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Sherman Firefly
The AFV ASSOCIATION was formed in 1964 to support the thoughts and research of all those interested in Armored Fighting Vehicles and related topics, such as AFV drawings. The emphasis has always been on sharing information and communicating with other members of similar interests; e.g. German armor, Japanese AFVs, or whatever.
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Michel_Krauss
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 12:14 pm
Post subject: Re: Sherman Firefly

Hi folks,

well I think that the TD may not have been blocking the introduction of an more powerfull gun, officially
However I also think they where not to happy with the idea and mostlikly when asked they wouldn't have said that it would be an good option
From what I know about the US TD branch, at the beginning of WW2 they where not even keep on putting there AT gun on track's
Only after complaints of the frontline that the AT guns good not keep pace with the rest of the army, they started shift to SP versions

- bsmart
And yes I like discussions like this. We used to have them more often , maybe they will come back


Let's hope so

Some-one else has something to discuss ?
I'm open to all points concerning AFV's, except one thing: paint colors


About mixing them up
After the war the Dutch army also used the 3 different gun sizes, however I dont know how these tanks where mixed together

Michel

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Doug_Kibbey
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 12:21 pm
Post subject: Re: Sherman Firefly

- Michel_Krauss
Hi folks,

....I'm open to all points concerning AFV's, except one thing: paint colors

Michel


I think you're going to fit right in here. Laughing
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C_Sherman
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 9:22 pm
Post subject: Re: Sherman Firefly

Hi,

For all of the 'old' AFV News site alumnus, we had a fairly long discussion about this on 'ye olde borde'. That discussion was mainly focused on the delays in fielding the 90mm guns, but I recall a good deal of good information regarding the differences between the 17 pdr and the 76mm.

There was some fairly well reasoned and documented arguments that involved the poor performance (nonavailability?) of the 17 pdr HE rounds. The War Department placed a good deal of importance on the availability of the HE rounds, partly because of lingering traces of doctrine emphasizing the infantry-support aspects of armor tactics. I seem to recall some knowledgeable assertions that British industry simply couldn't supply adequate numbers of the 17 pdr guns and ammunition without shorting their own forces. Apparently the 76mm gun was actually in development well before it was deemed necessary for installation in Sherman tanks, and it was relatively simple to ramp production up and supply conversion kits that would exactly match the existing chassis.

I believe that "shatter gap" played a role, somehow, in ways that I'm apparently too thick to grasp. At least I THINK that is what he was trying to say... Shocked Rolling Eyes Smile

I'm not sure if any of that was archived, but I though it was interesting that the discussion isn't really new for some of us! Welcome Wink

Chuck

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JWB2
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 12:49 am
Post subject: Re: Sherman Firefly

Here is a tech paper abstract on shatter gap.
oai.dtic.mil/oai/oai?&...=ADA284904

If you more just Google. Smile
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bsmart
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 5:45 am
Post subject: Re: Sherman Firefly

C. Sherman brings up memories of the old discussions (We all looked at the elephant from slightly different angles)

I believe that some of the folks that complain about the choices made for equiping American forces in WWII minimize the effort and time required in making a change. The Northwest European campaign was actually fairly short (only 11 months from D-Day to V-E day) and equipment being used had been produced in some case 2 years before and stockpiles built up in preperation for the high consumption rates of an active campaign. At the same time the priorities of this campaign were only a few of the many competing priorities of a global war. Once the Army decided where it's priorities were for 75mm, 76mm, 90mm, etc they had to present those priorities to 'War Production Boards' that had similar information from the Navy, Air Force, Industrial Production, Allied Procurement. The allocation of 'machine shop' resources had to balance out the various needs. Shutting down a plant to convert it from 'outmoded' 3" AA guns to 76mm or 17pdr guns would probably be fought by the Navy which wanted more medium AA guns for the Pacific Fleet, Allied Procurement that would rather have production continue because the 3" was acceptable to the Chinese who were just starting to recieve shipments after the higher priority needs had been met and the Industrial Production folks who want to use the machine tools to make more machine tools so they can give you twice as many 76mm in six months once they build the machines to equip two more factories.

Then the 'doctrine' arguments come in to play. The well known ones (because it is generally accepted it was flawed) like TDs v Tanks as well as lessor thought of ones that decided that tanks would probably spend more time in infantry support than in killing other tanks (Yes I know the two are related but everything is related eventually) If you accept the need to equip the tanks to handle multiple tasks like infantry support you have to make a doctrinal decision on how to balance the roles. The U.S. Army settled on a 'jack of all trades' doctrine that set a broad doctrine that the main armament had to do an adequate job of handling H.E. type (bursting) targets as well as penetrating (Tank Killing) targets. The British leaned much further towards the main tank gun as being a penetrating weapon. In the pre and early war years it lead to two versions of each tank. One (the primary production model) had a higher velocity wepon that fired solid shot to penetrate. The other (in much lower production and deployment) was equiped with a howitzer that fired smoke and H.E. rounds. In Brazen Chariots robert Crisp laments the fact they did not have a good weapon to counter their nemesis the AT gun. Even after the British moved to the larger guns (6pdr and 75mm) they retained the diachotomy of penetrating and bursting weapons. While the American AP rounds were designed with a bursting charge in them rounds supplied to the British were not filled with the HE filler.

The U.S. recognized the need for a multipurpose weapon and early on settled on the medium velocity 75mm. At the time it had good penetration and good bursting capability. As opposing tanks got thicker skins the penetraing capability quickly went down to 'barely adequate' While a partial solution was in the pipeline with the 76mm I think they correctly saw the need for a balanced weapon that continued to provide a good bursting capability. How much evaluation went into deciding which would be used the most I don't know but I think they got the balance right. More use was actually made of the tank gun as a bursting (i.e. H.E. delivery) weapon than as a tank killing weapon. I think that if they had had the foresight to step up to a 90mm class weapon earlier we wouldn't even be having this discussion but I don't think that spending a lot of effort in adapting a foreign specialist weapon would have been the right way to go.

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Joe_D
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 8:21 am
Post subject: Re: Sherman Firefly

I feel I have just opened up a time warp to the old pre spam bot site Laughing

It's nice to have a discussion like this happening again. I learn quite a bit from these.

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Michel_Krauss
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 11:52 am
Post subject: Re: Sherman Firefly

Let's start up the fire an little higher Twisted Evil

After the US invasion of Northern Africa, operation Torch 1942-11, it was already clear that the Sherman lacked behind in fire power
However in 1944-06 there was little to no change in this

In the meantime:
- The German army switched from the 75mm on the Pz IV to the even more deadly 75mm on the Pz 5
- The Russian army had changed from the T34/76 to the T34/85
- The British army had changed from Crusaders to Churchill. I know they classified their tanks different, however they tried to do something

So why was it clear to al nations to upgrade their weapons to an more powerful type of weapon
And the US did not, untill the last month of the war??

Michel

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Doug_Kibbey
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 2:58 pm
Post subject: Re: Sherman Firefly

- Michel_Krauss


So why was it clear to al nations to upgrade their weapons to an more powerful type of weapon
And the US did not, untill the last month of the war??

Michel


The short answer is logistics (and inertia in the system). The domestic war machine production lines were humming along nicely, the outcome of the conflict was not really in question, and there were constraints to what could be changed in a period of time that would affect the outcome when what was already being done was working (looking at the overall). New guns, bigger tanks (M26) all incur delays and other complications (production, shipping, support) when the numbers were working for the allies with what they had.

Fair to the crews? Probably not.
Effective in the end result? Outcome speaks for itself.
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Michel_Krauss
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 3:21 pm
Post subject: Re: Sherman Firefly

- Doug_Kibbey
The short answer is logistics (and inertia in the system). The domestic war machine production lines were humming along nicely, the outcome of the conflict was not really in question, and there were constraints to what could be changed in a period of time that would affect the outcome when what was already being done was working (looking at the overall). New guns, bigger tanks (M26) all incur delays and other complications (production, shipping, support) when the numbers were working for the allies with what they had


That's an interresting point of view, logistic's
However development on the Sherman follow-up, being the M26, already started beginning 1942
And this development was dropped, later on in 1942, to an absolute minimum effort because command decided that the Sheman was still adéquat
At that periode of time the outcome of the war was not decided
An positive outcome became possible in 1943

Command already knew in 1942 that the Sherman was no match for the Tiger 1 or the long barreled 75mm Pz IV
They had that experienced in Africa and the other allies (being UK and Russia) told them that Germany was developing new weapons

The logistic point of shipping is also interresting
Why was it possible to ship complete steam locomtives, however not an heavier tank?

Michel

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Doug_Kibbey
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 4:20 pm
Post subject: Re: Sherman Firefly

- Michel_Krauss


That's an interresting point of view, logistic's
However development on the Sherman follow-up, being the M26, already started beginning 1942
And this development was dropped, later on in 1942, to an absolute minimum effort because command decided that the Sheman was still adéquat
At that periode of time the outcome of the war was not decided
An positive outcome became possible in 1943

Command already knew in 1942 that the Sherman was no match for the Tiger 1 or the long barreled 75mm Pz IV
They had that experienced in Africa and the other allies (being UK and Russia) told them that Germany was developing new weapons

The logistic point of shipping is also interresting
Why was it possible to ship complete steam locomtives, however not an heavier tank?

Michel


1. Development is not production, it takes quite a while to convert prototype models and adapt existing lines to mass production....and assumes the product is even ready. The M26 wasn't and there were a number of unsatisfactory reports coming out of the evaluations board that revealed deficiencies that needed correction. Short version, as presented in the '42-'43 timeframe, the vehicle was unacceptable.

2. Logistics is more than altering load plans on transport ships. It's having a pool of replacement parts, trained crews, adequate supplies of ammo, and infrastructure to support transport on the other side of the pond. Engineers, for example, objected mightily to the weight and width of the M26 as it exceeded the capacity of the bridging that was correctly foreseen as necessary for European operations. Parking places on Liberty Ships are perhaps not the least of the problems, but they certainly don't end there.

Could things have been done better or more expediently? Sure.
Was the solution set adequate to the task at hand? Apparently so.
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Kurt_Laughlin
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 5:58 pm
Post subject: Re: Sherman Firefly

Although the US Army had known of the Tiger and Panther in 1942-1943, they were rarely encountered and presumed to be heavy tanks, not the main weapons of the panzer divisions. While a difficult foe, it was thought that the Germans would continue to field the Pz IV as their main weapon. This was the tank we expected to fight. (And I'm not certain that the Pz IV *wasn't* the tank most commonly seen in the ETO after all.) The realization that there was something bigger out there *that we would have to fight regularly* didn't come until June/July 1944.

KL
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bsmart
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 6:18 pm
Post subject: Re: Sherman Firefly

I'll chime in here

1) "After the US invasion of Northern Africa, operation Torch 1942-11, it was already clear that the Sherman lacked behind in fire power
However in 1944-06 there was little to no change in this"

In Nov 42 The Sherman was 'state of the art' In fact deliveries were in short supply because of the ones that were rushed to 8th Army in Egypt ( A long trip all the way around Africa) The first shipment was sunk and had to be replaced at the last minute. The Convoy left the east coast US at the end of July and arrived in Egypt Sept 2.
www.usmm.org/seatraintexas.html

(This was one of two very special ships that was designed to haul heavy rail equipment and perfect for hauling tanks. 70 ton crains and high clearance heavy duty decks)

With all this being sent to the British the Americans in TORCH had to keep their M3 Lees. Somewhere else said that in '42 they should have known that the Sherman was inferior to the Tiger. I think the Tiger didn't debut until Mid 43 (about the same time as the Panther) So until they came out in Mid 43 (not 42) There was no direct proof that the Sherman was outclassed.. Yes it could be expected and work was being done on larger tanks but there was no direct evidence.

So IF at the immediate appearance of the Tiger in North Africa (May 43?) a rush effort was started to modify a Sherman with a larger gun there would be a year to develop, test, build train and deploy the new version to have it ready for D-Day. This MAY have been possible if everyone would have agreed it was neccesary but with the end user not seeing it as a major emergency it didn't get the priority it would have needed. As it was the 76mm version went into production in Feb '44 and was starting to appear in units at D-Day. That was a pretty good job

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Dontos
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 7:31 pm
Post subject: Re: Sherman Firefly

I usually don't get into these type discussions since my Sherman knowledge is lacking.

However, I do think that there is one 'exception'. Case in point is the M4A3E2. The earliest 'mention' to the idea is Feb 44, limited production in May/June/July 44, Shipment beginning in Sept 44, and in the hands of the Troops beginning in Sept 44. Now thats fast, even by todays standards......

BUT doesn't really prove anything except there is always one exception to any case......

I'll shut up & try to learn somemore from this kniowledgable panel. A very deep discussion that is an excellent read.

Thanks
Don
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Joe_D
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 7:48 pm
Post subject: Re: Sherman Firefly

But Don,

It actually proves the opposite,

Specialty vehicle made specifically for ETO and then dropped like a hot potato when the war ended. The one advantage was she did use the 75mm and later 76mm gun so ammo wouldn't be an issue like the 17pdr.

I'll shut up & try to learn somemore from this kniowledgable panel


I feel the same way on this one but I don't use the "Bugs Bunny" vernacular
kniowledgable
Laughing

Eagerly awaiting more on this subject

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Dontos
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 8:17 pm
Post subject: Re: Sherman Firefly

Joe

Actually I was sorta leaning to the 'concept to combat' in general. I don't know of any other Armored Vehicle that bridged that gap so quickly,....EVER!

But since the M4A3E2 was only a modified M4A3, able to use onhand items or supplies there really wasn't any changes to the 'LOG trail'. Although it did present some transportation issues.

Of course with the whole Sherman issue (or more properly Medium tank...), I see it as a 'good enough' solution and became more of a Mass production issue of 'Quantity over Quality'. (Not implying that it wasn't a well built machine, but definitely not the 'Wunder Waffe' that the German Heavy Tanks was termed)

Just my 2 cents
Regards
Don
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