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German tanks are underpowered

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_Storm #1 Posted 24 January 2017 - 05:53 PM

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IRL speaking, that is, apologies for the clickbait title, but I thought it was both attention grabbing enough, and relevant in light of recent threads, that it was alright for just this once, anyway, this topic is mostly about why German tank design sucked through WWII, because I think the amount of misinformation about the German tanks is amusingly high for a game such as this (though I do understand such myths do work in WGs favour).

 

Pz. IIIs and IVs: In 1941 upon the commencement of Operation Barbarossa the Germans were in for a nasty shock when they encountered T-34s and KV-1s, both of which turned out to be extraordinarily resistant to the 50mm and 75mm howitzer-esque guns the Pz. IIIs and Pz. IVs respectively had at the time, and there are plenty of stories of rampaging T-34s and KV-1s which the Germans had severe issues dealing with owing to their crappy armament, thankfully for them the Soviet training and tactics were poor so it wasn't catastrophic, but it wasn't until later on that the Pz. III got converted into the StuG (one of the most successful assault guns of the war) and the Pz.IV got the long barrelled 75mm that it become decent, worth noting that the Pz. IV remained the best tank the Germans had during the war as it was good "enough" in most respects in terms of flexibility and ease of manufacture that none of the later designs really surpassed the Pz. IV in terms of practicality.

 

Panther: The Panther was an odd design in that it was a TD pretending to be a tank, it seems clear from its many flaws as a tank the designers tunnel visioned a bit into making sure it was a very effective tank at destroying tanks (no doubt haunted by memories of Soviet tanks wrecking their shit). Unluckily for the designers, the tank ended up so flawed it was not nearly worth the resources they put into it, to quote a German officer (someone by the name of Fritz Bayerlein for those interested):

 

While the PzKpfw IV could still be used to advantage, the PzKpfw V [Panther] proved ill adapted to the terrain. The Sherman because of its maneuverability and height was good ... [the Panther was] poorly suited for hedgerow terrain because of its width. Long gun barrel and width of tank reduce maneuverability in village and forest fighting. It is very front-heavy and therefore quickly wears out the front final drives, made of low-grade steel. High silhouette. Very sensitive power-train requiring well-trained drivers. Weak side armor; tank top vulnerable to fighter-bombers. Fuel lines of porous material that allow gasoline fumes to escape into the tank interior causing a grave fire hazard. Absence of vision slits makes defense against close attack impossible.

 

Additionally, the side armour was very poor and anti-tank rifles were able to penetrate it which made it a huge liability at closer ranges, while the gunner also only has a long range scope, which is like playing wot zoomed in the maximum distance, with your hud turned off, and if you don't see the enemy tank before they see you you're dead. When it was first deployed for the battle of Kursk, two of them caught fire driving off the train, and almost all of them broke down throughout the battle, however, the one advantage it did possess was that it was very effective at long ranges on open battlefields such as the Russian steppes, but as the Germans got pushed back to Germany these situations became increasingly rare, and it's flaws more apparent.

 

For more reading try here, where the Chieftain writes much better than I could about how the French thought it sucked: http://forum.worldof...07#entry2993207

 

The Tiger: 

Fearsome reputation, that unlike the Panther, was actually quite well deserved in the mid years of the war, but as the war progressed, it was only its veteran crews that helped maintain that reputation. the armour was great in 1942 and 1943, but upon the introduction of 76mm and 85mm armed shermans and T-34s respectively the flat armour was no longer anything like what it had been upon introduction, and unlike in wot real lfie Tigers didn't have 1500 hitpoints to fall back on, even one penetrating hit can be enough to knock out a tank, owing to the very high chance of fire (around 80% in most WWII tanks) and the spalling that can occur, at range it was still very effective, but again as the war progressed and things like the IS-2 were brought in the Tiger became more and more obsolete, it just never could match up with the cost of actually producing it.

 

Tiger II: Unlike the Tiger, which did have quite a few success to justify its cost, the Tiger II was terrible, on paper it was the most effective tank of the war until the IS-3 was brought to the front line, but in practice it was so big, so slow and so fuel hungry that usually it literally never went anywhere, almost all of the ~490 Tiger IIs that were built were abandoned because of fuel or mechanical failure, and even when it did get into combat, the huge size meant it was a comparatively easy target for allied air support and AT guns (they couldn't penetrate the front armour, but the spalling was pretty horrendous owing to the very poor steel in its construction). The derivatives such as the Jagdtiger had these issues compounded, and that in particular was notoriously slow and unwieldy. Overall, the Tiger IIs were a complete waste of resources, and would have been much better spent on more Panzer IVs.

 

So in summary, the German tank designs were consistently worse than their opponents throughout the entire war, if not on paper certainly in practice, the mythos around them is mostly built on the myths the German propoganda wanted you to believe and the M4A3E8 was the best tank of the war, closely followed by the T-34/85, while the King Tiger was only beaten by the Maus in terms of how much it sucked.


Edited by _Storm, 25 January 2017 - 03:07 PM.


Wodka_Warrior #2 Posted 24 January 2017 - 06:31 PM

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I agree...give ze German line moar luv...

Just gotta wait a few years (like buff the slowe finally) :P



Whooohooo #3 Posted 24 January 2017 - 07:06 PM

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very informative...
i tho for sec this's complaining thread about german line :hiding:


my sig also got HD buff ?


iDd_Sloth #4 Posted 24 January 2017 - 07:36 PM

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And .... that's how the "cookie" crumbles.

In the early stages of the war the Germans we're winning almost every encounter that the upper echelons of command begin to believe their own BS  of "The myth of German invincibility/ The Superiority of the Aryans".


When an enemy Arty "one shots" 2 of your teams' heavies and you're in a heavy tank, you know you're screwed.

A heavy tank should have armor and a big gun, if you don't have either then you're not.


Vocaloid97 #5 Posted 24 January 2017 - 07:54 PM

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View PostiDd_Sloth, on 24 January 2017 - 06:36 PM, said:

And .... that's how the "cookie" crumbles.

In the early stages of the war the Germans we're winning almost every encounter that the upper echelons of command begin to believe their own BS of  "The myth of German invincibility/ The Superiority of the Aryans". "Blitzkrieg"

 

Fixed.
Well, German tanks are famous for their accuracy gun, thick armor and guns that can stir some shit up (take JTiger for an example) but Germans tends to over-engineer them (Tiger tanks) which makes it expensive to maintain and breakdown are often - but still mechanically reliable.

As for the post, even if WG buffs the German line significantly, they are still seems to under-performance due to their design flaws in real life. For example Tiger I can sidescrape, but armor is only 100mm FLAT. Tiger (P) on the other hand, has 200mm thickness on the body, but can't sidescrape due to...... 2 cheeks (Ferdinand drivers can relate).


 

 

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xXRainbowAssassinx #6 Posted 24 January 2017 - 09:10 PM

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One question: how can something that breaks down often be mechanically reliable? That would be my definition of mechanically unreliable.

Edited by Proloser, 24 January 2017 - 09:11 PM.


_Storm #7 Posted 24 January 2017 - 10:09 PM

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View PostProloser, on 24 January 2017 - 11:10 PM, said:

One question: how can something that breaks down often be mechanically reliable? That would be my definition of mechanically unreliable.

 

Yes, if you discount the breakdowns, the German tanks are very mechanically reliable.

Jurrunio #8 Posted 24 January 2017 - 11:01 PM

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View Post_Storm, on 24 January 2017 - 10:09 PM, said:

 

Yes, if you discount the breakdowns, the German tanks are very mechanically reliable.

 

 Really? I though that the amount of breakdowns is literally the only criteria in judging whether a machine is reliable or not? If you take that away, tanks that work well for 1 hour, then fall apart completely (into parts all over the place) are still considered reliable because they didn't fail when they worked?

How can armor in the game be stronger?

Make shell fly wide more, and let RNG control that.


Otakubouzu #9 Posted 24 January 2017 - 11:34 PM

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View PostJurrunio, on 24 January 2017 - 10:01 PM, said:

 

 Really? I though that the amount of breakdowns is literally the only criteria in judging whether a machine is reliable or not? If you take that away, tanks that work well for 1 hour, then fall apart completely (into parts all over the place) are still considered reliable because they didn't fail when they worked?

 

I think other criteria is how easy or how fast is you fix that breakdown.
The problem with German tanks, especially the heavy one, is it they are not easy to fix. While Sherman might get breakdown this day, but tomorrow morning they already good to go.

Back to World of Tanks for now.


xXRainbowAssassinx #10 Posted 24 January 2017 - 11:47 PM

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View PostJurrunio, on 24 January 2017 - 11:01 PM, said:

 

 Really? I though that the amount of breakdowns is literally the only criteria in judging whether a machine is reliable or not? If you take that away, tanks that work well for 1 hour, then fall apart completely (into parts all over the place) are still considered reliable because they didn't fail when they worked?

 

That's what I'm not comprehending; reliability as I know it is a machines capability to run for extended periods without breaking down very often.

Edited by Proloser, 25 January 2017 - 12:45 AM.


Vocaloid97 #11 Posted 25 January 2017 - 12:11 AM

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The two key weaknesses of Tiger tanks are it's suspensions - they usually breakdown so easily that Hans the driver constantly fixing and cursing it at the same time, and the wheels that made the tracks movable are jammed easily due to mud, ice and snow.

 

 

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neokai #12 Posted 25 January 2017 - 03:12 AM

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View Post_Storm, on 24 January 2017 - 10:09 PM, said:

 

Yes, if you discount the breakdowns, the German tanks are very mechanically reliable.

 

This is the most oxymoronic statement I've heard you utter so far... :P

 

Anyway, great article on the limitations of German armor in the late war period. 1 thing to note about 1940-41 is that the 5cm and 75mm gun was considered adequate then (except against the French), as a lot of vehicles were using 37mm, 40mm or 47mm guns. Another thing to note is that tanks were used more in fire support role (HE at fortified positions, infantry, field guns and light vehicles) than the anti-tank role. It was the success of the 75mm that convinced USA to base their own tank design around a 75mm gun, leading to the M3 stopgap and the eventual M4 Sherman.

 

Lastly, a correction in your original article: "The derivatives such as the Jagdtiger had these issues confounded..."

The correct term is compounded, not confounded.

 

View PostJurrunio, on 24 January 2017 - 11:01 PM, said:

 

 Really? I though that the amount of breakdowns is literally the only criteria in judging whether a machine is reliable or not? If you take that away, tanks that work well for 1 hour, then fall apart completely (into parts all over the place) are still considered reliable because they didn't fail when they worked?

 

Summary: Shermans broke down as often as T-34s in the mid-war period, particularly the first few runs, e.g. M4 unmarked and M4A1s. The Pz4s in that time period were rather more reliable, having been in production/service for a full year and most of the kinks worked out. It was only later as the kinks were worked out that the legendary reliability of the M4 Shermans would show through. The T-34s would still be notoriously fickle due to the lack of quality during manufacture (Chieftain covered this during a Hatch video).

 

Mechanical reliability is a function of the vehicle design and parts. As an example, the AK-47 is mechanically reliable. You can drop it in mud, bake it in an oven, freeze it and it technically can fire because of the simplicity of design and high tolerances. Tanks are rather more complicated and not every bug can be found on the drawing board or in the initial Aberdeen proving tests. Those reliability fixes take place over the duration of service for later batches of tanks.

 

Another thing to note is that what people call "reliability" can be measured in a few ways.

Operational reliability is defined as when a unit is mustered for action (called to the line or somesuch), how many vehicles on its roster are available for action? This definition differs from mechanical reliability in that it is a function of design, parts, logistics and maintenance. As an example tanks in the desert on both sides were prone to breakdown due to the arduous conditions and sandy terrain. What ensured reliability was a combination of the following:

 

  • innate design of the tanks (track width, adequate tensioning, reliable engines and filters, cooling systems)
  • adequate maintenance (both supplies like lubricant oil, ease of access to do maintenance - the Panther fails heavily in this regard - and adquate training/tools to do said maintenance)
  • logistics (supply of parts and facilities to perform repairs)

 

Part of the Sherman legend is due to the fact that parts were standardized across almost all aspects of the Sherman from the first unmarked to the last A4s and even the Canadian A5/A6s, and American industry was such that whole tanks' worth of parts were shipped to every theater of war for use solely in keeping existing fleets running. So even if your Sherman wrecked an entire engine your depot could literally swap in a new one on the field and the tank would be returned to the pool pretty much the next day. Even the choice of 76mm gun to replace the 75mm was done to ensure that existing ammunition stocks could be used in the new gun.

 

The serviceability rate of the Pz4s were okay till Operation Barbarossa, then it took a nosedive as they drove further and further away from supply lines.


Edited by neokai, 25 January 2017 - 03:16 AM.

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Ezz #13 Posted 25 January 2017 - 03:38 AM

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So the moral of the story is that if you are top tier against lower tiers you'll do well... unless you break down.

Who the [edited] are you? Get Spoofed! "wouldn't be a proper WG balance change if they didn't [edited] something up after all "

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_Sammich_ #14 Posted 25 January 2017 - 03:56 AM

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"Yes, if you discount the breakdowns, the German tanks are very mechanically reliable."

I think Storm may have been *slightly* facetious in his breakdown comment.
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Profanisaurus #15 Posted 25 January 2017 - 04:31 AM

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I think it may be early nominee for post of the month.
Thanks Conan - (Insert Eggplant here)

lMC_Jimmy #16 Posted 25 January 2017 - 05:40 AM

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View Post_Storm, on 25 January 2017 - 12:09 AM, said:

 

Yes, if you discount the breakdowns, the German tanks are very mechanically reliable.

 

+1 haha, rekt

 

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Ezz #17 Posted 25 January 2017 - 05:44 AM

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It got neo... but then cultural differences and all that.

Who the [edited] are you? Get Spoofed! "wouldn't be a proper WG balance change if they didn't [edited] something up after all "

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_Sammich_ #18 Posted 25 January 2017 - 05:58 AM

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View PostEzz, on 24 January 2017 - 09:44 PM, said:

It got neo... but then cultural differences and all that.

I thought I'd do the right thing and just point it out to our esteemed forum members who might not fully grasp the concept of Subtle - pioneered by yourself...


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_Storm #19 Posted 25 January 2017 - 10:21 AM

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View Postneokai, on 25 January 2017 - 05:12 AM, said:

 

This is the most oxymoronic statement I've heard you utter so far... :P

 

Anyway, great article on the limitations of German armor in the late war period. 1 thing to note about 1940-41 is that the 5cm and 75mm gun was considered adequate then (except against the French), as a lot of vehicles were using 37mm, 40mm or 47mm guns. Another thing to note is that tanks were used more in fire support role (HE at fortified positions, infantry, field guns and light vehicles) than the anti-tank role. It was the success of the 75mm that convinced USA to base their own tank design around a 75mm gun, leading to the M3 stopgap and the eventual M4 Sherman.

 

Lastly, a correction in your original article: "The derivatives such as the Jagdtiger had these issues confounded..."

The correct term is compounded, not confounded.

 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

 

Yes, one thing I didn't really go into detail on is that the vast majority of tank usage was against non-tank targets, and for those the early war German vehicles were very adequate, however the reverse is true for the later war stuff, which were often designed with tank combat exclusively in mind, and so the Panther (much worse against non-tank targets) and the Tiger I-II (much more expensive for only minimal gain) were much less practical than the humble Pz. IV Ausf H.

 

That's what I meant to say. not sure why I wrote confounded, which is rather confounding, if I'll be honest.



_Sammich_ #20 Posted 25 January 2017 - 10:41 AM

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You're honestly confounding the issue here Storm.
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