The Sherman Tank what an amazing vehicle!!

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by kfz, Nov 11, 2006.

  1. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    This would indicate to me that it was effectively just a reserve held ready to deal with all forms of major wastage during combat ops (write-off, long-term repair, rebuild), not short-term which would be handled by the regiment or brigade or maybe division. If so, then this system first emerged during CRUSADER I believe, where 1-2 regiments were allocated to act as TDS (tank delivery squadrons).

    All the best

  2. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    Not found anything concrete from the RAOC, but the way it's written in the above extract implies that the 'repair pool' was over and above calculated wastage. The REME history hints at a possible reason: the plan was for 4th echelon workshops to stay in the UK with vehicles being shipped back-and-forth over the channel. The 'repair pool' may have been set up to ensure enough reserve vehicles were available to cover the prolonged absence of vehicles sent back over the water. At the moment, it looks like nothing more than an additional fudge factor, not a physical entity.
  3. Don Juan

    Don Juan Well-Known Member

    Thanks Idler and Andreas,

    Is 4th echelon Corps or Army level?

    Tbh, the "repair pool" has a bit of a whiff of cannibalisation about it. It sounds to me like a pool of vehicles that you don't have to keep particularly well maintained, but can whip bits off for quick repairs to fighting vehicles, or provide replacement parts to units etc., without having to maintain an organised stores system.
  4. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    For Normandy, 4th echelon repairs were handled by the UK Base Workshops plus smaller Advance Base Workshops that were deployed in France at roughly one per corps.

    Given Ordnance's 'ownership' of the repair pool, I don't think they'd have planned to cannibalise their stock for spares and miss out on the chance to do all that paperwork.
  5. Don Juan

    Don Juan Well-Known Member

    How do echelons work then idler?

    I presumed (never a good idea, admittedly) that it was:

    Brigade workshops = 1st echelon
    Divisional workshops = 2nd echelon
    Corps or Army workshops = 3rd echelon.

    I am in the right ball park here?

    As regards the repair pool, I think you're right regarding cannibalisation. I think the repair pool was probably close to the definition given by Andreas - the term for all tanks that were undergoing repair at any time (regardless of location) - and additional reserve tanks were required so that as this pool grew, front line units still had sufficient tanks.
  6. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    It's not quite that simple because formation 'Troops' units also had low-echelon (for want of a better term) workshops allocated to them, e.g. a corps would have something like a Bde workshop to service its non-divisional troops.

    The gist of it is to do with capability. LADs would make running repairs, Bde Wksps might change assemblies, e.g. fit a new gearbox. The next echelon up might be able to repair or overhaul the gearbox and put it back into stock.

    I will have a dig and see if I can find official definitions, though I worry that even REME gave up on this as they included a rather complex foldout diagram to 'explain' things.
    Don Juan likes this.
  7. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    Don Juan likes this.
  8. Don Juan

    Don Juan Well-Known Member

    Good stuff! Thanks Idler (and Trux)
  9. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Found this interesting document "FM 17-67 Crew Drill and Service of the Piece, Medium Tank M4. 5 Aug. 44"


    One of the first things I noticed in there was the apparent US use (?) of the term "Cannoneer"




    1. an artilleryman who positioned and fired a cannon.

    I wonder if the Brits had access to this FM 17-67 - or had to script their own similar document(s) (Nb. It says within it on p2 that 5 Aug 1944 supersedes FM-67 from 9th April 1943):

    Glancing through the instructions on how to remove a stuck round the process sounded similar to one I have seen described by a British tank crew.
  10. Richard G

    Richard G Junior Member

    Thanks all for the advice and observations as to everything personal, it would be constructive to stick to facts and treat me as nothing more than an observer but apparently that's not possible. I've followed and been sporadically involved in the Sherman Wars for what, must be 15 years at least and nothing much has changed. The simple fact is that by world WW2 standards, not US 'standards' for crying out loud, the Sherman was deficient in armament and mobility, both of which can be and have been amply demonstrated.

    What confuses me further is the apparent British attitude, not universal but definately out there. Why did the British go with the 17pdr and not rely on the US to come up with an equivalent? Why did the Britboys go for the 17pdr at all? If you wanted a good HE why not stick a 25pdr in there, stop messing around and get some firepower that would command respect?

    There is heaps of interesting stuff to discuss but no, let's stonewall and not rise to the challenge. No wonder the UK is a shadow of what it once was..
  11. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    It all depends on the measuring stick you use. There were only 4 players in the game 1939-45. USA/UK/USSR/Germany. 3 of those nations settled on a 'one size fits all' approach. The other went for the max in terms of armour. Can you not see that you are taking as your base the way 1 nation did it and thus saying the other 3 were wrong? At the start of the war it was the Germans who had the lighter tanks so even they only went for heavies in the last half of the war. Your whole argument is based on the false premise that Germany alone had the correct solution.
    Ramiles likes this.
  12. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    With their extensive experience of defensive armoured warfare against the khaki, olive and red hordes, the Germans believed the right solution was a moderately armoured, relatively mobile tank with a BFG. What was Leopard if not a modern Firefly?
  13. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 New Member

    It was able to be up-gunned. The US and British up-gunned the M4 numerous times, adding the 76mm, the 17-pounder, and I think they even tried to put a 90mm gun on one version.
  14. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA Patron

    And the Israelis had the M-50 and M-51 Super Shermans with 105mm (guns, not howitzers)
  15. Richard G

    Richard G Junior Member

    I don't quite follow but suggest that it was only the US which had 'one size fits all' with the Sherman. The British had two, cruisers and infantry, the Russians medium and heavy plus dedicated tank destroyers pretty much like the Germans. It seems clear to me that it was the US which was out of step with everyone else although the effects of that have been masked by their less protracted involvement plus superior support in the form of artillery and air power. It was particularly air power which hampered German tank operations and compramised their tactical deployments, that plus the decline of their logistical capacity which meant that the Sherman had it relatively easy. At the time too it appears that the US infantry casualty rate was of no big concern, particularly compared with what the British considered acceptable.

    Infantry casualties are often not considered when discussing armour but one thing is for sure, effective armoured support reduces infantry casualties. Taking US armour by itself I suggest that it was not as effective as that of the others, particularly the Germans on a good day when everything was available and working as it should although by the end of the war the British were pretty good too.
  16. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    Just the most glaring error in your latest post.
    You really need some up to date references!
  17. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    We hear a lot about the Sherman's deficiencies in tank-v-tank combat, and probably rightly. You often hear, on the other hand, that it was a good infantry support vehicle. Certainly everything I've read suggests that the 75mm HE round was highly thought of for such work, and this was probably the main reason both for the long retention of the75mm M3 on the Sherman and for the introduction of the 75 into British tanks like the Churchill and Cromwell. I'd like to see some detailed analysis of the 75mm Sherman as an infantry support tank, especially in comparison with the Churchill and later Shermans with the 76mm and 17 Pdr. Does such analysis exist anywhere?

    Going again by what I've read it appears that direct air support was of less help to US ground troops in the attack than armor and artillery. Tactical air was improving all the time, but it wasn't always available even late in the war and it tended to be less accurate than artillery. As far as German armor and airpower goes I recall some operational research reports showing that bombs and rockets only accounted for a relatively small number of German AFVs, even at Falaise. Of course tactical air could handicap German armor by knocking out vital soft vehicles like fuel and supply trucks, etc.

    RE US infantry casualties...I realize that many British critics (Bidwell and Graham, for two) say that US generals had a cavalier attitude towards infantry losses and tended to keep their units in the line too long. This was true of some commanders and in some cases (Mark Clark in Italy comes to mind). By 1944 though the infantry casualty rate was a serious concern to Marshall and others. We altered our draft system to take in categories previously exempted, such as married men in their 30s and petty criminals like Eddie Slovik. Casualty conservation was one of the classic justifications for the American fondness for air, armored, and artillery support. It seems the US Army can't catch a break in the eyes of some postwar students. If the infantry were left in the line to fight their way forward, then their generals are criticized for being callous and attrition-minded; if the infantry got all the support they could get from firepower, then the troops are criticized for lacking commitment and skill at arms.
    canuck likes this.
  18. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    I think the same criticisms were also leveled at times at British and Canadian formations as well.

    It could also be argued that the attributes of the Sherman as an infantry support weapon were not fully exploited until later in 1944 and into 1945. Certainly for Canadian units, it seems that they refined and improved the degree of effective cooperation between infantry and armour as the NW Europe theatre, as the war progressed.
  19. Richard G

    Richard G Junior Member

  20. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    The author of this 'book' is presently making an arse of himself spamming every forum with third person plugs for his upcoming tome. The book is the author's thesis that was refused a grade and it was described thus:

    "agonizing" and that DeJohn must suffer from "Alzheimer’s disease." DeJohn sounds like a "crackpot," that his arguments are "absurd," that the thesis read like "a comic book for 5-year olds," that it was "amateurish," that it was "exaggerated melodrama," "juvenile melodrama," and "juvenile rhetoric," "monotonous agony," "juvenile argumentation," a "hissy fit in print."

    He even sued Carlisle (claiming they were anti-veteran!) because of his persecution/martyr complex.

    I think you and this book will be very happy together.

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