Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Panther Armour Quality

Long-time readers of this blog are no doubt already aware of the poor performance of German armour in British and Soviet trials, but you can never have too much evidence. Here's another log for the fire.


"(a) 17 Pr v Glacis

Gun performance is appreciably better than forecast and it must be therefore be concluded that German plate is not up to the standard of our Homogeneous M.Q. tank armour.

In point of fact the German plate appears far too brittle and large cracks develop from any penetration. These became so bad during the course of the trial that whole sections fell away and it was difficult to find a target in the later stages.

This fault is not confined to this particular plate as the tank used as a target had been knocked out by penetration of the turret side, by 75 mm AP, and from here the cracks had developed to the side of the plate."

Mediterranean Area A.F.V. Technical Report No. 23 - Part II Enemy Equipment - Panther
14th September 1944

15 comments:

  1. "the poor performance of German armour" That's like a bat-signal for critical mass :D

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  2. Have you looked at the U.S. Watertown Arsenal metallurgical reports on German armor? They did them repeatedly during the war. Very interesting data, and not having anything to do with live-fire tests and their possible errors, discrepancies, and limitations.

    http://ftr.wot-news.com/2014/02/06/on-german-armour/ discusses some of them along with other sources to examine German armor quality over time.

    One thing that was very important was never using burned tanks for testing because the fire changed the metallurgical properties of the armor. Critical Mass has it right when he criticizes Soviet test (or any tests) against burned tanks.

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    1. There was a grand total of one test carried out against a burned tank, the Pz IV. I've seen the US metallurgical tests, and they also have very negative things to say about the quality of German armour.

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    2. Let´s see what NII48 had to say about soviet armor?

      "completely unsatisfactory. When hit 76-mm armor-piercing projectiles, both at the normal and at an angle of 30 ° the plates broke up. Only two plates of the six tested did not break up, and their penetrations had too large a size of breaches of the holes.."

      soviet Mz-2 was failing to meet soviet official specification requirements for shell proof armor in shock and penetration resistence vs domestic 76.2mm AP. You would now expect that they improved the armor, right? Actually, they rejected a temper softening suggested by Mariupol and instead deleted the 76mm test requirements. Thus, they changed the specifications to make their brittle, inferior high hardness armor acceptable.

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    3. https://tankarchives.blogspot.ca/2013/05/soviet-armour-quality.html

      ""It can be seen from the table that the percentage of brittle impacts (ragged penetrations, cracks, spalling, fragementation) is very small, 3.9%"

      Did the battlefield change its specifications too?

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  3. I would rather the hand signature of this russian patriotic site. If you read anything about German armor in WW2, it is somehow always called ‘brittle’ or ‘overhardened’, LOL.

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    1. I am sure that only the most die-hard Russian patriots worked in the British army in WWII.

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    2. Ikr? Those Communist agents really were everywhere, the US Army was full of them too. Truly the cleanliness and purity of our precious bodily fluids was in peril!

      I like how this guy is trying to pooh-pooh a primary-source document with an amateurish attempt at character assassination against the medium it appears in (naturally without even mentioning the document itself). Sounds like the mudslinging that passes for public discourse in the US nowadays...

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    3. That's all these people can do. They have no access to primary sources, and the ones they are presented with do not align with their worldview, so all they can do is criticize. They are the very definition of armchair general.

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    4. I'll see your primary sources..
      The Soviet armor also came under scrutiny
      011426 Metallurgical Survey of Soviet Ordnance and Tanks 1953
      http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/011426.pdf

      "Competitive ballistic trials which have been conducted at Ordnance proving Grounds on both very hard armor and normally hard domestic armor and Soviet armor have established beyond question of doubt that in many cases, representative of actual battlefield attack conditions, very hard armor is distinctly inferior in resistance to penetration as compared to armor of more conventional hardnesses (26J-320 Brinell)."

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    5. "In many cases". Not in all cases. As examinations of damaged T-34s show, brittle damage occurs 3.9% of the time. So clearly, these conditions don't occur as much as you assume they do.

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  4. Even Guderian criticized the declining quality of German tank armor, starting in November 1941. What, was Guderian a Soviet propagandist too?

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  5. Guderian was not a metallurgist. He based his statement upon 2nd hand testimony in actual battle. During 1941, Pzgr39 wasn´t yet fielded, thus resulting in frequent break up of german projectiles on soviet high hardness armor. He couldn´t pay attention to the differences in the exact failure mode, and thus extracted the wrong conclusions.

    British MQ armor was treated to slightly lower hardness levels than german RHA, though they did pay more attention to the criterium of minimum impact strength. In post war reports, they were esspecially critical about the low impact strength values encountered in german plates and even reheat-treated plates to conform to their domestic standarts. These reheat-treated german plates passed british armor specifications with flying colours, though they had a slightly lower critical velocity to intact penetration than the original plates in tests.

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    1. Wow, even Guderian is wrong! My my, you sure are smarter than everyone else. We're lucky that the nazis didn't have your unparalleled genius.

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    2. For someone in the position "Fast Heinz" was in the minutiae of the metallurgy is pretty irrelevant and, more to the point, *not part of his damn job description*. What matters to him and the other folks at the "sharp end" is if the stuff is working properly; if it isn't that's for the engineers back home to try to fix.

      Not really sure what bearing German *shells* have on any perceived problems with their *armour* he brought up though...

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