Sunday, 11 November 2018

No glory in war: the end of WW1

Today marks the 100th year anniversary of the end of world war 1. It was a conflict that did not end in victory for any one nation, but defeat for all. Every country that participated lost more than they gained. Men were sent to war on a lie, giving everything they had in the belief that it was the right thing to do. After the stalemate dragged on for years and became intolerable, backroom deals were worked out to undermine the central powers and force them to surrender. It brought the bloodshed to an end, but only in a way that left everyone worse off than they had before. This indecisive and unsatisfactory end would lay the seeds for another terrible war.

What should we really remember about armistice day?

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

RE: The 5 Shermans = 1 Panther “myth”

This is yet another response to the war of tanks themed blog, For The Record. The site has a bad habit of posting misleading articles which are full of faulty conclusions. This article is no exception. It attempts to discredit the notion that German tanks such as the Tiger or Panther could achieve significantly higher kill ratios against American tanks like the Sherman. The author in question (Priory of Sion) asserts that technical characteristics and crew training were, in fact, not the determining factor in this. He argues that whichever side spotted the enemy first was the one that held the upper hand, and would obtain the higher kill ratio. Since the attackers had to expose themselves, they were usually spotted by the defenders first. There is certainly some truth to this argument, but he makes the error of assuming that this was the most important factor of all in a tank vs tank engagement. Priory of Sion also implys that the Panther tank had some deficiencys in fire control that made it inferior to the Sherman. He comes to this conclusion by relying on a single questionable source: The infamous BRL memorandum No. 798. As we shall see, these mistakes will serve to largely invalidate his article.

The classic David vs Goliath battle

Origins of the legend

The post starts out with an examination of the notorious dictum that it took four or five Shermans to defeat one Tiger (or Panther) tank. To be sure, the 'Tiger legend' can be found in the memoirs of many WW2 veterans. The tank had a fearsome reputation all out of proportion to the small numbers that were produced. It gave Allied tankers an inferiority complex about their Shermans, and led to many instances of tank terror among the infantry. Many soldiers eventually came to the conclusion that the only way the lumbering beasts could be defeated was to send an entire platoon after just one tank. The TV show, Greatest Military Clashs, even did an episode on the Tiger myth. Annoyed with all the undeserved praise being heaped on the German 'cats', Priory of Sion decides to track down the origin of the 'five vs one' rumor. His investigation (which probably involved no more than a 5 minute google search) leads him to conclude that the legend originated with Belton Cooper. A veteran of the 3rd armored division, who authored the 1998 book called Death Traps. This memoir is particularly hated by teaboos and freeaboos, due to its unflattering depiction of the Sherman tank. Priory of Sion (who we'll call POS for now) throws the blame for the 'five vs one' legend squarely at the feet of Belton Cooper, and asserts that it is a dictum with little supporting evidence.

In fact, a closer look at the historical records show that the Panther\Tiger myth pre-dates Coopers book by several decades. Even if we assume that it didn't actually originate in the Second World War itself, it must have arisen very soon after. More importantly, the legend was echoed by authors with  higher academic standing than old man Cooper. In Janusz Piekalkiewicz' 1986 book, he states: "According to U.S. Army statistics, it cost five Shermans or some nine T-34s to destroy one Panther." [1] That pushs back the date established by POS by 12 years. In his 1975 book, Bruce Culver claims: ''An unofficial rule of thumb in the U.S. Army was that it took five Shermans to knock out a single Panther.'' [2] That pushs back the date by 23 years. But the real nail in the coffin is when you read the memoirs of Henry Giles, who firmly states that: “It took four of our Shermans to equal one of their Panthers and about eight to equal one of their Tigers.” [3] His book was published in 1965. Thats a full 33 years before Death Traps hit the book shelves. When taking that all into consideration, its becomes clear just how far off the mark POS and his conclusions are. The five to one legend wasn't something that Belton Cooper just pulled out of his ass sometime in the 90s: It was already a well established myth by that point.

Overclaiming by the 3rd and 4th armored

In order to disprove the notion that the Panther was superior to the Sherman, Priory of Sion proceeds to bring out his trump card: BRL memorandum No. 798. The sacred document held in reverence by all freeaboos and teaboos. This report summarises numerous tank engagements in the western front, from D-day all the way to VE day... To come to their conclusions, the BRL used after-action reports from the 3rd and 4th armored divisions. These were the most successful formations in the U.S. army, and were not really representative of the army as a whole. The 3rd AD entered into combat on July 9, while the 4th AD entered into combat on July 17. When the war was finished, and they turned in their unit diaries, researchers were startled at what they read. The 4th armored claimed to have made 847 tank kills, while the 3rd armored claimed to have made 1023 tank kills! That is a combined total of 1870 kills, a really incredible number that stretchs credibility to the utmost. Because the BRL memorandum is based on these kill claims, it is important to explore whether or not they are realistic. BRL memo no. 798 covers a period of August to December 1944. In the interest of fairness, we should assume that the 3rd and 4th armored scored only half their kills during this time frame.

But even with this generous assumption, the American claims still don't add up with the losses actually recorded by the Germans. They wrote off a total of 4973 AFVs on all fronts, a number that includes 2861 tanks. [4] Those are the losses that were sustained by dozens of panzer and panzergrenadier divisions that were fighting in four different theaters: The eastern front, the western front, the Italian front, and the Balkan front. If the BRL memorandum is correct, then it means that fully 18.8% of their AFV losses in that period (935 tanks) were from these two armored divisions! Thats completely absurd. And just to put things into even starker contrast, consider this. Many of the 4th armored divisions claims were made during the battle of Arracourt. They reported the destruction of at least 285 German tanks and SPGs during the battle. [5] But there is a glaring error with this claim... And that is because the Germans didn't even deploy that many tanks during the battle! They only fielded 262 tanks and SPGs at Arracourt, and of that number, only 86 of them were destroyed beyond repair (I.E., write offs). [6] This shows how idiotic it is to make conclusions based solely on unit diarys. Without further verification, they are completely unreliable and misleading. It is now clear that the U.S. army routinely overclaimed the number of tanks they destroyed.

The first six lines cover Sherman 
vs Panther engagements

Unverified claims by the BRL

Out of the 86 tank engagements recorded by the two armored divisions from August to December, there were 30 encounters between the Sherman and the Panther. In these battles, the Americans lost 21 tanks, while the Germans lost 72 tanks. Thats a loss exchange ratio of 3.4 to 1. The Shermans were on the defense in 20 of these encounters, while the Panthers were on the defense in 10 encounters. There were also 14 engagements between tank destroyers (TDs) and Panthers. In these battles, the Americans lost 3 tank destroyers, while the Germans lost 26 tanks. These facts by themselves should tell us that something is wrong. In the month of September alone, the 4th armored divisions lost 41 Sherman tanks and more than a dozen tank destroyers. [6] Many of these losses came during the battle of Arracourt, when they faced off against waves of unsupported Panthers. This allows us to make a simple conclusion: The BRL was not recording every single engagement that the two divisions participated in. They pre-selected engagements for their study and cherry picked their data. This observation becomes hard to deny once you understand that they studied a total of 86 engagements, in which only 158 enemy weapons (including 105 Panthers) were claimed as killed. In that same period, however, the 3rd and 4th armored divisions probably made half of their 1870 kill claims.

The BRL was using a form of statistical misrepresentation, because they screened out some of the battles these formations participated in. They only looked at those encounters for which there was firm and reliable data. A valid excuse, perhaps, but one that skews the results. The end result is that it paints the U.S. army in a better light, making them look like some real monsters. So when we examine the table for memorandum no. 798, we have to realise that this is not what the typical outcome of a battle was. It doesn't even make sense that the American tanks could have such a massive advantage simply by being on the defensive. POS seems to rationalise this as a result of the Sherman having far better optics than the Panther, but when you look at the respective telescopes, its obvious that this can't be the case. So how do we explain such an absurd disparity in effectiveness between the vehicles? Simply put, we can't. The only sane conclusion to make is that the 3rd and 4th armored divisions were exaggerating their kill claims, and the BRL was cherry picking what battles they studied. For this reason, the memorandum no. 798s claim that the Sherman was x times more effective than the Panther can be dismissed as uncorroborated nonsense.


[1] Tank War 1939-1945, by Janusz Piekalkiewicz. (Page 254)

[2] Panther in Action, by Bruce Culver. (Page 4)

[3] The G.I. Journal of Sergeant Giles, by Henry Giles.

[4] Armored Champion: The Top Tanks of World War II, by Steven Zaloga. (Page 223)

[5] The Lorraine Campaign: An Overview, September-December 1944, by Dr. Christopher R. Gabel.

[6] Armored Thunderbolt: The U.S. Army Sherman in World War II, by Steven Zaloga. (Page 192)

Friday, 23 March 2018

No country for white men: South africa

Something terrible happened a few weeks ago. In south africa, the parliament voted to confiscate property from white citizens without compensation. Land that has been passed down from one generation to the next for over 200 years, in some cases. This was part of an agenda to punish them for the sins of their colonist ancestors, and to appease the angry blacks who make up most of the population. The greed factor is undeniable, too. With this policy, the bureaucrats can acquire prime real estate for pennys on the pound. The black south africans have taken the racist sentiments of its government as free license to persecute the whites. Street violence has increased, and so has mob attacks on farms. This is not a new trend: Its been going on ever since Nelson Mandela took office in 1994. His presidency proved to be a disaster for the country, which has become poorer and poorer over time, while violence has skyrocketed. According to one estimate, there were over 445,000 murders between april 1994 and march 2016.

 Mobs of angry blacks

The annual murder rate certainly hasn't abated since then, as the government seeks to maintain its popularity by engaging in more and more flagrant acts of discrimination against the white minority. These absurdly unfair land grabs will leave the people destitute and vulnerable. Its entirely possible that this scenario could morph into full on genocide. The people are stripped of their rights more and more every year, and are in fear for their lives. If a wave of mass murders sweeps the country, then the white south africans have limited options to flee. Tragically, most western nations will refuse to accept them as refugees. This is due largely to self imposed political correctness, and the belief that only 'dark skinned peoples' can be the victims of racism and prejudice. European liberals would much rather virtue signal to each other, and continue bringing in muslims by the boat and plane load. The only 1st world country that seems ready to accept them as refugees is australia.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Refugee crisis: Germany

Ever since angela merkel opened germanys borders to hundreds of thousands of muslim refugees in 2015, the political elites and corporate media have been doing their best to stifle all criticism of this policy, and conceal the negative consequences from the public. This pattern has been observed in numerous european countrys affected by the migrant crisis. (Sweden was the worst offender of this, with their special '291' code used to cover up crimes by refugees) But the costs of multi culturalism are proving so onerous that the mainstream german media can't keep it under wraps any more. Its now admitted that crimes rates have increased significantly with the arrival of the third worlders. Constant fights, muggings, beatings, and unruliness have turned some areas into no-go-zones. Sexual assaults and rapes have increased so much that german women are now buying anti-rape pants, and are trying to raise awareness about their peril. Unfortunately, theres not very much that the average man can do about it.
The CDU and other partys are ardent opponents of nationalism, and don't want people interfering with their multi-cultural agenda. If a white german were to beat up a dark skinned muslim, then he would no doubt be crucified by the leftist run media, and charged with fictitious 'hate crimes'. Political elites are purposely ignoring the problems that arise when introducing millions of people into a country with a different race, religion, and culture. And in fact, they are inflaming those problems by telling the public that they must submit to the foreigners! Television networks seem to be in cohoots with them, by running propaganda that normalises islam. This is very problematic in a country like germany, because the people are more gullible by nature, and have few tools to attack authority figures with. Their criticisms can easily be shut down with ad hominem attacks like 'racist' or 'conspiracy theorist.' The overton window is extremely narrow in that country, largely due to the efforts of the leftist bullys who run the show.

 The Mass Brainwashing of Germany

 German women rise up! #120

This all lends a rather depressing view of the future, but there have been some positive developments as of late. The far right AfD party got a huge boost in the elections last year, and is trying to fight back against the islamisation of europe. These election gains caused leftists to lose faith in merkel, who spent months vainly trying to form a coalition government. She was (correctly) blamed for the victorys of the far right, and there were even calls for her to step down. The trecherous leader barely managed to avert disaster when the SPD kooks offered her a coalition deal. With no rest for the wicked, though, merkel then attended a conference where she was subjected to a barrage of criticism by the austrian chancellor. Sebastian kurz told her flat out that his country is under no obligation to accept refugees from the third world, and is firmly supportive of the czech, hungarian, and polish decision to opt out of any migrant quotas. Without question, european nationalism is on the rise again. What was once controversial before the migrant crisis of 2015, is now snowballing into a trend. Huge demonstrations were held in greece last month, embarrassing its 'progressive' government. They tried to censor the event from the media, but to little effect. Some of the demonstrators used the event to settle a score with antifa, by torching a building that belonged to one of their chapters.

Friday, 12 January 2018

TankArchives: 122mm gun vs Tiger II


This article will examine the Soviet tests on the Tiger II tank. Or more specifically, how it was portrayed by a spin doctor named TankArchives. This notorious individual has made a career out of interpreting Soviet military reports and memorandums dating from world war 2. He has a long track record of distorting evidence and making dishonest claims, as part of an agenda to change public perception of the Nazi-Soviet war. It has always been an uphill battle for TankArchives, given the poor performance of the Red Army against the German Heer. Even though they were eventually able to win the war (with the help of Britain and America), the Soviets were consistently outperformed by their enemy on the tactical level. Like many milbloggers, TankArchives has a fetish for pairwise comparisons of weaponry that are rather myopic in nature.

The Soviet tests were conducted at kubinka, in November 1944. The temperatures on that day were -10 celsius, which may have adversely effected the ductility of the armor. This must be kept in mind when examining how the armor reacted to these strikes. In this article, we'll look at the exact same report as TankArchives and examine whether or not his claims misrepresent it. We'll also look at some photographs that were provided in the report and make conclusions based on what they show. This will provide a contrast to the one sided reporting of TankArchives. Right at the start of his article, he throws objectivity out the window and presents a picture of the Tiger II tank from after the trials were over... After it had been fired on by 122mm, 100mm, 152mm, and 85mm guns. An intelligent and objective reader immediately gets put off by this.

TankArchives wants you to think the 122mm 
A-19 gun did this to the Tiger II all by itself

Specifications of the armor and gun

The Tiger II was without a doubt the best armored tank of the second world war, the culmination in a long line of progressively heavier 'breakthrough tanks.' Its frontal armor is especially impressive. The upper front plate (UFP) is 150mm thick and sloped at 50 degrees from the vertical. The lower front plate (LFP) is 100mm thick and sloped at 55 degrees. The turret face is 180mm thick and sloped at 10 degrees. We can use this information to determine what the line of sight (LOS) thickness of these armor plates were. The Tigers upper front plate had an LOS thickness of 233mm, while the lower front plate had an LOS thickness of 174mm.

The 122mm gun came in two different models, the A-19 which has an L/46 barrel, and the D-25T which has an L/43 barrel. The former was a field gun, the latter was used by tanks and assault guns. The A-19 model had slightly higher performance, and was the variant used in this test. According to the 50% criteria, it could pierce 212mm of armor at 100 meters, 200mm at 500 meters, and 182mm at 1000 meters. [1] This was when using the BR-471B shell, which had a ballistic cap (basically, a windscreen that improved its aerodynamics). The regular BR-471 shell had no cap, and somewhat lower penetration.

The firing tests, part one

In this test, five shots are directed against the upper front plate (UFP).

Shot #1 is an HE shell against the UFP, from 100 meters. The only damage is a shallow scuff mark, and burst weld seams. There was some spalling as well. TankArchives crows about the results, saying the shell has literally torn the tank apart. Which is utter nonsense, as the glacis itself is clearly still intact.

Shot #2 is an AP shell against the UFP, from 2700 meters. The impact left a shallow scuff mark, but did no damage. TankArchives is disappointed by the result and has little to say.

Shot #3 is an AP shell against the UFP, from 500 meters. The impact left a deep scuff mark and caused spalling. TankArchives crows about the results, lecturing about the perils of 'overhardened armor.'

Shot #4 is an APBC shell against the UFP, from 600 meters. The impact actually makes a clean penetration. TankArchives crows about the results, saying the 'low quality' of the armor has let the crew down.

Shot #5 is an APBC shell against the UFP, from 700 meters. The only damage is a shallow scuff mark, and burst weld seams. TankArchives crows about the results, lecturing about the perils of 'overhardened armor.'

Whats interesting about the original five shots against the glacis plate is that only one of them (shot #4) actually managed to penetrate. All the others failed to do so and only caused secondary damage through spalling or whatnot. Shot #4 and #5 used a brand-new APBC shell, called the BR-471B, which has superior performance to regular AP. And yet, there are oddities in the results that TankArchives pays no heed to.

Does he notice that while shot #3 pierces the armor, the shell doesn't actually pass into the tank? Nope. Does he notice that the 100 meter range difference between shot #3 and #4 was enough to render the APBC shells ineffective? Nope. Hes is clueless and ignorant as ever. Despite claims to the contrary, it seems that the Tiger IIs glacis plate is actually very tough, and holding up quite well to the abuse.

Also, do you see the boisterous manner in which TankArchives reports on these firing tests? He isn't conveying them in an impartial or unbiased tone. Hes literally cheering from the sidelines like a drunken football fan, ranting about the 'inferior' German tanks and their 'brittle' armor. And he wonders why people don't take him seriously, or dismiss his work as propaganda? It would be funny if it wasn't so ridiculous.

Shot #1

Shot #2

Shot #3

Shot #4

Shot #5

The firing tests, part two

In this test, two shots are against the lower front plate (LFP), and two are against the turret face.

Shot #6 is an AP shell against the LFP, from 2500 meters. The impact left a shallow scuff mark, but did no damage. TankArchives is disappointed by the result and has little to say.

Shot #7 is an AP shell against the LFP, from 600 meters. The impact left a shallow scuff mark, but did no damage. TankArchives is disappointed by the result and has little to say.

(After this, there is a big gap, as the Soviet testers switched to other guns and fired at the tank. They used 100mm, 152mm, and 85mm guns. Testing then resumes with the 122mm against the Tiger IIs turret, which is already damaged from prior impacts)

Shot #34 is an AP shell against the turret face, from 2500 meters. The shell hit next to a previous shot and knocked a piece of armor loose. TankArchives crows about the results, lecturing about the perils of 'overhardened armor.'

Shot #35 is an AP shell against the turret face, from 3400 meters. The shell cracked the armor, but otherwise did no damage. TankArchives is disappointed by the result and has little to say.

In this firing sequence as well, there are certain oddities. The 122mm gun actually made four shots against the turret face (#32, #33, #34, #35), but TankArchives chooses to only report on two of them (#34, #35). Who knows what his reason for doing this are? The true value of this sequence is questionable, anyway, since the turret has already been damaged by previous shots.

Conclusions about the firing tests

So, what can kindof conclusions we take away from the kubinka tests with the 122mm gun on the Tiger II? First, the regular HE and AP shells cannot pierce the glacis plate, they can only cause spalling or whatnot. Second, the brand-new APBC shells can only pierce the glacis plate from relatively short range (600 meters and under). Third, all the shells mentioned will perform better against the thinner armor of the turret face.

The 122mm A-19 struggles to defeat this beast of a tank, and its literally the best gun in the entire Soviet arsenal! Its performance is actually quite comparable to the 88mm kwk 43 gun used by the Tiger II itself. We can measure their power by using the 50 percent criteria. When firing APBC shells, the 122mm could pierce 212mm of armor at 100 meters. [1] When firing APCBC shells, the 88mm could pierce 232mm of armor at 100 meters. [2] This was against an unsloped armor plate.

But when tested against an armor plate sloped at 50 degrees, the results are quite different. At 100 meters distance, the 88mm APCBC can only pierce 106mm of armor, while the 122mm APBC can only pierce 120mm of armor. For some reason, the Soviet shell performs better against highly sloped armor than the German shell. This is likely due to the T\D ratio, the thickness of the plate compared to the diameter of the shell.

As for the behavior of the armor plates themselves. The fact that they suffered from spalling and burst weld seems is not completely surprising, given the size of the impacting shells. Another factor is that Soviet ammunition did not use an armor piercing cap to soften the forces of impact on themselves. [3] For this reason, they can usually achieve penetration only by exceeding the shear strength of the plate itself. They defeat armor by brittle fractures, rather than ductile hole growth.

The damage caused by uncapped vs capped 
ammunition is starkly apparent in this image

TankArchives interpretation

There are a number of problems that loom over all the articles written by TankArchives. One of them is that he is clueless about metallurgy and ballistics. He seems to labor under the delusion that any time the armor doesn't reject the shell with zero damage to itself, that this is somehow indicative of low quality! This is complete nonsense because even high quality armor can fail when subjected to powerful enough attack. He doesn't understand that just because the armor suffers a brittle fracture doesn't automatically mean that its defective.

Another thing that escapes his notice is how differently the Tiger IIs armor behaves when attacked by German and Soviet shells. In addition to the 152mm, 122mm, 100mm, and 85mm guns, the kubinka tests also featured the 88mm and 75mm guns. When fired on by the latter two weapons, the 'brittle' plates suddenly don't act brittle. They experience ductile failure modes, because they are being hit with capped ammunition. TankArchives has complete tunnel vision: He cannot fathom the idea that the impacting shell also influences how the plate behaves!

Another problem is the tone in which he interprets these test results. It is clearly done in the style of someone who is an ultra-nationalist and historical revisionist: Someone who has no interest whatsoever in impartiality. TankArchives comments are reminiscent of the dialogue box in God of War, when you score points from racking up combos. "Vicious!" "Sadistic!" "Savage!"; "Inhuman!"; "Bloodthirsty!"; "Relentless!"; "Merciless!" He isn't even analysing the results, hes just turned himself into a human laugh track.

He presents his claims in such an absurd manner that an intelligent and objective readers simply shake their head in disgust and stops reading... Which leaves only the unintelligent or subjective readers remaining. Exactly the kindof audience TankArchives wants! Its a brilliant example of nigerian phishing. As wikipedia points out in this article: "By sending an email that repels all but the most gullible, the scammer gets the most promising marks to self-select." You have to give him credit for that, at least: He knows the market.

The laugh track


[1] World War II Ballistics: Armor and Gunnery, by Robert D. Livingston. (Page 50)

[2] World War II Ballistics: Armor and Gunnery, by Robert D. Livingston. (Page 61)

[3] Soviet Armed Forces Review Annual - Volume 14, by David R. Jones. (Page 260)

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Who is behind the fake refugee crisis?

Who is behind the fake refugee crisis? Its a simple question that doesn't have an easy answer. We know that most of the people flooding into europe aren't actually syrians. They are from other parts of the middle east and north africa. These muslims aren't fleeing from a war, they're just looking for a welfare check from dumb liberals. And to start riots, rob people, and cause havoc... Moreover, we also know that normal border contingencys were de-activated by angela merkel and francois holland. They had no qualms at all about letting the foxes into the hen house. The following videos go into some detail on how this artificial crisis was set into motion.

The REAL reason for Europes influx
of migrants!!! WikiLeaks founder

Nikolai Starikov explains Europe's refugee crisis

The Truth About 'Refugees'

To my credit, I suspected foul play behind the refugee crisis almost as soon as it unfolded. The involvement of israeli and U.S. intelligence agencys is unsurprising. Zionist elements in both countrys want to weaken europe and divide them on ethnic and religious grounds. That will prevent them from becoming an economic competitor. Unfortuntely, the influx of hostile islamists isn't just weakening countrys like germany and france: Its slowly destroying them. If something is not done soon, it may end up setting off a humanitarian crisis in europe.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

RE: Common Myths About WWII

This is a response to a popular article that was posted a few years ago on the blog, For The Record. FTR is a site associated with the online game war of tanks. They make frequent posts that circle around the game and its setting: Tank combat during the 30s to 60s. The quality of these articles vary wildly depending on the topic in question. They are of respectible quality until it comes to WW2, in which case FTR delves into full on historical revisionism. Among other things, they are strongly opposed to the theory that the german army was a uniquely powerful and competent military force. Any individual who makes that claim is shouted down and decried as a wehraboo. Unfortunately for FTR, this theory happens to be supported by all the known facts about the heers organisation, and from their performance against opposing armys during WW2. The usual consensus among historians is that the germans were simply overwhelmed by the burden of fighting against three huge empires, and the superior industrial resources they could muster. One of the authors at the blog (EnsignExpendible) decided that he'd finally had enough with this theory. He proceeded to write a misleading article that trys to dispute the heers superiority in weaponry and tactics. The post that we will dismantle today :)

In keeping with the 'war of tanks' theme, the author has most of his criticisms focused on armored warfare. The Ensign was wise to choose a narrow subject that played to his strengths, but even then, he falls well short of managing to do a proper debunking. Normally, this kind of biased opinion piece wouldn't even warrant a response. But since it is being promoted on revisionist forums like ShitWehraboosSay, it has now become a worthwhile effort to debunk this article. To be sure, the Ensign is clearly a lightweight without much understanding of warfare in general. Most of his points are forced, and rely on pairwise comparisons of equipment (17 pounder guns vs Tiger tanks, for example). Worse yet, he relys very heavily on websites like tankarchives for sources. The site in question is run by a russian blogger who makes a career out of translating soviet field reports from the war, and using them to make deceptive claims... Much like EnsignExpendible himself does. Could there be a connection between these two individuals?

These are the kindof stupid memes 
that get promoted on the FTR blog
Shermans were not especially fire-prone (consider German tanks that also used gasoline engines, but avoid this reputation). Fires were caused by improper storage of ammunition, when it was literally stuffed everywhere inside the tank it could fit. The end of this practice drastically reduced the number of Sherman fires 

Fun fact: In order for a tank to catch fire, its armor has to actually be pierced. Its true that the Shermans weren't any more fire-prone than the german tanks they faced. But the problem is, its armor was pierced much more frequently than the opposition. In one study, 95% of Shermans hit by 75mm or 88mm guns were penetrated, and of those tanks, 65% were burned out. [1] We can safely conclude that its armor was too thin to keep out enemy shells, therefore. Thats one of the reasons why the Sherman acquired a bad reputation after the war. On the other hand, the crews had a pretty good chance of escaping their vehicle alive if it was struck. The roomy interior, spring loaded hatches, ductile armor, and (later) wet ammo stowage were responsible for this.

The Ronson nickname is attributed to the slogan “lights every time”. The slogan was launched post-war, and thus could not influence the nickname.

Are you seriously claiming that the Ronson nickname was a postwar fiction? On what grounds are you dismissing the memoirs of veterans like David Holbrook and Steel Brownlie, who disparagingly compared the Sherman tanks to a lighter? Why do you dismiss Ian Hogg, who noted in his 1977 book that ''the Germans nicknamed them Ronsons because of their tendency to burst into flames when hit''? Its true that all these books weren't published until after the end of WW2. However, there are online images which show the slogan in use years before the war. This ad poster is dated from 1929, and it already has the theme: ''A Ronson lights every time.''

Myth: German tanks in general, and Tigers in particular, were impervious to Allied guns.
Fact: Tigers were vulnerable to even Shermans armed with 75 mm guns. The longer 76 mm gun (superior in AP performance to the Soviet 85 mm gun, which could handle Tigers just fine) had no problem with Tigers or Panthers.

Thats nonsense. The 75mm M3 gun used by the Sherman was completely useless against the Tigers frontal armor, and was unable to penetrate it even from point blank range. This is made clear from the data about the armor and gun in question, and is also borne out by countless testimonys from veterans and field reports. In combat, the Shermans 75mm gun was only useful against the Tigers side armor. As for the 76mm M1 gun, while this was certainly a better weapon, it was far from ideal. With standard ammunition, it could only penetrate the Tigers mantlet from 100 meters, and the glacis from 400 meters. [2] The 76mm gun was unable to pierce the Panthers glacis from any range at all, and could only penetrate the mantlet from about 200 meters. [3] So where do you get off saying that the 76mm gun had no problem with the german 'cats'? The enemy tanks were able to knock them out from much longer range than vice versa!

Your claims about russian tank guns are equally facile. While the theoretical performance of the 85mm S53 gun was at least equal to the 76mm gun, in practise, it was hampered by the choice of ammunition. Due to manufacturing difficultys, soviet AP rounds did not use an armor piercing cap to raise the shatter velocity. [4] As a result, they had a bad tendency to break up against german tank armor: This problem wasn't fixed until sometime in 1944. Even with the improved ammunition, though, the 85mm guns could only pierce the Tigers turret (not mantlet) from 500 meters, and the glacis from 300 meters. The 88mm KWK 36 gun could pierce the T-34/85s armor from a much longer range. So really, your examples only confirm how much of a disadvantage the allies were at in these tank on tank duels. There was obviously a reason why they needed numerical superiority to win battles.

Myth: German tanks and crews were superior to anything the Allies had, and achieved an X:1 kill to death ratio (the number varies greatly).
Fact: The flaws of German kill counts are covered in detail here and here.

The first source you listed is a rant about nothing. Since when does a different method of counting losses qualify as 'flawed' or 'cheating'? A german panzer unit would keep damaged vehicles on the unit list and report a reduced operational readiness rate. An american or british tank unit would have damaged vehicles stricken from the unit list and replaced with new vehicles. So the only real difference here is that the Nazis were simply less willing to send damaged vehicles back to army level workshops. As one source put it:“German commanders were loath to write off panzers and instead carried them on their books ad infinitum, wary of sending them back to the homeland for fear they would never be replaced. As a result, dead vehicles would be dragged forward during an attack, and dragged backward during a retreat.” [5] And with regards to the panzers overclaiming the number of kills they scored, this is hardly something unique to the germans. This was observed in all armies of the period, including the americans, british, and soviets. The reason is simple: Not all tanks that were hit or even knocked out were so badly damaged that they had to be written off. Some of them could be repaired, and returned to service.

Soviet guns do not lack mechanical accuracy, and are occasionally more accurate than their German counterparts. As for optics, Americans praised them at the Aberdeen trials: “Consensus: the gun sights are the best in the world. Incomparable to any currently known worldwide or currently developed in America.”

The 'great soviet optics' claim was made by U.S. army personnel that were used to dealing with crappy american scopes. They weren't comparing it to german stuff because they had none to test. As a matter of fact, the M38 telescopic sight used by the Sherman tank was so bad that the U.S. army was demanding a replacement by early 1943. ''We must have a better optic for our guns, something with a four power to six telescopic power and something focusable. The sight should have a larger reticle and it must be illuminated for night fighting. This is extremely important; it should be changed immediately.'' [6] So while its true that soviet scopes were better than the american designs, this is damning with faint praise. German crews who rode in captured T-34 tanks were disappointed with the optical suite, saying ''the gun sights in russian tanks are far behind the german designs.''

 Gunsight of the Tiger I tank

Myth: The T-34 was a very unreliable tank, as proven by trials at Aberdeen.
Fact: While trials at Aberdeen uncovered some flaws in early T-34 tanks, the tank sent to them was an obsolete model that went through major refurbishment. Furthermore, American testing was flawed (for example, they failed to oil up the air filter). Read more details here and here.

Thats only half true, Ensign. From all indications, the tank tested at Aberdeen in 1942 was ''specially prepared using the highest quality parts at the Ural Tank Factory (UTZ), which at that time produced the best T-34s in Russia.'' So any automotive flaws encountered with the vehicle are inherent to its very design. We know that the early T-34 tanks had major problems with their transmissions and final drives. One source states that they would require maintenance after a journey of 50 to 80 kilometers. Another claims that the T-34 could not travel more than 200 kilometers without an overhaul. A disappointing performance, to be sure. According to the Aberdeen report: ''On the T-34 the transmission is also very poor. When it was being operated, the cogs completely fell to pieces. A chemical analysis of the cogs on the cogwheels showed that their thermal treatment is very poor and does not in any way meet American standards for such mechanisms.'' These reliability problems were not fixed until 1943, when the tanks received a better clutch and transmission.

Myth: The King Tiger could not be penetrated by any tank gun.
Fact: The Tiger II was penetrated many times by various weapons in trials. Even the meek 85 mm gun on the T-34-85 was capable of dealing a fatal blow to it at 300 meters.

You know what the difference between trials and combat is? The difference is, the 'target' isn't moving around and shooting back at you. The kubinka test you're so eager to mention involved the vehicle being fired at (in sequence) by 122mm guns, 152mm guns, 100mm guns, and 85mm guns. The armor package was already compromised by the time the 85mm guns got their turn. Just look at the firing tests against the glacis plate! The first sequence was done with the 122mm A-19 gun, similar to the D-25T gun used by soviet tanks. Most of the shells fired at the Tiger II failed to pierce the glacis plate: They only caused spalling and burst weld seams. The second sequence was done with the 152mm ML-20 gun. None of the shells fired at the Tiger II managed to pierce the glacis plate. Even from 100 meters, they could only burst weld seams and spall the armor.  The third sequence was done with the BS-3 gun. The 100mm shells only managed to penetrate when they hit weakened portions of the glacis, or the connections between the upper and lower front plates.
This is a trial weighted heavily in favor of the soviet guns, and they aren't even doing that good of a job. Out of those three guns, the only one that could make a clean penetration was the 122mm A-19, and only when using a specially designed shell that came into service in 1945! It pierced the armor at 600 meters, but only made a dent at 700 meters. Smaller caliber guns had no hope of dealing with the vehicle from a frontal aspect. Think about it, Ensign. The 85mm gun struggled to knock out even the Tiger I. When firing from an angle of 30 degrees, it could only penetrate the Tiger Is turret from 500 meters, and the glacis plate from 300 meters. [7] So what could possibly lead you to believe that this same gun could pierce the much thicker armor of the Tiger II from the same range? They were the heaviest, best armored tanks ever to enter service during world war 2. The kubinka test bears this out in full.

Myth: Germans had the best optics in the entire war.
Fact: Not really, just some minor advantages in sight form factors (and not glass quality, like is often said). Daigensui explores the topic here. 

Minor advantages? Your own link acknowledges that the german optics have a wider field of view (FOV) than american optics of the same magnification. The TZF 5f sight used by the Panzer IV had a 25 degree FOV at 2.5x power, while the TZF 9c used by the Tiger had a 28 degree FOV at 2.5x power. In contrast, the sight used by the Sherman had only a 13 degree FOV at 3x power. Thats a fairly substantial difference, Ensign. The telescopic sights on the Tiger or Panther tanks also had adjustable magnifications, meaning they could go from 2.5x power to 5x power. This, along with their stadiametric notches, gave the germans a notable edge in long range gunnery. Don't forget, the tank that strikes its target first will usually win the engagement! And despite your claims to the contrary, the panzer optics did indeed posses higher glass quality. A french army report stated: ''The clarity and ranging reticles of the periscope gun sight was excellent and more effective than of the allied counterpart, the Sherman.'' During the interwar years, Zeiss had developed a coating method that enabled a higher level of optical clarity than any other manufacturer.

Myth: Germans could knock out Allied tanks at great ranges, and routinely did so from distances as great as 2 kilometers or even greater.
Fact: Research indicates that the average engagement range was only several hundred meters. Shots from over 1 kilometer were either rarely taken, or rarely reached their target.

The article you link to mentions a study by P. S. Igumnov. This survey was about soviet tanks destroyed on the eastern front, where the line of sight (LOS) is longer than anywhere in europe. But the article doesn't elaborate on what year this study was conducted, or what the sample size was. Did Igumnov survey 200 soviet tanks, or 2000 of them? These questions matter. Your own table states that the 88mm guns were scoring kills at longer range than the 75mm guns. The 88s were getting 31.2% of their hits at 600-800 meters, and 13.5% of their hits at 800-1000 meters. The 75s were getting 33.5% of their hits at 400-600 meters, and 14.5% of their hits at 600-800 meters. Anyway, its a well known fact that german guns COULD knock out soviet tanks from great ranges. The T-34s were shockingly vulnerable to the 88mm flak gun, which was later adapted for use in the Tiger I. In October 1943, a tank commander named Kurt Knispel knocked out a T-34 tank from 3000 meters, the longest range tank kill of the war. But of course, these kinds of shots were the exception rather than the rule. Even in the steppes of russia and the ukraine, most kills were made at considerably shorter range.

Myth: The Panther was a great tank that could have turned the tide of the war if only _________.
Fact: Panthers, even the latest models, were full of mechanical issues, such as final drives that lasted 150 kilometers. The_Chieftain goes over them here. Additionally, the armour was of exceptionally poor quality, cracking after non-penetrating hits.

Gee, do you think? World war 2 was the largest conflict in human history. The chain of events were far too complex to be decided by a single line of vehicles, no matter how impressive their performance may appear to be. While its true that the Panthers had issue with their final drives (as the early models of T-34 did), the sheer extent of this problem has often been exaggerated. The french experience of the tanks only going 150 km before a break down needs to be tempered with the reality that those crews weren't trained to properly operate the Panther. They had a bad habit of keeping the tank in 3rd gear during long marchs, and then controlling the speed using only the accelerator rather than shifting to the higher gears. This is something that german crews had been explicitly warned not to do, as it would lead to premature stripping of the cogs. [8] The 3rd gear was under-designed because it wasn't meant to spend much time in that position: It was only meant to be a transition to the higher gears. But even so, the notion of the Panthers final drives having a 'fatigue life of only 150 km' is bizarre and anomalous. The german manuals don't say anything about them having such a short time between overhauls.

And in fact, there are numerous incidents where this figure was exceeded by a long shot.  The 11th panzer division was engaged in heavy fighting from August 1944 onward. They attempted to contain the allied landing in southern france, and conducted several long road marchs. By regulation, the Panther tanks required an overhaul after 800 km. But due to the frantic combat and constant retreats, the 11th panzer division was unable to stick to regulations. By the time September 1944 rolled around, some of the Panthers had over 1500 km on their odometers! [9] They operated over a distance ten times greater than the french claimed was possible. And that isn't all. The british actually did tests on a captured Panther tank which had 500 miles (800 km) on it. The vehicle was  worn out, and needed repairs to the engine and steering. Afterwards, however, it was able to successfully pass an obstacle course that both the Sherman and Cromwell failed. It was then put through two additional trials, which is when the transmission finally broke down. That means it traveled five times further than the french claimed was possible. This is not to say that the final drives were not a weak point, its just that the problem has been blown completely out of proportion.


[1] British Armour in the Normandy Campaign, by John Buckley. (Page 125)

[2] M26/M46 Pershing Tank 1943–53, by Steven J. Zaloga. (Page 10)

[3] Panther vs Sherman: Battle of the Bulge 1944, by Steven J. Zaloga. (Page 25)

[4] Soviet Armed Forces Review Annual - Volume 14, by David R. Jones. (Page 260)

[5] Repairing the Panzers: German Tank Maintenance in World War, by Lukas Friedli.

[6] M4 Sherman at War, by Michael Green. (Page 85)

[7] Tiger 1: Heavy Tank: 1942-45, by Thomas Jentz. (Page 20)

[8] Panzers at War, by Michael Green. (Page 87)

[9] Ghost Division: The 11th "Gespenster" Panzer Division and the German Armored Force in World War II, by Harding Ganz. (Page 266)