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View Full Version : Panzer IV or Sherman, which do you think was better?



garm1and
03-18-2014, 08:16 AM
I was recently watching a TV show on North Africa. The show claimed the Sherman tank was superior to the Panzer IV. I'm not sure I would agree, what does everyone think? I'm sure the Sherman Firefly was better, so please do not consider that version. :tank:

leccy
03-18-2014, 11:26 AM
Why cut out the Sherman Ic, IC composite and Vc.

Are you limiting it to the Panzer IV to the - Ausf A, B, C, D, E, F1, F2, G, H etc which version to compare with what.

Since you don't want the 'Firelfy' versions uncluded what about the 76mm and 105mm versions in use during WW2 or the Sherman Crocodile

In North Africa the M4 would predominantly be armed with the 75mm which was capable of knocking out the Panzer IV in use there - the Panzer IV's were still a mix of L24 75mm and L43/48 75mm 'Specials' which could knockout the M4.

Nickdfresh
03-18-2014, 01:30 PM
The Sherman was more than a match for the Mark IV's initially. The Mark IV's were up-gunned and armored continuously throughout there war whereas the Sherman wasn't until very late. But I'd say that even the M4A3E8 version was probably superior to the later Mk IV's and served with distinction well into Korea and was more than a match for the T34/85 when firing the appropriate HVAP ammo as it became more plentiful...

JR*
03-18-2014, 01:45 PM
Yes, it really does depend which Sherman variant, and which PzKpfw IV variant, one wants to compare. The issue is complicated by the number of Sherman variants (involving significant variation), as compared with the substantial but relatively limited number of Panzer IV variants. The substantial point, as far as I am concerned, is that by the latter part of the war, the Germans were lagging significantly behind the Allies, both in terms of quantity of production and of innovation. Nonetheless, the PzKpfw IV and its assault gun and tank destroyer variants, were the most important armoured vehicles produced by the Germans during the war. Whether it would have done them much good to concentrate on producing more and upgraded Mk IVs, rather than veering off into the field of medium-heavy and heavy tanks (more expensive, complicated, difficult to replace or repair ...), well, I doubt it. Best regards, JR.

Kilroy
03-18-2014, 02:41 PM
I dont know to much about armored and their units. I believe that the panzer IV out matched the Sherman tank in that specific campaign. I believe that the Sherman tank was slightly less effective to the panzer performance but But BUT i think with America fresh in the war they had a lot more material to produce tanks (( also since it was early in the war the U.S had plenty of young men eager to fight)). They just out massed produce the vehicle

garm1and
03-18-2014, 06:26 PM
Why cut out the Sherman Ic, IC composite and Vc.

Are you limiting it to the Panzer IV to the - Ausf A, B, C, D, E, F1, F2, G, H etc which version to compare with what.

Since you don't want the 'Firelfy' versions uncluded what about the 76mm and 105mm versions in use during WW2 or the Sherman Crocodile

In North Africa the M4 would predominantly be armed with the 75mm which was capable of knocking out the Panzer IV in use there - the Panzer IV's were still a mix of L24 75mm and L43/48 75mm 'Specials' which could knockout the M4.
I didn't realize there were that many variations. So for arguments sake I will limit the comparison to the types that were present in North Africa, I guess that goes up to the F2. Thanks

Kilroy
03-20-2014, 09:56 AM
Is there a possibility that my theory could be correct?

Nickdfresh
03-20-2014, 03:10 PM
Which "campaign" for your theory? North Africa? If so, you're not correct IMHO...

leccy
03-20-2014, 03:56 PM
In North Africa then no, the Panzer IV was predominantly still armed with the L24 75mm support gun firing HE the Panzer IV Specials with L43/48 75mm were in short supply. The main Panzer still being Panzer III's until Tunisia.

Lack of fuel, crews and spares of course impeded their abilities as well as a lack of supporting elements (Artillery, Engineers, Infantry, Airpower) - coupled with a lessening of the ability of the German command at all levels (possibly due to fatigue, war weariness, orders from OKW/Hitler).

Always hard to get a definitive answer when there are so many factors to consider.

Which of course is why many people just go to

On a perfectly flat field, infinate distance, perfectly working tanks, equally trained and experienced crews, 1 on 1, M4A1 Dry Stowage 75mm v Panzer IV Ausf F2 -

Which is the best?.

An ideal and impossible situation and basically looks at paper stats.

garm1and
03-21-2014, 08:15 PM
So all in all, I would guess that both were pretty evenly matched.

Nickdfresh
03-22-2014, 09:08 AM
So all in all, I would guess that both were pretty evenly matched.

On balance, yes. The definitive versions of both tanks: the M4A3E8 HVSS 76mm Sherman and the Panzer Mk IV Ausf. H/J were both pretty comparable, AFIK. Both were solid, workhorse tanks for their respective armies...

cimot_cool
03-30-2014, 01:46 AM
The Sherman Firefly was the best Allied tank. It had the 17 pounder(76.3 mm) main gun.

However I would take the IV if I had to go into battle.

leccy
03-31-2014, 08:31 AM
The Sherman Firefly was the best Allied tank. It had the 17 pounder(76.3 mm) main gun.

However I would take the IV if I had to go into battle.

Was the firefly better than the IS Series - the IS3 entered service before the end of WW2 and was a Soviet tank who were allies.

The allies were not just the US and British Commonwealth.

A Panzer IV as we have said is a little subjective - a Ausf A-F1 would be hopelessly outgunned and the earlier mks having extremely thin flat armour.

The Ausf H got the transmission from the Panzer III as it was cheaper and quicker to produce but not as good as its previous version - the Ausf J was a cheaper to produce version that did away with power turret traverse in favour of increasing the operational range of the tank (good choice with fuel shortages).

The Aust G or early Ausf H would probably be the best version produced.

Kilroy
03-31-2014, 02:50 PM
Are we talking about both tanks through out the war or just from a certain year to year because the little knowledge I know about tanks. The Panzer IV seemed to have the edge for a bit but later I think the Sherman finally surpassed the panzer IV. With the lack resources and metal. While the Americans were able to improve their tanks quite easily compared to anyone else. since the didn't have war on their home front.

leccy
03-31-2014, 05:13 PM
Panzer IV first produced 1936
Sherman 1942

In 1942 both had long 75mm guns in although the majority of Panzer IV still had the short 75mm HE support gun still (german long 75 was better than the US but both could penetrate each other at usual Western Europe combat ranges).

In 1944 US introduced 76mm and the UK the firefly - both now outgunned the Mk IV - which was also being reduced in capability - lack of power traverse being the main one.

So Mid war (42/43) the new model Panzer IV had the edge but by mid 1944 it was changed to the new upgunned Shermans having the edge in armour V armour combat.

In terms of the more common role which was support to the infantry they were pretty evenly matched all through.

383man
03-31-2014, 10:18 PM
They were very evenly matched. In Nort Africa the short 75mm Panzer IV was not as good as the Sherman in my eyes but the long 75MM Panzer IV was better then the Sherman until the 76MM Sherman came out. I agree the 76 mm Sherman was a good tank and did good against the T-34/85 tank in Korea. Both were the main workhorse tanks for both armies. Ron

Nickdfresh
04-01-2014, 09:09 AM
Are we talking about both tanks through out the war or just from a certain year to year because the little knowledge I know about tanks. The Panzer IV seemed to have the edge for a bit but later I think the Sherman finally surpassed the panzer IV. With the lack resources and metal. While the Americans were able to improve their tanks quite easily compared to anyone else. since the didn't have war on their home front.

The Americans could have improved the Sherman much earlier, but chose not too out of a dogmatic view called the Tank Destroyer Doctrine, where Shermans were seen as cavalry designed to exploit breakthroughs. But Sherman crews were to avoid tank vs. tank engagements and leave the panzers for the tank destroyers. Actual combat did quite work that way and the transition away from TD's to better armed tanks began after Normandy...

garm1and
04-01-2014, 09:27 AM
The Americans could have improved the Sherman much earlier, but chose not too out of a dogmatic view called the Tank Destroyer Doctrine, where Shermans were seen as cavalry designed to exploit breakthroughs. But Sherman crews were to avoid tank vs. tank engagements and leave the panzers for the tank destroyers. Actual combat did quite work that way and the transition away from TD's to better armed tanks began after Normandy...
As Johnny Carson used to say, " I did not know that"! :)

Nickdfresh
04-01-2014, 09:50 AM
As Johnny Carson used to say, " I did not know that"! :)

For more info: http://usacac.army.mil/cac2/cgsc/carl/download/csipubs/gabel2.pdf

The U.S. Army also could have fielded the M26 Pershing tank as early as August of 1944. There was also a ready replacement for the Sherman called the M27 that looked like a slightly smaller Pershing tank. But there was an ongoing feud between the U.S. Army's Ordnance Dept. that wanted better, more powerful tanks and the Army Ground Forces command --headed by a massive dunderhead named Gen. Leslie McNair (who was killed but USAAF bombs in Normandy prior too Operation Cobra) that wanted to keep tank destroyer units, despite their commanders with actual combat experience requesting less and less of them and demanding better tanks...

Kilroy
04-01-2014, 02:15 PM
The Americans could have improved the Sherman much earlier, but chose not too out of a dogmatic view called the Tank Destroyer Doctrine, where Shermans were seen as cavalry designed to exploit breakthroughs. But Sherman crews were to avoid tank vs. tank engagements and leave the panzers for the tank destroyers. Actual combat did quite work that way and the transition away from TD's to better armed tanks began after Normandy...

So then in a way I am correct about my thoughts about this?

Nickdfresh
04-01-2014, 03:16 PM
So then in a way I am correct about my thoughts about this?

About what? The Mark IV being a superior tank? I don't think so at all. Versions of the tanks were pretty much comparable with perhaps a reliability edge going to the Sherman. By the end of the war, over half of all American Shermans were "Easy-Eight" versions with the 76mm gun. The 75mm was still an effective infantry support weapon...

JR*
04-02-2014, 05:23 AM
Two thoughts occur. Regarding, North Africa, I seem to recall that upgunned PzKpfw IVs only arrived in North Africa very late, and not in great numbers. Mind you, this seems to have been another example of advanced German equipment arriving in that theatre "too little, too late"; the Tiger I being another example. This had more to do with the chronology of tank development than anything else, but one wonders whether, by this time, shipping scarce advanced tanks to North Africa was a bit of a waste of resources.

Regarding the IS-III - this was perhaps the most advanced tank developed during the war, and it had substantial influence on tank development worldwide for decades afterwards. But did it actually see service during WW2 ? Best regards, JR.

leccy
04-02-2014, 10:11 AM
Two thoughts occur. Regarding, North Africa, I seem to recall that upgunned PzKpfw IVs only arrived in North Africa very late, and not in great numbers. Mind you, this seems to have been another example of advanced German equipment arriving in that theatre "too little, too late"; the Tiger I being another example. This had more to do with the chronology of tank development than anything else, but one wonders whether, by this time, shipping scarce advanced tanks to North Africa was a bit of a waste of resources.

Regarding the IS-III - this was perhaps the most advanced tank developed during the war, and it had substantial influence on tank development worldwide for decades afterwards. But did it actually see service during WW2 ? Best regards, JR.

I mentioned that the Panzer IV Special was in short supply in NA - more L24 75mm and Panzer III Specials being in service at least until late 1942 early 1943 in Tunisia.

The JS III (IS III) was in service during WW2 but was not used operationally - it was paraded in Berlin in 1945 before the Japanese surrendered.

Many equate service with used in combat and forget WW2 ended with the Japanese surrender and not the Germans.

Nickdfresh
04-02-2014, 10:30 AM
I'm guessing then the JS III wasn't used against the Japanese in August Storm? certainly they didn't need. It was used against the Western Allies in a sense. The victory parade in Europe caused a bit of a row as squadrons of the JS III made the ground rumble before they were in site and gave a bit of heartburn to the likes of Monty and Patton...

383man
04-03-2014, 05:44 PM
For more info: http://usacac.army.mil/cac2/cgsc/carl/download/csipubs/gabel2.pdf

The U.S. Army also could have fielded the M26 Pershing tank as early as August of 1944. There was also a ready replacement for the Sherman called the M27 that looked like a slightly smaller Pershing tank. But there was an ongoing feud between the U.S. Army's Ordnance Dept. that wanted better, more powerful tanks and the Army Ground Forces command --headed by a massive dunderhead named Gen. Leslie McNair (who was killed but USAAF bombs in Normandy prior too Operation Cobra) that wanted to keep tank destroyer units, despite their commanders with actual combat experience requesting less and less of them and demanding better tanks...


You are right as I have read the same thing. They also said the ships to take the tanks across the ocean were built to fit so many Shermans and used that as another reason not to bring out the Pershing sooner. And even some of the army comanders wanted to stay with the Sherman because it was reliable and fast enough to be a good open country tank and they had alot of 75 & 76 mm amo. They did bring out the M36 tank destroyer in September of 44 which had the 90mm gun which is the same gun the Pershing used. By the end of the war most tank destroyer battalions were changing from M10's with the 3" gun to the 90 mm M36's. Alot of tank destroyer battalion's had the 76mm Hellcat which was the fastest armored vehicle in the war and many of the men liked them. But they should have got the Pershing out sooner as by the end of the war it had been many tank vs tank battles as there was more tanks in Europe then tank destroyers. Ron

JR*
04-04-2014, 09:20 AM
leccy - thanks for the correction. I appreciate the distinction between "in service" and "in action. When I used the term "see service", I meant "see action". Careless of me. Nick - no, I am not aware of any evidence that the IS-III was used against the Japanese. As you say, the Soviets did not need to deploy it in this sector - they were more than capable of crushing the Japanese with T-34s. Best regards, JR.

383man
06-11-2014, 09:43 PM
The Americans could have improved the Sherman much earlier, but chose not too out of a dogmatic view called the Tank Destroyer Doctrine, where Shermans were seen as cavalry designed to exploit breakthroughs. But Sherman crews were to avoid tank vs. tank engagements and leave the panzers for the tank destroyers. Actual combat did quite work that way and the transition away from TD's to better armed tanks began after Normandy...

I know at the end of the war so many Tank Destroyers were used in the role of the tank that General Patton said to make Killer Tanks not Tank Destroyers. Ron

leccy
06-12-2014, 06:47 AM
I know at the end of the war so many Tank Destroyers were used in the role of the tank that General Patton said to make Killer Tanks not Tank Destroyers. Ron

Due to lack of numbers of vehicles some Self propelled TD battalions were actually equipped with Shermans. Many tank destroyers were actually used as artillery for direct and indirect fire (as well as heavy and light AA units in both the British Commonwealth and US trained and equipped forces).