Monday, 4 March 2013

Sherman vs Tiger

I have talked at some length about how Soviet guns were perfectly capable of dealing with German armour, so let's talk about the Americans for a bit. In popular history, the Tiger effortlessly cleaves through dozens of Sherman tanks at a time. Let's see what happens when the Sherman's gun is pitted against the Tiger's armour in a more rigorous test than hearsay and memoirs.

CAMD RF 38-11377-12

This test was performed firing a 75 mm M3 gun from an M4A2 Sherman with M-61 and M-72 rounds. Here are the results:

Side, shell type M-61, distance 400 m. Result: penetration, spalling inside in an area of 300 mm by 300 mm
Side, shell type M-72, distance 625 m. Result: penetration, minor spalling on entrance and exit.
Side: shell type M-72, distance 625 m. Result: same as above.
Turret: shell type M-61, distance 650 m. Result: dent 50 mm deep, 140 mm diameter. Penetration of the turret platform.
Turret: shell type M-61, distance 650. Result: dent 40mm deep, 120mm diameter.
Side: shell type M-61, distance 650. Result: Penetration. Shell knocked out a cork-like section of armour.
Side: shell type M-61, distance 650. Result: same as above.

The photo for this particular test is missing, but here's the Tiger after the other tests.

CAMD RF 38-11377-12

As you can see, the Allies' guns in general, and the Sherman's gun in particular, were very capable of dealing with the Tiger in 1943. The more observant of you will notice that the turret is no longer on top of the turret ring. This was a common side effect for German tanks that were being shot at by Soviet 122 mm and 152 mm caliber guns. 

19 comments:

  1. Thanks for this. My friend buys into the whole "invincible tigers" myth. I'm sure this will change his mind.

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  2. Not too much doubt that th gun could pen the armor. The problem faced was that the Sherman had to get that close to penetrate, while the Tiger could get a catastrophic kill at a thousand and pen at 2k.

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  3. so what your telling me is they took a tiger just out the factory with no need for any repairs to anything on the tiger and they did ONE test with one shot on each side of the tiger and these are the results?

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    1. The Red Army had no shortage of perfectly functional Tigers that were ditched by their crews. The results of each shot are recorded, if that's what you mean by "just one shot on each side".

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  4. You can pretty much rig results in your favor but when it came to actual combat, the Tiger totally destroyed the Sherman. Having listened to many eye witness reports from US and British tankers talking, they wanted nothing to do with the Tiger. As one US commander put it, "we needed 5 Shermans to knock ! Tiger out". Most of the crews of the Shermans were not given the better armor piercing shells as they were sent to the tank destroyer units.

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    1. This is Archive Awareness, not Uncited Myths Awareness, please understand the difference.

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  5. Is this website run by Russian patriots dedicated to proving the allied machines, infantry, tactics etc. were superior to those of the Germans? Sorry if I have inferred incorrectly, but I have read many articles here which are about the inferiority of German soldiers, German armor, the unreliability of German records etc. etc. Sometimes the only sources are original Russian records too, which strikes me as quite odd considering the dubious validity attributed to Russian records by most professional historians.

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    1. It's interesting that you post this comment on an article that makes the Americans look good. I'm sure that Soviet propaganda did not exactly have that as their objective.

      Which historians question Russian records? Glantz and Zaloga, for instance, use them extensively.

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  6. Why would it be interesting? I said it looked to be run by Russians about the Allies, not an unreasonable assumption considering your name, sources and the majority of articles.
    I'm certain you would know of the criticisms of Soviet history, such as revisionism, and furthermore you would have come across specific examples of such, from Yezhov's picture to the Katyn Massacre. But since you asked, you would probably know of Antony Beevor.

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    1. The heck are you babbling about?

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  7. This is great information! However, since the tests were only against the sides and turret, it seems like the front is still impenetrable by the 75mm M3 L/40.

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  8. After being shot at a few dozen times, I think many tank guns would be able to penetrate armor plate. It does weaken the plating after a dozen or so shots.

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    1. I totally agree.

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    2. Faulty tests... and what you should do in real fights.

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  9. That is Tiger "121" of s.Pz.Abt.502, captured when the Russians broke the siege of Leningrad.

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  10. Gotta love how some people will never let go of German invincibility xD my old friend ML-20S has plenty to disagree on the subject :p

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  11. Great stuff. Really surprised that they had and tested M72 rounds. I believe the US declared those rounds limited standard in 1942 (I wish all these documents were dated).
    The results are absolutely consistent with American ballistic/performance tests at about 0 degrees. The key being "at zero degrees obliquity"...

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  12. You do realize that Tiger's main gun can shoot accurately for over 3km and just one shot is enough to take out a Sherman, right?

    The only way Sherman can win against a Tiger in open field is just swarm with numbers. Charge and pray that someone can get behind that tiger before all were taken out.

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    1. Something tells me you have read neither this article nor any of the others. Effective shots at even two kilometers with any 8,8 cm gun (including the King Tiger's gun) represented a whopping half a percent of the total. http://tankarchives.blogspot.ca/2013/08/combat-performance-of-75-cm-and-88-cm.html

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