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"Pershing With A Long Hand " Topic


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©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Tango0108 Jun 2018 9:23 p.m. PST

"The opinion that America could win the war with tanks it already had in production was common at the start of 1944. This attitude backfired in the summer of 1944, when it turned out that even the M4A1(76)W with the 76 mm M1 gun was only a partial solution to fighting German tanks. American tanks were taking heavy losses from German Panthers on the battlefield. Another big surprise was the appearance of a new German tank in July of 1944, the Pz.Kpfw. Tiger Ausf. B, also known as the Tiger II. It turned out that no American tank gun was capable of penetrating it from the front. A search for a worthy opponent for these armoured monsters resulted in the creation of the T26E4 Super Pershing and some other variants of the Pershing with long-barreled cannons…."
Main page

link

Amicalement
Armand

Legion 409 Jun 2018 7:57 a.m. PST

I've said it before … But based on what was happening on the Eastern front. The USA should have pushed earlier for a newer heavier MBT like the M26, etc. sooner.

The M4 w/76mm was a good start. But you still can't expect those to go toe-to-to with a Panther or the larger German MBTs without taking heavier losses. E.g. @ 3-4 M4s lost to kill one Panther, Tiger, etc.

If the USA started sooner on e.g. the M26, it would have had less problems and could have been deployed in much larger numbers much sooner, I'd think …

donlowry09 Jun 2018 9:03 a.m. PST

Should have settled for the M25.

Legion 409 Jun 2018 2:20 p.m. PST

Would have had more firepower than any version of the M4 …

jdginaz09 Jun 2018 3:27 p.m. PST

@Donlowry and Legion 4, I would suggest that you watch this lecture to get a better handle on the real issues YouTube link

It's well worth the time.

4th Cuirassier10 Jun 2018 4:21 a.m. PST

German tank superiority was an ephemeral problem alleviated for the US by the Firefly-armed Commonwealth forces facing most of the better German armour, and by the fact that the Sherman worked better within US doctrine than things like then Tiger II did within German, by 1944.

Legion 410 Jun 2018 9:11 a.m. PST

Good link jdginaz ! Much of that I knew but I did learn some things ! So thank you for that.

As I have mentioned on other threads here. Yes, I was an Air Assault Rifle PL and later M113 Mech Co. Cdr.
However I was Mech Bn Log Ofr (S4), then a Mech Bn Maint Ofc(BMO). The Bde Cdr pulled me up to be the Mech Hvy Bde (BMO) than the Bde Asst. S4. So I know well how very important Log & Maint. are. Not as "macho", "sexy", etc., as an Infantry PL or Co Cdr, etc.. But as the well known saying goes, "Professionals study logistics, etc.", is very valid, IMO …

But again, that is pretty good link, and the speaker, being a former Tank/Cav Ofr makes his comments that much more "reliable", valid, etc., IMO … thumbs up

jdginaz10 Jun 2018 7:13 p.m. PST

Your welcome Legion 4, sense you liked that here are another couple,
YouTube link
YouTube link

@4th Cuirassier, if the doctrine your talking about I the one were tanks don't fight tanks that doctrine is a myth it never existed.

Legion 411 Jun 2018 7:06 a.m. PST

Thank you again ! I'll have to check those out as well. I have been modeling, wargaming and studying topics like that for decades. And it seems as time goes on, some very good information comes to light.


One of the older gents at the Y, I talk to often. He was an M4E8 Cdr after the war. Interesting to talk to, especially after all the M4 models, etc., I made in my youth …

thumbs up

Fred Cartwright11 Jun 2018 9:44 a.m. PST

@4th Cuirassier, if the doctrine your talking about I the one were tanks don't fight tanks that doctrine is a myth it never existed.

Yes and no. From my recollection after reading the US armoured doctrine the section on tank vs tank combat is in the special operations, section ie not part of the normal SOP.

Legion 411 Jun 2018 3:37 p.m. PST

IIRC, doctrine in WWII, US Tanks were primarily to support the Infantrymen. And US TDs and AT guns were to be the Tank killers. But as we see there was some problems with that concept at times.

Lion in the Stars11 Jun 2018 4:29 p.m. PST

TDs and AT guns were to be the Tank killers. But as we see there was some problems with that concept at times.

Yeah, that no ground vehicle was fast enough to respond to an armored assault.

Helicopters, on the other hand… evil grin

Mark 111 Jun 2018 7:11 p.m. PST

IIRC, doctrine in WWII, US Tanks were primarily to support the Infantrymen. And US TDs and AT guns were to be the Tank killers.

Not so.

US doctrine in WW2 was:

Armored Divisions: primary job is offensive war based on maneuver, mass and firepower.

GHQ Tank Battalions: primary job is support of infantry divisions.

Tank Destroyer Battalions: primary job is defensive reaction force to enemy armored penetrations of front lines.

In both the Armored Divisions and the Tank Battalions, doctrine said the first role of tanks when enemy armor was encountered in their areas of operation was the destruction of that enemy armor, even if this meant shifting from other assigned priorities.

Under this doctrine Armored Divisions were not to be held in reserve waiting for an enemy armored penetration. They were to be engaged in offensive operations of their own, penetrating the depth of the enemy's positions. And Tank Battalions were not to held back as a respond force to enemy penetrations. They were to be distributed as the Infantry Divisions saw fit to stiffen the divisional combat capability, both offensive and defensive. But given that tanks were more mobile than infantry, enemy tank divisions could always be expected to mass at the point of attack and penetrate an infantry division's front. When they did, the Tank Destroyer Battalions, which were to be held as a reserve, could use their superior mobility and firepower to mass against the enemy's armored spearhead and destroy it.

Somehow that gets shortened into "Tanks don't fight other tanks" and "Shermans are meant to shoot at infantry targets." But that's not quite the same thing.

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

jdginaz11 Jun 2018 11:23 p.m. PST

Exactly!

Legion 412 Jun 2018 7:10 a.m. PST

Somehow that gets shortened into "Tanks don't fight other tanks" and "Shermans are meant to shoot at infantry targets." But that's not quite the same thing.
Thank you for that clarification … And much of what you posted Mk.1 I now remember …
I better study up and get updated and get my Bleeped text straight (!). I'm at times, still citing older references, etc., I read, studied etc., in the past, etc. … old fart And/or I'm just old, forget and get confused … frown

<will go hang my head in shame>

Fred Cartwright12 Jun 2018 7:55 a.m. PST

With respect Mark that is not what FM 17-10 says about tank vs tank action. Here are the actual quotes.
"When tanks are engaged in a mission that does not contemplate the engagement of hostile tanks they should not be diverted from that mission except —
(a) When forced to engage hostile tanks as a matter of self preservation.
(b) When it is apparent that the hostile attacks will seriously disrupt the operations of other troops."
It goes on to cover combat with enemy tanks superior in weapons and armour.
"When hostile tanks are superior in armor and armement combat is to be avoided if practicable. When these conditions exist effort is made to draw the enemy into our own minefields or into areas covered by our own tank destroyers."
Quite different from the seek out and destroy enemy tanks you imply. FM 17-10 has a lot to say about the role of tanks and it makes cleart that the the primary role of armoured units is to exploit the penetration of the enemy's front and their prime targets are the enemy's artillery, communications, command and supply units. Tank vs tank combat is very much a secondary role and is included in the section on special operations along with such things as night fighting, assault crossing of rivers, urban combat etc.

4th Cuirassier12 Jun 2018 8:54 a.m. PST

My (abbreviated) point was that the Sherman was better suited to the doctrine assigned to it (manoeuvre and exploitation) and the doctrine more effective than the Tiger II was to its doctrine.

A tank that can't cross most bridges and that also breaks down with monotonous regularity is of limited value.

Legion 412 Jun 2018 10:28 a.m. PST

Interesting Fred … Thanks !

No wonder I get confused … old fart wink

Mark 112 Jun 2018 1:12 p.m. PST

<will go hang my head in shame>

L4 I hope you don't feel the need to say that based on my posting. I did not intend to criticize what you said, but only to add more information to the conversation.

It is rather common for tertiary sources to pick up information and interpretations from secondary sources, and so on, until what we get as members of the reading public is something akin to the game of "telephone", where you whisper some message to one person, it goes around the room, and the last person whispers to you something that is generally unrecognizable from the message that you started with.

That's why I like to go to primary sources whenever possible.

To wit:

FM 17-10 says about tank vs tank action. Here are the actual quotes.
"When tanks are engaged in a mission that does not contemplate the engagement of hostile tanks they should not be diverted from that mission except —
(a) When forced to engage hostile tanks as a matter of self preservation.
(b) When it is apparent that the hostile attacks will seriously disrupt the operations of other troops."
It goes on to cover combat with enemy tanks superior in weapons and armour.
"When hostile tanks are superior in armor and armement combat is to be avoided if practicable. When these conditions exist effort is made to draw the enemy into our own minefields or into areas covered by our own tank destroyers."

So if we go to that same source, FM17-10 Armored Force Field Manual, March 1942:

We find in the opening paragraph:

The role of the Armored Force and its components is the conduct of highly mobile ground warfare, primarily offensive in character, by self-sustaining units of great power and mobility, composed of specially equipped troops of the required arms and services.

If we turn to p.2, we find the definition of the 4 characteristics of the armored forces, which are still used today:

CHARACTERISTICS–The characteristics of Armored Force units are:
a. Mobility.—All combat units are mounted in armored motor vehicles.
b. Firepower.—Through a multiplicity of weapons mounted on the vehicles.
c. Armor protection.—All combat vehicles are protected by armor of varying thickness, capable of withstanding at least rifle fire.
d. Shock action.—Accomplished by the combination of the other characteristics and by the weight and crushing power of the major vehicles.

This led to my statement: "Armored Divisions: primary job is offensive war based on maneuver, mass and firepower."

If we turn to p. 91 of that manual we will find:

p. 91
Medium tanks also protect the light tanks against the attack of hostile tanks. When the enemy is composed of mechanized troops, a large medium tank component, if available, is held in the reserve.

Perhaps that statement was not clear enough. Or the doctrine was not developed enough.

So when FM17-100 was published in January of 1944, it stated under the Enumeration of the Missions of the Armored Division:

Item "j":
Attack to destroy enemy armored units when forced to do so as a matter of self-preservation or when hostile tanks threaten seriously to disrupt operations of other troops.

So from the Tunisia days it was the mission of the medium tanks to fight enemy armor that threatened the missions of the division. In ETO it was further articulated that the mission included attacking to destroy enemy armored units.

No wonder I get confused …

Can't argue with that. There are indeed some conflicting passages, and the doctrine evolved over time. That said, I feel I did a reasonable job of distilling down the Armored doctrine, both as it was laid out and as it was practiced. The TD doctrine, on the other hand, I have described only as it was laid out. As practiced it was an entirely different animal, as most TD formations were treated as "other tanks" rather than as they had been intended.

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

Legion 412 Jun 2018 2:54 p.m. PST

L4 I hope you don't feel the need to say that based on my posting. I did not intend to criticize what you said, but only to add more information to the conversation.
No harm … no foul … thumbs up

Can't argue with that. There are indeed some conflicting passages, and the doctrine evolved over time.
As I said, I am old … old fart wink

jdginaz12 Jun 2018 5:30 p.m. PST

Sorry Fred I don't see how what you posted from FM-17-10 is substantially any different from what Mark 1 had stated in his previous post.

Fred Cartwright13 Jun 2018 7:56 a.m. PST

Well jdginaz Mark said:-

In both the Armored Divisions and the Tank Battalions, doctrine said the first role of tanks when enemy armor was encountered in their areas of operation was the destruction of that enemy armor, even if this meant shifting from other assigned priorities.

Whereas FM17-10 says:-

"When tanks are engaged in a mission that does not contemplate the engagement of hostile tanks they should not be diverted from that mission except —
(a) When forced to engage hostile tanks as a matter of self preservation.
(b) When it is apparent that the hostile attacks will seriously disrupt the operations of other troops."

Notice the difference in emphasis. FM 17-10 says the tanks keep on doing what they are doing unless specific criteria are met, one of which is the self evident "if enemy tanks start shooting at you shoot back"! Mark says they drop everything and go after the tanks. I think the emphasis is important. Other arms were expected to deal with the enemy tanks. Tanks are only to engage in tank vs tank combat if necessary. FM 17-10 also deals with the situation when enemy tanks are encountered as an expected part of an operation. Again tanks don't take the whole burden of destroying the enemy armour. It is a combined arms response, including infantry, tank destroyers, artillery and tac air. Well worth a read and free to download off the net.

Mark 113 Jun 2018 9:51 a.m. PST

Sorry Fred I don't see how what you posted from FM-17-10 is substantially any different from what Mark 1 had stated…

I'm moving closer to Fred on this. A "difference in emphasis" is an appropriate observation. I think my initial characterization was a bit over-stated and simplistic.

But I am not quite fully to his position. "Tanks are only to engage in tank vs tank combat if necessary" may be correct, but note that doctrine was quite explicit, even in 1942, that it was the job of the medium tanks (in particular) to protect other troops (notably the light tanks) from enemy tanks. And that they might even be held as a reserve to counter enemy tank action if it seemed likely. So the role of tank-vs-tank combat was indeed envisioned, and it was not just for self-defense.

I interpret the "when forced to engage" and "when it is apparent that the hostile attacks will seriously disrupt operations of other troops" statements to mean, as is often quoted from one of the figures of the time, that tank forces were NOT to go swanning off looking for enemy tanks. If they had not been given the mission to attack enemy tanks ("when tanks are engaged in a mission that does not contemplate the engagement of hostile tanks…"), they were to proceed with the mission they were given. But note: "they should not be diverted from that mission except…" EXCEPT whatever mission they have been given, they are still expected to protect other forces in their area of operations from enemy tanks -- should they appear.

Notably, this was expanded in the doctrine as published in January 1944, prior to the ETO campaign, to include "attack to destroy enemy armored units … when hostile tanks threaten seriously to disrupt operations of other troops." This is the statement I was keying off of. By the time we get to ETO it is VERY MUCH the role of tanks to fight enemy tanks in their area of operations.

Of course other forces in the Army also were expected to fight enemy tanks. And if the armored force met a superior enemy tank force they were to draw them on to these other forces as well.

But as I said, there are indeed some conflicting passages and the doctrine evolved over time.

In any case, it is pretty clear from the primary sources of the doctrine of that time, that "tanks do not fight other tanks" was not part of the program. Not in Tunisia, not in ETO.

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

Mark 113 Jun 2018 10:38 a.m. PST

A tank that can't cross most bridges … is of limited value.

I thought I might add some information on this point, just because I came upon it yesterday in my readings, and it seemed appropriate to this discussion.

This passage is from "Tank Warfare on the Eastern Front 1943-1945" by Robert Forczyk. He is discussing some of the tank combat as the Soviets encircled several corps of troops in what is now often called the "Korsun Pocket". The Germans recognize that two pincers have met, and are trying to immediately re-open the links before the pocket is sealed.

Von Vormann's XXXVII Panzerkorps was able to organize a small relief effort fairly quickly with 11.Panzer-Division, which had 22 Panthers, three Pz IV and 13 assault guns, but just 1,000 Panzergrenadiers. A small Kampfgruppe from 13.Panzer-Division could also participate. On the morning of 1 February, Von Vormann attacked and his Panthers easily sliced through two Soviet rifle divisions which had not yet dug in. In six hours, 11.Panzer-Division advanced 31Km over the frozen terrain and reached the Shpolka River at Iskrennoye, less than 20km from Gruppe Stemmermann (NB: the encircled forces -Mk1). However, when the Panthers attempted to cross a bridge over the river it collapsed, bringing the advance to a halt. Von Vormann was able to bring up pioniers to build a bridge for his StuG-IIs, but AOK 8 lacked material to build a 60-ton pontoon bridge for the Panthers.

Here we have a real, tangible case, where the over-weight of the Panther (originally spec'd to be in the 32 ton range, but 43+ tons by the time it was taken into service) led directly to the failure of a mission that might have saved about 60,000 German troops from encirclement.

In part they failed because a bridge broke under the weight of a Panther. Bridges that could carry 40+ tons of weight were rare. Well, sure, the commander on the spot should have sent lighter vehicles across first. But he had Panthers. When you have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

And in part they failed because the entire army group could not provide the material to build a pontoon bridge that could handle the weight of a Panther. This point is worthy of note. They could, and did, build a pontoon bridge. But they could not build one that could handle the weight of a Panther.

This is an issue that the US Army did NOT want to face in ETO. Even IF they could have gotten Pershing tanks in time for D-Day (which, by all investigations of the primary docs I've seen could not have been done without a magic wand), they could not have gotten the LSMs and LSTs to get them ashore, nor the port facilities to get them aboard ships from the US, nor even the rail flatcars to move them to the US ports, bother with the engineering kit to get them across some random river that tanks needed to cross for some critical mission.

ALL of that stuff, all of that infrastructure, did not exist in 1941. It had to be built up from scratch. The decisions of what to build (in terms of rail cars, and ships, and LSTs, and bridging equipment) had to be made with the information available in 1941, so that designs could be completed in 1942, so that they could be built in huge numbers in 1943, so that the US could put a million-man army across the ocean in 1944.

Deciding in the second half of 1943 that you want a new tank that will be heavier than anything envisioned in 1941 as your main armored vehicle is all fine and nice, but only if you want to invade in 1945 or 46. Not if you want to invade in 1944. The tank itself is only a small part of what it takes to put a million-man army on the other side of an ocean.

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

Thomas Thomas13 Jun 2018 12:39 p.m. PST

Balanced against the eventual bridge issue was the success of the original mission – perhaps the Germans could not have "sliced through" the Russian defenses with a lighter tank. The resource strapped Germans did not have the material for heavier bridge (thought they might have continued with the lighter vehicles after the Panthers had secured the original breakthrough). (Admittedly the Panther is more of an anti-tank tank than a breakthrough vehicle.)

The UK operated heavier Churchill tanks throughout the European campaign and managed to get by. Likewise Jumbo Shermans (factory versions and in theater versions) managed to operate with considerable success.

A heavier assault tank (such as the Pershing) could have been quite useful with M4s ready to exploit success.

TomT

Thomas Thomas13 Jun 2018 1:03 p.m. PST

Also be careful of the guy with the utube blather some is OK but much is nonsense.

Typical distortion: US crews preferred M$ over M26 in Korea. Real story: a regiment of Russian built T34's dominated the early fighting in Korea running over M25, 5.7L ATGs and WWII vintage bazookas. Frantic attempts to curb them resulted in the deployment of M26s (suggestions to send reconditioned Panthers were considered by rejected). The M26 proved a worthy opponent and soon wore down the T34s (a second less well trained regiment was sent by the North but with similar results). Eventually the threat dissipated (the Chinese did not bring their tanks). The crews appreciated the M26's heavy armor and powerful 90 but as the tank threat subsided the slower, harder to maintain M26 (like all heavy tanks) started to fall out of favor v. the M4. This was not of course your Dad's WWII M4 but Easy Eights with 7.6L and HVAP as half the AP ammo load in case you did meet a stray T34.

Still the M26 was much preferred for tank fighting and the (much improved) M4 only after the tank fighting had mostly ended.

So his claim that this shows the superiority of the WWII M4 over the M26 is a typical distortion.

TomT

Fred Cartwright13 Jun 2018 1:22 p.m. PST

Mark FM 17-10 is indeed an interesting, but not perfect document. From my reading it seems to me the primary mission of the armoured divisions was to penetrate the front, often with ID support and get in amongst the enemy artillery, command and control and supply units and wreak havoc, and then to exploit that advantage. US tanks would fight enemy tanks, but that was not their primary role and yes US medium tanks would protect the light tanks if enemy armour was encountered, what we Brits would call "stating the bl**din obvious". It is also clear that the primary role intended for TD's SP or towed is to engage enemy tanks. They were not a lightly armoured, faster tank and were not assigned the same role as tanks. It is also clear that the other arms were expected to fight tanks on their own if neccessary, no screaming for tank support, just because a couple of Panzers hove into view. If the destruction of an enemy armoured formation is the prime objective then this is a combined arms operation with all the other arms supporting the tanks. The tanks are not expected to go it alone. It is thus clear that US Armoured doctrine is a lot more nuanced than many think and also evolved over time with experience.

Legion 413 Jun 2018 2:03 p.m. PST

Still the M26 was much preferred for tank fighting and the (much improved) M4 only after the tank fighting had mostly ended.
As I alluded to … Too little to late …

mkenny13 Jun 2018 3:58 p.m. PST

M26 v M4 Korea link

During the pursuit phase across France in August/Sept 1944 all the Churchill Regiments were left behind whilst M4/Cromwells 'pursued'.

If I remember correctly the M26 was held back from a Rhine Bridge because it was 'too heavy'?

Mark 113 Jun 2018 7:03 p.m. PST

Real story: a regiment of Russian built T34's dominated the early fighting in Korea running over M25, 5.7L ATGs and WWII vintage bazookas. Frantic attempts to curb them resulted in the deployment of M26s (suggestions to send reconditioned Panthers were considered by rejected).

Wow.

Um, before you give us the "real story", do you think you might check your facts? And maybe give us some of the sources so we can check them out too?

Because what you have said is a little difficult to understand. Perhaps you have left out some details? Or made some mis-statements?

For example:

What is this M25 that the T-34s ran over? During this period the US Army used the M25 heavy tank transporter. Is that what you mean? They over ran a bunch of truck/trailer combinations? Or did you mean the M25 gas mask? Those would certainly have been easier to catch. In any case, the US Army did not operate any armored fighting vehicles classified as M25s. At least not that I know of. So what is the real story?

What do you mean by 5.7L ATGs? Do you, perhaps, mean the 57mm M1 anti-tank gun? Got any sources you could share on this? I have never seen a reference that indicated these were used by US forces in the early stages of the Korean war. Most US Army units, and particularly those in the far east, had been re-equipped with the M20 75mm RCL as their principal battalion-level anti-tank weapon by 1950.

Did you miss the part about WW2 era bazooka ammunition (ie: 5-6 years old) being tested after the initial combat reports, and found to have high incidents of non-functioning rocket motors and warhead fuzes, due to moisture penetration during storage? Could have been using those bazookas against Japanese Type 94 tankettes and they wouldn't have done much better. Is that not part of the real story?

Frantic attempts to curb the North Korean T-34s resulted in M26s being sent over? No mention that it also resulted in M4 Shermans or even the T28 Super-Heavy Tank prototype being sent over? Were those not frantic enough? You also don't mention that the 3.5 inch Super-Bazooka, which had been developed but not produced during WW2, was rushed into production within just weeks so it could be sent over. Now THAT seems frantic. But is that not part of the real story?

Could you perhaps give us some sources about the idea of sending refurbished Panthers? Who suggested it, who considered it, who rejected it? Given that the US Army never operated any unit of Panthers, and didn't have crews trained on Panthers, it seems rather odd to suggest they might send some to Korea. Who was going to operate them? Was the Army going to try to recruit ex-SS men to send to Korea? Sure would like the real story on that.

As to the M26s proving to be worthy opponents soon wearing the T-34s down, given that the North Koreans committed several hundreds of T-34s to the war, that UN forces were able to find and examine some 240 wrecks of T-34s destroyed during the war, and that M26s destroyed a total of 31 T-34s during the war, it seems a bit odd to jump to the conclusion that it was the M26s that "wore them down". Perhaps you could share the real story on that with us?

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

Mark 113 Jun 2018 7:53 p.m. PST

Also be careful of the guy with the utube blather some is OK but much is nonsense.

Are we speaking of the guy in the YouTube links jgdinaz posted in this thread above?

That guy, who is a decorated veteran, who holds the rank of Major in the US Army, who did a tour commanding a platoon of tanks in Iraq, and another as a battalion officer in the 11th Cav in Afghanistan, and now works as a professional historian (while still serving in the National Guard), and who "wrote the book" (a 240 page book! link) on US tank destroyer development:

Is that the guy you say is spouting blather and nonsense?

I'm sure he would be the first to say that his work should not be above criticism. So if you have some contrary evidence to any of his materials, please bring it forth. I'm sure we'd all be interested.

But before you spout off about blather and nonsense, you might consider who is likely to win in a contest of credibility on historical research and writing.

Just saying …

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

jdginaz14 Jun 2018 1:07 a.m. PST

@Thomas Thomas, Everything "that guy" said is backed up by documents in the archives. Just because you don't like or agree with what he says doesn't mean he doesn't know what he is talking about. He spends a fair amount of time in various archives doing research.

BTY the M26 wasn't much preferred it had problems with engine fires and also problems with the transmissions. As a matter of fact by 1950 it was due to be replaced by the M46.

Fred Cartwright14 Jun 2018 2:56 a.m. PST

But before you spout off about blather and nonsense, you might consider who is likely to win in a contest of credibility on historical research and writing.

If you are referring to "The Chieftain" his stuff is not beyond criticism. I find he can be a bit selective in his quotes. A couple of examples from his "Common Myths" video one of the ones linked to above. He does quite a hatchet job on the Firefly to prove the US didn't need it and anyway it wasn't much good. His facts in support of this as follows.
(1) The 17pdr was very inaccurate. True for the early sabot rounds, but not the standard APCBC which was perfectly accurate.
(2) The US 76mm was equal in penetration to the 17pdr. True if you compare US 76mm HVAP with 17pdr APCBC. The sabot round had a better penetration. But the British standard AP round was a good as the rare US HVAP, a fact which I am sure the British were pleased about.
(3) The Firefly turret was too cramped. To support this view he quotes the fact that the US had already tried their 76mm gun in the standard M4 turret and rejected as not fit for combat. True, but he doesn't quote any British experience of fighting the Firefly, which they seem to have been quite happy with and also neglects to mention that the US did a significant number of 76mm conversions to standard M4's post war, so they obviously changed their minds about its suitability for combat.
(4) US ordnance officers rejected the 17pdr and sabot round after trials. True, but he neglects to mention that they were also highly critical of the US 76mm and the decision to cut it down to fit the M18, considering it compromised the AT performance too much. What they really wanted was a 17pdr with HVAP round.

Legion 414 Jun 2018 6:18 a.m. PST

Interesting link mkenny … from a pretty reliable source, IMO. Thanks for that. thumbs up

Legion 414 Jun 2018 6:20 a.m. PST

Is that the guy you say is spouting blather and nonsense?
I'm sure he would be the first to say that his work should not be above criticism
I agree Mk.1 … I thought his briefing was pretty well done …

That guy, who is a decorated veteran, who holds the rank of Major in the US Army, who did a tour commanding a platoon of tanks in Iraq, and another as a battalion officer in the 11th Cav in Afghanistan, and now works as a professional historian
He has my respect, etc. Sounds very valid, credible, etc.

thomalley14 Jun 2018 8:07 a.m. PST

I don't think the Tiger II should enter into this. They Western Allies first saw it in Normandy. So there was little time to react in the R&D arena. 150 Tigers II were deployed there and none made it out (only 492 were built). The next time they were seen was in the West was in the Bulge. I can only find 2 of the Heavy Tank bn in the OOB and one of those had Tiger 1s.

jdginaz14 Jun 2018 12:16 p.m. PST

(3) The Firefly turret was too cramped. To support this view he quotes the fact that the US had already tried their 76mm gun in the standard M4 turret and rejected as not fit for combat. True, but he doesn't quote any British experience of fighting the Firefly, which they seem to have been quite happy with and also neglects to mention that the US did a significant number of 76mm conversions to standard M4's post war, so they obviously changed their minds about its suitability for combat.

You might want to watch this video where he gets into a Firefly and moves from position to position discussing the pros and cons of each.

YouTube link

BTY he does address the fitting of the 76s into the smaller turret in the links video video. Also note that the US never used any of those Shermans but gave them all to countries looking for cheap tanks.

but he neglects to mention that they were also highly critical of the US 76mm and the decision to cut it down to fit the M18, considering it compromised the AT performance too much.

I've not heard that before (one of many thing I haven't heard I'm sure) do have a source for that that I could access?

Mark 114 Jun 2018 2:21 p.m. PST

If you are referring to "The Chieftain" his stuff is not beyond criticism.

Fred – I did not suggest his work is beyond criticism. Neither, by the way, does he. He is quite explicit on this in many of his videos. And I have seen, in his writings, how he takes in new information that may contradict his prior conclusions, and shifts his conclusions based upon it.

The key is that he does not approach most of his conclusions with a pre-conceived "truth" that he then looks to justify. He goes where the research takes him.

But that does not mean he is without his prejudices. He is quite heavily prejudiced towards crew efficiency, which may be understood from his own experiences living day-in and day-out inside tanks and IFVs in active combat zones, and dealing with the "significant emotional event" of getting shot at while crewing a tank. He is also quite heavily prejudiced to issues of logistics, which may (or may not) have come from his experience as an officer in mech forces deployed thousands of miles from their base of supply.

But more than anything he does good research, and he reads and understands primary sources for what they are … separate threads in a very complex tapestry. He doesn't "dumb down" the story to "McNair was a fool" or "tanks don't fight tanks" or "Patton prevented the US from landing with Pershings on D-Day".

All of that said:

(1) The 17pdr was very inaccurate. True for the early sabot rounds, but not the standard APCBC which was perfectly accurate.

The 17pdr APCBC may have been perfectly accurate by British standards. But by US Army Ordnance standards it was not.

A case might be made that US Army Ordnance was holding to unnecessarily high standards. But that does not mean that the best approach to getting useful weapons is to test something, and then after the testing change your criteria to make sure you can accept it. And BTW those criteria were not unrealistic -- the US 76mm gun met, and even exceeded, all Ordnance criteria for accuracy.

US Army Ordnance testing showed that, at 1,000 yards, the 17pdr had more than 60% higher dispersion in deflection, and more than 90% higher dispersion in elevation, than either the US 76mm or 90mm guns.

Even British test results published in 1944 showed the difference in accuracy of not only the sabot round, but even the APC round. According to the British War Office results the tested probabilities of hitting a tank target at 500 and 800 yards were:

Sherman 17pdr APC .… 88% … 66%
Sherman 17pdr APDS … 42% … 21%
Sherman 75mm APC …..100% … 96%
Sherman 76mm APC …..100% …100%

Clearly the British had different standards for accuracy than the Americans.

That doesn't mean that the US Army Ordnance criteria were not overly-strict, or even somewhat mis-guided. I'm not defending the Ordnance criteria. But I do understand that when you have a set of criteria that you test all such things to, and you test some new thing, and it fails to meet the criteria, then that counts as a fail. The 17pdr failed tests of accuracy.

(2) The US 76mm was equal in penetration to the 17pdr. True if you compare US 76mm HVAP with 17pdr APCBC. The sabot round had a better penetration.

The APDS round was a non-starter for US use. Ordnance testing could not achieve hits on the standard Ordnance target under ideal conditions on a quiet range at precisely known distances with experienced gunners.

So, as the Chieftain suggests, if you look at the two guns, and reject any consideration of APDS, what do you find?

Hmmm.

The 76mm gun: Produce HVAP for it. We get effectively the same penetration as the 17pdr from a pin-point accurate gun with a long barrel life that is already in production and in inventory and in the supply line in an approved mount in the Sherman.

The 17pdr gun: Take into service a new gun. The British can't build enough for our use. It is not in the US production or supply lines. Its spare parts are not in the US production or supply lines. Its ammunition is not in the US production or supply lines. It fails Ordnance range accuracy testing. Its mounting in the Sherman fails Armored Board use testing.

OK, clearly we should go for the 17pdr, right?

If we want to heap criticism on the US Army for the Sherman as the obvious cause of the German victory in the ETO campaign, then the target of our criticism should be that the HVAP ammo was not provided fast enough, in high enough quantities. Because that was something that might have been resolved in the timeframe of the campaign, within the existing technical solution sets.

Or so it seems to me.

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

Fred Cartwright14 Jun 2018 2:49 p.m. PST

By those standards, looking at 17pdr vs. 76mm, the clear choice would be to produce HVAP for the 76mm gun, not to take into service a whole new gun for the Sherman,

True once you have produced a 76mm gun, but a better choice would have been not to compromise the 76mm design in the first place. My understanding is that the 76mm was going to be closer to the 17pdr initially, but was cut down to fit the M18 rather than beefing up the M18 to take the original gun design.

But I don't think I have a record of that report. Do you have a reference? I'd like to see/have the context.

IIRC it came from the Isigny report, but it was my understanding that the officers running the test were from Ordnance, but I might be mistaken.

Legion 414 Jun 2018 2:51 p.m. PST

He is quite heavily prejudiced towards crew efficiency, which may be understood from his own experiences living day-in and day-out inside tanks and IFVs in active combat zones, and dealing with the "significant emotional event" of getting shot at while crewing a tank.
Completely understandable, I have talked about the importance of the Grunts and Tankers training, effectiveness, experience, etc., before. A bad/poor crew could have an excellent weapon. But if they are not well trained, etc. It won't be anywhere near as effective as they should/could be.

E.g. the Iraqi tankers and army in general in both GWs. As well as generally most of the other Arab forces that have gone to war with the IDF. Or even other Arabs or Persians, i.e. the Iran-Iraq War '80-'88 link . Both sides there did not demonstrate any real tactical or technical expertise, etc.

He is also quite heavily prejudiced to issues of logistics, which may (or may not) have come from his experience as an officer in mech forces deployed thousands of miles from their base of supply.
So very true and very important. Anyone who has served in any Armor/Mech/Motorized, etc., type unit knows this very well. As I said have been a Log and Maint officer at both Bn and Bde levels.

E.g. the Bn and/or Bde XO and/or Cdr wanted to know the status of every part, etc., that is keeping a vehicle, weapon, etc. from being FMC[Fully Mission Capable]. Starting with the date of when it went down, i.e. NMC [Non-Mission Capable]. When the parts were ordered[if not on hand to make it FMC] and when it could be expected that it would be back to FMC. That was a daily report/event/(PIA!).

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP14 Jun 2018 2:52 p.m. PST

As to the original decision to cut down the 76mm gun Hunnicutt provides the following:

"Two 76mm guns T1 were manufactured and shipped to Aberdeen Proving Grounds for tests starting on 1 August 1942. One gun was fired on a fixed test mount and the other installed in the turret of an M4A1 (registration number W-3060572). In the M34 tank mount the long barreled cannon was badly unbalanced. This was partially corrected by cutting 15 inches from the muzzle end of the tube and adding weight to the breach ring. After completion of the firing tests, Aberdeen concluded that the 76mm gun T1 was satisfactory for use in the M4 medium tank series with modifications specified. Page 199 "Sherman: A History of the American Medium Tank" R.P. Hunnicutt. Copyright 1978, Presidio Press, CA

Fred Cartwright14 Jun 2018 3:03 p.m. PST

Yes it was the US 1944 Firing Test No.3. Here are the conclusions.
"6. Conclusions

a. That the 17pdr SABOT of the lot tested is considered an unsatisfactory ammunition because of its inaccuracy.

b. That the 76mm APC, M62 is considered an unsatisfactory ammunition for use against heavy armor because of its inferior penetration.

c. That the 17pdr APCBC and the 76mm HVAP, T4 are considered the best antitank ammunitions available in these calibers for use against heavy armor. The 17pdr APCBC is somewhat superior to the 76mm HVAP, T4, against the Panther Tank. Neither one can be be depended upon to penetrate the glacis plate of the Panther in one fair hit on average quality plate.

d. That the possibilities should be investigated of using 76mm HVAP, T4 projectile with 17pdr SABOT propellant, if 17pdr guns are made available to U.S. units."

Interesting that they conclude that the 17pdr APCBC is superior to 76mm HVAP, which directly contradicts your point above Mark.

Mark 114 Jun 2018 4:44 p.m. PST

@Marc33594
Thanks for the reference. This matches my understanding … that the issue was related to the original mounting of the 76mm gun into the M4 Sherman -- not related to the M18 Hellcat.

But this does not answer the question of performance of the gun.

My understanding, and all of the test data I have seen, are consistent on the point that the 76mm gun was designed from the start to match the ballistic performance of the 3-inch gun. And it did. And when the barrel was cut down, it STILL matched the performance of the 3-inch gun. That is to say cutting down the barrel made NO change in the performance of the gun, because the standard powder charge in the cartridge that was taken into production gave the specified performance in the barrel that was taken into production. In other words it performed as it was designed to perform, as it was expected to perform, from the specifications of performance that were set before the gun and the cartridge were designed.

But that is not to say that there isn't contrary evidence on this. Just that I haven't (yet) seen it. Or if I did see it, I don't remember it (also a very real possibility!).

@Fred C
The Issigny test record and recommendations do in fact address the question of putting the US HVAP projectile into 17pdr guns. But that is not related to the idea of the 76mm gun being shortened and losing some performance in the process.

Interesting that they conclude that the 17pdr APCBC is superior to 76mm HVAP, which directly contradicts your point above Mark.

I'm not ready to agree that the Issigny test report indicates that 17pdr is "superior", nor that it "directly contradicts" my point. Quite to the contrary, my "point" is derived FROM the Issigny tests (as well as other tests).

My statement above was that the 76mm HVAP had "effectively the same penetration as the 17pdr".

You have quoted item d) from Section 6, the Conclusions of the Issigny test report. Perhaps you missed the statement in Section 5, the Findings:

d. The 17pdr APCBC is more effective against the front of a Panther tank than is the 76mm HVAP, T4. Its margin of superiority is not great. Neither one can be depended upon to penetrate the glacis plate in one fair hit on average quality plate.

See that part about "margin of superiority is not great", and how "neither one can be depended upon"?

To see what that means, from the various shot-by-shot accounting:

At 400 yards:

- Neither 17pdr APCBC nor 76mm HVAP penetrated the glacis of any of the tanks tested.
- One round of 17pdr APCBC and one round (out of two hits) of 76mm HVAP penetrated the lower nose of the tank identified as having the best quality of armored plate.

At 200 yards:

- One hit by each on the glacis of the tank identified as having the best quality plate failed to penetrate.
- One round out of 4 hits by 76mm HVAP penetrated the glacis of a tank identified as having "average" quality armored plate.
- One round out of 2 hits by 17pdr APCBC penetrated the glacis of a tank identified as having "average" quality plate, but that strike was within 6" of a prior hit which had cracked the armor, meaning that the armor may have been compromised at that location.

(I have excerpted information from the full accounting of the test results to make matters a little more clear to our conversation. I can post verbatim from the report if folks want the long version.)

As I read through that, and look at the "Findings", and I think so also as Chieftain does, the conclusion is indeed that the 17pdr APCBC and the 76mm HVAP should be considered effectively equivalent.

- Both have some chance of penetrating a Panther's front hull at desperately close range, but neither could be relied upon to penetrate in one hit.

- At typical combat ranges (500-800 yards) the lower hull front is quite often obscured, and neither could penetrate the glacis.

- Both can penetrate the mantlet (but then so can 76mm APC), although given it's curvature there is always some likelyhood of ricochet if the upper portion is struck -- and some likelyhood of ricochet into the back of the driver's head if the lower portion is struck!

I'll stand by my statement.

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

jdginaz14 Jun 2018 5:02 p.m. PST

I've been reading the ISIGNY reports both the July and the August tests. Here are a couple of interesting items.

The 37mm APC will penetrate the side of a Panther at 600 yards.
The 57mm APC will penetrate the side of a Panther at 1500 yards.
APDS will not penetrate the front of a Panther at 200 yards. They tried testing the APDS against the Panthers side but could not obtain a hit.

I know the Panther wasn't well armored from the side but I didn't know it was that vulnerable. Apparently the discarding sabot round for the 57mm also had accuracy problems.

From the August test the most interesting thing was that of 42 rounds of 17pr APDS fired at targets from 200 to 600 yards only 24 were hits. The rounds were fired by "two superior British enlisted gunners". That's a 57% hit rate.

, but he neglects to mention that they were also highly critical of the US 76mm and the decision to cut it down to fit the M18, considering it compromised the AT performance too much.

I also read the evaluation of the Firefly. I didn't see anywhere that they said that in the report.

What they really wanted was a 17pdr with HVAP round

That isn't what they said what they said was that they would like to test the 17pr with HVAP.

mkenny14 Jun 2018 5:17 p.m. PST

Given the 17 pdr was in service in 1943 there should be a ton of info about its performance but all we see are the Isigny tests and (I think) 1 British test that is never seen in any detail.
Why so?
There is from Normandy:

2. Three TIGERS engaged at (map ref) 991630 at 2000 yds with 17pdr APCBC were seen to be hit repeatedly, mostly on turret but the rds bounced off. One of these picked us up and fired back, the other two continued firing at ETERVILLE.

3. A 'GRIZZLY BEAR' (150mm inf assault how)[ illegible] round the corner at 982640 at a range of 600 and was hit once on the frontal armour by 17-pdr APCBC. The rd bounced off and the veh withdrew.

The same report mentions 3 17pdr engagements at 1650 yds (1 hit),1800 yds (2 hits) and 1850 yd (5 hits).

Fred Cartwright14 Jun 2018 5:25 p.m. PST

I am not sure where you get the idea that the US considered the 17pdr APCBC round to be too inaccurate for field use Mark. That is certainly not borne out by the findings of the Isigny test. Here is the quote.
"c. The 17pdr APCBC and the 76mm HVAP, T4, are both highly accurate ammunitions. In the opinion of the members of the board, two of whom have had considerable experience test firing British and American tank and antitank weapons, the 76mm HVAP, T4 is the most accurate tank or antitank ammunition encountered to date."

So the 76mm is the most accurate AT ammunition to date, so I presume better than the US 75mm and standard 76mm rounds too, but the opinion of the testing officers is that the 17pdr APCBC is also a highly accurate round! Which brings me back to my original point that the standard AT round for the 17pdr is as good as the best round for the US 76mm. Slightly less accurate, but with slightly better penetration.

Fred Cartwright14 Jun 2018 5:42 p.m. PST

Found it Mark here is the link:- PDF link
Warning there is a lot of maths in it. Or math as you Americans say!

Here are some quotes.
"Ramping the M93 HVAP-T muzzle velocity up to 3800 fps to account for the lost cannon length yields some interesting results. The front hull of the Pz IV H would be vulnerable out to 832 yd, covering the full range of tank engagements in the ETO. The Panther is vulnerable at 249 yd, which is improved from the point blank failure. The Hellcat or Sherman armed with the unaltered 76-mm gun would have had a much better chance of defeating the front hull armor of the Panther. Cutting the muzzle length to save weight while reducing velocity on the muzzle exit was a costly mistake that hampered the Tank Destroyer's primary mission, which was destroying German Panzers."
"The total displacement of the M1 series 76-mm Gun was 11.82 ft3. This contrasts with the 34.24 ft3 of the 3-in. M7. The Tank Destroyer was intended to be smaller and faster than a tank, so the significant reduction in displacement supported this doctrine. The total weight of the breech and cannon tube was 1,193 and 797 lb, respectively, which are less than its 3-in. predecessor. The length of the cannon was 5 in. greater than the 3-in. M7, totaling 13 ft and 7-3/4 in. long. The 76-mm Gun was originally intended to be 15 in. longer, but the added weight of the original length lead to balancing issues that impeded turret traverse in the M18 Tank Destroyer. Instead of balancing the turret by adding weight to the rear as a counterbalance, the decision was made to reduce the total length of the cannon (ref. 7). This had a detrimental effect on muzzle velocity and subsequently armor penetration. A "what if" comparison analysis is included later in this report that predicts the performance reduction resulting from this reduction in cannon length. Figure 1 shows an M1 test gun (middle rack) at the Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) Ordnance Museum, and figure 2 shows the measuring the M1 test gun breech at the APG Ordnance Museum."

Blutarski14 Jun 2018 6:36 p.m. PST

You beat me to it, Fred. It is a very interesting document.

B

Mark 114 Jun 2018 8:29 p.m. PST

Fred -

I know that the testing at Isigny described the 17pdr as accurate enough. But that was a test conducted in the field, not an Ordnance test.

The first tests at Isigny were conducted under the orders of the 1st US Army, APO 230, in July of 1944. These tests were described as "Test No. 2", as previous ETO tests had been conducted at Essex in the UK.

The second tests at Isigny were conducted under the orders of 12th US Army Group, APO 665, in August of 1944. Thesee tests are the second tests at Isigny, but are not described as Test No. 2 or Test No. 3 or any such. It's a little confusing when people say "test 2 at Isigny". Got to know if they mean the 1st Army tests from July, or the 12th Army Group tests from August.

But in either case, these were NOT US Army Ordnance tests. US Army Ordnance is at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in the US. That is where acceptance testing and compliance testing is done on new ordnance for the US Army. They don't take 20 shots to see if it hits something and say "this one is as accurate as that one". They shoot hundreds of rounds all aimed at the exact same place on a target grid, and measure the round-to-round dispersion between those many rounds, in both deflection (side to side) and elevation (up and down). These results published in firing tables and graphs.

For example, this is the Ordnance firing table for the 76mm HVAP round, published in May of 1945, which provided data revised to reflect the M93 HVAP round, which was the service designation given to the T4E20 round (the 20th experimental variant of the T4 round).

Here is the armored penetration test results for that same round, again from the May 1945 report.

The T4 was the round used at the 12th Army Group Isigny tests, and it would have come with Ordnance data charts dated August 15, 1944. I have never been able to obtain that particular Ordnance data.

Here is an Ordnance ballistics chart (from Ballistic Research Lab at APG) comparing terminal velocity for the 76mm gun compared to the 3-inch gun.

Note from the Ordnance report that the muzzle velocities of the US 76mm gun and the US 3-inch gun are the same. The terminal velocities vary over range. This was a bit of a challenge for Ordnance to explain, as the two calibers fired the same projectiles at the same muzzle velocities (M42A1 HE Shell, M62A1 APC Shell, M73 AP Shot, and M93 HVAP Shot). In the end it was determined that the difference in rifling between the two guns (32/1 twist in the 76mm gun versus 40/1 twist in the 3-inch gun) led to differing drag coefficients, and so their ballistic profiles did vary at long range.

That's the kind of methodical detail you get from Ordnance. Even if there is an "Ordnance guy" in attendance at a field army test, it is not the same thing.

The point for the ballistics chart is just to highlight that the 76mm gun was ALWAYS, from the time it was conceived through development and deployment, specified to be a match to the 3-inch gun. The 3-inch gun had been in production for the US Army since 1918. When Ordnance decided in 1941 that the Sherman should be up-gunned as soon as it was stabilized in production in 1942, they began development of a gun to fit in the Sherman's turret that would match the performance of the 3-inch gun. The first experimental Shermans with the 76mm gun were built by the end of 1942, and tested by Ordnance, but the Armored Board rejected them as not meeting crew space and efficiency requirements. So Ordnance spent much of 1943 trying to figure out how to put their new shiny 76mm gun into a Sherman turret that the Armored Board would accept. In the end they took a turret off of a DIFFERENT tank, their T23 prototype tank (the 3rd major variant in the T20 series) and put it onto a Sherman hull, and the Armored Board accepted it.

By January of 1944 ALL PRODUCTION of 75mm-armed Shermans for the US Army had switched over to 76mm-armed Shermans. That was 2 months BEFORE the British finished their own testing of the Sherman Firefly. The 76mm Sherman was the principal US Army tank in production before the Firefly was even revealed to the US Army, and 7 months before the Isigny tests.

This is why I make the comments above about what the decision between 76mm and 17pdr must have looked like. Let's see, we've already built 5,000 of these, but instead of giving them ammo we have already created to make them roughly equivalent to those, we should instead throw them all out and start production of something entirely new? Yeah, not going to happen, at least if anyone making decisions is sober.

Found it Mark here is the link:- PDF link
Warning there is a lot of maths in it. Or math as you Americans say!

OK thanks for that.

But … that one I already had. I was asking if there was some primary document or source. The document you've got is a 60-years after-the-fact report by somebody who grabs experimental test data and twists it left and right to fit his own pet theory like the best of the conspiracy buffs.

Cutting down the barrel did nothing to the performance of the 76mm gun. At least not from any CREDIBLE data I've seen. And by the way it was not done to balance the turret of the M18, regardless of what that guy says. He imagined that, maybe because he read how the put a counter-weight on the back of the M10 and the M36 turrets, and because he doesn't understand that the GUN needed to be balanced at the trunions, so that it didn't fall down at the muzzle. And it was done while putting the gun into the M4 Sherman in 1942.

Regardless of him being clueless about the "balancing the gun" issue, the fact that the 76mm gun could have had higher performance is not in doubt. It could. Double the chamber pressure and it would spit rounds out at higher velocities. No mystery involved. No technology or conspiracy or shortcoming or compromise to balance a turret.

If US Army Ordnance wanted a longer gun, or a shorter gun, to spit out rounds at 3,800fps, they could have built it. Longer or shorter barrel is not the issue. The issue is that US Army Ordnance didn't start the 76mm gun project to create a gun to spit out rounds at 3,800fps. The 76mm gun was spec'd and designed from the start to spit rounds out at THE SAME velocity as the 3-inch gun, and to meet all Ordnance standards including not only minute-of-arc accuracy and 1,000 rounds of barrel life (vs. 100 – 120 for the 17pdr). When they shortened the barrel, they made whatever other changes they needed to keep to that original performance spec. Barrel length alone does not equal velocity.

Part of the reason that 1st Army, and then 12 Army Group (it's parent) conducted the Isigny tests was to shake Ordnance up. Ordnance was delivering to their spec, but the conclusion of the ETO testing was that the Ordnance spec wasn't good enough. The "using service" didn't care if the barrel life was shorter, if it could penetrate a Panther. Had nothing to do with putting back some barrel that had been taken off of the gun.

Oh and BTW, ETOUSA did in fact ask the British for Fireflies, and the British agreed to provide some. And they did, as soon as they had the capacity to spare … which was March of 1945.

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

LORDGHEE14 Jun 2018 9:38 p.m. PST

just a note a quick search lead to
link

quick math US and Uk losses 1944 45 campain 20,000 Armor fighting Vehicles of all types.

German 11,000 appox. that is 2 to one.

late night math.

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