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Sherman vs Tiger

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Tanker, this one is for you. I was watching a show on the history channel about the Battle of the Bulge (my uncle was there). They were talking about tanks. The Sherman would out manuver and out run the Tiger, but the Tiger would out fight it hands down. They gave an example of 2 Tigers destroyed a column of 14 Shermans is only  a couple minutes. The Tiger would hit the turret and disable the tank and kill the crew at the same time. A US tanker said that the Sherman's had to be almost point blank to do any damage to the Tigers.

Comments please.

 

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Dads706

       There is/are documentaries on you tube with, interviews by survivors, that might be what you are asking about.   I will see if I can find it and post a link.

GT&T

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bj0AzL95Weg

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The book “Death Traps” by Belton Y. Cooper is a first person account written as an officer involved in the supply and maintenance of the Sherman tank.  Cooper gives interesting comparisons of the vulnerabilities and abilities of Shermans vs German tanks. He comments that the American ability to quickly modify tanks and tactics helped overcome the Sherman’s shortcomings.

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My grandfather on the Farabaugh side never saw combat, but was stationed here stateside and specialized in tank research, development and repair (cant  remember where he was stationed though).  One of my favorite stories he always told was the testing they would do, one particular one was a hill climb between Sherman's equipped with one of those funky a57 chrysler engines, the radial engine, and the ford GAA.  The ford GAA always won hands down.  

He also told of media days they would take a film crew out I'm guessing for propaganda films, and scare the guys crapless with their driving.  

Honestly wish he were alive a few years into my adulthood and gotten all the experiences down to tell in the years to come 

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I believe the Germans said: One Tiger could kill 5 Sherman's, but you always had 6!

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31 minutes ago, TomH said:

I believe the Germans said: One Tiger could kill 5 Sherman's, but you always had 6!

One of the documentaries said 10 Sherman’s but the 11th one always came and got you. The key was they could build and repair the Sherman’s quickly where the German tanks needed a lot of maintenance and slow to build. The Russians tank was supposed to be better than the Sherman.

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7 hours ago, GT&T said:

Dads706

       There is/are documentaries on you tube with, interviews by survivors, that might be what you are asking about.   I will see if I can find it and post a link.

GT&T

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bj0AzL95Weg

Thank you Fred. That was a very sad but excellent video. 

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51 minutes ago, TomH said:

I believe the Germans said: One Tiger could kill 5 Sherman's, but you always had 6!

I've always wondered why we fielded something known to be inferio.  Yes, they were easy to build quickly, and easy to repair, but anything was possible to accomplish manufacturing wise then.  

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16 minutes ago, Cdfarabaugh said:

I've always wondered why we fielded something known to be inferio.  Yes, they were easy to build quickly, and easy to repair, but anything was possible to accomplish manufacturing wise then.  

A lot of the military entered the war with inferior equipment. I remember reading that most torpedos until a year or so into war wouldn’t explode on impact or explode prematurely. The way congress and the military worked not the best designs got used. That is how the Russians got the bogey wheel design for their tank that worked.During the war though equipment got upgraded quickly. During Vietnam wasn’t the original M16 design faulty caused a lot of jamming and misfiring of gun? It is also suprising how our history books are skewed and written. Watching a show and they believed Germany actually detonated a nuclear device before us. One of the best responses though on a show by a German tank commander was the enguinity witnessed by the allied forces. In the hedge rows after d day. A tank with a dozer blade could be spotted and blown up before it reached the hedges. The allies took the metal from the beach obstacles welded sharpened teeth like things to front of tanks. They were hard to identify but worked well cutting through the hedges. 

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1 hour ago, Cdfarabaugh said:

I've always wondered why we fielded something known to be inferio.  Yes, they were easy to build quickly, and easy to repair, but anything was possible to accomplish manufacturing wise then.  

Too much bureaucratic fighting amongst themselves. The army didn't think tanks would fight other tanks. They were infantry support. The M26 Pershing should have been the main tank in WW2.

 

M26 with 90mm gun.

 

img.jpg?width=980

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My dad landed over there in July of 44 and commented on the large number of burned out and destroyed Sherman tanks he saw..

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2 hours ago, dale560 said:

One of the documentaries said 10 Sherman’s but the 11th one always came and got you. The key was they could build and repair the Sherman’s quickly where the German tanks needed a lot of maintenance and slow to build. The Russians tank was supposed to be better than the Sherman.

Russian T34.  A revolutionary tank that came about at a great time

 

1 hour ago, dale560 said:

A lot of the military entered the war with inferior equipment. I remember reading that most torpedos until a year or so into war wouldn’t explode on impact or explode prematurely. The way congress and the military worked not the best designs got used. That is how the Russians got the bogey wheel design for their tank that worked.During the war though equipment got upgraded quickly. During Vietnam wasn’t the original M16 design faulty caused a lot of jamming and misfiring of gun? It is also suprising how our history books are skewed and written. Watching a show and they believed Germany actually detonated a nuclear device before us. One of the best responses though on a show by a German tank commander was the enguinity witnessed by the allied forces. In the hedge rows after d day. A tank with a dozer blade could be spotted and blown up before it reached the hedges. The allies took the metal from the beach obstacles welded sharpened teeth like things to front of tanks. They were hard to identify but worked well cutting through the hedges. 

the original M16 was good, the way it was fielded and modified made it a mess.  It was billed amongst the service as a rifle that didn’t need cleaning so they never sent cleaning kits, then after that got straightened out they changed the ammo which had undesirable effects, the whole thing is very interesting reading 

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2 hours ago, dale560 said:

One of the documentaries said 10 Sherman’s but the 11th one always came and got you. The key was they could build and repair the Sherman’s quickly where the German tanks needed a lot of maintenance and slow to build. The Russians tank was supposed to be better than the Sherman.

This is still true with German engineering and manufacturing. They're able dsign the snot out of it, complicating it as mush as possible until it does the job as intended, manufacture it for a squillion dollars a piece and market it as "german engineered". The ingenuity in engineering is the creativity required to manufacture something well, at scale, and cost efficiently. In my experience in product design, working with manufacturers globally, Americans are the best in the world at this.

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I believe it was the Sherman that was referred to as a “Ronson” because they ‘lit up’ so easily. 

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18 minutes ago, KWRB said:

This is still true with German engineering and manufacturing. They're able dsign the snot out of it, complicating it as mush as possible until it does the job as intended, manufacture it for a squillion dollars a piece and market it as "german engineered". The ingenuity in engineering is the creativity required to manufacture something well, at scale, and cost efficiently. In my experience in product design, working with manufacturers globally, Americans are the best in the world at this.

I agree on the German design opinion.  They need to learn that just because you can doesnt mean you should.  Simplicity is often valuable in itself.  

The bad thing is that it seems that European design has infiltrated and began taking over much of our treasured american manufacturing.  One has to look no farther than Fiat/case IH, fiat/chrysler, volvo/mack, daimler/freightliner etc 

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My Dad was a Sherman driver/gunner in Patton's 3rd Army, 15th tank battalion. He didn't talk much about it except one story. They were crossing a river on a pontoon bridge when a FW-190 stared to strafe them. But before it did any damage, two P-47's came and chased him off. Dad said he didn't know if they shot him down or not.

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1 hour ago, AKwelder said:

Russian T34.  A revolutionary tank that came about at a great time

 

 

ACH channel ranked the T34 the number one tank of all time.  I think it was the only tank to be driven out the factory door right onto the battlefield during the height of the German onslaught.

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We didnt learn that in history as much as the commies were bad they tied up huge amounts of the German army so the western front could succeed. The Russians were masters of building quickly and crudely 

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Like most US successes, the Sherman tank has been made to be a scapegoat, unfairly. Was it a perfect tank? No. To compare it to late war Tigers and King Tigers is not really a fair comparison, as the war was mostly decided by then. It's speed, reliability and assembly line manufacturing process made it available when it was needed most. I've read accounts where the manufacturing tolerances on German tanks were so inadequate that many components had to be modified by hand during assembly, making field maintenance even more difficult. So difficult that German armor officers were known to send their maintenance guys to "steal" parts from depots and rail yards. While the Sherman was not heavily armored, the crew could egress quickly, making actual casualties surprisingly light.

As a medium tank, the Sherman took a lot of pressure off the US supply line,  not only in tonnage shipped but lighter bridging equipment was needed, less fuel and smaller ammo for the 75 and 76 mm main guns. I believe the Army had a standard that any tank must be capable of carrying 70 rounds for the main gun and when the Pershing was introduced,  only had room for 47.

Also,  in The Korean War, the Sherman had a positive kill ratio vs the much vaunted T-34.

The following guy is by far the best expert on tanks that I've seen, he goes in depth from primary source documents.

 

https://www.youtube.com/user/TheChieftainWoT/videos

 

 

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14 hours ago, dads706 said:

Tanker, this one is for you. I was watching a show on the history channel about the Battle of the Bulge (my uncle was there). They were talking about tanks. The Sherman would out manuver and out run the Tiger, but the Tiger would out fight it hands down. They gave an example of 2 Tigers destroyed a column of 14 Shermans is only  a couple minutes. The Tiger would hit the turret and disable the tank and kill the crew at the same time. A US tanker said that the Sherman's had to be almost point blank to do any damage to the Tigers.

Comments please.

 

In armor and armament the Tiger, Panther and King Tigers were far superior to the Sherman. The Sherman with the 75MM gun had to be within 300 yards to get a kill on one of those tanks while the German tanks scored kills very ofter at 1000-1200 years. There were even a few 2000 yard kills. Pretty much common knowledge. But on the other hand most US Army tankers killed in WII were killed outside of the tanks. When hit the crew would bailout. The Germans would machine gun the crews to prevent them for going back and getting another tanks.

5 hours ago, Cdfarabaugh said:

I've always wondered why we fielded something known to be inferio.  Yes, they were easy to build quickly, and easy to repair, but anything was possible to accomplish manufacturing wise then.  

At the start of the war it wasn't inferior. When the Germans started putting 88MM guns on their tanks the Sherman just wasn't up to the task. The decision was made at the highest levels to continue with the Sherman because it was already in production and was easy to make. In WWII we (just us, the US) built over 80,000 armored tracked vehicles. Germany built just under 50,000 of all types.

4 hours ago, TomH said:

Too much bureaucratic fighting amongst themselves. The army didn't think tanks would fight other tanks. They were infantry support. The M26 Pershing should have been the main tank in WW2.

 

M26 with 90mm gun.

 

img.jpg?width=980

The M26 was a miserable failure. Several battalions of them did get into combat in WWII and could go nose to nose with the Germans but it had a lot of mechanical short comings. They started replacing the M26 with the much improved M46 in 1949. Shortly after that was improved on the M48 entered service followed shortly by the M60.  They never did get the mechanical gremlins work out of the M26. Some say that much like the problems the Germans had with the Tigers, King Tigers and Panthers that were rushed into production that the M26 was rushed too.

1 hour ago, neukm said:

Like most US successes, the Sherman tank has been made to be a scapegoat, unfairly. Was it a perfect tank? No. To compare it to late war Tigers and King Tigers is not really a fair comparison, as the war was mostly decided by then. It's speed, reliability and assembly line manufacturing process made it available when it was needed most. I've read accounts where the manufacturing tolerances on German tanks were so inadequate that many components had to be modified by hand during assembly, making field maintenance even more difficult. So difficult that German armor officers were known to send their maintenance guys to "steal" parts from depots and rail yards. While the Sherman was not heavily armored, the crew could egress quickly, making actual casualties surprisingly light.

As a medium tank, the Sherman took a lot of pressure off the US supply line,  not only in tonnage shipped but lighter bridging equipment was needed, less fuel and smaller ammo for the 75 and 76 mm main guns. I believe the Army had a standard that any tank must be capable of carrying 70 rounds for the main gun and when the Pershing was introduced,  only had room for 47.

Also,  in The Korean War, the Sherman had a positive kill ratio vs the much vaunted T-34.

The following guy is by far the best expert on tanks that I've seen, he goes in depth from primary source documents.

 

https://www.youtube.com/user/TheChieftainWoT/videos

 

 

Yes the Sherman, by then upgraded to a 90MM gun did well against the T34. The thing is in Korea? The terrain is terrible from a tankers point of view. That's one of the reasons I wouldn't want to get in a fight over there now. The terrain is an attackers nightmare and a defenders dream even with our current modern weapons! Lot of tank VS tank shooting there is less than 1500 yards, in places less than 1000. So basically you drive down the road (many areas won't support off road even with a tank) fat dumb and happy while the enemy allows 8 maybe 10 tanks to become sitting ducks. Company level fire command and a entire company opens up from camouflaged positions. If fire discipline is good those 10 tanks blow up all at once. How do you think the supporting infantry and other tank crews react to 10 tanks exploding all at once?  

When I first joined we had the ability to carry 63 main gun rounds on the M60A1 tanks. That dropped to 55 on the M1 (still with the 105MM) and then 44 when we went to the 120 MM gun on the M1A1.

 

Rick

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Very fair and accurate assessment IMO, oldtanker. I don't believe there was any armored vehicle in WW2 that could stand up to the German 88mm and the US Army didn't realize the potential problem they might encounter after the North African and Sicilian campaigns. I believe Eisenhower himself didn't think the Pershing was a necessity at that time.

Another good point in regards to the terrain in Korea..and I doubt the North Koreans were highly trained, some Wehrmacht tankers in those T34s most likely would have made a huge difference vs the Shermans. Really, the terrain of the Western Front in Europe is much different than the Eastern Front also, much less room to maneuver in the West and a lot of rivers to be crossed,  the engineers wouldn't allow the Pershings to cross the Ludendorff bridge at Remagen.

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35 minutes ago, neukm said:

Very fair and accurate assessment IMO, oldtanker. I don't believe there was any armored vehicle in WW2 that could stand up to the German 88mm and the US Army didn't realize the potential problem they might encounter after the North African and Sicilian campaigns. I believe Eisenhower himself didn't think the Pershing was a necessity at that time.

Another good point in regards to the terrain in Korea..and I doubt the North Koreans were highly trained, some Wehrmacht tankers in those T34s most likely would have made a huge difference vs the Shermans. Really, the terrain of the Western Front in Europe is much different than the Eastern Front also, much less room to maneuver in the West and a lot of rivers to be crossed,  the engineers wouldn't allow the Pershings to cross the Ludendorff bridge at Remagen.

I you check the 90MMthat we went to? Started out life as a high velocity anti aircraft gun just like the German 88 did. Both guns were designed to loft shells high up. The 88 to almost 50,000 feet and the 90 to over 58,000 feet. Firing horizontally both guns were very fast. Add that to solid shot? It would punch through a lot of armor at extended ranges for those days.

Your assessment of the terrain is spot on IMO too. Back in the good old cold war days we would do terrain walks in the areas we were supposed to defend if the reed horde attacked. All of the areas from the Fulda Gap west average engage ranges would have been 500 to about 1800 meters. That's why when you really research large tank battles almost all of them occurred on the eastern front.

On another point someone pointed out that the T34's were sometimes driven out of the factory and into battle. There are reports with pictures of K1 tanks in the early part of the war that were firing at the Germans from the factories that were not even complete yet. I don't think most people realize just how close Hitler was to defeating the Russians. Had he listened to his generals it's very possible Russia would have fallen.

Rick

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One of my WW2 magazines did a tank comparison a few years back. I should dig it out. Three things plagued the German tanks. They took 10 times longer to build than the sherman(over complicated) A weak driveline. Most German tanks that were out of commision in the battle of Kursk couldn't move. And the overlapping idler wheels tended to fill with mud and freeze solid. The T34 used the christy boogy system which was an American design that was rejected by our military. It made the tank highly mobile in all conditions. The shermans did became more effective with the introduction of the high velocity 75 mm gun.

The sherman was an ideal tank for us to use at that time. Everything had to be transported across the atlantic. Say we could transport  50 shermans at a time. Maybe it would have only been 30 tigers if our tank was that size. 

Our neighbor was tank repairman during the Korean war. 1st in Italy and then in Korea. The M26 had a poor drivetrain. he said in the rough terrain of Italy they were constantly be repaired. 

One regret he has is not taking pictures while in europe. He said Germany was a mess. Piles of rubble everywhere yet 5 years after the war.

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1 hour ago, cedar farm said:

One of my WW2 magazines did a tank comparison a few years back. I should dig it out. Three things plagued the German tanks. They took 10 times longer to build than the sherman(over complicated) A weak driveline. Most German tanks that were out of commision in the battle of Kursk couldn't move. And the overlapping idler wheels tended to fill with mud and freeze solid. The T34 used the christy boogy system which was an American design that was rejected by our military. It made the tank highly mobile in all conditions. The shermans did became more effective with the introduction of the high velocity 75 mm gun.

The sherman was an ideal tank for us to use at that time. Everything had to be transported across the atlantic. Say we could transport  50 shermans at a time. Maybe it would have only been 30 tigers if our tank was that size. 

Our neighbor was tank repairman during the Korean war. 1st in Italy and then in Korea. The M26 had a poor drivetrain. he said in the rough terrain of Italy they were constantly be repaired. 

One regret he has is not taking pictures while in europe. He said Germany was a mess. Piles of rubble everywhere yet 5 years after the war.

AHHH, you sir are to be commended! You understand that whatever you do logistics plays an over riding role! People love to claim that the reason Japan never attacked the US main land was because of that "gun behind every blade of grass". Not true. The planners in Japan knew they didn't possess the means of supporting a major landing in the US. That requires not only men, vehicles, food, ammo, fuel, spare parts and other supplies. It requires enough shipping to move that stuff too.

Rick

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