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Panther vs Sherman

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#21 Lowes


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Posted 05 September 2011 - 06:03 PM

Some Sherman crews up-armored their own tanks with what became known as "hillbilly armor". It was the process of a crew welding any scrap metal they could find onto the front of the vehicle. I do not know how those Shermans faired, but can imagine that they might have saved some lives. Perhaps someone else can shed some light on the hillbilly process, however I doubt any statistics were kept on Hillbilly Shermans.

Yeah you won't find any mention of it past war diaries and memoirs, but you're very correct in saying it saved some lives. Commanders generally approved of the Hillbilly Armor, but cautioned overusing it and offsetting the tanks balance or weight.

Generally speaking, Hillbilly armor was used not to increase the survivability of the vehicle, but of the crews. Ammo storage, crew compartments and hatches were usually the places where scrap armor from German tanks were welded on.
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#22 Blue Lightning

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 02:35 AM

Good points.

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.

#23 Doggzillen


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Posted 06 September 2011 - 11:36 AM

Actually, the removal of the sandbags and wood was ordered because it increased the penetration of the panzerfaust by giving it a better standoff. It would have given increased protection against arty and shells, slowing arty fragments and spreading out the impact of a shell just slightly.
Anybody have any test data of shells against wood reinforced steel?

#24 LSchroll



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Posted 10 October 2011 - 11:08 AM

Panther vs Sherman? lol!!!
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SS-Untersturmführer u. Zugführer Lukas Schroll
SS-Panzer-Regiment 12 'Hitlerjugend'

#25 Jörg Biermann

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 12:27 PM

I would like to show everyone this steam group.

Pzkpfw V Panther- The best tank of WW 2!
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Maps: Poteau Ambush(Razorneck) Southern Oosterbeek(RIP)

...Get something wrong with the Germans in this game, and you will hear from Ernst Hoffman and Bierman...

#26 Blue Lightning

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 01:36 PM

The main problem with the Panther was it's final drive gear. The gear is a double spur setup that was really made for a 30 ton tank, not the 45 ton Panther. Moreover, the quality of steel that the final drive gear needed could not be produced and the final drive housing was too cramped. The result was that the final gear setup was not strong enough to handle the Panthers weight under high torque and stress loads. Although the drive housing was enlarged and corrected in later models, the double spur final gear was never upgraded.

A wide and reliable double herringbone set up like the Sherman had on it's final drive gear (and the King Tiger would have), would of been much better. This is why the Sherman could have much weight added in the form of the Jumbo or the Firefly, with no upgrade to the transmission needed.

As a result of this final drive gear problem, the Panther had to be driven very carefully. The Panther could match the T-34 speed at 34 MPH, but that strained the final drive gear and caused break downs, so the Panthers speed was reduced and limited to 28 MPH.

Like the Tiger, the Panthers transmission made it possible for it to "spin turn" (turn in place), but this maneuver was problematic to it's final drive, and to it's tracks.

The worst thing for the Panther was if that final drive gear went out...the problem of replacing it was immense. Virtually the entire drivers cockpit and dash had to be torn out to get to the drive gear. It took many hours to get to, even under ideal conditions.

Compare that to the Sherman, where if it's transmission needed to be replaced, the entire nose of the Sherman (where the transmission is housed) could be dropped in minutes by taking out some bolts, and the final drive gear was right there. Bolt on a new nose, you just bolted on a new transmission. The value of that kind of ease of maintenance vs the dilimma of the Panther's difficulty of maintenance...especially under battle conditions, can perhaps be appreciated.

Of course getting back to one vs one in battle, the Panther has great advantages (from the front) as has been pointed out. And it is those encounters that the crews will be thinking of when asked which would they rather have, and they wont be thinking of the advantages that the Sherman had overall.

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