View Poll Results: What do you think was the best tank of WWII?

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  • Sherman

    13 5.46%
  • Churchill

    6 2.52%
  • Panzer IV

    15 6.30%
  • Panther

    53 22.27%
  • Tiger/King Tiger

    27 11.34%
  • T-34

    118 49.58%
  • Other(please specify)

    6 2.52%
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Thread: Best Tank of WWII

  1. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by dalem
    No, most of it comes from statistical analysis, a la the "it took five Shermans to destroy one Panther" blurb. That doesn't mean that a platoon of Shermans could, would, or should trade itself for a single PzKwV, it simply means that logistics-wise, five Shermans were the logistical equivalent of one Panther.

    And when the Allies' replacement rate of Shermans in the field is above (say) 1.0, and the Germans' replacement rate for the Panther is below 1.0, the Sherman wins that logistical battle.

    -dale
    Actually it did literally take about 5 shermans to kill one panther.

    A platoon of shermans even had a popular tactic where the plt tries to race around the enemy tank and get behind it to shoot into it's engine compartment.

    The execution of this tactic usually resulted in the destruction of 4 out of the 5 shermans in a WWII armored platoon. I saw a full color reenactment on the military channel once(With real shermans and a real tiger!), it was really neat.

  2. #47
    Actus Reus Senior Contributor sparten's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M21Sniper
    Actually it did literally take about 5 shermans to kill one panther.

    A platoon of shermans even had a popular tactic where the plt tries to race around the enemy tank and get behind it to shoot into it's engine compartment.

    The execution of this tactic usually resulted in the destruction of 4 out of the 5 shermans in a WWII armored platoon. I saw a full color reenactment on the military channel once(With real shermans and a real tiger!), it was really neat.
    There was something like that on history channel.
    "Any relations in a social order will endure if there is infused into them some of that spirit of human sympathy, which qualifies life for immortality." ~ George William Russell

  3. #48
    Lord High Hullabalooster Senior Contributor dalem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M21Sniper
    Actually it did literally take about 5 shermans to kill one panther.

    A platoon of shermans even had a popular tactic where the plt tries to race around the enemy tank and get behind it to shoot into it's engine compartment.

    The execution of this tactic usually resulted in the destruction of 4 out of the 5 shermans in a WWII armored platoon. I saw a full color reenactment on the military channel once(With real shermans and a real tiger!), it was really neat.
    It's really fantasy, is what it is.

    The bottom line is that any tank platoon would try to outflank its opponent and any WWII attacker was going to lose comparatively huge numbers of AFV on the attack no matter what the platform involved.

    -dale

  4. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by dalem
    It's really fantasy, is what it is.

    The bottom line is that any tank platoon would try to outflank its opponent and any WWII attacker was going to lose comparatively huge numbers of AFV on the attack no matter what the platform involved.

    -dale
    Or a German Tiger or Panther unit could go straight into the heart of the enemy defense, killing absolutely everything in their path. In meeting engagements and on the defense German armored vehicle losses from other vehicles were usually very low(regardless of opponent really). It was only when they were attacking into prepared defenses or attacked by enemy air power that they suffered heavy losses, and even then, in nearly all cases, they still inflicted damage far in disproportion for their actual numbers on the enemy force they were facing.

    A single Panther G company could reasonably be expected to destroy a US Sherman or Soviet T-34 Battalion with very light losses of their own in most cases.
    Last edited by Bill; 20 Feb 06, at 07:02.

  5. #50
    Lord High Hullabalooster Senior Contributor dalem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M21Sniper
    A single Panther G company could reasonably be expected to destroy a US Sherman or Soviet T-34 Battalion with very light losses of their own in most cases.
    I disagree.

    -dale

  6. #51
    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
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    Panther was just a nasty tank. It wasn't clumsy like the Tigers or the King Tigers. It could move. It had decent range. It had a super accurate, high velocity 75mm gun. It was nearly immune to the Shermans and T-34s. I agree with sniper that a Panther company could pretty much destroy a battallion of Shermans and T-34s in a meeting engagement.

    The major problem for the Germans by then was they lost the air. Allied fighter bombers had their way with German armor. What reached the front to engage the Allied ground forces usually weren't completely intact units. Even then the Panthers wreaked havoc. But in the end, Germany simply couldn't produce enough of them and provide them with proper crew.

    However, quantity is also very important in a weapon's design. So I think the traditional gauges for a tank's effectiveness, firepower, protection, and mobility, should be modified to include quantity. A simple to build and simple to maintain weapon system could be slightly less effective than the perfect system but yet achieve greater success.

  7. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wraith601
    Only 5% of the Soviet tank force was T-34s when the war began. Pray tell how thousands of T-34s were lost so early when only 1 in 20 tanks were T-34s?
    Sorry. I don't have statistics but remember when studying advanced history classes in early 1990-es I learned that in fact it was quite a lot of T-34 on Western border of USSR at the begining of war.... most lost stupidly. I remember numbers like few thousands.....

    My grandfather was in one of them - he burned his tank in early July or early August 1941 when he ran out of fuel and shells being encirled deeply. I guess that many tanks in encirlements were destroyed to such reason.

    He fought throughout the war (except for Nov-1941-July 1942 when he was in Stalin prison as a traitor) becoming one of the most experienced tank commanders personally his crew scored 3 tigers.
    Last edited by Garry; 20 Feb 06, at 15:16.

  8. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnut
    However, quantity is also very important in a weapon's design. So I think the traditional gauges for a tank's effectiveness, firepower, protection, and mobility, should be modified to include quantity. A simple to build and simple to maintain weapon system could be slightly less effective than the perfect system but yet achieve greater success.
    Then you're back to Sniper's comment - the man makes the machine.
    "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

  9. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by dalem
    I disagree.

    -dale
    You're more than free to, but i think a serious effort to verify my claims based on the historical record would show that i'm correct(there is no shortage of specific examples of single Nazi Tiger and Panther tanks taking on entire Russian Armored units by themselves and winning the day.)

    Shermans and T-34s were pretty much pure cannon fodder when directly facing Panthers and Tigers.

  10. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnut
    Panther was just a nasty tank. It wasn't clumsy like the Tigers or the King Tigers. It could move. It had decent range. It had a super accurate, high velocity 75mm gun. It was nearly immune to the Shermans and T-34s. I agree with sniper that a Panther company could pretty much destroy a battallion of Shermans and T-34s in a meeting engagement.
    We both have the benefit of having specific examples of exactly that happening.
    Check out this page of actual Panther combat operations:
    http://members.tripod.com/~dietmagic/panther.html

    "twilight slowly enveloped the terrain in darkness. What will the next day bring? Will the Russians try to counterattack and retake the city or not? The leader decided to change to another position to get a better field of fire. During the night running motors from moving tanks were heard. Toward morning, a Panther was called back for resupply and the other Panther had to take over the entire defense.

    Daybreak has long since passed and an attack was not expected when out of the depression at full speed fourteen Russian tanks carrying infantry charged toward the defending Panther. The loader was outside well away from the Panther finishing his business when shelling forced him to take cover. This made the situation more difficult. The driver took his place and fire was opened at a range of 1000 meters. Shot after shot was sent toward the attacker. The enemy had charged to within 600 meters turned right and disappeared into a hole(in the treeline). Four enemy tanks remained as smoking wrecks on the track. An immediate call on the radio alerted the defenders positioned further to the north. They managed to destroy six of the ten remaining tanks. Driving wildly, the rest escaped. An attack behind our front had been repulsed and cost the enemy heavy losses.

    Again the defending Panther changed his position. After an hour, the second Panther returned from being resupplied and took up his defensive position. The enemy hadnít given up their attempt to enter the city. During the afternoon, the enemy with an infantry battalion supported by four SU assault guns, under cover of the tall corn fields, tried twice to break in from the southeast. But, both attacks were completely repulsed by the two defending Panthers. All four SU assault guns that took part in both of these attacks were shot up. Two Panthers defending the city from the south and southeast had broke up two tank and two infantry attacks. The enemy suffered the loss of eleven tanks and very heavy losses of men.

    THIS REPORT AND OTHERS LIKE IT TO COME IN THE FUTURE ARE FROM GERMANY'S PANTHER TANK - THE QUEST FOR COMBAT SUPREMACY BY THOMAS L. JENTZ AND ALSO FROM OTHER SOURCES."

    ANOTHER STORY:
    " Meantime the camouflaged Tigers and Panthers waited with their engines idling. Almost every time a Russian tank came into range, a sharp strident burst set it on fire. The Russians were moving toward us slowly, sure of themselves, firing at random. Their tactic of demoralization would have worked if there had not been so many plumes of black smoke rising against the pale February sky. Our 37s and Panzerfausts, designed to be used at almost point-blank range, were scarcely called on. The first wave of Soviet armor was consumed five hundred yards from our first positions, nailed down by the concentrated fire of our Tigers and Panthers and heavy anti-tank guns.

    The Tiger was an astonishing fortress. Enemy fire seemed to have almost no effect on its shell, which, at the front was five and a half inches thick. Its only weakness was its relative immobility. "
    (Note that the Panther A and G's frontal protection was even GREATER than the Tiger I's!)

    One should make no mistake...Panthers dominated the battlefield whenever they were present and enemy air allowed them freedom of operation.

    Until an M-4(even one with the 76.2mm Hv gun) or T-34/85 closed the range to point blank and got on a Panther or Tiger's flanks it could not kill the panther! Even the 90mm gun M36 TD had to close within 100 meters to penetrate a Panther's frontal armor.

    Whole Soviet T-34 and Sherman units were repeatedly shot to pieces trying to get on the flanks of German Panther and Tiger tanks, the only reliable way of killing either. Both Tiger's and Panther's were completely immune to US Bazookas(whereas a Bazooka would easily penetrate the frontal armor of an M4A1 Sherman).
    Last edited by Bill; 20 Feb 06, at 16:58.

  11. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by M21Sniper
    Even more than any tactical improvement or better soviet equipment or less german equipment, the men that the nazis were shoehorning in tanks by the last year of the war were of far lower quality than the elite and well drilled tankers they forged their fearsome reputation with.

    The elite troopers of Afrika corps and the various SS divisions were almost all dead or disfigured cripples by the start of 1944, and in their place were young boys and old men, and others of 'questionable' motivation or loyalty.

    That is not a recipe for a low casualtie rate.

    It was the same for the Luftwaffe. Sure the Nazis kept building and putting planes in the air right to the end of the war, but for all intents and purposes, by the morning of 6 June, 1944, the Luftwaffe had effectively ceased to exist as an effective fighting force. This despite the fact that fighter production, and fighter quality, were both much higher in mid-44 than pre-war levels.

    Again, and as always....it is the men, not the machines. Men win wars. The machines only make us more effective at killing one another.
    Great comment. Indeed after Bagration in 1944 German troops on Eastern Front were nowhere close to veterans killed and wounded in 1941-43.... Bagration was final hit breaking the hord of German army in the East

  12. #57
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    "This Panther was hit at least 5 times by a heavy US tank destroyer before its armor was finally penetrated at less than 100 yards. From Death Traps"

    Probably the best all-around tank produced during WW 2 by any nation, the Pz V Panther was the development of years of experience in armored warfare. While it did not mount the largest gun, it's 75mm L/70 high velocity gun was capable of taking out any Allied tank. With very thick armor, excellent maneuverability and outstanding range, it was a difficult combination to beat. The Panther was first put into service at the battle of Kursk, the biggest tank battle of WW2 and probably ever. Unfortunately, the design was untested and some bugs had not yet been worked out. Still, it proved superior in all ways to the Soviet tanks it faced, and in most ways to it's big brother, the Panzer VI Tiger.

    The Panther weighed in at a hefty 45.5 tons, mounted a powerful, high velocity 75mm L/70 cannon, and was protected by 110mm of armor. It had outstanding range at more than 200km and could speed along at over 45 kph- as fast as the best Sherman!
    http://history.acusd.edu/gen/st/~cshimp/pzv.htm

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    "A second Russian wave followed closely after the first, more dense than the first, and accompanied by a swarm of infantry which posed a serious threat.

    We waited, dry-mouthed, our guns jammed against our shoulders and our grenades in easy reach. Our hearts were pounding.

    Suddenly like a miracle, thirty of our planes flew over. As promised, the squadron from Vinnitsa was attacking. This particular job was easy for them, and every bomb hit home.

    A cry of "Sieg Heil, der Luftwaffe", rang so loudly from our trenches that the pilots might almost have heard it. We opened fire with everything we had, but the Russian offensive kept coming, despite overwhelming losses. Our tanks drove at the stricken enemy with an ardour worthy of 1941.

    The noise became unbearable. The air was thick with bitter fumes and smoke, and the smells of gunpowder and burned gasoline. Our shouts mingled with the shouts of the Russians, who were reeling under the unexpected resistance.

    We were able to watch the magnificent progress of our Tigers and Panthers, pulverizing the enemy tanks before they were able to complete a half-turn. The Luftwaffe attacked again with rockets and 20mm cannons. The Russian rout was hidden by a thick curtain of luminous smoke.

    The Russian artillery kept on firing at our lines, causing several deaths which we scarcely noticed. However, their guns were soon overrun by their own retreating troops, and fell silent.

    A second wave of German planes, an undreamed-of extra luxury, completed the Russian debacle. We hugged each other in excitement, bursting with joy.

    For a year now, we have been retreating before an enemy whose numerical superiority was constantly increasing.

    In our sector all the lines had held, and we felt very proud. We had proved once again that with adequate material and a certain minimum preparation we could hold off an enemy of greatly superior size, whose frenzied efforts were never intelligently employed.

    There were thirty Iron Crosses for us after this action Ö"

    http://members.tripod.com/~dietmagic/panther2.html

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Last edited by Bill; 20 Feb 06, at 16:50.

  13. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by M21Sniper
    You're more than free to, but i think a serious effort to verify my claims based on the historical record would show that i'm correct(there is no shortage of specific examples of single Nazi Tiger and Panther tanks taking on entire Russian Armored units by themselves and winning the day.)

    Shermans and T-34s were pretty much pure cannon fodder when directly facing Panthers and Tigers.
    that goes to quality of the crews and generals. T-34s in good hands scored many victories in one to one battles against Tigers. The problem was that there were very few experienced crews in soviet troops.... most were having just 3 month training before the battle.

    For example names of T-34 commanders who burned more than one Tiger in battle:
    Lt. Georgiy Besarabov destroyed 4 Tigers of which 3 in single battle
    Lt. Mikhail Zamula destroyed 7 Tigers
    Hero Lt. Alexander Milyukov destroyed 6 tigers and 1 Panter. The panter and 3 tigers he destroyed in one battle.
    Lt. Georgiy Brazhnikov destroyed 5 tigers, of these 4 tigers destroyed in one battle with 8 shots
    Hero Lt. Ivan Khitsenko - a young commander who met sudden advance of 10 tigers. He did not retreat but destroyed 5 tigers before his T-34 was burned.
    Hero Lt Vasiliy Nikolayev destroyed 4 tigers, all in one battle. He used up all his armor piercing shells for 3 tigers. Without shells he managed to get close to 4th tiger and hit it on full speed with his burning T-34 - destroyed last tiger and died. (besides tigers he also destroyed 2 other tanks in that battle)
    Lt. Ivan Golub destroyed 3 tigers and 2 panters
    Lt. Georgiy Chesak destroyed 3 tigers
    Lt. Nikolai Lazeikin destroyed 3 tigers in one battle besides the 6 other tanks.
    Lt. Mikhail Frolov destroyed 3 tigers and two other tanks in one battle
    Lt. Vladimir Maksakov destroyed 3 tigers out of his total of 18.
    Lt. Alexandr Oskin destroyed 3 king tigers and captured!!! 3 more abandoned by crews, when he attacked alone a column from an ambush in August 1944

    These tankers were trained, brave and ..... some of them lucky to prove your earlier point - it is up to a man not the hardware to decide who wins. They were outnumbered but managed to win

    ps. There must be others as well I can not name all of them and hence don't mean to undermine their achievements

  14. #59
    HKHolic Senior Contributor leib10's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M21Sniper
    You're more than free to, but i think a serious effort to verify my claims based on the historical record would show that i'm correct(there is no shortage of specific examples of single Nazi Tiger and Panther tanks taking on entire Russian Armored units by themselves and winning the day.)

    Shermans and T-34s were pretty much pure cannon fodder when directly facing Panthers and Tigers.
    There are many, many instances when one or a pair of Panthers or Tigers broke the back of many Allied attacks by themselves. Michael Wittmann, Otto Carius, Ernst Barkmann and the like come to mind.
    "The right man in the wrong place can make all the difference in the world. So wake up, Mr. Freeman. Wake up and smell the ashes." G-Man

  15. #60
    HKHolic Senior Contributor leib10's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M21Sniper

    "This Panther was hit at least 5 times by a heavy US tank destroyer before its armor was finally penetrated at less than 100 yards. From Death Traps"

    Probably the best all-around tank produced during WW 2 by any nation, the Pz V Panther was the development of years of experience in armored warfare. While it did not mount the largest gun, it's 75mm L/70 high velocity gun was capable of taking out any Allied tank. With very thick armor, excellent maneuverability and outstanding range, it was a difficult combination to beat. The Panther was first put into service at the battle of Kursk, the biggest tank battle of WW2 and probably ever. Unfortunately, the design was untested and some bugs had not yet been worked out. Still, it proved superior in all ways to the Soviet tanks it faced, and in most ways to it's big brother, the Panzer VI Tiger.

    The Panther weighed in at a hefty 45.5 tons, mounted a powerful, high velocity 75mm L/70 cannon, and was protected by 110mm of armor. It had outstanding range at more than 200km and could speed along at over 45 kph- as fast as the best Sherman!
    http://history.acusd.edu/gen/st/~cshimp/pzv.htm

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    "A second Russian wave followed closely after the first, more dense than the first, and accompanied by a swarm of infantry which posed a serious threat.

    We waited, dry-mouthed, our guns jammed against our shoulders and our grenades in easy reach. Our hearts were pounding.

    Suddenly like a miracle, thirty of our planes flew over. As promised, the squadron from Vinnitsa was attacking. This particular job was easy for them, and every bomb hit home.

    A cry of "Sieg Heil, der Luftwaffe", rang so loudly from our trenches that the pilots might almost have heard it. We opened fire with everything we had, but the Russian offensive kept coming, despite overwhelming losses. Our tanks drove at the stricken enemy with an ardour worthy of 1941.

    The noise became unbearable. The air was thick with bitter fumes and smoke, and the smells of gunpowder and burned gasoline. Our shouts mingled with the shouts of the Russians, who were reeling under the unexpected resistance.

    We were able to watch the magnificent progress of our Tigers and Panthers, pulverizing the enemy tanks before they were able to complete a half-turn. The Luftwaffe attacked again with rockets and 20mm cannons. The Russian rout was hidden by a thick curtain of luminous smoke.

    The Russian artillery kept on firing at our lines, causing several deaths which we scarcely noticed. However, their guns were soon overrun by their own retreating troops, and fell silent.

    A second wave of German planes, an undreamed-of extra luxury, completed the Russian debacle. We hugged each other in excitement, bursting with joy.

    For a year now, we have been retreating before an enemy whose numerical superiority was constantly increasing.

    In our sector all the lines had held, and we felt very proud. We had proved once again that with adequate material and a certain minimum preparation we could hold off an enemy of greatly superior size, whose frenzied efforts were never intelligently employed.

    There were thirty Iron Crosses for us after this action Ö"

    http://members.tripod.com/~dietmagic/panther2.html

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I remember that quote. That came from The Forgotten Soldier by Guy Sajer. It also has a story about Tigers massacring IS-2 tanks.
    "The right man in the wrong place can make all the difference in the world. So wake up, Mr. Freeman. Wake up and smell the ashes." G-Man

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