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Tankies - Tank Heroes of World War II - documentary on the 5th RTR.
BBC ^ | 1/17/2013 | Mark Urban (presenter)

Posted on 01/25/2013 1:11:30 PM PST by Vanders9

Tankies - Tank Heroes of World War II


TOPICS: History; Military/Veterans
KEYWORDS: documentary; tanks; treadhead; war; ww2
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Conservatives often beef about the beeb, but they do make some excellent documentaries, still. This one features a new presenter, Mark Urban, who I hope we will see more of. A really good historical one this, including some fine actual war footage (a lot of which I have never seen before), interspersed with interviews of veterans, readings from diaries, excellent commentary and a small amount of dramatisation.

Highly reccomended if you have a spare hour. There's a follow up about the battle for Malta which isn't too shabby either.

1 posted on 01/25/2013 1:11:38 PM PST by Vanders9
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To: Vanders9

One needed to be a hero to go up against a Tiger, in a Sherman.


2 posted on 01/25/2013 1:30:25 PM PST by Forward the Light Brigade (Into the Jaws of H*ll)
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To: Vanders9

One needed to be a hero to go up against a Tiger, in a Sherman.


3 posted on 01/25/2013 1:30:50 PM PST by Forward the Light Brigade (Into the Jaws of H*ll)
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To: Vanders9
Thanks ‘V9’ I like these documentaries, when the BBC does them right, they are the best. My favorite is “ What the Romans did for Us”
4 posted on 01/25/2013 1:32:51 PM PST by virgil283 ( *- Never miss a good chance to shut up....-*)
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To: Vanders9

Next year is WW1 centennial.


5 posted on 01/25/2013 1:32:53 PM PST by Berlin_Freeper (SOS)
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To: Forward the Light Brigade

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.


6 posted on 01/25/2013 1:35:04 PM PST by BerryDingle (I know how to deal with communists, I still wear their scars on my back from Hollywood-Ronald Reagan)
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To: Vanders9

How can we watch it? Do you have a link? Thank You, FReegards,


7 posted on 01/25/2013 1:36:03 PM PST by STD ( People say 'It's as plain as the nose on your face' but none of us can see theirs!)
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To: BerryDingle
At that time US doctrine stated that tanks were for use against infantry. Enemy tanks were be engaged by tank destroyers or AT guns. According to this doctrine the Sherman was adequate for the task, although Patton did want an additional coax MG.

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.

8 posted on 01/25/2013 1:48:44 PM PST by Little Ray (Waiting for the return of the Gods of the Copybook Headings.)
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To: BerryDingle

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.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6LqB-RYUvY


9 posted on 01/25/2013 1:54:04 PM PST by MCF
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To: STD

Sorry I should have made it easier and/or clearer. Just click on the “BBC” link under the thread title, or just here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tK8QC3wrz8


10 posted on 01/25/2013 1:55:58 PM PST by Vanders9
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To: MCF

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.


11 posted on 01/25/2013 2:04:05 PM PST by bravo whiskey (“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.”)
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To: Vanders9

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.


12 posted on 01/25/2013 2:04:23 PM PST by yarddog (One shot one miss.)
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To: Little Ray; BerryDingle
At that time US doctrine stated that tanks were for use against infantry. Enemy tanks were be engaged by tank destroyers or AT guns. According to this doctrine the Sherman was adequate for the task, although Patton did want an additional coax MG.

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.

13 posted on 01/25/2013 2:05:34 PM PST by Vanders9
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To: yarddog

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.


14 posted on 01/25/2013 2:12:15 PM PST by bravo whiskey (“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.”)
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To: BerryDingle
The militaries of the world are in a constant arms race. One develops a new thicker armor, their potential opponents develop a bigger gun to punch through it. In WW2 that arms race was heavily intensified. A piece of equipment that was top of its class did not retain the position for very long. When the Sherman first came out in mid 42 (its first real test was at Alamein) the only German tank that could even hope to match it was the PzKpw IV, and it was absolutely streets ahead of the Italian tanks.

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.

15 posted on 01/25/2013 2:12:54 PM PST by Vanders9
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To: Little Ray

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.


16 posted on 01/25/2013 2:14:14 PM PST by GOP_Party_Animal
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To: Vanders9

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.


17 posted on 01/25/2013 2:17:52 PM PST by miliantnutcase
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To: yarddog

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.


18 posted on 01/25/2013 2:19:22 PM PST by Vanders9
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To: Forward the Light Brigade

Well, the British tankers in this documentary certainly preferred Shermans to any of the British built tanks they got lumbered with.


19 posted on 01/25/2013 2:20:34 PM PST by Vanders9
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To: GOP_Party_Animal
There's a good part in the documentary when he holds a shell from an M3 Stuart tank (nicely parked in the background), explains what it could do, and then picks up an 88mm shell in comparison.

You understand then just how bad the situation was!

20 posted on 01/25/2013 2:24:01 PM PST by Vanders9
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To: miliantnutcase

Agreed. There’s a bit about fighting in the bocage in this documentary. It sounds pretty brutal.


21 posted on 01/25/2013 2:25:09 PM PST by Vanders9
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To: archy

Ping.


22 posted on 01/25/2013 2:25:59 PM PST by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: BerryDingle
" 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..... Lots of good reasons posted here, let me add another : Distance from Detroit to the Front in France was 4000 miles----Distance from Germany to the front was 400 miles. Since there was only so much shipping available the decision was made to have a lot of medium tanks instead of a few large ones.....If You would like to play what if, then why were U.S. troops issued such crappy boots. Trench foot caused as many casualties as wounds....
23 posted on 01/25/2013 2:26:53 PM PST by virgil283 ( *- Never miss a good chance to shut up....-*)
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To: BerryDingle

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.


24 posted on 01/25/2013 2:37:45 PM PST by SoCal Pubbie
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To: Vanders9; All

Sorry, part 2 is here

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OsSHlw4vV7I


25 posted on 01/25/2013 2:39:40 PM PST by Vanders9
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To: Vanders9

Just finished watching Part One, wonderful. I can’t wait until Part Two becomes available. Please ping me, put out the word.


26 posted on 01/25/2013 2:54:11 PM PST by STD ( People say 'It's as plain as the nose on your face' but none of us can see theirs!)
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To: virgil283

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.

http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?126970-New-Allied-Tactic-How-to-Take-out-Tigers-Easy-w-Sherman


27 posted on 01/25/2013 2:55:11 PM PST by SoCal Pubbie
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To: Little Ray

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.


28 posted on 01/25/2013 2:59:55 PM PST by AppyPappy (You never see a massacre at a gun show.)
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To: Vanders9
 photo File0002.jpg This is the first Russian tank to enter Berlin. The monument is under construction in this picture. A few days after it was completed, it was blown up during the night. This was at Tiergarten Park. I know very little about Russian tanks but this one was a Stalin tank.
29 posted on 01/25/2013 3:10:18 PM PST by yarddog (One shot one miss.)
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To: bravo whiskey
" there is a video of pershings engaging tigers in front of the cathedral in Koln."

Got a link?

30 posted on 01/25/2013 3:11:17 PM PST by OKSooner ("The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God's people. Amen." - Revelation 22:21)
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To: yarddog

Looks like a JS-II to me, although I’m not a soviet tank expert either.


31 posted on 01/25/2013 3:25:50 PM PST by Vanders9
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To: Vanders9
 photo 208th036copy.jpg I think another person also told me it was a JSII. This is after the monument was completed. After it was blown up the Russians simply found two other "First" tanks. If you go to Tiergarten Park now you will find two T-34s.
32 posted on 01/25/2013 3:36:53 PM PST by yarddog (One shot one miss.)
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To: bravo whiskey

You were on an M60A2? I know they had the Shileleigh (sp) missile, but what kind of rounds did they have for the gun?


33 posted on 01/25/2013 4:39:00 PM PST by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: GOP_Party_Animal
The M-3 Lee/Grant had a problem with its sponson - it could not go properly hull down. Doesn't help that the armor was riveted on many tanks of that type.

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.

34 posted on 01/26/2013 7:46:51 AM PST by Little Ray (Waiting for the return of the Gods of the Copybook Headings.)
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To: virgil283

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


35 posted on 01/27/2013 8:20:49 AM PST by AppyPappy (You never see a massacre at a gun show.)
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To: AppyPappy
'Both the Brits and the Americans were uncomfortable placing all their trust in an unproven tank design. '...Well said....The NAZIs put too much confidence in tanks, so much so that I've read that the King Tiger was too heavy and wide that there was almost no bridge in Europe that it could cross or no paved road that its weight and tracks would not destroy, so that vehicles following had difficulty........
36 posted on 01/27/2013 9:29:40 AM PST by virgil283 ( *-“... ego is a hindrance to realizing truth,”-- Roosh ....-*)
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To: Vanders9

Interesting stuff, saving to watch later, thanks!


37 posted on 01/27/2013 9:44:20 AM PST by fattigermaster
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To: Vanders9

Thanks for this. Watching.


38 posted on 01/27/2013 12:00:45 PM PST by Lazamataz (LAZ'S LAW: As an argument with liberals goes on, the probability of being called racist approaches 1)
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To: fattigermaster; Lazamataz

Part two can be found here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OsSHlw4vV7I


39 posted on 01/27/2013 3:07:09 PM PST by Vanders9
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To: yarddog
You can see a Churchill tank at 0.58-0.59 in part one.

Apparently 5RTR were not issued with them.

40 posted on 01/27/2013 3:10:08 PM PST by Vanders9
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To: Vanders9

OK what does 5RTR mean?


41 posted on 01/27/2013 3:57:42 PM PST by yarddog (One shot one miss.)
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To: yarddog

5th Royal Tank Regiment.


42 posted on 01/28/2013 12:19:33 AM PST by Vanders9
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To: Vanders9

Thanks.


43 posted on 01/28/2013 8:31:09 AM PST by yarddog (One shot one miss.)
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To: bravo whiskey; yarddog
the churchill was a “heavy” infantry tank but not big gunned.

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.

44 posted on 01/28/2013 5:11:12 PM PST by archy
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To: Vanders9
You can see a Churchill tank at 0.58-0.59 in part one. Apparently 5RTR were not issued with them.

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.

45 posted on 01/28/2013 5:16:37 PM PST by archy
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To: blueunicorn6
You were on an M60A2? I know they had the Shileleigh (sp) missile, but what kind of rounds did they have for the gun?

Incendiaries. [fyi, I'm a former M60A1 and M551 crewdawg.]

46 posted on 01/28/2013 5:18:19 PM PST by archy
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To: BerryDingle
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.

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.

47 posted on 01/28/2013 5:23:41 PM PST by archy
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To: archy

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.


48 posted on 01/28/2013 6:17:04 PM PST by yarddog (One shot one miss.)
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To: archy

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.


49 posted on 01/29/2013 12:25:34 AM PST by Vanders9
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To: yarddog
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.

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.

50 posted on 01/29/2013 5:33:28 PM PST by archy
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