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West Germany And The M41s
long_tom
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Posted: Tuesday, September 10, 2019 - 07:12 AM UTC
I remember reading somewhere that the West Germans actually didn't care for M41-based vehicles. Any further information?
BootsDMS
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Posted: Tuesday, September 10, 2019 - 07:33 AM UTC
Tom,

I've just scanned my Tankograd booklet on the same and there is no mention of any inherent dislike of the vehicle; I think one has to remember that when a new army is initiated practically from scratch, then it will always have to compromise on equipment acquisition. Back then in the 50s, if there was a new army emerging, then in the Western world the "go to" source was the USA.

The same Tankograd booklet also describes the M47 and that was certainly described as obsolete from the very beginning, albeit with a 90% technical reliability. I have also read - somewhere - that early Bundeswehr crews (ie with WW2 service) were on occasion scornful of the M47 comparing it unfavourably with the Panther especially regarding the armament, but then the Panther could not achieve a comparable reliability.

The M41 was in service with the German Army for around a decade so I'm sure, that like most soldiers and their equipment, they would have simply made the best of it.

Brian

Mortifa
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Posted: Tuesday, September 10, 2019 - 08:16 AM UTC
From Wiki..

West Germany[edit]
The M41 Walker Bulldog was the first postwar tank to be adopted by the Bundeswehr after its formation in 1955.[43][44] In German service, it was primarily utilized for its traditional role of reconnaissance.[44] Each Bundeswehr division was organized with an integral armored reconnaissance battalion, which in turn consisted of one M41 company and two companies of Schützenpanzer SPz 11-2 Kurz tracked scout vehicles.[45] The concept of light tanks proved unpopular with the Bundeswehr, and by 1966 all its M41s had been retired and replaced with the much heavier M48 Patton and Leopard 1 in armored reconnaissance battalions.[45] Additionally, the M41 was used in a tank destroyer role until 1969. First in the tank destroyer battalion of the divisions and later also in the tank destroyer platoon of the heavy company of a mechanized infantry battalion.[46]
PzAufkl
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Posted: Tuesday, September 10, 2019 - 09:17 PM UTC
As a former gunner and TC of Bundeswehr M41s in an armored recce battalion, I fondly remember these tanks. True, the air-cooled engine was rather loud for reconnaissance, but the ridiculous little Spz 11 "Hotchkiss" were a lot louder. And man, was the M41 fast! Whenever we could afford the gasoline to return from gunnery ranges on the road instead of by railroad, we used to have races against trucks on the Autobahn - downhill, they could pass us, but the next grade would bring us back, at 80 kph/50 mph. Irresponsible, as I see it now, but fun.
One point that may have made these tanks unpopular with the brass were the rubber track pads: these were bolted on, and the bolts had a fatal tendency to rattle loose. Can you imagine the energy of a 15-pound track pad that has been accelerated from zero to 70 or more mph and then flies off? In one instance, the passenger in a VW bus had been killled that way by an M42 track pad.
Peter
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Posted: Wednesday, September 11, 2019 - 07:21 AM UTC

Quoted Text

The same Tankograd booklet also describes the M47 and that was certainly described as obsolete from the very beginning, albeit with a 90% technical reliability. I have also read - somewhere - that early Bundeswehr crews (ie with WW2 service) were on occasion scornful of the M47 comparing it unfavourably with the Panther especially regarding the armament, but then the Panther could not achieve a comparable reliability.



I'm curious about how they would see the 90mm as being inferior to the Panther's armament? I looked at a few figures & in terms of AP performance the 75mm L/70 was superior at under 500m firing APCBC rounds, but the 90mm used in WWII at least (one can assume post-war the performance might be even better) was superior in performance at over 500m firing APCBC as well as APCR rounds. The WWII 90mm at least was said to be very accurate as well.

Damon.
Charlie-66
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Posted: Wednesday, September 11, 2019 - 08:20 AM UTC

Quoted Text

As a former gunner and TC of Bundeswehr M41s in an armored recce battalion, I fondly remember these tanks. True, the air-cooled engine was rather loud for reconnaissance, but the ridiculous little Spz 11 "Hotchkiss" were a lot louder. And man, was the M41 fast! Whenever we could afford the gasoline to return from gunnery ranges on the road instead of by railroad, we used to have races against trucks on the Autobahn - downhill, they could pass us, but the next grade would bring us back, at 80 kph/50 mph. Irresponsible, as I see it now, but fun.
One point that may have made these tanks unpopular with the brass were the rubber track pads: these were bolted on, and the bolts had a fatal tendency to rattle loose. Can you imagine the energy of a 15-pound track pad that has been accelerated from zero to 70 or more mph and then flies off? In one instance, the passenger in a VW bus had been killled that way by an M42 track pad.
Peter



Fascinating to read about your experiences on the M41. thanks for posting! Where did you fire gunnery in those days? In my time in U.S. Army Europe(86-89) we shot at Graffenwohr.
BootsDMS
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Posted: Wednesday, September 11, 2019 - 08:34 AM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text

The same Tankograd booklet also describes the M47 and that was certainly described as obsolete from the very beginning, albeit with a 90% technical reliability. I have also read - somewhere - that early Bundeswehr crews (ie with WW2 service) were on occasion scornful of the M47 comparing it unfavourably with the Panther especially regarding the armament, but then the Panther could not achieve a comparable reliability.



I'm curious about how they would see the 90mm as being inferior to the Panther's armament? I looked at a few figures & in terms of AP performance the 75mm L/70 was superior at under 500m firing APCBC rounds, but the 90mm used in WWII at least (one can assume post-war the performance might be even better) was superior in performance at over 500m firing APCBC as well as APCR rounds. The WWII 90mm at least was said to be very accurate as well.

Damon.



Damon,

I may be slightly adrift and perhaps they were comparing the performance of the 88mm;I regret I do not recall where I stumbled across this information - it may have been first hand from a Bundeswehr officer (Panzer) whom I worked with in HQ Northern Army Group (as opposed to a book). However, I also remember attending a lecture in the Tank Museum at Bovington when the lecturer (no mean performer in the scheme of things) explained that the ballistic performance of the Panther's gun was superior to that of the 88. Of course, that may not qualify penetration statistics, and I'm no tank armament specialist, but it might explain some apparent jaundiced views of the 90mm.

I just wonder if it was having to use the stereoscopic sight that may have caused the complaints? My understanding is that not everyone finds such a sighting system easy to use, but I fully admit to being no Tank Gunner.

Brian
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Posted: Wednesday, September 11, 2019 - 10:19 AM UTC
Hi Peter
"One point that may have made these tanks unpopular with the brass were the rubber track pads: these were bolted on, and the bolts had a fatal tendency to rattle loose. Can you imagine the energy of a 15-pound track pad that has been accelerated from zero to 70 or more mph and then flies off? In one instance, the passenger in a VW bus had been killled that way by an M42 track pad."

Is that 15 pounds accurate or a typo - seems excessive for just a track pad, though probably right for a track link?

Mal
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Posted: Wednesday, September 11, 2019 - 10:36 AM UTC
M41s did not have a 90mm. They used a 76mm, M32A1, basically a modernized version of the one in the 76 Shermans.
RobinNilsson
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Posted: Wednesday, September 11, 2019 - 10:55 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Hi Peter
"One point that may have made these tanks unpopular with the brass were the rubber track pads: these were bolted on, and the bolts had a fatal tendency to rattle loose. Can you imagine the energy of a 15-pound track pad that has been accelerated from zero to 70 or more mph and then flies off? In one instance, the passenger in a VW bus had been killled that way by an M42 track pad."

Is that 15 pounds accurate or a typo - seems excessive for just a track pad, though probably right for a track link?

Mal



That pad wasn't only rubber, on the drawings it looks as if there was a metal backing plate

http://www.tgl-sp.com/product/m41-m42-m44-m75-m79-rubber-pad-assy/
The whole link is probably more than 15 pounds ...
afvaficionado
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Posted: Wednesday, September 11, 2019 - 12:43 PM UTC
Hi Robin
I'm pretty sure there is no metal backing to the pads - apart from the track link itself. The only metal part on the pad is the attachment bolt - took some pics of the pad - see Reply 26 - http://www.hobbyhavoc.com/forum/index.php?topic=1722.0 -
I think those odd squarish links are early T91 track links, rather than standard T91E3, though haven't found any references that explain the differences between T91, T91E1, T91E2 & T91E3 track.
While I didn't weigh the pads while turning them over they definitely weren't 15 pounds - the full link - maybe?

Mal
PzAufkl
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Posted: Wednesday, September 11, 2019 - 09:33 PM UTC
Hi Mal,
Frankly, those 15 pounds were a guess from memory and the fact that one had killed that person.
On the other hand, I'm positive that a full link was WAY more than 15 pounds: When breaking track, it took two of us to carry a segment of six, and that was no fun.
But maybe someone has a link lying around and can weigh it for us, as the weight seems to be important to some?
Peter
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Posted: Wednesday, September 11, 2019 - 09:58 PM UTC
It doesn't matter how heavy the pad was. If flung off the track of a moving tank with enough speed to fly and hit someone in the head, it could just as well be a three ounce bolt as a five pound pad. The pads don't weigh much. Many had them as desk plates.

Whole links are another matter. That much cast metal weighs a lot.

M113 were also known to shed pads during maneuver. Walk along any trail and you'd find shed pads.
PzAufkl
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Posted: Thursday, September 12, 2019 - 05:39 AM UTC
Fascinating to read about your experiences on the M41. thanks for posting! Where did you fire gunnery in those days? In my time in U.S. Army Europe(86-89) we shot at Graffenwohr.[/quote]

For gunnery, we were always sent to Bergen-Hohne, somewhat south of Hamburg - lousy place.
Peter
HermannB
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Posted: Thursday, September 12, 2019 - 06:00 AM UTC
A link of M113`s T-150 F track weights 23.4 lb.
Garrand
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Posted: Thursday, September 12, 2019 - 07:10 AM UTC

Quoted Text

M41s did not have a 90mm. They used a 76mm, M32A1, basically a modernized version of the one in the 76 Shermans.



My post was in response to Brian Stoddard's post, which specifically mentioned the M47. But even if we confine ourselves to the M41, while its hard to find really good data on AP performance, nonetheless some of the data I was able to find suggests that post-war ammo outperformed the Panther's gun in penetration performance...

Damon.
BootsDMS
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Posted: Thursday, September 12, 2019 - 08:47 AM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text

M41s did not have a 90mm. They used a 76mm, M32A1, basically a modernized version of the one in the 76 Shermans.



My post was in response to Brian Stoddard's post, which specifically mentioned the M47. But even if we confine ourselves to the M41, while its hard to find really good data on AP performance, nonetheless some of the data I was able to find suggests that post-war ammo outperformed the Panther's gun in penetration performance...

Damon.



Damon,

Just to clarify: I wasn't trying to claim any authority one way or the other by citing a Bundeswehr officer as my (possible) source of the anecdote re the M47 etc. Back then (around 1977) officers from whatever background - in such large HQs - still managed to find the time to discuss all manner of things military with such young soldiers as I. My branch chief for instance, had been one of Rommel's ADCs in the Western Desert; I must say it's a hell of a thing on one's arrival interview, to get marched into such a senior officer, and to espy an oil painting of the Field Marshal on his office wall, let alone the signed photograph of Geyr von Schweppenburg on his desk.

But they were good, interesting times, yet do nothing to solve any perceived discontent with the Bundeswehr's use of the M41.

My apologies for what might be called "Thread Drift"!

Brian