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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Forum Resources > Armchair Attacks! > Greatest/Best Tank of WW2

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Greatest/Best Tank of WW2 An archive of the WWII Forum's Greatest/Best Tank mini-contest.

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  #61  
Old 10 Mar 12, 11:43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Fraser View Post
" ... If Germany had built tanks they could afford, the war could have lasted much longer. Cost and complexity ultimately brought Germany down in an industrial war of attrition. As spiffy as the Koenigstiger and Tiger and Panther were, Germany needed a Volkspanzer like the T-34 or Sherman.

From my worm's eye view, the greatest tank can only be the tank that won the war. That reduces the debate to a choice between the T-34 or Sherman. Both designs were competent, affordable to their respective builders, abundant and viable as platforms for self-propelled artillery, assault guns and a host of other specialized applications. The PzKpfw IV, which shared these attributes, had dropped off the list by 1944, so what is the fuss? Are we to endorse the flawed development strategy of the Nazis by giving them extra shekels? They despised shekels! It cost them the war."
Apart from the thing about the PzKpfw IV, which I believe remained viable as a reasonably competitive medium tank to the end, I would have to agree with this. On the other hand, the Panzer 4 was built in far smaller numbers relative to either the T-34 or the Sherman despite the fact that it was in production earlier than either. So your overall assessment still holds good, I think.
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Last edited by panther3485; 10 Mar 12 at 11:51..
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  #62  
Old 10 Mar 12, 12:04
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadkiller View Post
"Would there be value in defining the "scale" to be used?

For example the "standard" could be the 75mm gun as fitted to the first generation Sherman. Thus its' AP effect could be 5 out of 10, or 50 out of 100, etc. If someone felt that a gun on another tank is 1/2 as good as the "standard" he might rate it 2.5

If a specific model of tank was chosen as a 'baseline' everything else could be scored against it. If the baseline tank was the standard 75mm Sherman the ratings for that tank would be:
Gun AP - 50
Gun HE - 50
Armour protection (frontal) - 50
etc through all the criteria.

So the rating for the "Firefly (Sherman Vc) version might be:
Gun AP - 75
Gun HE - 30
Armour protection (frontal) - 50
etc."
I think the basic essence of your concept here is good. Having a scale against which a particular attribute can be measured, wherever it is possible to do so. However, I think it may be difficult to use any one particular tank as a basis for it. For example, while I would accept that at a certain stage in the war the M4 Sherman's armour protection and AP performance could be seen as 'middle of the road', this IMO would not be true of its HE performance at the same point in the war, as I think the 75mm M3 gun had an HE round that was well above most of its peers for most of the war.

That said, your essential concept of a scale is excellent IMO and a 'score' for each key attribute or aspect under a particular criterion, based on such a concept of a scale, is very similar to the idea I was intending to use.
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Last edited by panther3485; 17 Mar 12 at 23:24..
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  #63  
Old 10 Mar 12, 12:14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wellsfargo View Post
If you are to set a standard for comparison it must be statistically highest the best (all the rest to achieve)

Firepower………….. The Gun 88mm KwK36/L56 puncture 80mm of armour @ 1000m+
Rate of fire 15 rpm rounds 92 AP APCBC APCR HE HEAT

Armour ……………. Thickness (homogenous) frontal 100mm @ 66 degrees side 80mm @ 90

Mobility ………….. Access all terrain with speed, overall speed and weight &size

“Attack with aggression, but always have a plan of retreat”
I suppose that is a valid alternative to a hypothetical 'median' benchmark, for at least some attributes. Take the protection level of the best protected tank to see active service in worthwhile numbers during the war, and give it 10 out of 10, with all others on a sliding scale downwards from that basis. The same with gunpower, mobility etc. These are a bit harder to evaluate but select the tank thought to represent overall best for the attribute and give it 10 with the rest following; and so on.

Maybe? Maybe not?
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  #64  
Old 10 Mar 12, 12:16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by broderickwells View Post
Mobility is a tricky concept for us to quantify, as there are the questions of range, reliability, and terrain variables . Two example:
1) The Churchill had excellent hill climbing ability but was stranded at Dieppe due to shingle beaches, and
2) The Panther and Tiger could be easily immobilised in winter when mud froze between the interleaved wheels.

There are bound to be more minutiae others will address as we try to refine our judging criteria.
Yes, out of the three 'fundamental' attributes, I think mobility could well be the most complex to evaluate.
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  #65  
Old 11 Mar 12, 03:59
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Mobility ………….. Max speed road/cross-country and weight &size
A scale to set criteria could be Ground pressure… that would link track size with weight and Power to weight ratio for engine performance


“Attack with aggression, but always have a plan of retreat”
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  #66  
Old 11 Mar 12, 05:13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panther3485 View Post
I suppose that is a valid alternative to a hypothetical 'median' benchmark, for at least some attributes. Take the protection level of the best protected tank to see active service in worthwhile numbers during the war, and give it 10 out of 10, with all others on a sliding scale downwards from that basis. The same with gunpower, mobility etc. These are a bit harder to evaluate but select the tank thought to represent overall best for the attribute and give it 10 with the rest following; and so on.

Maybe? Maybe not?
A score for armour this could be a real problem. Let's compare the British 17pdr apds with the Soviet 152mm ML-20S found on the SU/ISU-152's. The 17pdr bounces off the Panther glacis, while the 152mm can do some real damage. However, the 17pdr will go through the front of a Churchill VII while the 152mm explodes harmlessly. Different weapons have different levels of success against different types of armour.

It may be easier to put weapons, armour etc into general categories A-F ie best in group A and worst in group F??????
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  #67  
Old 11 Mar 12, 06:14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
"A score for armour this could be a real problem. Let's compare the British 17pdr apds with the Soviet 152mm ML-20S found on the SU/ISU-152's. The 17pdr bounces off the Panther glacis, while the 152mm can do some real damage. However, the 17pdr will go through the front of a Churchill VII while the 152mm explodes harmlessly. Different weapons have different levels of success against different types of armour."
I don't see it as being all that difficult. And btw, the Soviet 152mm is going to do serious damage to any series production WW2 tank it squarely hits. That includes the Churchill, Nick. It will not "explode harmlessly" .

All the major criteria are going to have complexities. I see nothing special in that regard vis-a-vis the armour attribute. If that's too difficult, it's all too difficult and we should just pack it in. Obviously I don't think that's the case or I wouldn't be in this.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
"It may be easier to put weapons, armour etc into general categories A-F ie best in group A and worst in group F??????"
Now you're talking. However, this to my mind appears in essence to be a variation of what I was intending to do anyway; but using letters instead of numbers. If we select 10 down to 1 as our number range, this is equivalent to A-J (or A-K if we miss out the 'I'). Of course, no law saying we have to stick to the figure 10. A-F gives us six levels, which would be OK too I suppose, but probably works best if there are six tanks in the group. I guess we could also just adapt the Alpha idea by ranking 'A' for the highest and so on down, to whatever for the lowest. 26 letters in the alphabet allows for plenty of candidates.

All food for thought, although the way my mind works it tends to prefer numbers to letters for some reason.
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  #68  
Old 11 Mar 12, 06:18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wellsfargo View Post
Mobility ………….. Max speed road/cross-country and weight &size
A scale to set criteria could be Ground pressure… that would link track size with weight and Power to weight ratio for engine performance
Yes Martin, I think all those factors should be reckoned into mobility, as well as other factors such as range (road and X country).
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  #69  
Old 11 Mar 12, 07:38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panther3485 View Post
I don't see it as being all that difficult. And btw, the Soviet 152mm is going to do serious damage to any series production WW2 tank it squarely hits. That includes the Churchill, Nick. It will not "explode harmlessly" .
The effect of a 43.5kg hit on the Nortonville would belie your opinion (national archives WO 194/748) .
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  #70  
Old 11 Mar 12, 07:50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wellsfargo View Post
Mobility ………….. Max speed road/cross-country and weight &size
A scale to set criteria could be Ground pressure… that would link track size with weight and Power to weight ratio for engine performance


“Attack with aggression, but always have a plan of retreat”
Power to weight may give a false impression of ability to cross difficult terrain and climbing. For tactical mobility we need to be looking at many other factors as well, such as the ability to put the power low down, and neutral turns for example. As a specific example the KV-1 has around 13hp per ton, a relatively high figure. However, as you needed to stop to change gear in most models, that power could not be used to anywhere near its full extent.

As Enzo Ferrari said 'Power sells cars, torque wins races'. Power, is at best, an indicator of performance and needs to be considered carefully.
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  #71  
Old 11 Mar 12, 08:05
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
The effect of a 43.5kg hit on the Nortonville would belie your opinion (national archives WO 194/748) .
More details, please.
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Old 11 Mar 12, 09:05
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panther3485 View Post
More details, please.
Not a lot to say really. The Nortonville was struck on the drivers plate by a 150mm shell. The tank was inspected (photos are included in WO 194/748 at the national Archives) and it was thought prudent to double up on the welding on A22F's just in case, although no real damage was actually discernable.

Another obvious example, that you certainly know of, is the spaced armour on some German tanks. Originally placed to stop AT rifle rounds, the additional armour would prove useful against HEAT, albeit very limited additional protection against standard AP rounds.

Then we have FHA vs RHA. Against uncapped shot, FHA is superior. Against Capped shot RHA is better.

I could go on.

Just pointing out that different armour has different stopping power against different rounds and trying to put a specific value on a tanks armour protection may be problematical to say the least .
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Old 11 Mar 12, 10:14
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Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
"Not a lot to say really. The Nortonville was struck on the drivers plate by a 150mm shell. The tank was inspected (photos are included in WO 194/748 at the national Archives) and it was thought prudent to double up on the welding on A22F's just in case, although no real damage was actually discernable."
What kind of 150mm shell, with what sort of velocity behind it? And did it hit 'square on' (or near enough to it)? I'd like to learn more about this because up until now at least, I've never doubted that the Soviet 152mm (as per ISU-152) could cause significant damage to any series production WW2 tank, even Tiger II which is broadly considered the best protected, if a shell from that weapon hit the target tank near enough to squarely. Even with an HE round, the concussion without penetration would give the tank and its crew a very severe shaking at the very least; ringing ears, nosebleeds and dizziness might well be expected and some spalling would be likely too. I sure as hell wouldn't want to be inside any WW2 tank taking a fair hit from one of those guns.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
"Another obvious example, that you certainly know of, is the spaced armour on some German tanks. Originally placed to stop AT rifle rounds, the additional armour would prove useful against HEAT, albeit very limited additional protection against standard AP rounds.

Then we have FHA vs RHA. Against uncapped shot, FHA is superior. Against Capped shot RHA is better.

I could go on.

Just pointing out that different armour has different stopping power against different rounds and trying to put a specific value on a tanks armour protection may be problematical to say the least .
I already understood your point perfectly. I am simply saying that if we want to look for them, similar degrees of variation and levels of complexity can be identified for many of the other criteria too. Nevertheless, we still need to keep the basic criteria themselves to a reasonable number, and as simple as we reasonably can consistent with offering a capacity to capture the vital factors. As for the comlexities, certainly these will be a challenge but as long as we have provided scope to evaluate them (which I think we shall), then we can weigh those when we get there. Problematic, shroblematic. I love problematic and I eat if for breakfast every day.
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Old 11 Mar 12, 11:00
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panther3485 View Post
What kind of 150mm shell, with what sort of velocity behind it? And did it hit 'square on' (or near enough to it)? I'd like to learn more about this because up until now at least, I've never doubted that the Soviet 152mm (as per ISU-152) could cause significant damage to any series production WW2 tank, even Tiger II which is broadly considered the best protected, if a shell from that weapon hit the target tank near enough to squarely. Even with an HE round, the concussion without penetration would give the tank and its crew a very severe shaking at the very least; ringing ears, nosebleeds and dizziness might well be expected and some spalling would be likely too. I sure as hell wouldn't want to be inside any WW2 tank taking a fair hit from one of those guns.
1. I'd have to go back to Kew to get the exact details. That won't be for a few years.
2. Let's be sensible. No one is going to have those exact details of almost any hit. Whether you want to believe my statement that a 43kg shell hit the Nortonville without harm to the tank is up to you .

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Originally Posted by panther3485 View Post
I already understood your point perfectly. I am simply saying that if we want to look for them, similar degrees of variation and levels of complexity can be identified for many of the other criteria too. Nevertheless, we still need to keep the basic criteria themselves to a reasonable number, and as simple as we reasonably can consistent with offering a capacity to capture the vital factors. As for the comlexities, certainly these will be a challenge but as long as we have provided scope to evaluate them (which I think we shall), then we can weigh those when we get there. Problematic, shroblematic. I love problematic and I eat if for breakfast every day.

Just saying that trying to keep it as simple as possible is probably better, although that could be an issue.

Edit: Ignoring the Churchill issue for the moment, the point remains that determining effectiveness of weapons is going to be difficult. Returning to the 17pdr, with apds it could go through theoretically 209mm of armour at 500yds. The 152mm is only going through about half that thickness, depending on the round. However, I've not read of any 17pdr shot going through the glacis (except near the mg point), but have read that the 152mm was quite effective against the Panther wherever it struck.
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Last edited by Nick the Noodle; 11 Mar 12 at 11:14..
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Old 11 Mar 12, 11:19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
"Let's be sensible. No one is going to have those exact details of almost any hit. Whether you want to believe my statement that a 43kg shell hit the Nortonville without harm to the tank is up to you ."
(1) Depending on the type of shell, examination of the impact point can often enough reveal some information about the angle of impact. As for the likely velocity of the hit, if the weapon type and the approximate range - within a reasonable tolerance - from which the shell was fired are known, this might also be roughly estimated. So I don't think what I was asking for was all that fantastic or improbable, Nick. And I'm asking because I am genuinely curious, not because I am trying to undermine you in any way. I just want to know and would openly welcome any firm information that might help me to update my appraisal of such things. As it stands though, it just raises more questions than it answers and clarification is what I am looking for.

(2) It's not a case of what I 'want' to believe. What I always seek is to improve my understanding; and here it's wanting to understand so I can more accurately gauge what happened in that particular case, and whether it would or would not be closely comparable to a near square-on hit with a Soviet 152mm.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post



Just saying that trying to keep it as simple as possible is probably better, although that could be an issue.


Edit: Ignoring the Churchill issue for the moment, the point remains that determining effectiveness of weapons is going to be difficult. Returning to the 17pdr, with apds it could go through theoretically 209mm of armour at 500yds. The 152mm is only going through about half that thickness, depending on the round. However, I've not read of any 17pdr shot going through the glacis (except near the mg point), but have read that the 152mm was quite effective against the Panther wherever it struck."


Yep, gotcha loud & clear on that already. And sometimes, the textbook/tabled AP performance can be trumped by sheer weight of shot and/or explosive force. For example, a certain US 105mm round used for bunker-busting was known to have smashed through the Panther glacis. I would expect the Soviet 152mm to batter through it without too much trouble either. And even if it didn't, the tank and its crew would get a very severe shaking indeed. Not good for combat fitness.
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Last edited by panther3485; 11 Mar 12 at 11:27..
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