German Wündertanks vs Shermans

If I recall correctly there was a US report on T-34 which said the hardening on bearing surfaces in the gearbox was a bit hit and miss; so some were bulletproof and others killed themselves quickly. Before we start laughing; Australia tried and failed to copy the Sherman gearbox-they did not have the engineering infrastructure to produce it.
 
You missed the -3 gun depression and the very high armour hardness (which is a very bad thing). If memory serves it was about twice as hard as British armour. It was also very difficult to aim the main gun, according to that report.
There was nothing about either of those in the summary, and I wasn't interested in re-typing the whole report.

The report lists some hardness measurements on rolled plate and simply said:
The rolled armour is of homogenous quality, but of greater hardness than comparable British quality.
For the cast armour they said:
Measurements by the "Poldi" equipment shows the hardness to be 37- - 375 Brinell. This is very high compared with British standards."
In neither case did they draw any conclusions about the performance of the armour from that. The fact that they did not comment on that point is notable as it may indicate that they didn't feel they could draw any conclusions on that basis alone. They did not hesitate to criticise other aspects of the design when they felt they had grounds to.

With respect to the angle of depression of the main gun they said:
Depression has been sacrificed in favour of low turret height and larger angle of elevation. The elevation angle of 30 degrees is abnormally large and would have been a good feature if it had not been obtained at the expense of depression.
So they noted that depression had been sacrificed in favour of low turret height and greater elevation. We know that this difference of opinion on the balance between depression and turret height is a design feature that has carried through to this day, and it is interesting to see that it was a factor in British tank design (as evidenced by it being mentioned in the report) at least as far back as the date of this report.

On the other hand, there are other contemporary Soviet sources which indicate that a desirable depression angle was -5 degrees. Here's an example from 1940 with respect to some proposed improvements:
Tank Archives: T-34 Improvements
Widening the turret by 160 mm without touching the hull and turret ring that was proposed by factory #183 is approved. I disagree with increasing the height of the turret, as this will present a larger target to the enemy, and there is no need of this since the depression angle of -5 degrees forward and to the sides is already achieved.
The "already achieved" I believe refers to the design under discussion. What happened to the 2 degrees difference between -5 and -3 is a good question, but it shows the debate that was going on with respect to the design.

However, what I am primarily interested in with respect to the original report is what it shows about contemporary British thought about tank design, as revealed in their comments about tanks from other countries. There is a similar report on the KV which I intend to give some attention to later when I get some time.

I had expected some harsher criticism in the report with respect to the T-34. However, it was overall quite positive within the context of war conditions. They appeared to think of it as the tank equivalent of the Sten Gun - not ideal, but what was needed at the time within the constraints available. The opinions expressed in this report by the way are interesting in light of the the Soviet report mentioned in a previous post which said the British had positive things to say about the T-34 and KV.

Both of these are preliminary reports. The final reports (if they still exist) might be more illuminating. I would imagine there may be a report on the Sherman as well, which would make for fascinating reading.
 
Didn't a British submarine torpedo a German tank (or rather the pier on which it was sat) on the North African coast at some point?
Or was that in a work of fiction?
Might be a work of fiction. A similar sort of thing is mentioned in this novel:

Trapp's War (Edward Trapp, book 1) by Brian Callison

A German armoured car is torpedoed by a Schnellboot. I'm not going to try and explain it. Get a copy of the book and read it. You'll thank me....
 
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In neither case did they draw any conclusions about the performance of the armour from that. The fact that they did not comment on that point is notable as it may indicate that they didn't feel they could draw any conclusions on that basis alone. They did not hesitate to criticise other aspects of the design when they felt they had grounds to.
They wouldn't need too, as peopl connected with tanks knows the issues of high hardness armour. Such as It's brittle, and transmits energy through the plate to form spalling on the inside.

On the other hand, there are other contemporary Soviet sources which indicate that a desirable depression angle was -5 degrees. Here's an example from 1940 with respect to some proposed improvements:
Tank Archives: T-34 Improvements
I have a great many things in documents that were under discussion, but never met the light of day. Sometimes the under discussion part goes on for years. Equally the documents would indicate they actually happened, when other documents shoot that full of holes.

I'd also point to the horrific quality control of Russian tanks, as alluded too earlier (Likely the Russians made sure we got a very good copy) which might also allude to why we had such a plethora of quality control marks.
Need I dust off this picture of the T-34 to show Superior Russian quality!


Crewman 1: "Comrade commissar! the hand book says this tank should have -3 depression!"
*Blam*
Crewman 2: "Da comrade commissar, this tanksi has sufficient depression!"
 
If I recall correctly there was a US report on T-34 which said the hardening on bearing surfaces in the gearbox was a bit hit and miss; so some were bulletproof and others killed themselves quickly. Before we start laughing; Australia tried and failed to copy the Sherman gearbox-they did not have the engineering infrastructure to produce it.
There is a 1951 US report on a T-34-85 captured in North Korea which is quite detailed. That report references an earlier 1943 US report, but I haven't seen a copy of that. The 1951 report said that further development of the tank since the 1943 report was very evident, so it may not be exactly applicable to to WWII.

However, the 1951 report seems to be in broad agreement with the British preliminary report referenced earlier. Particularly notable are the following selected points:
  • There had been a generous use of high alloy steels and other high quality materials.
  • Manufacturing methods had been adequate for the job, with crude exterior finish being countered by precision machining on functioning parts, according to need.
  • Engineering development had been very actively continued; it was evident that most of the changes found through the comparison with the Aberdeen and German reports had probably been made to improve tank performance and especially tank service life, rather than to simplify or reduce cost.
  • The T34/85 tank examined was found to have many of the features regarded as important by American tank designers.
  • Materials were found to be ample for the job - better than those to be used in American tanks, in some cases.
  • Accessibility for servicing was good, especially of engine components and storage batteries from the fighting compartment.
The last point with respect to accessibility of engine components differs from the British report, but the latter may be referring to a different means of access, or this may be something that was improved in the design between those dates.

There was a long list of pluses and minuses which I am not going to retype here. Since armour hardness has been brought up and you mentioned hardening of bearing surfaces I will quote the following from the summary which would seem to address both points.
The materials provided for the tank program had been wisely used, not extravagantly. Alloying materials had been effectively used to obtain toughness along with the desired hardness. The armour, for example, was much harder than our specifications call for, yet at the same time tougher.

In general, the accompanying heat treatment seemed equally well suited to requirements, and control seemed quite satisfactory judging from the extensive hardness data obtained for this study. Departures from optimum materials treatment seemed likely to be the result of production imperfections rather than any lack of understanding. The inadequate drawing of the case-hardened transmission gears was an example.
 
personal views of veterans which dont agree with the historians pet theories are ignored
Somewhere on a hard disk, I've prob'ly still got an MP3 file of Richard Holmes delivering what sounds as though it might have been an after dinner address, but I think it was more serious, in which he explains how cautious he learned to be, about the accuracy of first-person accounts, retold years after the event. Basically, he was of the view that a significant proportion - having been told, re-told, and perhaps embellished over time - bore no relation to the established, documented facts, and that while they might be valuable illustrations, no self-respecting historian would rely solely on such stories as a substitute for more solid collateral.

His words always cross my mind when I listen to some of the BBC iPlayer archive material of interviews with WW1 veterans, filmed for the B+W 1960s classic series The Great War, but which didn't make it into the final cut.
 
Your geography completely baffles me. I don't see what the Bering Sea has to do with anything, and if you are going between commercial ports then Liverpool to Halifax or Montreal is not far. A quick look on the Internet puts it at 2850 nautical miles. The distance from Liverpool to Murmansk is 2288 nautical miles, not a whole lot less distance and probabaly a lot more dangerous at the time.

The major problem is going to be trying to run a factory 24/7 while not being able to predict when your supply shipments are going to arrive or whether your entire month's supply of some essential and irreplaceable widget is going to end up at the bottom of the sea.
Fair do's my thinking is that apart from the Japanese incursions into the Aleutian Islands could they not have supplied from Vancouver to Kamchatka or some such exchanging time for risk. Sure it's longer but the risk must have been lower and thus the resources used in escorting could be used elsewhere. Running a factory must have been the devils own job when you couldn't even predict demand, let alone supply.
 
(...) I'd also point to the horrific quality control of Russian tanks, as alluded too earlier (Likely the Russians made sure we got a very good copy) which might also allude to why we had such a plethora of quality control marks. (...)
As I highlighted in a previous post, unusually large numbers of inspection marks generally indicate an attempt to address a known quality control problem.
 
Might be a work of fiction. A similar sort of thing is mentioned in this novel:

Trapp's War (Edward Trapp, book 1) by Brian Callison

A German armoured car is torpedoed by a Schnellboot. I'm not going to try and explain it. Get a copy of the book and read it. You'll thank me....
I have Trapp's War & Trapp's Peace (& A Flock of Ships) in a box somewhere. I'll bet it's a half remembered reading of the former that's come to mind.
Liked the first two but found the latter a tad melancholic.
 
I've often wondered about the unique drive "sprocket" of the T-34 which used the track horns bearing on rollers instead of the traditional method. Crews complained about dodgy track pins but not the sprocket/drive wheel.
 
Fair do's my thinking is that apart from the Japanese incursions into the Aleutian Islands could they not have supplied from Vancouver to Kamchatka or some such exchanging time for risk. Sure it's longer but the risk must have been lower and thus the resources used in escorting could be used elsewhere. Running a factory must have been the devils own job when you couldn't even predict demand, let alone supply.
Soviet cargo ships could run between US ports and Vladivostok. The Soviets had kicked the stuffing out of the Japanese army in 1939 (if I recall correctly, the invasion of Poland was delayed until after the peace Soviet-Japanese peace treaty went into effect) and the Japanese were not anxious to spark a repeat by sinking Soviet ships.

However the ships were inspected by the Japanese and could not carry war materials. I suspect that parts for tanks would have been considered contraband, so that route would have been closed.
 
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They really hadn't moved on much since 1940, when in all seriousness they planned to land 1/3 million horses in Britain during the follow-on waves of SeaLion.

(Which got me wondering whether there has ever actually been an opposed beach landing by horse-borne troops in history?)

Perhaps they assumed that the animal-friendly Brits wouldn't fire on all those horsies with big brown eyes..
I believe that in the absence of any other framework to guide their thinking, SEELOWE was planned by the Wehrmacht as though it were an opposed river crossing.

In fairness, our own competence at amphibious operations was hard-earned, and developed bottom-up, starting with some pretty dinky (if audacious) commando raids, and the disaster at Dieppe is powerful proof that we still had a lot to learn, even after 2(+) years of experience.
 
I've often wondered about the unique drive "sprocket" of the T-34 which used the track horns bearing on rollers instead of the traditional method. Crews complained about dodgy track pins but not the sprocket/drive wheel.
The T-34 inherited it from its predecessor, the BT-7.


and the BT-5



and before that the Christie T3, shown here being tested by the US:


The original Christie tanks were convertible drive tanks - take the tracks off and they could run directly on their wheels at higher speed than they could run on their tracks. The Soviets binned that idea as not very useful but licensed the suspension. I'm not sure what the point of the toothless "sprocket" was, but it may have been to avoid having exposed teeth whirling around when running without tracks.
 
Actually, taking a closer look at the last photo above, there appears to be a drive chain or belt running from the drive sprocket to the wheel immediately in front of it. It appears this makes it seem likely the sprocket design has something to do with the original Christie convertible drive feature even if the Soviets never ended up using it.

 
Actually, taking a closer look at the last photo above, there appears to be a drive chain or belt running from the drive sprocket to the wheel immediately in front of it. It appears this makes it seem likely the sprocket design has something to do with the original Christie convertible drive feature even if the Soviets never ended up using it.

My ex used to wear something similar. Apparently, it used to make Sainsbury's very interesting.
 
I believe that in the absence of any other framework to guide their thinking, SEELOWE was planned by the Wehrmacht as though it were an opposed river crossing.

In fairness, our own competence at amphibious operations was hard-earned, and developed bottom-up, starting with some pretty dinky (if audacious) commando raids, and the disaster at Dieppe is powerful proof that we still had a lot to learn, even after 2(+) years of experience.
That's not my understanding. From memory the Admiralty had been studying amphibious operations in some depth since the late 20's/early 30's. Certainly that's where the necessity of the various classes of landing ship, C2 ships etc comes from. When you look at the various classes the designs all stem from pre- very early in the war.

I don't recall a lot of the detail now, scotch has been taken. But Barnett goes into detail in Engage The Enemy More Closely. I'll try to dig out the relevant bumph tomorrow, SWMBO permitting.
 
But was he a forward thinking/ahead of his time sort of man?

Did he have strong, 21st Century stylee views on the sinfulness of finger food?

We should be told.
He seemed to think that Lillet Blanc was an acceptable substitute for Kina Lillet and that a fellow could in all conscience order a Dirty Martini. Like I said, extraordinary fellow.
 
Another oft missed thing going for the Sherman was its ‘extra’ armour.

What extra armour you say? It’s only got a 3” thick glacIs?

Well yes, but if you read contemporary reports, you will see that front transmissions were swapped out a lot, very east to do): which, considering how tough and reliable the tranmission was seems odd.

Behind that big cast nose was a load of hard steel gears and drive shafts, that gave the bow of a Sherman the equivalent of 8” of armour it hit low down. Yes, a lot of damage would have been through mine strikes, but there are plenty of reports of a big BANG! on the nose and everyone going WTF! and jumping out.

 

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