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German Armor Crews

Armored vehicles have always been one important aspect of every war. The Germans in particular used armor crews, or armored vehicles, that were deadlier than their Allied counterparts. It is said that the development of such tanks took place “between 1933 and 1945” (“German Tanks”) and the tanks were called “Panzerkampfwagen, which [literally] means ‘Armored Fighting Vehicle’ [and which] were called Panzer, or armor,” (“German Tanks”) for short. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the various aspects of the Panzer that made it more advantageous than its Allied counterparts. Differences in Basic Features Germany’s Panzer.

The Panzer, specifically Panzer I, was “built between July 1934 and June 1936” and measured “13 feet 3 inches long, 6 feet 9 inches wide, and only 5 feet, 8 inches tall” (Green et al. , 14-15). The 17. 3-ton Panzer was the dominant tank used throughout WWII especially early in that conflict. It had a “fast firing, short barreled 75mm gun [which was used in] supporting infantry [and] in German Blitzkrieg attacks on Poland, France…and…the USSR. ” (Hawks) Germany’s Panther. The German Mk. V Panther was similar to the Panzer but had “heavy German FHA 80-85mm sloped frontal armor and very good firepower” (Hawks).

This was said to have been “particularly dangerous foe for the American, Canadian and British Sherman tanks, which were simply no match for the Panther” (Hawks). Germany’s Tiger. The German Mk. IV Tiger was “very heavily armored and was equipped with a powerful 88mm main gun” (Hawks) and that “this high velocity cannon was the most powerful main gun carried by any tank during WW II…[penetrating] at 1,500 meters and [knocking] most Allied tanks…at 3,000 meters” (Hawks). The M4 Sherman of the Allies. The M4 Sherman tank “was produced in greater numbers than any other WWII tank” and “became the standard battle tank not only of U.

S. forces, but also of the UK, Canada, Australia and the rest of the British Commonwealth” (Hawks). The M4 Sherman tank measured “19 feet 2 inches long, 8 feet 7 inches wide, and 8 feet tall” (“M4 Sherman Dimensions”). Compared to the German Panzer, it was longer, wider and taller. Nevertheless, in terms of special features (see Differences in Special Features), the Panzer and other German tanks fared better. The Sherman was built “with a rather short barreled 75mm (3″) main gun” and “was able to penetrate thin armor” (Hawks).

Unfortunately, however, “the American 75mm gun was usually unable to knock out the…German Panther [and] Tiger…tanks unless it got within a…range [of] 100 yards or less” (Hawks). Differences in Special Features One of the main reasons why it was difficult for the Allied armies to face the invasion of Western Europe was because their main battle tanks were weak against the tanks of the German army. It is believed that “one of the causes of the delay [of the victory of the Allied forces] was that Allied tanks were deficient in the critical factors of armor, mobility, and most of all armament. ” (“Weaknesses of Allied Tanks”)

Thickness of the Armor. The first drawback of the tanks of the Allied forces was said to be armor protection. The armor of the Allied tanks were “too thin and had poor sloping compared to the latest German designs” (“Weaknesses of Allied Tanks”). The American M4 Sherman, which is considered as the main Allied tank, “had armor thickness not exceeding 51 mm in the front” (“Weaknesses of Allied Tanks”) while the British Cromwell “was not much better with 76 mm” (“Weaknesses of Allied Tanks”). On the other hand, the Panther, which was considered “the main German tank in 1944-45,…had armor up to 110m thick” (“Weaknesses of Allied Tanks”).

Ground Pressure. Aside from the fact that the Allied tanks had less armor, they were “generally smaller and lighter than their opponents” (“Weaknesses of Allied Tanks”), hence “their mobility was somewhat inferior due to suspension and track designs that had high ground pressure” (“Weaknesses of Allied Tanks”). Mobility of tanks due to principles of ground pressure is negatively affected especially when smaller and lighter tanks traverse “in snowy or muddy conditions” where they “risk bogging and immobilization” (“Weaknesses of Allied Tanks”). Type of Armament.

It is said, however, that despite the two aforementioned disadvantages of Allied tanks, “the greatest deficiency of all was armament” (“Weaknesses of Allied Tanks”). The complaints of many allied tankers were on “the inability of their main armament to punch holes in the opposing armor” (“Weaknesses of Allied Tanks”) whether they used the original “short 75 mm” gun that “did not have enough punch to tackle a Panther frontally at anything but point blank range” (“Weaknesses of Allied Tanks”), or the “new longer and more powerful 76 mm gun” (“Weaknesses of Allied Tanks”) that was equally weak.

It is said that there was no gun of the Allied tanks that could compare to the “higher muzzle velocity [and] high penetrating power…[of] the long 75 mm gun of the Panther” (“Weaknesses of Allied Tanks”). In addition to that, “German sights had greater magnification and clearness, and the gunpowder used was lower in flash and smoke. ” (“Weaknesses of Allied Tanks”) Conclusion German armor crews, or German tanks, were indeed more destructive and powerful than their Allied counterparts.

The reasons include a thicker armor that protects the tank from successive shelling, a lower ground pressure that prevents bogging and immobilization, and a more powerful, high-velocity type of armament. Although Germany was defeated in the end, the destructiveness of their tanks clearly delayed Allied victory and bought the Germans some time. Works Cited “German Tanks in World War II, Panzer. ” 2005. World War 2 Insightful Essays. 7 May 2010. <http://www. 2worldwar2. com/german-tanks. htm> Green, Michael, Anderson, Thomas & Schulz, Frank.

German Tanks of World War II in Color. Wisconsin: MBI Publishing Company, 2000. Print. Hawks, Chuck. “The Best Army Tanks of World War II. ” 2005. Naval and Military History Site. 7 May 2010. <http://www. chuckhawks. com/best_tanks_WWII. htm> “M4 Sherman Dimensions. ” n. d. Dimensions Guide. 7 May 2010. <http://www. dimensionsguide. com/m4-sherman-dimensions/> “Weaknesses of Allied Tanks in the West, 1944-1945. ” n. d. Travel in Africa. 7 May 2010. <http://www. angelfire. com/trek/mytravels/militaryalliedtkwknss. html>

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