What is your favorite WWII tanks?

Discussion in 'World War 2' started by vashstampede, Jul 27, 2012.

  1. vashstampede

    vashstampede Active Member

    Most historians agree that T-34 were the "best" tanks of WWII. Not because it is the most powerful, but rather its optimization for mass production. T-34 has good sloped armor, good mobility, and good firepower. Its strongest point is the simple production. The Russians were able to build tens thousands of them quickly which helped them to win the war.

    Tiger, was probably the most fearsome tank of WWII. There were several dozen German tank ace whose tank had destroyed more than a dozen enemy tanks. Most of these tank aces were in Tiger tank. When you are in a Tiger tank, it is hard not to be a tank ace. Its armor although not sloped, it was 100mm in the frontal, 80mm on the sides. The quality of steel of these armor are also superior to anything had been putting onto a tank in the history. This feat alone helped German Tiger tanks to survive countless hits. All they needed to do is to return fire with their 88mm gun. A single shot form 88mm can completely destroy a Sherman or T-34. How can you not be an ace in this tank? You are almost immune to enemy fire from the front, and you can knock them out at 2~3km with a single shot!

    Tiger 2, it had even more armor and firepower than the Tiger 1. It was also named King Tiger or Tiger Royal. It has 150mm frontal armor and 180mm frontal turret armor... sloped! When a piece of armor is sloped, its actual thickness greatly increase thus make it much harder to penetrate. This beast had an average kill/death ratio of over 10 to 1 even when Germany had already lost the air superiority.

    The downside of both Tiger and Tiger 2 are their complexity of manufacturing. German military ordered 5000 Tiger, but only 1300 were ever built. Only 400 Tiger 2 were manufactured.

    Even with such low numbers, these two tanks are known for have "off the scale fear fact". Everyone could reorganize a Tiger tank on the first sight.

    My favorite tank is Tiger (1).
    What is yours?
    cavtrooper likes this.
  2. Peter T Davis

    Peter T Davis Administrator Moderator

    I don't know that I really have a favorite, but the tanks of WW2 are an interesting topic. The British, for example, took a lot of criticism for their strategy with tanks especially early on during the war. It seems that most of their tanks were really good at only one thing and left lacking in all other areas, and the German tanks were much more well rounded and thus able to outclass the British all else being equal. There were some top class tanks that came out of the UK, though, more toward the end of the war. The Comet, for example, which unfortunately didn't start seeing action until the last few months of the war in Europe, provided a good match for the main German battle tanks, and even the T34.
  3. Jeff

    Jeff Member

    Mine has to be the Sherman. Just something classic about it that i love. Just not quite sure what it is.
  4. Ivan Golovanov

    Ivan Golovanov New Member

    T-34 - my choice! ;) It's manoeuvre ability was unstoppable due to this whole optimization. A smart tank - gotta love it! :p

  5. Kbak

    Kbak Member

    I agree with jeff the Sherman, i don't think it was the best tank but she was a beauty
  6. vashstampede

    vashstampede Active Member

    There are also experimental tanks from all sides.

    German had a monster tank called Maus. It really means Mouse.

    Total weight - 188 tons.

    It had frontal armor of 200mm... twice the thickness of a Tiger (1), and it is in fact sloped, which makes its real thickness much more than just twice of a Tiger.

    The main weapon on Maus is 128mm gun. It could go through any tank at long range from the front.

    This tank was still in experimental stage when the Germans lost the war.

    I fortunately had the luck to play it in a video game called World of Tanks. It was an online game where 15 players vs 15 players. One time my Maus was able to take 71 hits and survived, the other time my Maus took 21 hits from multiple heavy tanks and it took 0 damage. It's a beast!
    Peter T Davis likes this.
  7. Peter T Davis

    Peter T Davis Administrator Moderator

    Wasn't it considered impractical because of the fuel situation and vulnerability to air attack?
  8. vashstampede

    vashstampede Active Member

    Air attack back in the WWII days were not that accurate. To destroy something like a Maus it must require a direct hit from a really big bomb. I doubt it would have happened very often.

    Fuel shortage is a problem, but it can be solved by ditching other weaker tanks such as PzIV, and some tank destroyers. By using Maus instead of weaker tanks, they could have save a lot of lives of experienced tank crews. Nothing on Allies' tanks could take out a Maus from any range, not even from the rear or the side, because it has no weakness unlike other tanks. So instead of Tiger's 5 to 1 kill death ratio, and Tiger 2's 10 to 1 kill death ratio, you would probably be looking at 50 to 1 kill death ratio with a Maus.

    I think how the Maus fared in the video game pretty much reflected how it would do in the real world. In that battle I took 71 hits, my entire team were killed. At least 10 enemy tanks were shooting at me from all directions. ALL AP rounds were bounced off my armor. They had to switch to HE rounds bombard me. The battle had a time limit of 15 minutes per round, it was ended before they could kill me lol.

    However Maus does have a weakness, it is its slow speed. Not much of a weakness, but rather a downside. It can't be used efficiently in any offensive, but it can be good as a defensive weapon if it just sit tight in some choke point.

    I know Germany had a heavy tank destroyer - Jagdtiger. It was built based on Tiger II. It had 250mm frontal armor with Tiger II's base, but it was also armed with 128mm gun. In one battle, two of them sit at the crossroad defended against countless attacks of allies tanks and they survived due to the insane frontal armor. One round from a 128mm gun shot through a building and destroyed a Sherman hid behind it. Maus would do better in that situation because its turret. (tank destroyer did not have a turret).
  9. Peter T Davis

    Peter T Davis Administrator Moderator

    Well, they weren't really using bombs against tanks were they? It was mostly rockets and cannon. I've heard, but can't seem to find the statistic right now, that on the western front the allies took out more German tanks with the Typhoon and P-47 than with the Shermans.
  10. vashstampede

    vashstampede Active Member

    I know more tanks were destroyed by ground attack aircraft, but those close air support aircraft were only armed with small caliber auto cannons and some rockets. They were able to kill heavy tanks effectively from the air only because all other tanks had thin armor on the top no matter how heavy their armor is on other sides. Maus is a different story. Although its top is not as thick as its sides, it is still strong enough to withstand the auto cannon and rockets. That is why I said it would take a direct hit from a big bomb to kill a Maus. It is apparently unstoppable otherwise. Maybe a direct hit from over 200mm artillery might also be able to take it out, but what is the chance of that? ;)

    Like I said, it will happen just like in the video games. You would see a bunch of allies tanks shooting at a single Maus from all directions and have all their attack ineffective. Have Maus in the forward position to absorb enemy fire, while having other tanks staying in the back to pick enemy tanks off would be a great strategy.

    I know no single weapon can help Germany win the war, but if they could start mass produce Maus, even just a few hundreds, you would have seen thousands more allies tanks destroyed by the end of WWII. It would have been another legend.
  11. Susan Kelly

    Susan Kelly New Member

    From what angle would I need to approach this question?

    T-34 has the overall victory in terms of usefulness. It covered more facets than any other tank. Speed, production, ability to be upgraded (well to a point), mechanical reliability and re-introducing sloped armor as a effective means of maximizing protection. Jack of all trades, master of none.

    From the Germans probably Tiger. Mounting a 88 AA gun on a steel bunker just needs to be mentioned. The first newer heavy tank to make an impact.

    I also liked Italian and French tanks. Somua S35 seems so lovely and Italian tanks where like ultra bolted metal boxes. Both had an unique look.
  12. xStylezx

    xStylezx New Member

    I also agree about the Sherman. It wasnt the scariest on the battlefield,but it sure was a beauty! Also,thanks for this,some of this information I wasnt aware of!
  13. novasparker

    novasparker New Member

    I also lean toward the T34...it was faster, leaner, meaner than anything else out there in my opinion. Of course, many might aruge with me, but I think the single most important reason that it's a winner in my book is that soldiers knew that when they got into it, it would run...reliability is a huge thing on the battlefield.
  14. vashstampede

    vashstampede Active Member

    Sherman were only good for being easily mass produced. Only the fire fly posed a threat to the German tanks at normal combat range.

    I remember not so long ago I watched another history channel video about Battle of Bulge. One WWII vet who was in that battle talked about how he was in an APC driving on a parallel road with two Sherman tanks. When a German Tiger tank showed up directly ahead of the two Sherman tanks, the two Sherman fired total 7 shots and all shells bounced off the Tiger's frontal armor. The tiger returned fire twice, both Sherman were in flame.

    Another WWII vet talked about how his Sherman tried to enter a line of bush to have a sneak view on the Germans on the other side, once his Sherman entered the bush, he realized a Tiger was already in that bush right in front of his tank. He fired as fast as he could with no less than a dozen shots at point blank range, the Tiger returned fire once and blew the Sherman's turret off.
  15. xStylezx

    xStylezx New Member

    Wow, those Tiger tanks sound pretty fearsome. I'm rather curious as to why The U.S allowed Germany to have the superior tank? Did they hope to rely on the Sherman mobility or something? Thanks for replying!
  16. vashstampede

    vashstampede Active Member

    It is not the matter of "allowing" lol. The U.S. entered late and wasn't in an arm race.

    The Germans on the other hand were combating the Russians and the British.
    Early in the war, the German's PzIII and PzIV were outmatched by Russians' T-34 and KV. The Tiger was actually a response. At least from the sources I read. When the first T-34 appeared, a single T-34 was able to break through German line and went in 3-mile deep before finally being stopped. Behind it, it left destruction all the way along the 3-mile.
    So the Germans came up with Tiger and Panzer. Both outmatched T-34 easily.

    The U.S. was relay on mass production and air superiority to win the war.
    Although the U.S. did have a response came in late in the war. The Pershing. I remember watching a real video where a German Panzer destroyed two Sherman in a street fight before being ambushed and destroyed by a Pershing.
    In another battle, a Pershing was destroyed after a Tiger hit it 3 times in a row.
  17. xStylezx

    xStylezx New Member

    Wow, I see. So our response was The Pershing. I was definitely aware of the air superiority factor we relied upon a lot. Hey, America still basically does that these days. Lol Thanks for your informative reply!
  18. vashstampede

    vashstampede Active Member

    In the movie "Battle of Bulge", the tanks used in the movie were Pershing tanks. Yep, they used Pershing for both German Tigers and American Sherman. It was lame lol. Still good movie, just the tanks were not accurate.

    I found the Youtube video where (in a real battle scene) a Pershing ambushed a German Panzer. The whole battle took place in a German city.

    At around 2:20 into the video you can see a burning M4 Sherman. It was just hit by a Panzer. You can see two injured crews barely made out out of M4. One immediately fell to the ground, while the other laid down on the tank. But soon the same Panzer that destroyed this M4 was ambushed and hit on the side by the Pershing. German crews made out before a second hit caused the tank burst into flame.
    cavtrooper likes this.
  19. Vladimir

    Vladimir Siberian Tiger

    Difficult to choose from T-34 and the T-70.

    I would say the T-34 was USSR's best medium tank, while the T-70 was their best light tank.

  20. aghart

    aghart Former Tank Commander Moderator

    This picture shows how immense the Tiger II was. Next to the Tiger is the Panzer III, it looks like a toy when seen next to it's big brother. Photo from the Tank Museum, Bovington Camp, Dorset, England.

    Attached Files:

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