Sherman v Panzers 1943-1945

#1
I have recently been reading the book Tank Men by Robert Kershaw.

Among other things, it says that Monty said the Sherman with its 75mm gun was "all we require". I find that extraordinary as by 1943, the newer German Panzers with their 88mm gun were vastly better.

I know that some Sherman Fireflys were produced with the 17 pounder gun but nowhere near enough. Given the US manufacturing capabilities, I dont understand why Monty took the view he did. Surely he could ( and should) have said we need all Firefly versions - or is that a symplistic view.

Can any one explain why the Sherman with its 75mm gun was decided as being acceptable - after all, Monty wasn't a Tanker!
 
#2
lepidus said:
I have recently been reading the book Tank Men by Robert Kershaw.

Among other things, it says that Monty said the Sherman with its 75mm gun was "all we require". I find that extraordinary as by 1943, the newer German Panzers with their 88mm gun were vastly better.

I know that some Sherman Fireflys were produced with the 17 pounder gun but nowhere near enough. Given the US manufacturing capabilities, I dont understand why Monty took the view he did. Surely he could ( and should) have said we need all Firefly versions - or is that a symplistic view.

Can any one explain why the Sherman with its 75mm gun was decided as being acceptable - after all, Monty wasn't a Tanker!
I think it was the Sherman's speed, Maneuverability and excellent crew's that made it superior.
 
#3
75mm could fire HE and AT rounds while other guns could not, so they could perform infantry support and anti tank roles. Also one of the best German tanks the Panther was armed with a high velocity 75mm gun.
 
#4
the whole advantage that the sherman had over the panzer was the fact that it could be mass produced where as the panzer took a long time to produce and was slower to get to the battlefield.
 
#5
My grandad who passed away last year,served under Monty as a foot slogger.He told me years ago that Monty was'nt that popular with the lower ranks.Something along the lines of "he was'nt too worried about how many blokes he lost as long as he took the objective".His words not mine.

Incidentaly,he never ever applied for his medals after the war although my cousin has them now.He said the money for medals should have gone to the war widows.I think he lost a lot of mates in Italy.

I remember hearing somewhere that questions were raised in parliament during the war because M.P's were concerned over our tank losses and that our tanks were not as well prorected as the Germans.

Could also been concerns over ammo storage as they nearly always caught fire when hit.
 
#6
The deciding factor for the Sherman vs Panzer was not gun size but Speed, numbers and also the relative ease of repair. While Panzer out gunned and out armoured the Sherman it was slower, less manoeuvrable and was harder to repair it was probably too complex for its own good.
 
#7
JokerR said:
lepidus said:
I have recently been reading the book Tank Men by Robert Kershaw.

Among other things, it says that Monty said the Sherman with its 75mm gun was "all we require". I find that extraordinary as by 1943, the newer German Panzers with their 88mm gun were vastly better.

I know that some Sherman Fireflys were produced with the 17 pounder gun but nowhere near enough. Given the US manufacturing capabilities, I dont understand why Monty took the view he did. Surely he could ( and should) have said we need all Firefly versions - or is that a symplistic view.

Can any one explain why the Sherman with its 75mm gun was decided as being acceptable - after all, Monty wasn't a Tanker!
I think it was the Sherman's speed, Maneuverability and excellent crew's that made it superior.
And that there was ferking loads of them. The allied industrial machine won out over the axis technical superiority. Quantity has a quality all of its own mate ;)
 
#8
I watched a program once about the Sherman v the Tiger, which said it took 5 shermans to kill one Tiger. 3 shermans would act as decoys usually getting knocked out in the process whilst 2 shermans would try and flank the Tiger and get behind it.

The program also suggested that the Germans should of built Panthers instead of Tigers as the Tiger was too expensive, took too long to build, was too slow, the turret was too slow, and it had problems with the mechanics. They could of built a hell of a lot more Panthers.

It was numbers that counted as the russians showed.

But all of tankers interviewed said they would rather of had a Tiger tank, they saw to many shermans blown apart.
 
#10
although the stugs the germans produced in my opinion outclassed the sherman

i also believe only the hv 75mm gun was effective in the panzers

the shermans - ronsons - as they always lit up when hit were mass produced and easier to maintain, the panther tank ended up being too heavy for its final drives and pack.

the stugs were an excellent answer to the sherman
 
#11
BootsDMS said:
My grandad who passed away last year,served under Monty as a foot slogger.He told me years ago that Monty was'nt that popular with the lower ranks.Something along the lines of "he was'nt too worried about how many blokes he lost as long as he took the objective".His words not mine.


My Dad was in North Africa - Gunner - he said the same thing as your Grandad.
 
#12
Having just read Alamein by Jon Latimer it seems Monty whilst loved by the press was universally un-popular after the campaign with those he had worked with. He was regarded as a good officer but he had a habit of rubbing people up the wrong way.

The book tells of horrendous tank losses in North Africa but amazingly many of the British tanks were recovered and repaired unlike the German/Italian tanks. I'm not quite sure if that was due to tank design or the British/Empire forces being better prepared and geared up for it. Whilst off topic the other thing I learnt about this particular campaign was what a vital role the Desert Air Force and counter intelligence played.

Definitely worth a read if you are interested in the North Africa campaign.
 
#15
Sherman Vs. Panzer in 1943, by and large saw the Germans in Panzer Mark III and IV, both of which were vulnerable in any aspect out to 1000 yards to the Shermans medium velocity 75mm. Tigers were very rare and, while tactically unpleasant, were not strategically that significant.

By 1944, the Germans had more "Big Cats" in the form of the Panther (Panzer Mark V) and Tiger (Panzer Mark VI). Again these vehicles have excellent performance, and now German armour really outclasses the Sherman.

By 1945, the Germans have some really scary tanks, but they are very expensive, very complex and so very rare.

However, most Sherman tank actions were against anti-tank guns, and losses confirm this. Consider in addition that until this point, British tank guns had little, if any HE round, and could not effectively engage AT guns at long range. The dual-purpose gun was a revelation and it is in that light that Monty's comment must be taken. The only German AFV that the 75mm gun could not defeat at all was the Tiger. The Panther was all but invulnerable from the front but very weak from the sides.

Stugs were an attempted answer to the T-34 on the Eastern Front, which were an all-up package not dissimilar to the Sherman. They were a defensive AFV rather than an offensive one, as they could not easily engage a threat unless it was in front of them.

In short, in 1943 the 75mm medium velocity gun was very effective against anti-tank guns and effective against all the German AFVs apart from the rare heavies. From a short-sighted perspective Monty was bang on the money.
 
#16
Part of the Problem with the M4 Medium was US doctrine.

In the US view, Tanks were for Infantry Support and Exploitation where the 75mm M3 Gun's HE round was very good at general use. Our Doctrine held that Tank Destroyers (Towed & SP) were for fighting tanks. Army Ground Forces under LTG. McNair fought against upgunning the M4 to 76mm and against the M26 Pershing well past when it was obvious they were needed. Patton also was against the upgunning to 76mm

IIRC, Tank Losses at Normandy were expected in the area of 5% and actaully came closer to 30% due to factors ranging from Panzerfausts & Panthers to the Terrain limiting axis of advance towards enemy lines. When German Armored units (Pzkpfw IV) were in the Attack in 1944-45 they complained of many of the same issues with regards to Armor.

Initial M4(47Deg Glacis), M4A1's, M4A2's(Diesel) also had Dry Stowage Ammo Racks (thinly protected) combined with Small Drivers Hatches, No Loaders Hatch in Low Bustle Turrets was fatal to many crewmembers in a hurry to egress the vehicle if the ammo casings were ruptured.

In the Improved M4A3 75mm(W) & 76mm(W) 60Deg Glacis, the Ammo was "Wet" Stowed in the hull below the sponsons. Rounds were surrounded by a casing filled with water/glycol. A "Ready Rack on the Turret basket kept a few rounds. Larger Hatches for Driver, Bow Gunner, Loaders Hatch added to Turret & a Thickened Cheek to the turret where the Gunner sat.

Here's a table of 75mm Armor Penetration:
http://gva.freeweb.hu/weapons/usa_guns5.html

17 Pdr & 77mm Armor Penetration:
http://gva.freeweb.hu/weapons/british_guns5.html

Full Specs, M4 Series:
http://afvdb.50megs.com/usa/m4sherman.html



Read Belton Coopers "Deathtraps" -The Survival of an American Armored Division in World War II. Novato, CA: Presidio, 1998. ISBN 0-89141-670-6. He was responsible for the recovery/repair of all 3rd Armored Division Tanks in NWE campaign.


An Interview with Dmitri Loza, Hero of the Soviet Union and Commander of a M4 unit on the Eastern Front:
http://www.iremember.ru/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=85&Itemid=19
 
#17
lepidus said:
I have recently been reading the book Tank Men by Robert Kershaw.

Among other things, it says that Monty said the Sherman with its 75mm gun was "all we require". I find that extraordinary as by 1943, the newer German Panzers with their 88mm gun were vastly better.

I know that some Sherman Fireflys were produced with the 17 pounder gun but nowhere near enough. Given the US manufacturing capabilities, I dont understand why Monty took the view he did. Surely he could ( and should) have said we need all Firefly versions - or is that a symplistic view.

Can any one explain why the Sherman with its 75mm gun was decided as being acceptable - after all, Monty wasn't a Tanker!
Monty did say in a July 1944 memo that the 75mm in the Cromwell was "suitable", was that the same gun as in the Sherman? He then criticised the Churchill tank and its gun in Oct 1944, the very same 75mm gun that was in the Cromwell.

Monty was against the split Infantry/Cruiser tank fleet, he wanted a "capital" tank or universal tank. But he seems to have failed to note the lessons of the desert regarding the differing protection levels, firepower and mobility of Infantry tanks, Cruisers, and Shermans. Monty thought that the Sherman was better protected than it really was for some reason.

Have a look at 4/7DG at Crisot and ask them what they thought of their Shermans. And maybe compare it to Halfya in 1942.
 
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