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M4 Sherman "The Right Tank for the Wrong War"

Дата: 12.09.2017 08:53:57
View PostIkanator, on Sep 11 2017 - 19:40, said:   Well, it couldn't have been WWI. Advances in tank design and construction after WWII limited its later use. And regardless of whatever you might think of its tactical limitations there was an extent to which the logistics factors that effectively put limits on its weight and size overrode other considerations. As the Germans found out to their dismay what were arguably the best tanks in the world at that time were pretty much useless if you couldn't get enough of them to where the battles were being fought.   Also, if I understand things correctly, there was a problem with our doctrine. Tanks were not seen initially as primary anti-tank platforms. That role was to be filled by anti-tank guns and dedicated tank destroyer formations using specialty vehicles. Tanks were to be used for infantry support, and more importantly making and exploiting breakthroughs in weak sections of an enemy line. The Germans did not have such doctrinal hang ups and did not have to worry about making their tanks small and light enough to be easily shipped on freighters and railroad cars to get where they were going. So it is not too surprising that they could get tanks that were better one on one in an anti-tank role than an M4 was.   When all is said and done at the end of the day it comes down to the saying that I have heard attributed variously to either Lenin or Stalin. "Quantity has a quality all its own". The problem is that if you're relying on the quantity side of that divide then you have to be willing and able to take some serious lumps if necessary. We did so. We produced overwhelming numbers of M4s compared to what the Germans could produce of their designs and we were able to get them where we needed them and keep them supplied. The Germans' quality advantage was not sufficient to overcome that and so while they were able to "win" various tank vs tank engagements, they also lost more tanks than they could afford to and thus the war as a whole.   Could we have produced a heavier tank? We had the Pershing, we just did not have it in large numbers. The Pershing based on what I have heard was able to fill the tank vs tank role pretty well. Then the question becomes, if we had attempted to seriously mass produce the Pershing instead of the M4, could we have gotten enough of them where we needed them to actually get the job done that needed to be done? That's the question that I can't answer. I don't know the extent to which logistical considerations would have limited the Pershing's ability to be shipped in large enough numbers to have been the primary tank that we used. But I would be willing to bet a cold beer that given what I have heard about problems with shipping controlling the design of the M4 we might not have been able to get enough Pershings into the European theater fast enough to have made the Normandy breakout if not even the landings themselves possible.

The_Chieftain:   You don't need to risk your cold beer. I have written fairly extensively on the subject (as well as spoken), and there is no way that Pershing could have shown in numbers which would have been relevant to the war.

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