My gunner fired at least six more rounds at the vehicle hitting it from turret to the track. This German tank, knowing that I possibly would be supported by a tank destroyer, started to pull away. I was completely surprised to see it moving after receiving seven hits from my gun. That sense of confidence and complacency among senior Allied commanders only began to change during the Battle of the Bulge in Dec.
This has been denied, explained away and hushed up, but the men who are fighting our tanks against much heavier, better armored and more powerfully gunned German monsters know the truth. It is high time that Congress got at the bottom of a situation that does no credit to the War Department. Why did the U. Soldiers of the 55th Armored Infantry Battalion and tank of the 22nd Tank Battalion, move through smoke filled street. Wernberg, Germany. Credit: Pvt. First, U. The doctrine suggested that U. That institutional attitude was biased against creating U. Army belatedly equipped some with more powerful guns.
The U. By comparison, the Germans, British and Soviets all developed a second class of heavier infantry-support tanks separate from the first class of cavalry tanks. Such infantry-support tanks, such as the German Tiger tanks, required heavier armor to survive direct assaults against enemy defenses consisting of anti-tank guns.
At the same time, the U. Both the German Panther and Tiger tanks were developed as part of an arms race against new generations of Soviet tanks such as the excellent T The latter also represented the most widely-produced tank of the entire war. The Soviets did share intelligence on the new German tanks with the U. But U.
For a lesson in what the U. The British wisely developed more powerful anti-tank guns and also created a new version of their own Sherman tanks, nicknamed the Firefly, with a more powerful gun to deal with the German Panthers and Tigers prowling Western Europe. Much of this scramble was too little, too late, as Zaloga describes it. Knox near Louisville, Kentucky in June Credit: Alfred T.
Skip to Main Content of WWII
Trucks such as this 2. Most drivers in the convoy were African American, reflecting a segregated military in which black troops were often relegated to non-combat, but essential, roles. M4 Sherman Tank. Gift of the West Bank Optimist Club, More Vehicles. Early in , the KV's successor, the IS-2 was introduced.
However, production problems with its new engine led to the tank being cancelled after less than 70 had been made. The light reconnaissance role was be filled by the amphibious T and the cheaper, non-amphibious T A few Ts had also appeared, along with about 1, mechanically unreliable early-model T tanks and KV series tanks.
- WW2 U.S. Tanks ().
- War In World History: Society, Technology, and War from Ancient Times to the Present, Volume 2.
- "Greatest Military Clashes" WWII Tanks: Sherman v Tigers (TV Episode ) - IMDb;
Another difficulty for the T was that it had only a four-man crew, with the tank commander forced to double as the gunner. Although he was spared from loading duties, unlike commanders in French tanks, it still crippled the tank commander's ability to maintain awareness of the battlefield, which gave German armour a tactical advantage. In , large numbers of Ts began to appear, reinforced in with the similar T Both of these light tanks had torsion-bar suspension, light armour, and small engines. Their simple construction kept them in production even though their combat value was limited.
In addition, both had one-man turrets, making them difficult to crew effectively. The T formed the basis for the later SU self-propelled gun.
M4 Sherman Tank | The National WWII Museum | New Orleans
By October , the general opinion was that Soviet tanks were among the best in the world, with Life magazine writing that "The best tanks in the world today are probably the Russian tanks At its height, production of all other tanks except the IS-2 was stopped to allow all available resources to be used exclusively for this tank, due to its widespread success in a variety of roles.
The T forced the Germans to adopt new, heavier designs such as the Panther and Tiger I , which in turn forced to Soviet, American and British tank forces to upgrade their tanks further. German tendency to develop entirely new tanks toward the end of the war, rather than upgrading existing models, reduced the availability of tanks to German tank formations and helped the Red Army gain the initiative on the Eastern Front. Later in the war, the light tank role was increasingly filled by Lend-Lease supplies from the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada, including the M3 light tanks and Valentine tank.
Ironically, the T's speed, which exceeded that of many of the light tanks that were supposed to scout for it, led to even less Soviet light tank production. In order to deal with improved German tanks, the Soviets upgunned the T in , creating the T Most of its armor was concentrated in the front of the tank, where it was expected to take most of its hits. The IS-3 variant , produced in mid, had a much more streamlined look and a larger, bowl-shaped tapered turret. Remarkably, the IS-3 had thicker armor but actually weighed slightly less than the IS-2, remaining under 50 tons as compared to the Tiger II 's Soviet tank production outstripped all other nations with the exception of the United States.
The Soviets accomplished this through standardization on a few designs, generally forgoing minor qualitative improvements and changing designs only when upgrades would result in a major improvement. Soviet tanks had turret and gun stabilization , starting with the TB, which had a rudimentary form as early as Britain had been the worldwide trend-setter in tank development from , but had lost its leadership position as the Second World War approached.
Hampered by restricted expenditure in the years leading up the war and still organised for operations in Imperial defence as an expeditionary force, the British Army entered the war unprepared for the very sort of combat its influential theorists such as J. Fuller and B. Liddell Hart had advocated.
The British Army had developed two types of tanks - " Infantry Tanks " which were heavily armoured with good all terrain performance but were slow. This lack of speed was not considered a flaw as they were designed to support infantry assaults on enemy strong points or urban warfare where the ability to outpace a man on foot was deemed unnecessary.
The other type were " Cruiser Tanks " which were intended for independent maneuvering, rapid breakouts and flanking attacks. Early Cruiser tanks gained performance at a cost in the armour they could carry.follow link
WW2 Tanks: American, British, and German
Reliability was an important issue especially in the harsh conditions of North Africa and the mountainous terrain of Southern Europe, where the A10 and A13 in particular were plagued by broken tracks and overheating engines. British tank crews were trained to fire on the move and the armament was mounted for optimum balance such that the gunner could aim with his body rather than use geared elevation. This reduced available space inside the turret. The lack of an adequate high-explosive shell for the 2-pounder and the growing number of 5 cm KwK 38 anti-tank guns in the Afrika Korps gave the German army in Libya a huge advantage for much of late and early This began to be offset by late but the Wehrmacht continued to enjoy a 12—18 month lead in tank and anti-tank gun development and production until the end of However the minimal armor made the A9 vulnerable to most contemporary anti-tank weapons and the design was quickly superseded by the A10 Cruiser, Mark II.
The A10's cross country performance was recorded as poor, due to narrow, easily thrown tracks, but material losses incurred in the aftermath of Operation Dynamo the evacuation of the BEF from Dunkirk in late May meant they could not be withdrawn from front line service quickly and so saw combat in small numbers North Africa, where reliability and suspension performance in the desert conditions was praised.
As war broke out, the British had placed into production the A13, a new faster Cruiser tank utilizing the suspension and running gear concepts of the American designer J. Walter Christie. This new suspension provided a fast, highly maneuverable design that became the basis for the rapid evolution of the Cruiser tank such as the Mk IV A13 Mk II a British cruiser tank derived from the original A In late , the British found a way to mount the QF pounder anti-tank gun in the Sherman to create the Firefly , a tank with a more capable gun than the 75mm or 76mm gun normally fitted.
From mid, as more were produced and British designs were introduced into service the Firefly became increasingly the most common Sherman in use by the British. Immediately before and during the war, the British produced an enormous array of prototype tanks and modified tanks for a variety of specialist engineering tasks such as " Hobart's Funnies ", produced for the invasion of France in It could also be equipped with a wide variety of combat engineering equipment such as small bridges, rolled-matt roadways, fascines , and mine rollers.
Many of these ideas had already been tried, tested or were in experimental development both by Britain and other nations. For example, the Scorpion flail tank a modified Matilda II had already been used during the North African campaign to clear paths through German minefields. Soviet T tanks had been modified with mine-rollers, fascines and flamethrowers. Close-support tanks, bridgelayers, and fascine carriers had been developed elsewhere also. However, the Funnies were the largest and most elaborate collection of engineering vehicles available.
Prior to the entry of the United States into the war after the attack on Pearl Harbor in December , the Army had only a few tanks. During the Louisiana Maneuvers in September , it used trucks with the word "tank" painted on their side. Even after Pearl Harbor the 10th Armored Division did not have any tanks, so crews trained by marching down roads in groups and executing orders as if they were in tanks.
These light tanks were mechanically very reliable, with good mobility. However, they had a high silhouette — from the use of an air-cooled radial engine for power — and poor armor. Only a few saw combat, on Guadalcanal. Their importance lies in the fact that they formed the basis for the much more successful Light Tank M3 a.
From the M3A1 version, this gun was gyrostabilized. The new medium tank just entering production in was the M2 Medium Tank series. From , new tank designs were prepared. The Battle of France had shown the importance of medium tanks. The British immediately ordered the M3 Medium Tank for their own use as the 'Lee', and some with modifications to their requirements as the 'Grant' most obviously carrying a different turret.
By February , American civilian automobile factories only made weapons and military vehicles. The country manufactured as many tanks in the first half of as in all of , with 1, in May alone. By most British units were also equipped with US-built tanks. Similarly to the Soviet Union, the United States selected a few good basic designs and standardized on those models. Given the lack of tank design and production experience, it is remarkable that the United States designs were as good as they were. The M3 and its improved derivative, the Light Tank M5 series, remained in service throughout the war.
The appearance of the M3 "Lee" medium tank in the summer of finally gave the British a larger supply of medium tanks than they could otherwise have hoped for. Although poorly designed, with a very high profile, it was produced in great numbers and was very effective when engaging targets other than enemy tanks, such as infantry and gun positions. It was a stopgap solution, never intended to be a design of major importance. It continued to serve in the Red Army for some time, and in a single campaign in the Pacific. Red Army crews nicknamed it "grave for seven brothers" referring to the seven-man crew.
The M4 Medium became the second-most-produced tank of World War II, and was the only tank to be used by virtually all Allied forces thanks to the American lend-lease program ; approximately 40, M4 Mediums were produced during the war. The Red Army was supplied with about 4, M4s. While it is commonly believed that the Sherman had a tendency to explode catastrophically due to their use of petrol fuel, this is incorrect almost all tanks used petrol in WWII, excepting Soviet tanks.
The Sherman suffered from poor ammunition storage.
Army study in concluded that 60—80 percent of the older dry-stowage and 10—15 percent of wet-stowage Shermans burned when penetrated. Some M4 Mediums were equipped with the Duplex Drive system Sherman DD , which allowed them to swim using a collapsible screen and inflated rubber tubes. Ergonomically the tank was quite good also. However, the M24 did not appear in combat until December and equipped only a few units by the end of the war. Near the end of the war the M26 Pershing tank was deployed as the first operational heavy tank of the US Army.
Intended as an improvement of the M4 Sherman, the prolonged time of development meant that only a small number saw combat in the European theater, most notably in the 9th Armored Division's dramatic dash to take the Bridge at Remagen.