What's new
US Message Board 🦅 Political Discussion Forum

Register a free account today to become a member! Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site by adding your own topics and posts, as well as connect with other members through your own private inbox!

Was the M4A1 Sherman a bad tank?

OP
Otis Mayfield

Otis Mayfield

Diamond Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2021
Messages
4,270
Reaction score
4,056
Points
1,893
..the Germans were/are very disciplined/organized/etc ......they have one of the top economies in the world today

The German Army entered World War II with 514,000 horses, and over the course of the war employed, in total, 2.75 million horses and mules; the average number of horses in the Army reached 1.1 million.




Kind of backwards.
 

harmonica

Diamond Member
Joined
Sep 1, 2017
Messages
43,851
Reaction score
19,900
Points
2,300
The German Army entered World War II with 514,000 horses, and over the course of the war employed, in total, 2.75 million horses and mules; the average number of horses in the Army reached 1.1 million.




Kind of backwards.
even MORE amazing they beat England and France! --FAST- blitzkrieg ...tactics/discipline/organization/etc
..they lost because they were outnumbered in all categories and logistics ....that doesn't mean their soldiers/military were not good
.....read it again: a mediocre weapon [ etc ] in trained/organized/motivated hands is better than a great weapon in poorly trained/etc hands
 

Flash

Diamond Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2014
Messages
49,024
Reaction score
32,436
Points
2,645
Location
Florida
Death Traps: The Survival of an American Armored Division in World War II is a 1998 memoir by Belton Y. Cooper. The book relates Cooper's experiences during World War II and puts forth an argument against the US Army's use of the M4 Sherman tank during the war.

Cooper argues that, when compared to the Sherman, the Pershing would have been better armed, better armored, more reliable, and more mobile. He blames the Army's preference for the Sherman, on the notion that building tanks such as the more expensive Pershing was unnecessary, because "tanks were not meant to fight other tanks,"[7] as was dictated by the Armored Force Doctrine of the time, and because Patton believed the lighter and more fuel efficient M4 would be more agile in bypassing enemy lines and attacking in the rear.




A lot of people say the Sherman was a bad tank. Do you agree?
You may be a little confused about this.

The US made the decision in WWII to use a light tank for infantry support. Not to fight other tanks.

Logistics wins wars. It made no sense in WWII to build a heavy tank in mid America and ship it to Europe and keep it running. It was more effective to use our heavy industry to produce aircraft, ships and artillery.

The US used artillery and air power as tank busters and was very effective. We destroyed most of the German armor in the western theater by the time the war was over. We also destroyed the supply chain that was needed to keep the heavy armor operating resulting in poor utilization.

The US had other weapons than the infantry support tanks to deal with heavy German armor.

Not having a heavy main battle tank (like the Russians) to go toe to toe with the Krauts in a tank battle may not have given us any bragging rights but it was part of successful logistic strategy that won the war.

You can't argue with success.
 
OP
Otis Mayfield

Otis Mayfield

Diamond Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2021
Messages
4,270
Reaction score
4,056
Points
1,893
The Sherman could stand up to the Panzer IIIs and IVs

The advantage it had over the Panthers and Tigers is that 99.9% of Shermans would start up when you pressed the starter and make it to the battlefield.

Up to a quarter of the Panthers and Tigers would break down enroute.
 

AZrailwhale

Diamond Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2020
Messages
3,613
Reaction score
2,900
Points
1,938
Location
Arizona
M4A1 would've been Normandy and North Africa.

M4A3 would've been Korea. Not really the same tank. Everything was upgraded on the M4A3.
No, Normandy had a mix of M4A1's (cast hull, radial engine) M4A3's (welded hull Ford GAA V8 engine), M4A4 (Welded hull, Chrysler A57 multibank engine (essentially five inline six cylinder engines on a common crank shaft)) and M4A4 Diesels All had the early vertical volute suspension. Late 1944 M4A1's and M4A3's had horizontal volute suspension that allowed wider tracks for better off road mobility. Korea was mostly M4A3E8's with horizontal volute suspensions and 76mm guns. They were easily a match for the NK T-34/85's. but were still the same M4 designed in 1941 and parts from any Sherman would fit any other with the sole exception of the multibank engine, that needed a long hull Sherman.
 

harmonica

Diamond Member
Joined
Sep 1, 2017
Messages
43,851
Reaction score
19,900
Points
2,300
The Sherman could stand up to the Panzer IIIs and IVs

The advantage it had over the Panthers and Tigers is that 99.9% of Shermans would start up when you pressed the starter and make it to the battlefield.

Up to a quarter of the Panthers and Tigers would break down enroute.
the M4 could not stand up to the Cats
 

Flash

Diamond Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2014
Messages
49,024
Reaction score
32,436
Points
2,645
Location
Florida
The Sherman could stand up to the Panzer IIIs and IVs

The advantage it had over the Panthers and Tigers is that 99.9% of Shermans would start up when you pressed the starter and make it to the battlefield.

Up to a quarter of the Panthers and Tigers would break down enroute.
They weren't designed to "stand up to the Panzers III and IVs. They were designed to support infantry.

Artillery and air power destroyed the Panzers.
 

AZrailwhale

Diamond Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2020
Messages
3,613
Reaction score
2,900
Points
1,938
Location
Arizona
1. Germany beat not one, but TWO powerful countries--and France had better tanks -at the battle of France
2. the Germans then were fighting 2 of the largest nations = MUCH bigger with MUCH larger populations --with America [ alone ] having THREE times the war making potential of just Germany
a. logistics win battles just as much as manpower/leadership/etc
3. the German soldier was very good ......
a. in all countries, some units are not as good as others....the German military was good ...
b. especially considering they were fighting the US and Russia--etc
c. and the Allies had Naval and air superiority '''later''' in the war
4. Italy is a PEFECT example of how well the Germans did
--don't try to argue WW2 with me--I've been reading and researching it longer than you have been born
--if you want a REAL discussion, go to WW2 Forums
Germany beat France and the UK because it got inside the French decision loop and the French never recovered. None of the British or French tanks were superior to the Panzer Three. Most French tanks were armed with the same 37mm gun the FT17 carried in WWI. Only the Somua was close to the Panzer Three in performance and it had a one man turret where the commander had to be the gunner and command the tank with the radio man assisting loading the gun from inside the hull since there wasn't room for him in the turret. In Italy the Germans had every thing on their side, it's perfect defensive terrain, with mountain range after mountain range to defend from.
 

harmonica

Diamond Member
Joined
Sep 1, 2017
Messages
43,851
Reaction score
19,900
Points
2,300
Germany beat France and the UK because it got inside the French decision loop and the French never recovered. None of the British or French tanks were superior to the Panzer Three. Most French tanks were armed with the same 37mm gun the FT17 carried in WWI. Only the Somua was close to the Panzer Three in performance and it had a one man turret where the commander had to be the gunner and command the tank with the radio man assisting loading the gun from inside the hull since there wasn't room for him in the turret. In Italy the Germans had every thing on their side, it's perfect defensive terrain, with mountain range after mountain range to defend from.
''''''best combat tank on the battlefields of 1940.'''''
..the Germans were just plain better--

Source: SOMUA S35

 

harmonica

Diamond Member
Joined
Sep 1, 2017
Messages
43,851
Reaction score
19,900
Points
2,300
Germany beat France and the UK because it got inside the French decision loop and the French never recovered. None of the British or French tanks were superior to the Panzer Three. Most French tanks were armed with the same 37mm gun the FT17 carried in WWI. Only the Somua was close to the Panzer Three in performance and it had a one man turret where the commander had to be the gunner and command the tank with the radio man assisting loading the gun from inside the hull since there wasn't room for him in the turret. In Italy the Germans had every thing on their side, it's perfect defensive terrain, with mountain range after mountain range to defend from.
the Germans won because they were better ....better disciplined and that deals with everything:
weapon effectiveness
logistics/organization
etc
 
OP
Otis Mayfield

Otis Mayfield

Diamond Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2021
Messages
4,270
Reaction score
4,056
Points
1,893
No, Normandy had a mix of M4A1's (cast hull, radial engine) M4A3's (welded hull Ford GAA V8 engine), M4A4 (Welded hull, Chrysler A57 multibank engine (essentially five inline six cylinder engines on a common crank shaft)) and M4A4 Diesels All had the early vertical volute suspension. Late 1944 M4A1's and M4A3's had horizontal volute suspension that allowed wider tracks for better off road mobility. Korea was mostly M4A3E8's with horizontal volute suspensions and 76mm guns. They were easily a match for the NK T-34/85's. but were still the same M4 designed in 1941 and parts from any Sherman would fit any other with the sole exception of the multibank engine, that needed a long hull Sherman.

I'll take your word for it.

lol
 
OP
Otis Mayfield

Otis Mayfield

Diamond Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2021
Messages
4,270
Reaction score
4,056
Points
1,893
They weren't designed to "stand up to the Panzers III and IVs. They were designed to support infantry.

Artillery and air power destroyed the Panzers.

I don't think so. I think they were dual purpose. The 75mm was based an an anti-tank gun IIRC.
 

Flash

Diamond Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2014
Messages
49,024
Reaction score
32,436
Points
2,645
Location
Florida
I don't think so. I think they were dual purpose. The 75mm was based an an anti-tank gun IIRC.
They were definitely an infantry support platform. I'll have to go and find the video but I saw one a couple of years ago where a historian went through the design specs, procurement and battlefield deployment. They put the 75mm gun on it but that doesn't mean it was designed to go up against German heavy armor.

Unfortunately they were occasionally confronted with German heavy armor and when they did the outcome was not very good. However, the German tanks that may have won the confrontation didn't last long because the US and Allies had other ways to dispatch them.

In the video it was said that the US could build three attack aircraft for the cost of one heavy tank. Those three aircraft would cause a lot more damage to the enemy than one heavy tank.

Like I said earlier, logistics wins wars. Hitler screwed up by putting so much resources into building gas guzzling tanks that were a bear to keep operating. Typically only one in three of them were ever operational at any one time.
 

martybegan

Diamond Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2010
Messages
59,948
Reaction score
15,698
Points
2,190
The Sherman tank was symbolic of the almost criminal unpreparedness of the U.S. for war in the mid 30's. The U.S. had no espionage agency or central intelligence bureau and nobody seemed to care or understand Germany's weapons development in violation of international law. The Sherman looked good and everybody was satisfied with it's development but it couldn't stand up to the German tanks.

Against the Panthers and Tigers it was outclassed, but against the Pzkw IV's it was just fine.
 

Pellinore

Gold Member
Joined
May 30, 2018
Messages
936
Reaction score
440
Points
190
True story: One of my later lectures in college was given by a General in the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps about the use of armor in WWII. At one point he asked if anyone knew what the Germans called the Shermans and why, and (because I was in Military History before I transferred to American History) I eagerly raised my hand and excitedly piped in, "Ronsons! Because when the Germans hit them right at the base of the turret, their top blew off just like a Ronson lighter!" At that, I noticed that his wife, who was sitting off to the side, audibly gasped. It turns out, when I was speaking to them afterward, that her father was an armor commander in World War II, and piloted a Sherman for his entire tour. I might as well have been describing his burning death with a chipper giggle in my tone. She was nothing but gracious about it, of course, but I felt about six inches high.

This, by the way, was our football field. Half the time, an opposing kicker lining up is staring right down the barrel. It is glorious.
 

Attachments

  • 11l.JPG
    11l.JPG
    321 KB · Views: 7

DudleySmith

Platinum Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2020
Messages
5,743
Reaction score
3,622
Points
938
They weren't designed to "stand up to the Panzers III and IVs. They were designed to support infantry.

Artillery and air power destroyed the Panzers.

There were few tank on tank battles in western Europe. The longer range on the Panther and Tigers didn't mean much when the average ranges of engagement were 870 yards or less.
 
OP
Otis Mayfield

Otis Mayfield

Diamond Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2021
Messages
4,270
Reaction score
4,056
Points
1,893
True story: One of my later lectures in college was given by a General in the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps about the use of armor in WWII. At one point he asked if anyone knew what the Germans called the Shermans and why, and (because I was in Military History before I transferred to American History) I eagerly raised my hand and excitedly piped in, "Ronsons! Because when the Germans hit them right at the base of the turret, their top blew off just like a Ronson lighter!" At that, I noticed that his wife, who was sitting off to the side, audibly gasped. It turns out, when I was speaking to them afterward, that her father was an armor commander in World War II, and piloted a Sherman for his entire tour. I might as well have been describing his burning death with a chipper giggle in my tone. She was nothing but gracious about it, of course, but I felt about six inches high.

This, by the way, was our football field. Half the time, an opposing kicker lining up is staring right down the barrel. It is glorious.

The German 88mm gunners called any tank they hit a "ronson," because it went up in flames.

Most German tanks ran on gasoline too.
 

DudleySmith

Platinum Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2020
Messages
5,743
Reaction score
3,622
Points
938
Not having a heavy main battle tank (like the Russians) to go toe to toe with the Krauts in a tank battle may not have given us any bragging rights but it was part of successful logistic strategy that won the war.

Exactly. The Sherman was enough for our needs at the time.
 

USMB Server Goals

Total amount
$120.00
Goal
$350.00

Most reactions - Past 7 days

Forum List

Top