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An issue with the future of tank crew

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@Unreasonable: I am not going to argue with you any longer simply because neither me nor you have been in WW2 and we can only rely on what we have read. I agree with you that especially Russian tanks did engage soldiers (and the other way round) and that a tank game NOT simulating infantry is missing some vital point. 

However, the main target of tanks is other tanks, and a game that wants to depict the Tank Battle of Kursk aka the biggest tank battle in WW2 should focus on exactly this: tank battle. 

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1 hour ago, Preacherman said:

@Unreasonable: I am not going to argue with you any longer simply because neither me nor you have been in WW2 and we can only rely on what we have read. I agree with you that especially Russian tanks did engage soldiers (and the other way round) and that a tank game NOT simulating infantry is missing some vital point. 

However, the main target of tanks is other tanks, and a game that wants to depict the Tank Battle of Kursk aka the biggest tank battle in WW2 should focus on exactly this: tank battle. 

 

It is true that I have not been in WW2 but I am not just relying on what I have read: I am also relying on what I was taught at Sandhurst and in conversation with contemporaries who were actual tank commanders.  The main target of tanks was not other tanks - however often this is repeated on this or other gaming forums.  The target of tanks was originally infantry: it then evolved to be whatever got in the way, which meant having an anti-armour capability. While it is true that this meant that the most effective anti-tank weapon was sometimes another tank, that does not mean that tanks were a tank's main target. The vast majority of tank actions in WW2 did not feature tank vs tank fighting. 

 

Kursk - even Prokhorovka - was not just a tank vs tank battle: the Soviet tanks were supported by infantry and initially ran into German Panzer Grenadiers. The battle as a whole featured balanced  formations, especially on the German side, with a full range of recce, AT, artillery, tank and infantry formations.  Indeed it was something of a fluke since the Soviets generally avoided attacking German armour formations, preferring to launch their tanks at the weak German and Axis Infantry. 

 

By all means enjoy the game: just do not pretend that it is anything other than that. 

 

 

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“The tank’s purpose is to bring machine-guns to bear on the enemy’s unprotected rear, using speed and surprise.”

– General George S. Patton

 

“Logistics is the ball and chain of armored warfare.”

– Heinz Guderian

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@Unreasonable: Somehow I seem to realize where your name comes from… 😉

 

I do know about tank history and yes, I am aware of the fact that the original idea was born in WW1. The British sticked to WW1 breakthrough doctine even in WW2 (the Churchill design tells it all), which made their early war tanks obsolete. By introducing fast movement warfare ("Blitzkrieg") there was a new role for tanks. 

 

You wrote (Quote):

"While it is true that this meant that the most effective anti-tank weapon was sometimes another tank, that does not mean that tanks were a tank's main target. The vast majority of tank actions in WW2 did not feature tank vs tank fighting." 

 

Any source for that? What, according to you, was the tanks´ MAIN TARGET then?

Truth is, beginning with WW2 tanks have been developed and designed IN RESPONSE to OTHER tanks: 

When the T-34 emerged on the battlefield, it was a shock for the German Pz III and IV, so the Panther was designed as a better copy of the T-34.

When the KV-1 was unpenable, the idea was born to put an 8.8mm into a tank - the Tiger was Born. The Tiger II ("King Tiger") was another tank merely designed around a gun - a gun that was needed to pen armour, not to kill infantry. 

So all in all, I dont know About ANY tank that was designed with anything else in mind than the performance of ENEMY tanks. 

 

I totally agree with you that fighting against infantry HAS occured all the time, but it is definitely NOT the main target or concept of tanks. 

That´s all I am saying. And no, I do not pretend that Tank Crew is anything other than a game. (Why would I?)

Edited by Preacherman
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15 hours ago, unreasonable said:

 

It is minor compared to a penetrating hit - unless they are killed after bailing out, it also means no crew losses.  It can be easily repaired by the most forward echelon of the repair organization, or sometimes by the crew itself if they have spare links.  So yes, it is absolutely minor damage compared to everything else that might immobilize a tank, which is the context here.   

 

mmmkay. Go and tell any tanker that track loss is minor damage - your tank has just become a giant, expensive pillbox that yes, will take a good amount of time to fix. This is / was part of the problem with the Soviet cold war MBT designs - less guys in the tank to fix said track damage, so a longer time out of action. 

Edited by LukeFF
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@Preacherman I wouldn't take the words of someone who crewed a heavy tank, and specifically a heavy tank very well optimized for killing other tanks like the Tiger I was, as indicative of the war at large. I don't know specifics for the Germans, but I know American M4 medium crews (specifically for 75mm M3-armed tanks) caried something like 70% of their ammunition load as HE, which I would take as a pretty good indication that they were expecting to be engaging things that weren't tanks more often than things that were tanks, and I'll preemptively remind that the idea that the M4 medium wasn't intended to fight tanks is demonstrably false.

 

also, @unreasonable, you seem to maybe know a bit more specifically about German tank doctrine than me, and you called me on the Panzer III/IV thing. The way it's always been explained to me is that the Panzer III was intended to deal with enemy AFVs and such (hence it's higher velocity, lower caliber gun and overall smaller design), while the Panzer IV was initially intended primarily as a tank to support the infantry that went forward to become the primary medium tank for the Germans due to its larger turret ring and overall larger dimensions allowing for more upgrade potential (i.e. the 75mm gun on later variants). I freely admit I know far less about the Panzer III and IV than I probably should given their importance in the war, so it's possible that might be one of those popular history myths I've picked up thinking it was a fact.

Edited by Skeleboners
correcting typos
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54 minutes ago, Skeleboners said:

 

also, @unreasonable, you seem to maybe know a bit more specifically about German tank doctrine than me, and you called me on the Panzer III/IV thing. The way it's always been explained to me is that the Panzer III was intended to deal with enemy AFVs and such (hence it's higher velocity, lower caliber gun and overall smaller design), while the Panzer IV was initially intended primarily as a tank to support the infantry that went forward to become the primary medium tank for the Germans due to its larger turret ring and overall larger dimensions allowing for more upgrade potential (i.e. the 75mm gun on later variants). I freely admit I know far less about the Panzer III and IV than I probably should given their importance in the war, so it's possible that might be one of those popular history myths I've picked up thinking it was a fact.

 

It is true that the Pz IV was originally designed for close infantry support: with a low velocity gun optimized for HE.  But Pz Division organization called for each tank battalion to have one Pz IV company (a target rarely reached) so the tank was operated in close conjunction with the Pz IIs and IIIs and their supporting Panzer Grenadiers as part of the integrated Pz Division.  Pz IIIs carried an HE shell and two MGs: they were capable against soft targets, the larger HE shell really comes into play against bunkers. Pz IIIs would be almost as effective in shock action against unfortified infantry positions as Pz IVs. You only have to see how the British Matildas - mostly armed with just one MG - cut through the German infantry at Arras like a knife through butter to see that any armoured vehicle is a mortal threat to infantry in the days before effective hand-held AT weapons.

 

What happened before, and especially during the war was that planners realized that in their primary role as an offensive breakthrough weapon, tanks would on occasion bump into other AFVs - tanks and armoured cars - and need to be able to deal with them, especially in the context of local counter-attacks. While the German preference was to lure large enemy armour formations into AT killing zones, this would not always be possible, and anyway takes time to arrange.  Hence the introduction of a main gun which could penetrate armour on the Pz III. But this did not mean that the role of the tank had changed at all, merely that their capabilities needed to be upgraded to carry out their original role. This in turn led to the armour-gun arms race. So the tank designs tended to converge on a common design philosophy with progressively heavier armour and guns. But they were still designed to be offensive weapons: and that means being able to take out whatever gets in the way.  You are right that the larger chassis of the Mk IV certainly made it better able to cope with the constant upgrades.

 

In an interesting contrast early British tanks were armed with the 2 pounder (if they had anything more than a MG) which was a good AT weapon for it's time but lacked an HE round.  British designers knew that this was unacceptable - since killing tanks is not the primary role of a tank - and of course later British tanks carried a gun with a good HE round. British tanks also tended to get larger. 

 

In contrast to tanks, tank destroyers are optimized for AT work as a defensive weapon - with limited traverse they are not suitable for breaking into and through heavily defended positions.  

 

5 hours ago, LukeFF said:

 

mmmkay. Go and tell any tanker that track loss is minor damage - your tank has just become a giant, expensive pillbox that yes, will take a good amount of time to fix. This is / was part of the problem with the Soviet cold war MBT designs - less guys in the tank to fix said track damage, so a longer time out of action. 

 

The context was IIRC about gameplay and could there be a mechanic that allowed tanks that were immobilized - but the crew not killed - to be repaired so that players could rejoin somehow. There is  clearly a big difference in the relative degree of damage between losing a track and losing your crew: or for that matter losing your engine to a hull hit.  On the scale of bad things that can happen to a tank, losing a track really is minor.

 

6 hours ago, Preacherman said:

@Unreasonable: Somehow I seem to realize where your name comes from… 😉

 

I had thought that you might find it interesting to hear from someone who knows what he is talking about, such as an Army officer, since you clearly have not put your reading into a wider perspective.   Let me explain for you one last time and then I am finished answering your posts. You are confusing technical capabilities with tactical purpose.

 

Tanks are an offensive weapon. They need an AT capability since they may meet other tanks. They need radios since they may need to communicate. They need storage for food and water since their crews need to survive.The purpose of a tank is not to kill other tanks, any more than it is to communicate by radio, or carry rations.

 

In the strategic offensive, the main purpose of a tank is to break into and through enemy positions and then wreck his logistics and HQ units and encircle enemy formations pinned at the front, in conjunction with motorized/armoured infantry. To do this it needs a range of capabilities, and various variants of tanks were more or less capable in firepower, defence and mobility.  Early on there was a tendency to specialize tanks more in one capability than another, but over time the designs became homogenized into something similar to a post war MBT.  


When on the strategic defensive, the main purpose of the tank is to counter attack enemy forces that have broken your own front, and destroy them: preferably by encirclement. Given that such breakthoughs are usually led by tanks this is the most common tank on tank scenario.  Since the Germans were on the strategic defensive most of the time after Stalingrad, this is why their tanks were involved in armour clashes relatively often and over reliance on the writings of Tiger commanders will give you a very unrepresentative view of the work of tanks in WW2.
 

 

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@Unreasonable: Thanks for your interesting answer. Please let´s not forget how the whole debate started: I for one felt that infantry though undoubtedly adding to Immersion and historical accuracy was not the main feature I would like to see in a tank sim that aims at recreating the battle of Kursk. Game-wise I dont need an M4 Scenario in which killing soldiers is the main objective. Speaking of the M4...the Sherman was designed as an infantry support Vehicle right from scratch, and it was outgunned both by Pz IV and T-34. Furthermore, from a gaming point of view infantry is mostly a nuisiance because either they are badly animated cannon fodder and very difficult to hit at the same time or they sit invisbly behind a bush killing you with a Bazooka.

Edited by Preacherman

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4 hours ago, Preacherman said:

Speaking of the M4...the Sherman was designed as an infantry support Vehicle right from scratch, and it was outgunned both by Pz IV and T-34.

 

This isn't really the place for arguing about history vs. pop history revisionism, But I'm a Shermaboo so I have to. The Sherman wasn't an "infantry support vehicle" any more than any other tank at any point in its development or service, barring specific variants like potentially the 105mm howitzer armed models. The M3 75mm gun has comparable anti-armor performance to the T-34's F-34, with both being able to deal with the majority of German armor within average combat ranges, and both being able to defeat the German heavies at close range or with flank/rear shots. The KwK.40 outperforms both by a healthy margin. It's true that, ultimately, the goal of the M4 Medium was to support the rifleman, but that's true of literally every piece of equipment in the US military at some level. The idea of the Sherman as a glorified assault gun is in the same realm as the people who claim the tank was a death trap despite it being one of the more survivable tanks of WWII.

 

Also, on the Panzer III as a vehicle designed to destroy other AFVs, I'm actually going to stick to that point. I've found plenty of discussion that, indeed, one of its roles as designed was to destroy enemy AFVs, a role which it wasn't competent at until the 50mm which was apparently going to be its original armament as designed was fitted to it.

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I dont know what you are getting at, but even US historians seem to agree that the M4 was no match against other tanks at that time. Surely mass production and upgrades made the M4 a useful tank, but thats a different thing. If you had the choice to man an M4 or a T34 or a Pz IV in a real war, which one would you pick? 

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Yes the Sherman was a realy good design. And how well they managed the production and improvments at the same time is Impresiv!

 

For everybody who wants to know more about the sherman read:

R. P. Hunnicutt

Sherman: 

A History of the American Medium Tank 

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4 minutes ago, Preacherman said:

I dont know what you are getting at, but even US historians seem to agree that the M4 was no match against other tanks at that time. Surely mass production and upgrades made the M4 a useful tank, but thats a different thing. If you had the choice to man an M4 or a T34 or a Pz IV in a real war, which one would you pick? 

I am from germany and i would pick the Sherman!

 

You may ask why?

1) its always works no other tank could drive so long whitout anything breaking down 

 

2) it has the highest chance for the crew to get out alive when hit of all tanks used in ww2

 

3) its suspension was the second best on rough ground. only the Panther cloud move faster over rough ground and still over a stable enough  base for the crew to watch what happens outside through your optics. 

 

4) Well designed layout enables the crew to keep a high rate of fire 

 

5) it was very often improved and the improvments made did get to the units in large numbers 

 

6) esay to repair which helps a lot in keeping a large number in the fight 

 

7) reasonable well armored and the armor used was always of good quality. This is important not only to prevent shots to penetrate the plate but it also does reduce the number of splinters from the armor plate when it gets penetrated. 

 

I think thats enough reasons for the Sherman. 

 

Also i know of some german Panzer 4 Crews that fought against shermans in normandy and they all agree that the only thing that saved there live was that they had more expirience in fighting than many of the american crews. Combat range was often below 300m and because of the limited space it was mostly 1 vs 1. The faster tank crew survived! 

 

That sayed i like the Panzer 4 and Panther too but if one has to pick one and looks at each one closely only two are left and thats the Panther and the Sherman 76mm 

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9 hours ago, Skeleboners said:

 

This isn't really the place for arguing about history vs. pop history revisionism, But I'm a Shermaboo so I have to. The Sherman wasn't an "infantry support vehicle" any more than any other tank at any point in its development or service, barring specific variants like potentially the 105mm howitzer armed models. The M3 75mm gun has comparable anti-armor performance to the T-34's F-34, with both being able to deal with the majority of German armor within average combat ranges, and both being able to defeat the German heavies at close range or with flank/rear shots. The KwK.40 outperforms both by a healthy margin. It's true that, ultimately, the goal of the M4 Medium was to support the rifleman, but that's true of literally every piece of equipment in the US military at some level. The idea of the Sherman as a glorified assault gun is in the same realm as the people who claim the tank was a death trap despite it being one of the more survivable tanks of WWII.

 

Also, on the Panzer III as a vehicle designed to destroy other AFVs, I'm actually going to stick to that point. I've found plenty of discussion that, indeed, one of its roles as designed was to destroy enemy AFVs, a role which it wasn't competent at until the 50mm which was apparently going to be its original armament as designed was fitted to it.

 

I agree about the Sherman: a very good tank with a bad press.   On the Pz III I agree that one of it's roles was to destroy enemy armour, since the Mk I and II which made up the bulk of the armour in the early battles, and still about 1/3 off all German tanks during Barbarossa, had little (Mk II) or no (Mk I) AP capability.  So if a German panzer battalion ran into enemy armour in the early years, naturally the Mk III company would be called forwards.  No one wanted an entire advance to be halted by a couple of LT-35s or Cruiser Mk Is.    But the intention was always to replace all of the Mk Is and IIs (except for a few recce vehicles), and the overall purpose and intended use of the panzer division did not change at all. It was simply more capable once the Mk Is and IIs were phased out.

 

In the case of a towed Anti-Tank gun, purpose and capabilities are obviously the same: it could destroy tanks and was deployed with the intention of doing just that. But in the case of tanks this is not so: the intended role of a tank is wider reaching and required a range of capabilities, either in one tank (the eventual MBT solution) or in a team of more specialized tanks, including mobility, protection and firepower in the right balance, and including an anti-tank capability. Destroying enemy tanks is just a means to an end for a tank, it should not be an end in itself.    

 

 

 

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Yes, very logical, unreasonable and thank you for the info on Pz tanks. The single fact that Shermans and British tank divisions got slaughtered at Market Garden and post 06.1944 hints that the sole reason wasn`t that those were worthless tanks. A tank is a machine of a very wide combat context so to say, and antitank combat is just a small part of it`s objectives.

 

Some posts might aswell be eye openers to those who are not literate in history of WWII tank combat. Maybe Tank Crew will go to show that T34/Panther/Cromwell is not really better than the Sherman.

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On 8/19/2018 at 3:03 AM, unreasonable said:

 

It is minor compared to a penetrating hit - unless they are killed after bailing out, it also means no crew losses.  It can be easily repaired by the most forward echelon of the repair organization, or sometimes by the crew itself if they have spare links.  So yes, it is absolutely minor damage compared to everything else that might immobilize a tank, which is the context here.   

But once a tank is immobilized by a track being lost, aren't they then a very vulnerable unmovable target?

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Something that would help the immersion factor without overly complex ai.

 

 

Trench objects prefilled with men.

 

 

Gives us an actual front line, or pockets of resistance. Big trenches, small trenches, joinable in the editor. Easy enough to intersperse the trench with AT positions and make fortified positions and lines as in Kursk and any other battle.

 

Add tank traps and you end up with a decent fortified line that makes tanking more interesting and challenging. Flanking becomes a tactic. The need to find or blast a gap through a line. Have the AI bail from the trenches or surrender in certain scenarios, tanks overunning the trenches for example. The AI is going to need to offer a modicum of resistance, even just offering rifle and mg fire to spice up the battle a bit.

 

I'm all for immersion as so far the ground game is very stale. Yes it's early days and the maps atm don't offer much in the way of hull down positions or chewed up areas you can sit in and plop away at the enemy. Hoping the new map solves that:)

 

I think something like the above offers at least a bit more life to a ground mission or campaign and would not be a far reach as opposed to attempting to add infantry AI working with player controlled vehicles.

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On 8/20/2018 at 3:57 PM, Preacherman said:

I dont know what you are getting at, but even US historians seem to agree that the M4 was no match against other tanks at that time. Surely mass production and upgrades made the M4 a useful tank, but thats a different thing. If you had the choice to man an M4 or a T34 or a Pz IV in a real war, which one would you pick? 

The M4 Medium's M3 75mm gun, firing M61 APBC shot, could penetrate 86mm of 90deg face-hardened armor plate at 1000m, dropping of to 72mm of 90deg FHA at 2000m. For reference, the Panzer IV Ausf. G with applique armor had an armor thickness of 80mm at the hull front (at a nearly 90deg angle), 50mm at the turret face. For the most part, barring the German heavies, if a Sherman gunner saw a German tank, he could kill it.

 

For armor protection, the Sherman has 76mm of armor at 30deg on the turret face, 50mm on all other faces aside from the roof. The hull front was 50mm at 56deg from the vertical (though early-production examples had an inconsistent slope and notable weak points in front of the driver and assistant driver's positions), 38mm at the sides and rear. The level of protection offered against shots from the front is comparable or greater than late-production Panzer IVs when factoring in armor slope. 

 

So, just in terms of simple numbers for gun performance and armor protection, the M4 medium was very clearly a match for the bulk of what it would see on the battlefield. A tank isn't numbers, though, it's a vehicle that men have to live and fight in. The Sherman was a very driver-friendly vehicle for its time, with a reasonably roomy driver's compartment and a synchronized transmission (so, the necessity for the driver to double clutch or do some other trick to avoid grinding gears when shifting is eliminated). The turret was well laid out, and the tank commander was able to override the gunner and traverse the turret onto a target to allow him and his gunner to act as a hunter-killer team. The main gun on all production models of the Sherman other than the 105mm-armed variants was equipped with a single-axis stabilizer. The tank was easy to escape from if necessary, especially once the loader had a hatch added, and this contributes to surprisingly low crew casualties per knocked out vehicle (I haven't seen the exact numbers but I hear it was somewhere around 0.5-0.75 of a casualty per vehicle knocked out). Compare that to how horrifyingly cramped the interior of the T-34/76 was, and how difficult the vehicle was to drive (I don't know if the whole "mallet to smack the transmission into gear" thing is true, but I do know that it had a very odd and difficult to use transmission that would be hell on a driver in battle), maybe you'll start to see where I'm coming from.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Rjel said:

But once a tank is immobilized by a track being lost, aren't they then a very vulnerable unmovable target?

 

Yes they are, the crew will typically bail out if the tank is in the danger zone.  However, if the tank takes no further damage, you can expect it to be in action within 24 hours if it can be recovered at night or the tank's side end up controlling the battlefield.  Compare that with a pentrating shot that damages the engine, for instance: that would usually take longer than 24 hour to repair.

 

The British used categories of "ready for action", "repair in < 24 hours", and "repair in > 24 hours" on their regular daily strength returns, so you can see that from the point of view of a tank unit commander, track loss would be in the minor damage category, provided that the tank can be recovered.

 

Just to add to @Skeleboners post above. Shermans were introduced to combat by the British in N.Africa in late 1942, at a time when most German tanks were still Mk IIIs. They were clearly superior at that time. By late 1944 they were about at the end of their development potential - but so was the Pz Mk IV which was in many ways inferior, while the Mk III was already completely obsolete.  Firefly Shermans were capable of killing Tigers at long ranges.

 

I do not think that anyone claims that in a one on one fight a Sherman is equal to a Panther or Tiger: but given the Sherman's advantages of cost of manufacture, reliability in reaching the battlefield and ease of repair, the Allies hardly ever had to go one on one. 

 

 

 

 

Edited by unreasonable

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1 hour ago, unreasonable said:

 

I do not think that anyone claims that in a one on one fight a Sherman is equal to a Panther or Tiger: but given the Sherman's advantages of cost of manufacture, reliability in reaching the battlefield and ease of repair, the Allies hardly ever had to go one on one. 

 

No but as already pointed out, for purely defensive assignment an accurate, penetrating cannon has more meaning than armor thickness/slope. If the German tank is able to engage its enemy earlier on and hit it, then it has clear advantage.

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A great discussion and one that is (especially from Unreasonable) much better at clearly describing what I was getting at in the other thread. Where I apparently came off as a demanding entitled overbearing anti-game jerk for my passionate (maybe too passionate) attempt to convince the devs to do what I wanted to make this game fit my requirements perfectly. 

 

I read a great book on the Sherman called "death traps" which is controversial to some who do not believe the authors first hand accounts. But it certainly showed the resilience of the Sherman in terms of getting them back into action fairly quickly and how reliable they were.

 

I also seem to remember that the US had heavy tanks ready to go but did not want to dedicate the cargo space to transport them at the time. They were confident I guess with the Sherman's numbers being useful all over the front against everything rather than focusing on tank vs tank actions that would have occurred much less commonly. Only much later did they deem it prudent for whatever reason (combat testing for post war designs perhaps?) to get some heavies over. The Pershing. Which only served in small numbers in the final months of the war. This tells I think a lot about what the Sherman crews were expected to fight even late in the war. Or was it that they just accepted the casualty rate of Shermans vs the untried green Panther, MKIV and Tiger crews of the late war and the sprinkling of veterans left?

 

I will continue to watch this game with interest. It always excites me when I see videos on it.

 

P.s. Unreasonable. You sound a lot like the Chieftain. Which made me think of this video.
At 18:03 the Chieftain explains why the US at least initially wanted tank destroyers to defeat attacking tanks and NOT Tanks to defend against tanks, thus saving the tanks for the attacking role. I know it did not always work out this way but it goes some way to explaining why tanks are not primarily for fighting other tanks and why on the defensive, pushing late war german tanks into the tank destroyer role in acts of desperation was not ideal for the tank. Possibly why counter attacks by German tanks were common in defence as well. The intended role of the Tank unlike infantry is not where possible to waste them taking on other tanks that neutralise your comparative advantage. Most tank missions ideally would simply be in the breakthrough or mobile support capacity with Anti-Tank (unlike modern MBTs) being .

 

 

Edited by [KG]Destaex

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1 minute ago, Mac_Messer said:

No but as already pointed out, for purely defensive assignment an accurate, penetrating cannon has more meaning than armor thickness/slope. If the German tank is able to engage its enemy earlier on and hit it, then it has clear advantage.

 

Of course - but if an army is assigning tanks to a purely defensive assignment it is just delaying the inevitable.  It is also a big "if". Later in the war (late 44?) the Germans were so short of vital materials (in this case tungsten IIRC, needed for toughening AP shot) that they restricted the range at which tanks should fire to 500m. Anyway, both US and UK armies had good artillery co-operation, (the US better), and would use smoke and HE barrage on defensive positions: once there were a few smoking wrecks or buildings the theoretical long range advantage is reduced considerably.

 

@[KG]Destaex I like the expression "comparative advantage" you use since I think it gets to the point:  using tanks defensively as an AT weapon is like using scissors against scissors.  Rock is better, scissors should be used against paper if possible.  (And then cut out the opposing player's heart. ;) )  Of course a well handled armoured division is using rock, paper and scissors in quick succession or together in a combined arms battle.  Using an armoured division in defense - as the Germans did in Normandy - was forced on them for lack of good infantry units. When they needed them for counter attack they were so weakened as to be ineffectual.

 

Tanks - like AT guns - are obviously a priority target for a tank on the battle field for the obvious reason that you kill the thing that can kill you first.  But that does not and should not mean that killing tanks is a priority task of tanks: as I said earlier, it is just something they sometimes have to do to achieve their broader task.

 

On the TC game: I suspect that it will work best modeling encounter battles, in scenarios where on side has made a breakthrough and the other side counter attacks. In this case the infantry on the ground would be limited anyway, so it's lack in the game will be less of an issue.  What does need to be discouraged somehow is the turtle tactic: artillery would be the best solution to this so I hope this gets modeled well in the game. 

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, unreasonable said:

Firefly Shermans were capable of killing Tigers at long ranges.

Just as an aside; while yes, the Firefly was capable of punching through most of the German heavies at range, it had to actually be able to hit them to do so... which was an issue for the Brits (and for US crews who used fireflies during gunnery trials). Early fin/sabot ammunition was notoriously inaccurate, an issue which wasn't really rectified until well after the war (and why the US didn't adopt a sabot round until well, well after the war- I believe the M68 105mm rifle was the first tank gun we widely issued sabot rounds for), so a long range hit was at times as much a matter of luck as it was gunner skill. I don't remember the exact numbers, but I believe hit percentages- on a known-distance range with none of the pressure of combat- was slightly better than 50% beyond point blank

 

Not as big of an issue in the bocage country, where engagement ranges were shorter, but still something important to consider when evaluating the Firefly. 

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Fireflies also fired APCBC: so there is no reason I know of why the 17lb gun must have been significantly less accurate than most German guns, especially the 7.5 KwK 40: perhaps a little less than the L70 and the 88mm.  Fireflies were a stop gap expedient but good enough to see the end of Wittmann & Co.  Once the Germans cottoned on they were never again able to assume that Tigers could prance about with impunity one or two kilometers from a British tank unit. 


Anyway, the effective, compared to the theoretical, accuracy of all guns at long ranges is rather low, since precise range estimation is so difficult.  A 5% range miscalculation at 1500m reduces your chance of a hit by a factor of about 3 to 5 according to German trials with the 7.5 KwK 40.  So the Germans concluded that for long ranges the artillery method of firing short and walking rounds up to the target that the Stug crews were trained to use was preferable to trying to get first round hits.  Reason being, if you miss trying for a first time hit, half the time you do not know what correction to make at all, while the Stug crews were taught to observe the fall of shot and adjust from that.  (I am not sure if they ever put that into training practice though, since artillery and panzer forces had their own rival branches).  

 

Edited by unreasonable

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Firing solid shot/capped shot, the 17pder was as accurate as any other tank gun as far as I know, it just lost out on the absolutely phenomenal penetrative performance of the APDS shot. The accuracy issue wasn't anything inherent to the gun itself (any moreso than any other WWII tank cannon I'm aware of), it was simply an issue of the ammunition design and the limitations of the era. There's also the issue that a rifled gun firing sabot is inherently less accurate than a smoothbore gun doing the same. 

 

I want to make it clear i'm not criticizing the Brits for not putting a smoothbore tank gun on their Sherman modification, beating everyone else to the punch by 50 years and probably trashing their accuracy with everything other than APDS (and probably APDS too, I imagine some of the accuracy difficulties were just minor defects in the ammunition that wouldn't have mattered as much in a larger-diameter projectile), just something worth bringing up when the discussion turns to the Firefly.

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I expect it was more that the extra penetration was not needed at the time: if you can penetrate Tigers at 2,000m plus with APCBC there is rarely much benefit from even more penetration, especially if it comes at the cost of accuracy at anything other than very short range.  This is why Fireflies typically only carried a few APDS - 6% of average load according to wiki.  

 

I expect the Royal Ordnance was already thinking about the 20pdr anyway - it was in full service by 1948.   

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Well its official, I'm terrible at trying to lead a discussion on the internet in a particular direction X'D

 

@hetstaine Those are good ideas, in my opinion, to try and see what can be accomplished in the engine to try and make the war seem more real and possibly even vary the gameplay. What I would like to find out is what options might be available to make the game seem more like we a piece in a conflict rather than the protagonist in the game. The original reason for infantry was to have a war go on with objectives that the AI needed to accomplish and would ask the player to help in their endeavors. I think that tanks were always a support unit in the larger picture rather than the end all be all. I am sure that regular AI vehicles can do a lot, but adding a human factor helps ground the simulation more to draw someone into the game itself. 

 

Think about this, a dynamic multiplayer instance where the AI needs to win the battle on the field by either holding a point or attacking. During the AI mission players are called in to attack specific targets, cover troops advancement, or perhaps just guard a given area. The match would not necessarily need a player to accomplish the tasks at hand and could conclude the instance on their own, but the players could drastically change the course of the battle by following their orders or doing more. This is probably more than can be asked of the team, but if done even in a scaled down fashion I think it could be great especially if it were 2 AI commanders fighting it out with two teams that player could join to fight on either side.

 

@Preacherman @unreasonable @Skeleboners (and at everybody really) Do you guys have any thoughts into how we could implement the tanks into perhaps a different style of gameplay than we would get with planes? Having multiplayer games exactly like with what we have with planes seems like we aren't putting our imaginations into good use as of yet. Given the development of the game and how the developers will probably be stressed for time and resources, do you guys or perhaps anyone have ideas on 'low cost' gameplay features that could enhance how it would play? Low cost in that it might be easy to develop and not so taxing on the engine?

 

I know that multiplayer servers can make some good mission's but maybe its time to try and move towards fleshing out the simulation regarding showing the conflict in greater scale? Thoughts are always appreciated and have a great day to you all!

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@Zanacan No-one can herd cats. :) 

 

On the subject of game play: I have to admit that a "classic" MP game in which people take some random tank, drive out from a base and then shoot at one another, choosing sometimes to co-operate, holds no interest for me.   

 

The developers have said that they intend to implement player control of the AI platoon:  that would immediately increase the scale of the battle.  We will have to wait and see about that.  Controlling your own flight of AI aircraft in SP is not an area where the plane sim greatly shines. Ground unit AI is easier in some ways, but there is still a 3D element due to line of sight obstructions and movement obstacles making it in some ways more complex. If you have to switch player view between tanks in your platoon to get each of them correctly positioned to be hull-down against a given opponent that would get very frustrating.

 

The ability to call artillery strikes - or request air strikes - would add interest, although I they might have to be simplified and speeded up compared to the real thing. The use of smoke shells and dispensers would be especially important. Burning wrecks need to persist, not vaporize after a few seconds. So even without walking infantry, there are a number of elements to the ground battle that will add interest. 

 

I like your idea of what is essentially a large AI battle in which players can take a role, but I wonder if this is not going to be defeated by the same engine limitations that make server admins reluctant to put many AI planes into their missions: I understand that the AI routines are resource hogs and cause extreme slow down, so the numbers have to be very limited, but I do not know exactly what the limits are.  

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Yeah, I'm largely responsible for the diversion there. Mea Culpa, I'm a Shermaboo.

 

Anyway I think we'll see the gameplay opportunities open up significantly, as unreasonable points out, when the TC position is more developed, and as the ground vehicle AI is refined. As well, I think things will get more interesting as we get more vehicles filled in. As much as I love driving the Tiger and the KV-1S, they're actually kind of limiting in terms of what sort of interesting gameplay you can build around them. Something a bit more mobile but with less capable armor, like the mediums we'll be getting, will be much more interesting in my opinion, forcing players to be much more mindful of the terrain and how they use it in battle. I'm fully aware we have two mediums in game right now, but not having the interiors (and therefore, the visibility limitations) kind of takes something out of it.

 

Also, AI crew members. Being able to play exclusively as TC without having to pop back and forth from the gunner's seat will be a big change for the better, IMO- I know in other tanksims, I tend to prefer to let the AI handle gunnery duties (assuming the game has competent AI gunners), focusing on target acquisition and individual and platoon tactics myself.

 

As for things that can be added without much development time to improve things, I think most of that's going to come down to clever mission design (and maybe some refinements to the mission editor and how the ground AI works, preferably making it less dependent on very specifically scripting out everything and instead allowing some degree of autonomy). Also, fully simulating some oddball features- things like range tables and indirect fire gear to allow us to use our vehicles as artillery pieces (especially relevant for the larger caliber soviet guns), automotive quirks so those of us with full pedal/shifter setups can have tons of "fun" trying to get a T-34 to do what we want it to, stuff like that.

 

Also, more non-combat challenges in mission design. I'd honestly love missions in campaigns, interspersed between combat missions, wherein navigating from inside the tank was the main challenge, trying to follow a path and avoid hazards like minefields and known AT gun positions without the visibility an aircraft affords.

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To be honest I would be happy with a single player campagne. Multplayer crews seem to work in ARMA, but frankly, I doubt it will appeal to a significant amount of players. What exactly is the commanders job apart from yelling orders? Will it be fun to be a tank driver? Another approach to MP could be each player plays one tank. Probably we will get   both.

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On 8/22/2018 at 11:27 PM, Skeleboners said:

Firing solid shot/capped shot, the 17pder was as accurate as any other tank gun as far as I know, it just lost out on the absolutely phenomenal penetrative performance of the APDS shot. The accuracy issue wasn't anything inherent to the gun itself (any moreso than any other WWII tank cannon I'm aware of), it was simply an issue of the ammunition design and the limitations of the era. There's also the issue that a rifled gun firing sabot is inherently less accurate than a smoothbore gun doing the same. 

 

I think you are confusing APDS and APFSDS. APDS can be fired only from rifles, APFSDS which is much later, can be fired from both rifles and smoothbores.

 

17pdr was an inherently inaccurate gun. The British produced two other APDS rounds, for the 6pdr and 77mm and these did not have accuracy issues anywhere to the same degree. I believe the problems with the 17pdr were excessive propellant. This is what caused the excessive flash so often reported, which is propellant continuing to burn outside the barrel, potentially causing stability problems in the shot. The 77mm fired the same projectiles as the 17pdr but with a much lower charge and was much more accurate and short range and over distance.

 

WO 291/751 gives % chance to hit a 2'x5' target

                                                       500yds  800yds 1000yds   
Churchill IV 6pdr APCBC 150rnds  74%     73%       62%          
Churchill IV 6pdr APDS 90rnds       74%     50%       37%          
Sherman 17pdr APC 100rnds           88%     66%       52%         
Sherman 17pdr APDS 40rnds           42%     21%       14%          
Comet   77mm APC   40rnds            98%     86%       76%        
 

The 77mm is the most accuracte of the lot, it is essentially a laser. The 6pdr AP is better then the 17pdr at 800yds and above, the 6pdr APDS doesn't catastrophically drop off in accuracy like the 17pdr

Edited by RoflSeal
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2 hours ago, RoflSeal said:

I think you are confusing APDS and APFSDS. APDS can be fired only from rifles, APFSDS which is much later, can be fired from both rifles and smoothbores.

Could be doing, I've always hated the way Brits generically refer to any sabot round as a "fin" round. My tank brain thinks in US terminology so I tend to screw things up when the Brits or the Germans get involved.

 

4 hours ago, Preacherman said:

To be honest I would be happy with a single player campagne. Multplayer crews seem to work in ARMA, but frankly, I doubt it will appeal to a significant amount of players. What exactly is the commanders job apart from yelling orders? Will it be fun to be a tank driver? Another approach to MP could be each player plays one tank. Probably we will get   both.

The TC's job is to decide what the tank does, and coordinate the crew to do that, so he has the most difficult and honestly the most interesting job of the crew. The gunner does not engage without the TC's go ahead (unless the TC has specifically ordered the gunner to engage targets on his own, but even that's a sort of go ahead), the driver follows commands given by the TC, the loader grabs whatever shells the TC asks for. So yeah, ultimately, the TC is the guy who yells the orders, and on many tanks is also the one responsible for doing the majority of the legwork for finding and identifying targets, estimating range, and giving the gunner corrections to put his next round on target.

 

Driver might be fun if you're really into driving games and the challenges that come with driving heavy equipment offroad. I'd like to give it a try once I figure out how to emulate a steering tiller setup to add onto my driving stuff, especially if they get the transmissions right so you have to do all the weird stuff you have to do with older non-synchronized manuals.

 

I do agree with the sentiment that a singleplayer campaign, and the single-player-crewed-tank experience is probably the more important one. It's much easier to hop into a tank by yourself than it is to get together a group of two or three guys to crew a tank, especially for those of us with less-than-stellar internet connections

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7 hours ago, Skeleboners said:

Could be doing, I've always hated the way Brits generically refer to any sabot round as a "fin" round.

 

Except this is not true.

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10 hours ago, Skeleboners said:

Podría estar haciendo, siempre he odiado la forma en que los británicos se refieren genéricamente a cualquier ronda de sabot como una ronda de "aletas". El cerebro de mi tanque piensa en la terminología de los EE. UU., Así que tiendo a arruinar las cosas cuando los británicos o los alemanes se involucran.

 

El trabajo del TC es decidir qué hace el tanque y coordinar al equipo para que lo haga, por lo que tiene el trabajo más difícil y, honestamente, el más interesante de la tripulación. El artillero no se activa sin que los TC avancen (a menos que el TC haya ordenado específicamente que el artillero ataque objetivos por su cuenta, pero incluso eso es una especie de avance), el conductor sigue las órdenes dadas por el TC, el cargador agarra las cáscaras el TC pide. Así que sí, finalmente, el TC es el tipo que grita las órdenes, y en muchos tanques también es el responsable de hacer la mayor parte del trabajo de campo para encontrar e identificar objetivos, estimar el alcance y dar las correcciones al artillero para poner su siguiente ronda En el blanco.

 

El conductor puede ser divertido si te gustan los juegos de conducción y los desafíos que conlleva conducir equipos pesados fuera de la carretera. Me gustaría intentarlo una vez que descubro cómo emular una configuración de timón de dirección para agregarlo a mi material de conducción, especialmente si tienen las transmisiones correctas, así que tienes que hacer todas las cosas extrañas que tienes que hacer con las antiguas. -sincronizados manuales.

 

Estoy de acuerdo con el sentimiento de que una campaña para un solo jugador, y la experiencia de un jugador con tripulación es probablemente la más importante. Es mucho más fácil entrar en un tanque por ti mismo que reunir un grupo de dos o tres hombres para tripular un tanque, especialmente para aquellos de nosotros con conexiones a Internet menos que estelares.

To me personally if I like to go in the position of the driver as part of a team. In the Post Scriptum we have been 4 people inside an armored and I had a great time driving, in tc if they also put a more complex engine management will be very fun.

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Try to remember that this is, foremost, a flight sim. 

Edited by Poochnboo

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7 minutes ago, Poochnboo said:

Try to remember that this, foremost, a flight sim. 

 

Until tank revenue is more than aircraft revenue.

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Oh, it's gonna make money. People like tanks. World of Tanks and War Thunder prove that. But I think some are asking for a bit much, considering that it's a flight simulator. I would be against anything that increases frames and ruins the very good playability of this sim. It runs beautifully, and we don't want anything mucking that up. Little men running around would do just that. 

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I’m pretty sure that they’re not going to muck anything up intentionally.  But it’s no longer just a flight simulator.

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If anyone remembers "Tiger vs. T-34": this game simulated the engine and gearbox so accurately (or let´s say "plausible"/ "believeable"), that driving a Tiger was really a challenge in its own rights. This plus some mud on the ground would be great for all tank enthusiasts or "Spintire"-Players out there.   

Since we have talked at length about different tanks, here is some intersting stuff:

 

 

 

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On ‎8‎/‎25‎/‎2018 at 5:52 PM, Poochnboo said:

Try to remember that this is, foremost, a flight sim. 

What!!!???

 

A flight sim!? 😲

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