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Thread: High mobility Tank Destroyers.

  1. #1
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    Default High mobility Tank Destroyers.

    Since this thread is comparing two vehicles from two armies, I felt it inappropriate to set it in either the American or the German pages.

    The thought I have is this:

    Since the M18 Hellcat, armed with the 76mm M6 cannon was a "Hit-and-run" TD, and the Sdkz 234/4-2 was armed with the 75mm Pak 40 and was employed the same way, should the two be considered as equivalent?

    Neither vehicle had the armour for a standing fight, both were very fast, 80kmh (50 mph) for the Hellcat, 70kmh (45mph) for the Pakwagen.
    Granted, one was tracked, the other wheeled, but in terms of function and employment, the two would to all intents have been interchangeable in either army.

    I invite thoughts and comments,

    Kind Regards Gentlemen, Uyraell.

    "Honi-Soit Qui Mal'Y Pense." :
    "Ill unto he who ill of it thinks."
    Edward III, Rex Britania, AD1348.

    "Wenn Schon, denn schon."
    "Be It Done, Best be It Be Done Well."
    Known German adage.

    "Until you have looked into a veteran's eyes and actually seen it,
    you'll never fully understand."
    ^Uyraell^

    "Aligaes : Amore vel Ira." :
    "^Winged Ones^ : Love or Wrath."

  2. #2
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    Default Re: High mobility Tank Destroyers.

    Not sure about that,
    Tracked vehicles tend to survive better when used off-road in very hard terrain.
    A track might break, but you change the link and that all.
    The only good use of big tires would be in mud, or roads.
    Plus, I don't think the Puma was very numerous.
    Do you have more info on it's production and use on the battlefield ?
    Are they really comparable in weight, armor thickness ?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: High mobility Tank Destroyers.

    Definately no, the 8 wheel was kind of cumbersome, it saw service only with the SS. I think a good comparative is with the british Archer or the Jagdpanzer IV.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: High mobility Tank Destroyers.

    Performance-wise the Pakwagen (not "Puma" - it was turreted, Pakwagen was open-topped) was almost as good offroad as a tank, and was faster. Armour was 30mm on the front and upper body 25mm elsewhere, weight was approximately 10.5 tons, fully loaded, and approx 60 shells were carried.

    For the Hellcat, (from memory) armour was almost identical thicknesses to the Pakwagen, and it carried 48 shells. It also may as well be descibed as open-topped, I don't recall any covering on the turret roof, apart from perhaps a 10mm sheet-steel "rain-cover".

    The Jadgpanzer IV was more heavily armoured than a Hellcat, and nowhere near as fast, so I don't see that as a legitmate comparison, because by American standards the Jadgpanzer IV would be classed as a medium tank or TD in terms of its' armour whereas the Hellcat would be classed as light armour.

    Archer is a reasonably fair comparison to the Hellcat in functional terms, but Archer's top speed was only about 22mph, say 35kmh.
    Archer's armour was (in late models) 14mm on the 'front' of the gun compartment and 10 mm elsewhere, the rest of the vehicle being as for the Valentine chassis it was built on.

    I invite further comment, gentlemen.

    Kind Regards, Uyraell.
    Last edited by Uyraell; 02-10-2010 at 02:25 AM. Reason: Typo.

    "Honi-Soit Qui Mal'Y Pense." :
    "Ill unto he who ill of it thinks."
    Edward III, Rex Britania, AD1348.

    "Wenn Schon, denn schon."
    "Be It Done, Best be It Be Done Well."
    Known German adage.

    "Until you have looked into a veteran's eyes and actually seen it,
    you'll never fully understand."
    ^Uyraell^

    "Aligaes : Amore vel Ira." :
    "^Winged Ones^ : Love or Wrath."

  5. #5
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    Default Re: High mobility Tank Destroyers.

    Here 's what I could find on production for 234/3 and 234/4.
    as I suspected, not many produced, which would make it a very marginal vehicle.But I suspect these numbers don't include upgrades made to earlier versions.

    234/3 , 88 build :

    PzAA / PLD, IV/1944, 3
    PzAA / 9. PzD, /IV/1944, 3
    PzAA / 11. PzD, IV/1944, 3
    PzAA / 116. PzD, III/1944, 2
    PzAA / 1.SS LAH, IV/1944, 3
    PzAA / 2.SS DR, IV/1944, 3
    PzAA / 9.SS HS, IV/1944, 3
    PzAA / 12.SS HJ, IV/1944, 3

    234/4 , 89 build :

    PzSpKp 101 / FBD, 16.2.1945, 6
    PzSpKp "S" / PzD "Schlesien" 21.2.1945, 3 -> PzAA 44 / PzD "Holstein" -> 18. PzGrenD
    PzAA / PzD "Jüterbog" 21.2.1945, 3 -> PzAA / 16. PzD
    PzAA "Elbe" / PzD "Clausewitz", April 1945, 2
    PzSpKp "M" / PzD "Müncheberg", 29.3.1945, 4
    PzAA / 25. PzD, 14.3.1945, 3
    PzAA / 21. PzD, 1.4.1945, 3
    Begl.Kp zbV, 1.4.1945, 3
    PzAA "HG" / PzD "HG", 10.4.1945, 3
    PzAA / 25. PzGrenD 25, 12.4.1945, 6
    PzAA / 116. PzD, 15.4.1945, 6

    Specifications for 234/4
    Ammo 75 mm 12 rounds
    Armament 75 mm PaK 40 L/46 & 7.92 mm MG34/42
    Armor 5/30 mm
    Crew 4
    Engine Tatra 103/12 cylinder / 220 hp Fuel Capacity360 litres
    Height 2.21 m
    Length 6.00 m
    Range Road 900 km
    Speed Road 80 km/h
    Weight 11,500 kg
    Width 2.40 m

    Question :where did you get the 60 shells number ?

    M-18 Hellcat Data
    The M18 continued in production until October 1944, when the war was nearing its end. 2,507 had been produced by that time at a unit cost of $57,500. (I'm sure not as many reached the combat zones before the end of the war, But I can't find global data on it's deployment)

    Weight 17.7 metric tons (39,000 lb)
    Length6.68 m (21.9 ft) (with gun)
    5.28 m (17.3 ft) (without gun)
    Width2.87 m (9.4 ft)
    Height2.57 m (8.4 ft)
    Crew5 (Commander, gunner, loader, driver, co-driver)

    Armor 5 to 25 mm (0.2 to 1.0 in)
    Primary armament 1× 76 mm (76.2 mm) M1A1 gun 45 rounds
    Secondary armament 1× .50 cal M2HB machine gun800rounds
    Engine Continental R-975-C4, 9-cylinder, radial piston gasoline engine
    340 hp (253 kW)Power/weight 18.9 hp/t
    Suspension Torsion barOperational
    range 168 km (105 mi)

  6. #6
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    Post Re: High mobility Tank Destroyers.

    I took the figure of "approx. 60" shells from Bruce Quarrie "Tank Battles in Miniature" pg 79. - Pb. Patrick Stephens Ltd, 1976.

    I admit more and better information may have come to light since that book was published, but I have thus far had little reason to doubt the information the book contains.

    That said, I am truly pleased with the contributions people have made to this thread, and My Thanks to each of you.

    Kind Regards, Uyraell.

    "Honi-Soit Qui Mal'Y Pense." :
    "Ill unto he who ill of it thinks."
    Edward III, Rex Britania, AD1348.

    "Wenn Schon, denn schon."
    "Be It Done, Best be It Be Done Well."
    Known German adage.

    "Until you have looked into a veteran's eyes and actually seen it,
    you'll never fully understand."
    ^Uyraell^

    "Aligaes : Amore vel Ira." :
    "^Winged Ones^ : Love or Wrath."

  7. #7
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    Default Re: High mobility Tank Destroyers.

    2,507 M-18's .vs. 177 Pakwagens.

    Sounds about right. Kind of like the 40,000+ Shermans .vs. 40,000+ all German armored vehicles. Make a good vehicle, standardize them, then turn'em out like flapjacks.

    And what did the Russians have in this class? Did they make a specialized tank killer like these two?

    Deaf
    “We can evade reality, but we cannot evade the consequences of evading reality” Ayn Rand

  8. #8
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    Default Re: High mobility Tank Destroyers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Deaf Smith View Post
    2,507 M-18's .vs. 177 Pakwagens.

    Sounds about right. Kind of like the 40,000+ Shermans .vs. 40,000+ all German armored vehicles. Make a good vehicle, standardize them, then turn'em out like flapjacks.

    And what did the Russians have in this class? Did they make a specialized tank killer like these two?

    Deaf
    The Russians really didn't need to, though I suppose the SU 85 and SU 100 come nearest, even though those are medium tanks/chassis by US or German standards.
    Otherwise, the SU 76 (built on a modified T70 chassis) comes to mind, though I personally view that as being closer to Archer than to Hellcat or Pakwagen.

    The reason the Russians didn't have much in the TD format (as `twere) is that almost all their SU series vehicles had both artillery and anti-tank capability, a thing the Germans were only just beginning to get right by mid 1944. As an Example: Both the SU 122 and the SU 152 had anti-tank shells included in their basic combat loads, though often only 12 Atk to say 38 He.

    Kind Regards, Uyraell.

    "Honi-Soit Qui Mal'Y Pense." :
    "Ill unto he who ill of it thinks."
    Edward III, Rex Britania, AD1348.

    "Wenn Schon, denn schon."
    "Be It Done, Best be It Be Done Well."
    Known German adage.

    "Until you have looked into a veteran's eyes and actually seen it,
    you'll never fully understand."
    ^Uyraell^

    "Aligaes : Amore vel Ira." :
    "^Winged Ones^ : Love or Wrath."

  9. #9
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    Default Re: High mobility Tank Destroyers.

    [QUOTE=windrider;165271]

    M-18 Hellcat Data
    The M18 continued in production until October 1944, when the war was nearing its end. 2,507 had been produced by that time at a unit cost of $57,500. (I'm sure not as many reached the combat zones before the end of the war, But I can't find global data on it's deployment)

    Dear Sir,

    M18 GMC in the ETO
    June 1944 - 146 pcs
    Dec. 1944 - 306 cs (losses 44)
    March 1945 - 540 pcs (21)
    April 1945 - 427 pcs (55)
    May 1945 - 427 pcs (21)

    source : Zaloga (New Vanguard 97)

    regards:
    TGR

  10. #10
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    Default Re: High mobility Tank Destroyers.

    M-18 armour 13 mm front/side ; 10 mm top (not too much!)



    The TANK DESTROYING methods of the three combatan forces were totally different.

    USA - Tanks for breakthrough + infantry support - generally TDs for anti tank roles
    GERMANY - Mainly tanks vs tank + towed Paks and self propelled guns. the original idea (role) for Stufg was infantry support.
    Heavy tanks definitely vs huge quantity russian (later anglo-saxon) (medium) tanks.
    With the increasing number of enemy tanks, they started to use Stug for AT role and produced dedicated Tank destroyers (e.g. Guderian ducks).
    Exatcly they used EVERYTHING they had to kill enemy tanks - from Panzerfaust and mines to Jagdtiger Heavy Tank destroyer.
    SOVIETS - against tanks they used primary lot of towed AT guns (se Kursk) plus thousands of medium tanks.
    Heavy tanks (and heavy sp guns) for Breakthrough role.
    Su-84 / Su-100 REAL Tank destroyers
    Su-76 Self propelled gun for infantry support. The ZiS-76 was a divisional gun with secondary AT capabilites.

    Indeed (funny situation) the original post was correct - by armour protection and dedicated role, with open roof - the two Fighting vehicles were familiar, but there are alo lot of differences:
    The layout (wheeled armoured car origin with long barell (non-rotating) PaK main armament AND tracked, light tank based layout with rotating turret)
    The the deployment was different too (M-18 used in TD Batallions).

    The Firefly still had better penetration capabilities than the M1A1 gun of M-18 - and the german L/48 7,5 cm gun was also better.

    (penetration in mm at 0 degrees (1000 m):
    76 mm M62 APC - 106 mm
    17 prd APCBC - 150 mm
    75 mm Pzgr39 - 149 mm
    AFTER 1944 improvements:
    76 mm T4 HVAP - 175 mm
    17 prd APDS - 233 mm
    7,5cm Pzgr 40/43 HVAP - 199 mm)

    Regards,
    TGR
    Last edited by Tiger205; 03-05-2010 at 02:18 AM.

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