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Was the M4A1 Sherman a bad tank?

AZrailwhale

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Try this:
View attachment 569911
Did you bother to read the article? The engine was never installed in a single operational tank. So no Tiger II ever had anything except a gasoline Maybach installed.
 

White 6

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Did you bother to read the article? The engine was never installed in a single operational tank. So no Tiger II ever had anything except a gasoline Maybach installed.
Not far enough. Saw a reference to the diesel somewhere else for the Tiger II, so when you ask, just did the search for that specifically. Guess Hitler didn't get his way. I still like the Tiger tanks better for the armor protection and the big gun. If you ever see a film of the inside of a tank when a round goes through it, you would too.
 

AZrailwhale

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Not far enough. Saw a reference to the diesel somewhere else for the Tiger II, so when you ask, just did the search for that specifically. Guess Hitler didn't get his way. I still like the Tiger tanks better for the armor protection and the big gun. If you ever see a film of the inside of a tank when a round goes through it, you would too.
By the time the Tiger II entered service most tanks were being killed by hollow charge warheads from rocket launchers, RPGs like the Panzerfaust and SPGs with large caliber artillery pieces mounted like the Soviet 152mm. You probably think the Maus was a good tank since it had very thick armor.
 

frigidweirdo

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It won the war so it must not have been too bad.

Well, it was part of what won the war.

Russia also helped win the war and they were exceedingly inefficient with life.

Just because you win, doesn't mean you couldn't have done better.
 

DudleySmith

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This article reviews 'best tanks by year', which is a better discussion.


I like this observation from the article:

At a time when the U.S. defense budget is grappling to pay for extremely expensive systems such as the F-35 fighter, it is worth remembering that a relatively minor design feature -- be it a two-man tank turret or a few bits of faulty software -- can make a profound difference in the actual effectiveness of a weapon. No matter how great it looks on paper.

Also see this one:


These high kill numbers are based on the claims of the German tank units, which are often accepted as accurate without criticism. When compared to the Allied losses in the same theater it is furthermore assumed that if the Allied losses approximately match the German tank units' claims, this is verification that the claims are accurate.


As will be demonstrated below, the reality was that the German units' claims were greatly exaggerated, and that the majority of Allied losses were not from German tanks or even armored vehicles in general.
 
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White 6

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Did you bother to read the article? The engine was never installed in a single operational tank. So no Tiger II ever had anything except a gasoline Maybach installed.
Yes. Finished it after you quoted it had not made it into production and fielding during the war.
 

1srelluc

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One on one a tank is as only good as it's opposition. It's just that the Germans had everyone outclassed one-on one. Even the dated but up-gunned MK-IV could kill M4A1s with little trouble. I guess that is why they stayed in production to the end of the war.

That said fast-forward to the up-gunned Firefly and it gave a very good account of itself both in late WW-II and later in the hands of the IDF.....Though the latter can be attributed more to much better training/tactics than the tank itself.
 
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Otis Mayfield

Otis Mayfield

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They started with the Maybach, but changed to the air cooled diesel because that is what Hitler wanted. As a tanker, I like the Tiger better, but if you are really into Panzers compared to Shermans:
On paper, the Panther holds an advantage in almost every category. The Panther weighed 45 tonnes compared to the Sherman’s 33 tonnes. Yet it had a much better power to weight ratio, lower ground pressure, and was more than 8 mph faster on roads. This made it more mobile in all conditions of terrain. Obviously the Panther was shielded in not just thicker frontal armor (110mm max vs 76mm), but it was also better sloped. One commonly misunderstood fact is that although the Panther hull armor was 80mm thick, it had an effectiveness of 138mm due to its 55 degree sloping. Since the vaunted Tiger had only 100mm thick armor, with no sloping, it was actually less protected in the front. Again there are numerous sources that go into further detail.
View attachment 569909
The Panther was blessed with excellent cross-country mobility and was perhaps the best riding tank of the war. It’s well sloped armor and long high velocity 75mm gun are plainly visible here.


Panthers would break down a lot. It was uncommon for them to suffer a 25% loss due to equipment malfunction.

Shermans were very reliable.
 

White 6

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Panthers would break down a lot. It was uncommon for them to suffer a 25% loss due to equipment malfunction.

Shermans were very reliable.
Like I said earlier, people been debating it for years. I'm just not a fan and when I think of tanks, I think tank on tank. I pretty well judge a tank on firepower and survivability first, the M4 rates low on both, in my opinion.
My personal tank (on loan to another unit of a completely different major command training at the same base) was hit on the firing line by a tank doing gunnery qualification down range during night fire, (Table VIII) by a target practice training round (sabot) from a 105MM tube, just above the turret ring penetrating several inch in the base of the turret and partially separating it from the turret ring itself. It knocked the tank back 6 ft, rocking it to the 5th or 6th roadwheel, the concussion ejecting the TC 15 feet behind the tank with head neck, back injuries. Gunner had broken facial bones (most of them) eye enjuries and serious concussion along with other less serious injuries. Loader got dislocated shoulder broken arm and some cuts, only the driver driver walking away unscathed. Tank was basically totaled. That's firepower, and that was just a training round. I am not a real fan of any of the ancient tanks.
 

AZrailwhale

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One on one a tank is as only good as it's opposition. It's just that the Germans had everyone outclassed one-on one. Even the dated but up-gunned MK-IV could kill M4A1s with little trouble. I guess that is why they stayed in production to the end of the war.

That said fast-forward to the up-gunned Firefly and it gave a very good account of itself both in late WW-II and later in the hands of the IDF.....Though the latter can be attributed more to much better training/tactics than the tank itself.
The Sherman could kill Panzer IVs even more easily than they could kill Sherman’s. As far as I know the IDF never used Fireflies. They started out with 75mm gun Sherman’s, then rearmed them with French 75mm guns developed from the Panther, then upgunned them again to a low recoil 105mm.
 
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Otis Mayfield

Otis Mayfield

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Like I said earlier, people been debating it for years. I'm just not a fan and when I think of tanks, I think tank on tank. I pretty well judge a tank on firepower and survivability first, the M4 rates low on both, in my opinion.
My personal tank (on loan to another unit of a completely different major command training at the same base) was hit on the firing line by a tank doing gunnery qualification down range during night fire, (Table VIII) by a target practice training round (sabot) from a 105MM tube, just above the turret ring penetrating several inch in the base of the turret and partially separating it from the turret ring itself. It knocked the tank back 6 ft, rocking it to the 5th or 6th roadwheel, the concussion ejecting the TC 15 feet behind the tank with head neck, back injuries. Gunner had broken facial bones (most of them) eye enjuries and serious concussion along with other less serious injuries. Loader got dislocated shoulder broken arm and some cuts, only the driver driver walking away unscathed. Tank was basically totaled. That's firepower, and that was just a training round. I am not a real fan of any of the ancient tanks.

During Panther v. M4 engagements the Panther had a 1.1:1 advantage while on the defensive, however the M4 had an 8.4:1 advantage while on the offensive. Overall the M4 was 3.6 times as effective in combat versus the Panther.



This guy proves the Panther was better on the defensive.

The Sherman was better on the offensive.
 

White 6

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During Panther v. M4 engagements the Panther had a 1.1:1 advantage while on the defensive, however the M4 had an 8.4:1 advantage while on the offensive. Overall the M4 was 3.6 times as effective in combat versus the Panther.



This guy proves the Panther was better on the defensive.

The Sherman was better on the offensive.
That's a nice advantage, depending on who and how the calculation is done, and since the advantage on offensive, rather than defensive, would indeed tilt highly in the direction of the M4. I understand the evolution of Armour very well and why design variant upgrades were made at every turn. I regard the M4 as OK for the day, but a "make do" from start to finish. I regard it's biggest advantage was the speed at which it was produced in quantity and rushed to the battlefield, like a tactical plan, an OK plan today is far better than an excellent plan a year from now. You could say, I may be prejudiced from being in the trade, so to speak, regarding all iterations of armor before as junk, knowing the drawbacks and shortcomings of design and function, having seen "the end of the movie" or latest design of the time, first and glad I never had to ride one those antiques. It's a skewed view, to be sure.
I could also add, as a young Lt, I had a 70 something year old friend, that liked to talk about tanks and tank engagements of world war II, as he was tanker in Patton's Army and he considered them junk.
 
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Otis Mayfield

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That's a nice advantage, depending on who and how the calculation is done, and since the advantage on offensive, rather than defensive, would indeed tilt highly in the direction of the M4. I understand the evolution of Armour very well and why design variant upgrades were made at every turn. I regard the M4 as OK for the day, but a "make do" from start to finish. I regard it's biggest advantage was the speed at which it was produced in quantity and rushed to the battlefield, like a tactical plan, an OK plan today is far better than an excellent plan a year from now. You could say, I may be prejudiced from being in the trade, so to speak, regarding all iterations of armor before as junk, knowing the drawbacks and shortcomings of design and function, having seen "the end of the movie" or latest design of the time, first and glad I never had to ride one those antiques. It's a skewed view, to be sure.
I could also add, as a young Lt, I had a 70 something year old friend, that liked to talk about tanks and tank engagements of world war II, as he was tanker in Patton's Army and he considered them junk.

Sherman had a gyro stabilized main gun. I believe it was only on the vertical. But it was the only WWII to have such a thing.

Sherman had 3.6 inches of sloped fontal armor.

Panther had 80mm or 3.1 but that was sloped also, so it would've been like 4.5 inches.

Panther was good, but it was expensive and broke down a lot. It wasn't that much better than the Sherman.



 
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White 6

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Sherman had a gyro stabilized main gun. I believe it was only on the vertical. But it was the only WWII to have such a thing.

Sherman had 3.6 inches of sloped fontal armor.

Panther had 80mm or 3.1 but that was sloped also, so it would've been like 4.5 inches.

Panther was good, but it was expensive and broke down a lot. It wasn't that much better than the Sherman.



The gyro stabilization thing is a surprise. It certainly wasn't a fire on the move and hit target capable machine unless possibly driving straight down a heavy-duty hardstand highway directly toward a sitting target. Neither were the later Patton tanks for that matter, but was going in the right direction. Effective stabilization did not really become effective for shooting on the move on broken terrain before the M60A3. M60A1 RISE had it pretty good, but still not there.
 
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Otis Mayfield

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The gyro stabilization thing is a surprise. It certainly wasn't a fire on the move and hit target capable machine unless possibly driving straight down a heavy-duty hardstand highway directly toward a sitting target. Neither were the later Patton tanks for that matter, but was going in the right direction. Effective stabilization did not really become effective for shooting on the move on broken terrain before the M60A3. M60A1 RISE had it pretty good, but still not there.


One feature, a one-axis gyrostabilizer, was not precise enough to allow firing when moving but did help keep the gun aimed in roughly the right direction for when the tank stopped to fire.

 

White 6

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One feature, a one-axis gyrostabilizer, was not precise enough to allow firing when moving but did help keep the gun aimed in roughly the right direction for when the tank stopped to fire.

What we had with the M60A3 and all M1 since then was fairly precise stabilization control on all three axis, accounting for vertical, horizontal, angular cant, wind, barometric pressure, temperature of the barrel, moving over battlefield terrain or stationary, combined with high power optics, passive image intensification that can turn night to day, precises laser range finding, combined with an advance ballistic computer imparting super elevation dependent on all the above that flight trajectory of the variety of rounds carried for different purposes almost guaranteeing first hit (easily exceeding the ranges listed in the manuals or published info), if the gun was properly bore scoped and zeroed. Easy to see my disdain for the antiques.
 

Zincwarrior

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The Sherman tank was symbolic of the almost criminal unpreparedness of the U.S. for war in the mid 30's.
While the US had minimal inventory in teh way of armor, it continued to develop its tanks. As a reminder, the Army is almost irrelevant in the 1930s in the way of protecting the US from threats. That was the job of the USN (and to an extent hoped for by the ASAAC). The USN was quite excellent, and with the execution of the Two Oceans Act began building a fleet that was more powerful than anything in history, and that was BEFORE its entry into the war.
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.
We had multiple unofficial ties to the UK and France, then the UK. Espionage no, bu we were a major armaments supplier. This led to little things like the P51's original development and design.

The Sherman looked good and everybody was satisfied with it's development but it couldn't stand up to the German tanks.
Except...historically it never had a recorded engagement of losing to Panthers. Its armor, layout, communications, 75mm, and ease of repairability were second to none when it came out, and remained better than every German tank. Shermans, faced troops, artillery, STUGs, and PZ IVs. The big cats were almost statistically nonexistent and their effectiveness a wehraboo fantasy.
 

Zincwarrior

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Against the Panthers and Tigers it was outclassed, but against the Pzkw IV's it was just fine.
Only outclassed if they were stupid and tried to fight them in open country at 2,000 yards. With rare exception, this was not the terrain of Western Europe. In actual engagements the US did quite excellently against them, absolutely obliterating German Panther thrusts in July.
 

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The IDF used the Super Sherman in the 1967 and 73 wars. it was upgraded with a 105mm gun better turrets and diesel engines. It proved more than a match for the Soviet T-55 in battles.
 

DudleySmith

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As a reminder, the Army is almost irrelevant in the 1930s in the way of protecting the US from threats. That was the job of the USN (and to an extent hoped for by the ASAAC). The USN was quite excellent, and with the execution of the Two Oceans Act began building a fleet that was more powerful than anything in history, and that was BEFORE its entry into the war.

Off topic a bit but the main reason Army couldn't get mass produced diesels was because the Navy had dibs on diesel engine production throughout the war. FDR being a former Navy officer and Secretary made Navy even more of the Darlings of Congress. Not saying that was all bad, especially considering their primary role as first line in both the Pacific and Atlantic, but they had a decided leg up when it came to politics and allotting production and civilian manufacturing allocations. Bombers also came first in the Army's production schedule; didn't leave a lot of room for the rest down the line.
 

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