Please don’t use the “5 M4s = 1 Panther” myth.

So on most WW2 Tank discussion the supposed fact that it takes 5 M4s to kill 1 Panther(sometimes it is the Tiger, Tiger II, or every Panzer, but I will focus on the Panther) or a Panther is 5 times as effective as the M4 always seems to pop up. I believe I have tracked down the source of this claim which didn’t surprise me at all. In Belton Cooper’s Death Traps on page 175 he claims “The German tanks had a qualitative superiority of as much as five to one over our M4 Sherman.” This has been repeated everywhere from internet forums to the “History” Channel. Well I must say that even though Cooper’s war experience detailed in Death Traps is a good read, his claims go well beyond his understanding and have little, if any, supporting evidence.

One of my favorite quotes in Death Traps which shows Cooper’s ignorance is the following: “To make matters worse, the committee was apparently dominated by Yankees, who decided to name this tank(M3) the ‘Grant’ , after the Union general and later president. The Southerners were aggravated further by the later naming of the M4, known as the ‘Sherman’, after the Union general who burned a path through Georgia.” This tid-bit is disgustingly stupid and I can’t help feeling slightly angry at Cooper, by the way I am a Georgian. Also It was the British who named the M3 and M4, not “Yankees” for those who don’t know.

Now for some evidence provided by the US Army’s Ballistic Research Lab which studied WW2 ETO tank vs tank engagements(98 of them if you were wondering) and concluded the following: The most deciding factor of who wins a tank engagement is who engages first. Crew training and other factors also played a large role. The average distance at which a US tank kills a Panzer(late IV, V, & VI) was 893 yards(816 m). Comparatively the average distance Panzers killed US vehicles as 943 yards(862 m). During Panther v. M4 engagements the Panther had a 1.1:1 advantage while on the defensive, however the M4 had an 8.4:1 advantage while on the offensive. Overall the M4 was 3.6 times as effective in combat versus the Panther.

Col. Abram’s M4, called the Thunderbolt VI. Abrams was one of America’s finest tank commanders. He took part in the Tank Battle of Arracourt, a victory over the Pz V by outnumbered M4s.

The data above is not complete but surely shatters the 5:1 nonsense. A British study concluded, during the Normandy campaign, that if the allies outnumbered the Germans 2.2 to 1 then victory was practically ensured. On the flip side, the Germans needed a 1.5 to 1 numerical superiority to ensure victory. In between these figures it came down to tactics. Again this data isn’t a complete representation but it debunks the 5:1 claim which has no evidence to support it.

Panther near Mortain, France. It looks so sad.

To sum it up I will quote author and historian Robert Forzcyk: “Overall, US armor destroyed more German tanks than German tanks destroyed US tanks, by a factor of about 3:2.”


Steven Zaloga’s Panther vs Sherman, Battle of the Bulge 1944

335 thoughts on “Please don’t use the “5 M4s = 1 Panther” myth.

  1. I don’t get these discussions anyway, weapons don’t fight or win wars it’s the people that participate in them.

    There is no such thing as “best weapon” on the battlefield, time and time this was proven in history.

  2. I mostly agree with this, but other factors are also important like crew training, supplies, morale, communications, air support enz to the overall functioning of the armored vehicles.

    But if I had to face down in a confrontation I know I would want to do so in the panther and not the m4.

    • I agree 100%, I’ll likely add crew training to the original post tomorrow morning. If a single Panther faced a single M4 in a vacuum I’ll be in the Panther. However, if I was a general in a war I’d want M4s.

      • I always thought that saying meant it took 5 M4s because it took a few to distract the Panzer long enough for the other M4s to flank it.

        I’m astonished by the effectiveness of M4s versus panthers, do you happen to know what model(s) of M4 they are talking about?

      • You forgot another thing to mention about Panthers.
        Panthers has superior mobility over marshes and soft terrait then Shermans with their thin treads.
        It wasn’t just a range superiority, it was also the multiple angles of attack Panthers (and even Tiger II tanks) had.
        I’m happy to dig out so many many quotes by the US tank crews and commanders’ testimonies.

        The truth of the matter is that the Panther is better than he Sherman on ALL fronts, except the Optics. The Sherman’s optics were more (forgive the use of WoT terms here) comfortable to use, and made crew communication and targeting much easier.

        This is coming from reports from my own countrymen who used both tanks.

        France did have Panther tanks in their forces and they wrote that comparison.

        • They had better optics? Really? I always thought German tanks had better optics than all other nations’ tanks…Carl Zeiss and that stuff. But i didn’t dig any evidence to that, so can anyone elaborate on this? Priory?

          • I think he’s not refering to the quality of the optics in terms of lenses, but the overal design. The M4 mediums obvservation system allowed for quick communication between the commander and the gunner, with the gunner beeing able to engage called out targets very fast thanks to his non-magnificating secondary periscope.
            The Gunner sight of the Panther in comparison had a very narrow field of view and it was harder for the gunner on a Panther to be lead in by the Commander on called out targets.
            The M4 medium was therefore often able to engage enemies faster after spotting them.

            The Zeiss optics on most german vehicles were more accurate though, but that was not much of an advantage in the close-range enviroments encountered in northern france. It was quiet an edge on the more open plains found in some areas in eastern europe.

            • That’s exactly what I meant, thank you.
              I didn’t say the Optics were “better” I just said they were more comfortable to use.
              I believe it’s a simple difference in doctrines.
              However, the doctrines of my country found the Sherman optics more fitting. I didn’t say anything about “better” in quality.
              Pardon my bad English

            • It’d help if people were more precise with their terminology; *observation devices* (and their arrangement) are a quite different animal from *gunsights*…

        • Note that the Easy Eight with its wider tracks AFAIK had better “flotation” (as it seems to have been called at the time, ie. lower ground resistance) than the German kitties… and even basic Shermans had the Panzerwaffe’s *actual* backbones, the Pz IVs and whatnots, beat hands down in that regard.

          • The narrower the tracks the faster vehicle turns. That’s “flotation” – how fast can you shift around your own axis (also in regard to stability).

            • That’s not how the period sources quoted in various books have it; US officers for example *explicitly* speak of “flotation” when discussing Panthers being able to cross waterlogged terrain Shermans got stuck in.

              Also IIRC turn rate had more to do with the lenght of tracks (and more to the point their contact area) relative to how far apart they were spaced…? Certainly the British experiments with “Tadpole extensions” and other tinkering with their “rhomboids” back in WW1 noted such issues….

            • Flotation was used as an expression of ground pressure I think – US crews were often quoted as describing the Panther as having excellent “flotation” based on its ability to cross bad terrain and remain relatively stable on the move. If you watch some of the archive footage of Panthers at Kummersdorf you can see the suspension at work, when it wasn’t jammed up with mud or necessitating ridiculously overcomplicated repairs it was quite an effective system.

              Wide tracks and lots of roadwheel surface in contact with those tracks = good flotation. T-34 would be another example, from an Allied perspective.

  3. i dont know how much your sources are reliable but i watched documentary in which survived sherman crew is talking about engagement vs Panther/ Tiger, to be short : 6 shermans attacked single panther,5 were destroyed before last one menage to flank panther and destroy it, story with tiger is more less the same. pz3 and 4 were not so much superior,but they were still better then m4.
    M4 lacked protection and firepower,and almost every hit set it on fire,because it used engine originally designed for airplanes with highly flammable fuel

    • Yes, one incident is enough to prove a claim, without taking into consideration whether it was an ambush, improper training, environment, etc. Just the kind of stupidity that needs to be eradicated.

    • I hope it wasn’t “History” Channel, I never said there couldn’t be instances of Panthers beating a higher number of M4s but that isn’t the norm.The M4 was superior to the Pz III and was just as good as the best Panzer IV if not better in terms of firepower, armor, and mobility.

      The M4′s engine was not the problem, it was early ammunition storage which didn’t use wet storage. Crew survival increase 80% after wet storage was introduced.

        • idk for your sources,but I believe more to crew who survived war, guy who was member Armored Division Maintenance Battalion and few historians who work in prominent colleges
          them you,and dont take it as offence,its nothing personal ! this just smell on old ”USA best in world” story but we all know they are far away from best ,its same like that abrams which was penetrated by some super secret weapon,but guess what? it was just RPG 7 -.-

          • Please discredit Zaloga, Forczyk, and Moran(who are all way more knowledgeable than I am). Remember this isn’t a religion and you can change your opinion based on factual evidence, but you have to accept that your prior opinions are not based in fact.

            Also please don’t use strawman arguments.

            • I must say I share Peters opinion; this is neither offense to anyone, but simply too many renowned sources simply say german (late war) armor was far superior to any allied tank of same class and same era. Coupled with fact of quite huge amount of experience german soldiers and whole staff including commanders had gathered over long time, not just WWII itself helped them utilize those advantages. This all is simply facts that are agreed upon all authors of books, armor crews documentaries and WWII veterans as whole. And I can ensure you I read, seen and heared a lot of WWII, along many other people I know and that I keep in touch. Just that few people state otherwise means very little; if some crew had good success, please do remember that there were also for example germans in PzIII who did miracles facing even superior foes. There sure were some aces on allied sides but you cant compare just random success in random battle of some ace when war looked otherwise.
              Once again, dont take it as offense, but we all know how “testing”, especially after battle or even war looks and works, not talking about trying to justify denial of so many modernization project US came and was denied in favour of M4, to excuse so many deaths and to prove that chosen tactics were effective, necessary and the best of provided options.
              Another thing; the worst creditability a comparison as such can have is when it is made by a state in which favor it points, defended by another fellow from said country, made about subject which is so crucial to said country pride, history and “a story of struggle for freedom against utter evil”. And this definitely doesnt apply just to USA, it applies to all countries around the world in similar conditions.

              It all sounds simply as some political propaganda made after war, backed by some too much bent facts like ideal conditions and et cetera. A WoT like comparison – “T26E4 is faster than Tiger II, look at its prospects” (the other thing is, T26E4 makes such a speed (38km/h) only when falling from a hill(I own both tanks)).(I am now referring to those tests, neither you, nor your sources)

              I am so, so, so sorry right now that I did not wrote down the names of so many US authors whose books about Normandy I read which said similar things like “5:1″ ratio for german armor.

              One fact which is also always agreed upon is that allies had wast air superiority in late war which accounts for most armor kills. Not armor vs armor, but air vs armor. And many allied aces were born in air also, when germany was desperately throwing stukas against mustangs, accounting for many allied air kills. And the other most devastating factor for german armor was once again not any ally tank, gun or anything, but logistics problems and tactics which preffered saving crew than tank – when immobilized or any other way severely damaged vehicle, abandon it, destroy it and return to HQ. Lives were more precious when there was lack of human resources.
              Also, I am from country, which was abandoned by west Europe, who practically gave germans one of the biggest and most advanced weapons suppliers in world and quite strong economy for free. Then it was oppressed by germans, then bombared by allies and then oppressed by soviets. I really dont have any reason to be on the side of anyone.
              I “stand up against” anyone who tries to bend history so much in their favor just because it suits them or because they cant handle the facts put in front of them. I hate when someone says such propaganda in favor of either Russia, Germany, USA, UK, France or anyone which is far, far away from all I ever heard of. Everyone had some moments when they shined (talking about countries) but some facts are just simple facts.
              And also, never forget the impact of morale; morale before war, during war at home and morale at the battlefield and morale after war. Before you have to have your people stand behind you or you may have troubles like Italians had in Greece for example, when they simply lacked will to fight and die. During it you have to have your people stand behind you and support your war efforts or you may be left with crippled infrastructure and when the enemy is at your gates – well, they will either surrender or fight to defend their country. For example, in Japan, people were made to believe allies were complete devils and would rather commit suicide than to surrender. During war, you can have your people believe in your power or to be scared to death. Just a word of Tiger hidden in bush and even crew of superior armor (properties – wise) would think of retreating. Or a crew of JgTiger may turn their back to defenseless foe and die just because they do not trust their armor plates.
              And after war, especially as a winning party, you have to justify all those wasted lives, ruined cities, burned homes and crippled economy, to justify chosen tactics or even joining war. There were moments when countries tried to back from wars because of some movements in there even trough victory was at hand.
              IF you want to compare anything, you must compare it in wider aspects, in complex fields accounting anything. If two fight and one loses, at the question “who won” is in this case simple answer and it is pointles and nonses to say “I had better technics” or “I had stronger punch” or “the sun was in my eyes” or “he hit the right spot in the right moment”;

              I believe all those authors and veterans more than a few citizens of some country saying their country was the best.
              Also, “the winner writes the history”, have you heard of it?

              Think about that phrase in many ways, but do not forget to think about it in regard to those test which were made.

              • What renowned sources? Using the words “author” and “veteran” over and over again doesn’t qualify as a source. Also I am tired of the the “Winners re-write History” being spammed with nothing to support it. I am sorry that you are so closed minded that you can not accept evidence because it goes against your religious beliefs that the M4 was a piece of crap and that German tanks were crafted with magic.

            • You have a few things plain wrong there you know; lives were *never* precious to German commanders. They may not have been *quite* as callous about casualties as their Soviet colleagues tended to be, but from start to finish trading men for time was a central tenet of their doctrines. This was partly dictated by their circumstances; they knew from the beginning thay’d lose an extended war of attrition and duly had to try for a rapid “knock-out victory” at almost any cost, and the mentality remained after things changed.
              The Democracies, conversely, preferred to trade time for men – and for assorted reasons refused to even contemplate driving their men as hard as the totalitarian regimes did, anyway. Montgomery is probably the most illustrious example of this attitude, but even relative “fire-breathing” mavericks like Patton would’ve been thought positively conservative in the OKW.
              Again, this reflected their strategic circumstances (and in no small part unwillingness to fetishize death like the Nazis tended to).

              Anyways, one result of this was that the Germans tended to have a LOT fewer veterans among the rank-and-file than one might expect, all the more so compared to eg. the Brits who’d been fighting for almost as long but a lot more carefully. This was a real problem too as their late-war heavy stuff tended to be rather temperamental and TERRIBLY prone to mechanical failures if the crew (mainly the driver) wasn’t familiar with their quirks – as was only too often the case with the increasingly hastily-trained late-war recruits. (This was an even bigger problem for the Luftwaffe, which was obliged to send barely-trained replacements in near-obsolete birds against the VERY thoroughly and lavishly practiced US and Commonwealth flyers – in the air the difference was far more decisive.)

              Also it’s worth noting that even with their obsessively aggressive tactical doctrines the Germans on the whole tended to be fighting on the defensive – meaning they could to a fairly large degree dictate the terms of the engagement and had that much better chances of getting off the important first shots. This could be VERY problematic for Allied tankers if the local geography and conditions made the SOP pin-and-flank tactics unfesible…

              Even then, though, major Allied armoured thrusts were FAR more likely to get stopped by Pakfronts and/or stubborn infantry defenses than any number of German armours – or simply the supporting infantry getting pinned down, after which armoured advance tended to become terribly hazardous not to mention only too often rather pointless (tanks being a whole lot worse at *keeping* the ground taken).

          • “,its same like that abrams which was penetrated by some super secret weapon,but guess what? it was just RPG 7 -.-”

            When it comes to RPGs its not the RPG that counts but its ammunition. There is very modern very expensive ammo that can be used with old model RPGs that can really hurt even the state of the art tanks.

            • Abrams is not really a state-of-art tank. K2, Leclerc, Leo 2 and the likes certainly are and have no problems defeating RPG rounds.

            • Any of those can be defeated by an RPG if it hit in the right area. If you shoot an M1 from the front no RPG will penetrate it. If you shoot any modern tank in the rear or side rear, it can be easily penetrated. Usually its is just a mobility kill. But no tank is immune to a properly placed RPG. That being said it is very difficult to get those shots on a properly deployed armor/infantry team.
              Obviously you have not kept up with how the M1 has been improved, just like the Leo 2. To say it is not state of the art compared to those other tanks just shows how uneducated you are.

      • This whole Sherman vulnarability to fire is also a myth. If you compare the ammo stowage of a Sherman to that of Panther you will find that stowage method and location is pretty much the same, open racks.
        In fact, a British post battle battlefield study covering tank wrecks found in France and Belgium indicated that pretty much any tank successfully penetrated will catch fire on about the same 75% ratio. That is what happens when you stuff any steel box with fuel and explosives.

        The difference was that the Germans were often firing with bigger guns at thinner armour. This will give any tank a reputation for bursting in to fire. Think of the British cruisers, they had the same reputation. The moment the allies whipped out their kitten killers of choice, be it 85, 76.2, 76 HVAP or 90mm or just got in a good shot with something smaller, Panthers and Tigers went *woosh* like everyone else.

        Wet ammo stowage put the crew survivability of Sherman crews into a wholly different league.

  4. Ok, what’s next? Yesterday Russians didn’t butcher their own men, today Americans butchered Panthers/Tigers, now all it’s missing is some French talking about how they didn’t surrender but “chose to fight under different rules”.

    • Nice strawman, no one says that a Sherman was a match for a Panther or Tiger, although some seem to think the majority of German armored forces consisted of them.

      • Oh really?

        “no one says that a Sherman was a match for a Panther or Tiger” == “Overall the M4 was 3.6 times as effective in combat versus the Panther”

        • Emphasis on “overall”. Nobody so much as mentioned “one on one”.

          Wars aren’t won by duels but by coordinated mass actions, as already the Sumerians had figured out – see Stele of Vultures and the like with the spearmen advancing in close order.

    • -Russians didn’t butcher all their men, “only” the ones in penal battalions.
      -Americans did butcher Panthers and Tigers. The 76mm gun was quite potent if fed the right shells.
      -And to kill your last Strawman, the French didn’t all surrender, as evidenced by the fact that the Free French Forces existed and had enough men by 1944 to deploy armies. Cf the Liberation of Paris and the Normandie-Niemen. It takes balls to volunteer to go fight on the Eastern front.

      Any more fun things to debunk?

      • Too much wine Frenchy?

        - 28.7.1942. Stalin issued infamous order No.227 (“Not a step back!”) – 700 000 men (that got in official records) were shot, “promoted” to penal battalions (almost certain death), were used to clear minefields, fly kamikaze missions, sent to labor camps etc.
        - Sure they did. Those “right shells” had as much chance to hit a tank as barn next to it.
        - 25.6.1940. General Charles Huntziger signed unconditional surrender. What’s the matter Frenchy? You outnumbered Germans 2:1, lost 1:10 in the course of just 46 days and you celebrate that as “victory”? Shameless pigs.

        • -Order 227 not withstanding for regulars. They could retreat as long as their commanding officer gave the order. They had training, they were too valuable. Too much Hollywood for you.

          -Those right shells are proven in the article posted to have been damn effective if they took out panthers at range (816m on average). Try to read the article instead of bashing in comments.

          -Sure, the government surrendered. But a lot of Frenchmen didn’t. They fled the country to go fight under other banners, much like other conquered nations.
          Read up on RAF squadron 303, the normandie-niemen, and countless other soldiers from all nations fighting with the allies and ask them if they surrendered.

          Also, name-calling just makes you look pathetic.

          • I’m not sure but i think 303 squadron was polish, not french… and the difference is that Poland never signed any capitulation nor collaborate with nazi like french government….

            • The difference is also that the “French” is/are not a single entity and you portray them as one. Weren’t there also germans who tried to kill Hitler on many occasions? Weren’t there also Fascists in the UK and USA? The “French” surrendered and the “French” didn’t surrender, it all depends which ones you choose to look at.

            • My French grandfather worked for the French resistance. He didn’t fight though. He was part of a team that secured downed pilots and sent them home. Both sides.

              He never spoke about it, except once.

              One time they pulled a German pilot from a downed plane. The guy was messed up. His eye was barely in its socket and he was sure that he was going to be executed. As I said, they sent both sides home, but most of the resistance boys started kicking the shit out of him. But grandfather stepped in and told them that the pilot was no different to them – just a guy doing what he was told to by his country. After that, he gave the pilot his dinner.

              This is probably something that’ll be buried. But every time ‘French cowardice’ is brought up, I get angry and sad. My grandfather was offered a medal after the war. He declined. He said that he didn’t want a reward for something he felt he had to do. He was the bravest guy I knew.

        • 303 was POLISH, learn history! Also, Poland never surrendered, never signed any capitulation or anything as France did – that is the point.
          Also drole de guerre – does it tell you anything?

          • “Drôle guerre” IIRC, AKA “Phoney War” AKA “Der Sitzkrieg”. AKA the period when everybody was busy gearing up for an imminent serious fight – both the French and Germans actually had to *demobilise* parts of their armies merely to keep armament production up to the needed levels.

            Plus the Entente was kind of planning for an extended defensive war of attrition, they were in no particular hurry to repeat the mistakes of 1914. Or no particular hurry in general; they knew just as well as the Germans that time was very much on their side.

            • You fail history. Plus AFAIK the French counted Central Europe largely a geostrategic write-off after some of their Twenties proposals (notably one involving garrisoning the Rhineland against any future German adventurism) had collapsed in the face of Anglo-American resistance, as meaningful military intervention would be difficult at best.

              As for the Poles, for probably ill-advised political reasons they opted for a defensive strategy that at the very least did nothing to PROLONG their resistance – namely they failed to fight along naturally defensible river lines – which in partly contributed to their military collapsing even faster than even the most pessimistic Entente scenarios had counted for.

              As for Denmark and Norway, combine blinkered policies by the natives with the Brits frankly dropping the ball (…also…) in their whole North Sea strategy. Somewhat irrelevant before Lend-Lease convoys to Murmansk became relevant though, as Norway in particular mostly tied down an assload of German troops in occupation duty.

            • Tell me about backstabbing soviets.
              And tell me about Frenchies, defending for long years, as expected by Entente…
              You fail to see your failures…

            • *shrug* The French high command went and totally screwed up what should have been a quite straightforward defensive fight in a manner that makes you wonder whether old man Gamelin was committing high treason or had merely gone completely senile. That blunder has a LOT to answer for; little more than a more judicious deployement of reserves (as his subordinates indeed suggested) would’ve been necessary to stop Case Yellow at its tracks at Sedan after which the Germans would have been pretty much completely fucked.

        • i remember that myth with mines that penalbats have been ordered to clear tank mines. Its not like its posibble to detonate tank mine with foot. Otherwise its no point to send even penalbats to minefields.

          • Note that this doesn’t disqualify the rather more practical and likely, if no less callous, option of telling the shtrafniks to search and disarm the mines… without any of the training and equipement of proper combat engineers.

            Though it seems rather more likely they’d at most be told to locate the mines for proper specialists to tackle later and press on – likely running into the *antipersonnel* minefield, which was normally behind the antitank belt (to avoid tanks ploughing paths through them), on the way but then again nobody could accuse the Soviet penal battalions of being very nice and caring outfits. Not that the German or Japanese ones (the latter apparently got a lot of troopers who had flatly refused to take part in obviously suicidal attacks) were much better ofc.

        • I can actually get two of those with one example. Look up the Battle of Dompaire.

          The French 2nd Armored Division had punched a Combat Command through the German lines and the German 64th Corps was threatening collapse. Combat Command Langlade included 45 M4A2 with 75mm guns, three M4A2 with 76mm guns, 9-12 M10 tank destroyers and three to six companies of infantry. The Germans sent Pz. Brig. 112 and a combat group of the 21st Panzer Division (I/Pz. Rgt. 29) to defeat the French forces. The French forces encountered strong German resistance, and expertly coordinated air strikes destroyed some tanks, while the French used the cover of the second to get into position and trap the German tanks. A hasty roadblock stopped a relief force from Pz. Brig. 112, and after the resulting fight the I/Pz.Rgt. 29 had lost 34 of its Panthers and had four operational, and Pz. Brig. 112 had been reduced to 21 tanks of its 90 and lost 350 dead and 1,000 wounded. French losses were five M4A2 tanks, two M5A1 tanks, two half-tracks, two jeeps; 44 killed and a single P-47 was shot down.

          Frenchmen in American armor wrecking Germans in 1944.

      • Actually they did not butchered men in penal battalions too. Penal battalions just was sent on more harsh parts of the front and was always first to fight, BUT men from penal battalions was to be released and returned to their normal combat units after 3 months of fighting in penal battalion (ofc if they survive =)) and they had substantially bigger salaries and rations than soldiers from normal units.

    • Bro, you just went full retard with that France comment. Never go full retard.

        • the Armistice, signed at 18:50 22 June 1940 between Germany and France near Compiègne never existed!?
          or The French State (a.k.a. Vichy France) led by the regime of Marshal Philippe Pétain didn’t existed either
          … how cute

          yes, De Gaulle did not recognize the legitimacy of the Vichy government
          but the above mentioned facts still remain, that did happen

          in fear that the french will turn over their fleet to the germans, Churchill ordered the destruction of the ships stationed in Mers-el-Kébir port
          yep, that did happened too

          • That wasn’t what was stated. Read again. I said not all Frenchmen surrendered.
            As seen in numerous parts of the world, where men and women of all conquered nation kept on fighting.
            Tell the Polish they all surrendered and waited for rescue, see what happens.

            • yes, I read
              France lost the 1940 battle, France as a state surrendered

              but here are few facts:
              the British government decided to evacuate the British Expeditionary Force, along with several French divisions
              between 27 May and 4 June around 200000 british soldiers and 140000 french troops were successfully evacuated
              meanwhile Germany seized 2 million french prisoners of war – that’s over 93%

            • “Tell the Polish they all surrendered and waited for rescue, see what happens.”

              They go play WoT and discover they utterly suck at war…AGAIN??

            • @Nemo:
              tell that to 1SBP clan members (from Poland)… I suppose you never met them in WoT, they are known for kicking butts… it takes skill to be professional gamer (which they are)

            • I find it cute how the “cheese eating surrender monkeys” crowd happily forgets the minor detail the French army fought on as long as it was even remotely feasible (and arguably well past that – AFAIK Petain was partly motivated by a desire to stop wasting lives in prolonging the patently doomed fight), that Case Red saw the Germans suffering their by far highest casualty rates until then, that it took the Wehrmacht better part of a *week* to breach the Weygand Line in spite of their near total air supremacy and the French being out of mobile reserves to plug gaps with…

              There were also fairly serious plans to evacuate to North Africa and continue the fight from there (the “Grand Démenagement”) and whatnot, and then of course the detail a fair few Frenchmen legged it to Britain with no intention of laying down their arms – most of the initial batch went to work for the British intelligence agencies (like the Brits and the Poles the French had been busily cracking the Enigma before the war, for example) or volunteered for the military, which later caused de Gaulle’s Free French some manpower shortages.

              As for the Vichy, well, a lot of people in the regime weren’t exactly pro-German and virtually nobody trusted them any further than they could throw a Panzer anyway. For example the govermenent repeatedly tried to dodge the conscription prohibition by establishing assorted “youth camp” organisations – thinly veiled boot camps. In North Africa various dodges were employed to mask blatant combat forces as all manner of colonial police units. Secret stockpiles were established against a German invasion of the Free Zone – while in the event the powers-that-be told the troops to stand down and stay in their barracks, the North African caches were a boon to the Free French while the mainland ones greatly benefited the Resistance (plus any number of sympathetic officers had been diverting arms off them already). And AFAIK the counterintelligence service couldn’t be bothered to stop eliminating German agents or inform their superiors of this…

    • So true, I was surprised to read such garbage from SS but finally realized it was from some American. No surprise I guess. But now I will check the Author before bothering to read an article.

      • So I suppose that what has been said in the Operation Think Tank is also a lie? Something about a Sherman firing some 30 rounds at Tigers turret and winning the fight, because the crew expired from concussion, yet the tank was undamaged… And that, officially, Sherman companies were ordered to attack German tanks in packs, because the only thing they had to beat them was superiority in numbers. And that not only M4 engagement range was much shorter, it had to get pretty much face to face with Tiger to be able to scratch it, and in open field that was nearly impossible? And that the people who actually fought in M4s say they were terrible, had no firepower and no armor, and their only superiority was in sheer numbers, that must also be a lie. What is a myth is that M4 was a good tank, because it won the war. It won the war because there were so many and it could’ve been replaced so quickly, not because it was good.

        • Supposedly it is since people have discredited Steven Zaloga(far right in OTT) as a biased American.

          Also I never went into the tactics of M4 vs German Heavy Panzers. Using superior numbers and flanking have been used to win wars since the dawn of warfare. This does not mean it took 5 M4s to defeat 1 Tiger/Panther though.

        • Gee whiz, who’da thought medium tanks might have some problems related to firepower and protection when engaging HEAVY tanks…? (And the Panther was a heavy in all but official designation anyway; IIRC the Soviets for one summarily classified it as such.)

          Also someone seems to be roundly confusing what makes a weapon good in a straight-up fight with what makes it good at *winning wars* – the German kitties were certainly the former, if only by virtue of brute weight of gun and armour, but the likes of the Sherman and T-34 were orders of magnitude superior in the latter.
          US doctrine held that in principle tanks shouldn’t even *fight* enemy tanks, but instead be mismatched against assorted “softer” elements. While somewhat misguided (or at least over-optimistic) in practice the principle was sound and more or less the exact same as the “deep exploitation” approach of both the German “Blitzkrieg” system (never actually formalised nor called such by them at the time) and the Soviet “Deep Combat” doctrine.
          Battles are much better won by attacking an enemy’s *weak* points than his main concentrations of power, after all.

          • Jeez of course the Sherman and T-34 were good at “winning wars” there where so many of them that they werent even needed all the artillery/planes/soldiers are not important only the T-34 and Sherman were those which where truly good at “winning wars”. (sarcastic alert)
            If anyone believes that the sowiets/us/uk and the rest of the world would not have won if they had produced Panthers/Tigers (definitely the better in a straight up fight) he cant be serious.

            But then again Panthers and Tigers had some funny manuals and which russian soldier at the given time would have been able to read them.
            It was just: Get in your T-34 coffin see you in 20min pal that is if you survive your first encounter, if i think about it yeah a real match winner. -.-

            • The US had to ship their shit across an *ocean* (and the Brits over somewhat less daunting stretches of water), which kind of ruled out equipement as heavy and bulky as the Panther already was. And the thing was mechanically unreliable even compared to the chronically and unacceptably fragile early-war British “cruisers”.

              Also take your strawmen elsewhere, nobody denied the importance of the support arms – we’re not J.F.C. Fuller.

            • I wanted to write it… but i didnt thinking it should be clear.. ITS NOT LIKE THEY WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO SHIP TANKS LIKE THE PANTHER less then Shermans ofcourse but on the other hand less would have been needed.
              The first batch was unreliable like everything that just goes out with not enough time to test it because your “Fuehrer” wants it now and at best yesterday ready on the front.
              As “heavy” and “bulky” as the Panther.. damn how are those guys shipping there M1 Abrams right now it would be better to just go back to the Sherman it was much easier to ship those things. :P (And besides it was good at winning wars!)

              Not a strawman, you denied their importance by stating the Sherman and T-34 were good at winning wars on the other hand the Brits and US could have fielded Italian M14/41 and nobody would have cared since their Victory was granted.

            • Of course the ‘Murricans *could* have shipped a lot larger and heavier vehicles; it’s a whole different question whether it *made any sense to*. When your supply lines runs across the fucking Atlantic weight and dimensions become a quite important consideration indeed – not to mention that the things had to be hauled to the ports in the first place, which meant the transportation infrastructure of the US itself imposed any number of additional limits.
              These were the direct reason the US military imposed rather precise upper limits for allowed dimensions and mass of any AFVs and was very reluctant to allow exceptions.

              As for modern MBTs, bitch please. The things *are* ruinously expensive to transport overseas (not to mention to keep running there), which is why “police actions” are by preference done with lighter AFVs if at all possible. Eg. you don’t see many Leclercs in France’s African interventions do you?

  5. I don’t think the comparison is necessarily ‘wrong’ inherrently – in ‘ideal’ circumstances, it may well be that a panther would be as good as 5 M4s. Simply, panthers were designed with a far longer engagement range in mind – they could easily destroy M4s at range, while their thicker sloped armour could, at least in theory, bounce shells all day from M4s.

    That being said, not only were the vasy majority of engagements simply not tank vs tank, but the bocage and city fighting in northern france WAS NOT suited to the strength of the panther – engagement ranges were much lower, so the M4 had much less of a disadvantage, and simply enjoyed massive numeric superiority instead.

    So yes. The Panther was substantially better than an M4, but because of context, none of the advantages could be consistently used effectively. It isn’t reasonable to say ‘shermans won more engagements therefore they were better’, they won more engagements for reasons completely unrelated to how good they were in tank vs tank engagement.

    • I never said the M4 was better, I have stated in the comments twice that the Panther is better in a “vacuum” but not necessarily in the ETO of WWII. The whole point is to debunk the claim that it takes 5 M4s to kill a Panther.

    • You miss one point in your argument: versatility. Knowing that perfect circumstances do not exist, it makes no sense to blame ‘context’ and try to create a sandbox to prove that german tanks stat-wise were better. Not to mention that they were a lot more heavy and complicated to build, which gives us another hint on why were there so many shermans compared to panthers.
      To sum up, creating a tank that on paper pwns everything, but fails to do it in real life is called nothing else but a mistake.

      • The Panther was as easy to build as the Panzer IV the reason there where so many more Shermans then Panthers, Pz IVs is much simpler…. just compare Germany – US and i hope you are able to find out why the bigger nation had more.

      • Actually the Panther, unlike the prewar IV, was specificaly designed for easy mass-production. But in that field the Germans never could rival even the Brits, nevermind now the reigning champions of Economies of Scale the US and USSR.

        They were painfully aware of that, too.

        Anyways, the Panther weighed like half a gain to twice as much as a Sherman (and nearly as much as an IS-2) – if that kind of payload didn’t buy useful degrees of raw combat power people WOULD have been shot as rank saboteurs…

        • US didn’t have a reigning economics, it was in ruins in the 30′s and 40′s. It was later in the war that it strengthened up, by making the workers slaves basically. Same for the UK. Not much better for France either.

          You are forgetting that they were all still in the great depression. Something Germany left behind a couple of years ago by detaching itself from world economy.

  6. The common herp derp about Shermans burning is just as bad, but no matter how many times you point out that records show there was nothing abnormal about how often they burned you still have the kiddies parroting the same lines over and over.

  7. This is ignorant of the fact that German armor was operating under skies dominated by Allies.

    • Ah yes, I forgot that. The Allies have total air superiority, so it they didn’t really needed tanks to engage german forces. After Rommel’s encountered this in the desert he stated in his memorial, that the only way they can use US it’s air superiority is that they make an attack on Normandy to establish air bases. And he said it on 1942.

    • Arracourt was fought primarily without air support and was still a lopsided American victory over Panthers. Air units also were not good at destroying panzers directly(MGs, unguided rockets, and dumb bombs are not that good at killing tanks) are and were much better at destroying the supporting unarmored units and supplies.

      • You may right, but there is one thing destroying tanks directly, and destroying tanks by cutting off spare parts and fuel. Without fuel, the tank can’t move, and without ammo the tanks can’t shoot and this reduces the armour a huge metal tin can.

        • You don’t say, Captain Obvious. The Democracies had for various reasons (which are pretty obvious from the map) invested heavily in their air forces – and for that matter artillery – as well as the supporting technologies such as radios; they’d have been criminally stupid not to leverage those for all they were worth.

      • I think that you should study more about the battle of Arracourt. US aviation did their job pretty well with preemptive strikes against german armour.

        US tanks in general were inferior to PzV and PzVI german tanks, actually there were few tank-to-tank kills in the war, most of the tank kills were done by aviation

        • Bollocks!
          Tac-air was damn near incapable of locating and successfully destroying armour.
          They were neither trained nor equipped to do so. bombs could not be dropped accurately enough, rockets needed an unlikely direct hit and aircraft guns/cannons dont do a whole hell of a lot to tanks designed to stop AT cannon shells.

          Oh, pilots claimed plenty of tank kills. Question is, should we be trusting a guy zipping past at 400kph to correctly identify his target and accurately evaluate the damage he did to it? The reported loss records of all nations come nowhere near to showing tac-air was able to make much of an impression on armour.
          My favourite bullshit claim is a P-47 pilot on I think History channel claiming that he killed tiger tanks by bouncing .50 rounds off the road and into the belly armour. Good sshooting and interesting physics there. Though the guy claiming to be able to flip Tigers by bouncing his 8x .50 off them was also quite “interesting”.

          Man, there are so much myths that are mainstream “knowledge”now. Just… scary.

          You are right about one thing. Tank v tank encounters were pretty rare. Most Shermans did not NEED to be better then a Panther because they never saw one. Even one encountering the lowly StuG is the exception, not the rule. Most Shermans spend the war attacking infantry positions and the like and did so quite successfully.

            • …you mean the IL pilots whose kill claims don’t exactly match up with the actual losses recorded by the Germans? AFAIK the Germans for their part had SOP of slashing their ground-attack pilots’ claims by half and were still pretty certain the numbers were vastly inflated…

              To be fair, that’s an easy error to make for pilots who doubtless had little familiarity with how tanks actually behave. They make their attack run, probably even see a few direct hits from their cannon and/or rockets, and turning away probably see the AFV stoping, maybe smoking, and the crew bailing out (the Germans apparently noted few things made even veteran crews panic as readily as air attacks) – totally a kill right? And off he flies.

              The on the ground once the crew climb out of whatever ditch they’ve ducked into and come examine the damage they note it’s superficial at best and the tank is either perfectly functional or needs only minor repairs…
              Not to mention, proper tanks and such had priority for recovery and repair and could often be returned to duty startlingly quickly even after serious damage.

  8. Yeah, it is true. Did you saw ‘Saving private Ryan”? It is also true that americans sent a commando to rescue just one soldier from the front!

  9. In Germany we have a saying: “Trau keiner Statistik, die du nicht selbst gefälscht hast.” In English it means something like: “Don´t beleve in a statisticsyou haven´t faked yourself”

    What I want to say is, your source is from America. As an German I would say German tanks are better, but as an American I would say the same about American tanks. And your “M4 was 3.6 times as effective in combat versus the Panther” is as useless as “the myth.”

    • The Panther is the “better” tank in a vacuum but war wasn’t fought in a vacuum. I never said “M4 was 3.6 times as effective in combat versus the Panther”, I am merely stating what the US Army’s BRL concluded from their research. If you can come up with some evidence I’d be glad to read over it, but the opinions of Mr. Zaloga, Forzcyk, and Moran probably outway yours.

      I also have no reason to say an American tank is better because it is American. I am 100% against that nationalist mindset.

  10. Sorry about my bad english for advance. But fun fact: 90% of german forces was on the eastern front fighting. America has entered the war when Germany literarly was defeteted by the ussr. That means german forces was outnumber to 10:1 in every aspect 10:1 on equipment, war assets, etc. The real question was will be whole Europe will be on the influence of the USSR. Americas only rough fight was on Normandy, after that it they had rather easily fighted, and on the western front both sides compliance with the conventions of war, that wasn’t on the east.

    • Do you have a source for the 90% claim?

      According to the BRL the M4 only outnumbered the Panther on average of 1.2:1 which is 8 times less than you’re figure of 10:1.

      You also dismiss the Battle of the Ardennes .

      I happen to agree with Col. David Glantz about the fact the the USSR carried the burden during WW2 and effectively “won” by 1943, but to say the Western Front was easy is an insult to all the men who died fighting in that campaign.

    • Germany was defeated in 1941?

      If we are going to claim the USSR did everything on their own I can post this;
      “All of Russia’s first-class aviation fuel was supplied by the USA. Their boots, most of the uniform material was as well. Plus rubber for the their tires, all their aluminum, fully 1/3 of their munitions, over 500,000 trucks which were all far better than any Russian produced during the war (about 200,000). Upgunned (76mm) Shermans were a big part of the Russian drive through the Balkans, where hundreds of them participated and had a measure of success. Aerocobras, P40s, C-47 and A-20′s (18000+) all considerably assisted the Russian war effort. Almost all telephone communication was over american phones late in the war. The Russians produced 92 railway locomotives during the war. They got 2000 through lend-lease. Well over half the luftwaffe was engaged in the west from 1942-45, and 75% of german aircraft casualties were against the Western Allies. Each U-boat cost 5 million marks to build. The Germans built over 1000. A panther tank cost 117 thousand marks. That means about 40,000 german tanks were not built so that the Germans could wage the war of the atlantic. Think 40,000 panthers might have made a difference on the eastern front? Each V2 rocket cost in labor and material, the same as 3.5 fighter planes. The germans launched over 3000 V2′s. Do the math on that.”

      • for those who would say tl:dr to the post above there’s shorter version:
        studebaker vs zis-5 anyone?

      • even a better tl;dr :
        “The west used the USSR as their meatshield”
        No wonder they “won” the cold “war” after that.

        • How terrible…

          Though as the Cold War never went hot and Soviet troops (which never directly fought the West anyway) nevertheless comfortably outnumbered their NATO opponents *despite* the virtual write-off of a whole generation of young men between ’41 and ’45 – apparently still visible in Russian demographics, or so I’ve been told – moot point. The Soviets lost for entirely different reasons, primarily shitty economic management resulting in seriously falling behind the increasingly propserous “West” in far too many fields resulting in general loss of faith in the whole system across all ranks.
          When Communism then suddenly fell it there was a notable shortage of people willing to try stopping the collapse – indeed at least one regime (Romania) collapsed in no small part due to the military (the ultimate bulwark of any regime’s sovereignty) more or less spontaneously defecting to the revolutionary camp.

  11. Maybe German tanks were destroyed more than US ones by the 3:2 factor, but how much of them were actually destroyed in tank vs tank combat and not by infantry or bloody air superiority US had. Riddle me this..

    • Same is true for many western and eastern allied losses. Tank on Tank combat is the exception, not the norm so the majority ot tank losses on all sides didn’t come from tank vs tank battles… so your argument might ‘slim’ the statistics about the M4 medium, but it does the same to all other tanks on all other fronts of all other participants.

    • And how many of those allied tanks were destroyed by Axis -

      Towed AT guns
      Tank destroyers
      Hand held AT weapons

      After all the Axis had more of all of those than they had tanks.

  12. Battle of Kursk:Germany lost 2,928 tanks, Russia lost 5,128.

    Yeah, i doubt that a mere M4 could be so… OP

    “Robert Forczyk has a PhD in International Relations and National Security from the University of Maryland and a strong background in European and Asian military history. He retired as a lieutenant colonel from the US Army Reserves having served 18 years as an armour officer in the US 2nd and 4th infantry divisions and as an intelligence officer in the 29th Infantry Division (Light). Dr Forczyk is currently a consultant in the Washington, DC area. ”

    So it’s just another US guy claiming that US tanks weren’t as bad as they really were.

    • Why are you pulling up Kursk when the discussion is about the M4? That makes no logic at all. Then you claim Forczyk as a biased idiot without any rational besides “just another US guy” . This is disappointing that the human brain can think this is a logical point to make. Please if you want to make a claim please put some evidence and rationale into it.

      • It’s not the first time when US random ppl try and change some historical facts to make them look better.
        So no thanks. If the author was from any other country i would believed it. But not in this case.

        And i didn’t said that’s an idiot. Its just biased.
        You see, most likely he used some US archives to write his books. See, US archives. It’s a known fact that in WW2 everyone was overestimating themselves.

        OMG today the russian forces destroyed 500 enemy tanks. This is recorded on paper, while in reality the enemy only had 250 tanks.

        US are the most….”cheating” nation, so no, i won’t ever believe in a US historian.

        • “OMG today the russian forces destroyed 500 enemy tanks. This is recorded on paper, while in reality the enemy only had 250 tanks.”

          Yes the Soviets were really bad about that, claiming to have destroyed far more Finnish vehicles than the Finn’s had.

          It does not mean other countries were so careless with record keeping.

          • No so careless, but everyone did it :) They couldn’t show their weaknesses, right?
            And there is no way that a sherman is equal to a panther. In 1v1 the panther will win. Shermans won only because there were MANY.
            True, the quantity is also a quality, but a sherman will never be equal to a panther.

            Some time ago i read a book written by a french spitfire pilot. I remeber that he said that he saw a dead tiger surrounded by 4 dead shermans. So at least for the tiger the 1v5 is true.

            • Apparently you cannot read because no one is saying a Sherman is equal to a Panther in a simple 1v1 duel.

    • Remember that if a tank is damaged, the Soviets count it as destroyed in battle. The Germans dont. Besides, onne average the German crewmen were better trained than the Soviets.

      • “Hors de combat” tends to be good enough for infantry casualties too, and good luck eyeballing whether a damaged tank is a write-off or recoverable.

        And that distinction is moot if the enemy can’t recover the thing for repairs, ofc…

    • It must be awfully convenient to be able to dismiss a historian purely based on nationality.

  13. As I know 5:1 meant that at 1 dead panther there were 5 dead shermans so that’s why it’s said that 5 shermans are the equal of a panther.

  14. 1. What is this “advantage” ratio?
    2. How is it possible that both tanks in the same battle have advantage ratio over 1?

    Because of above this study looks BS – either you made it look or it really was. Please clarify and explain.

    • Because they used 98 battles to draw those statistics from, like it’s mentioned in 2nd line of the third paragraph.

      • And? 1+1==3? It’s not possible that in THE SAME battle pool it was both more M4s and more Panthers! Statistics may lie but not to that amount ;) .

        • If you got a number of scenarios to study to evaluate the use or efficiency of some tool you will get a lot of different results and circumstances in that pool fo scenarios. You can than draw conclusions from a subset of those scenarios that share common circumstances; if x has y than the result is most likely z… in the case of the study about the shermans effecivness this would be the battle advantage needed over the enemy to lead to a probable battlefield victory.
          This does not mean that these circumstances are true for the whole set of studied scenarios… on the contrary, they mus be wrong for a certain set of scenarios, otherwise you’d not be able to determine the turning point at which the changed circumstances lower the chance of success or even revert it.

          • Statistics takes into account the whole set of scenarios. There is no average scenario where BOTH sides are better than each other.

            • I did not mention an average scenario with contradicting outcome, I only offered insight into how statistics can be used to extract information regarding the influence of different factors unto the outcome of the scenario… and that you need subsets of scenarios with different outcomes for that to work in the first place.

    • they are not talking about the same battles, they are separated based on who won

      • If you are talking about different battles, you cannot compare results. You only can for complete set of battles, both defeat and victories.

  15. Overall the M4 was 3.6 times as effective in combat versus the Panther.

    What? Did someone forgot to divide the effectiveness by M4s number advantage? Only sherman that could effectively fight panthers (while not relying on just outnumbering them) was the firefly.

    Oh, and I’m waiting for next article: “Please don’t use 8 T-34s = 1 Panther myth! (Or how T-34 was 10 times as effective in battle vs Panther)”. Since T-34 is a better construction than M4 there should not be a problem with confirming this theory.

    • T-34′s were largely equal to Shermans, and they fared no better against Panthers.

    • Panther is actually ~2.3 times more effective than the T-34 during Kursk. I am not sure how this number evolved into 1945 though.

      The M4 is also better in firepower, mobility, and protection(slightly) than the T34/76 so I fail to see how the T-34 is a better construction.

    • Someone’s still thinking tank fights are one on one duels… and one thing where the Sherman was VASTLY superior to the Panther was there tending to be FAR more of them available for any given mission, thanks to both brutally higher production numbers and orders of magnitude better mechanical reliability ergo strategic mobility.

      As the French so painfully learned in ’40, the most potent fighting forces do you no good if they’re not where needed at the time.

      • Ok, but that is just saying that 5 shermans are more effective in battle than 1 panther, which of course is true. But the author states that SHERMAN (one) is over 3 times (sic!) more effective than panther which can’t be proven by statistics taken on fights where one side was massively outnumbered.

        • TBH I’d like a detailed explanation exactly what the ratios cited *actually mean*, but I’m willing to make an educated guess the analysts factored in what might be termed “operational availability” – that is, how large part of the existing tank fleet was actually up and running when needed and could actually reach the mission zone. AFAIK Panthers were veritable hangar queens and their pathologically fragile final drive by all accounts made “road marches” a real problem; conversely robust mechanical reliability was by and large a noted trait of US tanks.

          This makes the Panther a rather bad design by the Germans’ own philosophy of armoured warfare, by the way. AFAIK they had it as a maxim that the engine and tracks – ie. mobility – were just as much a weapon as the gun, and the kitty was notoriously shitty in that regard.

          • This is actually another myth. Panthers were no less reliable then the Shermans. The reason quite a lot of Panthers were abandoned due to failure was due to the road march you mentioned. This is not something tanks of that era were designed to handle and the Panther break downs compared to distance driven was comparable to other tanks like the Shermans. There were also quite a few that simply ran out of fuel and ammunition and was abandoned by the crews.

  16. Curse you Sion, I should be working on the next overlord Blog article, but found this post. Knowing full well what was about to happen in the comments section I read the Comments, and its given me a good giggle. ;)

    On the whole I’d agree with you (check out my earlier post on Overlords blog about 5 Panthers). I’ve also seen lots of comments from respectable historian discrediting Death Traps, so no issues there. Plus I agree with you, history has been unfair to western tanks as a whole, and the Sherman in particular. The Sherman was one of (if not the) best tanks of World War II.

    I would like to comment on the following:
    ” I believe I have tracked down the source of this claim which didn’t surprise me at all.”

    There is one other possible source. I found a copy of a German officers report on armour a few years ago, and in it there’s a line which says (and I’m going from memory, so the exact wording might be different):

    “While our tanks are worth anywhere from three to Ten enemy tanks, there’s always an 11th Sherman.”

    I really wish I could remember where I saw it.

    • Huh. There was also a wartime Finnish quip about “one Finn being worth ten Russkies”, which the cynics/realists predictably appended with some variation of “so what do we do once the eleventh shows up?”…

      May well have been a rather universal sentiment in armies only too aware of their numerical inferiority of course.

  17. If u divide sherman and panther kilka thru their quantity, u will see bigger difference. I read about Battle in ardennes where germans lost 245 panthers, and americans lost 320 shermans, but Total vehicles in Battle were 440 and 1050. It means every sherman got avg 0.25 kill, while panther 0.7 -> 0.25 x4 gives 4 shermans to kill panther. I cant give a link because i use a phone today.

    • Poor example, all Sherman were not killed by Panthers and all Panthers were not killed by Shermans.

        • Lets take it as tank divisions with support. Everyone know tanks don’t operate alone in vacuum

  18. If this is the only source you can find to substantiate your claims, I feel the need to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the claims made in your article and direct your attention away from “fringe” historians to survivor accounts and especially to unit losses during the war which produce a far more accurate account

    • sammy my boy, you *do* realise anecdotes – which “survivor accounts” obviously are – have Jack Shit evidence value? Not to mention that a fair few historians I’ve read have pointed out that the Allied forces in NW Europe had all kinds of morale problems for various reasons (in the case of the Brits sheer war exhaustion), and as soldiers are universally wont to tended to vent it on their equipement…

      • Good point.
        And I think it is reasonable to assume that democracies had more tolerance for soldiers publicly carping about their gear. Probably not as good a career move if you were serving under Hitler or Stalin. Not big fans of criticism, those two.

        • To be fair both tended to listen to “end-user” feedback in the interests of building better weapons, or at least learned to. Tended to be a whole lot less tolerant of “defeatist” talk than the Democracies – and a lot more willing to feed the troops the kinds of propaganda and conditioning the latter flatly refused to even contemplate – by what I know of it though.

          • US was no more honest to their soldiers then any other country. That was actually part of why there were so much griping about their equipment afterwards, they didn’t live up to the hype from the official propaganda. My favorit one is that they issued Bazookas for anti tank work the entire war, but it was first after the war that they solved the issues it and made it actually work. The reason were that they found the troops too likely to surrender when faced with tanks if they didn’t have a weapon that they could try and use.

  19. I saw some document where M4 crewmans of WWII are talking that they had problems to penetrate frontal armor of PZ IV in Afrika…

    • I would love to read these documents considering that a 75mm armed Sherman or Lee would have been able to easily penetrate the front of a Pz IV in Africa.

    • The majority of PzKpfw IV deployed in north africa were still equipped with 7.5cm L/24 short barreld guns and were plain inferior to the M4 mediums used by the allies, only few L/48 armed variants arrived in the theater. The ones who had problems penetrating the enemy were the germans, who had a hard time punching through the thick hide of british infantry tanks with the 5cm and short barreld 7.5cm guns while in return the british 2pdr could punch through the teutonic krupp steel with ease.
      The stuff the germans did there was impressive; the maneuvre warfare, the fake tanks, the efficient use of fixed guns to counter the lack of efficient weaponry on his vehicles. But it was impressive cause his equipment wasn’t that great and the supply lines were over stretched.

      • “…british 2pdr could punch through the teutonic krupp steel with ease.”

        You forgot to mention that this was just during a short period at the start of the war. Later brits had trouble, that’s why they made the firefly.

    • Given that the Germans regarded even the hapless M3 Lee (which they apparently for a while referred to as “Pilot” due to first learning of it in a photgraph bearing that term, presumably of an early “pilot” model) as a threat serious enough to merit exposing their rare “Mark IV Specials” – as the Allies at the time called the upgunned IVs – to the attentions of Allied artillery and aircraft…

    • That doesn’t seem far fetched.

      Even before the first M4 rolled out of the factory, a large number of PzKpfw IV Ausf. G had already received 30mm extra front armour giving it a total of 80mm of front armour. The 75mm M3 managed a respectable 70mm of penetration at 500m against a 30° plate.
      So I can totally see this happening.
      Pre-Ausf. G PzKpfw IVs would probably have been an easy target for an M4. But it was too late to the party to take advantage of that. By the time the M4 hit battlefields, it was facing at least 80mm of frontal armour and at least the 7,5cm KwK 40 L/43, equal to if not slightly better than the 75mm M3 L/40.

      • I seem to recall reading somewhere that early in the African campaign at least some US formations were obliged to use badly designed and/or obsolete AP shells before Quartermaster got things sorted out; might be relevant.

    • “- In order to meet the mythical Panther kill ratio, the Panthers needed to have killed 900 Shermans because they lost 180 Panthers. The First Army only lost 320 Shermans total.”

      Your link disproves your claim.

    • Some guys in that thread need to learn mathematic and take proportions into account

      • Yea but count it. Panther still have 4 x better score per tank. They didn’t kill 900 because they were outnumbered

        • Multiply 420panther x3 to,meet 1080 shermans( simplification) and u get 960 kills

            • Your math is worthless because there were more German vehicles than just Panthers and the majority of Sherman losses were not to Panthers. Germans actually lost 50% more vehicles than the Americans did.

        • They did not kill 900 Sherman’s because the 5to1 ratio is a myth. Of course the Panthers would have gotten a better score per vehicle, it was impossible for 2/3 of the the Shermans to actually get a kill.

          • Take values from my link, calculate it l and say it again there is no 5x better performance on German side. I’ll see results with pleasure

            • Overall German score was surely worse because of mechanical issues and support shortages, but u can’t deny German battle value

            • “- This isn’t even a 2:1 kill ratio in favor of the Germans because so far we’ve only counted the Panther losses – and the Germans lost many more other tanks like the MK IV, Tiger, etc (their total losses were around 600 tanks and SPGs). Not to mention that most US tank losses were not even necessarily Panther kills – the majority were lost to ATGs and panzerfaust kills.”

              Must be very pleasurable for you.

  20. 1 panther vs 5 sherman i never heard.

    here is the “legend”
    (in the video, real ww2 tank crews asked which tank they would preferred drive tiger or sherman)

    no point arguing over then internet, victors write history
    ppl try to deny the legend of the tiger

    1 tiger vs 4-5 sherman yes, and its true. sherman tanks coudnt penetrate tiger frontally. so they had to attack the tiger in wolf pack. average 5 sherman was needed to take out 1 dug in tiger.

    tiger could took out enemy tanks form highest range, and sherman needed to get to tiger rear armor to take it out

    sherman firefly had better penetration, but firefly was ‘built’ in very low numbers at the end of the war.
    very little impact on ww2 war.

    normal sherman was designed for infantry support.

    some other videos:

    • There were 2.000+ Fireflies produced, that does not sound like much compared to the number of regular M4 mediums, but there were more Sherman Fireflies than there were Tiger tanks (1.300+), by your logic the Pzkpfw VI Tiger had no impact on WW2, as there were so few around…

      I don’t think anyone want to deny the legend of the Tiger, as most people would agree that for it’s time it had a very good mixture of armament, armor and mobility… it had a lot of flaws too though and it was not invincible. And especially in the Ardennes the Tiger could not take advantage of it’s extremly long range and often had to fight in situations where its armor would not safe him as the enemy woudl appear suddenly and at short range.

      But again, here the deciding factor often would be the skill, training and experience of the crew and the additional factors of supporting infantry and vehicles… anyway, tank on tank combat was rare and is not realy anything that dominated any part of WW2, even though it might dominate popular fiction.

    • TBH the Tiger *had* no impact on WW2; too few in number, too specialised, as heavy tanks now were wont to be. It would have made preciously little difference one way or another had the Germans decided to have no heavies at all, save that they’d built that many more IVs and StuGs and whatnots with those resources.

      • Yeah, tell that to 10 000 tank crews that lost their lives/limbs/etc. fighting Tigers…

        • More like StuGs, Mines, and Pak Guns/Panzerfaust which are the true killers(accounting for 80+% of tank kills). The Tiger was also not nearly as common as Pz IVs and Panthers. The Tiger’s role in WW2 equates to nothing.

        • Leaving aside to what degree that 10k is a hyperbole you *pulled out of your ass*, irrelevant. People die in wars, and those days primarily of causes wholly unrelated to tanks – IIRC artillery and the humble infantry mortars were the big killers.

          And as far as tanks go, they mostly perished due to virtually everything else BUT enemy tanks nevermind now the rare, specialist heavies – mostly something involving the infantry and (antitank) artillery.

          • @Priory_of_Sion
            Just stick with your precious American tanks…

            So, wiseguy – you need more in-depth explanation? Then just ask next time.

            Read combat diaries of “German heavy tank battalion [insert number 501-510 here]” Those consist of *official* reports that include unit’s strength, movements, deployment and kill ratios. Now isolate kills made by Tiger crews (Tiger 1 & 2) – mind you KILLS; German didn’t count disabled tanks (not burnt) as kills. Sum the numbers across the board and you will have a result of 9 800+. Tigers ONLY, no mines, anti-tank guns, etc. Tigers themselves accounted for 12% tank KILLS on Eastern front alone (the remaining 88% going to other tanks, anti-tank guns, mines, panzerfausts etc.).

            Oh, by the way Tiger kill ratio in general was more than 5:1. It didn’t take 5 other tanks to kill a Tiger? And if you count other sources (abandoned by crews, after capitulation all tanks of defeated side are counted as losses, aircraft, infantry etc.) that KILL ratio is a lot larger.

            • You clearly have not the foggiest regarding what *actually* counts towards the end result of a modern industrialised Great Power throwdown.

              Here’s a hint: the Germans were certifiably fucked after about Summer ’42 quite regardless of *what* they did or didn’t.

            • ^^
              Oh, just shut up. When discussing with “knowledgeable” people like yourself there are two possible outcomes:

              1) [counts great and heroic feats and then remembers casualties:]“So we must pay respect to those men who lost their lives fighting Nazis”

              2) [says that "over-enginnered, poorly reliable Nazi" tanks had no effect - proven wrong] “Those lives lost are nothing”

            • You sure showed those strawmen.

              By the by, I’m not one for the “over-engineered” argument – instead you’ll find me much more likely to argue the Panther was plain *badly* engineered, being altogether too large and heavy for the amount of firepower it carried (“bang for the buck” if you will) and retardedly unreliable due to questionable cost-cutting measures taken.

              And after ’42 the Germans might as well have been fighting with sticks and stones for all it mattered for the outcome; indeed if they *had* the inevitable would merely have came about faster and with fewer deaths all around.

      • If one applies the estimated overclaim ratio of the Wehrmacht (1,5:1 vs the Red Army) on Tiger claims (~8.500) that means that they were responsible for at least 6,25% of all Soviet tank losses (5.500~ out of 89.000~ total) in WW2. That’s hardly nothing.

        • If one takes into account that Red Army didn’t count tank wrecks that it recaptured as losses that number would be a lot higher.

          • Apart to those who were killed and those who lost their father/brother/man.

            • *shrug* Wars kill people. Why this seems to be somewhat unclear to you I have no idea. And the proverbial “poor bloody infantry” did the vast majority of the dying in all armies anyway.

          • Yes, it would neither change the final result of the war nor the fact that the Tiger/Tiger II had no equal in WW2 as a tank killing machine.

  21. We don’t know full American,losses either.its not problem for me :) I’m not a fanatic. I’m only raging at people who are writing stories and threads about a “myth”, but fail at simple mathematic and show us false numbers like in my example.

    • It is difference for me between It is like battle with 4 vs 10 tanks, where ur team lost 2 tanks and killed 3 and hear u were playing poor. If that guy is not able to count properly, does he know alphabet sufficient to post threads?

  22. This article has so many flaws. People remember when you read statistics you can make them look anything you want, depends on the point of view and what you take account.

    Panther being worth lot of Shermans is not a myth.

    • Statistics is a WAY better analytical tool than scattered anecdotes, however. Want examples of fun stuff only realised through statistical comparisions?

    • I’ll give you that one Panther certainly was WORTH quite a few Shermans though… in terms of industrial resources expended, logistical capacity hogged and support arms kept busy. :v

    • What a great source of information. If you really think that all Americans are idiots then please use some sorta of actual evidence and not Bill Maher.

  23. ofc that whole 5 shermans vs 1 panther/tiger statement is shit, it was the other way round
    the germans were spamming those easy to produce tanks to counter the superior american, british and russian tanks

  24. Of course the panther is worth 5 shermans.

    Shermans couldnt penetrate the panther front at any distance.
    Panthers could knock out shermans at 2000m. The shermans needed 3-6 minutes to travel this distance.
    So a panther had enough time to fire 20-40 shots. The allies were not famous for there brilliant tactics.
    It was mostly bomb everything and then roll it over. The airforce was the most important weapon against
    panthers and tigers.

  25. Another bunch of BS on FTR?
    A person nicknamed “Zionist” trying make people disbelieve German Panzer superiority.
    You certainly don’t think a book, published in 1998 has such an impact on the global understanding of WW2?

    And how do you explain 7000 destroyed Shermans in Europe, compared to 6000 Panthers BUILT. Considering the Germans did have little to no air support from D-Day onwards, thus many of destroyed German tanks don’t at all go to the account of the so much powerful American tanks.

    • Once again you have based your on my username and make up BS arguments while I read books and sources put forth by credible, objective historians. You can disagree and turn a blind eye to the data or you can accept it for what it is.

      • Do you think you are the only one with books?
        Open Hunnicutt’s (who is IMO the most credible US tank source) Sherman, and read pages 316 to 318, you have him speaking about “too big losses” and “high tolls” in every paragraph when describing the combat use of Shermans (against Panthers) in Western Europe.
        Well yes, he never mentions a 5-to-1 ratio, still he doesn’t dare calling Sherman 3+ times superior to Panther. Instead he says:
        “Faced by tanks with superior armament and protection, the tactical employment of Shermans required flanking to hit the enemy in sides and rear. Superior numbers usually permitted such tactics, although frequently at considerable lost.”
        And: “Although the tankers continued to attack aggressively, the costs were extremely high and the crew were losing confidence in their tank.”
        A-a-and: “As losses mounted, extra protection was added to the tanks by a variety of methods “

        • Hunnicutt didn’t delve into the combat effectiveness of the M4. He was more about the development of the vehicle, but he does know his stuff. I also never said that the M4 is 3 times better than the Panther. The US Army’s BRL concluded that after looking at the available data. I am fairly positive the actual effectiveness of the M4 vs. the Panther is lower but it is nowhere near the 5:1 ratio which no book besides Death Traps claims. There are instances where panzers on the defense inflicted heavy casualties on M4s, but the same can be said the other way around and in much larger engagements such as Arracourt and Mortain. Offensively the M4s had the advantage due to their numbers and mobility and the Panthers were never fighting a fair fight and the data shows this in the BRL’s study. No one will know the exact figures though.

          Also every tank crews added extra protection to their vehicles if they could. Who wouldn’t. I don’t see that as a valid point at all.

          • Yes, defending Shermans may have kicked shit off attacking Panthers, sure.
            But when Shermans needed to attack, they needed a large superiority, with several tanks playing the bait and others flanking in the meanwhile.

            The “5 to 1″ quote from Cooper’s is completely ripped off context. I don’t posses this book, so I can’t look up, where it is mentioned – whether it is a chapter on attack or defence, or a general loss summary, or a conclusion of firepower+protection analysis. That may clarify a lot.

            Well sure, Sherman had advantages over the Panther, being way more comfortable and reliable, not as much fuel wasting and of course much cheaper to produce.
            But that “3,2 times as effective” seems completely ridiculous to me. Much more ridiculous than “5 to 1 ratio”. How do you measure effectiveness anyway? And how does that “3,2″ come up when the Sherman is unarguably inferior in two of the three most important characteristics for the combat, being firepower and frontal protection.

            • To reiterate from earlier, I’d guess the analysts were factoring in *factual availability* of the tanks – Shermans spent a lot less time under repairs due to banal breakdowns and survived “road marches” FAR better than the proverbially cranky Panthers.

              Anyways, it’d pretty much an axiom that an attacker MUST possess some kind of local superiority to overcome defensive positions, as well as enough fresh reserves to properly consolidate and exploit. Nothing unusual about that.

    • “And how do you explain 7000 destroyed Shermans in Europe”

      Infantry armed with anti-tank guns, Panzerschrecks and Panzerfausts. StuGs and an assortment of misfit, clobbered together tank-hunting vehicles made from all sorts of captured and german build equipment.
      Same for most german tank losses, as those also mainly fought against allied infantry armed with anti-tank guns, bazookas, etc. Tank on tank combat is just too rare to have any real impact on the total number of losses inflicted in WW2.
      The US had an edge in close artillery support though, allowing swift and fast artillery fire concentrated on single enemy vehicles. Which gave them quiet an adventage in engagements where those artillery units were deployed, supplied and combat ready. This of course also was thanks to the allied air superiority, allowing allied spotting planes to do their job in an comparably safe enviroement.

      And though the air superiority of the allies lead to a lot of german tank losses, that had more to do with the destroyed supply and support and less with tanks actually destroyed by air strikes.

      • “And though the air superiority of the allies lead to a lot of german tank losses, that had more to do with the destroyed supply and support and less with tanks actually destroyed by air strikes.”

        I recently read that allied ground attack planes engaged even such targets as bicycles.
        It is a quite known fact that they were frequently called to destroy single tanks and were besides of that often on “free hunt” where they swept through the enemy territory engaging whatever they could find.

        • Whether the “jabos” were actually any *good* at destroying those individual tanks is a whole different question, and militarily actually not even relevant so long as they could convince the crew to bail out or change position or otherwise neutralise it in a tactically meaningful sense.

          And roving fighter-bombers were a constant threat to all traffic behind the lines; IIRC there were numerous instances of senior German officers being killed, wounded or at least seriously delayed due to their staff car getting strafed, and it wasn’t unheard-of for bored pilots to attack “targets” as insignificant as lone bicyclists – especially in Germany, where in principle most everything could be argued to be a somewhat legitimate target.

  26. I don’t buy this… You need to watch out for bias historical research… Since roughly 50,000 Shermans were built… vs 6,500 Panthers, 13,000 Pz4s 1,300 Tigers and 500 Tiger 2s 13,000 Pz3s (including Stug III variants)… Also keep in mind that German Armored divisions were understrength after 1943. Both in part due to the lack of tanks.. as well as German divisional structuring halving the number of tanks required to form a “division”.

    Now we take that knowledge and keep in mind that Majority of large tank battles happened on the Eastern front (which is where majority of large scale tank engagements happened) remembering that we haven’t included British or Soviet tank production… German tanks vs Allied tanks was severely outnumbered. Now I don’t buy a 5 to 1 ratio needed for a Sherman vs Panzer 4.. but In instances where a Panther or Tiger I (II) tank is in the engagement, that is a different story.

    You need to remember that the Allies has complete air superiority and that Fighter Bombers bombed the shit out of anything moving during daylight. The 2.2 numerical superiority vs 1.5 for the Germans needed for an ATTACK is logical, but only in general terms. Not in a Tank vs Tank engagement if we are talking about Shermans vs Tigers.

    • I’m sure the Allies were *terribly* sorry about the Germans having grossly overstretched themselves years ago and duly being chronically short of everything under the sun. Surely they should have chivalrously insisted on fighting on more even terms!

  27. When they say ’5 vs1′ they are referring to the actual quantity of Shermans needed to knock out a single panzer. This is accurate, and whoever wrote this article is clueless. the 5 to 1 doesn’t necessarily mean it took 5 Sherman deaths to take out a Panther. It meant FIVE needed to engage a panther at the same time, acting as distracting forces so the M4′s can flank the panther and set them on fire on the side.

    Shermans were a DISASTER. Anyone that thinks they weren’t doesn’t have their facts straight. Cooper went against common propaganda and published the truth. This is controversial when people have been fed a lie their entire lives. Cooper has been vindicated by people that served in tank companies with M4′s across the world, so why are his facts still being discussed?

    • “A disaster”? Feel free to elaborate. At lenght. Preferably with sources better than random anecdotes.

    • This is ridiculous.

      The 5 Shermans needed to take out a King Tiger I’d believe, but you do not need 5 to take out a frigging Panther. Not when a couple of well positioned M10′s can, and have, obliterated entire columns of Panthers [M10's crewed by French no less].

      • Hell, I’ve read of engagements – on more or less open fields no less – where but one or two Shermans were able to get in among Panthers taking a circuitous route (while their mates kept the “cats” preoccupied by taking shoot-and-scoot potshots from cover) and wiping out the lot in like a minute or two. Variations of the theme had apparently been pretty quickly established as the SOP for dealing with German “heavy metal” in defensive posture.
        The Panther may have had rather formidable frontal protection, but the sides were cardboard and by all accounts the observation arrangements left a lot to be desired.

      • Also don’t go dissing the Free French, many of them had been fighting the war more or less nonstop from the very beginning. In some cases longer; Leclerc’s 2éme Divison Blindée had a company whose personnel were mostly Spanish Republican expats…

        • Oh I know!

          I wasn’t intending to bad-mouth the French, I just wanted to rub it in someone’s face :P

          Somewhere in the book “Free France’s Lion”. there’s an account of French tank destroyers [I think M10's] crewed by former navy personnel absolutely trashing an attacking group of Panthers, destroying almost all of them while suffering few or no casualties themselves.

  28. Evidence? I haven’t seen any real evidence, and anyone can distort facts to come up with the statistics they want, it’s not hard. I have yet to see any evidence of any M4 superiority, and only US ignorance in keeping that junk pile on the field for the entire war, killing thousands of men that would otherwise be alive if they were in competent tanks. Only troop ingenuity, and insane levels of adaptability allowed them to function much at all. That’s a testament to US soldiers, not our inept govt. and military leadership.

    M4 fanbois had their myth shattered with Coopers book, and then later when tankers came out to support Cooper. They’ve never recovered from this, but keep the myth alive as best they can.

    • I never said the M4 was superior, it just performed well in the ETO against enemy armor. Crew training being a major cause.

      I distrust people who don’t even know the name of the vehicle they are “experts” in and seem to be neo-confederates. I trust people who use archival evidence such as Zaloga and Forczyk.

      Maybe you should not dismiss evidence just because it goes against your prior beliefs that are based on shoddy evidence to none at best.

      • You didn’t claim the Sherman was supperior to the Panther? It must have been someone else hacking your account then and posted this:
        “The evidence show the M4 was 3.6 times as effective as the Panther. It must be a DISASTER.”

  29. Saddens me to see so much anti american hatred for no good reason. Its disgusting, and very, very sad to see someone dismissed outright because of their nationality. I thought we were getting past that kind of thinking, at least in the first world. You know, the same kind of horrific, degenerate thinking that was a cause of the war were discussing…

    Anyway, this was a good article. I’ve held for years that people need to stop mythologising the German troops and equipment as near invincible unless clogged down in a field of allied corpses.

    Thanks from Ireland Priory.

          • Good job at saying I am a bigot without any evidence to suggest such. I find it utterly hilarious that you think that I like “whatever amrecia have done”.

            • i find Ireland utterly hilarious for being america wannbe. Wishfull thinking is not science like history is.

            • I find the UK utterly hilarious for being Washington’s pet poodle these days as well as general ugliness and failure, but that’s neither here nor there. I find Ireland to be utterly hilarious for a bevy of different reasons – mostly sustained ugliness & failure throughout recorded history – but that’s equally irrelevant to the discussion.

            • Also feel free to elaborate on the “science” of history. My mother happens to be a now-retired *actual* historian and I’ve a keen interest in the field, so I daresay I can make at least reasonable judgement on the matter…

            • Kellomies-I fail to see what baiting me about my nations supposed ugliness and failure will add to this discussion.
              Sure, the economy is rocky right now but people are still very well off even by first world standards, we have a great public health system, great infrastructure, education and fantastic foreign investment. Were ranked 7th on the Human Development Index, 14th Highest Per Capita GDP (42nd Globally), we rank 5th globally for gender equality. In 2011, Ireland was ranked the most charitable country in Europe, and second most charitable in the world. We’ve had two female presidents and an openly gay senator.

              We have an amazing and world renowned artistic heritage in all forms, from music to literature. Everything from James Joyce to Thin Lizzy.
              Not bad for a tiny nation of less than five million.

              I could go on but I don’t like veering off topic to much, plus most of the commenter’s here seem to be 13.

              …Sorry about Bono though.

            • The Point.
              You completely missed it.
              Go straight to jail, do not pass Go, and re-read the discussion to figure out just what I meant and was answering to.

  30. It is funny to see how many people are ignoring Zaloga and others well-known historians and trying to debunk their research by anecdot-like “real facts”. Continue, folks, continue.

      • History doesn’t change. Misconceptions being debunked by evidence change one’s knowledge of events but in no way does history itself change.

    • “History” most certainly does *not* change; what sources people have avaiable and how they interpret them, however, *do*. Might I point out that whatever else might be wrong or plain silly about the Leftist ferment of the Sixties and Seventies one thing it *did* do was introduce a culture of much more critical reading of primary sources than had been the norm before…?

    here is all the info you Need

    Panther frontal hull armor is 80mm at 55° = 140mm (turret is much better)
    average penetration of the common Panzergranate 39/42 at 2000m is 90mm (1500m is 100mm)
    the probability for a hit at 1500m was 72%

    Sherman frontal hull is 60mm at 55° = 105 mm
    average pen for the sherman gun was 92mm at 0m

    As you can see the panther was a real nightmare for sherman Crews.

    Nice anecdote from german Tiger crews :
    They adjusted the delay of the Sprenggranate to 1-2 sec to blow of the poor
    shermans from the inside and watched the flying turrets :P

      • So it boils down to if you have advantage in numbers your tanks are more effective than the outnumbered ones.

        Wow, really great insight.

    • And the Panthers sort of tended to lose anyway. What’s that tell you about myopia?

  32. Stats for guns and armor are the only one that are important, so whats the problem ?

  33. Are you a sherman fanboy or something Priory of Sion ?

    If your comment points to “armor and pen can be puffered with good tactics” then
    you need someone with relay great tactics.
    The ground tactics of the allied were just poor. Their main advantage was the massive airforce.

    • I am a reality fanboy. You on the other hand seem to live in a fantasy world where Panthers killed droves of M4s that just sat in the open because America sucks and .50 caliber MGs are what beat the panzers.

      You have not yet bring forth a valid argument.

    • Personal attacks *already*? You need to level up eric mah boi.

      As far as “poor ground tactics” go, wanna discuss the circumstances of Wittmann’s death? Because they don’t really speak all that highly of the *German* approach to the topic…

      • Shhhhh, you aren’t supposed to mention to the panzerfanboys that their big golden boy in black on several occasions got his command all but wiped out.

  34. I wont discuss about the data i linked cause they are hard facts.

    But great reality fan maybe you show us some sources where sherman forces fought effectively
    against panthers ?

  35. Prioiry_of_Sion …

    Well I have nothing to say except that you failed on your opening right of the bat. Simply getting facts straight about a myth with not taking into consideration variables is something studier should not simply do. You would get good grade for base material, but bad for interpreting them. :/

    You can play dumb for asking something people doesn’t have ( materials and documents ) and then saying you’re correct because you have absolute facts ( no opposing material is given in concrete ). Double check and take things into consideration and open up conversation for debate instead of trying to quench it with your ‘supremacy’ of knowledge which is questionable to begin with.

    Fact remains that no one is afraid of M4 while driving Kittens. And there are reasons for this, which the statistics cannot tell due to variables playing larger role than soul statistics of a single tank. :/

      • More of arrogance smells bad and this one seems like lost cause… Being fool and arrogant is bad equation. I have not read the reference book. But why is it that US and British forces were pledging for better armament to engage their enemies when the cat plague started to really effect them? You can always outnumber your enemy or ambush it with lower quality equipment, but it does not devalue enemy’s potential.

        War is changing thing and lacking manpower and supplies for example has nothing to do with the equipment superiority. This is where the real 5:1 myth comes from. It does not have anything to do that a tank must destroy 5:1 ratio, but that it equals to in comparison. This is something from the comments that seems to fog your mind. Thus was what i wanted to point out.

        So there is nothing to actually shoot down the myth of ‘One panther equals five sherries ( or T-34′s )’, because it is true on the defensive or hold out ( which is the origin of a myth, german cat on defensive ). On attacking part you cannot fathom to make an assault against superior numbers, that would be plain suicide ( Just try it in any balanced wargame without biases… ).

        So myth stands where it stands, but if you take it out from where it was meant you can bust it straight on ( Take a pond fish and put in the ocean for example ).

        • The Allies were having all kinds of morale/motivation problems during the NW Europe campaign, in the case of the Commonwealth troops legit enough ones stemming from sheer war exhaustion and increasingly worrisome shortages of manpower. The ‘Murricans had their own issues.

          It’s true enough that the Sherman wasn’t entirely up to snuff by that time, largely thanks to doctrinal faggotry in the US brass (Tank Destroyers and all that) and to some degree at least outright complacency whose end result was that the thing hadn’t been properly upgraded (the chassis could actually take a LOT of up-armouring and upgunning, as later modifications demonstrated) nor a next-generation replacement been designed. Added to this the relevant services had a bad habit of somewhat over-hyping their AFVs to trainees with predictable backlash when they found themselves rather outmatched on the occasion they actually met a “cat” – which was rare in practice, but the psychological effects were such that virtually any piece of junk the Germans fielded became a “Tiger”.

          Basically, the main issue was psychological and stemmed primarily from wider problems of morale, but had some basis in concrete reality. *Objectively* the Sherman was doing just fine when properly employed; while it might have problems with the heavier German ironmongery in practise it almost never encountered them and instead fought far less formidable Pz IVs, StuGs and suchlike when it now met German AFVs in the first place. And between the raw numbers and its sheer strategic mobility it more often than not advanced against sectors that had virtually no armoured support at all and could gleefully go on an extended rampage deep behind the lines, unless the local German commanders managed to scrape together yet another scratch Kampfgruppe with enough antitank firepower to put a wrinkle in the plans.

    • “I’m not afraid of medium tanks while driving a can nearly twice their weight with duly more armour and firepower!”
      You figure that out yourself, Sherlock?

      Feel free to ask Wittmann how well that attitude worked out in the end BTW. Or, Hell, the guys driving those first Kingtigers to see action on the Eastern Front…

      • Should that be asked from the commanders telling them to do something which is impossible to begin with?

        And Kellomies I have quote for you:” Go home you’re drunk ” ( Always can find you resorting to this, will it prove right this time, no idea… :P )

        • I’m *never* drunk you know. Teetotaler.
          Also, you’ll never find ME resorting to such lameass lines; that one sad little wannabe troll that likes to copycat my nick might be a different story, but if you can’t tell that dweeb’s posts from mine the joke’s on you.

          Also soldiers obey orders and die trying or get their asses court-martialed (at best) regardless of the army. Would you believe the Germans made their share of roundly imossible demands a lot of men and materiel perished trying to fulfill, too?

          • Ofcourse there be those ‘mistakes’… no doupt.

            And by the fact you post stuff nearly related and supportive views I for sure say you’re high level troll with no post counter to fill. You got points, but sometimes… not even close points. :P

  36. You mean the part where Sowiets, USA, England, France, Poland…. needed 5 years to end the war
    and lost five times more soldiers than Germany (+ unbelievable amounts of material ) ?

      Military casualties:
      Germany: 4,3 to 5,5 million
      Japan: 2,12 million
      Italy: ~301k
      USSR: 9 to 14 million
      USA: ~417k
      UK: ~384k (incl. colonials)
      sundry Commonwealth: ~97k
      France: ~218k (incl colonies)

      …and note that both US and Commonwealth tallies include those lost fighting the Japanese.
      Stop making shit up.

    • Germany is so great at war they had to kill millions of civilians to pad their k/d ratio.

        • Well – they didn’t start and lose two fucking WORLD WARS inside half a century.

          • Germany started, WWII which was the other WW they started? (WWI was not started by germany)

            • Yes it was. I’ve seen *the* key watershed, the point of no return, in the run-up identified as Germany deciding to back Austria against Russia in the controversy regarding Serbia; alone Vienna would nigh certainly have backed down.
              Not to mention that Berlin had been trying to throw its weight around in a rather bellicose fashion for several decades prior, which had duly led to France and the UK burying most of their old hatchets and formally allying.

              Fact of the matter is that unified Germany was and remains THE major lynchpin of Europe, as its rivals perfectly well knew; decisions made in Berlin could have disastrously far-reaching consequences.

        • Not only did they have a much higher winrate, they also never pad their stats with civilians.

            • So what were the “V-Weapons” and the Blitz supposed to do, water the flowers?

              Attacks against the civilian infrastructure are one thing and at the time reckoned a legitimate strategy; wholesale mass murder, not so much.

            • The US where much better at wars they lost against a country with Donkeys and AKs as main weapons.

            • AKs are good guns and the only reason the Maericans themselves didn’t use more donkeys in WW2 was a shortage of skilled handlers, so I don’t really see your point.
              And then there’s the MINOR detail “low intensity” guerilla-type wars are really really tricky to win in any meaningful sense, and a *completely* different kettle of fish from straight “conventional” international slugging matches.

              But hey, since when was reality an obstacle to cheap rhetorical blunt instruments?

  37. Ok Priory of Dumbness no facts, no sources from you = stupid troll not worth to talk anymore.

  38. Priory_of_Sion,

    with all due respect, while I would tend to agree that 5:1 seems somewhat exagerrated, going for the opposite does not look that realistic either.

    This will probably have me marked as an nazi-fanboy beyond redemption, but somehow I cannot imagine why the german cats got that reputation after all – why, if the US lads would steamroll them with that stunning 3.8 or whatever higher efficiency in their superdupereffective superamerican s(o)upertanks ?

    Not sure how this claim would do in Georgia, but from my point of view I see it a bit sceptical. Keep your zeal though – even if we do not agree, it is a good thing you wrote that article. As long as people argue about it, it means that the period of history is not forgotten.

    As for “Cooper is an ignorant” line – well, Saburo Sakai was almost killed by a gunner of an SBD Dauntless over “Cactus”, while first mistaking it for F4F Wildcat, and afterwards claiming it was an Avenger. No Avengers were in the area…

    Does that make him an ignorant ? Surely not in my eyes. You can find many such glitches and wrong information, even in books of well renowned authors/historians/veterans.


    • I stated that the data wasn’t complete and in all likelihood is less than 3.6:1. That is only a small sample but it does show that the M4 was very capable against the Panther and in no way does it suggest the Panther was anymore than equal in the best circumstances. I respect your skepticism.

      As an American southerner I am disgraced by the history of slavery that was ended in the American Civil War. For Cooper to suggest that it was offensive to name a tank after a Gen. who helped end slavery in America is just distasteful. The he blames the Yankees for calling it such while he has no idea that his own tanks where named by the British. Cooper’s claims for M4 performance is also questionable and isn’t taken seriously by Zaloga, Forczyk, or Moran. Cooper is basically ignorant of the M4 performance in the ETO, not saying his opinions were not shaped by his wartime experiences.

  39. ”Overall, US armor destroyed more German tanks than German tanks destroyed US tanks, by a factor of about 3:2.”

    First of all, this is a quote and not a source..
    Secondly how is this relevant to the discussion, unless we know the exact numbers of tanks lost by each side? How many of the German ones were Panthers and how many on the US side were M4s?

    Am I the only one who is going to say “correlation does not imply causation” ?

    • You are wasting your breath. That idiot calls everbody who disagrees with him a Nazi fanboy/panzerphile/strawman/ignorant and asks for YOU to prove HIM wrong. Just ignore.

    • You’d expect an US operational analysis outfit specifically investigating M4 vs. Panther engagements to, you know, concern themselves only with such cases. Seems a tad obvious.

      And BTW if Cooper meant his 5:1 hyperbole as a more general ratio than just against the heavy “cats” -already at best a suspect claim- then he can be roundly laughed out of the court…

    • And as for “how many on the US side were M4s”, vous must be kidding. The US military fielded preciously little else *than* Sherman variants – even the workhorse of the Tank Destroyer branch, the M10, was little more than a modified M4 hull with shittier turret and a somewhat more powerful gun – given that the Stuarts can be pretty much discounted out of hand when discussing serious tank fights.

  40. Actually that 5:1 ratio is mentioned also in “Tank War” by Janusz Piekalkiewicz.

      • @kellomies
        Damn i just thought the same after reading Robert Forzcyk.
        But google is your friend kellomies try to contact him next time and you will be wiser.

        • /care, the responsibility of explaining why Some Obscure Name is relevant lies on the one bringing it up.

  41. Unlike you,this cooper guy was in the war,he saw the action,the bad and the terrible first hand,and yet you have the balls to say this is beyond his understanding?are you kidding me?

    • Proximity does not equal objectivity. Or even having your facts straight.

      To put it another way, there’s kind of a reason anthropologists are trained to (try to) actively adopt and maintain an “outsider” perspective.

  42. Just funny Priory and Kello two big Trolls united in one big troll thread.
    SS if you read this please dont let every troll ruin your blog.

    As for 3.6 times as effective just switch those tanks armys and the Panther is more effective because with enough care (or atleast as many as a Sherman got) even the Panthers would have been as reliable as the Sherman at least if they did not forget to change the final drive.

    What people tend to forget is one of these nations did not have enough supply/spare parts/time/mechanics to check on their tanks all the time, seems like those army ballistic lab guys are just that people and their 3.6 times as effectice is just wrong.

    Priory&Kello you may now call me Nazi fanboy/panzerphile/strawman/ignorant and show again that you are really just trolling kids.

    • What people tend to forget is one of these nations did not have enough supply/spare parts/time/mechanics to check on their tanks all the time, seems like those army ballistic lab guys are just that people and their 3.6 times as effectice is just wrong.
      Mr. anonymous , please read this:
      Now for some evidence provided by the US Army’s Ballistic Research Lab which studied WW2 ETO tank vs tank engagements(98 of them if you were wondering) and concluded the following: The most deciding factor of who wins a tank engagement is who engages first. Crew training and other factors also played a large role. The average distance at which a US tank kills a Panzer(late IV, V, & VI) was 893 yards(816 m). Comparatively the average distance Panzers killed US vehicles as 943 yards(862 m). During Panther v. M4 engagements the Panther had a 1.1:1 advantage while on the defensive, however the M4 had an 8.4:1 advantage while on the offensive. Overall the M4 was 3.6 times as effective in combat versus the Panther.
      Now I have a question for you : What was that they studied?

    • BTW…

      “As for 3.6 times as effective just switch those tanks armys and the Panther is more effective because with enough care (or atleast as many as a Sherman got) even the Panthers would have been as reliable as the Sherman at least if they did not forget to change the final drive.”

      No. Just no. The Panther final drive was plain bad and there was no getting around it; its mechanical endurance was shit and it duly had the kitty undergoing repairs altogether too often (and the suspension system didn’t make maintenance and repairs any less laborious, when it comes to that). The Germans had the tank operational for nearly three years straight and never fixed the issue – and for that matter they did nothing about the vulnerable ammunition storage in the over-track sponsons either, unlike the Americans who eventually introduced the wet-stowage system.

      Do recall that the postwar French military operate a fleet of Panthers for LONGER than any wartime German unit did, in peacetime conditions and side by side with the Sherman. They never considered the cat anything other than problematically fragile as far as automotive mechanics went and identified a number of other flaws to boot – The_Chieftain wrote a nice summary of their conclusions a while back:

  43. For some this is a discussion about History , for many others this is all about measuring their dicks. I think that is a bad idea to have History and WoT discussions on the same blog.

  44. Hey Priory,

    It’s actually worth pointing out that Belton Cooper’s unit, in all likelihood, never actually fought a single Tiger or Panther until much later in the war – specifically December 1944 or early 1945.

    Belton Cooper was in the 3rd Armored Division, in the St Lo sector, where their opposite numbers had very few tanks. Only one German unit had Panthers at all (Panzer-Lehr Division) and no Tigers at all. And even then, there’s only one real recorded instance of the Panzer-Lehr’s Panthers going into action – a disastrous battle against a US Infantry Division (with no support from 3rd Armored) that resulted in 25% losses for the Panthers.

    The only other major “tank” battle of the campaign for the US Army – the German counter-attack at Mortain – also did not involve 3rd Armor or Belton Cooper. That battle was fought and won mainly by the US 30th Infantry.

    In fact the earliest date that 3rd Armored first encountered the Panther in any serious way was likely in December 1944 or January 1945, during the Bulge. As for the Tiger, the first time the unit encountered them was at the end of March, at Padeborn.

    In short, anyone who thinks that Belton Cooper had any actual experience “fighting” Panthers or Tigers is kidding themselves, because 3rd Armor actually didn’t fight them for most of the war and only in very tiny numbers. This is a pretty damning indictment of his “scholarship” and honesty, given that the bulk of his complaints stem from his alleged experienced during the Normandy Campaign in July 1944.

    • Yeah those are good reads, however this isn’t a depiction of the Panther this article is to destroy the 5:1 myth. The 5:1 myth isn’t linked to any one tank as it is a myth that varies in the retelling, usually it is Tigers, a lot of the time it includes Panthers(which is the one referenced in Zaloga’s writings as a myth), and sometimes it is German Panzers in general.

  45. Pingback: Cheating at Statistics | For The Record

  46. What OP says could have been true. Unfortunately the M4 didn’t have any kind of “8.4:1″ advantage. From what I remember it couldn’t even penetrate the front of a Panther at 800m. Maybe if the panther has it’s rear toward them.

    • War is not about trying to shoot at each other’s front armor plate. The Panther had distressingly bad side armor – which could be penetrated even by 14.5mm anti-tank rifles.

      • Panthers side armor was almost as thick as M4 sherman’s front armor for gods sake…
        And what about the Sherman, did it have side armor that wasnt distressingly bad as the Panther’s?

        • In a nutshell: No, the Panther’s side armor wasn’t as thick as the Sherman’s front. For one thing, the Sherman’s front is actually sloped.

  47. Piory->

    By the way, did Belton Cooper claim that the “Rhino Sherman” (for clearing Hedgegrows) was an invention of someone in his Division (3rd Armored)? I know Ambose repeats that claim in his books, but everyone who isn’t a fanboy knows that Ambrose was a terrible historian at best.

    I ask because I’d also note that the 3rd Armored didn’t actually get into the thick of the hedgegrow fighting for the most part, since the Division first arrived in July and spent most of the month gathering up its component units.

    That a newly-arrived Division that fought very few battles in July would somehow come up with a “solution” to the Hedgegrows – as opposed to the US tank battalions who had actually fought in Normandy in both June and July while supporting the US V Corps (1st, 2nd, and 29th Infantry) – comes off to me as pretty damn unlikely.

    I am much more inclined to believe that the improvements in US tactics (e.g. Rhino Tanks) were developed by the US V Corps; and that the 3rd Armored only copied their hard-won tactical knowledge during their buildup period in July. That Cooper basically tries to steal credit from them is really something I’ve already come to expect from such a bad source.

  48. Pingback: Common Myths About WWII | For The Record