Questions from tankfest 2015

Discussion on the tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles, which participated in World War 2.
FNG
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Questions from tankfest 2015

Postby FNG » Mon Jun 29, 2015 8:12 pm

hi,

Having seen some magnificent machines first hand I was wondering if you could answer some questions

Tiger tracks
Image

They talk about removing the wheels and fitting smaller transport tracks to tigers, looking at this which wheels were being removed?
I never realised that Tigers have 3 layers of wheels with the drive sprocket being at the far back, then a middle row before the few poxy outer ones
What difference did it make to the ground pressure if just those thin outer wheels were removed? Was the Tiger running under such a heavy load that it made much difference?

Also, the tracks don't seem to overhang much past the actual tank, was the issue with the rail-cars or with the tunnels/bridges?

Also, how did they transport King Tigers, Panthers etc if Tigers were "too big"? They look wider!

As to combat
The tracks/wheels of a lot of powerful tanks look really crap compared to the armour.
I assume that it was therefore very possible for a AT or HE round to shred the wheels/tracks of a tank that it was incapable or penetrating
Were crews taught to shoot for weak points on tanks they knew outclassed their gun (both by tanks and AT guns) or was the accuracy so limited that they were taught to just aim for the centre mass to try and get a hit?

Half tracks
The armour on half tracks, but US and German, looks very poor.
What would they stop?
Would they even stop rifle rounds?

Also, the Allies had .30 and .50 machine guns all over the place, was the armour of a German half track useful against these bigger guns?

Finally, what was penetration of the German mg34/42? compared to a rifle and .30 cal/.50 cal
Didn't they fire the same rounds as the Mauser 98K
Would one of these penetrate a US half track

TIA

FNG
War: God's way of teaching American's geography

FNG
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Re: Questions from tankfest 2015

Postby FNG » Mon Jun 29, 2015 8:12 pm

War: God's way of teaching American's geography

dutchman
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Re: Questions from tankfest 2015

Postby dutchman » Tue Jun 30, 2015 12:45 am

Wow lots of questions, lets see if I can help.

They talk about removing the wheels and fitting smaller transport tracks to tigers, looking at this which wheels were being removed?

I'm pretty sure it was the outside set, it's the only way to make the track narrower.

I never realised that Tigers have 3 layers of wheels with the drive sprocket being at the far back, then a middle row before the few poxy outer ones

What difference did it make to the ground pressure if just those thin outer wheels were removed? Was the Tiger running under such a heavy load that it made much difference?

The narrow tracks were for rail transport so cross country wasn't a real issue,

Also, the tracks don't seem to overhang much past the actual tank, was the issue with the rail-cars or with the tunnels/bridges?

I think they could have removed the skirts from the tracks,

Also, how did they transport King Tigers, Panthers etc if Tigers were "too big"? They look wider!

I think Tiger 1 was a little wider then Panther and the King Tiger.

As to combat
The tracks/wheels of a lot of powerful tanks look really crap compared to the armour.
I assume that it was therefore very possible for a AT or HE round to shred the wheels/tracks of a tank that it was incapable or penetrating
Were crews taught to shoot for weak points on tanks they knew outclassed their gun (both by tanks and AT guns) or was the accuracy so limited that they were taught to just aim for the centre mass to try and get a hit?


Great question, The track is a weak point, no doubt. But once disabled it's still dangerous. A tank on the move I'd say was hit it first worry about where second. But stationary targets you could place a round where it would do the most harm.

Half tracks
The armour on half tracks, but US and German, looks very poor.
What would they stop?
Would they even stop rifle rounds?


There's a quote from the movie Patton about do the machine gun rounds of the German penetrate the armor of the halftrack. The trooper replies "no they just come through one side and them rattle around a bit".

Also, the Allies had .30 and .50 machine guns all over the place, was the armor of a German half track useful against these bigger guns?

The German tracks had better slope on the armor but the small arms would still give them trouble. Not every round would go through but they weren't bullet proof.

Ricky
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Re: Questions from tankfest 2015

Postby Ricky » Tue Jun 30, 2015 11:24 am

FNG wrote:hi,

Having seen some magnificent machines first hand I was wondering if you could answer some questions

Tiger tracks


They talk about removing the wheels and fitting smaller transport tracks to tigers, looking at this which wheels were being removed?
I never realised that Tigers have 3 layers of wheels with the drive sprocket being at the far back, then a middle row before the few poxy outer ones
What difference did it make to the ground pressure if just those thin outer wheels were removed? Was the Tiger running under such a heavy load that it made much difference?

Also, the tracks don't seem to overhang much past the actual tank, was the issue with the rail-cars or with the tunnels/bridges?


No road wheels were removed, it was purely a change in tracks - saying that the rather minimalist track guard was removed. here is a picture of one on a railway car:

Image

This was an issue for bridges/tunnels, and as Christian will tell you was not a problem for all areas - Tigers could be moved significant distances by rail without needing the track change.

The change in width was 205mm per track, or 410mm in total for the tank.

FNG wrote:Also, how did they transport King Tigers, Panthers etc if Tigers were "too big"? They look wider!


Panther - 3.27m wide
Tiger I - 3.56m wide (3.15m with transport tracks)
Tiger II - 3.75m wide

The Tiger II I have no idea. I think the hull itself is already wider than the Tiger I with combat tracks, so maybe they simply stopped caring and chose careful rail routes.

FNG wrote:As to combat
The tracks/wheels of a lot of powerful tanks look really crap compared to the armour.
I assume that it was therefore very possible for a AT or HE round to shred the wheels/tracks of a tank that it was incapable or penetrating
Were crews taught to shoot for weak points on tanks they knew outclassed their gun (both by tanks and AT guns) or was the accuracy so limited that they were taught to just aim for the centre mass to try and get a hit?


I can't say for sure about the Western Allies, but the Soviets produced handy pictures showing the best spots to aim for


FNG wrote:Half tracks
The armour on half tracks, but US and German, looks very poor.
What would they stop?
Would they even stop rifle rounds?

Also, the Allies had .30 and .50 machine guns all over the place, was the armour of a German half track useful against these bigger guns?

Finally, what was penetration of the German mg34/42? compared to a rifle and .30 cal/.50 cal
Didn't they fire the same rounds as the Mauser 98K
Would one of these penetrate a US half track


Sd Kfz 251 had armour between 6-14.5mm
US halftracks had armour between 6-13mm

The .5 Browning AP bullets could penetrate 19mm of armour out to 500 yards.
I can't find any armour piercing data for the 7.65mm/.3inch mg bullets with a quick Google, maybe somebody could?

However, my understanding is that the halftracks were intended to stop small arms fire (ie: up to rifles). It is work noting that most Light tanks at the start of the war had similar armour thicknesses
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The Toastinator
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Re: Questions from tankfest 2015

Postby The Toastinator » Tue Jun 30, 2015 11:45 am

IIRC the seat armour on Battle of Britain Hurricanes and Spitfires was around 9mm thick and that was sufficient to protect the pilots against rifle calibre gunfire, although I've no idea of the specific penetration characteristics at any given range. Armour less than that might not stop a rifle or LMG round, but it will offer protection against shell and grenade fragments and pistol calibre ammunition.

I stand ready to be corrected, but I believe in terms of armour penetration the type of weapon a given small arms round is fired from is basically irrelevant. There may be minor differences in muzzle energy, but it's unlikely to make a great deal of difference in how effectively it would punch through armour at range.

FNG
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Re: Questions from tankfest 2015

Postby FNG » Tue Jun 30, 2015 5:38 pm

To surmise the HT answers then
On both sides the armour was more for reassurance and protection against shrapnel as most directed fire would be likely to penetrate

but more questions and comments

the commentators when talking about the shermans made mention to tommy cookers/ronsons
however they said that it wasn't to do with the fuel but more to do with the ammo cooking off
They said that when wet storage was introduced crew casualties reduced
This all makes sense but got me wondering

why would germans use the word ronson at all? It's a brand which presumably didn't translate well or at all. Was the name in usage in German prior to the war? Why didn't they use zippo instead? Which was the bigger brand in general and in europe?
Tommy cooker I can understand, but the staff said that the brits were issued with diesel shermans so they would be unlikely to burn

I also wondering whether bovington have any better references to this and if so why aren't they documented in any papers/articles/journals they publish

I am also surprised that they can say crew losses dropped after X as I suspect that reliable management information and root cause analysis between 39 and 45 was piss poor.

so, the questions are
what was the ratio of diesel/petrol shermans issued to the brits
Is there any actual MI on crew deaths based on tank version?
Would that MI take into account what knocked out the tank?
Am I right to assume that a HEAT/HEAP impact is more likely to cause a fire than solid AP due to their different MO
In 44/45 how many allied tanks were knocked out from traditional solid AT rounds compared to numbers knocked out by infantry HEAT based devices. Did anyone even track this sort of shit?

TIA
War: God's way of teaching American's geography

Ricky
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Re: Questions from tankfest 2015

Postby Ricky » Thu Jul 02, 2015 3:00 pm

FNG wrote:the commentators when talking about the shermans made mention to tommy cookers/ronsons

I'm inclined to belive the nickname a post-war myth. Only later (populist) histories ever seem to mention it


so, the questions are
FNG wrote:what was the ratio of diesel/petrol shermans issued to the brits


I'll check Chamerlain & Ellis

FNG wrote:Is there any actual MI on crew deaths based on tank version?

Tank type yes. Version I'm not sure but I think so

FNG wrote:Would that MI take into account what knocked out the tank?

Yes, I think so

FNG wrote:Am I right to assume that a HEAT/HEAP impact is more likely to cause a fire than solid AP due to their different MO

Standard German solid shot still had a small explosive filler, so it isn't quite that straightforward

FNG wrote:In 44/45 how many allied tanks were knocked out from traditional solid AT rounds compared to numbers knocked out by infantry HEAT based devices. Did anyone even track this sort of shit?

The Allies did - I have seen posted on here lists of crew deaths by tank type, even for different crew members (driver, loader, gunner etc)
"Study the past, if you would divine the future"
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FNG
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Re: Questions from tankfest 2015

Postby FNG » Thu Jul 02, 2015 3:56 pm

Ah,

I never realised there was as much MI on crew deaths by date, crew position, vehicle and reason.

I am surprised there is not more talk about what allied tanks were more or less better at protecting the crew
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