Peter Shulman's War

This blog is a place for the thousands of people who visit and email from the web site Peter Shulmans War. I thought that it was about time the viewers of the war site had a place to contact and communicate with each other about plastic modeling, war gaming and anything else of interest.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

US WW II tanks against Tigers how to play it

I am copying the string from the discussion page on the old war site. It has some very good posts and I hope it will get many more. Below is my original question. The comments will all be posted.

"When I start my game each year I have the armies using WWII equipment opposing each other. In the tank battles the Sherman's do very poorly against the Tigers and Panthers. My problems start when the M10, M18, M36 and M26 units get involved. Can M18s and M10s really handle King Tigers? I am having a very hard time figuring out who wins these engagments. Please some opinions would really help."

To add to this or just read the responces click on the comments. I thank all of you who have already posted opinions.


At 11:13 PM, Anonymous Panzer King said...

In My opinion the M18 didn't stand a chance one on one with a Tiger. If I was playing that battle I would allow at least 3 to 1 for the Hellcats to come out even.
The M36 and M26 both had main guns that could penetrate the armor of a Tiger if the hits were made in the right spots but the M36 was so lightly armored it couldn't take a hit from those 88s and survive.
As I say its just my opinion hope it helps.
Posted by Panzer King 232 Colorado

At 11:15 PM, Anonymous Old Soldier said...

The M18 76mm gun was no better than the Sherman with the same gun and its armor was poor. The only thing it had going for it was manuverability.
The M10 had a converted 3inch AA gun and I do not know how good it was but the army sure used alot of them. If it was a good gun then it is a shame the army didn't mount it on the Sherman because the origunal 75mm they came with sure sucked.
Just one guys opinion.
Posted by Old Soldier in Kansas

At 11:16 PM, Anonymous Air Tiger said...

Terrain and position would be the best way to determine a winner. If you are having your tank destroyers meet head on with Tigers then first shots would be the best determining factor for the matchup with M26, M10 and M36. I would keep the M18 out of it because they would not have a chance.
Posted by AirTiger in Indiana.

At 11:21 PM, Anonymous Steve Holmes said...

It's going to be extremely difficult to find anything from the same era to go 1:1 with the big German late war tanks.
Tank development between 1935 and 1945 came a long way in terms of armour and engine power. Few of the guns were new, but most had been around as field artillery or AA pieces at the start of the timeframe.
Then there was the matter of Doctrine. At the beginning of the war, most armies considered a different gun was necessary to fire explosives at troops and solid shell at armour.We see this reflected in various armies. UK: Mainly AT guns on tanks with a few "Close Support" tanks per formation with a short 3" howitzer. Germans had the panzer III for shooting tanks and the panzer IV for shooting HE. Russians has AT and HE variants for most of their fast tanks, but in the T34 produced the first medium tank equipped to shoot at armour and soft targets.
The US policy took the gun doctrine to an organizational level. So Tank formations were designed to kill soft targets and exploit speed to break through. Specialist tank destroyer formations were evolved to engage enemy armour. (This was unfortunate for an allied tanker who happened to encounter a big German tank).
Some interesting "missing links" also occurred. The M3 Lee tank and the French Char 2B had 2 guns to combine HE and AP fire (Not particularly successfully in most cases).
It's fair to say that later tanks all owe something to lines of evolutionary thinking. The Russians had picked a winner with the T34, and continued adding heavier armour to a gun which fired a heavy AT shell, and was broad enough to make a big bang with HE too. The end point in WW2 was the JS2 tank with 122mm Gun and very heavy frontal armour. The Germans sought to catch and overtake this design, and succeeded with the king tiger and various tank destroyers.They never produced many of these.
USA stuck with the Sherman which they produced in massive numbers (about 6 shermans for every Panther/Tiger and king tiger made).And evolved a line of light tank destroyers with big guns. Only the latest (M36 with 90mm gun) equaled the firepower of the German 88.
The Brits managed to shoehorn their 17pdr (another 3" type design) into an enlarged Sherman turret. But the western allied didn't beat the German by playing fair 1:1 ground fights. We had control of the air, they broke down and ran out of fuel, and when we had to fight on the ground we threw numbers at them. I can't imagine what bravery it took to climb into a sherman knowing that the enemy had tigers ahead, and commanders expected to lose 3 tanks for every enemy they killed. Anyway, enough of the history. WW2 US Vs German battles are going to have technology favor German tanks and numbers and air support favoring the USA.
An alternate approach (for a fun battle) is to model the tanks as generic "Light, Medium and heavy" and ignore the detailed differences.
Remember also that not every German tank was a tiger.Even in 1945, German armoured forces contained a majority of Panzer IVs and assault gun variants of that chassis.Panzer IV is a pretty close match to the Sherman with the 76mm gun.
I know I rambled with this reply. I hope it's at least a little informative. The website is amazing. Part of me wishes I could have a 100th of the time required to do something similar.
Posted by Steve Holmes, Amsterdam

At 11:23 PM, Anonymous Donald Johnson said...

From what I have seen in your equipment list pages your Green Army WWII equipment is at a disatvantage compared to the Gray Army.
You have many King Tiger tanks which will just chew up your Shermans.
I recommend you invest in more M36 TDs and M26 Pershings.
I wish I could be there to see these battles.
Posted by Donald Johnson, Long Island NY

At 11:25 PM, Anonymous G. Werner said...

The M36 was the only U.S, tank destroyer that could really take on the Tigers. The 90mm gun could take them out but the M36 had to be sure to shoot first. It had light armor and was not very fast. It was afterall just a Sherman with a big gun. Since all your M36s in the Green Army are in my regiment I thought I should comment.
Posted by Colonel G. Werner, CO 97th Armored Regiment, 13 Armored Division, Green Army, Pendelton OR

At 11:26 PM, Blogger Peter said...

Just thought you should know Colonel that your regiment, in fact the whole 13th armored division was re-equipt last year with the M60A1 tank.
The WW II equipment has all been assigned to the newly activated 8th army.
Check the green army organization page. Thank you for posting.

At 11:27 PM, Anonymous T. Blackburn said...

First off, No one should go head to head with a Tiger/Panther without a death wish.
The M 18 was designed to move in fast and flank the heavies and either shoot from the sides or swing around and hit the rear. I use them to great advantage in the open as a Tiger or panther turret at semi close range can't swing fast enough to get a accurate shot off. I usually come in at about 45 degrees to the rear [ if possible] and close to almost point blank at the rear , get the shot off and scoot on by . I once took out 3 Tigers with 5 M 18's without a scratch this way.  As you close range or withdraw always do a zig zag pattern and don't just go left right. try 45 degree turns and mix like, l-l- r-l-r-r -l-r-r-l, and so on. Drives the big guys nuts. Hope this helps.
Posted by  T. Blackburn, Middlebury, IN

At 11:31 PM, Anonymous H. Kropper said...

In the case of your battles using Panther and Tiger against U.S, tanks and tank destroyers of WW II vintage three things came in to play as well as intangibles like the lay of the land.
The first is maneuverability which has been nicely covered in this discussion especially as pertains to the agility of the M18 compared to the lumbering German heavies so I won't belabor it here.
The second was armor thickness which category the German tanks won hands down.
The third and possibly most important consideration was the main gun. The Tiger mounted a very powerful adaptation of an anti aircraft gun. The 88mm Flak 36 had a horizontal range of 16,200 yards. It could fire a very effective armor piercing shell. The weight of the projectile was 20 lbs. The muzzle velocity was 2690 ft/sec. I won't bother even discussing the 75mm gun mounted in the Sherman because it was so weak it could never be considered a threat to the German heavies.
The U.S. tried at first to copy the German idea and adapted the 3 inch Gun M7 ( Calibre 76.2 mm ) for use in the M10 TD. This gun while much more effective than the 75mm only had a muzzle velocity 2300fps and shell weight of 6.94 Kg. It's problem was it could not penetrate any armor at ranges exceeding 1,700 meters.
The U.S. Army finally got it right by adopting the M3 (T7) 90mm anti aircraft gun and mounting it in the M36 TD and the M26 Pershing tank. This gun fired the M82 anti tank round with a muzzle velocity around 2700fps and a projectile weighing about 43 pounds (19kg). So in short I recommend that if the Tigers are coming pull back your Shermans and get your Jacksons and Pershings to meet them while as mentioned in another post having your M18s mount fast attacks from the sides and rear.
I notice that your Gray Army also has Jagd Tigers, Jagd Panthers and Elephants in some numbers. You might want to detail your M10 TDs to take them on along with your E8 Shermans.
Anyway this is my thinking on the battles you are having involving your WW II equipped units. I haven't taken your Mk III and Mk IV units into consideration nor your light U.S armor.
Just my opinion and I am wrong as often as I am right. As far as I know I have been a named officer in your Green Army for more than 30 years and I admit I am glad that I am in a unit fielding post WW II equipment (smile).
Posted by H. Kropper, NYC, NY
Major General commanding 10th Armored Division, VI Corps, 1st Army, Greens.

At 11:32 PM, Blogger Peter said...

I hope you keep smiling when you find out that you were promoted recently General Kropper.
You are now the commander of the XVI corps in the newly activated 8th army.

The good news is you are now a Lt. General. The news you may not like is that your whole corps is equipt with WW II vehicles as is the entire 8th army.

Thanks for posting it is great to hear from you.
You might want to click the war button on the home page then select green army from the list. Then you can see your knew assignment.

At 11:34 PM, Anonymous Les King said...

I was a member of the 643rd Tank Destroyer Battalion. We were equipped with M18, Hellcats.
The Hellcat was the only AFV on both sides built from the ground up specifically to kill enemy tanks.
We were attached to the 83rd Infantry Division during their rush across Germany to beat the Russians to Berlin. The speed and maneuverability afforded by the powerful radial aircraft engine and automatic transmission was enough to compensate for the greater armor of any German tank.

During the last 13 days of combat our battalion killed 23 tanks and other AFVs. The M-18 was capable of attaining speeds well over 60 MPH after the mechanics did some unauthorized tweaking on their motors.
I have written a book about those WW-II days. The title is Hellcats don't leak oil, they mark their territory. It is available from most book stores and direct from the publisher at:
Posted by Les King

At 11:36 PM, Anonymous Bob Given said...

I may be a little late in this discussion, however given the nature of the war you are fighting, I hope you will find this useful enough to add to your Book of Tactics.
During WWII, overwhelming the Tigers, Panthers and the various Jagdpanzers was always the preferred method of taking them on. Once encountered, usually denoted by burning Green Armour. You should halt OPS until you can zero in on the Grey Enemy and then call in artillery and or air strikes. These strikes will cause a number of things to happen. With any luck you'll knockout the offending Grey Panzers especially with well coordinated air strikes.
However, more likely you'll suppress the Grey Enemy to the point you can outflank him and get in the much vaulted flank or rear shot, this is where Hellcats could certainly earn their pay.
In my experience this almost always works, it utilises the Green strengths in accurate and plentiful artillery and air superiority. If nothing else it could cause the Grey Enemy to break and run. Any accompanying Infantry will also be suppressed, have broken or will be dead. Jabo attacks were especially demoralizing to German troops.
The only other method which only works if the Grey Enemy are on the offensive or convinced to counterattack, is to withdraw and form your own ambush position taking care to set it up with flanking shots with good AT Guns and hopeful some on call artillery, better yet on call Air Support. I've seen all this work in all manner of war games in tangling with superior technology or numbers.

Hope this helps your Green Armies quest against the Grey's Tiger II's etc, although I'm rooting for the Greys.
posted by
Bob Given, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Retired CAF

At 6:59 AM, Anonymous real tanker said...

I think that in your war you can use deluge tactics.
Because no one realy dies and any personel killed come back again next year you can just send all your Shermans straight at the Tigers. You may have many (understatement) knocked out but it would give your M10, M18 and M36 TDs a chance to get around the Tigers and kill them.
Just a thought like one of the other posters above I sure wish I could be in those woods with you.
Nice site, great war. Thanks for sharing it.

At 7:03 AM, Anonymous M asaman said...

I would try to use Sherman firefly's and Pershing tanks. But still in a 2:1 ratio. That should do it.
By the way Forces of Valor is supposed to be releasing a 1/32 Pershing tank very soon.
Posted by Mark Asman

At 8:15 PM, Anonymous Mark H. said...

If you don't have at least 4 Shermans to each tiger fight them with air power.
The weak point of the Tigers were their lack of speed making them easy targets for aircraft.
You can send in your M36 and M26 units agaist small groups of the Tigers.
Like the new site.

At 11:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the history channel was a show about tanks which was the greatest of all time up to now. As far as effectiveness speed practicality logistics and pure punching power. I said as the show started to myself that's easy,the current version of the US M1ABRAMS and the WWII German Tiger. Has to be right? Wrong to my surprise the two top tanks of all time was the WWI tank put out by the British the actual first tank made and the other because it was a sure winner in the trench warfare and it had no opposition.Thenumber one most effective tank of all time was the WWII Russian T-34. The M1 Abrams is fast and powerful but like the Tiger it requires alot of fuel and support. The T-34 was easy to produce simple to operate and packed quite a punch. The US Sherman was effective in the fact that it was easy to produce and they were numerous. One old soldier spoke of the Sherman in a battle with one Tiger the Tiger took out four Shermans before the US Tank Corp found the Tiger and destroyed with mutiple fire from four more Shermans. They said the greatest tank battle was Kursknin Russia involving Russian T34s and German Panzers Panthers and afew Tigers. The Russians won by pure numbers and by the top rate performance of the T34.

At 3:54 PM, Blogger Peter said...

Thank you for the information on the T 34. I guess it makes sense when you think about it. I have very few of those tanks in my war and all are the ones with the 76mm gun. I do not think those are the ones that the experts would feel were the best tank in the war. It would be the ones with the 85mm gun that would be best probably.

Thanks for writing keep in touch.

At 1:43 AM, Blogger CeasarSulla said...

Your welcome Peter. Sorry about being anonymous I had trouble posting the T-34 information. So now I a took the name Ceasar Sulla from ancient Rome. I mixed the two leaders names. I do that. I created an emperor for my Grey Black and Red forces who like to enslave and dominate the world in which they exsist. Then my good guys are also Green Blue and Mpc and cowboys. These are the forces of freedom. The Empire vs the Federation. There are thousands on both sides a collection that has grow from a box full in the early 1960's to thousands in 2006. There are also Roman Egyptian Greek Medievil Indians Waterloo Japanese German Russian Italian French WW2 British WW2 WW1 Germans Kings Presidents Dictators a couple of Emporers Roman and Asian there are Civil War with all the tin buildings even Rhett and Scarlet and the fat African Amemrican slave woman. Also there are Revolutionary war civilians workers pirates and others. I sculpted my own Roman Senate and am quite good at it I also comform figures and create towns villages buildings and accessories as well.There are many more that I haven't mentioned. I have five acres of woods to use. I bought a 60 x 14 trailer just to keep raw materials in. I have a full room stuffed with styrofoam in the trailer. The building is the same size as my house upstairs is the studio and downstairs is a workshop.I used to by soldiers wholesale and retail.I even bought out Mr.Bigs toy store on Moody Street in Waltham Mass (he's long gone)of all his 54mm Airfix figures in the early 1980's. My collection went from a shoe box 1959 to a large box to a basement full to a building full 2006. Tanks planes boats etc. What I can't buy I make like a 60mm version in wood of the Marx Western Silver City sets both with the real jail and Hotel and Saloon. Quite the collection. My story is very similar to yours Peter. Now I reside in the woods in NH with my very tolerant Wife and four cats. When I read your story I was amazed at how similar our stories are. If you would like to email me let me know and I'll send it to you.Could you post some close ups of the soldiers you created? Are they soft pliable clay or are they hardened clay? My Senate is Hardened Sculpty with wooden toothpick bones.275 degrees at 10 to 25 minutes in the oven depending on the piece. I look forward to hearing from you.


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