Light tanks for the beligerents

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by tomo pauk, Apr 19, 2012.

  1. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    #1 tomo pauk, Apr 19, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2012
    Hi, all,
    The light tanks were produced used on large scale during the ww2, many times doubling as the 'front line' tanks, helping out the infantry, in the teeth of the AT guns. How would the light tanks looked if you were calling the shots? The upper limit is 15 tons prior 1942, 20 tons from 1942 and on, each country using only 'domestic' engines weaponry, along with historical suspension set-ups. If the tank can be used as a platform for different kinds of AFVs, it scores extra points )

    EDIT: I agree that in 1939/40 the 15 ton tanks were in 'medium' category, so the category of 'under 10 tons, prior July 1940' is added :)
     
  2. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    1935. German Army specification for a 15 ton tank with main gun up to 5cm in size.
    The Panzer III won the competition.

    This tank gets my vote. How many other 15 ton light tanks had potential for upgrade to a 22 ton MBT by 1940?
     
  3. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    imho 15 tons it's too high for a light early in the war
    Pz II 10 tons
    L 6 7 tons
    Type 9598 7.5 tons
    Tetrarch 7.5 Tons
    T-26 10 Tons
    T-60 6 Tons
    T-70 9 Tons
     
  4. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    The 10 ton Panzer II performed well for a vehicle of that size and it was dirt cheap, costing only about 50,000 RM. The relatively powerful 2cm KwK30 or KwK38 autocannon was effective against both soft targets and light armor. Frontal armor was upgraded to 30mm during 1940 which is pretty good for a vehicle of that size. The same chassis could be used for a low cost 10.5cm SP howitzer or 7.5cm SP AT gun.
     
  5. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Light tanks, for the most part were a waste of resources. They were popular because they were cheap and/or could be built in factories that could not build "medium" tanks. Once in combat, while they did perform good service at times, it was usually at a high cost both in tanks and crews. The only real role they had in the European Theater was as tracked reconnaissance vehicles when the terrain/weather bogged wheeled vehicles. Asia was a bit different as the Japanese never had much beyond light tanks and had rather weak anti-tank guns so US Light tanks could perform there ( they also fit better in the landing craft). Using light tanks as a chassis for other types of AFV's also presents problems. Just because a certain size gun could be mounted or was mounted on a light tank chassis doesn't mean is was really a good idea. It may have been better than no tracked chassis under that gun but that may not be saying much. Small chassis restrict gun crew numbers and room to operate which affects rate of fire, small chassis also mean restricted ammunition storage which either means restricted engagement times or bombardments or extra tracked chassis to keep an adequate supply of ammo on hand. Needing 6 chassis for 4 barrels to have a decent supply of ammo doesn't look so good compared to 4 medium chassis for 4 barrels and about the same total amount of ammunition.

    The British had a good light tank for helping the infantry, it was called the Valentine.
     
  6. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Again with the superior German designs? The 1935 15 ton "design" went through at least 3 different suspensions and 3 transmissions by the time the "E" went into production in Dec of 1938 about 70 total of the A, B, C and D models were built.

    15 toms was firmly in the medium category in 1935.

    The MK II shows the limits of the "light" category rather well. Unless the enemy offers up softballs like the British Light tank MK VI or some of the early Russian light tanks (t-37/38 or T-40) it's role quickly became tracked reconnaissance or a desperation attempt to make up numbers.
    30mm armor was darn near useless against anything heavier than 20mm cannon or those short French 37mm guns.
     
  7. psteel

    psteel Member

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    15 tons is too big for light tank before WW-II. I would agree 10 tons good mark. I would vote for Cz tanks of this weight range.the T-35 and then T-38. Also good as medium tanks in a pinch and later excellent for SPAT vehicles ; SP infantry gun vehicles and further evolution into Assault gun like "Hetzer" design and 13 ton Weapons Carrier like "Waffentragger" .
     
  8. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    the Pz 35 38 were used as medium tank (despite they weighted around as a Pz II).
    also the M3 Stuart (13 tons early models, called light tank from US) were initially used as cruiser tank
     
  9. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    That depends on when they were built. Prior to 1941 light tanks such as the Soviet BT-5 ruled the battlefield. Heavier tanks existed during the 1930s but they were relatively few in number.
     
  10. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    I've set the limits in order to cut down on the number of categories, but, upon the popular request, I'll ad another category (and edit the opening post here accordingly): under 10 tons, prior July 1940.
     
  11. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    Tomo i known this is your thread, so sorry
    no italian tanks used v/s allies weight more 15 ton, a model used vs germans weight around 16 tons, as september '43
    Japanese common medium tank until the end was Type 97 a 15 ton, the maybe used Type 1 in late '44) is a 17 tons
    Pz 3538 were used as medium tank in Barbarossa
    as writed before M3 Stuart were used as cruiser tank in fall 41 i think also in winter 41/42.
    in the 30s all tank with a gun are medium, also a Pz II, july 1940 maybe a minim date for take the 10 tons as light previously are medium
     
  12. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    No problems, Vincenzo :)

    Different countries had different categorizations, so it's my intention to call all the tanks that fit under these weight/time categories as 'light tanks'. The designs' particular for this thread should, however, be connected at the best possible layouts, rather that at the real ones.
    Maybe it would be cool if we had polls that cover the real lights, though.
     
  13. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Why bother? APCs like the 8 ton Sd.Kfz. 251 3/4 track were arguably superior to any "tank" weighing less then 10 tons.
     
  14. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    superior for? is halftracked so has not same mobility (maybe worst sometime, maybe best othertime), as not gun turret so in less tactical flexible, as less armour and as you told is a APC or also AFV so is an other thing.


    as possible layout, taking out, the 1939/40 campaign. i think we can put a limit a 10 tons from '41 to spring 42, up slowly to reach 20 tons in '45 (minim winter 44/45)
     
  15. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    APCs are big targets with open tops that cry out for air burst artillery fire.
     
  16. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    The problem with light tanks is like the saying " In the land of the blind the one eyed man is king".

    They are great as long as you opponent has no tanks and little or no anti-tank defenses. Which was often the case in the 1930s or even into 1939/40. After that they get a lot less useful real quick.

    They stayed useful for limited purposes but many countries kept them in production way too long and spent way too much time, money and effort on new designs or modifications well after decent mediums were available in large numbers. It some cases in may have been a case of not quite knowing what to do with them but "if countries A,B and C have them then by golly we should too."
     
  17. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    No takers? ;)
    The light tank was deemed to be a good thing even by Cold war armies, many of them building and/or operating them. No light tanks should find itself going against the established front line, I agree with that. Anyway, since those were built operated in ww2, why not proposing something that is better than what was fielded, yet suited to be produced at the factories unfit to build 30+ ton 'proper' tanks. We don't have to call them 'light'. 'Tanks' will do :)
     
  18. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Sd.Kfz.250/9
    6 tons.
    15mm frontal armor.
    .....Similiar to Panzer II prior to 1940.
    2cm KwK38 autocannon plus 7.92mm MG. Turret mounted.
    .....Similiar to Panzer II.
    Height slightly over 2 meters.
    .....Similiar to Panzer II.

    leichtes Sch├╝tzenpanzerwagen (2 cm) (Sd. Kfz. 250/9): German Halftracked Armored Car ┬ź Catalog of Enemy Ordnance
    leichtes-schutzenpanzerwagen-sdkfz-250.jpg

    Vehicles such as this small 3/4 track can perform scouting missions similiar to a light tank at less then half the cost. This particular vehicle is factory made. However similiar conversions were made in field workshops almost from the beginning of the war.
     
  19. psteel

    psteel Member

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    I don't know, but this sounds like a wargameing mentality? All the available historical evidence points to APC being essential part of succses with any operational manuevuer. They do have to be used properly.
     
  20. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    They do have to be used properly. And using them properly does not include trying to use them like or instead of tanks.

    Tanks were capable of overrunning infantry positions for most of the war. It got a lot costlier with infantry hollow charge anti-tank weapons but tanks were bullet proof 360 degrees and from above. SP guns and half- tracks were not. German light armored cars were fitted with anti-grenade screens over their open turrets for a reason and even Mr Benders picture of the German Sd.Kfz.250/9 shows the anti-grenade screens.
    APCs in WW II were NOT supposed to over run the target position but transport the infantry to a close distance and then support them with the vehicle mounted gun/s.
     
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