Jump to content
Sturgeon's House

The Chieftain on US Armor Myths


Recommended Posts

Look Sparky, just because some bad bastard welded a bunch of bazookas to a puddle jumper and managed to kill tanks with it does not make it a good idea.


[sparky]Yes it does! You will see! Raaaar, mudfighters, raaaawwr, Piper Cubs carrying James Bond holding an SKS and a bazooka, raaaaaawr nothing can stop it! You are IN LEAGUE WITH SATAN, so you will never recognize my genius! So many Satan worshippers, all around me, that's why they won't promote me above 2nd Lt![/sparky]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Arming an artillery observation vehicle with bazookas is rather missing the point.

Kind of..

It became SOP for most FO/FAC birds to mount some form of armament, usually for firing WP/Smoke.

Some would even carry pretty decent fixed armament (by WW2 standards) to provide a modicum of CAS.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Over at Tanknet, author Ken Estes was less than impressed with the Chieftains presentation.  



Poor Nick!


I just viewed the video of the OP. They make a carnival barker out of him, when he has been trying to become the ultimate tank guru for WGA.


The choice of Tank Myths was perhaps too ambitious and unfortunate. "Myths" are more few and far between than 'common misunderstandings' but everybody wants hype. To be a myth, it seems that it has to be a deliberate falsehood put out for convenience sake, and it has to be recurring across various media. I don't think several of the ones Nick postulated are really myths.  Erroneous tank naming, for instance, can be chalked up to the activities of the model industry, which grasped at anything to emblazon a kit box. One can rely on Fletcher's work for the Brit tank names and the naming of their US tanks, but Nick's posting of the Barnes letter on the WoT website was too hasty. Barnes had no authority for it, and in the archived doc there are many strikeouts that signify [to me] that they were rejected. In any case, the army CoS complained years later that there was still no naming of army equipment for public recognition and wanted to know why that was. So, we can still reject the list as having any authority, hence no answer apart from the obvious.


I noticed he made frequent reference to Wiki to define some myths....indeed, but the recurrent and extensive myths are not so evident. Just errors. It's also foolish to use Belton Cooper's Death Traps as a foil.


The venue was a poor one as well, with the noise and distractions. The problem of this topic is that it requires lengthy explanations and charts, and he tried to get so much info across in a compressed time that he jumps around and loses track, gets mired in citing exceptions. It's not really a good lecture topic. In addition to the correction notes added to the video, there are several more. It is not true that the USMC kept their M26s in Korea the whole time, as they changed to the M46s in early 1951 just as did the army. The army may have changed over to the M4s in Korea [for better hill and bridge mobility], but that was only after the last T-34 had been chased down and killed, and many M46s remained in service at Armistice.


Claiming to purge the 'myth of tanks don't fight tanks' in US Army doctrine did not take anything more than reading a field manual. So what's the myth? This is just misunderstanding, and it was not so widespread. The tank destroyer doctrine and equipment is more misunderstood.


The '5 M-4 tanks to kill a cat' was just silly, no myth posing that platoons were five tanks and that's all. I never knew 2:1 is a good enough ratio for the attack, though.


I don't see any mythology about the 75mm in the M4 being kept too long or unduly well-regarded. It's a 1940 decision and works well for several years. I don't consider it a low-velocity gun, either.


Oddly, he ends extolling the virtues of M4A3E8 over Firefly but that's not very competent. "The Sherman was a very good piece of equipment" sounds good, but they are all declared obsolete in 1945 except the 76mm (W) variants.




Books work better for explaining. Consider what the late Mike Baily wrote back in the 1980s:



Gen. McNair's opposition to production of the T26 did not delay the
arrival of that tank in Europe by a single day. AGF consistently
supported development efforts and approved production of ten T26s in
May 1943. The nine months that elapsed before the Ordnance Department
managed to build the first T26 were not the result of AGF
interference. McNair's firm stand against producing extra T26s in the
fall of 1943 had been overruled by Marshall only three months after
the Ordnance Department first recommended production. Before the first
prototype of a T26 had moved a track block, the Ordnance Department
had orders for 300 of the tanks. These tanks did not begin arriving on
the battlefield for fourteen months. In 1943 the tank existed only on
paper. Furthermore, the original T26 had serious deficiencies that had
to be corrected during the summer of 1944 before the tank was ready
for combat. AGF did not invent those deficiencies. McNair supported
efforts to perfect the T26 and, in fact, came to the rescue when
Campbell wanted a large production order in 1944. [Faint Praise,



Baily was also clear that all was not well, He carefully documented that everyone involved was burying his head in the

sand about the need, whether in Washington or in the field, up to Normandy and even beyond. He showed as well we
passed up getting improvised Sherman variants with 90mm or 17 pounder guns into service, as well as improving
the AT ammunition for existing guns.
Charles M. Baily was an Army armor officer with a PhD in US History from Duke who also taught at West Point, 1975-78.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's hardly foolish to mention Cooper's book, since that seems to be what every two bit slotfiller "documentary" and schlock website cites as primary information.


I do agree with Mr Estes on the U.S. 75mm though.  Too many people have the impression that it's akin to a mortar or grenade launcher.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think Estes is being pretty unfair, and the semantics game over myths not actually covering misunderstandings common among laymen is a bit silly.


It's an effort to correct common misunderstandings and whether it fits his contrived definition of a myth doesn't really matter as far as the goal of better pop-cultural understanding of history goes.


Books may work better for understanding but that's only if they can get people to read them, and actual history is already at a disadvantage for exposure compared to reassuring just-so stories that justify peoples' biases.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, Estes isn't thinking about the audience, this is not focused for people at some armor convention with real historians; it's aimed at the dumbasses that he has to deal with all the time, the WOT community. 




The 5/1 myth is alive and well in the WOT community.  If Ken was a regular on the WOT forums, he wouldn’t have made some of the complaints, though he was right about the venue. 

Edited by Jeeps_Guns_Tanks
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...