Update 9.18: Common Test General News World of Tanks World of Tanks - Common Test

Introduction

Next Help us test a major update featuring new Tier X light tanks and addressing two of the game's most significant issues: the matchmaker and artillery.,This year’s seen us fix the game’s core, resolving long-standing issues with the matchmaker, arty, and light tanks, and revising vehicles to establish .,The world is the planet Earth and all life upon it, including human civilization. In a philosophical context, the "world" is the whole of the physical Universe, or an .

Next Hello everyone, Are you tired of default tank contours, that tells you basically nothing about it, except for the tank contour itself Try my custom contour icons .,Updated: 2018 September 10, Patch 1.1 When I read the World of Tanks (WoT) official forums, sub-Reddit, and WoTLabs forums, one question comes up more than .,The backstory of World War 2 weapons used on land, sea and air was the focus of the scientific/tech communities to create the greatest devastation.

Next Юридические документы. В этом разделе Вы найдете соглашения и другие официальные .,Updated: 2018 September 10, Patch 1.1 When I read the World of Tanks (WoT) official forums, sub-Reddit, and WoTLabs forums, one question comes up more than .,Swarms of U.S. Sherman tanks helped win World War II with quantity rather than quality, even if it had trouble dueling with elite German panzers.

Today’s the day many tankers have been waiting for—the revised matchmaker and SPGs are available for everyone to test. On top of that, five Tier X light tanks roll out, bringing changes to the very structure of light tank branches, multiple balance tweaks to mid/lower tier vehicles, and the much more player-friendly ±2 matchmaking spread for them.

We hope these improvements eliminate the barriers between you and fun. The final decision on each of them depends on your feedback. So, hop aboard the Common Test and share your thoughts with us!

Matchmaker

We recognize that the matchmaker has been one of the biggest sources of player frustration in the game. Over the years, you reported frequent cases of uneven team makeups, map dupes, and weird tier splits. We heard you loud and clear, and with 9.18 we’re introducing a major overhaul to the system to address your concerns. To enhance matchmaking for a better, fairer experience, we revised its core mechanics and implemented an all-new template-based algorithm.

Deeper under the hood, the improved matchmaker is a set of server-side algorithms that analyze vehicles in the queue and build two teams with several key criteria in mind. These teams should be comparable in their aggregate combat parameters, diverse in vehicle types, versatile enough to provide for an engaging gaming experience and, finally, balanced in a way that makes it almost impossible to predict the battle outcome. Now, let’s delve deeper into the way it’s done.

The new algorithm balances the “perfect” match against the speed of matching. First, it tries to create what it considers a perfect ±2 match using the 3/5/7 template or one of its variations. The variation you get depends directly on the queue composition. Whichever template you end up with, it’ll always have:

  • No more than three tanks at the top of the list 
  • No more than five in the middle
  • More vehicles in the middle than at the top 
  • More vehicles at the bottom than in the middle

If the search for the “perfect” match will leave you queuing too long (for example, if there are too many vehicles of a certain tier queueing at the moment), the matchmaker loosens the restrictions a bit to make sure you get into a match quicker. In this case, you can get a two-level or a single-level battle. Those are rare instances, though. The vast majority of battles will have the ±2 tier spread.

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Templates help form teams with an equal number of vehicles at the top/middle/bottom of the list, which fixes two problems at once. Firstly, the matchmaker creates evenly assembled teams. Plus, it provides an enjoyable gaming experience for all players by eliminating frustrating scenarios where vehicles in the middle and at the bottom of the list are outnumbered by those at the top. Now, regardless of your position on the list and which template you get, there are enough players in the same position on the team as you are to turn the tide of the battle: 

  • Tanks at the bottom will always be in majority. They can either fight against same-tier opposition or join forces with higher-tier comrades.
  • Revving their engines in the middle of the list will be solid vehicles that have what it takes to stand strong against “top” enemies.
  • Finally, vehicles at the top can hunt for their counterparts on the other team, set the line of fire, or suppress superior enemy forces.

Evenly assembled teams
Another particularly painful point that you brought up was one-sided, boring games composed of two teams that were vastly different in vehicle composition. Let’s say two tank destroyers in a team against seven in the opposing. You can guess the result from the get-go, which kind of wipes the smile off your face and makes you want to quit (unless you’re on the winning side, of course, but even winning is little fun when it comes easy). This would happen because the old matchmaker used to balance a team by the number of scouts and arty. The other classes would get distributed randomly.

The improved matchmaker adds tank destroyers to the equation. Medium and heavy tanks still get distributed randomly, as the introduction of strict balancing by all vehicle types within the current system would result in significantly longer wait times. Take, for example, the only Tier III heavy, Type 91. It would have to queue until another player on its server chooses this very tank for a battle, because there’s virtually no other vehicle to match against it if the algorithm considers tiers and types. So, to get you into a finely-balanced match and do it quickly, the new system is only strict with the three classes that have very distinct gameplay roles (light tanks, tank destroyers and arty), as their uneven distribution between teams might ruin the balance of power.

We’ll look into the option of balancing by all vehicles types at a later point. As of now, our main priority is fine-tuning the improved matchmaker. It’s a complex task, and we’d rather take it one step at a time: ensure that the new algorithm runs smoothly, and then proceed with refining it further.

Now, the difference in the number of artillery, light tanks and tank destroyers will be just one vehicle at the most, providing evenly assembled team makeups. Platoons are getting distributed similarly. The matchmaker ensures there’s the same number of Platoons on each side, which should bring the possible difference in Platoon players down to three (e. g., three three-man strong Platoons in one team against three Platoons of two each on the other). Just as with the templates, if it takes too long to build a team with an equal number of Platoons, the matchmaker might loosen this restriction to get you into a battle quickly.

Only same-tier Platoons in Random Battles 
On the battlefield, coordination and joint actions are what paves your way to victory. And there’s hardly a better means to show well-orchestrated teamwork than Platoons. However, no matter how well you work in two’s and three’s, at the end of the day you are still part of a larger battle unit—a team. If you choose multi-tier vehicles for a Platoon, you put your entire team in harm’s way: they can get matched against tanks that are three or more tiers higher than they are. A same-tier Platoon, on the contrary, ramps up a team’s chances at victory.

To reward your efficient actions and promote teamwork, we implemented a system of XP bonuses for same-tier Platoons back in 9.15. Along with it, we imposed penalties to discourage players from forming multi-tier Platoons, which reduced their number, but didn’t solve the issue 100%.

 tiers of vehicles in a platoon bonus for a victory / loss (%)
 I—III  0
 IV  1 / 1
 V  2 / 2
 VI  3 / 3
 VII  5 / 4
 VIII  10 / 5
 IX  20 / 10
 X  30 / 15

Now we are back at it with the improved matchmaker. It simply won’t allow multi-tier Platoons into Random Battles to create balanced teams.

No more than 3 SPGs per team
If you joined us in the Sandbox, you already know the limit of no more than 3 arty per side balances combat interplay between SPGs and other vehicles. Both stats and feedback show that it injects combat with extra fun and variety, and decreases camping, encouraging more active gameplay. And with 9.18, we are bringing this restriction to live servers!

Fewer map dupes
The improved matchmaker reduces the number of map dupes with a new logic. It analyzes maps that tankers from the two newly created teams played over the last 10 battles. Then, it places them on a map none of them have seen in the last few sessions.

This new map rotation logic is relevant for maps used in the Standard mode (Random Battles). Assault and Encounter Battles are only played across a limited number of maps. So, if you have them flagged, maps will repeat more often.

Getting ranked in the top/middle/bottom of the listAfter you’ve fought at the bottom for a few battles in a row, the matchmaker will try to find a team where you get in the middle/top of the list, regardless of whether you play in the same vehicle or choose a new one during this session. If it sees that this will have you waiting for quite a while, it will match you into a battle with a suitable tier split.

All-Round SPG Revision

Arty gameplay has been the topic of heated discussion for quite a while now. In a nutshell, they are little fun whether you drive them or fight them. The latter camp often suffers from sudden, crippling damage, making you question the point of all the effort you put into playing. It makes the game less fluid as people cling to cover to avoid instant destruction. Instead of countering camping, it often facilitates it. On the other hand, SPGs themselves aren’t a smooth ride either. They miss a lot and take forever to reload. 

To help arty claim their rightful place in combat without ruining the fun for others, we introduced a set of changes to their combat parameters and mechanics in the Sandbox. The test showed that the SPG revision facilitates teamwork and makes matches more fluid and fairer.

An increased rate of fire and accuracy, the removal of all AP and HEAT rounds, a stun effect that can be reduced with reusable First Aid Kits and Spall Liners turn SPGs into long-range support fire vehicles. Instead of dealing massive damage, forcing draws and base camping, they now work in close cooperation with the rest of the team, soften targets and help set the attack direction from afar. The penalty for getting hit dropped off a lot and isn't going to send you back to the Garage. So, heavy tanks are less afraid to push out and lead an assault. They might get hit by an arty shell, but it isn't devastating. 

After a good four rounds of testing and dozens of balance tweaks, revised arty are ready to make their way onto live servers. And we are here to break down the major changes they are getting in 9.18 in extra detail:

  • To reshape arty into efficient team players, we introduced an all-new stun mechanic. Now, tanks in the arty burst radius have their characteristics temporarily weakened. It means that SPGs can help their team turn the tide of the battle by supporting the assault from afar and giving their team a few precious seconds to break the defense lines and catch the enemy by surprise. As for the other camp, arty won’t kick you out from the game in a single shot the way it did. Now it worsens your mobility, accuracy, and reload time for a short period. When the stun duration passes, you can fight on. 
  • There are a number of ways in which the stun effect can be reduced. Along with a vehicle’s armor that helps partially absorb it, the negative impact of arty can be minimized further with (newly) multiuse equipment and consumables: Spall Liners (superheavy, heavy, medium, light) cut the stun duration by 10%; Premium First Aid Kits reduce it by 5%. Superheavy Spall Liners prove the most effective against stun as they absorb explosive damage better.
  • To stress arty’s role as long-range support fire, we increased the HE shell burst radius. With a smaller gap between direct hits and a near misses (in terms of damage dealt), shooting at multiple targets is now more efficient than picking just one. This change, together with the introduction of the stun mechanic, should force SPGs to change their play style and aim to hit multiple targets, letting their teammates finish the job.
  • To get rid of frustrating one-shots, we considerably lowered the penetration and damage per shot (DPS) for HE shells, while also removing AP, APCR, and HEAT shells for SPGs. Of course, one-shots are still possible if the shell lands on the target and hits its ammo rack, but the chances of it happening are close to zero now.
  • To compensate for the reduction in DPS and penetration values, we decreased SPG dispersion on the move and their reload time, while also improving aiming time and accuracy. Now they can efficiently redirect fire and quickly come to the rescue of teammates on several flanks. 

As long-range support vehicles, it’s critical that SPGs coordinate their actions with fellow players to help their team succeed. To facilitate team communication and increase the clarity and readability of the battle, we introduced several new UI elements:

Target area marking for friendly vehicles
Now arty can alert the team to where they will shoot, so their fellow tankers can ready themselves for an attack and get out of the blast radius. To display a special marker showing the area you are targeting, simply press the Requesting fire/Attacking key (“T” by default). Its radius will be the same as the shell blast arc.

Stun indicators
Arty can see the damage their teammates deal to stunned vehicles (also included in their after-battle stats as damage dealt with their assistance), while all players can see the countdown of the remaining stun time right above the vehicle affected by it. If you are stunned, along with the stun time, you get a lowdown on HP lost and how your combat parameters decreased, in the lower left of the HUD (similar to when your vehicle drowns or catches fire).

Alternative Aim
Inspired by the fan-favorite Battle Assistant, it changes the aiming display for SPGs and gives a clear flight path of the projectile, as well as a good overview of the terrain, allowing you to aim better. It works well around large obstacles and is especially handy in urban areas and on uneven terrain. Switching between regular and alternative aim will help you make a well-thought-out shot.

Stretching Light Tank Branches to Tier X 

Light tanks first appeared as support fire vehicles to spot enemies and work in tandem with other tanks, rather than an independent unit. As such, light tanks (Tier IV ) presently have special matchmaking and face vehicles that are up to three Tiers higher than they are.

This special matchmaking was initially introduced to let Tier VIII light tanks into Tier X battles. But tanks with powerful cannons and decent view ranges came along, easily destroying light tanks and making scouts almost useless. In today’s game, light tanks barely deal much damage and are quite ineffective against vehicles of a higher tier. This means that they either stay put instead of helping the team, or get destroyed quickly when they scout.

To even the odds and introduce regular ±2 matchmaking, light tank branches now start at Tier V and reach to Tier X. With the matchmaker’s ability to quickly build diverse teams, light tanks no longer have to suffer and can make an impact in battle. While still support units, they now have decent enough firepower and excellent speed to add to the battle. Tier X light tanks are swifter and more maneuverable than their counterparts at lower Tiers. Their gun stabilization, penetration power and hit damage allow them to excel in close- and mid-range combat. These stats encourage light tanks to constantly be on the move and change firing positions. Possessing guns a little less powerful than medium tanks, they still have enough penetration power to pierce the side and rear armor of heavy vehicles. Their speed, camouflage, and firepower make them a formidable unit when utilized effectively.

To ensure that these renewed branches fit into the confines of the ±2 rule, we also rebalanced all light tanks. It should erase abrupt changes in gameplay within one branch. Vehicles that currently reside on Tier VIII moved up a tier, with the only exception being the Chinese Tech Tree. It welcomed two completely new light tanks: the WZ-132-1 at Tier X and the WZ-132A at Tier IX.

What happens to modules, XP, Crew, emblems and camo you have on light tanks

  • Configuration. If you have vehicles that changed a Tier in 9.18 and they are researched to the top configuration, they retain it upon changing.
  • Crew moves with the tank. Fully-trained Crew is transferred back to the Barracks and re-trained to 100% for a new Tier. If you have Crew trained to 100% on a light tank that moves up a Tier, but don’t have this tank in the Garage at the update’s release, the Crew will be retrained for a higher Tier regardless.
  • Emblems and camo. Emblems and camo bought with Gold and mounted on Tier VIII vehicles that move up to Tier IX will be removed. But fear not; you’ll get the amount of Gold they cost you credited to your account. Temporary emblems and camo you have on vehicles that move up a Tier will be removed as well. In this case, you receive the amount in Credits proportional to their remaining duration. Unique emblems and camo are here to stay: they’ll get de-mounted from Tier VIII vehicles and you can apply them to any other tank.

Finally, changes to the branch structure won’t affect XP you’ve earned on light tanks. They stay at the Tier they were earned on.

The work on 9.18 is far from over. It touches upon several key gameplay components that have been a source of controversy, and attempts to get them right through changes driven by the player community at large. Although these changes have passed the Sandbox test, we want all of you to have a chance to really put them through their paces, play a lot of games and share your impressions with us. Join the Common Test and let’s make the game better, together!

Discover how you can join the Common Test:

  • HOW THE CT WORKS
  • TEST CLIENT
  • SERVER RESTARTS

New to testing Check out our handy guide to public tests.

Eligibility: All players registered prior to March 20 can participate in the test.

Feedback: please post your general feedback about the test version and bug reports in the special thread on our forum.

  • Download the test client installer (4,9 MB).
  • Make sure you pick a save location that is different to your regular World of Tanks game files. 
  • Save and run the installer.
  • Run the new copy of the game. The launcher will download all the additional data.
  • Log in and start playing.

The test server will be restarted regularly, according to the following schedule:

  • First Periphery: 04:00 UTC every day. Average duration will be around 25 minutes.
  • Second Periphery: 05:00 UTC every day. Average duration will be around 25 minutes.
  • Central Database: 09:00 UTC every day. Average duration will be around 2 minutes.

The test server may be subject to unscheduled restarts and maintenance Windows 7 Activator Full x86-x64-360day-04-01-2013

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“Road to Unicum” Tank Guides Reviews for World of Tanks .

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Chrysler KVIIIIS-3A (T)VIII-II#gb:gb01_medium_mark_i_halloweenII-IIMT-RevenantIIT-50-2VILT-432VIIIEMIL 1951VIIISU-130PMVIII WZ-111VIIICenturion Mk. 5/1 RAACVIII60TP LewandowskiegoXISU-152VIII60TP LewandowskiegoXT-34VType 59 GVIIIFCM 50 tVIII112VIIISTB-1XM6A2E1VIIIIS-6VIIIType 59VIIIAMX M4 mle. 51IXST-IIXChrysler K GFVIIIT-34-85 RudyVI8,8 cm Pak 43 JagdtigerVIIIHeavy Tank No PC Cleaner Pro 2013

VIVIM44VIKV-5VIIIObject 705IXIS-6 BVIIIObject 268 Version 4X

World - Wikipedia

This prototype British Cold War self-propelled gun has received the popular nickname of the ‘Jagdchieftain’ because of its similarity to the WW2 German Jagdpather anti-tank self-propelled gun (SPG). Its correct designation is the Chieftain Casement Test Rig (CTR). This is the name given to the vehicle by William Suttie in his book ‘Tank Factory.’ The Tank Museum, Bovington call it the ‘Concept Test Rig.’

It was a 1972 joint project between UK and the Bundeswehr (West German Army). In Germany, tank designers had been experimenting with the Panzer VT1-1 and VT1-2 Leopard 2 chassis SPG armed with twin 120 mm cannons. The Casement Test Rig (CTR) had a semi-fixed single gun. The gun was set in a casement hull superstructure on a Chieftain tank chassis. A lot of aluminum was used in an effort to reduce weight.


This prototype test vehicle is often called the Jagdchieftain but its correct name is the Concept Test Rig (CTR) – Photo: Colin Rosenwould Tankfest 2011

In the early 1970s, NATO believed that to deal with an overwhelming force of Soviet armor the Allies would fall back while inflicting as many casualties as possible until more troops and tanks could be shipped into Europe from America and Britain. The designers wanted to create an anti-tank SPG that had a low profile, a powerful gun and that could travel just as easily in reverse as forward. It was to be the ideal ambush weapon that could wait for the enemy to appear in a concealed location then open fire inflicting as much damage as it could before quickly reversing out of danger to its next preplanned ambush location. For survival, the front armor would be thick and sloped.

This was not the first time a British casemated self-propelled gun had been proposed. There were the class 40, 50, 60 tanks as well as rival Vickers A,B,C,D designs and the Alvis external concept. None progressed further than wooden mockups.

The Engine

Underneath the superstructure is basically a conventional Chieftain chassis, In order to conform with British and German requirements it could be fitted with the British Leyland L60 engine or the Leopard tank ten cylinder MTU multi-fuel power pack preferred by the Federal German Army of that time. The chassis was slightly widened to accommodate the MTU power pack.


The exhaust system was slightly different to that on the operational Chieftain tank in that it had a raised box on top of the chassis. The rear stowage boxes are missing – Photo: Colin Rosenwould Tankfest 2011

The Armor

The front sloped glacis plate was to be heavily armored against all current and future anti-tank AT weapons in the 1980-90s. Had the ‘Jagdchieftain SPG’ entered production, it seems probable that the new Chobham armor would have been applied. This was not fitted to the prototype but was simulated by the addition of 5 tons of lead plate covered in sheet metal.

The prototype’s superstructure was fabricated from aluminum in order to try and keep the weight down but even so, the Mechanised Vehicle Experimental Establishment (MVEE) estimated the final weight would be 55 tons. The term ‘Chobham armor’ has become the common generic term for composite armor developed in the 1960’s at the British tank research center on Chobham Common, Surrey, England.


Front view of the Chieftain Casement Test Rig (CTR) SPG’s sloped front armour plate prior to the gun being fitted

The Casement Test Rig SPG was based on the Chieftain tank FV4211 nicknamed the “Aluminium Chieftain”. After the project was canceled, the CTR was kept in storage to monitor the hull welds to gain information on deterioration of the aluminum armor.

The Gun and Crew

The main armament was intended to be the British 120 mm L11 rifled gun, although for trial purposes only a dummy tube was installed. Unlike the Swedish S-Tank, which had a fixed gun, the British CRT self-propelled gun concept allowed the gun to elevate from −10 to 20° and traverse /− 2°, allowing fine tracking without moving the hull.

The crew of three comprised a commander and two driver/gunners. One of the drivers and the commander were able to drive the vehicle forward from their positions, while the second driver/gunner had a rear vision block to allow him to drive it backward. Development of the Casement Test Rig SPG was inspired by Swedish S-tank that had the same driving configuration. Two of these Swedish vehicles had been tested at Bovington in 1968. During the development of the CRT a further ten S-Tanks were borrowed for a more intense assessment during a military Exercise called ‘Dawdle’ in Germany.

Trials

The Concept Test Rig was assembled by the Fighting Vehicle Research Development Establishment (FVRDE) at Chertsey but trials at Woolwich confirmed what had been seen in Germany on Exercise Dawdle: accurate gun laying was inferior to a turret in terms of speed of engaging targets and that it could not fire accurately on the move. The project was dropped and the vehicle was eventually sent to the Tank Museum at Bovington in 1990.


Chobham armor was not fitted to the prototype, but it was simulated by the addition of 5 tons of lead plate covered in sheet aluminium alloy – Photo – Colin Rosenwould Tankfest 2011

FV217 Conqueror self-propelled gun proposal

This design did not get past the wooden model stage. A prototype was not built mainly for the same reasons the Chieftain Casement Test Rig (CTR) SPG project was dropped. Some call it the JagdConqueror because of its resemblance to the German WW2 Jagdpanther but that was never its official name. It was called the Conqueror Casement Test Rig (CTR) Self-propelled gun (SPG). It was to be fitted with a 120 mm gun.

It seems a strange thing to do as the Conqueror tank was already armed with a 120 mm gun but this vehicle would have been simpler and cheaper to build (a factor that would appeal to politicians). It would also have had a lower profile and thus have been harder to target. It would have been an ambush weapon that would sit in wait for advancing Soviet tanks and fire at them from cover, when they came within range of its gun. It would not have been as adaptable as the tank version.

Dimensions (L-W-H)24’6″ (without gun) x 11’5″ x 9’5″
7.51 (without gun) x 3.5 x 2.89 m
Total weight, battle ready55 tons (11000 Ibs)
Crew3 (commander, driver, gunner/loader).
PropulsionBritish Leyland diesel BL 60, 695 bhp or
Leopard tank ten cylinder MTU multi-fuel power pack
Speed48/30 km/h road/cross-country (29.82 mph/18.64 mph)
Range/consumption500 km (310 Adobe Photoshop CS6 Extended

68 miles)
ArmamentBritish 120 mm L11 rifled gun
ArmorChobham Armor
Total production1 prototype

Sources

Ed Francis – The FV3805 Restoration ProjectChieftain by Rob GriffinColin RosenwouldTank Museum, Bovington, Dorset, EnglandSteve Osfield

Tank Factory, William Suttie, 2015

“Good Enough” Tanks Won WWII - Lovesick Cyborg

Land

The backstory of weapons employed in World War 2 on land, sea and air was the intense focus of the scientific /tech communities to create the means for the greatest devastation.

Earlier wars may have planted the seeds for lethality, but this new war that engulfed the planet was a quantum leap into the future of weaponry.

The reader will hardly forget the game changer: the atomic bomb that made hyperbole an understatement. 

The weapons were often  utilized with a degree of barbaric cruelty and hatred. How else can history explain over 60 million dead 

Automation  became a standard for what had merely been mechanical.

Introduction of full rapid fire required new platforms that created new systems for delivery.

The aircraft carrier, the amphibious landing craft, the self propelled gun, the dive bomber became terms  common in civilian discourse.

Our identification of these weapons into Land, Sea, Air does not limit their use to these broad categories. Many of the systems crossed these boundaries and were employed effectively in all environments.

                                                        Small Arms

 Naval officer and Medal of Honor winner, John D. Bulkley: It's not the captain but "the men who do the fighting, man the guns, they're the guys that really win the war".          

These arms were regularly described by all belligerents as those weapons used by an infantry squad, but not necessarily limited to the infantry. They are portable.

                                                             Pistols

The pistol was notoriously inaccurate and useful only in close combat. This weapon was carried by infantry officers, tank crews and pilots. There were no significant innovations from those pistols used in World War 1. All were semi-automatic. (Each trigger pull fired a single shot.)

United States:  .45 caliber M1911-----considered the best pistol carried.

Germans:         .38 caliber Walther----considered more reliable than their

                         Luger Model 1908. The most sought after souvenir by

                         U.S. servicemen in European Theater Operations..

                     World War 2 Weapons

                                                                                                          World War 2 Weapons

British:  .38 caliber Webley and Enfield 2

Soviets: Nagent revolver 1895 and Tokarev pistol---------not widely issued

Italy:      Beretta  .33 caliber-------not accurate but widely issued- small and compact

Japan:   Nambu Type 94----unsafe. Many officers preferred ceremonial sword.

        Was sometimes used by officers to commit suicide ("Seppuk" to avoid capture.)

      World War 2 Weapons

 World War 2 Weapons

                                                               Rifles

Many of the armies entered the war equipped with World War 1 rifles. Americans were issued 1903 Springfield, bolt action. The Japanese were using a weapon that was in vogue in the Russo-Japanese conflict of 1904.

United States: By 1945, the standard rifle was the 9 lb Garand M1 (John Garand) with a maximum range of 5500 feet. The rifle was semi automatic and self loading.  It was gas operated and fed with an 8 clip .30 caliber cartridge. Its sight was extremely accurate and the gun unaffected by weather. The butt carried swabs, brush and cleaning rod. Its simplicity was confirmed by every infantryman who could it tear it down and put it together in the dark. It was described as 9 plus pounds of terrific "knock down" power and never jammed.

World War 2 Weapons

World War 2 Weapons

British:     Reliable Lee Enfield NO. 4 AND 5

Italy:         Mannlicher Modello 91

Japan:      Arisaka, Meiji, Mosin  The Arisaka was a copy of the German Mauser rifl 38"  long and used as a sniper weapon when telescope sight added (6.5 cal.).

Germany: Karabiner 98K, one of many numerous upgrades, fired a Mauser cartridge 7.92x57mm. Many German rifles utilized earlier Czechoslovakian designs. Used by  Wehrmach(infantry), kriegsmarine (Subs), Luftwaffe (air), Waffen SS (multi services from police to panzer).                                          

World War 2 Weapons

World War 2 Weapons

                                                    Submachine Guns

The Thompson gun had its origin at the end of world War 1. It was the notorious weapon of choice for 1930's gangsters when known as the "Tommy" gun.The gun was fully automatic. (Gun continuously fires as long as the trigger remains depressed.)

United States: This gun was occasionally issued to non commissioned officers but its  low velocity and failure to penetrate light armor was a significant problem.It was found somewhat ineffective in jungle battle. The M1 model had a 50 round box magazine instead of the familiar looking round drum. Marines were issued the weapon in the Pacific and used on Okinawa (April-June 1945).

World War 2 Weapons

World War 2 Weapons

Britain: Their commandos favored the Thompson gun. They would also manufacture their version of the submachine gun---the Sten gun.

World War 2 Weapons

World War 2 Weapons

Japan:      Used their machine gun when they captured the oil fields on Java,rarely utilized. 

Germany;  The following illustrates the MP 40 and its deadly stream of fire.

Germany: Most innovative-- produced a semi or fully automatic assault rifle. The machine pistol 43 (Sturmgewehr=storm rifle) had shorter range than most rifles, a less powerful bullet. It's compact form made it more controllable and proved very effective on Russia's, eastern front. Although referred to as a rifle, it  had the qualities of a sub-machine gun.

World War 2 Weapons

World War 2 Weapons

The significant use of steel for defense had its counterpoint in the armor piercing projectiles. Technology utilized two methods.

A. Kinetic energy---depended on velocity of at least 3,000 feet per second. It was constructed of tungsten/carbide material that was denser than steel.

B. Chemical development of a hollow, higher explosive charge generating high, penetrating heat traveling at 2,000 feet per second. Utilized by all belligerents.

                                                       Hand Grenades

Hand held hollow materials containing explosives and thrown at an  enemy have been used in multiple centuries. The grenade in World War 2 became an integral weapon in every infantry man's kit. The United States manufactured over 87 million grenades for use in close quarter fighting.

Marine Corporal Robert Johnsmiller reported his grenade experience on Red Beach, Tarawa while crawling through the bodies of dead comrades (Gilbert Islands Campaign November 20, 1943) :

" A Japanese hand grenade landed next to me. alerted by my buddy to 'roll', I quickly moved my body as it went off". Wounded, he kept crawling forward until he reached a trench. He looked into the ditch and saw a Japanese soldier looking up at him. He pulled back and signaled to his comrades."We quickly dispatched grenades into the emplacement and silenced the threat".

The corporal's grenade wound----a lost eye.

Grenades evolved that differentiated between offensive and defensive use. The defensive grenade (MKII) when exploded emitted deadly fragments at super speed. The offensive  grenade (MKIII) created an explosive blast.

Some grenades were utilized for signaling or screening. Some even had handles for throwing. One grenade manufactured, when thrown, emitted tear gas.

There also was the "home made" grenade known as the molotov cocktail (Soviet Commissioner for Foreign Affairs---Vyocheslav Molotov). When Great Britain feared invasion, the government distributed to its citizens this type of weapon which followed the molotov formula: a solution of phosphorus and benzine.  This explosive appeared in a number of innovative forms. The simple bottle was the most used and first appeared in  numbers with Finnish troops in the their run-up pre -World War 2 fight against the Soviet Union. The Russians used the more traditional long handle type of  grenade similar to German "potato masher".

World War 2 Weapons

World War 2 Weapons

The grenade could also be attached to the muzzle of a rifle adding to the effectiveness of the infantry man.There also was a stick on grenade applied to a tank body timed to explode.

The U.S. grenade was made of cast iron and grooved to improve the grasp of the throwing hand and increase its deadly fragments ("frag grenade"). Its pineapple appearance gave rise to that popular description of the grenade.

The German and Japanese grenades followed a different design, but their effect was similar to the American explosives.

World War 2 Weapons

World War 2 Weapons

World War 2 Weapons

                                                      Flame Thrower

The Germans introduced the flame thrower in world War 1. The technology which had been based on portable tanks or canisters filled with gasoline carried by the infantryman was now also added to the tank's arsenal. In the Pacific Theater, the flame thrower was used by Americans and Japanese effectively against foxholes, caves, pill boxes with the hidden soldier as a target.

On Okinawa in the spring months of 1945, American marines referred to their effort to force Japanese surrender with flame throwers as "cave flushing". The Japanese often chose death from burns and suffocation rather than surrender..

World War 2 Weapons

American                                                                                                                                        Japanese

World War 2 Weapons

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                                                      Machine Guns

Machine guns are a hybrid falling between small arms and traditional artillery. Small arms are usually represented as portable and hand held by an individual soldier. With the possible exception of the light machine gun, any weapons system that requires a crew to carry and operate will fall outside the domain of small arms.

Machine guns were employed by all the armed services.During the Pacific campaign to retake New Guinea, in early 1943, American air men mounted extra machine guns  in order to increase strafing power against the Japanese.

The power of the automatic machine gun on Okinawa prompted a marine to write."It was an appalling chaos".  Ernie Pyle, famed front line reporter, was hit and killed by a Japanese machine gun bullet in this Pacific Island battle.

It was hardly different in the Italian campaign to capture Cassino. General Mark Clark commanded the American Fifth Army. He ordered his men to cross the Rapido River into the face of German machine gun emplacements. Clark finally had to order a withdrawal with high casualties. The Germans were barely damaged (January-February 1944).

The machine gun was to be a factor in the Pacific until the day the Japanese surrender on the USS Missouri (Sept. 2, 1945).  In the U.S. effort to pacify Luzon Island in the Philippines, and protect Manila Bay, hidden Japanese machine guns on Bataan could not be dislodged protecting over 100,000 Japanese troops in the place where they had treated American prisoners with barbartic cruelty--the Bataan death march. 

Czechoslovakia, the country that was unable to defend itself in 1939, was the major designer of the "state of the art" machine gun. The British Bren gun was a product of the Czech design. The American Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) was the U.S. answer for its light machine gun. Both guns were light enough to be carried or could be mounted on a bipod. This flexibility made the gun a valuable asset at squad level. Sometimes employed as a small arm, and sometime manned by a crew.

                                      Bren                                          BAR

weight                            22.5 lbs.                                    15.5 lbs.

caliber                           .303 rimmed                               .30 rimless

cooled                            air                                              air

pressure                        gas cylinder                                gas cylinder

magazine                       curved above barrel                   box below barrel

World War 2 Weapons

World War 2 Weapons

Bren (left)

BAR was also produced as a heavy machine gun, and could be used as an anti-aircraft gun.

The German MG 34 weighed 26 lbs. This heavy air cooled gun was used extensively. It fired 7.92mm at a rate of 800-900 rounds per minute.

The Russians answer was an 80 lb. gun that fired 600 rounds per minute.

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The British relied on an upgraded World War 1 Vickers that replaced their Lewis heavy machine gun. It was water cooled, weighed 40lbs and fired 450 rounds per minute.

The Japanese had 7.7mm gun (Type 92) that was  poorly designed but used effectively by well trained crews. It fired 550 rounds per minute and weighed 70 lbs.

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In 1944, American's had gained a marked superiority in numbers and effectiveness of its big guns. General William H. Simpson remarked: "Never send an infantryman in to do a job that an artillery shell can do for him".

However, in 1939, the Germans set the standard for the disposition of their cannon. When they attacked Poland, they introduced the concept of big gun mobility. Nevertheless, in 1940, in a full fledged war, the Allies held a two to one ratio over the Germans with 14,000 field guns. But the Germans neutralized the disadvantage with their tactic of blitzkrieg (lightning) warfare which exploited weaknesses in the allies defensive lines with rapid strikes by their panzer (tank) corps  discussed below. Ultimately, that disadvantage in numbers would contribute to the German defeat. By June 1944, The Allies fielded 1182 assault weapons against 337 comparable pieces. Despite the long odds, General Erwin Rommel had built along the French coast his famous defensive "fortress" wall installing an array of huge cannon believing that it made the coast impregnable.

Artillery that crushed infantry units, shot down airplanes, sunk enemy shipping accounted for half of all battle casualties. The panoply of weapons were generally described as light, medium and heavy, The Library of Congress World War II Companion (see Reference below) further defines the classification summarized as follows:

1. Guns with high velocity and flat trajectories-------coastal, fixed defense or on tracks as shown below. This railroad gun was manufactured on orders from Hitler and used sporadically. Aside from the railway gun, these other big guns were fixed as though set in concrete----as many were.

 2. Howitzers with low velocity fire with a higher trajectory to drop over defensive cover; a front line gun. This weapon was mobile and transportable by appropriate vehicles.

The Germans developed a howitzer with a 30 mile range with thousand plus projectle weight.    A front line gun.

Long guns were adept at supporting infantry advances and, as in World War 1, could lay down "creeping barrages" that cleared enemy areas as troops moved under this umbrella.

3. Mortars dropped shells at the greatest angle over obstacles--light ( U.S. 81mm muzzle loaded); heavy, fixed or self propelled as the German 60cm below (Sturmtiger).

This was a front line, mobile gun. The Howitzer and mortar could also be mounted and made a self-propelled weapon system.  A front line gun.

4. Rockets represented a new form of delivering an explosive. It came in several forms: hand held as the American anti-tank weapon, recoiless "Bazooka", or mounted on a platform as the Russian Katyusha. The rocket increased the speed to the target, but not always accurate.

The  bazooka, on the other hand,  was quite effective, and was armed with a rocket shaped missile with its own motor that produced exceptional heat that could penetrate armor. The  Germans picked up many on the North  African battlefields dropped by Ameicans. They retrofitted the design to increase rocket size and manufactured  them for their use.

The power of these guns and the noise they generated was greatly feared by enemy troops. A survivor of the surrender of Corregidor May 6, 1942, an American island fortress in the Philippines, reported that the wounded sought refuge in tunnels and caves to avoid the "mind numbing" barrage of Japanese guns.

At the battle of Kursk on the Russian front, July 15-17, 1943, a German infantryman reported: "First came a dreadful barrage"----3 hours long.

In North Africa, the British were desperate to protect the Suez Canal and expel Germans from Egypt.  On October 23, 1942, they began a two week campaign to repulse the German forces at El Alamein with a 1,000 gun barrage. It marked a turning point in the North African battlefields with General Bernard Montgomery besting General Erwin Rommel's Afrika Corps and pushing the Italo-German forces back into Libya.

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                                coastal artillery

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                German big gun on RR tracks

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January 1944: 240mm howitzer preparing to fire on German lines in Mignamo, Italy

      Below:  a"smaller" big gun howitzer

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                                               88 mm mortar section Guadalcanal August 1942

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            World War 2 Weapons

                         Bazooka

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             Russian self-propelled rocket launcher

The 75mm gun was used to maximum proficiency as a field gun when mounted on a tank. However, its armor piercing projectile met its match IN 1944 in Normandy when matched against the new  and more heavily armored German Tiger and Panther tanks. The 75mm also had the capability of firing "shot" against German infantry.

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U.S. Chaffee tank                             British Churchill tank

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In 1943, Americans began, in secret, to build  a 40 ton computer that could rapidly calculate artillery firing tables.                                               Associated Press

                                                           V2 Rocket

The Nazi government maintained a secret scientific site located in the north eastern corner of Germany on Peenemunde,  an island in the Baltic Sea. The German scientists had previously produced the V1 which was known as a "flying bomb". An RAF airstrike on Peenemunde, August 17.1943.  was evidence that this secret location had been revealed.

The V1 launch sites were scattered in France and were overrun by advancing Allied forces in 1944. Now other bases for launch tests were hurriedly constructed to accommodate the scientists and engineers.The production of the V2 (now hyphenated as V-2) was now a priority for Hitler. Test launches had begun in 1942 with liquid oxygen as the fuel. The V2 product was second generation.

In September 1944, the first non test launch from Holland against London hit that city leaving high casualties. It traveled at 3800 miles per hour and could not be intercepted. Over 3,000 of the V2 ballistic missiles accounted for casualties of over 6,000 dead and wounded.(Some claims are as much as 9,000 victims.)

The German rocket scientist, Wernher von Braun, worked at Peenemunde, and in the  post war era was brought to the United States where he distinguished himself in the U.S. space program.

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                                                 Anti-Air Craft Guns

As the war proceeded, both the Allies and Axis armies were constantly innovating. We noted above that the heavy Browning Automatic (BAR), primarily aimed at land based targets, was effective against low flying planes. The German 88 mm was also primarily an anti-tank weapon, but excellent performing as an anti-aircraft gun. Nevertheless, all the combatants utilized heavier weapons as well with a greater ceiling range.

The Bofar "AA" gun was designed by a Swedish inventor in 1929. Its accuracy and reliability was  established through a succession of wars prior to World War 2. The Chrysler Corporation was the principle manufacturer that produced this highly effective weapon at a modest cost. The rate of fire for this 40mm gun was 120 shells per minute. It was equally proficient on land and on the high seas with a ceiling of 23,600 feet and level range of 12, 500 feet.

As with almost all of the big guns used in batteries, firing was directed by a central control.

     World War 2 Weapons

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Algeria                                                      Pacific Ocean

The British Royal Navy used its version of a .40mm gun referred to as a Pom Pom Gun (after the sound when firing). Also referred to as a "2 Pounder" referring to the weight of its projectile. Like the U.S. Bofar's versatility, it had proved its worthiness in World War 1 trenches and on the HMS Kelvin in World War 2.

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If there was a star in the artillery firmament, the U.S. 90mm anti-aircraft gun would be the weapon of choice. The German 88 would tie for first place with its anti- tank, anti- aircraft, anti -personnel capability. Although the British 76.2 gun also became known as a tank killer. The Japanese could make no such claim. Their anti-tank gun was so ineffective that their solution was a jerry-built land mine from torpedoes.

The U.S. 90 M1 was a semi-automatic field gun. Because of its size, mobility was accomplished by mounting the gun on a tractor base that could reach a speed of 35 MPH. The gun was operated in a battery of four and fire directed under a central control. Its projectile could reach an altitude of 30,000 feet. In 1943, a redesign---the M2----of its breech increased its rounds per minute to 23-28. It added a remarkable new feature. Its blast could illuminate the sky and replaced the need for searchlights to spot and follow enemy planes. This versatile gun could be lowered for horizontal firing and effectively was used against Wehrmacht infantry. Its rate of fire exceeded most other artillery pieces.  The gun crew used a  telescopic gun sight. Range was limited by the 30 second fuze time to explode over enemy infantry concentrations.

     World War 2 Weapons

Training                                      The real deal on Okinawa

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                                                                                        It still required manpower.

The German 88mm proved to be a scourge against allied pilots, and deadly on the ground in the battle of the Battle of the Bulge (Christmas 1944). It also was a target of American fire in that cauldron of the Ardennes Forest.

Can you visualize yourself in a Sherman tank, or a U.S. pilot targeted by the 88-----or the crescendo of noise that crashed through the Ardennes woods as you lay in a snow packed crater on that Christmas day in 1944

    Defense Media Network                   The variable use of the 88mm gun.

August 1944 the U.S. Army began its Po Valley offensive in Italy. The Sherman tanks with powerful 75mm guns were slowed by many river crossings, bad weather and road traffic. September 4 they were ordered to assault a ridge two  miles away. The German 88 batteries opened fire. Result: 24 tanks lost. 64 dead.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what is the value of a good video

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In world War 1, German military placed little emphasis on an armored vehicle operating on caterpillar type tracks (panzer). The British had been the first country to introduce a tank on the battlefield. Their French ally was not far behind. The Versailles treaty (JUNE 28, 1919) ending that conflict prohibited Germany from manufacturing tanks. The Germans found ways to disguise their efforts to build a fighting force of panzer divisions. As they began the war, their Panzer I and II models were battle ready.

September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland spearheaded by 3,000 tanks. On May 10, 1940, they invaded Belgium which brought France and Britain into the defense of that country and formerly declared war on (September 3, 1939). The first tank battle in history occurred on May 14 on Belgian territory. From the Allies view point, the French had delayed German advances. The photo below shows Germans inspecting captured French tanks. The high profile of the tank would be a problem that the military designers sought to lower in future designs.

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The Germans began their war with about 3000 tanks, but used only three of the ten panzer divisions in their lightning strike (blitzkrieg) intended to target France and gain control of the English Channel ports. Their military planners had two pathways. One was to butt heads with the heavily fortified French Maginot line to the south as anticipated by France, or to cross the supposed impenetrable Ardennes Forest. The Germans chose to hook around the French flank, in a north westerly advance, through the forest,  and avoided the French Maginot Line. 

Arrayed against the panzers, were the combined tank forces of Britain, France, Belgium, and Holland. Their combined forces were about 2 times the size of the German divisions and fielded better built tanks. There was one German design that tipped the scale in its favor. Each of their tanks were equipped with a radio, and all of the tanks were subject to central control---much like big gun artillery systems.

The Germans chose the forest route and did run into delays caused by their own traffic. Nevertheless, the strike through the least point of resistance against the French line appeared to be the future for panzer attacks.

A French pilot reported that the panzers advanced like water, "and almost at the point where it meets no resistance".  The French had 3254 tanks that were positioned at the wrong place and time to meet the panzers in open battle

A bit more than one month later, the French surrendered in Paris (June 22, 1940).

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The French turned over to the German victors about 2000 tanks including the well designed French Renault R-35. Both armies had mounted 37mm guns, but the Germans noted the inadequacy of the 37mm which could not pierce enemy armor and converted to a 55mm long gun. The German light tank (right) was eight foot high and weighed 24 tons. Its shell was high explosive armor piercing up to 77mm effective at short range. There were several upgraded designs and all told, about 6,000 were manufactured. This series of German tanks were among the 37 different types of panzers manufactured. They were extremely innovative with captured tanks using parts and pieces to rebuild their own designs.The escaping French left their share of tanks on the road to Dunkirk beaches in June 1940.

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Abandoned Renault                                                                                                                                       German redesign

In the early days of the German invasion,  Colonel Erhard Raus commanded a panzer brigade. In his post war memoirs, which included his later years as general of all eastern front panzer divisions, recalled that a single KV-l  denied his entire brigade  passage through a choke point on a  Russian road.

This behemoth weighed 45 tons, 22 feet long, and had multiple turrets each with 76.2mm guns. In addition, the crew of 5 manned 3 to 4 machine guns. As the invasion began, there were 508 KV-1 on line. There would be several evolutions with upgrades including torsion bar suspension system. One of the reasons why Germans could advance no further than the Caucus region in 1943.

The alternative was another monster sized T-35 that was a mechanical failure. Losses resulted more from breakdowns than battle. This vehicle was extensively used in the battle for Moscow (October 1941). It was often abandoned and seized as pictured below. Outwardly, with similar dual turrets, but required a crew of 7.

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1939 KV-1                                     Later design

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In 1943, the German command brought there own mammoth to the battle at Kursk (Russia July 1943). A German infantryman supporting the armor recalled the moment he viewed the new tank: "Fortunately, we were protected by a German tank named Ferdinand, the biggest and heaviest tank that I had ever seen. It was so big that the ground was practically shaking when it was 3 kilometers away. Not even the Russians had one like it. But the there was a thunderstorm---- the ground went soggy and that was the end of Ferdinand".

The Americans began the war with a surplus of Stuart light tanks. All told they would field over 1 dozen types of tanks. The year before, 1941, the British were using the Stuart lend lease tanks in North African deserts. Reports from that source established the inadequacy of the tank when armies were converting to medium sized armored tanks with heavier armor and larger cannon.  The reports were reinforced in 1942 when Americans in these same tanks faced the Afrika Korps (Operation Torch). Ultimately they were retired from the European theater, but did well in the Pacific theater at Guadalcanal , Tarawa and Saipan.The Stuart M3 was called the President (the "Grant" and the "Lee").  Stuart 1 and the little beefier Stuart 5 were less than 15 feet long, and some of the Stuart 5 models carried a 75mm guns. Its size lent to a 36 MPH rate. Its range was 70 miles.

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             Stuart M1 used by British in North Africa

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                             Stuart M5

The Sherman series medium tank became the U.S. workhorse. About 50,000 of Sherman series were built. Many went to Britain and about 8,000 to Russia under lend lease. This M4 medium tank ran on a Ford 8 cylinder liquid cooled 450 HP engine.

It first engaged the enemy in North Africa (1942) and its principal opponent was the Panzer IV. Each had 75mm guns with a turning turret and a 5 man crew. The Sherman had alternate rubber road tires mounted on each side of the treads. The Sherman's presence in Africa presaged the end of American employment of the Stuart tank in Europe.

At the second battle of El Alamein (Oct 23-Nov 4 1942) in the North African desert, the British and Americans threw 1,000 tanks into the battle including a preponderant number of Shermans. The Germans countered  with about 500 panzers. The Allies took the victory and the Germans and Italians had lost well over 400 tanks.

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The German military designers and engineers in 1943 were able to achieve the production of 2 superior tanks, the medium panther and heavy tiger. Combined the German war machine was able to produce about 8,000 units. Their 88mm guns dominated tank on tank battles. They had the unique quality of turning in place to immediately face the enemy while the Sherman had a longer turning arc decreasing their mobility.

When the Sherman crews complained that their shells bounced off the heavy armor of the  German tanks, General Patton advanced a new strategy to support his belief in the Sherman tank. He suggested that the crew first hit the German tank with a high explosive  projectile and then follow with a white phosphorous shell that was an incendiary that would ignite any excess oil or gas on the enemy tank and create the dreaded fire in the cabin. That seemed to work well.

When the enemy  climbed through the hatch to escape burning, the opposing tank gunners would machine gun the soldiers escaping the conflagration. Neither side had any compunction with this strategy.

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                              Panther                                                                         Tiger

The Tiger's armor was heavier as was their  big gun.


The Nazi ally in the Pacific Theater of operations was much less enthusiastic about tank warfare.The Japanese had determined that their interests and resources were better applied to investment in naval, air and amphibious equipment. Their light tank was ineffective and often not introduced in the island campaigns and mostly appeared in the early years of the war. Nevertheless, their arsenal had produced 12 types including prewar designs. Below: Type 95

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On the D Day invasion landing in Normandy (June 6, 1944), the Americans began landing the first of their 5 armored divisions in addition to off loading lesser amounts of British and Canadian tanks: light tanks 1,141 and medium 5,083. They faced 1347 German tanks. However, only one panzer division was near the coast. General Erwin Rommel had foreseen the need for more tanks, but was overruled by Hitler who insisted on holding the main panzer divisions in reserve and believed the Normandy landings were a diversion from the real invasion at Calais. 

On the British beachhead, code name---Sword Beach, their troops faced about 30 panzers that had organized a counterattack. They were repulsed by artillery fire from the Ally ships off shore. As the British moved inland, the Germans became aware of the Allies deception and that Normandy was the main invasion target. They threw 6 1/2 armored divisions against the British and Canadians as they advanced inland toward the City of Caen. Lt. General Bernard Montgomery led these forces and underestimated the German defenses. It was not until mid July that three British tank divisions were able to defeat the Germans south of Caen. What Montgomery planned to accomplish in one week, took over one month.

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The planners of the Normandy invasion (Operation Overlord) underestimated potential tank losses. In the three month period June to August 1944, actual losses exceeded 25%. The Germans lost about 500 tanks in the same period.

The Sherman tank, highly favored by General George S. Patton, formed the spearhead of the armored advances. Within days of landing in Normandy, Patton's 3rd Army began hooking north (Operation Cobra) through the Loire Valley intent on denying retreating German forces a defensive line on the Seine River. In a continuous 25 day advance, his tanks had covered 300 miles with only light pressure from the Germans.

click to enlarge        1st Army moving with Patton tanks

www.battleofnormandytours.com

Our British friends and ally have constructed a significant web site that adds information to this discussion of tanks.

http://adayinatank.co.uk/the-tanks/#facts

The liberation of Paris, August 25, 1944, is in good part the story of tank warfare. The interesting views of the combatants is a story well portrayed in this video.

                                                                                                                      World War 2 Weapons

Mines

In 1944, the Germans anticipated an invasion that would attempt to breach the Atlantic Wall they had constructed with fortifications running from Spain through Holland. General Erwin Rommel, now Field Marshal, well aware of the threat spoke to his chief engineer:

"------I want mines that detonate when a wire is tripped, mines that explode when a wire is cut; mines that can be remotely controlled and mines that will exploded when a beam of light is interrupted---"

An agreed upon estimate approximates that land mines were deployed in the multi millions. Basically there were anti-personnel mines and anti-tank mines.The latter were generally detonated by a heavy weight and the former with lower explosive power that fired out steel ball bearings in all directions about waist high. The Brits referred to this "S" mine as a "Bouncing Betty".

In February 1943, The Americans were suffering a stinging loss and retreat at the Kasserine Pass, Tunisia. A few months later the American General Lesley McNair remarked, "The enemy's tremendous application of land mines makes them almost a new arm of combat".

Both type devices could be exploded with delayed fuzes or trip wires.

General Rommel ordered the installation of  a half million mines around El Alamein in 1942. The British retaliated in kind. The idea was to reduce the mobility of the tanks in the desert. Tourists have been discouraged from entering the area 70 plus years later.

The German anti-tank mine could also be detonated by personnel weighing 100 pounds. Weight on the hinged cover--about 18" by 14" wooden box-- would lower onto a lever connected to a detonator. Its power could destroy the tank treads or a small vehicle.

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        World War 2 Weapons

The array of anti-personnel devices was extensive. The German "S' mine is far left. The Japanese even used a terracotta shell.

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The Axis powers were particularly innovative in preparing booby trap mines. The Germans  hid it in potential battlefield souvenirs; Luger pistol, field glasses or a body. The Japanese, with supply lines lengthened or cut, would hide grenades surrounded by metal fragments in hollowed coconuts or ceremonial swords attached to trip wires.

All the armies developed detection tools. Some used expendable prisoners even infantrymen. Machine guns raked opened fields. Any device or animal would be used to clear safe passage through a field. Tanks used a variety of extensions to test the ground MANY CAM FULL :


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See Content box above:

Part 2 : World War 2 Aircraft

Part 3:  World War 2 Weapons the Navy

American Wars | Causes of World War 2 | World War 2 Weapons

Top of World War 2 Weapons

Chieftain Casemate Test Rig CTR - Tank Encyclopedia

Brad Pitt plays the commander of a five-man crew in a U.S. Sherman tank near the end of World War II in the film “Fury”. Credit: Courtesy Sony Pictures Entertainment

Sometimes a “good enough” military technology can achieve victory over better military technologies. Such a fact probably gave very little comfort to the five-man crews of U.S. Sherman tanks who faced an uphill battle against more powerful German tanks during World War II. British tank crews gave Sherman tanks the unflattering nickname “Ronson” — a grim reference to the Ronson cigarette lighter’s ad slogan “lights first every time” and the unfortunate fact that Sherman tanks often burned after taking just one hit. But that did not stop the U.S. from supplying tens of thousands of Sherman tanks to U.S., British, Canadian and other Allied forces, tipping the scales against the smaller numbers of elite German tanks on World War II battlefields.

The armchair historian debate over the Sherman’s war legacy could blaze up once more with the new war film “Fury”, starring actor Brad Pitt as a U.S. tank commander leading a five-man Sherman crew deep within Germany in the closing days of World War II. Some historians and military history enthusiasts still scoff at the capabilities of Sherman tanks when compared with the German Panther and Tiger tanks that carried both more armor and more firepower. But the U.S. strategy of mass-producing a reliable tank in large numbers should not be underestimated, according to the book “Armored Thunderbolt: The U.S. Army Sherman in World War II” by Steven Zaloga, a military historian and senior analyst at the Teal Group Corporation. The tale of the Sherman tank’s road to victory represents a history lesson with implications for the future of warfare.

“In battle, quantity has a quality all its own,” Zaloga writes. “Warfare in the industrial age requires a careful balance between quality and quantity.”

The idea of overwhelming an enemy with quantity rather than quality may seem at odds with a U.S. military that has usually emphasized having the best weapons and vehicles since World War II. But finding a balance between quantity and quality could prove a useful lesson for the modern U.S. military that is considering whether to invest in swarms of unmanned drones and robots that could supplement or replace more expensive manned aircraft, vehicles and ships, according to a new report by the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), a military research institution in Washington, D.C.

“Overwhelming adversaries through greater numbers is a viable strategy for technology competition, and was used successfully by the United States in World War II,” writes Paul Scharre, a fellow at CNAS,  in a preview for the new report titled “Robotics on the Battlefield Part II: The Coming Swarm.”

Quality vs. Quantity

In the case of the Sherman, the U.S. generally struck a good balance between quality and quantity despite the tank’s relative weakness in firepower and armor, Zaloga notes in his book. Sherman tanks were well-designed for mass production and engineered with a rugged reliability that allowed them to keep rolling and fighting far longer than their German counterparts without breaking down. By comparison, “overengineered” German tanks such as the Panther — Germany’s main battle tank during the later phase of the war — were expensive to produce and difficult to maintain under battlefield conditions. The cost and complexity both limited production and led to a high rate of mechanical breakdown on battlefields, which limited the impact such elite tanks could have on the war.

Troops of the 60th Infantry Regiment advance into a Belgian town under the protection of a Sherman tank. Credit: Sgt. William Spangle, September 9, 1944 / Courtesy U.S. National Archives

That situation only became more desperate for Germany as Allied airpower bombed factories and disrupted supply lines. A growing wartime shortage of materials such as molybdenum — combined with steel to give tank armor its durability — led to more brittle protection for German tanks. Slaves working in German tank factories deliberately sabotaged the oil and fuel lines of armored vehicles. German mechanics also had to deal with a growing shortage of spare parts to repair the tanks.

By mid summer 1944, the Allied forces had 4,500 Sherman tanks in France, representing more than three times the size of the German panzer (tank) force facing them. That numbers advantage meant that the Allies had enough tanks to support infantry attacks against enemy defenses and additional tanks to act as a mobile armored force ready to exploit breakthroughs in the German battle line. By comparison, German infantry rarely had enough tank support and relied more on a wide array of armored vehicles such as assault guns and tank destroyers with fixed guns that lacked turrets to turn.

“The Sherman offered a better balance than the Panther, which, because of its cost and complexity, could be built in enough quantities to equip only one of the two panzer battalions in each panzer division,” Zaloga writes. “In contrast, there were so many Shermans that they not only filled out the U.S. and British armored divisions, but also were plentiful enough to provide each U.S. infantry division with a tank battalion.”

Outgunned in a Duel

The numbers advantage gave the Allies a strategic edge, but it didn’t make Sherman tank crews feel any better when they had to face heavier German tanks on the battlefield. Most Sherman tanks had 75mm and 76mm cannons that usually failed to penetrate the thick front armor of panzers such as the Panther or Tiger tanks at most ranges, whereas German 75mm or 88 mm cannons could penetrate the thinner armor of Sherman tanks from the front at long ranges. The sense of being outgunned and vulnerable led many U.S. tank crews to call every German tank they faced a “Tiger” and every anti-tank gun a dreaded “88”, even though German combat records showed that U.S. tanks in those specific encounters were usually facing weaker types of German armored vehicles and anti-tank guns.

Sherman tank crews paid the price in blood to learn how to deal with the German Panthers and Tigers by using the Sherman’s mobility to maneuver into a position where they could fire upon the weaker side and rear armor of the German tanks. But they still encountered frustrating scenarios such as the one faced by Sgt. Francis Baker, commander of Sherman tank with an improved 76mm gun, during a battle with German Mark V Panther tanks on Nov. 20, 1944, as recounted in Zaloga’s book.

“Ordering my gunner to fire at the closest tank, which was approximately 800 yards away, he placed one right in the side which was completely visible to me,” Baker wrote. “To my amazement and disgust I watched the shell bounce off the side. My gunner fired at least six more rounds at the vehicle hitting it from turret to the track. This German tank, knowing that I possibly would be supported by a tank destroyer, started to pull away. I was completely surprised to see it moving after receiving seven hits from my gun.”

U.S. tank crews also couldn’t help but feel cynical and discouraged when some U.S. commanders continued to boast of the Sherman being the best tank in the war, Zaloga writes. That sense of confidence and complacency among senior Allied commanders only began to change during the Battle of the Bulge in Dec. 1944, when the desperate Germans launched an armored counterattack led by Panthers and Tigers in the Ardennes region of Belgium and Luxembourg. While the Battle of the Bulge raged on, Hanson Baldwin, a New York Times war correspondent, wrote an influential story published on Jan. 5, 1945, titled “New German Tanks Prove Superior to Ours — Inquiry by Congress Urged.”

“Why, at this late stage in the war, are American tanks inferior to the enemy’s” Baldwin asked. “That they are inferior the fighting in Normandy showed and the recent battles in the Ardennes have again emphatically demonstrated. This has been denied, explained away and hushed up, but the men who are fighting our tanks against much heavier, better armored and more powerfully gunned German monsters know the truth. It is high time that Congress got at the bottom of a situation that does no credit to the War Department.”

Tank Evolution

Why did the U.S. mostly fail to build better tanks beyond the Sherman to deal with more powerful German tanks during World War II The answer provided by Zaloga represents a complex stew of misguided military doctrine, a relative lack of U.S. combat experience against German tanks, and the failure to use available intelligence to predict future battlefield threats.

Soldiers of the 55th Armored Infantry Battalion and tank of the 22nd Tank Battalion, move through smoke filled street. Wernberg, Germany. Credit: Pvt. Joseph Scrippens, April 22, 1945 / Courtesy U.S. National Archives

First, U.S. military doctrine emphasized the idea that tanks should act as a mobile, armored force capable of racing through holes in enemy lines to wreak havoc on infantry, artillery and other softer targets as they outflanked and encircled the enemy. The doctrine suggested that U.S. tanks should never actually fight enemy tanks — a dangerously unrealistic assumption — and should instead leave enemy tanks to be dealt with by a separate group of “tank destroyers” consisting of vehicle-mounted or towed anti-tank guns. That institutional attitude was biased against creating U.S. tanks with more armor and more powerful guns capable of taking on new generations of German tanks. (U.S. tank destroyers also performed poorly against the improved German tanks until the U.S. Army belatedly equipped some with more powerful guns.)

U.S. military doctrine also neglected the critical battlefield role of tanks supporting infantry assaults against enemy defenses. The U.S. Army initially preferred to keep its tanks grouped in large divisions as armored cavalry ready to exploit breakthroughs by charging into the enemy’s rear — a role that was well-suited for the mobile and rugged Sherman tank. By comparison, the Germans, British and Soviets all developed a second class of heavier infantry-support tanks separate from the first class of cavalry tanks. Such infantry-support tanks, such as the German Tiger tanks, required heavier armor to survive direct assaults against enemy defenses consisting of anti-tank guns.

At the same time, the U.S. Army was lulled into a sense of complacency by its early World War II combat experiences in North Africa and Italy. That’s because the Germans deployed relatively few Tiger and Panther tanks in those theaters of war from 1943-1944 — they were pouring most of their best tanks and troops into their increasingly desperate struggle against the Soviet Red Army on the Eastern Front. Both the German Panther and Tiger tanks were developed as part of an arms race against new generations of Soviet tanks such as the excellent T-34. (The latter also represented the most widely-produced tank of the entire war.)

The Soviets did share intelligence on the new German tanks with the U.S. and British armies. But U.S. commanders did not demand better armor or firepower for their tanks, failing to envision how the Germans would deploy growing numbers of the next-generation Panther tank in particular. Their complacency about the Sherman being up to the job was fed by the fact that the Germans had not used their best anti-tank guns early on in the North Africa or Italy campaigns. They also failed to anticipate the growing threat from German infantry anti-tank weapons modeled on captured U.S. bazookas — the two-man panzerschreck and one-man panzerfaust — until they confronted many more of those weapons after Allied forces invaded France in 1944.

For a lesson in what the U.S. could have done differently, we only need to look at how the British military reacted to the same pieces of intelligence, Zaloga writes. The British wisely developed more powerful anti-tank guns and also created a new version of their own Sherman tanks, nicknamed the Firefly, with a more powerful gun to deal with the German Panthers and Tigers prowling Western Europe.

Good Enough Tanks

When the New York Times published its Jan. 1945 story about the superiority of German tanks, the U.S. public and Congress were confronted with the unpleasant fact that their boys were outgunned on the battlefield. U.S. commanders suddenly became much more interested in figuring out ways to upgrade the armor and guns of existing Sherman tanks and speeding up development of a more powerful heavy tank, the T-26 Pershing, which wouldn’t arrive until 1945 when most German resistance had already collapsed. Much of this scramble was too little, too late, as Zaloga describes it. But the U.S. Army did upgrade the Sherman tank in smaller ways throughout the war, such as making newer versions of Shermans with better ammunition stowage that didn’t burn so easily, improving the Sherman’s main gun and providing better armor-piercing ammunition, and making a more heavily armored version of the Sherman tank for infantry support missions.

A line of M4 Sherman tanks and M3 Grant tanks at Ft. Knox near Louisville, Kentucky in June 1942. Credit: Alfred T. Palmer / Courtesy Library of Congress

Fortunately, the weakness of Sherman tanks in duels against elite German Panther and Tiger tanks didn’t actually matter much in the grand scheme because duels between large groups of tanks were rare experiences for the U.S. Army during the war. Feared German weapons such as the Tiger tanks and 88mm antitank guns only existed in relatively small numbers. More common German foes such as the PzKpfw IV tank, 75mm antitank guns, the StuG III assault gun, and German “panzerjager” tank destroyers could still kill Shermans from ordinary combat ranges of 1,000 yards or less, but Sherman tanks fought those foes on more equal footing. If anything, Sherman tank crews spent the vast majority of their battles shooting at non-armored targets such as buildings or enemy troops.

The technical superiority of German tanks also did not necessarily guarantee easy victories for the Germans in tank duels. U.S. and British military studies in the later years of the war found that the single most important factor in tank duels was which side spotted the other first, engaged first and landed the first hits. Such scenarios tended to favor defenders, which is why German tanks on the attack suffered about as heavily as Sherman tanks on the attack. But such situations also favored well-trained and experienced tank crews who knew how to ambush or surprise enemy tanks. Even Panther and Tiger tanks could easily fall prey to Sherman tanks striking from the side or rear. (Zaloga also observes that the myth of the U.S. Army needing five Sherman tanks to knock out a single Panther or Tiger tank appears to have no basis in World War II combat records.)

In the end, Zaloga concludes that the Sherman’s good qualities of being mechanically reliable and easy to mass produce outweighed the tank’s disadvantages on the battlefield against the elite German tanks. He also points out that the Sherman tanks represented just one part of a well-honed U.S. war machine that included the hard-fighting infantry, excellent artillery support, and close air support from the U.S. Army Air Force. In fact, the U.S. Army spent almost six times as much on aircraft as tanks from 1941 to 1945 — $36 billion versus just $6 billion — in a successful effort to dominate the skies and cripple Germany’s wartime industry through strategic bombing raids.

“The Sherman succeeded on the World War II battlefield not because it was the best tank, but because it was part of the most modern and effective army,” Zaloga writes. “The U.S. Army did not insist on fielding the best tank, but it did insist on fielding enough tanks that were good enough Photoshop C55

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