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43

Good? No. Lots of them? Yes. The Americans were leaders in mass-producing large durable goods at low cost - cars, especially. This translated to mass-producing medium cruiser tanks (the M4 Sherman) almost as quick as they could roll a Buick off the assembly line. What's more, these were brand new machines, they had not spent months and months slogging ...


28

Yet another concurring (tanks were important, but not the only reason), but different, answer. Already at the end of WWI, the tactics for trench assault had improved. Instead of just swarming enemy trenches with infantry, weak points were exploited and strongholds bypassed. The role and nature of artillery support also changed. The barrages that lasted ...


27

There are at least three criteria for "good" tanks: combat effectiveness, ease of production, and mechanical reliability. The Americans produced "good" tanks that excelled in the latter two categories. That's because they were the world's best producers of automobiles. To take off on U.S. civil war cavalry doctrine, American generals regarded tanks as a ...


11

No, tanks are not, evolving strategy for using new technology was. A quick look at the Principles of War as espoused in many military doctrines over time and across the globe (and usually posited as timeless) shows a focus on how to achieve a goal. A few key points among these lists are maneuver and initiative. In other words, warfare is about getting ...


10

Several reasons. First and foremost, they perform the same role on the battlefield, providing a fast moving spearhead. Second, and related, many of the units were cavalry units before getting tanks, they just exchanged their horses for tanks. Artillery exchanged guns pulled by horses (and trucks) with self propelled guns (at least part of them, most armies ...


9

The Panzer I, the tank sent to Spain, was initially designed as an "industrial tractor" in order to get around arms controls agreements. It had a number of limitations ranging from slow speed to engine problems to inadequate armor to less effective armament. It's primary/original purpose was for the German command to teach soldiers armored warfare while not ...


8

It looks like the later models of Flakpanzer IV (post Möbelwagen), including the Ostwind, were indeed designed to be able to shoot at ground targets, if need be. Though the Möbelwagen was intended to be a stopgap, it served the anti-aircraft platoons of the Panzer Divisions extremely well on the Western Front. Despite this, fewer than 300 were ...


8

The build up of the US army from a small, backwards, underfunded, isolationist peace-time army in 1939 to a six million person world conquering colossus in 1945 is one of the under-appreciated triumphs of WWII. Much can be attributed to the cadre of professional, forward thinking officers like George Marshall the US maintained. When it comes to tanks, it ...


8

You cannot consider quality without considering quantity. The both sides had very powerful designs, but such designs were produced in smaller numbers compared to the most produced models. For example, a heavy tank will always beat a medium tank. The T-34 is a medium tank, so qualitatively it is inferior to the heavy tanks. On the other hand, it was produced ...


7

Why do the British use rifled barrels? From wikipedia: "Uniquely among NATO main battle tank armament, the L30A1 is rifled, because the British Army continues to place a premium on the use of high explosive squash head (HESH) rounds in addition to APFSDS armour-piercing rounds. HESH rounds have a longer range (up to 8 kilometres / 5 miles) than APFSDS, and ...


7

Tanks were an important factor but not the only one. Among other factors are: Increased mobility (automobile transport, self-propelled artillery). This made possible large encirclement operations which were so common in WWII. The front can be broken in weak points and entrenched troops can be cut off. Second. Aviation is not just "another kind of ...


6

I agree with Alex, I would add up a big point, I wanted to comment it, but it became bigger. Appearance of mass parachute also made trech warfare useless. In the time when the enemy could cross only through the sea and trenches they didn't expect double front battle from trenches, but when it was possible to parachute troops beyond the trenches there were ...


6

Your question has two parts. Firstly, to address the issue from a purely equipment point of view. The short answer is purely on "qualitative parity" the Russians had this in 1941 but once the Panther and then Tiger entered service, they lost it and never regained it. I will elaborate. I will mainly concentrate on medium tanks as that is largely what ...


5

From the thesis linked by CGCampbell, American anti-tank doctrine was based around dealing with concentrated groups of German tanks on the offense, ie. a repeat of the invasion of France. To deal with this, dedicated anti-tank battalions were formed of tank destroyers: heavy anti-tank guns mounted on lightly-armored mobile platforms. The thesis cites Field ...


5

The T-34 tank was far superior to any tank the Germans had on line in 1941. Bigger gun, better armor by far, and so on. The T-26 was inferior, or on a par. But your question asks about units. German armored units were able to often beat equivalently sized Soviet units even in 1945. Therefore the Soviets created more units, moved them to areas where ...


5

This is quite contentious due to the design aims of each tank and, more importantly, doctrine of each country. The T-34 was designed as a cheap, easy-to-make tank which can be mass produced quickly and cheaply. German tanks on the other hand have complex engineering which makes them qualitatively superior but also much harder to produce. However, if there ...


5

Slugger is an American colloquialism that means "a hard-hitting batter" (as in baseball) or someone who throws hard punches. Slug can mean "A piece of lead or other metal for firing from a gun; a roughly-formed bullet." On the historical side of the question, the M36 carried one of the most powerful American anti-tank weapons (the 90mm M3). So, that is ...


5

I think the writers mean excellent tanks compared to the crappy British tanks rather the German tanks in 1942. British failed to produce a world beating tank throughout WW2 and had lots of unsuccessful tank programmes. Probably the best "British" tank used in wide numbers in WW2 was the Sherman Firefly although the Comet which was about as good as a Panther ...


5

From some checking on the Arm Chair General, there seems to be some discussion as to its historical accuracy. A summary of the quotes on the comments from the page basically revolves around inaccuracies in tank structure, maintenance and tactics. This quote was quite telling: It's worth reading if one takes it simply as a personal memoir. The daily ...


4

In addition to the excellent answers, German inter-war tank designs had two technical advantages: turret layout and radios. The Panzer I and Panzer II both had the commander also operating the gun. The Germans learned that being a tank commander was a full time job: commanding the tank, scanning for targets, listening to the command radio network. With ...


4

A likely candidate seems to be the Battle of Messines, which took place in June 1917. According to John F. C. Fuller in Tanks in the Great War, 1914-1918, 88 tanks were employed (p. 110). He says 40 tanks advanced with the start of the attack at dawn, and an additional 22 set out with infantry in the afternoon.


4

Flakpanzers and other vehicle mounted anti-aircraft guns were frequently used against ground targets, and this was in fact noted explicitly by the Military Intelligence Service in their periodic Intelligence Bulletins. The following is an excerpt they report as originating from a German anti-aircraft platoon commander: c. Action During Attack The ...


3

Germany Invented the "Storm Trooper" This is the reason that trench warfare ended in 1918. They were desperate for a new tactic and left the trenches behind. Storm Troopers were poised on critical offensive goals that would have detrimental effect on enemy positions. Therefore abandoning the defensive trench strategy. It had nothing directly related to ...


3

Toward the end of the war, both sides (but more to the German side) were finding that defense in depth gave them the best option to reserve man power. Rather than a static line of defense, it used a mixture of strong points and pretargeted artillery killing fields. Let the other side attack, defense takes losses and pulls back to the next defensive strong ...


3

Actually the M3 Sherman was considerably undergunned and in the battle of Villers Bocage Michael Wittmann with just one tiger tank destroyed 14 Shermans in succession. The British up-gunned the Shermann to a 90mm gun and called it the Firefly at which point it was more evenly matched gun wise, but not in terms of protection. The Sherman had a radial ...


3

Re. Blitzkrieg: this is History Channel nonsense. Read the German Army's own analysis, "Legend Of Blitzkrieg" - http://www.usni.org/store/books/history/blitzkrieg-legend - which would probably have been called MYTH of Blitzkrieg, but the title was already taken. The rapid fall of France was due not to firepower concentration and mobility but to several low ...


2

German wikipedia mentions nothing of an Argentine project predating Leopard 1 development. The Indienpanzer project and its failure is mentioned briefly, together with a statement that at the time German industry was incapable of developing a modern MBT, that the failed India project gave German industry and especially Porsche the knowledge needed to make ...


2

German tanks were generally inferior to Allied and Soviet designs in the pre-war years. The Germans were limited in what they could build due to the restrictions imposed upon them by the Treaty of Versailles, limiting their military. Indeed this treaty stated that they were not allowed any tanks at all but in the 1930s as they began to re-arm the treaty ...


2

This definition of "Blitzkrieg" explains the reason for the abandonment of trench warfare. "Blitzkrieg is a German term describing a method of warfare whereby an attacking force spearheaded by a dense concentration of armoured and motorized or mechanized infantry formations, and heavily backed up by close air support, forces a breakthrough into the enemy's ...


2

I want to compare unit for unit parity, let's say at the platoon or company level. Let's say the equivalent of a German and Soviet armored company approach each other in 1941, 1943 and 1945. Evaluating the equipment in a vacuum is not interesting. To appreciate why the Germans dominated in 1941, why they lost that dominance, and why the T-34 is ...



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