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Peasant

Why not turret less light tanks? (WWII)

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I feel enamored with the possibility of fitting a fairly powerful gun onto a light tank, without making it an especially big light tank.

But not in an open top tank destroyer configuration. Simply, designed around a casemate.

 

For example, a Pz II with a widened hull structure, to support a 50 millimeter gun.

 

In a manner similar to but not the same as the ASU-57, ASU-85; precluding the air drop requirement. Targeting the use of a fairly common gun, (for Soviets an F-34?)

 

True you could not stabilize the gun, nor could you make it a long barreled gun, but it should be a fairly effective infantry support vehicle?

 

It would not require significant expense (being small for an LT & conservative), it could not carry too large a gun in fear of it's inferiority in function, but it would significantly outgun it's counterparts. FCS would not be the greatest concern? Because it would operate to support infantry.

 

A miniature StuG III

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Already done on a larger scale.

The downsides are - "Your traverse and elevation is absurdly limited". (Unless you want a Churchill GC)

You are forcing yourself into a defensive stance. (Tanks with DP guns, like the M4 medium are better on the advance than the defense, in that they are allowed more gun mobility).

 

Casemate "tanks" are for the most part acts of desperate compromise.  You are either trying to save money, or work with what you have.

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3 minutes ago, Meplat said:

Already done on a larger scale.

The downsides are - "Your traverse and elevation is absurdly limited". (Unless you want a Churchill GC)

You are forcing yourself into a defensive stance. (Tanks with DP guns, like the M4 medium are better on the advance than the defense, in that they are allowed more gun mobility).

 

Casemate "tanks" are for the most part acts of desperate compromise.  You are either trying to save money, or work with what you have.

It isn't worth the greater firepower since the machine is no longer capable of firing from many positions a turreted tank would, and presents a larger? Profile when doing so?

 

The smaller size and much reduced weight results in a poorly armored platform or less poorly armored & slow at once? Making it vulnerable to enemy gunfire and more of a target?

 

But when engaging from prepared positions, it is little more than an expensive gun that happens to move and sort of protect itself?

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1 minute ago, Peasant said:

It isn't worth the greater firepower since the machine is no longer capable of firing from many positions a turreted tank would, and presents a larger? Profile when doing so?

 

The smaller size and much reduced weight results in a poorly armored platform or less poorly armored & slow at once? Making it vulnerable to enemy gunfire and more of a target?

 

But when engaging from prepared positions, it is little more than an expensive gun that happens to move and sort of protect itself?

Already been tried. Flip through Hunnicutt's "Stuart", and you'll see why it failed.

 

Again, it forces one into a defensive, rather than an offensive position.

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The only army that really was into the idea of turretless armored vehicles was Germany, and a good deal of that had to do with them realizing they had a ton of light tanks that were not of much use.  However, the priority was not converting these into infantry support machines, but rather using them as platforms for getting as many anti-tank guns onto the field as they could.  Of course, they later came up with something closer to what you are talking about with the Hetzer, which was fully enclosed and used as a low cost Stug substitute (despite being labeled a jagdpanzer).  

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I was thinking cheaper, easier to make, exceptionally low requirements for production, designed for fire support missions instead of anything else.

 

Such as how the ASU-57 uses many civilian parts, such a light tank would re-use parts from past turreted light tanks, possibly just rob the hull outright, then fit in a great big infantry support gun.

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21 minutes ago, Walter_Sobchak said:

The only army that really was into the idea of turretless armored vehicles was Germany, and a good deal of that had to do with them realizing they had a ton of light tanks that were not of much use.  However, the priority was not converting these into infantry support machines, but rather using them as platforms for getting as many anti-tank guns onto the field as they could.  Of course, they later came up with something closer to what you are talking about with the Hetzer, which was fully enclosed and used as a low cost Stug substitute (despite being labeled a jagdpanzer).  

And the Hetzer was an ergonomic nightmare. 

I've been in one, they are fucking ridiculous.

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4 hours ago, Peasant said:

I was thinking cheaper, easier to make, exceptionally low requirements for production, designed for fire support missions instead of anything else.

 

Such as how the ASU-57 uses many civilian parts, such a light tank would re-use parts from past turreted light tanks, possibly just rob the hull outright, then fit in a great big infantry support gun.

SU-76 was a thing, yes.

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12 hours ago, Meplat said:

And the Hetzer was an ergonomic nightmare. 

I've been in one, they are fucking ridiculous.

The better question I think with the Hetzer, was if it was an intentional punishment inflicted upon it's crew for fighting in the war.

 

Considering the designer did sabotage some of the first few models.

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Much more difficult to support friendly infantry if you have a casemate configuration. These tanks were used by some countries, yes, but in virtually every case that configuration was dictated by cost, time, or some other unique constraint. And as long as your guns are on the smaller side and your ball bearing factories aren't getting the snot bombed out of them, turrets are the way to go. Which is why the Americans didn't bother with them.

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12 hours ago, Sturgeon said:

Much more difficult to support friendly infantry if you have a casemate configuration. These tanks were used by some countries, yes, but in virtually every case that configuration was dictated by cost, time, or some other unique constraint. And as long as your guns are on the smaller side and your ball bearing factories aren't getting the snot bombed out of them, turrets are the way to go. Which is why the Americans didn't bother with them.

 

What he said.  When the US wanted to make a light fire support vehicle, they made the M8, which had a turret.

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1 hour ago, Walter_Sobchak said:

 

What he said.  When the US wanted to make a light fire support vehicle, they made the M8, which had a turret.

Because the US had figured out before the end of the Civil war that Turrets were a thing that had value. Witness the USS Monitor.

 

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Light tanks for scouting shouldn't be trying to prepare firing positions, they should find the enemy and then get to somewhere where the enemy isn't. Turret means you can shoot backwards, which is a plus (maybe archer was onto something?). Mobile artillery for infantry support is a different thing (stug, SU-76 as Toxn pointed out).

 

On 10/31/2018 at 1:08 AM, Peasant said:

True you could not stabilize the gun

 

If it elevates you can put the M3A1's stabiliser on it*

 

*some assembly required

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16 hours ago, Belesarius said:

Because the US had figured out before the end of the Civil war that Turrets were a thing that had value. Witness the USS Monitor.

 

There was some dicking about with "casemate light tanks" pre M2 Light, why I referenced Hunnicutt's "Stuart". They were all failures for obvious reasons.

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2 hours ago, Xlucine said:

Light tanks for scouting shouldn't be trying to prepare firing positions, they should find the enemy and then get to somewhere where the enemy isn't. Turret means you can shoot backwards, which is a plus (maybe archer was onto something?). Mobile artillery for infantry support is a different thing (stug, SU-76 as Toxn pointed out).

 

 

If it elevates you can put the M3A1's stabiliser on it*

 

*some assembly required

 

In both cases the purpose of those vehicles was to put as many guns in the field as possible using existing production lines. Neither the Panzer III nor the T-70 could fit their respective guns inside a turret, so they each had to have a gun-in-hull design. The other assault guns for each country were the product of the same design pressure.

 

After the war, the US and USSR produced only a handful of gun-in-hull types. The ASU-57 and ASU-85 and the M56 Scorpion were all constrained not by existing production lines, but by the need to be light enough to be air dropped from the cargo aircraft of the time - in each case the vehicle could only weigh a handful of tons.

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11 hours ago, Sturgeon said:

 

In both cases the purpose of those vehicles was to put as many guns in the field as possible using existing production lines. Neither the Panzer III nor the T-70 could fit their respective guns inside a turret, so they each had to have a gun-in-hull design. The other assault guns for each country were the product of the same design pressure.

 

After the war, the US and USSR produced only a handful of gun-in-hull types. The ASU-57 and ASU-85 and the M56 Scorpion were all constrained not by existing production lines, but by the need to be light enough to be air dropped from the cargo aircraft of the time - in each case the vehicle could only weigh a handful of tons.

 

Just to add onto that, I don't even think you can call the M56 an AFV.  It's an anti-tank gun with tracks and an engine.  

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4 hours ago, Walter_Sobchak said:

 

Just to add onto that, I don't even think you can call the M56 an AFV.  It's an anti-tank gun with tracks and an engine.  

 

Bits of it might stop fire from an M3 Grease Gun!

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1 hour ago, Sturgeon said:

 

Several layers of tissue paper should be enough.

Give the manstopper it's due: you'd need at least a millimetre and a half of steel. That's equivalent to many rolls of cardboard.

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21 hours ago, Sturgeon said:

  

In both cases the purpose of those vehicles was to put as many guns in the field as possible using existing production lines. Neither the Panzer III nor the T-70 could fit their respective guns inside a turret, so they each had to have a gun-in-hull design. The other assault guns for each country were the product of the same design pressure.

 

After the war, the US and USSR produced only a handful of gun-in-hull types. The ASU-57 and ASU-85 and the M56 Scorpion were all constrained not by existing production lines, but by the need to be light enough to be air dropped from the cargo aircraft of the time - in each case the vehicle could only weigh a handful of tons.

 

The original stug was custom designed to provide mobile artillery support to fast moving infantry (after all, the original stug gun fit in the Pz3 turret). Later on the stug turned into an effective way to get a long 75mm into the field, but stug is a thoroughbred mobile artillery for infantry support

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1 hour ago, Xlucine said:

 

The original stug was custom designed to provide mobile artillery support to fast moving infantry (after all, the original stug gun fit in the Pz3 turret). Later on the stug turned into an effective way to get a long 75mm into the field, but stug is a thoroughbred mobile artillery for infantry support

 

It was designed to be cheaper primarily. There was no technical reason the gun-in-hull design was "better".

 

Also my post was more generally about all of the German gun-in-hull designs, not just the STuG.

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10 hours ago, Sturgeon said:

  

It was designed to be cheaper primarily. There was no technical reason the gun-in-hull design was "better".

 

Also my post was more generally about all of the German gun-in-hull designs, not just the STuG. 

 

Mid-30's german motivation was different to german motivation during the war - the other casement designs and late stugs were intended to make the most out of obsolete chassis, but the 1935 stug was intended to provide a mobile 3" (at least more mobile than the horse-drawn stuff used in the last war) that was no higher than an average soldier (so it wouldn't stand out). The osprey book is pretty clear on it being designed to fill a certain role, rather than to make the most from the Pz3 chassis (with a Pz3 gun tank being very respectable for the era), although I haven't read my copy for a while so can't quote page numbers to support my point atm.

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