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What If: Pre-WWII British had a glance into the future of German Panzers?

Discussion in 'History & Military Discussion' started by HeavyArmor, Jan 1, 2017.

  1. HeavyArmor

    HeavyArmor Trust me, I'm an Engineer

    Location:
    Malaysia
    What if, say in 1934, the British Army had received a mysterious shipment of goods from a Mysterious Benefactor.......

    In that shipment includes:

    22 × Panzerkampfwagen V Panther Ausf. G
    22 × Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf. B
    one full load of Pzgr. 39/42 APCBC-HE
    one full load of PzGr 39/43 APCBC-HE

    All of these vehicles from the period of the top of their built quality and reliability in real-life WWII.

    Only the highest command echelon of the British Army and Government officials knew of this shipment.




    How would this affect WWII-era British armored fighting vehicle development, and that of the other allied forces?
     
  2. HMS Sophia

    HMS Sophia Trans Skate Witch

    I think the cruiser/infantry tank divide gets worse. Aside from incidental tech, the main advantage is shells and engines. Infantry tanks would get heavier, cruiser tankers would get faster. And with better guns.
     
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  3. willyvereb

    willyvereb Migratory Thinker

    Given how memetically overengineered these tanks are they might go straight to the scrap heap as the British have no need for two unreliable heavy tank types like these.
    They might learn some and with 20+ I suppose a few can be used for target tests but that's about it.
    The most interesting part IMO would be when the Brits realize they somehow got Tiger tanks from the future and break down most of the myth surrounding them.
     
  4. Guessmyname

    Guessmyname Tea-Powered Biscuit-Eater Commission Artist

    Yeah... British pre-war tanks were shit, German tanks throughout the war were kinda terrible (it was mostly radios + coordination with Luftwaffe), as was their backing industry, resulting in low production numbers. Brit pre-war + German tanks doesn't really give them an advantage at all. The real important gains would be a) the radios and b) the crew composition (ie not doing things like 'require the commander also load and fire the main gun', which is terrible for a tank's situational awareness).

    Something like a late war Sherman or T-34 would have had more of an effect; the breadwinners in tank warfare are the ones that can be produced in bulk and are highly reliable; you get to lolswarm the enemy with reduced losses from breakdowns. Also, sloped armour. I don't think we Brits ever really learned that one for WWII's entirety. Being pre-war and in the absence of things like training manuals and crew diaries in that shipment, they'll still maintain the pre-war ideas behind tank warfare and be unprepared for the reality.

    Also worth noting is that a tank's primary enemy in WWII was actually infantry, and the more you go for powerful cannons and shell velocity for better anti-tank, the worse your anti-infantry (the HE rounds) get, because they bury themselves too deep into the dirt before detonating. Which is what the late-war German tanks did. Maybe they'll pick up on that in testing, maybe not.
     
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  5. Serafina

    Serafina Semper Legens Councillor

    Do note that the Vaunted German Tank was actually inferior to contemporary french and british tanks in many ways. The really important part of german tank warfare was the doctrine with which the vehicle was used. Obviously the vehicle has to meet certain requirements for this, but you could have pulled off that doctrine with non-german tanks just fine.

    Unless the british army also gets an insight into how these tanks were used, I think @HMS Sophia is quite right.
    The lesson from this would just be "we need bigger guns against such tanks", as well as "tanks can be faster and better armored" - which doesn't translate into a doctrinal change on it's own. After all, both infantry and cruiser tanks would have benefited quite a bit from bigger guns, more armor and higher speed - and in the spirit of the british doctrine of specializing tanks like that, infantry tanks would have gotten much more armor and gun, while infantry tanks would have mostly gotten speed (and some armor/gun, but not enough to be anything resembling a modern MBT).

    So in other words - just having those tanks won't change british doctrine. They'd build their own tanks based on whatever they learn from the tech, and be satisfied once they've learned they have means to take out these future-tanks. The impact of this will be much smaller than a doctrinal change would be - and for that, you'd need documentation on how such a doctrine would work, as well as proven successes.
     
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  6. 7734

    7734

    Location:
    Philmont
    Kinda suprised this board is getting the fact that the important thing to look at is design doctrine and useage doctrine.
     
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  7. Darthtabby

    Darthtabby

    Location:
    Canada
    How likely is this to create a super tank panic that causes the British to dump tons of valuable resources into heavy tanks and anti tank guns thinking they're going to have to face hordes of these things?
     
  8. 7734

    7734

    Location:
    Philmont
    I'd say that's a reasonable conclusion. Personally, though, I expect them to grab a six-inch naval rifle, mount it to a frakenchassis, and then slap armor all over the bitch to make a Best Infantry Tank Stronk Britannia Rules The Hills.

    Said monstruso would die in a fire as Pz. III and and Pz. IV commanders would shoot off it's tracks, run behind it's casement, and Molotov the thing to death. Ideally, this prevents the creation of the Maus, but I highly doubt it.
     
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  9. ussnimitz1968

    ussnimitz1968 Not an Actual Servicemember

    I don't know when the 17-pounder (or for that matter the 20-pounder which, remember, translates to 84mm - or in WWII speak, a legitimate BFG) was available but it was considered a very highly effective AT-gun. Maybe it'd occur to them to use that, or develop a similar weapon?

    You also have to remember that the Matilda of all things was considered one of the best tanks in the world until Tiger I showed up. Yes, really. It's 2-pounder was considered extremely effective against contemporary armor, which would've been everything up until again Tiger I showed up. That is, at least according to Nick Moran but I've got no reason to doubt him.

    If you're defining a tank strictly by armor thickness and armor penetration of its main armament, the Tiger I and Panther were the only tanks the Germans had truly worth anything until they started upgunning Panzer IV. If you're defining a tank by actual overall criteria...well, it gets even worse for the Germans.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2017
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  10. 7734

    7734

    Location:
    Philmont
    Funny enough, I remember reading an interview with a Russian tank commander (Dmitry Fedorovich Loza) who's unit was supplied with Lend-Lease gear, and he loved his sherman to death, but said that a lot of the same features that made the Matilda a superb desert tank made it absolutly horrible in the Russian marshes and swamps. Worse, the Matilda tanks had very modular component systems. While this would be great for an English unit- pop the busted module, throw in a new one- the Russians didn't have the spares for this, meaning they had to pop open a lot of modules open and fix them in the field. Other things he notes are that the Valentine was the best English tank.

    Conversly, the Sherman's main disadvantage was that it had a high center of gravity, and that the first tanks needed grouser tracks for ice. Other than that, not a problem- he mentions that the tank was wonderfully comfertable and was much safer if it caught on fire as the American HE shells wouldn't cook off or the armor spall like a T-34


    Link
    Dmitriy Loza
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2017
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  11. ussnimitz1968

    ussnimitz1968 Not an Actual Servicemember

    Yeah, the Sherman gets a lot of flak from people who really don't know what they were talking about but it was an excellent tank with flaws, but flaws that didn't fatally doom it. Even when armed with the 76mm hi-velocity gun it didn't suddenly become a magical wonderweapon and it was still solidly a medium tank with all the good and bad qualities that tend to accompany that broad class, but it remained an excellent medium tank from the beginning of the war all the way to the end.

    I'm not surprised the Matilda was such a turd in Russian operation, it wasn't exactly designed for use outside the Empire with mind. Though exactly because it was a great desert tank (and because it's 2-pounder remained effective against Japanese armor for pretty much the entire war) the Aussies loved it.
     
  12. 7734

    7734

    Location:
    Philmont
    Listen, saying something is useful against Japanese armor is like saying the sky is blue. You build a tank to crush peasents in China, you get a shitty tank. Hell, Browning MGs could semi-reliably penetrate the forward glacis of some at 500~ yards; I think needing a dedicated AT gun for them is overkill. Marine armor specifically used HE on them because the AP went is on one side and out the other.
     
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  13. DonBosco

    DonBosco Dread Lord of the Luddites

    If the Brits get those tanks and think that's what the war'll look like, odds are they'll wind up fielding TOGs rather than something more reasonable.
     
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  14. the atom

    the atom SV's Resident Bad Boy

    Location:
    Comfortably numb
    I concur with several in the SB thread. The flaws of the German tanks will become readily apparent in testing, while a lot of the things that made them useful will likely be picked up. The three man turret, the wider centre of gravity, and the two way radios will become useful.

    The idea that it will spur them to create a bunch of useless super heavy tanks doesn't seem to be based in much. The heavy tank as a concept was known of, as were its limitations.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2017
  15. NothingNow

    NothingNow Florida Man

    Location:
    Tampa
    Yeah. Especially given that craptastic quality control is going to be very evident in testing, and the various design flaws and manufacturing short cuts are going to be very indicative of the state of the late war German economy and capabilities.

    About the only things worth copying directly are the engines and radios, and that's more because the Liberty was just an abysmal tank engine, while the HL230 did a lot of shit right in some pretty not obvious ways, and is probably one of the most reliable things in both vehicles, even if it's dramatically overburdened by the vehicles it's in.
     
  16. 7734

    7734

    Location:
    Philmont
    I'm not so much expecting useless superheavy tanks as I am useless infantry tanks. There's not a lot of good to be said about the Churchill, and the design practices that made it are going to be given new ideas for components to make them bigger.
     
  17. ussnimitz1968

    ussnimitz1968 Not an Actual Servicemember

    Even a Tiger I looks like a laser-armed Wonder-Abrams from the cusp of the Bolo era compared to TOG, or any of the other "basically a WWI Mark-x-number tank but with a turret on top of it" designs.
     
  18. I think seeing something more sophisticated than what they already have is going to lead to kneejerk increased expenditure on AFVs, and reverse-engineering will lead to some premature advances in (for instance) engine design.
    Beyond that, it depends what context the recipients get and what they infer. I mean, if they conclude that these designs are current-generation German models and everything in their arsenal is already obsolete, doctrine and technology are going to turn upside-down, in completely unpredictable ways, pretty much overnight. :V
     
  19. HMS Sophia

    HMS Sophia Trans Skate Witch

    Things people are missing:
    - These tanks are being handed over prior to the design phase of the A9 and A10 tanks. We're actually pre-mathilda by 3-4 years.
    - The Tiger ausf. B is the King Tiger or Tiger II.
    - Armour sloping. Dat sloping tho. So much slope.

    So basically, what I think we'll see is a continuation of the infantry tank and cruiser tank systems because... well, these two tanks don't actually do much to dissuade the brits of that, because we have a heavily armoured higher-caliber gunned slow tank and a lighter, faster, smaller caliber high velocity gun tank.
    It's not a perfect comparison but goddam if they're gonna take it as read that the tiger is a supporting tank and the panther is a breakthrough tank.
    I see a big push for marrying high velocity guns and fast tanks, and I see a big push for combining high calibre and heavy armour. The battleship and the cruiser of the land, essentially.
     
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  20. NothingNow

    NothingNow Florida Man

    Location:
    Tampa
    Yeah.

    I mean getting big is going to mean rethinking a lot of the logistical and financial constraints that kept British tanks to a fairly small size, but it'll ultimately lead to probably something like a 5/4 scale Crusader and a Black Prince sized monstrosity, probably using something like a modified 3" anti aircraft gun and a long barreled higher velocity relative of the 25pdr respectively. Particularly because sharing HE shells with a is going to be pretty appealing on an infantry tank, especially when they're likely going to have to economize in a lot of areas just to begin thinking about being able to afford prototyping a pair of fifty to sixty ton super tanks.

    Well, and they're probably going to build some significantly smaller tank destroyers when it's realized that the big ass tanks are too expensive to build in large numbers during peacetime. Which are probably also very necessary for everyone else because anti tank guns are now also pretty large field guns, and come in at four to five tons in a towed setup (or slightly less than an FT-17.)

    I'd guess the later would be Marder-y and get a couple self propelled artillery versions to further spread the costs around.
     
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  21. ussnimitz1968

    ussnimitz1968 Not an Actual Servicemember

    So why not call it such in the OP? Not calling it by it's most commonly called name is just being smug at best, and actively disingenuous at worst.
     
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  22. HeavyArmor

    HeavyArmor Trust me, I'm an Engineer

    Location:
    Malaysia
    Is it wrong to pronounce one's formal, official name?
     
  23. HMS Sophia

    HMS Sophia Trans Skate Witch

    Hey, i'm not the OP mang.

    It's pretty fucking smug.
     
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  24. HeavyArmor

    HeavyArmor Trust me, I'm an Engineer

    Location:
    Malaysia
    I don't get this, why? Why I was wrong for being technically acurate? Is this not how technical discussions should be performed?
     
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  25. HMS Sophia

    HMS Sophia Trans Skate Witch

    Okay so, I know this shit and know to go looking up what particular variant that is because I literally spent a part of my life studying militaria and military history for qualifications. Other people go looking because they're research nerds.

    But mostly what you're doing by not making it explicitly clear to the layman what is involved in this is obfuscating what exactly you're asking. The layman see's Tiger and immediately things 'ah yes, the big slab sided bastard'. Not the Tiger II, she of the much slope, such armour, wow.
     
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