barrel.
Sure...but they were still less than 10% of those committed.
One may sum up that while UK thinking was relatively solid (pressure to go for 17-pdr tanks) they simply almost failed in fielding proper tanks. On the other hand US failed being not predictive enough while being fully able to field almost whatever would necessary.
I am not sure there was any more "pressure" from the British than the American Ordnance establishment, given that the programs started in the same time frame and came to fruition within a few weeks of each other. That the Americans decided to wait until after the landings to begin conversion, while the British decided to begin the conversion before the landings says more about the innate organizational conservatism of the U.S. Army than any difference of thinking on the subject.
I would need to dive in Bucknell but I believe as for Normandy he provides some convincing numbers suggesting that most of the German tanks were met in UK area...
It depends to a large extent on the when. Certainly during the first 4 weeks after landing that was true, but it changed after that.
That's true - which is extremely odd for me having in mind US experience in the navy guns as well as ability to check both UK and German weaponry. One may ask how the testing was done that just 1944 testing (Isingy?) disclosed this weakness. On the other hand - if more powerful guns (i.e. higher velocity) are fielded, testing (at least in theory) should have disclosed the problem earlier.
The USN was not the USA and the two ordnance establishments were completely separate. There is near zero evidence for anything other than cursory coordination between the twp prewar, during the war, or after the war. Worse, even though the high quality of German projectiles and fuses was commented on by Army Ordnance after testing in 1943, no real effort was expended in doing anything about it. Best evidence is it was a case of believing the "enemy of the good is the perfect", combined with placing too much faith in the APDS development program.
Question - how would you quantify effect of this in practice? Did it make 76mm/3-Inch barely (if at all) more effective than 75 mm or it can be just summarized that official details for penetration (i.e. 88 mm at 30 degrees at 1000 yards as per Hunnicut) were met only occasionally (if the projectile forgot to shatter)? As far as I can recall forum discussion it was mentioned that shattering limited theoretical penetration about 1/3.
Objectively, the push to get more 76mm tank guns in the field demonstrates that the 76mm was considered more effective than 75mm. Nevertheless, it took a while for it to become wholesale acceptance by the American tankers...most notably in the armored divisions.
Frankly speaking I have never heard of Panzerblitz for obvious reasons prior to reading about it here ;-). I believe however that currently myth is encouraged by the computer games when one is to drive single tank in computer "combat". This reduces all operational aspects of the battle to non-existent, leaving just gun and armor in the front.
I should have said "Combat Command", which was the version of "Panzerblitz" that focused on the American Army. Both were SPI war games from the early 1970's, although they sold Panzerblitz to Avalon Hill for publication. They were the precursor to WoT and engendered the same discussions about the "failures" of all non-German tank design in World War II. :lol:

BTW, with regards to the trolling remarks by another poster regarding veteran memories, I can mention that in an extensive set of detailed interviews with 7th Armored Division veterans in 1988, the most common complaint about American tanks was their lack of heaters. :D
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Re: 5 Shermans 1 Tiger/Panther Myth?

Post by paulrward » 14 Sep 2020 20:03

Hello All :

Mr. Ironmachine wrote :
Did the three individuals very clearly and distinctly state that the M4 Sherman
was vastly inferior in terms of gun power and armor protection to the Panzer IV, or did
they all very clearly and distinctly state that they only ran into Panthers and Tigers in
combat?
First, we must remember that the Panzer IV fitted with the L48 gun was fully capable of destroying an
M4 Sherman at reasonably long ranges. The German gun was the rough equivalent of the 76mm gun
fitted on the later Shermans, and was vastly superior to the roughly 40 caliber M3 gun fitted to the
majority of Shermans in the months right after D-Day.

This is an important fact that many so-called knowledgeable historians seem to gloss over when they
compare the M4 Sherman to the German tanks it was fighting in France and Germany: They always
like to use the 76mm gunned Sherman as the ' standard ', ignoring the fact that, in the weeks right
after D-Day, they comprised less than 20 % of the M4 Shermans in France, and in fact, the 76mm gun
Shermans did not reach the 50% population level in most U.S. Tank Divisions until right after the
fighting in the Bulge.

In other words, the majority of U.S.A. Tank crews were fighting Pzkw IVs, Panthers, and Tigers
with a tank that had a greatly inferior gun, and it wasn't until the beginning of 1945 that they could
count on having a majority of the tanks in their formations that could engage a Pzkw IV with anything
approaching parity in terms of gun power. As for the Panthers ( L70 gun ) and the Tiger ( 88mm gun )
the M4 Sherman was NEVER equipped with a gun during the war which was the equal of their German
opponents. Quite simply put, EVERY German tank in France and Germany in 1944-45 was capable
of destroying any M4 Sherman they ran into, and that was the only thing that U.S. Tankers gave
a damn about !

Mr. Ironmachine, if you were inside a small, cramped, noisy, smelly metal box on tracks and someone
was shooting at you with a huge gun that was capable of ripping through your tank and killing you
in a heartbeat, I submit that the LAST THING you would be trying to do is identify the type of tank
that was shooting at you ! Instead, what you would be doing is loading, aiming and firing as fast
as your hands, eyes, and mind could go !


Now, the sergeant I spoke with ( he was addressing a group of war-gamers, who were a mix of high
school and college students ) made the joke that EVERY German tank looked like a Tiger when they ran
into it ! I attach an illustration to show this point :


Pzkw IV - Tiger !.jpg

He did NOT state that the verbal orders only applied to Tigers or Panthers, he simply stated that, when
they started to run into large numbers of German tanks, they were instructed not to try to engage them
one on one, but rather to hold back, and call in the T.D.s. ( I assume that this meant that they could,
if it was available, call in artillery or air strikes, but he didn't mention that ) He also stated that they
were told that, " unless we had a lot of tanks, you know, like five of six to one on the German, that
we shouldn't try to take them on - but if there were a lot of us, we could try to get around them, and
take them from behind. "


I asked him if that was a written order, and he responded, " No, an officer would be crazy to put that
in writing.... it was all word of mouth, you know, in the morning briefings, and we all knew that it
was what we should do.... "

The sergeant was in the 4th Armored Division, part of Third Army, and he fought from the major breakout
of Operation Cobra until the final days as they neared Czechoslovakia. He stated that he commanded
three different tanks during that time, only the last having a 76mm gun. He also stated that they
added armor to their tank after the Bulge, when restrictions on adding external armor were relaxed.
( He stated that General Patton had issued orders that NO tank crews were to add sand bags or extra
plates to their tanks, to avoid slowing them down, but after the Rhine Crossing, this order " Just sort of
went away, and guys began adding extra stuff. " ) He also stated that, on his tank, and many others,
the crews did NOT use bags of sand, but rather took sandbags, and mixed river stones, sand, and
concrete, filling the bags and securing them on the tanks, and then wetting them down. After the
concrete had hardened, it became like stone, and was very resistant to shell hits. He described how
one M4 Sherman in his platoon took a direct hit from an 88mm gun on the frontal concrete bags, and
while it blasted a hole in the layer of bags, and ' beat the hell out of the front armor plate ' it did not
penetrate, and the crew were uninjured, though badly shaken up !


Interestingly enough, despite what the ' History Major ' might believe, in my conversation with the
soldier who had been a driver of an M4 Sherman in France and Germany, , he NEVER complained about
the M4 Sherman not having a heater...... On the other hand, he did describe how, when Sherman he
was in was hit in the engine comparment and set on fire, that the temperature was actually very HOT,
and that for some reason, he and his fellow crew members all tried to get out pf the Sherman just as
fast as they could....

What is it that Major Nicholas Moran calls it when ' Oh My God, The Tank Is On Fire ! ' ? A Significant
Emotional Event ?

Which leads one to an inevitable conclusion : While Shit-on-a-Shingle might taste like shit, and the
M4 Sherman might be cold in winter, neither one will kill you. On the other hand, having crappy
cast steel armor and a lousy gun that can't penetrate enemy armored vehicles actually CAN get you
killed in combat.


Respectfully ;

Paul R. Ward
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Re: 5 Shermans 1 Tiger/Panther Myth?

Post by Michael Kenny » 14 Sep 2020 20:36

paulrward wrote:
14 Sep 2020 20:03

He did NOT state that the verbal orders only applied to Tigers or Panthers, he simply stated that, when
they started to run into large numbers of German tanks, they were instructed not to try to engage them
one on one, but rather to hold back,
Absolute garbage. There is no source for this claim and the conversation is completely made up.

Instead of made-up conversations with imaginary veterans see this contemporary account of how German Tiger tanks were engaged .
2nd Fire & Forfar Yeomanry War Diary, August 6 and 7th August 1944.
Screenshot_147jjjj.jpg
Screenshot_ji8yuhkl;148.jpg
Screenshot_14jiyu9.jpg
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Re: 5 Shermans 1 Tiger/Panther Myth?

Post by Delwin » 14 Sep 2020 20:59

Richard Anderson wrote:
14 Sep 2020 16:53
One may sum up that while UK thinking was relatively solid (pressure to go for 17-pdr tanks) they simply almost failed in fielding proper tanks. On the other hand US failed being not predictive enough while being fully able to field almost whatever would necessary.
I am not sure there was any more "pressure" from the British than the American Ordnance establishment, given that the programs started in the same time frame and came to fruition within a few weeks of each other. That the Americans decided to wait until after the landings to begin conversion, while the British decided to begin the conversion before the landings says more about the innate organizational conservatism of the U.S. Army than any difference of thinking on the subject.
I cannot fully agree: US program focused on a guns (both 3-inch and M1A1/2 76 mm) significantly less powerful than 17-pdr. Thus some bigger risk was accepted (risk of the failure of APDS programm) since even HVAP ammo was (while accurate) on the verge of being effective against "bigger" Panzers (i.e. Panthers, Tigers and unfortunately also uparmoured Pz IV). As to conversion - the UK idea was different, with "AT tanks" being included in the troops/platoons from the very beginning. On the other hand - in theory US Army in Normandy and later fielded quite significant number of AFVs with better guns (76 mm and 3-Inch) but mostly outside of the tank units.
That's true - which is extremely odd for me having in mind US experience in the navy guns as well as ability to check both UK and German weaponry. One may ask how the testing was done that just 1944 testing (Isingy?) disclosed this weakness. On the other hand - if more powerful guns (i.e. higher velocity) are fielded, testing (at least in theory) should have disclosed the problem earlier.
The USN was not the USA and the two ordnance establishments were completely separate. There is near zero evidence for anything other than cursory coordination between the twp prewar, during the war, or after the war. Worse, even though the high quality of German projectiles and fuses was commented on by Army Ordnance after testing in 1943, no real effort was expended in doing anything about it. Best evidence is it was a case of believing the "enemy of the good is the perfect", combined with placing too much faith in the APDS development program.
Which is extremely sad since (as I mentioned previosly) US could field whatever they wanted in almost any number necessary - as long enough thought was given soo enough. As to APDS and later crashprogramm of HVAP: UK fielded 6-pdr with APCR ammo prior to finishing with APDS, so was not impossible to have ready projectile before.

Frankly speaking I have never heard of Panzerblitz for obvious reasons prior to reading about it here ;-). I believe however that currently myth is encouraged by the computer games when one is to drive single tank in computer "combat". This reduces all operational aspects of the battle to non-existent, leaving just gun and armor in the front.
I should have said "Combat Command", which was the version of "Panzerblitz" that focused on the American Army. Both were SPI war games from the early 1970's, although they sold Panzerblitz to Avalon Hill for publication. They were the precursor to WoT and engendered the same discussions about the "failures" of all non-German tank design in World War II. :lol:

BTW, with regards to the trolling remarks by another poster regarding veteran memories, I can mention that in an extensive set of detailed interviews with 7th Armored Division veterans in 1988, the most common complaint about American tanks was their lack of heaters. :D
Just to clarify - those are games of decadent West :-). In Poland we had just official propaganda claiming that T-34 was perfect tank and noone sane would try to claim powerful Panzers. On the other hand in 90s and later quite a lot books on "powerful Tigers" were issues (including Otto Carius) and they found a lot of fans - since mostly RKKA took the beating ;-).

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Re: 5 Shermans 1 Tiger/Panther Myth?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 14 Sep 2020 21:05

To digress slightly. Some years ago i was shown a account of a 1945 encounter where the M4 hit a Tiger with a round loaded with White Phosphorus. The Tiger crew abandoned it, possibly assuming the tank was on fire. The concentration of hot smoke may have made it difficult to create inside the tank.

Anyone encountered this story. Any collaboration? Any indication it happened more than once?

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Re: 5 Shermans 1 Tiger/Panther Myth?

Post by Ironmachine » 14 Sep 2020 21:16

Mr. paulward, that's quite a long answer and still it fails to adress most of my questions.
Fisrt, I didn't ask whether the Panzer IV had a vastly superior gun or armor, but if the three individuals you mentioned very clearly and distinctly stated that the Panzer IV was vastly superior in terms of gun power and armor protection to the Sherman or if they mentioned only the Panther or the Tiger or both, or if they just talked about German tanks in general, without specifying any mark. It's not the fact I'm interested in (I am already well versed on it), my interest is just the subjective perception of it, as it is somewhat usual to see threads like this one but I can hardly see any "X Sherman 1 Panzer IV myth" threads.
Regarding my second question, it is interesting to see (leaving aside that we just have your word for it, and no way to asses its veracity) that we're going one up, as now it is " unless we had a lot of tanks, you know, like five of six to one on the German, that we shouldn't try to take them on...." Perhaps this thread should be renamed "6 Shermans 1 German tank regardless of the model myth"? :)
As for my third question, you only mention the 4th Armored Division, but it is not clear if it was the whole division that was instructed not to try to engage German tanks one on one, or just one of its tanks battalions, or a tank company, or a tank platoon... Quite different situations, quite different posible explanations, quite different relevance.
However, as we have only your word about some conversations that supposedly took place more or less forty years ago about events that have happened at least 25 years before that, and as it is a specifically stated that we should expect no documentary evidence to support the claims, I hope you understand that there is going to be some reluctance to believe it.
Regards.

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Re: 5 Shermans 1 Tiger/Panther Myth?

Post by Ironmachine » 14 Sep 2020 21:48

Carl Schwamberger wrote:Anyone encountered this story. Any collaboration? Any indication it happened more than once?
In Wolfgang Schneider's Tigers in Combat I (2004), p. 303, it is said that on 9 April 1945 four Tigers of Schwere Panzer-Abteilung 507 were "knocked out by phosphorous grenades".
On page 202 it says that on 12 April 1945 "Tiger 211 (Unteroffizier Kaiser) [Schwere Panzer-Abteilung 504] is immobilized after being hit by phosphorus grenades."

In Steven J. Zaloga's Panzer IV vs Sherman - France 1944 you can find the following information:
The US 75mm M64 was a newer type of smoke projectile, actually classified as a chemical round, since it used WP (white phosphorus) as its filler. Aside from proving useful for creating obscuring smoke clouds, the WP round had a useful secondary feature as an incendiary round. One of the novel applications for the “Willy Pete” round was in tank fighting. After encounters with the Panther tank in Normandy, US tank crews quickly learned that it was invulnerable to frontal attack using APC ammunition. However, it was discovered that a “Willy Pete” round fired against the front of the Panther would blind the enemy tank and make it posible for the Sherman unit to maneuver to attack its weaker side armor. A secondary effect was that the turret ventilators in German tanks would suck in the noxious fumes from the white phosphorus, sometimes forcing German crews to abandon their tanks. Some US tank crewmen interviewed by the author said that they often used “Willy Pete” against German tanks, especially in the later months of the war, as inexperienced German tankers after being hit with smoke would think that their tank was on fire and would abandon it. By mid-June 1944, the use of “Willy Pete” in tank fighting was disseminated widely in US tank units in Normandy as a useful tactic and became SOP (standard operating procedure) in some units.

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Re: 5 Shermans 1 Tiger/Panther Myth?

Post by paulrward » 14 Sep 2020 23:43

Hello All ;

To Mr. Ironmachine :

I thought that what I wrote was very clear, but in any case, I will try to better clarify it: According to the
Sergeant I spoke with, ALL of the German tanks they ran into were superior to their M4 Shermans.

They didn't differentiate between one type or another. After the first few weeks of combat, ALL of the
German tanks scared the hell out of the American crews ( I can't speak for the British crews, I have never
spoken to any of them, and they may have been stupid enough to believe what they were told by their
officers ) and the American tankers got very wary of engaging German tanks. After all, ANY German tank
hiding in the underbrush might be a Tiger with an 88, which could rip through the front glacis of an M4
Sherman and knock it out at 2000 yards, while the Shermans had to close to less than 500 yards to have
a hope of killing the Tiger.

This was the subjective perception of an enlisted man who enlisted after Pearl Harbor, and when he told
a Sergeant he knew how to drive a car, he was offered a transfer from the Infantry to the Armor. ( he
thought it would be better than walking..... ) and so he started as a tank driver, and got promoted while
still in England to Sergeant, and was given his own tank as a Tank Commander, but who remained a non
commissioned officer. In other words, he was not in the war to get promotions for a post war career in
the Army, he was there because he thought the war should be fought. All he was interested in was getting
home alive.

This is very common among Enlisted Men. The vast majority have no interested in getting promoted to
General, all they want is a promotion to Civilian....


Next, the Sergeant who spoke to us was the father of one of the members of our Wargaming Club, ( this
was in the early 1970s, I was in college at the time ) and he was invited to watch ( participate ) in a combined
arms battle set in early 1945 on the Rhine River. The U.S. Forces had to capture an unguarded bridge, and
Germans had to prevent it. During the game, and after, we had the chance to speak to him, and he answered literally dozens of questions . He had been\ in the 4th Armored Division, had trained in England, on M3 Lees,
where he got his training as a tank driver.

Thus, he was NOT in the ' Inner Sanctum ' of Generals and Colonels, he was just a G.I. doing his job. His
statement that he and his fellow tank commanders were ordered to only attack with superior numbers
was an order given to either his platoon or his company, he didn't specify which, and it was given VERBALLY,
so there will be no records of it anywhere. We just have to take his word for it, as I did. After all, what
reason would he have to lie, thirty years after the end of WW2 ? He stated that he and his fellow tank
commanders were given an order and they followed it. His descriptions of what he could see of tank
operations from the turret hatch of a Sherman were very interesting in the extreme, especially his account
of how, in one village, they picked up a pair of French ' ladies of the evening ' and, with the help of some
filched mattresses, converted one of the M4 Shermans into a temporary bedroom for those men who wished
to partake of the ladies' services.....


( Just for historical reference, we were NOT using PanzerBush, we were using Wargames Research Group's
' War Games Rules Armour & Infantry 1925-1950 ' which had come out just about a year before, so
the game was in November of 1974. I remember that I was starting to suffer from my second bout of
Tuberculosis )



Mr. Ironmachine, as for my word, both you and Mr. Kenny have questioned that in the past. Now, Mr. Kenny
I can understand, as he lives in England, where they have no firearms, and so the sort of rudeness where one
man calls another man a liar to his face is tolerated. I live in the United States, in a portion of the country
where we openly wear handguns at our belts. This means that our Society is a Polite Society. Rude people
don't last long. Just think of it as Darwin in Action.


In his final motion picture, actor John Wayne portrayed an aging gunfighter who was dying of an incurable
disease. He is asked by a young boy why he had killed so many men. His response was ;
...." I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, and I won't be laid a hand on....
I don't do these things to other people, and I require the same from them."

Now, Mr. Ironmachine, your little ' Bio ' next to your username states that you live in Spain. All right, Mr.
Ironmachine: Prove it to me. Prove to me that you live in Spain. After all, you might actually be from
Madagascar. Or you might be a resident of Tokyo. I have no evidence of either one.

I am sure that you can see from this that it is impossible to Prove you are from Spain. ( And, just as a
note, ' Proof ' is a mathematical concept, it has no meaning in Science, Engineering, or History. What
does have meaning is Evidence. Thus, there is NO ' Proof ' that Darwin's Theory of Evolution Through
Natural Selection is ' True ', there IS Evidence that the Theory is a correct description of the natural
processes that gave rise to the current forms of life on Earth.)


But, Mr. Ironmachine, despite our political differences, I have respect for you as an honorable gentleman
who has chosen to be a part of this Forum in order that you can contribute your knowledge, insights, and
resources to the general group as a whole. And for this, I am willing to accept those things you write as
being based on the best, most accurate information you have available to you. I would NEVER go around
calling you a liar. In Spain, it would make me a Rude American, and in the United States, it might get
me shot, if you had a gun and were faster on the draw than I am.



On the other hand, Mr. Richard Anderson and Mr. Michael Kenney, whenever they are disagreed with on
this Forum, have responded with insults and ad hominen attacks. They use epithets such as ' Liar ',and
' Troll ', and Mr. Anderson is apparently very upset that I am still a member of this Forum. In my opinion
this detracts from the dignity of this Forum. And any individual who would wish to be taken seriously
as a scholar or researcher should know enough to refrain from such behavior. I would hope, Mr. Ironmachine,
that you would not sully your good reputation by behaving in the manner of the above mentioned persons.

I hope that this clarifies my earlier posting.


Respectfully :

Paul R. Ward
Information not shared, is information lost
Voices that are banned, are voices who cannot share information....
Discussions that are silenced, are discussions that will occur elsewhere !

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Re: 5 Shermans 1 Tiger/Panther Myth?

Post by Richard Anderson » 15 Sep 2020 01:09

Delwin wrote:
14 Sep 2020 20:59
I cannot fully agree: US program focused on a guns (both 3-inch and M1A1/2 76 mm) significantly less powerful than 17-pdr. Thus some bigger risk was accepted (risk of the failure of APDS programm) since even HVAP ammo was (while accurate) on the verge of being effective against "bigger" Panzers (i.e. Panthers, Tigers and unfortunately also uparmoured Pz IV). As to conversion - the UK idea was different, with "AT tanks" being included in the troops/platoons from the very beginning. On the other hand - in theory US Army in Normandy and later fielded quite significant number of AFVs with better guns (76 mm and 3-Inch) but mostly outside of the tank units.
That seems to be the traditional trope as espoused by many, but is based upon impressionistic history rather than actual documentation. The American 3-inch gun, for example, was developed beginning c. 24 October 1940 as the 3-inch Gun T9 proposed as the armament for the Heavy Tank T1. The gestation of the 17-pdr began in April 1941. The American gun was based upon an existing weapon to facilitate production, its origin was actually the 3-inch Coast Artillery Gun M1902M1. The British gun was essentially new from the ground up. The American gun was simply intended as a more powerful gun for a heavy tank and then later Ordnance attempted to adapt it as the 3-inch M7 for the same purpose in the Medium Tank M4, which when it was tested in July 1942 led to new problems because it was simply too large and heavy to fit. So it was rebuilt with a lighter tube and breech, but with the same chamber pressure...which was okay except that Ordnance considered that meant it was stressed to maximum tolerance, so would not authorized a larger propellant charge and greater chamber pressure to gain higher Mv. The new 76mm Gun M1 was ready for testing in August 1942, just 4 months after the first production 17-pdr were ready, a year after its development began.

The problem from the American POV of course was that to them the 17-pdr was simply a repeat in size of the 3-inch M7, plus was British manufactured. As far as they were concerned the practical performance of the 3-inch and the 17-pdr were identical, which for all intents and purposes they actually were, given that a higher Mv in the 3-inch/76mm with the standard APC projectile would simply have resulted in more failures to penetrate due to shattering, deforming, and fuse failure, against the heavier and highly angled German plate in 1943, which of course was something unknown in the summer of 1942 (Tiger I was known, but was considered so complex, expensive, and thus built in such small numbers as to be no effective threat).

I am not sure why the "risk of failure of APDS programm" was so important because the American APDS program was initiated at the same time, summer of 1942, and as a development program always had the risk of failure. HVAP was again an expedient, developed in the course of about six weeks, beginning c. June 1944, when the full importance of the Panther's armor was realized. When fielded, it had the same practical effectiveness as 17-pdr AP and much greater accuracy than 17-pdr APDS. The real problem was that tungsten carbide was prioritized to machine tool fabrication, which meant only limited quantities were available to Ordnance initially and the restriction was always a limiter on production quantities. Oh, and then of course the projectile shape was not optimum versus the highly sloped armor, again something that Army Ordnance was late realizing. Again, the fundamental thing the American Army Ordnance was missing was fundamental experimental experience in the physics of projectiles versus armor. The greatest condemnation of its wartime experience is that they never improved the capabilities of the standard 76mm APC round...something the USN Ordnance establishment noted when testing Army spec 3-inch/76mm projectiles versus Navy spec ones in 1946.

BTW, no the British did not include the 17-pdr "in the troops/platoons from the very beginning", there was in fact considerable controversy initially as to how exactly the Sherman 17-pdr would be employed, especially since most regiments received them in late April and May and had very little chance to work out an actual tactical doctrine for them. Initially they were deployed as a HQ Troop under the regimental commander...when they were available at all. As more became available and were issued in July and August, tactical experience led them to be deployed down to the squadron and then troop. Interestingly enough, the 2d and 3d AD were also cautious when deploying their first issue of Medium Tanks M4A1 (76mm). "The 2d AD organized one platoon of 76mm in each of its twelve Medium Tank companies, which obviously left some of the platoons with five and some with four 76mm tanks. The 3d AD organized two 76mm tanks in each of its thirty-six Medium Tank platoons, which obviously left some platoons with one and some with two 76mm tanks."
Which is extremely sad since (as I mentioned previosly) US could field whatever they wanted in almost any number necessary - as long enough thought was given soo enough. As to APDS and later crashprogramm of HVAP: UK fielded 6-pdr with APCR ammo prior to finishing with APDS, so was not impossible to have ready projectile before.
I'm afraid the empirical evidence is the US could not field whatever they wanted in almost any number necessary. :D Instead, the evidence is that the US accepted short-cuts and make-shifts to facilitate production and was still catching up on much basic research at the end of the war. They also wasted considerable production capability on blind alleys such as the Light/Medium Tank M7.
Just to clarify - those are games of decadent West :-). In Poland we had just official propaganda claiming that T-34 was perfect tank and noone sane would try to claim powerful Panzers. On the other hand in 90s and later quite a lot books on "powerful Tigers" were issues (including Otto Carius) and they found a lot of fans - since mostly RKKA took the beating ;-).
:lol:
"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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