Allied use of zimmerit

ches

LE
I seem to recall reading here that the Americans took to pasting 6" of concrete on the front of their Shermans. Patton found out the damage to final drives and other major assemblies and ordered it to stop.
And didn't win himself any new friends in the yank tank lot.
 
And didn't win himself any new friends in the yank tank lot.
We had the same thing happen to us. In Normandy and onwards you'll see all sorts of crap strapped to the front of tanks. We sent out a research mission to investigate the effects, as each unit, often each tank crew, had different theories on what worked. There's an account of one tank commander explaining to the researchers about how the irregular surface of the Track links welded to the front of his tank would break up and disrupt the shot when it hit.

A bit of testing back home and the conclusion is that its all crap. On the hull it was deemed utterly irrelevant, however on the turret it would put the turret out of balance, and in the worst case scenario slow the traverse rate, but in all cases damage the traversing gear.

The War Office took this report, and in a bout of good sense realised the following:
1) If they banned it, they would be ignored, or worse it would damage morale, as the Seniors are seen to be ordering life saving equipment removed.
2) It improved the soldiers morale, and made them more likely to get into fights.

So it was left well alone.
 
The War Office took this report, and in a bout of good sense realised the following:
1) If they banned it, they would be ignored, or worse it would damage morale, as the Seniors are seen to be ordering life saving equipment removed.
2) It improved the soldiers morale, and made them more likely to get into fights.

So it was left well alone.
Were they not feeling well that day?

I was imagining a more General Melchett approach,

WW1:
Melchett: "Ah, Blackadder, how's the flying going"
Blackadder: "Quite well, sir. Apart from some of the chaps getting slightly worried about what happens if the Hun shoots their wings off."
Melchett: "Yes, quite. Any suggestions?"
Blackadder: "Well, sir, we could try giving parachutes to pilots ...?"
Melchett: "Don't be so silly, my boy. If the pilots think they can leave an aeroplane simply because the Bosche shoots their wings off or sets them on fire, they'll likely think they should just jump out at the first sight of the enemy."
Blackadder: "You mean, as opposed to not having a chance and attacking the enemy, rather than, say, turning round and scarpering back home?"
Melchett: "Precisely. We'll make a General of you yet."

WW2:
Melchett: "Ah, Blackadder, how's the new tank working out"
Blackadder: "Quite well, sir. Apart from some of the chaps getting slightly worried about the thin armour and meeting up with a King Tiger."
Melchett: "Yes, quite. Any suggestions?"
Blackadder: "Well, sir, we could try adding extra armour ...?"
Melchett: "Don't be so silly, my boy. If tankers think they can survive simply because the Bosche can't shoot through their turrets, they'll likely think they should just go hull down and hide at first sight of the enemy rather than attacking before the Bosche can get them."
Blackadder: "You mean, as opposed to not having a chance and attacking the enemy, rather than, say, turning round and scarpering back to base?"
Melchett: "Precisely. We'll make a General of you yet."
 
Stug IVs had extra protection forward of the driver's hatch, occasionally in concrete. This captured Stug III has quite a lot of concrete added:

stug3_07 (1).jpg
 
We had the same thing happen to us. In Normandy and onwards you'll see all sorts of crap strapped to the front of tanks. We sent out a research mission to investigate the effects, as each unit, often each tank crew, had different theories on what worked. There's an account of one tank commander explaining to the researchers about how the irregular surface of the Track links welded to the front of his tank would break up and disrupt the shot when it hit.

A bit of testing back home and the conclusion is that its all crap. On the hull it was deemed utterly irrelevant, however on the turret it would put the turret out of balance, and in the worst case scenario slow the traverse rate, but in all cases damage the traversing gear.

The War Office took this report, and in a bout of good sense realised the following:
1) If they banned it, they would be ignored, or worse it would damage morale, as the Seniors are seen to be ordering life saving equipment removed.
2) It improved the soldiers morale, and made them more likely to get into fights.

So it was left well alone.
Interesting conclusion from the report. Acknowledgement that tanks (especially ours) were not good at offensive operations? Or that our crews were green and the Germans were held in higher regard? Or just harmless stuff that may steady the occasional bout of nerves?
 
Interesting conclusion from the report. Acknowledgement that tanks (especially ours) were not good at offensive operations? Or that our crews were green and the Germans were held in higher regard? Or just harmless stuff that may steady the occasional bout of nerves?
More sort of
We can not stop it, even if we do outlaw it, units will ignore us and our inspectors can't be everywhere.
If we do ban it, It will damage the morale, because our soldiers don't think we have their best interests at heart.
If we leave it on, it has the effect of a lucky charm, and they may think it does them some good. They may even be right, as we have not conducted proper testing.

And sometimes, some units did get it right.


That, if memory serves, is a 4th CLY tank. You can clearly see an ice slab of spaced armour, with opening for the Lap gun to fire through. If memory serves the Grenadier Guards also came up with something similar.

further searching has this one I hadn't seen before


There were other up-armouring successes which were invented by field units, like this cupola modification by the 6th Guards Tank Brigade:


Also, I'll fight anyone who says our tanks were no good! :p
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
More sort of
We can not stop it, even if we do outlaw it, units will ignore us and our inspectors can't be everywhere.
If we do ban it, It will damage the morale, because our soldiers don't think we have their best interests at heart.
If we leave it on, it has the effect of a lucky charm, and they may think it does them some good. They may even be right, as we have not conducted proper testing.

And sometimes, some units did get it right.


That, if memory serves, is a 4th CLY tank. You can clearly see an ice slab of spaced armour, with opening for the Lap gun to fire through. If memory serves the Grenadier Guards also came up with something similar.

further searching has this one I hadn't seen before


There were other up-armouring successes which were invented by field units, like this cupola modification by the 6th Guards Tank Brigade:


Also, I'll fight anyone who says our tanks were no good! :p
Top picture I seem to recall is a Panther glacis plate less MG ball mount.
 
Some modifications are pretty good. The bottom photo demonstrates that. It is interesting (to me, anyway) that spurious additions can be seen by the top brass as harmless, or even beneficial to morale. Like wearing a talisman, or painting a figure on the hull to ward off evil (or a Tiger 2).
Certainly by Normandy allied tanks were as good as the Germans, who weren’t above a few modifications themselves.
 
Some modifications are pretty good. The bottom photo demonstrates that. It is interesting (to me, anyway) that spurious additions can be seen by the top brass as harmless, or even beneficial to morale. Like wearing a talisman, or painting a figure on the hull to ward off evil (or a Tiger 2).
Certainly by Normandy allied tanks were as good as the Germans, who weren’t above a few modifications themselves.
Exactly, it was just a common sense result from the situation on the ground. At most it was damaging tanks long term, but the mechanical life a tank was so short it wasn't going to be a massive issue.

If you want to see Lucky Charms in action look to the small rocky island off the coast of the main land... no not Ireland, Japan and their Senninbari.
 
I seem to recall reading here that the Americans took to pasting 6" of concrete on the front of their Shermans. Patton found out the damage to final drives and other major assemblies and ordered it to stop.

Yup, he even got his Ordnance Officers to actually test these field modification armours and found they were pointless and just caused the tanks to break down more. In fact, the habit of hanging timber on the hull actually made the Panzerfausts MORE effective as it gave them an excellent stand off to form their jet.
What they did find was cutting glacis plates off dead Panthers and welding them to the front of Shermans gave double the protection for only a handful of tonnes extra weight - and Patton ordered as many of his Shermans as could be so converted.
 
More sort of
We can not stop it, even if we do outlaw it, units will ignore us and our inspectors can't be everywhere.
If we do ban it, It will damage the morale, because our soldiers don't think we have their best interests at heart.
If we leave it on, it has the effect of a lucky charm, and they may think it does them some good. They may even be right, as we have not conducted proper testing.

And sometimes, some units did get it right.


That, if memory serves, is a 4th CLY tank. You can clearly see an ice slab of spaced armour, with opening for the Lap gun to fire through. If memory serves the Grenadier Guards also came up with something similar.

further searching has this one I hadn't seen before


There were other up-armouring successes which were invented by field units, like this cupola modification by the 6th Guards Tank Brigade:


Also, I'll fight anyone who says our tanks were no good! :p
Your 4 CLY tank also has the utterly useless applique plate on the sponson which merely served as a handy aiming mark (especially with a cute little 'X' on it!)
 
Your 4 CLY tank also has the utterly useless applique plate on the sponson which merely served as a handy aiming mark (especially with a cute little 'X' on it!)
"My" tank? how old do you think I am? I mean, not to say I wouldn't want my own Sherman....

The appliqué armour, would save your ass agaisnt quite a few German weapons such as the K98 rifle grenade, light cannon/ATR's like the S-100 and MG131 size weapons, and even possibly up to a 37mm Flak or Pak, or 28mm sPzB 41 (with a bit of luck). Anything bigger than that is going through anyway, and if your tank gets penned you're out the battle no matter what happens. To give you an idea on how common those were the Canadians spent quite a bit of time and energy, along with British help to test, and devise additional armour packs for the Wasp IIC, and it was reported to be extremely effective and very well liked by the troops. It also had the advantage of improving cross country performance as it balanced the weight of the tank on the rear.
(Incidently, these armour packs are at the end of a long line of experimentation on armour, which started in 1940, where every experiment the labs try actually works out better and in their favour, its almost a bit sickening to read, as they never fail, and just leap from once success to the next. The jammy buggers!)

I'd also question that "aiming point" thing, as it seems too similar to the M1 Garand ping myth. You'll often not see the entirety of the target tank, and as no doubt the tank types on here will confirm: You aim at the centre of the observable mass. A shot to the centre of the observable mass would also hit the rack on the far side of the tank, which is in the middle of those two.
Finally, Look at the fact that the tank registration was normally stencilled on that point, if it was a problem, you'd likely get rid of it. Same applies to the Churchill. The most common place for the tanks name is on the radiator vents, which is a honking great big hole right into the engine bay.
 
"My" tank? how old do you think I am? I mean, not to say I wouldn't want my own Sherman....

The appliqué armour, would save your ass agaisnt quite a few German weapons such as the K98 rifle grenade, light cannon/ATR's like the S-100 and MG131 size weapons, and even possibly up to a 37mm Flak or Pak, or 28mm sPzB 41 (with a bit of luck). Anything bigger than that is going through anyway, and if your tank gets penned you're out the battle no matter what happens. To give you an idea on how common those were the Canadians spent quite a bit of time and energy, along with British help to test, and devise additional armour packs for the Wasp IIC, and it was reported to be extremely effective and very well liked by the troops. It also had the advantage of improving cross country performance as it balanced the weight of the tank on the rear.
(Incidently, these armour packs are at the end of a long line of experimentation on armour, which started in 1940, where every experiment the labs try actually works out better and in their favour, its almost a bit sickening to read, as they never fail, and just leap from once success to the next. The jammy buggers!)

I'd also question that "aiming point" thing, as it seems too similar to the M1 Garand ping myth. You'll often not see the entirety of the target tank, and as no doubt the tank types on here will confirm: You aim at the centre of the observable mass. A shot to the centre of the observable mass would also hit the rack on the far side of the tank, which is in the middle of those two.
Finally, Look at the fact that the tank registration was normally stencilled on that point, if it was a problem, you'd likely get rid of it. Same applies to the Churchill. The most common place for the tanks name is on the radiator vents, which is a honking great big hole right into the engine bay.
see the commonly misnamed ‘bazooka plates’ on German armour that was nothing of the sort,
it was to stop the bazillion Russian 14.5mm AT rifles that were putting lots of German armour and their crews out of action. It wouldnt blow the tank up, but a couple of ounces of hardened steel rattling around inside the tank wasnt fun for the people inside.
 
I'd also question that "aiming point" thing, as it seems too similar to the M1 Garand ping myth. You'll often not see the entirety of the target tank, and as no doubt the tank types on here will confirm: You aim at the centre of the observable mass. A shot to the centre of the observable mass would also hit the rack on the far side of the tank, which is in the middle of those two.
Finally, Look at the fact that the tank registration was normally stencilled on that point, if it was a problem, you'd likely get rid of it. Same applies to the Churchill. The most common place for the tanks name is on the radiator vents, which is a honking great big hole right into the engine bay.
although there was a tendency for the old and bolds to remove any attention attracting contrasting markings on their tanks, there was a very definite ‘might be best,’ to keep an obvious allied marking on a Cromwell.
there were numerous of instances of blue on blues thanks to the rather too similar look at a distance to a Tiger.
 
see the commonly misnamed ‘bazooka plates’ on German armour that was nothing of the sort,
it was to stop the bazillion Russian 14.5mm AT rifles that were putting lots of German armour and their crews out of action. It wouldnt blow the tank up, but a couple of ounces of hardened steel rattling around inside the tank wasnt fun for the people inside.
Which I think brings us back to the ‘home-made’ armour extras. Any tankman worth his salt would not run away from a fight with another tank (barring huge extremes). Well-trained infantry/AT crews with the balls to get close are another matter. Fear of the magnetic mine leads to adding stuff like rubber strips, largely useless as they might be.
 
I wonder whether, unintentionally, the rubber strips reduced the radar cross section of the tanks? Was the Cromwell the first stealth tank?!
 
Never mind adding armour, I vaguely recall hearing somebody describe their run through Europe in a Cromwell and leading his troop in a ditch-hopping escape from some unexpected German chaps who gave him a hot reception.

Apparently, his tank was the quickest out of his squadron and the best jumper. Turned out that his tank was actually a training vehicle with thinner armour. However, as the crew had fought their way through from Normandy into Holland(?) in that tank and seen many of their fellows taken out, they decided to keep their Cromwell Light rather than exchange it for a regular Cromwell.

I think the story-teller might have been Bill Bellamy, but I don't know.
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
Never mind adding armour, I vaguely recall hearing somebody describe their run through Europe in a Cromwell and leading his troop in a ditch-hopping escape from some unexpected German chaps who gave him a hot reception.

Apparently, his tank was the quickest out of his squadron and the best jumper. Turned out that his tank was actually a training vehicle with thinner armour. However, as the crew had fought their way through from Normandy into Holland(?) in that tank and seen many of their fellows taken out, they decided to keep their Cromwell Light rather than exchange it for a regular Cromwell.

I think the story-teller might have been Bill Bellamy, but I don't know.
Pretty sure it's told in Delaforce, Normandy to the Baltic with the Black Bull.
 

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