Skip to comments.Tankies - Tank Heroes of World War II - documentary on the 5th RTR.
Posted on 01/25/2013 1:11:30 PM PST by Vanders9
Tankies - Tank Heroes of World War II
Highly reccomended if you have a spare hour. There's a follow up about the battle for Malta which isn't too shabby either.
One needed to be a hero to go up against a Tiger, in a Sherman.
One needed to be a hero to go up against a Tiger, in a Sherman.
Next year is WW1 centennial.
I’ll never understand why the American government built thousands of tanks, but not nearly big enough to take on Tigers or T-34’s.
How can we watch it? Do you have a link? Thank You, FReegards,
Also, it was felt that numbers were important. It was more important to have lots of tanks than it was to have a few excellent tanks. The Sherman was in production and the War Department preferred to keep making them rather than retool for a new tank like the M-26 Pershing, a few of which appeared late in the war.
Finally the Sherman was a good tank. It was reliable, maneuverable, and relatively fast. It could cross bridges that wouldn't support a Tiger. The Israelis were still using them as late as the 1960s. The Sherman's problem was an inadequate gun. The Brits fixed this with the Sherman Firefly; the British 76.2mm was quite “adequate” for big game. The problem with the Firefly was not enough of them - and the Germans learned to shoot them first.
One reason was transporting them to the beaches and because of small bridges. But the Pershing did come along at the last 6 months or so.
Sorry I should have made it easier and/or clearer. Just click on the “BBC” link under the thread title, or just here.
yes on all counts, doctrine, transportation, retooling. there were idf shemans in ‘73 war too. the syrians had some SU-100s on the northern end of their attack.
as an aside, the german halftracks did NOT have powered front wheels like ours did. and the german “jeep”, the kubelwagen, was not 4 wheel drive. the schwimwagen was 4 wheel drive which is why commanders hundreds of miles from serious water used them.
there is a video of pershings engaging tigers in front of the cathedral in Koln.
The British must have had a heavy tank. An old Combat Engineer told me that when they put a British tank Battalion across the Rhine, they would sink just about to the water on the pontoons.
They handled them OK but any heavier and they would not.
This was not an unusual doctrine for the interwar and early war years, and because of the time taken to develop armoured fighting vehicles a lot of tanks built to this were in common use even quite late on in the war. Of course, this idea of Shermans supporting infantry and M10's or whatever taking on enemy tanks is completely an armchair general's solution. In real life Shermans came up against their German opposite numbers all the time, and the medium velocity 75mm general purpose gun couldnt handle the new German tanks of the mid war years. The Firefly was a good solution (the tankers in the documentary thought a lot of them)but as Little Ray says, the Germans quickly learnt to pick them off first if they could. They were easily identifiable by the much longer gun barrel. I have heard that one way British tankers got round that was to fit dummy barrel attachments to their standard shermans, so that the germans couldnt tell which ones were the Fireflys.
the churchill was a “heavy” infantry tank but not big gunned.
we were outgunned and outnumbered in germany in the 70s; M60/A1s with 105mm and some A2s with 152mm gun/missile (my tank) vs 115mm on the T-62. they were smaller and faster but also had limitations and we learned to take advantage of them.
It retained that position only until the Germans began introducing panthers and Tigers from early 1943 onwards. The americans seem to have come to the conclusion that standardising on the Sherman would be enough to overcome these new german tanks, which after all were only available in limited numbers.
I had heard the the Sherman simply wasn’t a “heavy tank”. We didn’t develop such a weapon until the Pershing came along. But for what it was, it did well, especially in Africa when it and the M-3 did fairly well against the early, lighter German equipment.
My grandfather was a sherman tank gunner in the 12th armored, they were involved in some of the bloodiest fighting in France. I wish I more documentaries were made that included them.
I remember his stories about how frightening the battles at night were. they dug a trench, backed their sherman into it so it propped the front up and fired shells like artillery down into the river on advancing Germans.
Yes that would be the Churchill (not named after Winston, incidentally). They were very heavily armoured tanks (thicker than a Tiger) but undergunned. Originally only armed with 2pdr (40mm) guns, most in use had 6pdr (57mm) guns, which were - OK. A few in Italy were fitted with 75mm guns from Shermans.
Well, the British tankers in this documentary certainly preferred Shermans to any of the British built tanks they got lumbered with.
You understand then just how bad the situation was!
Agreed. There’s a bit about fighting in the bocage in this documentary. It sounds pretty brutal.
Because according to Army doctrine at the time, enemy tanks were supposed to be taken out by the Tank Destroyer Force using such weapons as the M-10, M-16, and M-18, as well as towed anti tank guns. It was a flawed concept but due to limited thinking by largely infantry generals of the time, it was the guiding principle.
Add to that the fact that A) there were not enough train cars to ship bigger tanks such as the M-26 Pershing in great numbers and B) many bridges in Europe would not support the greater weight of heavier vehicles, thus slowing armored advances, the decision was made to stay with the Sherman long after it was capable to going toe to toe with the main German tanks.
Sorry, part 2 is here
Just finished watching Part One, wonderful. I can’t wait until Part Two becomes available. Please ping me, put out the word.
A book I have written in 1946 about the Chrysler Tank Arsenal in WWII stated that two Shermans could be shipped on a single flat car that would accommodate only one Pershing. If memory serves these were longer cars of which the numbers were limited to boot.
Also overlooked is the model M4A3E2 Jumbo Sherman. It had thicker front armor and a thicker gun shield. Only 254 were built in the summer of 1944 and in the spring of 1945 some were upgraded to 76 mm guns.
Here’s an unusual tactic for a Sherman to knock out a King Tiger.
Shortly before WW2, the standard anti-tank gun was a .50 machine gun. The 75mm gun on a General Lee was for infantry and the 37mm for tanks. Things just escalated so quickly.
Got a link?
Looks like a JS-II to me, although I’m not a soviet tank expert either.
You were on an M60A2? I know they had the Shileleigh (sp) missile, but what kind of rounds did they have for the gun?
The Brits absolutely LOVED the M3 Stuart. Fast, and reliable, but, like the Brit tanks of the time, terribly under-gunned. However, unlike the British 2 Pounder (40mm) it actually had a useful HE Round.
Both the Brits and the Americans were uncomfortable placing all their trust in an unproven tank design. They felt the same way about anti-tank guns which is why we always seemed to use underpowered ones.
The Allied strategy of “flush them out with armor while punching them with planes” ended up being very successful. Allied air power devastated the German war machine
Interesting stuff, saving to watch later, thanks!
Thanks for this. Watching.
Part two can be found here:
Apparently 5RTR were not issued with them.
OK what does 5RTR mean?
5th Royal Tank Regiment.
The Churchill IV NA75, of which some 200 were used during 'Operation Whitehot' were fitted with the gun and mantlet from a destroyed or scrapped Sherman, [mines!]fitted to a Churchill IV cast turret. That may not be *big gunned* by your standards, but compared to the versions using a 6-pounder/ 57mm main gun, it at least came closer to the ideal. And the 17-pounder gun Churchhills lacked nothing so far as the main gun went, nor in added armour protection [lacking on 17-pounder Comet versions] though the power pack was not upgraded and the 17-pounder *Black Prince* Churchills were less than wonderful- and the soon-to-be-beloved Centurions were just over the horizon, in production terms.
5RTR had Covenanters, as I recall. 5RTR was the first unit of the Tank Corps to receive the Centurion, but not until after the war, in December '46.
Incendiaries. [fyi, I'm a former M60A1 and M551 crewdawg.]
Because we had to ship them overseas, train with them in England, fit as many as possible aboard landing craft with limited capability, and travel on roads and bridges with limited capacity during several months of the year.
BTW: a 76mm gun Sherman, much less a Firefly, had no problems eating up either a Soviet T34, or the later T54/T55, as the Israelis proved in three wars. But yep, a U.S. heavy jagdpanzer platoon in the HQ Company of U.S. tank battallions would have been a nice touch.
Thanks for the info.
I recall a German tanker from the early Russian invasion and also from the Africa Corps on “The History Channel” I recall him saying the American Grant or maybe it was Lee tanks the British had were superior to theirs.
If that is true then their tanks must have been pretty weak. On the other hand he talked about fighting in Russia. He said they were safe from the Russian artillery while crossing bridges. He also said the German sappers were just out in the open with nothing but their helmets to protect them.
From the looks of the documentary, A10’s, A13’s and Vickers Mk VI initially in France, then A13’s in the desert, then Stuarts, then Stuarts and Grants. Its unclear whether they ever had Shermans in Italy. Cromwells and Sherman Fireflys in Normandy.
If that is true then their tanks must have been pretty weak.
The early Mark IIIs with the 50mm gun and the MKIV with the short-barrelled 75mm were not terribly well armed, especially for head-on frontal shots in a day when the best antitank ammo was solid shot or APC rounds. Later, after HEAT and hypershot came along, and Gerlach's squeeze-bore, and machinery heavy enough to carry an 88mm gun, it was a very different story.
But the bigger the engine, the more fuel it burned. And that was very much a consideration in the War of the western Desert.
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