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Tank Casualties
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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TimRoyall
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 12:05 pm
Post subject: Tank Casualties

I was recently watching the 1969 film "Battle of Britain" and the post combat discussions between pilots and squadron staff about who or what was responsible for shooting down a particular plane and it got me thinking about tanks.

For example, does anyone know what the generally accepted/estimated figures are for the percentage of tanks knocked out by other tanks as oposed to antitank guns, infantry weapons, artillery fire, aircraft or self disablement to avoid capture? The old saying used to be that the best antitank weapon was another tank but is that borne out by the numbers?

Also does anyone know what the most successful tank was/is in numerical terms of actually destroying the most other tanks. Presumably Sherman or T34 based on WW2, Korea, Middle East?
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SHAWN
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 10:57 pm
Post subject: Re: Tank Casualties

I would think that the T-34, in one form or another, would have accumulated the most "tank" kills through out its service.
I have a book on Rommel, in which the author credits the German Mark IV as having the most "tank" kills.

Good topic, many answers... I would think it would need to be more specific pertaining to the time and practice and conflict. Conclusions as diverse as the conflicts themselves. WW2 saw a different role for tanks than say Korea, Vietnam, Europe Cold War, and even now between the 1st and 2nd Gulf Wars. The Middle East has seen rapid changes in the use of armor-- 1973 being a turning point for the IDF.
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Roger_Lucy
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2010 5:59 pm
Post subject: Re: Tank Casualties

- TimRoyall
I

For example, does anyone know what the generally accepted/estimated figures are for the percentage of tanks knocked out by other tanks as oposed to antitank guns, infantry weapons, artillery fire, aircraft or self disablement to avoid capture? The old saying used to be that the best antitank weapon was another tank but is that borne out by the numbers?


There are some 21 Army Group Operational Research studies which give some clues. One study of Sherman which brewed-up in Normandy between 6 June and 10 July, 1944 showed that 89% were due to AP shot, 9% to mines and 2% to unknown causes. Of the AP hits 82% were 75mm, 18% 88mm. Unfortunately it does not state (largely because it would be almost impossible to tell) what portion of these shots were fired by tanks, SPs or towed A/Tk guns (generally however SPs on both sides were far more effective than their towed equivalents.) As the NW European campaign progressed the proportion of tank losses caused by infantry hollow-charge weapons (i.e. Panzerfaust, Panzerschrek) increased from 6% in Normandy to 34% after the Rhine crossing. This reflects both the increasingly lavish issue of these weapons,and the decreasing numbers of German tanks, SPs and towed A/Tk guns

An analysis of German tank wrecks in Normandy between 6 June and 7 August, showed that of a sample of 53 tanks: 48% were destroyed by AP shot, 7% by hollow charge projectiles, 1% by mines, 6% by aircraft rockets and 3% by aircraft cannon, another 10% were abandoned or destroyed by their crew and 17% lost to unknown causes.

In the period 8 to 31 August, of a sample of 39 tanks the proportion lost to AP shot fell to 11%, those lost to air attack to less than 5% and the proportion destroyed by their crew or abandoned rose to 76%. Discounting the tanks destroyed by their crew or abandoned, the proportion lost to AP fire was 65% in the first phase and 63% in the second; and the proportion destroyed by air attack rose from 13% to 25%.

Following up Air Force claims for the destruction of 413 AFVs between 17 December and 16 January) an Operational Research group located 101 German wrecks (5 Tiger II, 47 Panther, 5 Pz.IV, 18 SPs and 26 "light armour") in the Ardennes. They found 7 possibly lost to air attack, 36 to AP shot, 8 to HE rounds (of which 5 were SPs or light armour, the other 3 Panthers disguised as M-10s); 39 demolished or abandoned and 12 lost to other or unknown causes.

A tally of AP strikes on destroyed Pz.Vs and VIs showed the following proportion of hits which resulted in penetrations (these are of course tanks which did not survive) 6-pounder APCBC achieved 90%, the 17-pounder 84%, the M-10 with a 3-inch gun 77%: 6-pounder discarding sabot 69% and the 75mm on the M4 38%.
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C_Sherman
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2010 11:17 pm
Post subject: Re: Tank Casualties

Hi,

One difficulty to interpreting the data presented above is that only seems to include 'brewed up' tanks. This leaves out the statistics on non-catastrophic kills. Particularly Allied tanks were frequently repaired and returned to service, as documented in several books drawing from contemporary sources. I recently read "Iron Knights" (66th Armor Regiment in WWII), and the book repeatedly documents non-catastrophic kills and the repair-and-return-to-service of US tanks. Since offensive operations tend to support this type of activity, it is likely that some of the statistics may be skewed as regards Allied tanks.

That said, the data above seems to support the tank-vs.-tank hypothesis. It also illustrates the enduring myth of air-to-ground anti-tank effectiveness.

Chuck

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VonForhud
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2010 12:24 pm
Post subject: Re: Tank Casualties

Of course this does not include the mighty T34 which saw active service until the late 80s.

The sheer number of T34s produced should indicate that this tank stood for most kills since its arrival in 1941.

Its estimated that tank production in 1945 in Russia was 40.000 units, many of which were T34s.

I personally think that the Tommy Cooker Shermans would be no match for T34s until the later versions, and even then the Sherman has a much higher profile and no sloped armor.

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