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WW2 armor and anti-armor VS. modern equipment

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  • WW2 armor and anti-armor VS. modern equipment

    Small arms have evolved little since WW2, but not so more advanced weapons. I've always been fascinated by the evolution of the tank, and anti-tank systems. Like Napolean with his B-29 at Waterloo, I enjoy imagining a handful of M1-A1 tanks at Kursk or during the Bulge, and the German 88's and Panzers countering them. But I know little about the subject.

    Would an M1 tank, given unlimited fuel and munitions and barring mechanical breakdown, sweep aside axis forces like a man would swat mosquitos? At night, I have no doubt it'd be nearly invincible.

    In WW2, the 88 was lethal. Would this round basically bounce off an M1, or does it stand a chance? Panzerfaust - worthless, or does it too have a chance to be effective? My novice guess would be mobility kills at best, but an inability to penetrate and kill the crew.

  • #2
    Even a mobility kill just leaves you with a large amount of highly lethal pillboxes in the area
    Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

    Abusing Yellow is meant to be a labor of love, not something you sell to the highest bidder.

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    • #3
      chogy,

      have you ever read harry turtledove's World War series?

      it posits a bunch of lizard-like aliens, armed with 1990s-level military technology, invades earth right in the middle of WWII.

      against the early-middle WWII tanks (Panzer IIs, Panzer IVs, Shermans) the alien/1990s-tank is all but invincible, although the Russians used trained dogs with explosive belts running underneath the tank to score the occasional mobility kill.

      the late-model WWII tanks-- the Panthers and the Tigers, upgunned Shermans-- could score a kill but only at relatively close range and against the side armor. the aliens, not having fought anyone in thousands of years, are pathetic when it comes to tactics, but even then, it takes about 5-6 Tiger tanks to kill one modern tank.

      in the story the Germans considered the alien APCs to be about equivalent to their own heavy tanks.

      not sure how accurate this all is but it certainly seems plausible to me. there's one excellent scene where US scientists/engineers, having captured an alien tank and its crew, try their best to break down and understand a laser rangefinder.
      Last edited by astralis; 01 Mar 13,, 17:17.
      There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

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      • #4
        The KwK 43 L/71 on the King Tiger could probably score a kill on an M1 from the rear, but that's about it. The Germans would stand a better chance against an M1 with the 128mm PaK 44 L55 on the Jagdtiger, but even then it would probably have to be within 500 m, long after the M1 could nail it with it's 120mm M256. The DU armor on the M1 would be extremely difficult to penetrate with a 1940's main tank gun, even the 128mm PaK 44 would probably fail. The Germans would have to use the same tactics the American and the British used against Panthers and Tigers: try to draw an M1 out so other units could attack it from the sides and rear.
        "There is never enough time to do or say all the things that we would wish. The thing is to try to do as much as you can in the time that you have. Remember Scrooge, time is short, and suddenly, you're not there any more." -Ghost of Christmas Present, Scrooge

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        • #5
          What about mines?

          Or hordes of infantry popping on the tank (Soviets would do that no sweat).
          No such thing as a good tax - Churchill

          To make mistakes is human. To blame someone else for your mistake, is strategic.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Doktor View Post
            What about mines?
            afaik mobility kill at most , however coupled with some heavy artillery shells it might work.
            J'ai en marre.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by astralis View Post
              harry turtledove's World War series?
              Excellent alternate history series!
              My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.

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              • #8
                yeah, that was Dr Turtledove back when he cared about writing. the World War series was amazingly fun and well researched. what Stitch mentioned was pretty much right from the book-- using some luckless Tigers as bait, while the others tried to get the modern tank from up close from the rear/sides.

                of course with modern-day sensors this tactic probably wouldn't work either.
                There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

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                • #9
                  LGPPOG (little groups of pissed off grunts) swarming presuposes there is no mutual support. Your buddies coax could take care of much of that.

                  It would take an extremely lucky shot to kill an M1A1/A2 (same with any other current generation MBT.

                  However, a buried IED made from a 500 ln bomb at a chockepoint?

                  Can opener.
                  “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
                  Mark Twain

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                  • #10
                    Give me time and a big shovel and I will dig you a tiger trap. Yeah, maybe a softkill but the time and effort you need to get it out, you might as well blow it up.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Chogy View Post
                      Sm

                      Would an M1 tank, given unlimited fuel and munitions and barring mechanical breakdown, sweep aside axis forces like a man would swat mosquitos? At night, I have no doubt it'd be nearly invincible.
                      Without air cover they would be dead meat. Top armor today is pretty much the same thickness and material it was then. Aircobra, Typhoon, Sturmovick, Stuka doesn't really matter which. Now if they had air cover and conventional support that is a different story. The only WWII era AFV's that could damage a modern MBT from the front would be the Soviet ISU-100Y with its naval 130mm gun or the SU/ISU-152. The SU-122, ISU-122, ISU-100, Jagdtiger, King tiger and jagdpanther, M36, Pershing and Super Pershing could probably score a kill from the side against the Abrams.

                      Much lower on the likelihood the Panther, T-34/85, Pz-IV/Stug III (and other kwk40 tracks), Firefly (and other 17lb gun tracks) and Sherman 76's might be able to get a side penetration depending on location and range but could probably get a rear penetration.

                      Panzerfaust or Bazooka could probably get a rear side penetration while the Panzershrek might be able to punch middle side.

                      AT mines for mobility kills and heavy artillery if it scores a top hit.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by zraver View Post
                        Without air cover they would be dead meat. Top armor today is pretty much the same thickness and material it was then. Aircobra, Typhoon, Sturmovick, Stuka doesn't really matter which. Now if they had air cover and conventional support that is a different story. The only WWII era AFV's that could damage a modern MBT from the front would be the Soviet ISU-100Y with its naval 130mm gun or the SU/ISU-152. The SU-122, ISU-122, ISU-100, Jagdtiger, King tiger and jagdpanther, M36, Pershing and Super Pershing could probably score a kill from the side against the Abrams.

                        Much lower on the likelihood the Panther, T-34/85, Pz-IV/Stug III (and other kwk40 tracks), Firefly (and other 17lb gun tracks) and Sherman 76's might be able to get a side penetration depending on location and range but could probably get a rear penetration.

                        Panzerfaust or Bazooka could probably get a rear side penetration while the Panzershrek might be able to punch middle side.

                        AT mines for mobility kills and heavy artillery if it scores a top hit.
                        I am surprised to hear this about these intermediate strength 3" guns (the Soviet 85mm was like a good 3" gun as far as AT work was concerned - though it had better than average range in this class, it wasn't a powerful penetrator like the 88mm or the 32 Pdr/84mm were, the 85mm's primary strength over 3" guns was its heavier explosive shell for bunker busting). I know the 17 Pdr and the Panther 75/70 were different than other 3" guns, and had unusual penetration. I am no expert on the armor on an M1 Abrams so I can't argue this point.
                        sigpic"If your plan is for one year, plant rice. If your plan is for ten years, plant trees.
                        If your plan is for one hundred years, educate children."

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by USSWisconsin View Post
                          I am surprised to hear this about these intermediate strength 3" guns (the Soviet 85mm was like a good 3" gun as far as AT work was concerned - though it had better than average range in this class, it wasn't a powerful penetrator like the 88mm or the 32 Pdr/84mm were, the 85mm's primary strength over 3" guns was its heavier explosive shell for bunker busting). I know the 17 Pdr and the Panther 75/70 were different than other 3" guns, and had unusual penetration. I am no expert on the armor on an M1 Abrams so I can't argue this point.
                          The Abrams was built to face and then counter attack a Soviet horde. This means armor to the front and level.

                          The armor on the Abrams is almost all to the front and front sides around the crew. Think two giant armored horseshoe shaped areas (hull and turret) thickest at the base of the U and thinning out towards the end of either leg of the U. The rear and rear sides are protected by more by fuel tanks (hull) or the blast doors separating the crew from the ammunition (turret). The best period ammo for the 3" type guns other than the panther give between 4 and 5 inches of penetration at 1000m. This should be enough to penetrate the rear sides over the ammo or engine.

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                          • #14
                            Wasn't this a 1980's movie, but with an aircraft carrier (the Nimitz) going back to Hawaii just before Pearl Harbor? The Final Countdown, I think?

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by DonBelt View Post
                              Wasn't this a 1980's movie, but with an aircraft carrier (the Nimitz) going back to Hawaii just before Pearl Harbor? The Final Countdown, I think?
                              There is also one from last year - Battleship.

                              I wonder how the Merkava will fair in place of the M1A1.

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