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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Lately we've had a US M4 Sherman VS German armor debate on here, so I decided to change the tables and look at the Eastern Front from say 1944 perspective when both the above tanks would have been in service. So Let the debate begin.

I would say both are a pretty close match in terms of gun and armor.
 

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Panther wins this match in every way 1:1. Superior gun that was maybe the best tank gun in the war, better optics, better radio, good armor, better crew compartment. If Panther would have been mechanically more reliable it would have been even more superior.

T-34/85 on the other hand was attempt to update - cheaply - a design that was far from cutting edge technology in late 1943-early 1944. Attempt that did not in the end deliver all that was hoped. But again the Soviet were able to build a lot of them. It was a deacent tank. And when you have thousands of deacent tanks and air superiority what else do you need.
 

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Which was more reliable and which had a better fuel economy.
Neither was very reliable by American standards. Mainly automotive side.

I show Panther as having a range of 155 miles and T34 as 250. T34 of course has a diesel, Panther a gasser.
 

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I think the premise of the question is flawed. The Eastern Front, and war in general, wasn't like some vintage duel, where the tanks would line up in perfect order and neatly take turns firing at each other, letting their mechanical "perfection" do the work. Tanks need fuel, ammunition, trained and experienced crew members, infantry support, reliability, ease of manufacture, proper battle strategy, good terrain, and additional backup tanks for when one gets knocked out. In this world, the T-34 "won." Just my .02
 

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Panther wins. T34/85 was deficient in gun power, armor protection and speed; the 85mm gun suffered from unreliable ammunition, what should have been equivalent to the 88mm flak 36 in power was actually little better than a 75mm gun in practice, the soviets quality control was particularly poor with respect to 85mm AP ammo.
 

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Nice Panthers......
The top one had early infrared night vision driving lights and IR receptor mounted for the tank commander, on his coupala, very cool "Ambush" type cammo paint job. The second looks like its leaveing the factory, the 3 one looks like its GrossDeutchland division
 

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Just a small point, Why is it when comparing tanks, it's always German "heavy" tanks vs. Soviet "medium" tanks ? Tiger(s) and Panthers are much heavier than their T34 counterparts. By 10-20 tons! It should be Tiger or Panther vs. similar weighted KV-85 or IS-1(never mind the IS2 or other soviet tank destroyers like the SU-152 and such) . Looking back in time, you could not pay me enough $$$ ever to take out a Panther asf D to a battle. Reliability of the 1st 2 Panther versions was horrible. Worst than the Soviet tanks even. Almost half of all Panthers auf A were taken out by mechanical failures. Sure it had a great 75mm gun. However that same gun that had great penetration vs. armor, had poor HE ability vs. non-tanks.
My dad trained on T34/85 during the 60's when he was in the "Tankista". He ended up driving all the Soviet and a few German left over tank versions by the end of his 3rd tour. The 34/85's were faster than Panthers, especially over rough terrain and the compartment is absolutely huge compared to a regular T34/76. Also keep in mind that the soviets were 5 years into T34 production by 1944 while the Panthers were still having teething problems until the auf G version came out in late '44.
I'd still take a Panther G version over a T34/85 one on one any day. The Panther is a great tank and my 2nd favorite tank of WW2 purely talking armchair-general. However, the other Soviet "heavy" tank/destroyers could take out a Panther a much longer ranges than the Panther could take out a Soviet heavy. Keep in mind that a hit from an SU152 would take a Tigers turret off the base and the Panthers "best 75/76mm tank gun of the war" had to get really close to a heavy Soviet tank to take it out in front head-on engagements. 500m or less while the larger tanks/destroyers of the Soviets could engage a Panther @ whatever distance they could hit it at. Kinda like saying we are all bringing the same 75/76mm gun to the war, however the german tank gets to have an additional 10+ tons of armor around his tank. I'd take the extra armor every time in this case.
The really ironic part is that both the Germans and Soviets learned Tank tactics at the secret Kama base together during the '30s. Stalin killed or imprisoned his top tank experts while Guderian was allowed to run free with his tanks at the start of WW2.
 

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Even earlier than the 1930s... The Versailles treaty denied armored vehicle experimentation to the Reichswehr. So where to conduct ostensibly illegal experiments far from prying Western European eyes?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Rapallo_(1922)

I don't have much to add to what's already been said, but the T34/85 gave U.S. troops trouble early on in Korea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Just a small point, Why is it when comparing tanks, it's always German "heavy" tanks vs. Soviet "medium" tanks ? .
To my immediate knowledge.....the German Panther tank was classified as a "medium tank"......not heavy.

Also the SU-152 was not designed as a tank hunter, even though it could do this role. The 152mm howitzer was low velocity, and not as accurate as the 75mm Panther gun. The Panthers gun had a longer (more accurate) reach than the SU-152.
 

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Strikes me as sort of like the Sherman vs Tiger or Panther. One on one, dueling in open country, the Sherman or the T-34/85 loses, most of the time. Panther a better tank technically than either. But - tank-on-tank duels weren't (generally, there may have been the odd exception, the war went on for nearly five years and there were tens or hundreds of thousands of encounters) what settled the fight. both T-34/85 and Sherman were part of a package that, all things considered including numbers, was superior.

By 1950, the T-34/85 had been delivered even to the NORKS and Chines Commies, and in Korea it proved decidedly superior to the M-24 Chafee, a light tank that had a somewhat mediocre 75mm. Easy 8s and M-26s would see the T-34/85 (or any other T-34 variant) off without much difficulty in terms of performance, and generally had better crews and training as well.
 

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Strikes me as sort of like the Sherman vs Tiger or Panther. One on one, dueling in open country, the Sherman or the T-34/85 loses, most of the time. Panther a better tank technically than either. But - tank-on-tank duels weren't (generally, there may have been the odd exception, the war went on for nearly five years and there were tens or hundreds of thousands of encounters) what settled the fight. both T-34/85 and Sherman were part of a package that, all things considered including numbers, was superior.

By 1950, the T-34/85 had been delivered even to the NORKS and Chines Commies, and in Korea it proved decidedly superior to the M-24 Chafee, a light tank that had a somewhat mediocre 75mm. Easy 8s and M-26s would see the T-34/85 (or any other T-34 variant) off without much difficulty in terms of performance, and generally had better crews and training as well.


Agreed Clyde. Both Sherman and T-34/85 came as part of a package that was overall superior. By the 50's the 34/85 was long in the tooth, obsolete and the Soviets had loots of them to send off elsewhere.

The Germans and Soviets did not use the same classification for Tanks. I tend to look at actual weight of vehicle(as did the Rooskies and the US maybe). The Panther weights 45 tons. That's makes it a "heavy" compared to what any other country had for tanks. The T34/85 was around 32 tons. As you can see that's not the same thing.
 

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Actually, Clyde, I did leave off the something like 35k T34/76s from the something on the order of 28k T34/85s. So instead of 5 or 6 T34s=lots of burning Soviet tanks and 1 brewed-up Panther, the math is a bit different.

As far as the British reactions to the "Ronson" Sherman in Normandy go, there are the stories of the Russian reactions to the Sherman: "OMG! the interior is painted! There's amenities like upholstered seats! And the vinyl/naugahyde can be re-used if the tank is knocked out!" U.S. jeeps and trucks and so on motorized the road to Berlin after all, so the Soviets could concentrate on, well, T34 production.
 

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Actually, Clyde, I did leave off the something like 35k T34/76s from the something on the order of 28k T34/85s. So instead of 5 or 6 T34s=lots of burning Soviet tanks and 1 brewed-up Panther, the math is a bit different.

As far as the British reactions to the "Ronson" Sherman in Normandy go, there are the stories of the Russian reactions to the Sherman: "OMG! the interior is painted! There's amenities like upholstered seats! And the vinyl/naugahyde can be re-used if the tank is knocked out!" U.S. jeeps and trucks and so on motorized the road to Berlin after all, so the Soviets could concentrate on, well, T34 production.
The Soviet Beasts don't like to admit it, but were it not for American transport vehicles (and a substantial number of Shermans), it would have been much more difficult (perhaps impossible) for their campaign in the East to have succeeded as early as it did. I sometimes wonder if we shouldn't have told the Russkis "You are on your own. Have fun".
 
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