VK36.01 instead of Tiger and Panther

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by wiking85, Aug 20, 2014.

  1. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    What if instead of working on the heavy Tiger I and later Panther tanks the German army worked on getting the 40 ton, 88mm gunned VK36.01 tanks into service and kept the Pz IV as the primary tank of the German military starting in 1941? I imagine it could get into production by 1942 and into service by the end of the year. I imagine the numbers produced of both the VK3601 and Pz IV would be much higher than the historical output of the Panther and Tiger, though less survivable. Still they would be much more mechanically reliable and would be able to keep the German Panzer divisions in the black in terms of serviceable AFVs in the field, which is better than the poor serviceability of the big cats, of which they were already too few, even by 1944 when there were the most available. What would the effect be of many more tanks available from 1941 on?

    Details of the chassis:
    Achtung Panzer! - Prototypes !
    Here is a visualization of the vehicle:
    VK3601H-camo-skins.png
     
  2. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Historically Germany didn't fund medium tank production until 1942. If they fund medium tanks a year earlier, including construction of production facilities, they will have medium tanks a year earlier.

    Mass production of German medium tanks a year earlier would have a significant impact on Operation Barbarossa and a huge impact on 1942 operation to seize Baku oil fields. Makes little difference if they are Panzer IVG or a heavier vehicle based on 40 ton VK3601 test chassis. Either vehicle would be a huge performance leap over Pz38(t) and Panzer III light tanks.
     
  3. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    again with the "Germany didn't fund medium tank production until 1942" stuff?

    The MK III and MK IV may not have been medium tanks by 1945 standards(and that is debatable in the case of the MK IV) but they were most certainly medium tanks in 1938-42.

    The MK III was NOT a light tank in 1938-42.

    Germans built 1091 MK IVchassis before 1942 and 3522 MK III chassis before 1942.

    I guess they got over 4000 18-24 ton tanks for FREE up until the end of 1941 since you say they didn't fund them?

    Mighty generous of the German factories that built them.

    BTW in 1942 only 198 PZ 38(t) chassis were completed as tanks. Might have been a useful recon vehicle if they pulled the 37mm cannon and fitted them with 20mm AT rifles instead :)
     
  4. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    German wikipedia suggests that the Panzer IV production was kept deliberately low: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panzerkampfwagen_IV#Serienproduktion
    Of course in 1942 when Pz IV production took off it was partly to do with the Nibelungenwerk coming online, but not exclusively; the Nibelungenwerk produced over half of all of their Pz IVs in 1944, two years after coming online, leaving about 1900 Pz IVs produced in 1942-43 and in 1945. Yet Pz IV production doubled from 1941-42 and then nearly quadrupled in 1942-43, before only doubling again in 1943-44. So unless there was a large volume of Pz IV production lines that come into production between 1942-43, existing capacity was underutilized until 1943.

    As to the Pz 38(t) it would have been a fine recon tank other than its two man turret, but the Pz II was worse with 3 crew to the 38t's 4. So keep the Pz 38(t) and drop Pz II production entirely by 1941, retool the lines for more Pz IVs; historically the Pz II remained in production until 1944, peaking in 1942 and continuing at nearly the same level in 1943.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_armored_fighting_vehicle_production_during_World_War_II

    In terms of the VK3601, which it seems was developed into the VK4501 due to the increasing weight trying to match the design spec, if the lighter version were kept and the armor spec was compromised to keep it around 40-45 tons (instead of the 55 ton monster it became historically), I imagine there would be a fair bit more produced, especially if the Panther was not produced. It would be much more mechanically reliable and reasonably deadly, especially if available in sufficient quantities and reliable by mid/late 1942.

    Overall what difference would the extra units have made if they were available by 1942 and in larger numbers thereafter without the mechanical issues of the historical models, but without same armor protection? The 40 ton chassis would have made an excellent platform for weapons like the high caliber 105mm cannon or even just the 88mm L70, better than the Pz IV or Pz III/IV. Plus it could handle reasonable sloped armoring like the Jagdpanther and be upgraded later to a sloped version in 1943, rather than the delayed and compromised Tiger II that was supposed to be a sloped version of the Tiger I, but Hitler insisted on a major uparmoring that added another 10 tons of weight.
     
  5. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Pz II and Pz 38(t) weigh about 9 tons. Pz IVH weighs about 24 tons. Skoda and BMM assembly lines were designed to build vehicles weighing a maximum of about 16 tons. That's why Germany was forced to design 16 ton Hetzer rather then retooling for more StuG III as desired. I'll hazard a guess Pz II assembly line was also incapable of building 24 ton vehicles without first rebuilding the production facilities.

    Prior to 1944 Pz II and Pz38(t) production facilities were rather small. Max production of about 100 vehicles per month at each factory complex. About 1/3rd as many as a full size tank factory.

    If you want more medium tanks then don't piddle around. Spend RM 65 million to build an additional Nibelungenwerk size factory complex. You also need feeder plants to provide engines, transmissions, main gun, turrets, etc. so total price tag will probably be more like RM 200 million. That investment gives you an additional 320 medium tanks per month.

    This stuff isn't rocket science. If you want tank production facilities then you must pay for them and allow about 18 months for construction and tooling during peacetime. All bets are off during wartime due to shortages and enemy bombing.
     
  6. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    It looks like ( and I could be way off on this) that the only real saving in the VK3601 compared to the VK 4501 (Tiger I) is the smaller hull ( in large part due to not putting sponsons out over the tracks) and the narrower tracks. You save armor (not cheap but...) and you may save with the narrower tracks (520mm according to one drawing) and perhaps (?) a set of road wheels (the outer ones?).

    The engine was a slightly smaller V-12 than used on the Tiger and there isn't much saving in either material or labor in building 19.14 liter V-12 vs a 21.35 liter V-12 engine. The spec sheet says the VK3601 used a gear box with 8 forward gears and 4 reverse which is the same number of gears as the Tiger, same transmission as the Tiger? no real saving there. Maybe you can make it a bit lighter due to the lighter tank but you are trying to put 500hp through it so you can't make it much lighter. If you are going to use the 8.8cm KwK 36 there is no saving there either. Turret traverse mechanism/drive?

    Now you have the problem of how much you can lighten it up by making the hull smaller and/or thinning the armor. Taking the sponsons off may save around 2 1/2 tons or a bit less (25lbs per sqft of the top and bottom of the sponsons). Thinning the sides above the tracks from 80mm to 60mm saves 32lbs per sq ft. or maybe 2800lbs? Going much thinner than 60mm of armor vertical starts making the sides vulnerable to to American and Russian 75-76mm guns at practical combat ranges, seeing as both were rated for around 60mm penetration at 900-1000yds at a 30 degree impact angle.
    Unless you can get a lot of slope you don't get a lot of extra protection for the weight of the armor. Think about it, if you need to armor something 6ft high and 10 ft wide (60 sq ft) you can use 60 sq ft of vertical armor 50 mm thick and have it weigh 4800lbs.
    IF you slope the armor 45 degrees you need 8.48 ft of armor to cover the 6ft height and still 10ft wide or 84.8 sq ft of armor. Keeping the armor weight the same you now have an armor thickness of 36.3mm at 45 degrees. This combination will be more effective than the vertical plate but it is not until you get near 45 degrees that you get real improvement in protection. 60 degress of angle offers around 3 times the protection (as a rough rule of thumb) but the armor weighs twice as much as the vertical plate. Please note that sloped armor doesn't really get much improvement on shaped charge projectiles over the geometrical thickness of the armor. 50mm of armor sloped 45 degrees acts like about 70mm of vertical armor to a shaped charge projectile. (assuming it doesn't deflect any before it detonates.

    BTW the real Tiger I used a lot of the space in the sponsons for ammo storage; not all of it but a fair amount of the 92 rounds. Could be over 64 rounds in the sponsons so if you get rid of them you need to put the ammo somewhere, or carry a lot less ammo.

    0a773f0ecc217c1ea2dc86274dbc7629.jpg

    3rdReich_Pz6_Tiger_CGI_Cutaway.jpg
     
  7. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    For German planners the extra weight of a heavier chassis did make an output difference, see below about the debate between having a ~20 ton chassis vs. a ~30 ton one. Having a heavier chassis was expected to reduce output irrespective of factory upgrades to be able to make the bigger chassis. Plus with the historical Tiger only Henschel had the facility to make them while a lighter 'heavy' tank could be made by other facilities if kept in the 40 ton range. Many other facilities were able to make the 45 ton Panther, rather than the 55 ton Tiger I. Plus 45 ton Panthers were able to be made in much greater numbers than the 55 ton Tiger. The VK3601 would be lighter than the Panther (if it kept to spec), yet you claim it would have, in that case, been produced in no greater numbers than the Tiger I. Empirically we know that it could be produced in much greater numbers due to Panther output.
    vk20012.png
     
  8. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    That maybe But tank production is not quite in proportion to the weight of the tank. You do not get five 40 ton tanks for the same amount of money/time/labor as four 50 ton tanks. ESPECIALLY if you are using the same engine, gearbox and gun in both tanks. And if you are using the same number of torsion bar axle stations and road wheels?
    Panther tank used a transmission with 7 forward gears and only one reverse meaning that there were only about 2/3 the number of gear sets in it as compared to the Tiger tank. Granted with the lighter tank you don't need as many gears but it looks like the initial planning of the VK 3601 called for the more complicated transmission.
    While the transmission/steering gear of a tank is small percentage of it's weight it is not as small as some people think. I have no figures for the German tanks but an uprated system (David Brown P40 which can be retro fitted to the existing Z51 ) for a Centurion tank weighs 1015kg dry. Dimensions were 788mm long, 822mm high and 1329mm wide. A transmission/steering system for a large tank can weigh more than the engine.

    As far as factory size goes there may have been a bit of smoke blowing going on.

    German Tank Factory - BE027817 - Rights Managed - Stock Photo - Corbis

    These are MK IIIs and while the overhead crane/s may not have the capacity to deal with 40 ton tanks the floor space and clearance over the tops of the existing tanks doesn't look like it present too much of an obstacle to building heavier tanks. Granted this is just one factory.



    I am not claiming the original Tiger was the only or the best way to go. I just get very suspicious when people claim they could get nearly the same fighting qualities in a tank of 3/4 the weight or less.

    The Germans certainly missed the boat in not putting sloped armor on the MK IV chassis like they finally did on the Jagdpanzer_IV.

    Jagdpanzer IV - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Such a hull with a suitable turret and mounting the 7.5cm/L48 gun would have helped the Germans a fair amount for most of WW II and there was NO technical reason it could not have been done.
     
  9. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    Retooling in the middle of a war was largely the issue with the sloped Pz IV, which was tried:
    Einheitsfahrgestell (Standard Vehicle Chassis) III/IV
     
  10. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    VK24.01 is the medium tank Heer ordnance department planned to produce before program was cancelled 25 Nov 1941. Without the Panther program it probably would have become the new German medium tank during March 1942.

    Unfortunately there are no known surviving blueprints for VK24.01 but we can make some educated guesses as to what it would look like. Panther tank supposedly evolved from VK24.01 so it probably looks like a smaller version.

    VK24.01 was nominally 24 tons just as Panzer III was nominally 15 tons. So it's reasonable to assume VK24.01 will actually weigh about 32 tons. I wouldn't be surprised if MAN VK24.01 chassis was similar to MAN VK30.01 chassis.

    18 July 1941. Rheinmetall receives contract to develop 7.5cm/70 cannon.
    VK24.01 medium tank is the logical intended use for this cannon. Initial (1942) production VK24.01 medium tanks would probably have same turret and cannon as historical Panzer IVG. During 1943 VK24.01 would receive the new cannon and a new matching turret.

    Daimler-Benz designed a 400hp diesel engine specifically for the Heer medium tank program. Just about the right size for VK24.01.

    Initial specifications for VK30.02 (Panther) required 60mm sloping frontal armor. I'll hazard a guess that requirement was copied directly from VK24.01 specification.
     
  11. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    Well there was this chart, which implies the VK2401 bled into the VK3001, which would mean it did not have sloped armor and the VK3002 designs were not impacted by previous VK2401 work.
    710559591_Captura_122_14lo.jpg
     
  12. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    the problem with all german tanks was the costs of production. this problem was systemic, it applied to al their tanks, but because these heavier tanks were hard for german industry to manage, they were even more expensive relative to a baseline than the smaller, light tanks they were building at the start..

    Simplifying and making smaller the German tank park will always help, but it will not solve this problem. the whole heavy tank thing was a losing strategy for the germans. they couldnt field the numbers, and in the end it was the numbers that counted.

    ive always subscribed to rommels opinion. after 1942, with germany on the defensive, he subscribed to the view that all tank production be abandoned and germany concentrate on AT production, both towed and self propelled. a 75mm ATG towed cost something like 12k to build, compared to a tiger 300K 9if you include all the hidden costs. An SGIII cost something like 30K. id rather forego any pretensions of attack and build 10 SGIIIs or 25 75mm ATGs than waste my money on one dodgy heavy tank, whatever its details. This was exactly how the russians defeated the germans....the germans should have won, but allowed their mania for big complicated (and expensive) things to cloud their thinking
     
  13. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    I've seen the opposite argued, that the Tiger tanks killed far in excess of their numbers and even losses, as something like 50% of losses were due to mechanical breakdown. They remained eminently cost effective. Sledgehammers: Strengths and Flaws of Tiger Tank Battalions in World War II: Christopher W. Wilbeck, Otto Carius, Viktor Iskrov, Ray Holt: 9780971765023: Amazon.com: Books

    Now, as to the towed AT gun theory that leaves out the cost of the haulers, the fuel cost of hauling, their vulnerability to enemy artillery, of which the Soviets and Americans had obscene amounts of, and could be maneuvered around, especially in the East (not counting the effects of aircraft strikes on them either).

    The Maus and Tiger II I certainly agree with as being major wastes, but the Tiger I was very cost effective. The actual price was meaningless in terms of price, given the Nazi controlled currency and ability to set prices, what mattered were material costs and man hours. The Tiger per kill was by those metrics, even with the large number of mechanical breakdowns, very effective for the cost. The Panther was less so. I personally think Germany would have been better off with lots of StuGs and Pz IVs rather than Panthers, which only became remotely reliable in March 1944. The Tiger was probably worth it compared to the VK3601, but I was curious what people thought about it being lighter and more reliable with the same gun, in effect not being a slugger, but rather a sniper.
     
  14. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    #14 parsifal, Aug 23, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2014
    At Kursk, roughly 100 tigers were committed. after 4 days or so of fighting, they had lost just three tanks to Soviet guns. but many had suffered breakdowns. there were no reserves to hold the soviet reserves, and further, after the Alied invasion of Sicily an entire SS corps was shipped out leaving the southern front gutted and vulnerable. by the end of the month this 100 strong force had suffered 100% loss rates...not temporary losses, they were permanently lust, mostly captured by the rapidly advancing Russians. The "qualities" of the tiger were a direct contributor to the defeat, though given german mismanagement of the whole affair, i doubt nothing could have saved citadel. If the Germans had invested in Stugs rather than Tigers, there would have been no offensive, so the russians would have been able to pisk and choose their timing and placement of offensive. but the germans would have had time to dig in, but more importantly would have had ample reserves to counter the soviet attacks. Instead of 100 tanks, they could have had 1000 SPGs, not concentrated in an offensive position, but spread out and mobile, more than able to deal with the 5000 or so Soviet mediums that they would have had to deal with . there is no evidence that Tigers were any more cost effectivee, actually the evidence is there that with more tanks, there would have been more kills

    You dont think Carius might be just a little biased? The trouble with these analyses is that they never look at the big picture. they are the "I was there I saw hundreds of burning Soviet Tanks from the guns of our tigers". firstly, the loss claims are unverified, but Im not even going to go there, I dont need to. its what they dont see thats important. because the Soviets had such a massive numbers advantages(and based on their raw industrial power should not have), they could afford to attack and attack. When you attack, statistically, 80% of your losses in vehicles, and 60% of your losses in crews are recovered and returned to service within 30 days. So these discussions of loss rates being 7:1 in favour of the Germans need to be tempered against the fact that the vast majority of soviet losses were all more or less immediately recovered. by comparison, when you are defending, and your defences crack, as the germans repeatedly conceded because they chose or elected not to put sufficient tanks in the field (bedazzled by the technical capabilities of their heavy tanks), nearly 100% of your breakdowns or disabled tanks become losses as well. ..something Cartius chooses never to mention. but its worse than that. Because the Soviets were given the numbers advantage, partly or substantially because the Germans did not understand the importance of numbers and wasted their industrial muscle on fripperies like the Tiger), the overall firepower of their tank formations actually suffered because of the Tiger tank.

    As described above, the German actual losses in Tiger losses were not 3 tanks, they were 100 Tiger tanks. in that period, the Soviets lost about 500 tanks on the souther sector where the majority of tigers were deployed. The tigers may have accounted for 100, maybe, who knows. thats a loss rate of 1:1.

    Whilst tanks are largely immune to the fire effects of artillery directly, they are definately not immune to the indirect effects, as the Kursk experience clearly shows. Soviet artillery pounding away at the softer support echelons was the main reason for the heavy German losses. if those tanks lose their support, they are lost as well. Tigers are just as vulnerable as ATGs for that reason, and an ATG dug in has a fair chance of survival. If Mansteins ideas had been adopted.....pull back 20 or 30 kilometres just prior to the offensive, which was well within the heers capabilities, but strictly rejected by hitler, the artillery effects would have been nullified, and no ground lost....the ground conceded would have been won back in the inevitable counterattacks by the hoards of stugs supporting the german Infantry as it counterattacked.

    1944 statistics are very revealing as to why most of this stuff about the tiger is mostly post war bunkum

    In fact it wasn’t, and badly so. Krivosheev states that Soviet Tank losses 41-5 ran at 96000, with German losses claimed at 32000. 10000 of that number were surrendered or captured at the end of the war, so the figures are about 96000::22000, or roughly 4.4:1.

    On the Dupuy Institute Forum I found a post by Chris Lawrence (yes, THE chris Lawrence) referencing a thesis by a US Major Wilbeck. about the employment of Tiger PzAbt and it effectiveness. He takes figures from Schneider 'Tigers in Combat I II', and gives overall effectiveness as:

    Kill ratio in action 1:12.16
    Kill ratio total 1:5.44 (this includes Tigers destroyed out of combat)

    For both east and west, but not, it appears, including the Tiger companies that were attached to some SS-PDs in 1943 (and after?).
    Not quite the East front, but good enough for this discussion. That’s hardly different from the ratios achieved by the average garden variety tanks also employed by the heer. Given that a tiger cost nearly or perhaps even more than twice as much as a panther, and even more compared to a mkIV, and just in steel alone weighed more than twice as much as the latter, that’s hardly a cost effective use of limited german resources.

    Lawrence makes this comment in the discussion “…. the Tiger's are 100% from German records. So...they are reporting German claims of kills (a pretty imprecise methodology).
    …….it is very important that one counts the same thing for both sides (destroyed and damaged vs destroyed and damaged). German claims of Soviet tank kills would by their nature be counting both destroyed and damaged (and maybe a few other things), not just destroyed
    .

    I agree that cost is a very imprecise and dangerous way of measuring actual tank costs , especially against foreign tanks, but if comparing against other tanks of German manufacture, it at least gives some idea of the cost of a particular item. Exclusve of turrets communications and armamenet, a Tiger I cost on averge during the war about RM192K, compared to the cost (fully equipped of about 107 for the MkIV and about 138 for the Panther. In terms of manhours the Panther soaked up about 55000 man hours to build whilst the tiger was nudging an average of just under 100000 manhours per unit. By comparison, by 1945, the Soviets could churn out a T-34 in just over 4000 hours. If you want to compare steel weights, the comparisons are just as discouraging. A Tiger I weighed 121250lbs, the Mk V weighed 98000 lbs and the MkIV about 43000 lbs. And, on average, there was no, or little, difference in the kill/loss ratio of the Mk IV to the Kill/loss ratio of the MkVI. They simply were a waste of money and resources, plain and simple

    Once the myths about it effectiveness are peeled away and the true value of the tiger left for examination what do we have. A piece of machinery that has its combat record vastly overblown and overstated, and not a cost effective weapon system at all, because its combat performance was about the same as every other German tank of the late war. . That should be obvious. But what the tiger could and did do, is in defensive situation soak up a large amount of resources to be brought to ground. Stalking a loan tiger could take many tanks, and many hours of precious time, as the remainder of a defending force made good an escape. Hardly worth the effort and expense of the tank, but still a worthwhile effect worth mentioning.
     
  15. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    Can you demonstrate that one Tiger would in fact result in 5-10 other AFVs? The crux of the argument you're making is that the Tiger could be replaced by enough other equipment to more than make up for its cost, but when you factor in the full elements of the machine, including the engine and transmission among other things, the overall weight and man hours don't directly equal the cost of a lighter vehicle like a StuG, nor take into effect the cost of the extra manpower and transport needed to supply them. As you mention the losses to the supply train badly hurt the Tigers, but how would having StuGs instead change that aspect of combat? Those logistics issues would hurt lighter vehicles just as much, though they might suffer less breakdowns in the aggregate.
     
  16. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    to have the same effect as the tiger, in terms of kill/loss ratio, it would be necessary to increase the ratio of tanks by the overall kill/loss ratio achieved by the tiger, divided by the average kill loss ratio achieved overall. assuming no margin of error, the rate is 5.4/4.4, which eaquls 122%. roughly 1400 tigers were built, so to replace them, in terms of what they achieved, you would need 1718 other tanks. To guesstimate the propaganda value of the tiger, you might add another 300 tanks, say 2000. so, to replace the 1400 tigers built, myth and all, you might need 2000 mkivs. just in terms of steel consumption, that represents a saving of 40000 tons of steel.

    having a larger tank park does a number of things that vastly improves the logistic situation for the germans. Firstly, it provides sufficient depth and meat on the formations to ensure adequte reserves. Having additional tanks, gives the forces the ability to deliver more firepower over a shorter period, it means that if a part of the force structure breaks down or damaged, there is more possibility to plug in reserves to prevent a breakthrough which is the killer for a successful defence. if the defence can prevent a runaway breakthrough, losses reduce dramatically, reduced losses translates to far better supply situation and reduces the ability of the enemy to rampage into rear areas. and statistically, the difference between a successful and an unsuccessful breakthrough is an increase in the number of barrels of just 7-10%.

    Investing in lavish extravagances like the Tiger conceivably (but unlikely) cost the germans the ability to achieve a negotiated settlement on the east front
     
  17. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    That's assuming all else remains the same, such as tactical usage, survivability on the battlefield, and range/penetration power of the main gun. StuGs and Pz IVs had less than the Tiger in all of that and the Tigers were used as sluggers, exposed and trading shots with the enemy for breakthrough operations, rather than maneuver forces in the open for the Pz IV or as ambushers in the case of the StuGs. I also think you're not appreciating the addition burden on the already stretched logistics network to have additional tanks at the front, which I am assuming is more than your calculation due to the above factors.
     
  18. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Fall 1941 German Army required all new armored fighting vehicles to have sloping frontal armor. Interim vehicles such as Marder series were exempt from the requirement. So was Tiger I as it was Hitler's favorite project. However an all new medium tank program would almost certainly have to comply with the ordnance department specification. Just as the all new Panther, Tiger II and Hetzer did.
     
  19. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    In situations where the germans did not have "slugger tanks" which was the usual case, incidentally....a tiger was a rare bird, there was no noticeable difference in kill loss ratios. Its another of those pesky myths that somehow the tiger delivered better loss ratios because of their enhanced firepower. The facts are that they might have improved kill loss ratios by 20% or so, but without them, German tank formations were still achieving kill/loss ratios in excess of 4:1. Thats for the late war. early war, even with nothing but light tanks to fight with, the Soviet exchange rate was much worse....in excess of 20:1.

    The facts are that the Germans seldom liked to use their tanks in that anti-tank role. Their periods of greatest success was when they didnt do that. The German forte was manouvre, and the tiger sacrificed its manouvre for firepower and protection. a completely wrong move for the Germans. If they wanted static defence, they should have spent more on fortification and fixed lines, not spend huge amounts on s few tanks that didnt line up with their mobile warfare doctrines anyway. In many ways, the Tigers were philosophically akin to the French Char B or the British Matilda, and both these tanks finished up not doing so well. Why is the Tiger any different? it had a measure of success, because the germans were able to compensate for its limitations by their expertise, not because the technical excellence of the design delivered them some magical advantage
     
  20. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    Early in the war the Germans surprise attacked the USSR while they were in the middle of transitioning to new equipment, so still have masses of light tanks themselves, most of it without spare parts or fully mobilized troops. 1941 is a massive outlier that skewed the loss ratios for the first two years of war as the Soviets had to rebuild their institutional knowledge, as they were left with little more than a militia by 1942. By 1943 loss rates changed.
    Christos military and intelligence corner: Tank strength and losses ? Eastern Front
    By 1943 the big cats were available in larger numbers and their presence shows, but so too does the presence of the Soviet cat killers.

    The Germans lost their ability to maneuver when on the defensive from 1943-45. They lacked air superiority and enough experienced infantry to really make an elastic defense work, plus also lacked adequate intelligence about Soviet intentions thanks to Maskirovka and huge Soviet combat strength relative to German combat strength. They could overload even an elastic defense with sheer numbers, as Deep Battle Doctrine was designed to do.

    My point though is that the Tigers or a version of them were useful, but the Panther was not due to its limited reliability and numbers. I fully agree that the Pz IV or a sloped armor version that replaced the Pz III chassis entirely (along with the Pz II and 38(t)) would have been ideal when backed up by some heavy tank battalions staffed by a more reliable and lighter heavy hitter like the VK3601H weighing in at 45 tons or so instead of the historical 55 tons. The chassis could then be used for longer range big guns for SP AT like the Steuer Emil, but with a larger chassis that could accomodate the heavy gun better: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sturer_Emil
    Even a 105mm high velocity StuG on the VK3601 chassis would be good too (Dicker Max, but with a bigger chassis). 10.5cm K18 auf Panzer Selbstfahrlafette IVa Dickermax

    The Pz III/IV chassis was a disaster, so they needed a VK24.02 or 28.01 chassis with sloped armor and bigger layout to do the job.
     
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