Ideal German tank?

Pak 36 combat weight 721 pounds
2 pdr QF weight 1795

the gun crew of the PaK 36 could roll it around without too much difficulty
not at all possible with the 2pdr
Now in the Pacific, the Marines used the 37mm offensively that way, rolling it forward to engage new targets by hand, err foot.
Front_line_of_Kwajalein.jpg

Assume this must have resulted in a significant cost (both in currency and labour hours) differential as well.....
 
The problem you are going to face if asking for the ideal tank design for Germany in WW2 is that your talking about the entirety of a full decade of work. In 1935 The German army was receiving Panzer I and II with some III also arriving. At this point in time the roles a tank would be undertaking involved infantry support, defending from enemy tanks and also HE support. The lack of HE support saw the IV introduced. At the time the Germans had a good mix with the PzI being useless but good for exercises and able to be a mobile MG position. The PzII was capable of minor work but really not much better, however it could certainly deal with Tankette's. The PzIII had a 3.7cm gun and Hitler wanted a 5CM gun. this was good from an international point of view.

The British had very few decent tanks and the Medium Mk II was the most likely to be met. This is literally useless in comparison to a Pz III,

The French had a Huge mechanized force But the most advanced types by ww2 where the Somua 35 and the Char B1. Both of which are tactically superior but evolutionary dead ends.

The Italians had average vehicles

The Soviets had some of the largest AFV in the world and had the largest calibre guns. No one knew what the Soviets had beyond the BT series.

What I'm getting at is that the Germans did not know what they needed beyond the current examples being produced. The Multi turret tank was gaining traction worldwide but again was an evolutionary dead end. The Problem for Germany is they have no experience to direct the production and design efforts. The Soviets had large enough tank arms to have had exercises at the army level to work things out. They also had no need to care about GDP.

The Panzer Mk IV with sloped armour and an L48 75mm would have fulfilled all needs until 1944/45 with ease. It also would be cheaper than the Tiger I and II and also allow for large numbers to be built.
 
The problem you are going to face if asking for the ideal tank design for Germany in WW2 is that your talking about the entirety of a full decade of work. In 1935 The German army was receiving Panzer I and II with some III also arriving.

The Panzer Mk IV with sloped armour and an L48 75mm would have fulfilled all needs until 1944/45 with ease. It also would be cheaper than the Tiger I and II and also allow for large numbers to be built.
With hindsight, you could say Germany needed a panzer 3/4 (sloped armour and long 5cm?) early on,
And
A panzer 4/5 (sloped armour and an intermdiate L60 7.5cm?) later.............?
 
With hindsight, you could say Germany needed a panzer 3/4 (sloped armour and long 5cm?) early on,
And
A panzer 4/5 (sloped armour and an intermdiate L60 7.5cm?) later.............?
+ Hndsght. Pz.Kfw. IV+w+Cortz-Claymore Sspn+.png

Pz.III/IV hull (designed in 1942 but never went into production) with Schmalturm turret (designed in 1944 but again never went into production) and armed with KwK.42/L70.
Another old pic of mine that comes close to what you described.
 
A quasi Panther 2 years earlier...
But not what they were planing with the DW series.
That better tank morphed into the Tiger. and famously, they never really did anything with the MkIII/ MkIV unification,until Allied bombers settled it by destroying most of the MkIII Factories
 
Again you tell half truths...

Cruisers only came into service in '38. All "pre-war" tests (eg the "33%") was done in slow Mediums with a top speed of 13mph. Not fast cruisers!
BTW, mediums were armed with 3pdr 47mm naval guns firing only AP, and didn't need a purpose built new AT. They already had one.

Like Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, quoting a finding of research without understanding the question, results in "42"!
Mixing in NW Europe, with tanks that didn't use shoulder guns, is rather pointless. NATO has tank ranges in the same environment as 1,800m.
How much of the <500m, is due to lower velocities, smaller calibers, of Allied tanks, make the whole discussion mute.
Throw in that much of Britain's war was in the desert, even more so.

The 2 pdr was "famously 360". The only AT that the British adopted, pre-war, without battle experience, and not tried again in 6 or 17 pdr.
Low profile, was extremely important to survival of the AT gun.
Besides the higher profile and heavy weight, 2pdr would have being dropped earlier except for Dunkirk.

Conversely, the 25pdr field gun-howitzer WAS designed to pick up the box trail, and allow 360 fire.

And its on the introduction of the A9 that fire on the move is dropped in the UK because of the higher speeds, which is ofc not a factor with the speed of a Matilda II so the issue remains valid as it does with fast cruisers when not doing top speed. Again the distinction I made was the British being permissive about this with the 2lb gun where the germans explicitly forbade it.

The actual instruction from the 'Mobile Division Training Pamphlet No 2' dated 1938 is

'Greater accuracy can be obtained if the tank is stationary. The object of the commander will be , therefore, to deploy his tanks so they can bring fire to bear from concealed, stationary, positions. This may not always be possible, and ability to fire accurately on the move is an essential part of training.'

The same pamphlet btw refers to medium and light tanks ( not cruisers) but references under types of tank both a Medium ( of 15 ton with a 2lb at gun and 3 mg so not a medium III) and a Cruiser - 12 ton which sound a lot like Cruiser I and II, and a light tank with a.5 mg. With the note that these details are liable to change.

I am not entirely sure why you mention the 3lb but its a tank only mount based on a 1902 design reworked in 1920 for tanks no longer in service with an initial MV around 50% lower than the 2lb which is going to be introduced as the infantry AT gun anyway.

The 2lb is listed as 55.15 inches so 8 inches taller than a PAK 36 is this material in the field, well maybe. Is the ability to cover a 180 degree arc with one not 3 guns ( or to have 3 guns bear not 1) well maybe depends. The 6lb ofc has a 90 deg arc of fire vs the 65 of the PAK 38 so the british seem to have valued a wider arc of fire per gun than the germans anyway. 6lb btw is 4'' shorter but much heavier than the 2lb. So yes the 360 deg traverse is probably just a good idea at the time but not a stupid one given the inherent mobility of the target and its ability to suddenly appear from dead ground unexpectedly.

The other factors involved in the guns tactical utility being its ability to do the job. the PAK 36 while being very light also has poor performance compared to the 2lb ( or Russian 45mm) so you can indeed manhandle it into positions from which it cant penetrate

The 2lb without Dunkirk would indeed have been dropped earlier, in favour of the 6lb.


NATO also has guns and sights able to find and hit a target at 1800m Both the US and British studies from Normandy ( which is not, on the British Canadian Sector all bocage and the Germans defending will try and position their vehicles so they can make use of their long range sights.) have tank v tank engagements at an average of 740- 840 yards but thats an average so many at much lower ranges and both found the winner was the guy who got off the first shot most of the time. And ofc the British in the late 1930s were not planning on fighting in the Western Desert but in NW Europe, this has the remarkable feature of towns so while there are long vistas possible as soon as you approach a town the field of vision rapidly shortens.
 
The same pamphlet btw refers to medium and light tanks ( not cruisers) but references under types of tank both a Medium ( of 15 ton with a 2lb at gun and 3 mg so not a medium III) and a Cruiser - 12 ton which sound a lot like Cruiser I and II, and a light tank with a.5 mg. With the note that these details are liable to change.
Reading Pams (or field manuals for the US), is more about what armies would "like" or "should" and not in field reality.
They must always be read in context of the equipment actually in service.

Everything from the serious of Pams in the late '30s on Mobile Division, is experimental and liable to change!
These are the companion '38 Pams prepatory remarks.
Note cavalry still includes "horsed". Artillery is using 3.7 mountain guns, waiting for 25 pdr.

no1.png
cav.png



n03.png
arty.png



'Mobile Division Training Pamphlet No 2' dated 1938
Mobile Division Training Pamphlet No 2,
(notes on employment of the tank brigade)

YES, it predates I tanks and Cruisers

The Medium III, failed. Cruiser Mk1, 3 prototypes, and Mk 2, after the war had started.
Medium Mk II with 3 pdr and trucks were used in the '38 exercises.
2 pdr is just entering service with RA in 1938. None in tanks except prototypes.
Particular are "approximate" because they are not in production.

orbat.png

Again NOTE hypothetical mediums (with 2 pdrs) are 15-20 mph!
Cruisers are not in Orbat

tank bde.jpg


The whole concept of separate "cavalry light tank bde" and "tank bde" was a sop to old guard horse cavalry (squadrons and regts) and RTR (companies and battalions).
Mobile Division had paired bdes to keep the peace.
Each could have their "man" and a brigadier in change of "their" formation.
Each follows a very cavalry idea of light (scout) and heavy (shock) Napoleonic tactics.
The GOC was a gunner, as neutral umpire.
 
The 2lb is listed as 55.15 inches so 8 inches taller than a PAK 36 is this material in the field, well maybe. Is the ability to cover a 180 degree arc with one not 3 guns ( or to have 3 guns bear not 1) well maybe depends. The 6lb ofc has a 90 deg arc of fire vs the 65 of the PAK 38 so the british seem to have valued a wider arc of fire per gun than the germans anyway. 6lb btw is 4'' shorter but much heavier than the 2lb. So yes the 360 deg traverse is probably just a good idea at the time but not a stupid one given the inherent mobility of the target and its ability to suddenly appear from dead ground unexpectedly.
This shows a lack of tactical thinking 101.
When you have 360 deg of fire, it also means the opposite can see you in reverse.
You should be in dead ground, protected from view and fire from flanks/rear/ distant fire,
and have no dead ground for the enemy to appear "unexpectedly".
 
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But not what they were planing with the DW series.
That better tank morphed into the Tiger. and famously, they never really did anything with the MkIII/ MkIV unification,until Allied bombers settled it by destroying most of the MkIII Factories
So the factories producing Mk-III were destroyed? Weren't those also the factories that made Stugs? Where did they produce them after that, or were most of the rest of the Assault Guns based on the Mk-IV?
 
So the factories producing Mk-III were destroyed? Weren't those also the factories that made Stugs? Where did they produce them after that, or were most of the rest of the Assault Guns based on the Mk-IV?
That's how the Stug IV came to be, the III superstructure dropped on the IV Hull at one of Krupp's factories after the Alkett Factory was ruined by the USAF
 
Cast turret on a welded hull. Give turret rounded shape and no corners, angle it and use the casts to create something similar to IS3 turret in terms of shape.
 
I always wondered what the Allies reaction would be if the Nazi's actually built the Ratte tank. This tank would be so large that for its main weapon system, it would have a turret from the Bismarck, then 4 turrets that were the main King Tiger gun. It would be so large that it would be designated a "Landcruiser."

Probably would have suffered the same fate as Battleship Yamato.
 

thaddeus

Donor
Pz.III/IV hull (designed in 1942 but never went into production) with Schmalturm turret (designed in 1944 but again never went into production) and armed with KwK.42/L70.
Another old pic of mine that comes close to what you described.

That better tank morphed into the Tiger. and famously, they never really did anything with the MkIII/ MkIV unification,until Allied bombers settled it by destroying most of the MkIII Factories

that's always seemed to me their ideal tank Pz III/IV (given the constraints they faced?) scrap the Panther project, and then towards the E-series development(s)?

IDK what you'd do with the smaller tanks they kept in production? possibly add the 3.7cm gun to both PzI/II as earlier AA vehicles? certainly the Pz 38(t) given over to Hetzer production earlier too a good idea?
 
I always wondered what the Allies reaction would be if the Nazi's actually built the Ratte tank. This tank would be so large that for its main weapon system, it would have a turret from the Bismarck, then 4 turrets that were the main King Tiger gun. It would be so large that it would be designated a "Landcruiser."

Probably would have suffered the same fate as Battleship Yamato.
@ObssesedNuker made a story out of it.


Oh, oh! This is an excellent opportunity to repost this fantastic gem about the Ratte!

————

He sat on the rock and stared at the horizon. Somewhere artillery was thundering away. Tommies, by the sound of it, with those damned belt-fed 25-lbers again. Then he looked up again. No Jabos. Not yet, anyway.

Hearing the sound of swearing diminish a little he walked over to the side of the Landkreuzer and then peered into the hatch. “Well?”

“Sorry sir, the engine should be repaired in a moment or two.” The sergeant wiped his hands on a bit of rag and then looked at him worriedly. “They haven’t changed their minds about taking the flak guns off the top of this thing have they?”

“No.”

“Damn it.” He sighed. “Right. We’re ready sir.”

He nodded wearily and then walked around to the front of the wretched thing. “Start him up Kranz.”

“Yes sir.” A giant red button was pushed and after a moment the huge engine roared into life. “It’s working sir!”

“Get him into gear!”

“Um… yes sir.” There was a groaning noise and then the Landkreuzer crept forward three inches, before there was an almighty bang underneath.

“Damn it, what now?” He walked back to the hatch and then peered in. The sergeant could be seen opening an inspection hatch on the floor. He looked in, swore violently and then closed it again. “It’s buggered sir. Clutch exploded again.”

“What again?

“Yes sir.”

“How long to repair it?”

“Two days at the factory.”

“Right.” He sighed and then walked to the other end of the Landkreuzer, where a bored looking man was standing with a clipboard. “We’re returning this thing to the factory.”

The man sighed. “You signed for it earlier, you can’t send it back again.”

“I signed for a functioning vehicle. We’ve travelled six feet in six days, during which time we’ve blown two clutches, a drive shaft and three sets of tracks. All to go six feet. And it’s not left the bloody factory.”

“The front of the vehicle is outside the doors, so you’re out of the factory!”

“No it’s not, it’s still in!”

“Strictly speaking it's out, as-”

“Oh shut up and repair it again.” He paused and sniffed. Smoke was pouring out of one of the hatches and he saw the sergeant hurriedly get out of the Landcreuzer. “What’s wrong now?”

“It’s on fire again sir.”

“Bugger – well, put it out again. That’s the third time today.”

“Yes sir.”

He looked back at the man with the clipboard. “Well?”

“Well what?”

“It keeps breaking down and catching fire!”

“Yes, but it’s a war-winning weapon. Have the Amis got anything like it? Have the Reds?”

“No, but it’s useless if it doesn’t bloody work!”

“We’ll patch it up, you’ll be in Paris in a week!”

“It took us a week to get the nose of the damn thing out the door!”

He rubbed at the bridge of his nose for a long moment. At which point there was a ‘schonk’ noise and something groaned inside the giant vehicle. “What now?”

“Secondary backup main gun just fell off again sir.”

“Well, stick it back on again.”

“Can’t, we’ve run out of string sir.”

He looked up at the heavens. And then he sighed and finally gave up. He turned and trudged over to the knot of fascinated men in khaki who had been there all morning. “Alright. I give up. We surrender.”

“Are you sure? We could give you a little more time,” said the British Major.

“No, you’ve been more than fair. It was a bloody silly idea from the start anyway. Takes hours to load the main gun for a start. And as it’s currently pointing towards Hamburg there’s no point in firing it even if it was loaded. You have to turn the entire bloody thing to aim it.” He paused. “What are you going to do with it?”

“I think that someone said that there’s a plan to drop it on Tokyo and end the war.”

He thought about it. “Yes, that should probably do the job.”
 
Combat experience showed it was too light to serve as a medium tank. Both india and Israel used them as such, but quickly moved onto "real" tanks.

The auto loader is great, but only 6AP and 6HE, means a lot of time disengaging and reloading.

Which make me ask: what is the minimum amount of shells needed to make an autoloader practical? My headcanon says 35 (half a Sherman), but are there any real-world studies or examples of high-capacity autoloaders?
 
Which make me ask: what is the minimum amount of shells needed to make an autoloader practical? My headcanon says 35 (half a Sherman), but are there any real-world studies or examples of high-capacity autoloaders?
Only as many as you'd usually carry in the ready rack for the caliber and tank size. 12 is on the lower end but makes sense for such a small and light vehicle. Tanks rarely have to fire more than a dozen rounds in an engagement.

15-20+ should be fine.

To be fair, the Germans really don't need to make their primary tank as small and light as the AMX-13. 25-30t or the scale of the Batignolles-Chatillon 25t is adequate. This way you can fit more rounds.
 
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Reading Pams (or field manuals for the US), is more about what armies would "like" or "should" and not in field reality.
They must always be read in context of the equipment actually in service.

Everything from the serious of Pams in the late '30s on Mobile Division, is experimental and liable to change!
These are the companion '38 Pams prepatory remarks.
Note cavalry still includes "horsed". Artillery is using 3.7 mountain guns, waiting for 25 pdr.

View attachment 698152View attachment 698146


View attachment 698153View attachment 698147



Mobile Division Training Pamphlet No 2,
(notes on employment of the tank brigade)

YES, it predates I tanks and Cruisers

The Medium III, failed. Cruiser Mk1, 3 prototypes, and Mk 2, after the war had started.
Medium Mk II with 3 pdr and trucks were used in the '38 exercises.
2 pdr is just entering service with RA in 1938. None in tanks except prototypes.
Particular are "approximate" because they are not in production.

View attachment 698151
Again NOTE hypothetical mediums (with 2 pdrs) are 15-20 mph!
Cruisers are not in Orbat

View attachment 698150

The whole concept of separate "cavalry light tank bde" and "tank bde" was a sop to old guard horse cavalry (squadrons and regts) and RTR (companies and battalions).
Mobile Division had paired bdes to keep the peace.
Each could have their "man" and a brigadier in change of "their" formation.
Each follows a very cavalry idea of light (scout) and heavy (shock) Napoleonic tactics.
The GOC was a gunner, as neutral umpire.

However the orders for cruisers were placed in 37 and 38 with delivery early 39( A9 and A10) the A9 accepted as an interim design in 37 so any bde training in 38 will reference both the likelihood of changing kit and the types and in general any training pamphlet is subject to change as circumstances change, one of the issues for the cavalry is in the early/mid 30s there is experimentation with motorised cavalry using light trucks and scout cars ( i,e, cars used as scouting vehicles) implimenting the current cavalry missions, the conclusion being dont work we need light tanks and or armoured cars with off road mobility not large infantry sections in trucks.


. While Cruiser is the War office designation for production not necessarily the concept as understood by the troops and commanders. The Field Service Regulations describe a Tank Brigade as containing Light and Medium tanks - the FSR of 1935 are the operative document ( with amendments in 39 and 41) at the time and later. They do not mention Infantry tanks though describe the concept ( more heavily armoured and somewhat slower than Mediums. )

The Role of the light tank in the Mobile Div bns btw is screening and suppression of AT defences and intercommunications. The role of the Mobile division is described in FSR Vol III and is screening and exploitation not shock action a la napoleonic warfare the Army Tank bns may have that ( see FSR Vol II) but there are two roles identified in the attack one being in the initial part primarily to smash wire defences whithout the need for artillery barrage and shock action, the other being later to maintain the impetus of the attack. Its other roles being anti tank defence and defeating an armoured counterattack.

FSR Vol III btw has extensive parts on the both the desirability of flanking action and the difficulty in achieving this because the enemy is not a moron and will take precautions to prevent this - see also Bir Hakeim, Alam Halfa, Capri Op Cobra, Defence of Kohima and on the desirability of achieving surprise on the Attack - Diadem, Grapeshot but if you can't you then have to attack frontally and destroy the enemy reserves before exploiting - Alamein, Normandy, Plunder, Capital Extended Capital.

Together they also have handy hints on moving troops by air - Thursday.

8th Hussars are training on the 2lb in March 38 and in India 17/21 lancers have a 2 lb gun but no way of mounting in 1938 so its pretty clear as the AT gun is an RA weapon at the time that the intention is for cavalry troopers to be issued with 2 pounder weapons in some form in the near future.

The Mobile division as formed has 7/8 of its tanks as light tanks anyway because of the delay in producing cruisers which is a financial issue not a military choice although see , and at the time of its formation the RTC has 6 Bn one in Egypt and one Light tanks there are at least 4 fully mechanised cavalr regiments ( two going back to the 20s) so its hardly suprising that one of the Bde commanders comes from a cavalry background,

Brooke btw is not an artilleryman his regiment of commission was the RA but his previous two appointments have been commanding an infantry Bde and Director of Military Training his next would be GOC Southern Command.

This is the stupididity of the Journalist Liddle Hart repeated down the ages. His view was the RTC should be expanded and the cavalry abolished. Also the infantry and artillery. OFC when he is give the opportunity he bottles it and resings from the army.


Montogmery MAssingbird who actually has to do the job in the real world does a pretty good change management job getting the cavalry onside and enthusiastic about mechanization and managing the whole process.

Overall the British army has been trying to mechanize the cavalry since 1920 but there are insufficient funds and/or no suitable vehicles for the role available or both. Outside the fetid imagination of Liddle Hart there is really no evidence of large scale opposition to mechanization amongst officers or men, regret at losing horses yes, and happiness that the horses will not become casualties in war also. There are concerns that their mobility will decline when motorised, at the time the RTC used armoured cars on roads only in Egypt, its the cavalry that change things up so the cars can go where horses could go.
 
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