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M4 Sherman "The Right Tank for the Wrong War"

Дата: 14.09.2017 00:16:45
View PostBlazeZero, on Sep 13 2017 - 20:10, said:   Ultimately one of the chief design principles of the M4 was the fact that we had an ocean between any perceived frontline and the production lines correct? Do you think the simple existence of an ocean, more than the "safety" of said ocean as you said here, is more why we went with the M4 instead of a more complicated design like the Christie tanks and by evolution, the T-34? You can adjust or evolve the tank as needed (as they did) but first you have to have the damn thing there.   I have a mildly tangential question to pose though. Many countries watched what happened in the Spanish Civil War with respect to armor interaction very closely. We know the Germans and Soviets learned quite a bit from that conflict and those lessons colored their tank designs moving forward. Do you think the US learned the same lessons or rather came to the same conclusions or did they see the future of armored fighting becoming something else?

The_Chieftain:   Correct. But it was no only a matter of getting the tank itself there, as you can weld lifting eyes to a T-34 as easily as an M2 Medium. It was also a matter of getting all the supporting infrastructure. The cranes, spare parts, etc that are used to repair the tanks and keep them going, which also must all be shipped over. Especially when you cannot return a tank to the depot, as the Soviets could if they wanted to (And the Germans certainly did).Which is easier to box up and ship out to a field unit, a Christie suspension system unit, or a bogie? And when you get there, the longer a tank can run without need for resupply, for example, the better. Ammunition capacity was a constant, significant concern for US tank designers. It reduced the number of trucks required to keep up with the tanks and allowed a tank to stay in the line longer, reducing overall need.   I'm not sure quite how much the Spanish civil war affected thinking of tank design, honestly. I've never looked into it.  

View PostFlaxin_Waxin, on Sep 13 2017 - 20:36, said: The T-34 wasn't really the best because it was superior in technical characteristics...quite the opposite in fact. If you take a look at surviving T-34s up close and then look at something like a Panther or Tiger, you can see a massive difference. The T-34 was cheap and easy to produce en masse, like a lot of Soviet weaponry at the time. One-on-one against a German tank such as a PzKpfw. IV...I'm not sure it would win. The standard T-34 or T-34-76 was easily superior to the Panzer III though, which was the main competition at the time. Even when the Panthers and Tigers came around...there were just so many T-34s and Shermans. The German tanks were far superior in technical stats, but the numbers were skewed. It was never Tiger vs. Sherman or Panther vs. T-34. It was 1 Tiger vs. 5 Shermans, or 1 Panther vs 10 T-34s. In the end, I guess it ended up being sheer numbers that made the T-34 so effective, it was just so cheap to produce.   The case could be made that Germany could have done far better just making more PzKpfw. IV tanks rather than the more expensive V  and VI varieties.

The_Chieftain:   Hmm... I would argue that in two ways. One, T-34 was a 1939/40 design. It is not reasonable to compare it with a 1943 design when we're talking about how good a tank was in 1940/41. As for the second line, the Germans never had the production capability to make enough Panzer IVs to counter the Allied forces. They had no choice but to attempt to redress the numerical differential in part by superior individual pieces of equipment. The problem was that although they attempted to build those superior pieces of equipment, they simply were not able to achieve tanks which were, in truth, superior. They had too many design flaws, some of which are incomprehensible (eg gunner's optics, size of turret), some were arguable either way (eg interleaved roadwheels), and some were simply an attempt to achieve a capability which the technology available simply could not meet (eg sufficient reliability for a vehicle of the weight)  

Quote Interesting side note on Torsion Bar development ... is this accurate Chieftain?

The_Chieftain:  As Mr Dyer observes, just where the idea to move to torsion bar development came from is a bit disputed. Some think 'copied from the Germans', some think 'taken from the Soviets', and some think 'home-grown'. There appears to be no evidence to conclusively support any theory.   Note that torsion bars were not universally supported even in Germany. Some German designers were very hoarding of even those could of inches of internal room which torsion bars took up, and is why the Panzer IV retained the bogies all the way through. It's not as if they didn't know about torsion bars, see Pz III or the half-tracks. They just didn't agree at the time that it was worth it.

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