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Old 17th October 2018, 04:11 PM   #441
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
Which is not what they were supposed to do. They were to be used as 'Super Cruisers' Capable of overwhelming enemy cruisers and smaller ships and fast enough to run away from anything capable of sinking them.

On paper this is good but by the time they were in service battleships were appearing nearly as fast as they were and everyone had battlecruisers.


They were white elephants from the start.
But at Jutland, both sides used them as scouting forces - and they clashed.

And the same at Dogger Bank.

I actually agree with you - but at these two battles they were used against each other.
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Old 17th October 2018, 06:06 PM   #442
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Here's the battleship thread, lets move the discussion there.
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Old 18th October 2018, 01:59 AM   #443
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
Which is not what they were supposed to do. They were to be used as 'Super Cruisers' Capable of overwhelming enemy cruisers and smaller ships and fast enough to run away from anything capable of sinking them.

On paper this is good but by the time they were in service battleships were appearing nearly as fast as they were and everyone had battlecruisers.


They were white elephants from the start.
Their task (when used during major sea battles) was tor scout for the main battlefleet and deny the enmies scouts the same for their battlefleet. And when encountering enemy cruisers to be able to overwhelm that cruiser screen.

This they did well enough during the Battle of Jutland (even despite the criminal incompetence of Beatty's flag officer).
Better at least than the 1st cruiser squadron of admiral Arbutnoth, which lost three of the four cruisers in trying to screen Jellicoes Battlefleet.

Besides. It's not that battlecruisers tended to blow up if you look at them a bit sternly.
During the entire Great War, HMS Lion was hit with a total of 29 battleship calibre shells (sixteen during Doggerbank and thirteen during Jutland). Which is quite respectable.

Discarding power safety in order to speed up gunnery was a stupid move though. A move which can be squarely put in Beatty's lap.
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Old 18th October 2018, 12:06 PM   #444
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See reply in the other thread!
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Old 21st October 2018, 12:39 PM   #445
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To return to tanks, though, since I heard another source calling Ferdinand Porsche the great tank designer or such, let me return to the Porsche Tiger. Namely, let me count the ways in which it was actually a bloody stupid design that not only wasn't even considering what the army actually needed, it wasn't even in the same universe. Porsche was basically operating in his own gaga universe in his head.

1. It needed literally tons of copper, when Germany had a massive shortage of it. But, wait, it gets worse.

2. It's not even well designed electric motors. The wire gauge isn't nearly enough for the power needed to move the behemoth, so they overheat very quickly when pushed to the limit on rough terrain and can spontaneously catch fire. But, wait, it gets worse.

3. To his credit, he does think about cooling, and there are plates with vents above the electric stuff, for the hot air to go through. Against his credit, they let rain water drip into the coils. As you expect, electricity and water don't exactly mix well. You know the refrain by now, it gets worse.

4. The electric engines may have been bad, but to make up for it, the petrol engine that Porsche designed for the tank doesn't actually work, either. So they need to be given two Maybach engines instead for the later Ferdinand conversion.

5. To keep the centre of gravity somewhere even remotely sane, the layout of the hull is: driver compartment, petrol engine, fighting compartment, electric motors. It actually has physically separate compartments for the driver and for the turret basket. (No, really, check out the layout of the Ferdinand.) Which among other things means you can't move crew around if one has become incapacitated, nor have ANY means of talking to your driver if the radio breaks.

Bit of trivia: the Ferdinand actually had 2 guys in the front compartment, even though it didn't actually have the originally planned bow machinegun for that second guy to operate. The machinegun gets added back later, when they turn the remaining Ferdinands into Elephants. (Yeah, they actually changed the designation to take Porsche's name off them)

6. Everything is air cooled, which partially explains the tendency to overheat, but with that layout it also means that it can seriously heat up the fighting compartment, which is sandwiched between the overheating petrol engine and the overheating electric motors. Basically if you thought the Covenanter was bad in that aspect... yeah, the Porsche Tiger was worse.

7. But Porsche isn't content to screw up just the engine and drive train. He makes up for the bad engine by also designing a bad new suspension, with longitudinal torsion bars instead of the usual transversal ones. Now just like the petrol-electric drive, the idea isn't bad per se, and I'm sure other people could make it work. Problem is: Porsche can't. His borks up all the time. Not the least of its problems being that it's mounted under the tank and actually has much less ground clearance than the tank, so it's quite trivial to drive your suspension directly into a rock and break it.

... and yet so sure is Porsche of his creation, that he orders 100 hulls built in advance. He's that sure that the army will pick his dud. (Some 90 of them are the hulls that later will be converted into the Ferdinand.)
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Old 21st October 2018, 12:48 PM   #446
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Maybe it was simply sabotage ..
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Old 21st October 2018, 12:49 PM   #447
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You know, come to think of it, that's probably the sanest explanation I've heard so far.
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Old 21st October 2018, 01:06 PM   #448
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
You know, come to think of it, that's probably the sanest explanation I've heard so far.
Porsche always always had a hard-on for air cooled engines (especially boxer engines). Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.
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Old 21st October 2018, 01:08 PM   #449
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For those interested in the Ferdinand. This is one

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Old 21st October 2018, 01:39 PM   #450
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Pretty much all of the German AFVs past the PzIV had teething problems, most of which were never solved. Porsche wasn’t that much different than the Panther developers or the Maus boys. Authoritarian regimes tend to have industrialists more interests in padding their beds that producing effective stuff. Nazi Germany just had more glorious looking stuff at the end, I.e. big tanks that impress people with their paper stats.
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Old 21st October 2018, 01:46 PM   #451
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Actually, my point is that it was far worse a design than the other tanks at the time. If nothing else, you can compare it to the Henschel Tiger designed at the same time, and which was the one actually accepted into production. Sure, it had its own mechanical issues, and one can argue whether it was worth the price, but it was still WAAY better than Porsche's nonsense.
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Old 21st October 2018, 01:50 PM   #452
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
To return to tanks, though, since I heard another source calling Ferdinand Porsche the great tank designer or such, let me return to the Porsche Tiger. Namely, let me count the ways in which it was actually a bloody stupid design that not only wasn't even considering what the army actually needed, it wasn't even in the same universe. Porsche was basically operating in his own gaga universe in his head.

1. It needed literally tons of copper, when Germany had a massive shortage of it. But, wait, it gets worse.

2. It's not even well designed electric motors. The wire gauge isn't nearly enough for the power needed to move the behemoth, so they overheat very quickly when pushed to the limit on rough terrain and can spontaneously catch fire. But, wait, it gets worse.

3. To his credit, he does think about cooling, and there are plates with vents above the electric stuff, for the hot air to go through. Against his credit, they let rain water drip into the coils. As you expect, electricity and water don't exactly mix well. You know the refrain by now, it gets worse.

4. The electric engines may have been bad, but to make up for it, the petrol engine that Porsche designed for the tank doesn't actually work, either. So they need to be given two Maybach engines instead for the later Ferdinand conversion.

5. To keep the centre of gravity somewhere even remotely sane, the layout of the hull is: driver compartment, petrol engine, fighting compartment, electric motors. It actually has physically separate compartments for the driver and for the turret basket. (No, really, check out the layout of the Ferdinand.) Which among other things means you can't move crew around if one has become incapacitated, nor have ANY means of talking to your driver if the radio breaks.

Bit of trivia: the Ferdinand actually had 2 guys in the front compartment, even though it didn't actually have the originally planned bow machinegun for that second guy to operate. The machinegun gets added back later, when they turn the remaining Ferdinands into Elephants. (Yeah, they actually changed the designation to take Porsche's name off them)

6. Everything is air cooled, which partially explains the tendency to overheat, but with that layout it also means that it can seriously heat up the fighting compartment, which is sandwiched between the overheating petrol engine and the overheating electric motors. Basically if you thought the Covenanter was bad in that aspect... yeah, the Porsche Tiger was worse.

7. But Porsche isn't content to screw up just the engine and drive train. He makes up for the bad engine by also designing a bad new suspension, with longitudinal torsion bars instead of the usual transversal ones. Now just like the petrol-electric drive, the idea isn't bad per se, and I'm sure other people could make it work. Problem is: Porsche can't. His borks up all the time. Not the least of its problems being that it's mounted under the tank and actually has much less ground clearance than the tank, so it's quite trivial to drive your suspension directly into a rock and break it.

... and yet so sure is Porsche of his creation, that he orders 100 hulls built in advance. He's that sure that the army will pick his dud. (Some 90 of them are the hulls that later will be converted into the Ferdinand.)
Wasn't some of that the whole German problem writ large? Certainly with regards to designing weapons systems that are far more expensive in scarce resources for their effectiveness?
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Old 21st October 2018, 01:53 PM   #453
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At the time the options for large, powerful internal combustion engines was limited and they weren't hugely reliable (look at the problems with Panthers and especially tiger 2)
Also take in to account the most complex part of a tank is the gearbox and drive system.
Using electric motors has it's attractions.
Given enough time and resources an effective electric drive system could have been developed.
Unfortunately both were in short supply at the time.
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Old 21st October 2018, 01:54 PM   #454
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
For those interested in the Ferdinand. This is one

http://i821.photobucket.com/albums/z...pswgonoved.jpg
Helluva' job, Swoopy!! Are those actual metal tracks? Or did you metalfy them?
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Old 21st October 2018, 01:58 PM   #455
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That's a very old model, I built that way back in the 90s. They are plastic tracks but individual links.

I don't have the model anymore. I tend to give them away after a while.
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Old 21st October 2018, 01:59 PM   #456
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Well, partially. Yes, all German tanks were mechanically unreliable to various degrees, and I'm certainly not gonna go fanboy about any of them. But Porsche had gone off the deep end even by German standards. The proof of the pudding being in the eating: they could find a contemporary design that was better than his, and more than once at that.

Not only that, but if intelligence is the ability to learn and apply, by now he just can't learn any more. He does the EXACT same mistakes in his Tiger II and Maus attempts. Not just his insistence on going with a petrol-electric drive that he STILL can't make work, but even his suspension has the EXACT same problems in both of those. As in, after borking it once with the Tiger I, the second time with the Tiger II, by the Maus his suspension is the third time having the same problem and actually worse. The Maus could literally shear off its suspension on rough terrain, by dragging it against that rough terrain.

And to focus on just that: look at any tank suspension you wish. German, Soviet, British, American, hell, even Italian or Japanese. For anything stationary to actually hit the suspension, it has to go through the track or hull. Porsche's suspension on the other hand makes actually possible to drive the suspension into a rock that doesn't intersect the hull or track at any point.

So no, that's not typical even for the other German tanks, unreliable as they were anyway.
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Old 21st October 2018, 02:01 PM   #457
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
At the time the options for large, powerful internal combustion engines was limited and they weren't hugely reliable (look at the problems with Panthers and especially tiger 2)
Also take in to account the most complex part of a tank is the gearbox and drive system.
Using electric motors has it's attractions.
Given enough time and resources an effective electric drive system could have been developed.
Unfortunately both were in short supply at the time.
That was the problem. The Germans were always going for the Fail Mary. Mechanical fuel injection for the BF109, rockets, doodlebugs, the V-3 cannon, Gustav et. al.
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Old 21st October 2018, 02:04 PM   #458
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Originally Posted by Elagabalus View Post
That was the problem. The Germans were always going for the Fail Mary. Mechanical fuel injection for the BF109, rockets, doodlebugs, the V-3 cannon, Gustav et. al.
Ah, that's a more concise way of putting it than mine.
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Old 21st October 2018, 02:09 PM   #459
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May I point out though, that Porsche had more than enough time and resources for that. He actually started work on his heavy tank in advance of the order for Tigers and continued hammering on that idea even after the Henschel Tiger was chosen in early '42. Speer had to personally tell him to stop in IIRC September '42. But he continues with his idea through the Tiger II and then Maus design, all the way to the end of 1944.

Honestly, if you can't make it work between the end of '41 and the end of '44, a whole 3 years, then no, you can't make it work. Or not in time for it to be of any use in WW2. At some point you have to take a break, look reality in the eyes, and make the conventional tank that the army wanted. Keep the experimental drives and suspensions in the lab for now, you know?

I mean, sure, other people could make it work. Hell, the French even managed to produce a petrol-electric drive on a tank in the FIRST world war. But Porsche sure as heck couldn't.
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Old 21st October 2018, 02:10 PM   #460
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The Porsche design for the Tiger 2 was quite good. it's longitudinal torsion bars made for a lot easier repair than the transverse system used on other german tanks and didn't take up internal space. Rear placement of the turret with mid mounted engine was a good idea. It put the engine closer to the transmission and drive wheels and got rid of the drive shaft running through the fighting compartment.
Quite a few modern AFVs use a mid mounted engine and rear fighting compartment Israel have used it for several generations of their Merkava.
Only one prototype had the electric drive system.
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Old 21st October 2018, 02:18 PM   #461
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Err... not for the Porsche version.

For a start, there was no drive shaft to the wheels. The engine would turn a pair of generators, and the only thing going to the drive wheels were cables. Furthermore the actual drive wheels on a Porsche Tiger were the REAR ones, driven by those electric motors in the rear. So even if you ripped those off and replaced them with a drive shaft, it still made no frikken sense to move the engine towards the front.

So basically yes, that layout CAN work, but not for the tank Porsche designed. You could say, I suppose, that it's the right position for the wrong tank, but that still makes it wrong when you consider the whole tank.

Longitudinal torsion bars, as I was saying, it's not a bad idea per se, and I'm sure someone else could make it work. But Porsche's design still had the fundamental flaw I mentioned before. Sure, it was easy to access, but at the same time it was incredibly easy to damage by just driving the tank cross country.

Basically what I'm saying is that good ideas are worthless without a good implementation. Lots of people have ideas. But the measure of a good engineer is making them work. Sure, some of Porsche's ideas weren't bad per se, and I'm sure other people could make good implementations of them, but HIS implementation sucked ass.
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Old 21st October 2018, 02:33 PM   #462
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One Porsche version had a gasoline-electric drive the others had hydraulic drive.
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Old 21st October 2018, 03:08 PM   #463
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Duly noted, he tried that for the Tiger 2 too, and it still worked worse than the alternative. That guy was at that point like a reverse king Midas. He could take a gold idea and turn it into crap

Then promptly went back to the petrol-electric drive for the Maus
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Old 22nd October 2018, 05:16 AM   #464
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I recall reading some time ago that at Kursk the Ferdinands had to fire a machine gun through the main gun barrel to try to keep Russian infantry from getting too close.

Maybe I'm misremembering
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Old 22nd October 2018, 12:58 PM   #465
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Yep. That's what charging ahead of the infantry and not having ANY machinegun does.
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Old 22nd October 2018, 04:51 PM   #466
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Yep. That's what charging ahead of the infantry and not having ANY machinegun does.
Thank you! Apparently I wasn't misremembering!
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