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Thread: Why the M-4 Sherman was the way it was.

  1. #1
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    Default Why the M-4 Sherman was the way it was.

    For your perusal, and enjoyment.(hopefully) This video discusses the reasons for the M-4 series of Tanks to be as we know it. Some things in it that are not often considered. It's a bit long but the speaker is entertaining, and does offer insights not generally put forth. going by the Pen Name "The Chieftain" you can find a number of such videos by him on you tube.

    https://youtu.be/TwIlrAosYiM
    Last edited by tankgeezer; 06-29-2018 at 07:53 AM.

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    Default Re: Why the M-4 Sherman was the way it was.

    He does indeed work for an unrealistic tank game with puzzling physics and tons of inconsistencies. That being said, I still play it too much but less than I used too...
    Last edited by Nickdfresh; 06-29-2018 at 05:19 PM.

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    Default Re: Why the M-4 Sherman was the way it was.

    Oh I agree, my Son, and I play it too, I have to laugh at it sometimes just because it's so full of nonsensical things. But, I suppose if it were as it is in real life, the games would be over in a minute or so, not as much fun then. My favorite thing to laugh at is when the HEAT rounds bounce. Never saw that happen.

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    Default Re: Why the M-4 Sherman was the way it was.

    I didn't watch much of it but will come back to it when I have more time as he makes some important points, too often ignored during WWI and WWII by various political, military and industrial figures, about the critical logistics of weapon development and their tactical deployment, which parallels the equally critical logistics of ammunition, food, medical supplies etc.

    An excellent example in the video is the number of railway flatcars available to transport new American tanks from factories to embarkation points.

    The counterpoint to that is the excellent planning that went into D-Day logistics and its immediate aftermath.

    There are countless examples of logistics deciding battles and the future of campaigns and even wars, such as the Germans halting as they'd outrun their supply lines at Dunkirk and letting the British escape (although that halt was also a consequence of an inaccurate assessment by the Germans of the British capacity to resist or even counterattack), and Patton doing the same with less important immediate consequences in WWII when he was on a roll after the Normandy breakout in 1944, and Germany doing much the same in WWI in its opening phase on the Marne.

    Against that is Grant's success at Vicksburg during the American Civil War by taking the adventurous step of intentionally abandoning his supply lines to advance and successfully confound his enemy, ably assisted by destroying railways which supported the Confederate lines of communication and inducing the Confederate forces to strike at what they thought were Grant's lines of communication so that he diverted forces from Vicksburg's defence.

    Grant's success may be contrasted with Rommel gambling unsuccessfully on a somewhat similar advance beyond his lines of communication in North Africa.

    Apart from planned logistical successes, there are the fortuitous ones such as the Dutch merchant fleet coming to Australia after the fall of the Netherlands East Indies in 1942. Without those ships and their crews, MacArthur and the American and Australian forces under his command would have been severely hampered, probably to the point of early failure and a longer war in New Guinea, which in turn would have denied MacArthur his triumphant re-entry to the Philippines for some months or even years.

    Napoleon and Hitler both managed to lose their Russian campaigns in part because their lines of communication lengthened unsustainably while the Russian lines of communication shortened as their enemies advanced. Remarkably, the Germans were in some respects just as reliant on horse drawn transport as was Napoleon about 130 years earlier.

    My point on these scattered bits of history is simply that it doesn't matter how good troops are and how well led they are, they're no good if their nation can't supply them with what they need when they need it in battle.
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

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    Default Re: Why the M-4 Sherman was the way it was.

    Supply is the single most important part of any Military action, Though it's sort of a joke among combat arms troops, when asked which was the most valuable weapon of War the reply was the 2-1/2 Ton Truck. The Supply service of the Allies was called the Red Ball Express (maybe that was only for the U.S. I can't be sure) The Express operated just under 6,000 Trucks, carrying about 12,000 Tons a day. Roads used by the Express were generally forbidden to other traffic, so as not cause a slowing or interruption of the operation.
    Similar procedures were employed on the Berlin airlift, A steady Drumbeat of Aircraft flying the 3 narrow air Corridors to and from Berlin .
    Last edited by tankgeezer; 07-01-2018 at 11:32 AM.

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    Default Re: Why the M-4 Sherman was the way it was.

    The Chieftain has some really good videos, and his Inside the Hatch series is very interesting even if it is WoT sponsored.

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    Default Re: Why the M-4 Sherman was the way it was.

    I've finally watched it all and think it was a pretty good overview of what I've already read regarding debates on the interweb between panzer-fanboi-fantasists and realists speaking about logistics. I'd highlight his one of his main points regarding the Sherman as having to be reliable since it could not be shipped back to the factory for service whereas Soviet T-34's and Panzer Mk IV's could be, at east in theory, and its redundancy of using components that already worked. This is something that Toyota is famous (or notorious) for, building a reputation of reliability on relatively overall bland performance because they use the same, proven powertains for decades in some-cases with minor, evolutionary improvements. It's not always sexy, but it does get the job done!

    As far as the planning for, and the eventual push after, D-Day there were certainly hard choices made. One was destroying the French and even German rail network by specifically targeting hubs against the wishes of the 'Bomber Generals,' whom wished to continue to target industry and urban areas of Germany. The "Transportation Plan" would later hinder, and possibly effectively halt the Allied advance as even stop gap measures such as The Red Ball Express began to eat more gas than they were ultimately deliver by the time the Allies reached the German frontier. But the counterpoint is that the German Wehrmacht was rail-bound and far less motorized than the Allies were so proportionally they suffered far more.

    I think maybe what had an serious effect later was Monty's failure to understand the necessity of securing the Scheldt Estuaries - as the deep water port of Antwerp was useless with fortified German positions surrounding it. How much this ultimately effected the Allied supply position in relation to ending the war by Christmas is debatable. But I think the blackeye he suffered led to the irresponsibly and glibly planned Market Garden. To be fair, he was incensed at Eisenhower's broadfront strategy and was seeking a coup de main so he could become the main focus. But reading Beevor's new book Arnhem, the indictment is pretty damning...

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    Default Re: Why the M-4 Sherman was the way it was.

    Yeah, the game is kinda dumb, but the man does produce some interesting content, which is why I've spent time watching him. And, at least he has some real experience to rely on, not like the game designers who show up in videos, and have nothing but computer skills to base their content on.

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