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Schurzen Question
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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Steve_Adamski
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2009 4:57 am
Post subject: Schurzen Question

I'm a little behind the times and only have recently been made aware of Thomas Jentz's assertion that schurzen were developed to protect against anti-tank rifles NOT hollow charge weapons as had been previously thought.

My main question for you all is regardless of original intention, wouldn't schurzen still provide protection against hollow charge weapons?

It seems to me that it would. Spaced armor should weaken the jet of hot material. I would expect that the Germans figured this out and that is why so many later war vehicles still carried the schurzen ... long after antitank rifles were able to do anything serious. The development of the more open spaced Thoma shields and the "bed-spring" kits for the Soviet T-34s seem to me to point in this direction.

Am I correct in this thinking? If they do weaken the penetrating ability, any idea by how much on average?

Thanks,

Steve
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Kurt_Laughlin
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2009 5:41 am
Post subject: Re: Schurzen Question

It might or might not, depending on the optimal standoff of the weapon vs. the actual standoff. For a 2.36 inch bazooka, probably yes. For a later Panzerfaust, it probably would improve penetration.

German vehicles - especially the Panther - had very unbalanced armor protection. While the glacis was nearly impenetrable to Allied weapons the lower hull sides could be penetrated by ATRs at decent ranges. Consider that to the very end the Panther never mounted schurzen except to protect the armor between the suspension and the sponsons. If it was for shaped charge protection it would've made sense to protect the sponson and turret sides as the basic armor could be penetrated by existing shaped charges.

The Thoma screens were an effort to save steel. Same effect though.

The Soviets probably did not consult with the Germans on their bedspring kits, so it's a good bet they had different motivations for adopting them.

KL
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Steve_Adamski
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2009 9:10 pm
Post subject: Re: Schurzen Question

Thanks for the info and thoughts. This makes a lot more sense to me now.
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clausb
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2009 7:29 pm
Post subject: Re: Schurzen Question

- Steve_Adamski
My main question for you all is regardless of original intention, wouldn't schurzen still provide protection against hollow charge weapons? It seems to me that it would. Spaced armor should weaken the jet of hot material.


They would. I'm not aware of any German tests suggesting that the Germans were aware of it*, but the British were looking into Schürzen as protection against HEAT weapons in 1944 and their results show that the German setup of Schüurzen on Panzers III and IV and StuG III and IV would likely defeat the 95mm HEAT shell fired from a gun and hits by the PIAT on most parts of the vehicle protected by Schürzen. But larger, un-spun HEAT rounds could probably bridge the gap, so to speak, and penetrate the main armour.

- Steve_Adamski
I would expect that the Germans figured this out and that is why so many later war vehicles still carried the schurzen ... long after antitank rifles were able to do anything serious.


The Schürzen protected the 30mm side armour of the German AFVs mentioned above and that armour remained 30mm right up to the end of the war, just as the Soviets continued to use large numbers of anti-tank rifles until the end of the war. Even the Panther had to wear a "miniskirt" to deal with the menace of the Soviet 14.5mm AT-rifle

Am I correct in this thinking? If they do weaken the penetrating ability, any idea by how much on average?


Judging from the British tests, it would appear that the PIAT with its 100mm armour penetration could defeat a 6mm skirting plate, 30cm of space and then 32mm of armour + 14mm of mild steel (target was a Centaur). It was soundly defeated by 6mm of skirting plate, 48cm of space and 32mm of armour plate with 14mm mild steel backing. With the same setup and 38cm of space, it would make a bulge in the main armour, but not penetrate.

Results would of course be different with thicker skirting plate, more or less space and thicker or thinner main armour, so finding an average based on this would be rather difficult Smile

Claus B

*They did test their own gun-fired HEAT against a 20mm armour plate spaced some 10-15cm from the main armour of a Panzer IV. It defeated the round, but the armour was shattered and broken, so it would've been a one-shot protection. Same thing with the 6mm plates in the British test - the gun-fired 95mm round made a complete mess of the plates but failed to penetrate the main armour. But with half the 6mm plate gone or knocked off its rails, it may not have worked well against the next round Smile
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Steve_Adamski
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 8:56 pm
Post subject: Re: Schurzen Question

Claus,

Thanks for the info. It was very helpful. I have never seen hard numbers before on this one.

Steve
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T26E4
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 8:23 pm
Post subject: Re: Schurzen Question

Another clue as to the ATR focus of German Shurzen: look at later war designs that used them. Kurt mentions how they protected the gap below the Panther sponsons. Note also the Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzers and Tiger IIs and Jagdtigers. Where was their shurzen? Above the tracks and below the sponsons- - weak areas that needed beefing up against ATR rounds.

I interviewed a German tanker who commanded Pz IIIs, Pz IVs and Stug IIIs and he was well aware that up to war's end, the Sov AT rifle bullet was a very dangerous threat.

(on a side note, in the PC online game "Red Orchestra" playing a Soviet AT rifleman is a very interesting role -- you really can pound German tanks -- you might get hosed w/their MG34s but it's still very fun)
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