Posted 06 September 2011 - 02:35 AM
Also, there were different kinds of "hillbilly armor-up's" involved. Crews did hang wood believe it or not, and more commonly sandbags too. Wood and sandbags were hung usually over the front, but sometimes even over the sides in the belief that it would protect them from a Tiger's 88 round. The Tiger's 88 was BY FAR the most feared at that time, although most Sherman crews never even saw a Tiger tank the entire war. But the psycological fear that was created from the Tiger's legend, was immense. In reality the crews had much more to fear from a Panzer IV or Stug's 75mm L/48 gun, which was nearly as deadly, and which Sherman crews were much more likley to encounter.
The truth was that sandbags and wood gave absolutley no protection against a Tigers 88, or a StuG's 75mm L/48 round for that matter. What it did do is give very good protection against the Panzerfaust, since the sandbags would disperse much of the energy from the heat round. But some commanders (I believe Patton as well) ordered the sandbags/wood to be removed, claiming the extra weight bogged down the Shermans. However most commanders (as Lowes pointed out) did allow true hillbilly armor, which was generally scrap steel from broken tanks, cut off and then welded to the front of Shermans.
The added weight would cause more maintainence issues, logic would tell us that. How much extra maitainence would of been nessacary I do not know. but I do know that Shermans had a very nice built in ability to be upgraded. It's extra strong suspension and transsmission and engine could handle upgrades well (although some extra maintainence might be required), like taking the big 17 pounder gun, or like up-armoring to a Jumbo.
For the Panthers, I cannot find any information on any up-armoring by their crews. However, One might imagine that a German crew might have wanted to weld some scrap to the Panthers sides, sicne the sides were very vunarable. If this actually happend, I do not know. But I do know that any extra weight on a Panther would be absolutley hard on it's already strained transmission and suspension, and would of made the Panthers already heavy maitainence schedule, even worse.