Monday, 18 May 2015

Survivability

While most games, video or otherwise, simplify a tank's resilience to penetrating hits with hit points, reality is a lot more complicated. While one-hit kills are definitely possible, it is not unknown for a tank to take several shots before it is completely incapable of fighting further, or even limp back home with many penetrations in its armour. Let's take a look at how well various tanks stood up to punishment, comparing the data gathered by the Allies in this document and data gathered by the Soviets.

First, shots discovered in knocked out tanks. Soviet information comes from NII-48 research that you've previously seen here. Since the Americans did not find any tanks with more than 8 hits, I will lump all T-34s that were hit more than 8 times into "9+".

Number of penetrations Tiger Panther PzIV M4 Sherman T-34
1

32% 80% 62% 26%
2 40% 27% 20% 27% 21%
3 20% 18%

5% 14%
4

9%

2% 13%
5

9%



4%
6 20%





5%
7

4%



5%
8 20%



2% 1%
9+







8%

The Soviets had a much greater sample size (145 T-34s vs only 5 Tigers, 22 Panthers, 5 PzIVs, and 40 Shermans), but it can still be seen that for any tank, a large amount is destroyed with only one or two hits. In fact, only the only tanks more than half of which survive two hits are the Tiger and T-34.

Tank Hits to knock out Penetrations to knock out
Tiger 4.2 2.6
Panther 2.55 1.9
PzIV 1.2 1.2
M4 Sherman 1.63 1.55
T-34 3.48 1.59

Compared to its medium equals, the PzIV is doing very poorly. It takes less hits or penetrations to knock out than either Allied medium tank. The Sherman and T-34 are pretty close in number of penetrations, falling behind the larger and heavier Germans, but the T-34 can take a lot more hits than the Sherman before it goes down, and even more than the Panther. 

15 comments:

  1. You know you just published an article
    http://tankarchives.blogspot.com/2015/05/tanks-at-balaton.html
    that has pictures of Panthers with a whole lot more penetrations.

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    Replies
    1. Naturally the American study does not include vehicles from Balaton.

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  2. Which T34s are compared ? Are there both versions ? Because there is very big difference between survivability of T34 and T34/85 when the turret is penetrated. While T34 lost turret when it is ammoracked, T34/85 lost just roof as I saw images of destroyed tanks in Korean war where americans fired on the tanks until its main ammunition was hit and I see many tanks without turret roof but their turrets were still normally seated to the hulls. I think this matter whether it can be repaired.

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    Replies
    1. These are T-34-76es. When the ammo rack blows, the turret doesn't necessarily fly away, here you can see only the LFP blown out: http://tankarchives.blogspot.ca/2013/10/up-armoured-t-34s.html not that it's much better for the crew.

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    2. Hi! How exactly got your digits about T-34? (3,48 v/s 1.59)

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    3. He made them up. These numbers are pure fantasy.

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    4. The link to the document the numbers came from is in the article.

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  3. What "Panzer IV" type is being used here?
    There was a US document used a very early (30mm frontal armor type) Panzer IV type for their armor comparisons with 1944 vehicles is that the case here?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, this is data collected in 1944.

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    2. Yes and....?
      As I said there were late war US documents using very early war Pz IV's for armor comparisons (from tanks observed/captured from North Africa)... So the questions to what type of Panzer IV this is is relevant as assumptions can be wrong.


      so what panzer IV type is it?

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    3. Do you want to say that Matildas, Churchills. Crusaders was also responsilble for that one shot kills?

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  4. The Soviet report is from 1942 main german caliber is 50 mm(54%) with a good proportion(22%) of smaller calibers, the american report is from 1944 main german caliber is 75 mm(allied too) with a good proportion of 88 mm. Bigger calibers cause more damage due large mass that displace more armor from the target inside fighting compartment and at higher velocities due to bigger kinetic energy.

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  5. How you calculated numbers for T-34? I think you should not use data for calibers less than 75/50 mm guns....

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  6. The Nazis melted their gun barrels destroying T-34's. That was the only thing that saved the Sovs. They sent enough T-34 crews to their deaths to melt all the Nazi gun barrels, so that they could no longer defend themselves. That and the 14.5M Sov soldiers Stalin sent to their deaths were what kept the Sovs from losing that war .

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    Replies
    1. I don't think there is a single gun that would melt at maximum rate of fire, especially when you consider that tanks can sustain max ROF for a very short amount of time before their ready racks run dry. Also the Axis lost 12,483,000 in the East, it's quite a comparable number.

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