Was the Comet tank the best Medium tank of WW2?

#61
I suspect the rank-the-tank considerations by the crews were very much about armour, gun, mobility and reliability.

Although the ease of production, hence numbers in the field, would affect their experience, how much steel between you and The Baddies and whether your gun could kill said Baddies were likely the clinchers.

Comet?

Excellent hard hitting gun with superb accuracy… 3 rounds on a 12" plate at 500m was the norm

Reliable as the day was long, fast on the good going with excellent off road mobility

Well enough armoured and armed to wade into a fight with a Panther or Tiger at normal battle ranges with a good expectation of winning.
Jesus, lots of people can’t do that grouping with a rifle. Was the gun/gunner really that good?
 
#62
I suspect the rank-the-tank considerations by the crews were very much about armour, gun, mobility and reliability.

Although the ease of production, hence numbers in the field, would affect their experience, how much steel between you and The Baddies and whether your gun could kill said Baddies were likely the clinchers.



Jesus, lots of people can’t do that grouping with a rifle. Was the gun/gunner really that good?

There is a documentary somewhere about D-Day/Normandy, with one of our old boy tankies as "talking head". In his discussion of the Tiger vs Sherman legend, he states that he and other gunners aimed at- and expected to hit the turret ring of german tanks (IIRC he was talking about midrange engagements of about 500 yds or so), and that this level of skill was (quote) "bread and butter" of the job - crews that didn't achieve this were toast (lit.).

Given that the visible turret ring of a Tiger was about 6", and a Panther even less, thats quite some claim!
 
#63
You also mention difficulties producing a heavy tank. We chucked out about 6,000 Churchill's during the war, against under 2000 Tigers (both types).
My main point is that at any one time 43-45 only at best 25% of British armour was in British tanks. Given the endemic xenophobia of the armoured corps [demonstrated by the retention of Churchills and Cromwells rather than Fireflies post 1945] this wasn't by choice it was the only way we could field the roughly 4000 tanks we did.
I don’t consider Churchill a proper heavy due to its inadequate gun.
 
#64
Big Tank-little tank.jpg


Taken by me dad in 52. I'm fairy certain that's a Valentine and me in einen Gepanzerten Kinderwagen, note the revolutionary suspension and the unusual tiller system. Interested to know who the Val belonged to.
 
#65
Comet? Excellent hard hitting gun with superb accuracy… 3 rounds on a 12" plate at 500m was the norm.
Jesus, lots of people can’t do that grouping with a rifle. Was the gun/gunner really that good?
I don't think that was that good. I could do something in that area at 1000 m with a 30 mm. Rifles don't cut it at range because of the lack of mass of the round. Roughly, based on simple cube rules because I can't find accurate data, the weight ratio is 1:60:1000 for 7.62/30/76.2 mm bore, the drag ration will be square rule so 1:15:100 so at a given range the ratio of loss of speed [mass/drag] is 10:2.5:1.
 
#66
An interesting table here (courtesy of an interesting analysis, here: On Allied Tank Casualties in the ETO and German AT Weapons | For the Record).

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I posted this because I have been wondering about how we are considering the issue? On a tank vs tank basis? Or just considering the overall usefulness of a tank in all circumstances?

It's interesting that, in NW Europe, SPG were the most dangerous mobile opponent of UK armour. Also interesting is that Panzerfaust/shreck accounted for as many UK losses as German tanks. In terms of the number of tank vs tank encounters, I would hazard a guess [I will check] that the majority of UK losses to German tanks occurred in the Summer of 1944. I would also imagine that, numerically, most losses were to Panzer IV, if only because that tank was the most numerous in German service. After Summer '44, how often were British tanks encountering tank opposition, as opposed to SPG, AT guns, etc?

Outside of tank vs tank situations, is the difference in performance between individual tanks that marked? There are important considerations such as speed [ref. the Monty quote mentioned earlier]; or armour thickness, but if we are talking medium tanks, they seem broadly similar in terms of performance and vulnerability. If an Panzer IV, Sherman or T34-85 rolls into the sights of a 88mm/17 or 6 pounder, they are likely to be in trouble; and the design details are likely of reduced importance.

Re. the reliability issue, I saw one of @California_Tanker 's chats and he mentioned that caution was needed about the statistics; the high availability rate of M4s might be related to the US providing good spare parts availability as opposed to the vehicles being inherently reliable. Certainly, the Germans had huge issues in obtaining spare parts and replacement vehicles. This was why their tank recovery practices were so good; it was their best means of ensuring that vehicles were kept in action; and of obtaining spare bits.

This is a very interesting thread. Thanks to the OP and to those contributing.
 
#67
My main point is that at any one time 43-45 only at best 25% of British armour was in British tanks. Given the endemic xenophobia of the armoured corps [demonstrated by the retention of Churchills and Cromwells rather than Fireflies post 1945] this wasn't by choice it was the only way we could field the roughly 4000 tanks we did.
At the end of the war we had 2077 British designed tanks, IE Comets, Cromwell's and Churchill's. This along with the final wartime production was enough to equip the entirety of the much smaller RAC, and leave a 50% reserve. We also expected to be taking on 20Pdr armed FV201's in 1947. Those are the reasons for ditching the Firefly, not Xenophobia.
Plus the supply of Fireflies had likely dried up, as you needed a certain combination of turrets and gun mounts to be able to convert a Sherman to a firefly, and as the US had moved on from that, and those earlier turret and gun mount combo's were likely out of production.

I don’t consider Churchill a proper heavy due to its inadequate gun.
It had a very good gun, in fact a range of very good guns. What were the most likely order of targets that a Churchill would face? German soldiers, German Soldiers with Panzerfaust, German Atk Gun, Stug/Panzer IV then the big cats. As I said there's less than 2000 Tigers to be split between both fronts, so the chanceo f meeting one is vanishingly small. All the other targets that the Churchill will likely meet the 75mm OQF is mroe than capable of taking care of.
 
#68
I don't think that was that good. I could do something in that area at 1000 m with a 30 mm. Rifles don't cut it at range because of the lack of mass of the round. Roughly, based on simple cube rules because I can't find accurate data, the weight ratio is 1:60:1000 for 7.62/30/76.2 mm bore, the drag ration will be square rule so 1:15:100 so at a given range the ratio of loss of speed [mass/drag] is 10:2.5:1.
I’ve got a semi.


Can we meet irl?
 
#69
My main point is that at any one time 43-45 only at best 25% of British armour was in British tanks. Given the endemic xenophobia of the armoured corps [demonstrated by the retention of Churchills and Cromwells rather than Fireflies post 1945] this wasn't by choice it was the only way we could field the roughly 4000 tanks we did.
I don’t consider Churchill a proper heavy due to its inadequate gun.

Xenophobia? Why?

Fireflies and other Shermans were Lend Lease, and thus had to be paid for or given back/destroyed after WW2. They were probably also well worn out by then.

Churchills and Cromwells were sovereign property, were plentiful, and were fine for the immediate post-war era, given that Comet, Centurion and other projects (Caernavon, etc) were all in the pipeline.

The wartime tank balance was perfectly sensible. UK had an economic war plan and, as noted, it wasn't efficient to mass produce medium tanks - freely available from US - in place of warships, artillery, specialist vehicles, etc that also had to be produced from finite engineering and materials resources.
 

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#71
there's less than 2000 Tigers to be split between both fronts, so the chance of meeting one is vanishingly small
I've quoted this before. It may have been from the history of 21. Panzerdivision. The author, whoever it was, believed that at no point in 1944-5 did the availability of Tigers across all fronts on any given day exceed 35.
 
#72
Fireflies and other Shermans were Lend Lease, and thus had to be paid for or given back/destroyed after WW2.
Good point I'd overlooked.
The wartime tank balance was perfectly sensible. UK had an economic war plan and, as noted, it wasn't efficient to mass produce medium tanks - freely available from US - in place of warships, artillery, specialist vehicles, etc that also had to be produced from finite engineering and materials resources.
Yes that's what I said several posts ago.
 
#74
At the end of the war we had 2077 British designed tanks, IE Comets, Cromwell's and Churchill's. This along with the final wartime production was enough to equip the entirety of the much smaller RAC, and leave a 50% reserve. We also expected to be taking on 20Pdr armed FV201's in 1947. Those are the reasons for ditching the Firefly, not Xenophobia.
Plus the supply of Fireflies had likely dried up, as you needed a certain combination of turrets and gun mounts to be able to convert a Sherman to a firefly, and as the US had moved on from that, and those earlier turret and gun mount combo's were likely out of production.



It had a very good gun, in fact a range of very good guns. What were the most likely order of targets that a Churchill would face? German soldiers, German Soldiers with Panzerfaust, German Atk Gun, Stug/Panzer IV then the big cats. As I said there's less than 2000 Tigers to be split between both fronts, so the chanceo f meeting one is vanishingly small. All the other targets that the Churchill will likely meet the 75mm OQF is mroe than capable of taking care of.
Did the Germans not supply Tigers to the Italian front?
 
#75
#76
This is allegedly a Comet of C Sqn 7th RTR in korea...

That's the one. It's the only pic I've seen supposedly of a Comet in Korea. However 7 RTR were equipped with Churchills, though they did have Comets in Hong Kong. I think this picture was probably taken in the New Territories. Note there's no bow MG fitted so it's probably not in an operational area.
 
#77
See another previous thread started by @meerkatz - the T-34 was very mechanically unsound, many travelling to battle with a spare transmission strapped to the back. There was also hugely variable build quality, with front plates only millimetres thick and, in some cases, gaps which let rain in.

Many Soviet Guards units were wholly equipped with the M4. However, Joe Stalin’s couldn’t be seen to be giving credit to the design prowess of the imperialist lackeys. So, history was re-written and the T-34 mythologised.
IIRC Dmitri Loza commanded Soviet M4's or "Emchas"
 
#78
The Comet the best medium tank of WWII absolutely not. The best British tank medium or otherwise of WWII absolutely yes but that said it did'nt have a lot to beat. As with all British tanks the Comet came in 2 years too late after it was needed
 
#79
The Comet the best medium tank of WWII absolutely not. The best British tank medium or otherwise of WWII absolutely yes but that said it did'nt have a lot to beat. As with all British tanks the Comet came in 2 years too late after it was needed
Well..... it was faster, more reliable, with a better gun and better armour than any of its competitors so I reckon that puts it right up there. It was late to the game though, and in only limited numbers. For the most important medium tank by dint of numbers built, or making a decisive impact on the conflict it's a toss up between the T34 or the Sherman, but the Comet gets my vote as the best. It's a good-looking tank too.
 
#80
@meerkatz, the standard 75mm on the Pz IV was delivering that accuracy in 1942. One crewman who survived Tilly stated that the 75mm was of such high velocity that you could, up to 1000m, simply put the pipper on the target and fire, knowing that the shell would strike where the pipper was pointed. They were often able to get off the critical first shot, as a result.
 

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