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Old 01-14-2012, 10:02 PM   #16
frinik
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Default Panzer IV H

Not to start another controversy but ;

I agree with Zee that the German tanks fielded in 1941 were obsolete against the T-34 and KV-1 but the Germans did nto know it then.Their concept was to have fast, light armoured tanks that would attack with lightning speed and in conjunction with the luftwaffe and infantry simply break the enemy and overwhelm him.It worked well ion the west although when dealing with heavily armoured French Somua tanks the Germans had a scare but since the French did not know how to use their tanks effectively the lesson was not fully understood.

It;s true that the KV-1 could not be upgraded after the KV1-e and KV-85 models.Too heavy and the engine was not powerful enough.Thus they had to upgrade the T-34 to deal with Tigers and Panthers.

BTW the T-34/76 did not have 90 mm of front armour.It's 45 mm but with the sloping it was effectively doubled at certain angle( can't remember if it was 45 or 90 degrees).

The IS-122 or JS-2 at it is more commonly known was not meant to fight either Tiger or Panther.It was a breakthrough tank designed to deal with fortifications, infantry and then allow tanks like the T-34-85 to dela with enemy armour.The JS had a very slow rate of fire( the 1943 model could fire a max of 1.5 shell a minute and the 1944 model a max of 2 shells a minute.It also carried only 8 AP shells and 20 HE thus clearly showing it was not a tank-to-tank design).

Soviet tank designs were crude but then the SU was catching up to the West in terms of industrialisation and the literacy rate amongst the Soviet recruits was less than 50% which meant a lot of them couldn't read simple instructions.So they had to design simple machines that could be easily mass produced and operated.Both crews and machines were expendable and training up to 10944 was basic.The life expectancy of a Soviet tank crew in 1943-1944 was 3 weeks.Still by outproducing the Germans they managed with help from the Western Allies( who bombed and ran German industry and synthetic fuel productionto the ground) to win .Without the West I suspect the war in the East might have been a stalemate

The Germans had a highly sophisticated industry and awell educate dpopulaiton.They could afford more complex designs and had crews who could read manuals and mantain the vehicles.The problem was that as theys till do today they love to overengineer and forget simplicity for the sake of excessive sophistication and complexity.The Tigers and Panthers were successful but only 9000 Tigers I, II and Panthers were produced during the war vs over 40 000 T-34s( all variants) and the same number of Shermans.Also because of excessive weight and complex designs they were prone to breakdowns, consumed high amount of scarce fuel and required a high level of maintenance which was fine as long as the germans wer enot constantly on the retreat. I read aPHD made by an American guys that shows that 76% of all Tiger Is lost were either blown up by their crews or abandoned for mechanical problems of lack of fuel.Only 24 % were lost to enemy action.

The Panzer IV was designed in 1935 and as Lieste pointed out could not be upgraded to a bigger gun say the Kwk42 because of the turret.Still the Germans could have sloped its front armour and made it stronger.It was not better designed than the Soviet tanks but was reliable and did the job it was meant to do.But it was not very fast and its armour insufficient by 1943 but the KwK40 was excellent gun and its well trained crews and excellent optics made it a viable weapon.Also the Germans had no choice since they couldn't produce enough of the heavy tanks to match the Allies and Soviet tank productions and the Panzer III could not be upgunned beyond the 50 mm L60.
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Old 01-15-2012, 12:14 AM   #17
Sledgehammer427
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excellent points frinik, Zee.

the only point I think is worth addressing, is that of the ground you're working on. Russian winters were brutal but were more preferred than the spring.
Panzer IVs, Tigers, had forward set turrets, pushing the balance of the tank forward. In the mud the tank would dig in forwards, and it wasn't very helpful.
The T-34 had a turret located more towards the center of gravity. Thus it didn't sink. T-34s were built to fight in Russia on Russian terms... and they did.
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