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Old 21st November 2017, 02:50 PM   #41
HansMustermann
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Oh, there are earlier examples all right. I was just saying there are more recent, and that one doesn't have to be a historian to know about. But yeah, it sure goes both ways on the time axis.

Edit: I mean, it's even in Sun Tzu's The Art Of War, and that's, what, 6'th centur BCE? Plus I think they still teach it in military academies.

Edit 2: Or since we're talking the USA, and stuff they kinda should know about, Washington used guerilla tactics against the British. I'm pretty sure they're still proud of him and the whole war there, so you'd expect them to know about it.
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Old 21st November 2017, 08:05 PM   #42
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I think it is important to remember that the Generals are usually not totally in control of the armed forces and even less in control of when, where and how wars are fought. The armed forces are usually a part of a political system and it is generally the politicians who control when and where war is fought. Not to mention that the armed forces themselves are rife with politics. Generals do not get to freely pick and choose their armies from a box to make the armed forces what they want. Sometimes there simply is not enough money.

This may lead to situations where armies are sent against an enemy they are technologically and doctrinally unprepared for. Or it might mean that the armed forces do not get the equipment they need for the 'next' war, because there is no political will to move away from the stuff that worked so well the previous war. Or that an obsolete part of the armed forces still gets inordinate funding simply because it is old and prestigious.
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Old 23rd November 2017, 06:56 AM   #43
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True enough, sadly enough.
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Old 23rd November 2017, 07:06 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by BNRT View Post
I think it is important to remember that the Generals are usually not totally in control of the armed forces and even less in control of when, where and how wars are fought. The armed forces are usually a part of a political system and it is generally the politicians who control when and where war is fought. Not to mention that the armed forces themselves are rife with politics. Generals do not get to freely pick and choose their armies from a box to make the armed forces what they want. Sometimes there simply is not enough money.

This may lead to situations where armies are sent against an enemy they are technologically and doctrinally unprepared for. Or it might mean that the armed forces do not get the equipment they need for the 'next' war, because there is no political will to move away from the stuff that worked so well the previous war. Or that an obsolete part of the armed forces still gets inordinate funding simply because it is old and prestigious.
Which is why Rumsfeld was right when he said “You go to war with the army you have” for which statement he was roundly and ignorantly castigated.
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Old 23rd November 2017, 07:28 AM   #45
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I don't remember anyone challenging the validity of the statement, which basically is a truism anyway. He was criticized because

1. that truism didn't really answer the question of what's being made to remedy the situation, and was considered a flippant answer, and

2. As the defense minister for more than 3 years at that point, the army he had was HIS responsibility in the first place. AND

3. as both defense minister AND as one of the foremost supporters of the Iraq invasion, it was his job to know if the army he has is up to the task. He WANTED to have that war with that army.

Basically, you get to use doing X with the Y you have as an excuse, IF and only IF you got that from somewhere else. You don't get to use it as an excuse if you're the one who was in charge of getting the Y for the job in the first place, AND the one who wanted to do X with it in the first place.

E.g., I could use "eh, you get to race with the car you get" if someone else made me enter a F1 race in a VW bug, but not if I'm the one who bought the car and the one who wanted to enter it in the first place. If that's the latter case, then it's what makes it MY epic fail, not something I get to use as an excuse.

Same with Rumsfeld and the unprotected trucks in Iraq. He had three years at that point of being the one who could get them armoured or not, AND he was the one who had proposed going to war with that equipment.

Sure, his statement that you go to war with the army you have is still a truism, and thus true, but he doesn't get to use it as an excuse when he was in charge of both parts of that equation.
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Old 23rd November 2017, 09:41 AM   #46
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I can only partly agree, and I am not a Rumsfeld fan. First, I do recall the castigation for you he statement itself, which was my point. As to the rest, the most damning point you make is the one with which I agree i.e., he wanted the war. I don’t fault him so much as you do for not knowing what the war its of would take, first because the generals were at least somewhat in agreement, and second because that part of the war he expected is the part that was won. It was the failure to plan for the post-victory conditions that spawned the war we lost.
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Old 23rd November 2017, 11:18 AM   #47
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Well, if you remember me here at all, you'll know that the question whether you're a Rumsfeld fan or not didn't even enter my mind. It doesn't matter, really. You either have a point, or you don't. That's all that matters.

From a pragmatic point of view, I'll be damned if I'm going to remember that kind of details about 100+ people on a forum. There are more interesting things to learn than who's leaning towards which side of the political spectrum, or hawk vs dove spectrum or whatever. Well, unless you were actually a general in that war, and got to make some decision where that mattered, anyway.

That said, yes he was technically criticized for making that statement, but as I was saying, he wasn't criticized for the statement coming across as false, but for it coming across as flippant and as trying to distance himself from his own responsibility. There's a difference. I don't recall anyone actually saying that no, you do get to pick your wish army, presumably in some Warhammer-style point system.

It also doesn't help that later he claimed that, no, see, it wasn't REALLY a question from a soldier, it was some mysterious unnamed liberal media reporter that made the soldier ask that. If there's a guaranteed way to bring that statement back into the public eye AND be associated with it as a responsibility-dodging weasel, that would be it.

So, yes, the statement can be correct, and IS correct -- as I was saying, it's a truism -- but one can still say it at the awfully wrong time and place.

But all things considered, well, IMHO the best thing he could have done is stick to the facts and don't try to distance himself from his own responsibility. Just admit he didn't foresee what he was going to need that army for. I for one can respect that. And for Pete's sake, skip the speculations about who made the soldier ask what.
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Old 23rd November 2017, 03:36 PM   #48
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Hmmm... not sure why the emphasis on being a Rumsfeld fan. I was not implying you thought I was but rather placing my mild defense of Rummy in context. And I understand the distinction you are making about the criticism of Rumsfeld; I simply disagree with you that there was only the one type. I remember criticism precisely along the lines you say did not occur.
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Old 24th November 2017, 01:10 AM   #49
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Hmm, well, I guess the IQ curve goes a long way both ways from the centre. I suppose I wouldn't be entirely surprised if someone somewhere said something stupid.
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Old 25th November 2017, 02:04 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post

As for the tank being a good design... seriously? You're just winding me up, right?
Despite Britain having invented the tank, British tank designs were generally pretty awful - until 1945, when they finally came up with a tank that was a match for the German Panther.
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Old 25th November 2017, 02:37 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by TX50 View Post
Despite Britain having invented the tank, British tank designs were generally pretty awful - until 1945, when they finally came up with a tank that was a match for the German Panther.
You mean, completely unreliable & breaking down and needing a brand new engine every thousand miles?
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Old 25th November 2017, 02:51 PM   #52
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It looks like both the french and the germans did not quite prepare for the last war, but did draw rather heavily on what they had seen as working for them in the last one.

Respectively the methodically battle and infiltration techniques turned into blitzkrieg.

For the french the war was over before they got their thumbs out, and the germans somehow again overlooked the bit about taking on the whole world.
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Old 25th November 2017, 03:42 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by Octavo View Post
Ah yes, you mean Lord Kitchener's Scorched Earth policy and the British invention of concentration camps that ended in the death of 28 000 people? Mostly women and children? That doctrine?
The British didn't "invent" concentration camps. The concept and practice of segregating civilians is ancient. In the late 19th century the Spanish had put Cubans into camps and thousands died of disease, malnutrition etc . The USA had created concentration camps (actually calling them that) for Phillipinos in 1900 and again thousands died.

There was an outcry from the British people at the time about the camps in South Africa. It was because of that that the government were forced to change their policy and conditions were improved.
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Old 26th November 2017, 05:01 AM   #54
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Originally Posted by Giz View Post
You mean, completely unreliable & breaking down and needing a brand new engine every thousand miles?
Nah, since we're talking about being a match for the Panther, that's EXACTLY what the British already did with the early Crusader tanks. E.g., the Crusader III.
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Old 26th November 2017, 09:59 AM   #55
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Originally Posted by Giz View Post
You mean, completely unreliable & breaking down and needing a brand new engine every thousand miles?
Don't forget randomly catching on fire when being loaded on or off trains.

Which it needed to do for any travel further than 25km since the final drive had a lifespan of about 150km.
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Old 26th November 2017, 06:30 PM   #56
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British tanks were rubbish up until the Sherman came in to service, it was built in the USA but had been designed with a lot of input from a British specification gleaned from experience early in the war.
Our tanks were rubbish for a variety of historic reasons. Mainly, lack a lack of focus in the design (There were two different tank design committees on the go as well as the original 'Landships' committee already mentioned in this thread as 'the Old Guard' responsible for the TOG)
A limit on width and weight was imposed so they could be rail transported within the UK loading gauge and use existing tank transporters.
Quality was sometimes dubious as they were built under contract by private industry and because of the low contract prices the only companies that wanted the contracts were those with spare capacity and no other work, they tended not to be the best choice for building tanks (For example the London Midland Scottish Railway took one of the contracts to keep their locomotive and wagon works going when there wasn't enough work building rolling stock).
Vickers designed tanks that were sold to the Army (Valentine) but their designs always had one eye on export so they were built down to a price.
When the war started the doctrine of separate 'infantry' and 'cruiser' tanks was starting to blur and relax but the vehicles available were very much stuck in those roles. Sherman was the first tank that was 'universal' and armed with a general purpose gun that could fire HE or AP. Strangely the Matilda that was supposed to be an Infantry tank was armed with an AP gun and didn't have a hull machine gun, more evidence of muddled thinking.
Reliability was a problem with all designs apart from the Matilda, this was down to the engine used in the main designs being based on the old WW1 'Liberty' aero engine and putting tanks in to production off the drawing board to speed their introduction and doing without prototypes.
This effectively made every tank a prototype and in the case of the Churchill led to them being withdrawn and re-engineered.
Cromwell was the first decent tank to enter service from British production. It was fast, well armoured and had a GP gun (chambered to take Sherman ammo)
It had the same level of protection as a late model PZ IV and it was reliable (it's engine was a re-engineered Rolls Royce Merlin renamed 'Meteor' it powered every British tank design up to the Chieftain in the late 60s and is still in use in some Centurions around the world)
It became the mainstay of the recon regiments up to the end of the war.
Comet tanks were in service before the end of the war, these were improved Cromwells armed with a 17pdr gun as standard and the first Centurion prototypes were on their way to the front when the war ended.

If you can find it read 'The Great Tank Scandal: British Armour in the Second World War Part 1 ' and 'The Universal Tank: British Armour in the Second World War part 2'
by David Fletcher (Curator of the Tank Museum at Bovington)

they are the definitive works on the subject. For a background try and get his book 'Mechanised Force' which covers British tank development and doctrine between the wars.

He is also the author of 'Landships: British Tanks in the First World War.'

All are Tank Museum publications printed and published by HMSO (Her Majesties Stationary Office the official govt printing company)

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Old 27th November 2017, 01:37 AM   #57
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Matilda II was fairly good design against early German weapons. (Good enough till Africa campaign) Also could use LittleJohn Adapter...

Later Churchill's weren't bad either, they could hold their own against German tanks.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church...ervice_history
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Old 27th November 2017, 03:18 AM   #58
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Matilda was an OK tank and it had thick armour and a what was at the start of the war a good AP gun but it was slow, it was designed as an infantry support tank.
It's problem was the choice of weapon which could only fire AP shot, not explosive so it couldn't take on 'soft' targets like anti tank guns or emplacements, it didn't have a hull machine gun so it couldn't give support to infantry.
Plus like all tanks at the time the turret was too small to up gun.
To an extent all tanks suffered in the same way at the start of the war. Good AP guns couldn't fire an effective HE round. That is one of the reasons for the doctrine of separate vehicles for tank on tank fighting and infantry support. One had a high velocity but smallish cal gun firing solid AP shot, the other lower velocity larger caliber firing explosive. Germany had the Pz III which was the AP armed tank and the Pz IV which had a short 75mm firing HE.
They realised that the turret on the Pz IV was big enough to put in a long barrel 75mm that was capable of doing both jobs. It was named the Pz IV 'Special' by the 8th Army it was the first genuine 'dual purpose' tank of the war.
Britain came up with a compromise involving turrets with two guns until a bigger turret was fitted to the Crusader solving the problem but it was at the expense of losing a crew member. The Lee and Grant tanks were developed to get a dual purpose gun in to action by fitting it in the hull.
Sherman was the first decent tank in service with a dual purpose gun on the allied side. It was turret mounted and big enough to have a three man turret plus it had a hull machine gun for infantry support.

Churchills were eventually good tanks but they had terrible problems with reliability and turret design, so much so that they were withdrawn and re-engineered. I have a copy of a Churchill crew manual, a reprint by the Tank Museum at Bovington (I have one for the Cromwell as well) It has a 'disclaimer' in the front explaining that there are a lot of problems but they are being fixed and the tank is basically a good design, the crews should have faith in them).
They were very agile and had very thick armour, but were out and out infantry support tanks, their first designs were to have sponson mounted machine guns similar to ww1 tanks, they had high track runs to allow this.
In the end the 'sponsons' were dropped but the openings remained to be used as 'escape hatches' in the hull side. In the end they were reliable and tough their gun was the same as fitted to the Cromwell, essentially a UK built version of the 75mm in the Sherman. They were slow and used primarily as infantry support and engineer vehicles.

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Old 27th November 2017, 06:44 AM   #59
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I should add though that some of the problems with space in the turret that the British saw were due to the British doctrine that the radio should go into the turret, readily available to the tank commander, as opposed to having an extra guy in the hull as the radio operator. That's why you ended up with the box in the back of the turret on the Sherman Firefly and such, because by the grace of God, that's where the radio belongs, dammit.

Thing is, if you think about it, having the radio there is not a bad idea. It certainly made giving orders to the other tanks in the platoon faster.

So I wouldn't be too hard on them for that issue.
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Old 27th November 2017, 06:55 AM   #60
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I would also add though, that one reason nobody put a long 75mm gun on a tank at first -- even the Russians started with a short one on the first T-34 -- actually WAS a case of thinking about the previous war.

See, the British ended up actually shortening the guns on the "male" Mark IV tanks, because a very high velocity round was not actually very useful in trench warfare. It was more useful to lob a round at shorter range than have it bury itself a couple of metres into the ground (because of the extra kinetic energy) before it exploded. Essentially you did NOT want your HE gun to have very high penetration.

I would also add that for the Germans too, actually nobody was trying to make a general purpose tank at first. The reason they up-gunned their existing 50mm tank designs was to deal with the KV heavy tanks. It was also at first regarded as more of a psychological thing than REALLY needed (after all, they already had the 88mm AT to deal with the KV), and proposed as such. It was felt that the tank crews would feel a lot less intimidated by those if at least one tank in the unit could reliably put a hole in any heavy tanks, and morale was a good thing to have even if it cost a bit more to haul extra ammo.

Their being able to also function perfectly well as infantry support now that they had a bigger gun, was more of a pleasant side-effect than planned. You know, icing on the explosive cake

So again I wouldn't blame the British more than, well, everyone else in the world, including the Germans for not thinking that one up ahead of time.
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Old 27th November 2017, 08:14 AM   #61
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Sherman's all had the radio in the turret. On the Firefly the extra length of the 17pdr breech meant the radio had to be moved. It was put in an armoured box on the rear of the turret to help balance the extra weight of the long barrel at the front of the turret. Without it the unbalanced turret would have been difficult to traverse.
Increasing the length of a barrel to increase velocity means a longer and heavier breech and increased recoil. This robs turret space. If you increase the size of the turret you need a bigger turret ring which means a bigger hull etc.
Putting the radio in the hull is a bad idea, it's the commander who needs it. Removing a crew member to add a bigger gun is a mistake as well as was found with the Crusader, Valentine and all French tanks. It means that the commander is also the loader which is a distraction from his primary role. It also puts a higher workload on the crew when it comes to maintaining the tank, standing radio watch etc.

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Old 27th November 2017, 08:19 AM   #62
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Just to add, first world war tanks had short barrels for reasons of operational ease and to keep the barrel close to the hull to prevent damage and make traversing easier. If you want to lower the velocity you just use a smaller propellant charge.
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Old 27th November 2017, 10:10 AM   #63
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I don't the short barrel gun-thing was a "fighting the last-war" example.

While the Germans might have need a long barrelled gun to take on the KV line there wasn't as much need in the allied line. The Tiger was something of a overated bugaboo overall and Panther was more late war (and a waste). American tankers weren't even that keen on taking the 76mm Shermans that were available for D-Day and they turned out to be right when the hedegrow warfare favored the 75mm and its better HE round and ability to turn the turret without hitting everything. The fact that they had to deal with more gun emplacements than German tanks was a factor there, along with the fact that if there were Tiger tanks in the hedgerows they would probably be stuck.

You also have to be careful with the 'you need this weapon for morale'. Germans did that a lot and wasted a lot of resources on weapons that were more feel-good than practical.
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Old 27th November 2017, 12:14 PM   #64
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Well, I didn't say they were necessarily right to put it there for morale reasons. I'm just saying it was WHY they put a 75mm AT-gun on their later tanks. They were not trying to create a multi-role tank. Is all I was saying.

Though IIRC it was Guderian who came up with the idea? I could be wrong though. So, you know, who am I to say he's wrong
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Old 27th November 2017, 12:15 PM   #65
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@Captain_Swoop
Ugh, sorry about using the Firefly as an example. Brainfart on my part.

Otherwise, you'll notice I was agreeing with you already that it's not a bad idea to have it up there.
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Old 27th November 2017, 01:22 PM   #66
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Well, I didn't say they were necessarily right to put it there for morale reasons. I'm just saying it was WHY they put a 75mm AT-gun on their later tanks. They were not trying to create a multi-role tank. Is all I was saying.

Though IIRC it was Guderian who came up with the idea? I could be wrong though. So, you know, who am I to say he's wrong
Depends on which AFV: The PZKIV got a 75mm to counter T-34's not the KV series. It caused a lot of issues for the suspension and the final drive.

The Stug III got the high velocity 75mm to fight both T34s and the KV line. I suspect that was the one that Guderian suggested, especially given his reaction when the German Military said they were going to cease production of the Stug III.
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Old 27th November 2017, 02:06 PM   #67
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Stugs and Hetzers are a good example of the problems with early war tanks.

Germany had the PZ III it started with a 37mm gun firing an AP round, it went to a 50mm with an AP round and then a 75mm AP but it wasn't a very powerful 75mm. Upgrading to the same long and large chambered 75mm as the PZ IV wasn't possible because of the diameter of the turret ring and the turret.
To get the more powerful guns in to action they used the running gear of the PZ III but with a turretless boxed armour superstructure with a limited traverse gun in the front. (In fact the Stug started life with a short barrel 75mm gun and was issued as assault artillery. The Hetzer was the same thing built on the running gear of a Czech Pz 38(t). Both the Stug and the Hetzer were classed as Assault Guns for infantry support.
They were used as tank destroyers, employing a much bigger gun than their tank counterparts. They had a limited traverse which was a disadvantage in open fighting but they relied on ambush techniques, their low profile aiding in this.
Their advantages were simpler construction using less materials and no need for a precision machined turret ring and bearings and a bigger gun on an small obsolete chassis.

Stug III production was replaced by the Stug IV based on the Pz IV chassis.
A similar vehicle to the Stug IV was the Jagdpanzer IV which was an out and out tank destroyer. These are the ones Guderian objected to as he thought they were a diversion of resources from Panzer IV tank production, as the Stug III was still more than adequate for its role.

Jagdpanthers were also made, armed with the 8.8 cm KwK 43 cannon of the Tiger II they were an attempt to get the bigger gun in to the field in larger numbers than were available from Tiger II production.
They were also quicker, easier and cheaper to produce.
Towards the end of the war as materials and resources started to get scarce tanks got harder to produce and the simpler limited traverse vehicles were favoured.
As the Germans by then were fighting a defensive war, fighting and retreating or fighting from prepared positions the lack of a full traversing turret wasn't such a problem.

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Old 27th November 2017, 03:03 PM   #68
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There also that deadwood tends to build up in militaries between the wars;you have lot of officers..often in fairly high positions...who are good at paperwork and at bureaucratic warfare, but in fighting an actual war, no so much. In the first stage of the war there are a great many failures of peacetime officers,and their replacement by younger, more able men.
One of the things the US was lucky iwht in WW2 was that FDR fully understood this, and made a point of promoting George Marshall as Army Chief of Staff before Pearl Harbor,and Ernest King as CNO shortly their after,though both were pretty far down on the seniority list. Both were ruthless in getting rid of deadwood, Marshall parituclary so.
When the US Army made a lot of mistakes in the Tunisian campaign,the first Major US land campaign against Germany, Marshall had no hesistation in making heads roll and sending failed commanders stateside.
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Old 27th November 2017, 03:21 PM   #69
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
I should add though that some of the problems with space in the turret that the British saw were due to the British doctrine that the radio should go into the turret, readily available to the tank commander, as opposed to having an extra guy in the hull as the radio operator. That's why you ended up with the box in the back of the turret on the Sherman Firefly and such, because by the grace of God, that's where the radio belongs, dammit.

Thing is, if you think about it, having the radio there is not a bad idea. It certainly made giving orders to the other tanks in the platoon faster.

So I wouldn't be too hard on them for that issue.

Couldn't they have worn headsets connected to radios in the hulls?
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Old 27th November 2017, 03:37 PM   #70
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Originally Posted by SpitfireIX View Post
Couldn't they have worn headsets connected to radios in the hulls?
How would they reach the controls?

There were intercom headsets for the crew so the commander could talk to the driver etc.

German tanks had the radio in the hull, You will notice in photographs that the antenna for the radio was on the hull side or hull top (depending on the type of tank) to the rear of the turret, they tended to be fairly rigid tapered masts rather than the turret mounted whips of British and American tanks. it was the bow machine gunners job to operate the radio.

Last edited by Captain_Swoop; 27th November 2017 at 03:39 PM.
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Old 27th November 2017, 04:27 PM   #71
Matthew Ellard
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
If you can find it read ......David Fletcher (Curator of the Tank Museum at Bovington)
I have his books and love his sense of humour. I enjoy his accompanying early war photos of British tank officers wearing some of the most ridiculous outfits invented by mankind, generally wearing jodhpurs that appear to have wings.

I assume you are enjoying some of the WWII Hungarian tank kits entering the market.
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Old 27th November 2017, 04:34 PM   #72
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Originally Posted by Matthew Ellard View Post
I assume you are enjoying some of the WWII Hungarian tank kits entering the market.
Which ones are they? I am up to my eyes in WW2 and modern British stuff as usual. We have lovely Chieftains, Centurions, FV432s, Lloyd Carriers (under way at the moment see photo below) Lots of 1930s and early war Cruisers plus a host of softskins.

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Old 27th November 2017, 04:54 PM   #73
Matthew Ellard
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
I am up to my eyes in WW2 and modern British stuff as usual. We have lovely Chieftains, Centurions, FV432s, Lloyd Carriers
And fair enough. Due to display space limitations and the massive volume of new kits, a gentleman should focus on his preferred niche. ( I have a dedicated display room )
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Tank shelf 2.jpg (79.6 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg Tank shelf 3.jpg (64.5 KB, 5 views)
File Type: jpg Tank shelf 1.jpg (58.0 KB, 4 views)
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Old 27th November 2017, 05:00 PM   #74
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I have a small display cabinet and lots of boxes. I tend to give away a lot of my finished kits.

I tend to concentrate on British Armour but some ww2 German sneaks in.

Shermans feature a lot as well of all users.

eta Do I see an armoured train there?
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Old 27th November 2017, 05:15 PM   #75
Matthew Ellard
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
Do I see an armoured train there?
Half of one. I need longer shelves.
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Old 27th November 2017, 05:37 PM   #76
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Originally Posted by dudalb View Post
One of the things the US was lucky iwht in WW2 was that FDR fully understood this, and made a point of promoting George Marshall as Army Chief of Staff before Pearl Harbor,and Ernest King as CNO shortly their after,though both were pretty far down on the seniority list. Both were ruthless in getting rid of deadwood, Marshall parituclary so.

The idea that FDR intentionally passed over a large number of officers senior to Marshall is a myth. Although there were 33 active generals with higher seniority, all but four were ineligible to be appointed Chief of Staff, because they would have reached the mandatory retirement age of 64 before the completion of the four-year term. Marshall was selected to be Deputy Chief of Staff ahead of a large number of eligible seniors, but the President had no say in that decision. See here.
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Old 27th November 2017, 08:22 PM   #77
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
Stugs and Hetzers are a good example of the problems with early war tanks.

Germany had the PZ III it started with a 37mm gun firing an AP round, it went to a 50mm with an AP round and then a 75mm AP but it wasn't a very powerful 75mm. Upgrading to the same long and large chambered 75mm as the PZ IV wasn't possible because of the diameter of the turret ring and the turret.
I assume you mean the Panzer III Ausf. N. Well, at that point the Pz III and Pz IV had switched roles. Mostly because of the issues you've mentioned, mind you, but still, the N version was supposed to be an infantry support tank. Essentially it was supposed to be an assault gun with a turret. As such, it wasn't supposed to have much in the way of armour penetration anyway.

I don't think anyone who designed or approved the 75mm L/24 version was under any delusion that it will compete for anti-tank role with the 75mm L/43 the Pz IV had at that point. I mean, you only had to have one look to see it's half the length.

Plus, really, if you look at the penetration tables, the AP ammo has BARELY more penetration even at 100m than the HE round, and neither is even in the same ballpark as you'd need to shoot a T-34 from the front.

So I don't think it was a problem as such. Well, or rather they had worked around a problem to end up with something useful anyway.


One may ask then why was it issued AP ammo at all. The answer again is: for the Russians, with love.

While everyone knows about the T-34 mediums and the KV and later IS heavy tanks, and the BT series is often mis-represented as something obsolete that the Russians hadn't gotten rid of yet., that was FAR from the case in '42 and even '43.

If you look at the numbers at Stalingrad for example, actually the VAST majority of Soviet tanks were BT, which really were on par with the British Crusader series. But wait, so did the Germans. What gives?

Well, actually for both the doctrine was to use a mix of tanks. Later it shifted to a mix of heavies and mediums, but originally it was really about a mix of medium and fast lights. The former had a role to "monitor" the lighter tanks and clear anything they can't deal with, while the lights advance quickly to flank the enemy.

So actually in '42, when those short barreled Pz III Ausf N came to be, you were liable to meet a whole mess of fast BT tanks trying to flank you. And before they got disbanded in '42, Kliment Voroshilov had raised some 87 cavalry divisions in '41. Now unlike the Brits, these ACTUALLY were cavalry divisions, because ol' Voroshilov was an old guard cavalry guy, but they did get some 64 BT tanks each. Didn't quite make them a tank division, and weren't enough to really put up a fight against a real tank division, but they were fast and the 45mm gun packed a mean punch. It actually was enough to put a hole even in a later Panther from the side, before it got the skirts.

Giving your infantry support tanks SOMETHING to shoot at THOSE made actually a lot of sense, because if you didn't kill them fast enough, that 45mm gun would kill YOU.


Plus, again, it was considered good for morale to know that you don't have to rely on just the AT guns for those.
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Old 28th November 2017, 04:33 AM   #78
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I just think the belief in those days was that the bomber would win the war, which turned out not to be entirely true, and it resulted in a lack of cooperation between the army and the air force.

The modern German Leopard tanks and the modern Russian tanks, and Israeli tanks, have a good reputation. I don't know about the American and British tanks but that's not a matter which is ever publicly discussed, presumably because it's classified. The British Centurion tank was a good tank in its day, and it was used by the Israelis for a time. I suppose a lot depends on how much armour piercing ammunition there is in the tanks.

This matter of Churchill tanks and Cromwell tanks which has been discussed on this thread was mentioned in a book called The Russian Outlook by Lieutenant-General Sir Giffard Martel published in 1947:

Quote:
By the end of 1942 we had reached this position. We had the Churchill tank for close fighting, and this was the most heavily armoured tank in the world at that time. The Crusader tank for the mobile role was unfortunately still unreliable, but the Cromwell was coming along, and this proved to be an excellent cruiser tank and was equipped with a 75mm. gun. We had been pressing all the time for the development of the next model of infantry tank to replace the Churchill. This needed much heavier armour and a powerful gun. Pilot models were under construction.

We knew that the Germans were building more powerful tanks for the close fighting and the Panthers and Tigers appeared for this purpose in 1943. Unfortunately a decision was taken just after I had left for Russia to concentrate on the more mobile type of tank and not to give any priority to the development of new models of heavy infantry tank. This was a most unfortunate decision.

If we had produced these new models of heavy tanks, they would have blown the Tigers and Panthers off the battlefield, but without these we failed badly in the close fighting in Normandy, in the later stages of the war. We then had nothing which could face up against the Tigers and Panthers in this type of warfare.
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Old 28th November 2017, 05:05 AM   #79
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Modern Russian tanks have a far from good reputation although the latest moels are better.
In all battles between Russian/Soviet armour and British, US and Israeli types the Russians have come off worst, right back to the 6 Day War and as recently as the Gulf.
Although in the latter the best that was fielded were T72s.

Russian armour relies on an auto loader system, this has always been unreliable and slow in operation. Reliability has always been an issue.

Challenger 2 and Abrahms are probably the two best tanks at the moment with the German Leopards close behind.
Israeli tanks have always been built with their own specialist needs in mind and can't really be compared directly with Russian or Western tanks. They are very reliable and well armoured vehicles though with a good gun and sensor fit.
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Old 28th November 2017, 05:07 AM   #80
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Well, mobility is another aspect in which the Brits were not thinking about the previous war, IMHO. Right after WW1, the British doctrine shifted dramatically towards mobility, at least by WW1 standards, and a focus on firing on the move. There's a reason why pictures from the early interwar era show columns of light tanks shooting sideways: that's what they were training their crews for.

This got throttled back at various points later -- especially the firing sideways on the move, which really only guaranteed you wouldn't hit the broad side of a barn, much less a tank -- but still, it was a radical departure from the lumbering beasts that could crush barbed wire posts and cross wide trenches. (Hence their diamond shape.)
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