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Dmitry Yudo aka Overlord, jack of all trades
David Lister aka Listy, Freelancer and Volunteer

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

[WoT] Doyle, Kubinka, and Much More. Part 7: Fourth Answer Bulletin

This post is the continuation of Q&A session with H. L. Doyle, well-known German WWII military exert. See previous post. Doyle's replies are bolded (just in case).

31.    Did machine gun nests of German tanks have worse or better armour then the rest of the front?

Like so many German components the so called MG Kugelblende was the subject of extensive engineering design to ensure that they provided the same protection as the frontal armour.  The first designs seen on the Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.A were abandoned and not used on the Ausf.B and.  A new standardised Kugelblende 30 was reintroduced on the Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.D and Pz.Kpfw.III Ausf.E.  This was designed to give the same protection as the 30mm armour of the tank on which it was mounted.  A Kugelblende 50 was subsequently designed for tanks with 50mm armour.   Below is a diagram from a German Manual which shows the cross section through a Kugelblende 50 first used on the Pz.Kpfw.III Ausf.J and Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.F.  This clearly demonstrates that the armour protection was very good.  Indeed when the Pz.Kpfw.IV armour was increased to 80mm it was deemed that there was no need to improve this design.

With the rapid introduction of the Panther with its heavier sloped armour a brand new Kugelblende had to be developed.  This was not ready for the production of the Panther Ausf.D but was introduced on the Panther Ausf.A

32.    German Optics and view range know to be much better then allied and soviet tanks had.
How much advantage this gave to Germans?  How long did it take for the allies and soviets to catch up with Germans in this area? (Name the first tank which was as good in terms of optics like Panther or Tiger had.)

At the beginning of my career I was interested in the tanks of all nations but over time I have had to concentrate so that my research delivered benefits to people that buy my books.  As a result I am not qualified to say when the Allies caught up on German optics.

33.    How long would it take for a stationary Tiger H to aim in properly and make a perfect shoot on a stationary T-34-85 which is 700m away? (The Tiger hull is facing the enemy, the turret is 15° off target at the start)

Hopefully, I can answer this question at a later date – I need to consult some documents in my Archive but as I am away from home I do not have access right now.

34.    What is the range where the Panther/Tiger commanders usually would spot enemy movement in the distance? Identify targets and so on.

In my answer to Question 35 I comment on all round observation.  Concerning long distance the Panther and Tiger commander’s were provided with a bracket for mounting a SF14Z scissors binocular range finder.  The SF 14Z projected though the open cupola.  With a power of 10X25 these stereoscopic range finders gave a spectacular view when the Panzer was not under direct attack.  
Leaving aside terrain issues most of the German training documentation appears to concentrate on ranges up to 2000 m.  But for example the T.Z.F 12 and 12a gun sight used in the Panther was graduated to 3000 m for Pz.Gr.39/42 (Antitank rounds) and 4000 m for Spr. 40 high explosive so longer ranges are possible under special circumstances.
Below are range charts from the Tigerfibel a booklet issued to the crews of the Tiger Ausf.E which sets out in clear and light hearted manner various issues that will help them in the operation and protection of their Tiger.  

35.    So how aware can be someone in a tank? How clearly can they see the situation around them?

On 14th November 1939 the Waffenamt announced that based on the experience in the Polish campaign the troops had requested basic improvement in observation in the Pz.Kpfw.II.  Initially handheld periscopes were issued as an expedient.  By October 1940 a back-fit plan was introduced to install a cupola with periscopes giving all round observation.  The Pz.Kpfw.III and IV already had such a cupola. Although judged less important on a defensive weapon like Sturmgeschuetz the cupola with periscopes was introduced with the Sturmgeschuetz Ausf.G in late 1942.  All round observation thereafter was very good on all German Panzers.

36.    My question is a little specific; it is about a German light tank designs. As I’m currently gathering information about the VK 2801 Daimler Benz design; I had found in: Walter J. Spielberger (1994): Panther & Its Variants. Schiffer Military/Aviation History. Atglen, on page 176 a picture of a drawing about this tank (see here: http://forum.worldoftanks.eu/index.php?/topic/141263-suggestion-tier-vi-german-light-tank/). This picture/drawing was made by Mr. Doyle. So my question is: have you got any more information about this tank (VK 2801 Daimler Benz) or can he give a hint where and in which books I may find some more info’s?

The drawing on Page 176 was based on a “proposal” to simply mount the turret designed for the Sd.Kfz.234/2 armoured car on a standard Panther. 
All the documentary information on the VK 28.01 is published in our Panzer Tracts No 20-2 Paper Panzers. Plans had been made to cancel Panzer IV production but Tiger and Panther chassis were not to be diverted for other functions.  In June 1943 the VK 28.01 was proposed  as a new standardised Mehrzweckpanzer to be developed   as a basis for all other functions  such as reconnaissance, Flak, Jagdpanzer and light self-propelled guns with production to begin in April 1945. Krupp was chosen as the developer. Various ideas were proposed and many drawings produced but the project was cancelled in October 1943.

37.    What is your favourite light tank design (any nation is welcome, timeline 1916 - present)?

Czech LT Vz.38 (Pz.Kpfw.38 (t)) was for its period (1938) an excellent balance of mobility, observation, armour and armament.  Despite being made obsolete by 1941 (along with most pre-war designs) the Germans continued to use the chassis as the basis for many self-propelled guns until 1944.  Even then the components were used as the basis for a new self-propelled anti-tank gun the Jagdpanzer 38(t).

38.    Can the French AMX 50 series and the AMX M4 series be seen as a further step of the E-series and/or other German designs (Panther, Tiger II); or have those series seen more influence by other designs (like IS-3, Pershing, ARL 44)?

As far as I understand these French post war tanks tried to build on designs considered before the war that fitted within French Industrial methodology.  Of course, they adopted ideas learned from the German Panther and Tiger which were available for evaluation and they observed the trends in the armour of other nations.  It must be remembered that the French army had nearly 60 Panthers in service.  German components such as guns and motors were part of these experiments.
The light tank AMX13 used the slightly modified 7.5cm K.w.K 42 L/70.   This Panther gun was used successfully in combat up to the sixties especially with the IDF in the Middle East wars.

39.    Why was Dr Ferdinand Porsche so insistent on using the petro-electric drive system in both the Porsche tiger prototype (and subsequent Elefant tank destroyer) and the Maus tanks? did it have any advantages to justify its temperamental and maintenance heavy nature

Drive systems using electric traction motors have long be known to have some very good qualities especially when moving very heavy loads.  The Electric traction motor obviates the need for a clutch has the capability of delivering full torque at 0 RPM (revolutions per minute) giving the equivalent to an infinite and smooth gearing.  Railway locomotives, submarines and ships being good examples of the use of this system. The first Diesel electric ship was the 1903 Russian Tanker “Vandal”.   Dr Porsche was produced his first petrol electric transmission for road vehicles in 1901.  This was quite successful.
The Electric Traction motors, supplied by Siemens for the Ferdinand performed well and gave these very heavy vehicles an excellent performance. The difficulties encountered with the system were more to do with the cooling of the Maybach motors.  It must be remembered that these were embedded in the middle of the hull rather than the ideal location at the rear of the vehicle.
The electric drive of the Maus was also excellent as indicated by an incident during testing of the Maus chassis with a counterweight instead of the turret. 
 “The 1.Maus became stuck during a trip through a swampy area because the driver didn’t know the area. As determined later, this region was avoided by the lighter Schulfahrzeuge (training vehicles) from Pz.Ers.Abt.7.  By digging out the mass of mud churned up at the rear and laying timbers under the tracks, the Maus pulled free under its own power”
Photographs of this event show the Maus stuck in mud more than half way up the hull.  A tank with a normal gearbox could not have extricated itself.

40.    The common conception is that the engines of German tanks were underpowered compared to their allied counterparts. Was this a matter of German inability to build a suitable tank engine, political pressure resulting in an increase in armour an armament beyond engine capability (like in the case of the tiger and panther) or another factor?

This is a myth!  The German carefully match the power of their engines to the task required.  Obviously over time heavier vehicles demanded increases in power and that was provided.
Personally I have attended a private comparison driving demonstration of a Panther Ausf.A and a T34/85.  Obviously these precious artefacts were not being tested to destruction but they were driven on road and cross country and over obstacles.  The T34 appeared slightly more nimble on the roadway but defiantly was more stressed cross country and by the obstacles.  I have also seen a Tiger Ausf.B driven on a road.  The acceleration seemed slower but it appeared equally fast as a Panther when up to speed.  I have had the honour of standing in the commander’s cupola of the Tiger Ausf.E in a drive around the Bovington display track – the power of the motor was more than sufficient and impressive.


  1. looks like german tanks werdent that bad in some aspects as they are made in wot ;)

    Viewrange, Engine and Agility

    adjustments possbile?

    1. Always possible. Mostly based on performance stats tho!

  2. Never knew the report about the Maus. How is the english translation going about the Maus-book?

    1. It's in progress currently. However we still need to solve certain organizational issues as well.

  3. looking at the answer to question 31, can we expect to have the machine gun weakspot removed on german tanks? According to this site: http://gamemodels3d.com quite some german tanks have a weakspot in the machine gun mount. Please don't say there is no balance need to change this because the IS-3 and IS-7 armor was adjusted last patch too, and they were balanced fine before that. Thanks in advance!

  4. Please tell me overlord, what is the reason behind low tier magazine guns, being an example the russian 37 mm Automatic SH-37 wich is a tier V gun having a limited range of 350m? Seriously why can i hit a target that is at 350m but if it moves just 1 meter farther i cant because the shell magically dispears? This sucks so mutch... its not enough low tier magazine guns have worst acuracy, aim time and penetration than their counterparts, they cant shoot targets at more than 350m? This ruins the fun so mutch.

  5. As awesome as all Q&A sessions! Keep up the great work!
    Very informative, I saw the pictures of the Maus being
    stuck in the mud, most impressive.

    Overlord, there are already pictures of the limited boxed
    WoT version. Is there a date, when it will come out in Europe?
    And maybe some words about the pricing.

    Thx Snortsch

  6. any change that the tiger H going to have a speed buff ?

    1. Such change is not planned in the foreseeable future.

  7. Dear Overlord,

    thank you for bringing us this, much appreciated. Just a quick (offtopic) question though (I hope you can indulge me and not smite me with 14 days RO, as Mr. SerB likes to do :) ) - what is the reasoning behind the fact that some lowtier autocannons have limited maximum range and can't, for example, even shoot properly across the field of Malinovka?

    My guess was to prevent a too wide "shotgun effect" spread at longer ranges and thus preventing absolutely random hits. Am I right?

    1. This was made so as to optimize server load while calculating shell-related processes.

  8. thank you overlord for asking about the VK 2801 Daimler Benz,
    does this mean we are one step closer to see it ingame?


  9. Doyle is a god. Got all of his work standing on my shelf:)

    How many picture have you bought for your new Maus book? Is there any ground breaking information?

    I have some picture myself... http://forum.worldoftanks.eu/index.php?/topic/167357-panzer-viii-maus-pic-heavy/

    They are widespread all over the posts, and I don't want to buy a book with all the information I already knew, and a handful pictures I already have seen... Or have the almighty Russian archives (!!!) been opened for you????

    1. Don't know the exact number, a short reply would be: many! :) Personally, I like Maus and Hitler photo.

      As for Russian archives, yes, we have got a very close relations with Central Defense Ministry Archive, Tank and Artillery archives.

    2. I think its Hitlerarious that you guys have the Russian archives wide open, when old historians like Doyle have had so limited access:) And Maus + Hitler, do you talk about the wooden model?

      And please, have you gotten any stuff dough up about the Russian testing of the frontal armour of the Maus? The Jagdmaus, proposal upgrades (Maus II, new vent openings ECT.)???

      I cant get my hands down. THE RUSSIAN ARCHIVES!!! So awesome

    3. 1. Yes, the photo with maus model.

      2. Actually we did invite Doyle to Russia - Kubinka museum and shared lots of materials with him. To be more precise - swapped. :)

      3. Russians did some testing of Maus armour, this is given in the book by the way. :)

  10. -Why is the 3,7 cm SA 38 L/34 on the PzKpfw 38H735 (f) so mutch better than the 37 mm SA38 on the Hotchkiss H35?

    -Why is the 4,7 cm SA 35 L/34 on PzKpfw S35 739 (f) and PzKpfw B2 740 (f) so mutch better than the 47 mm SA35 on french tanks?

    1. You have just found reason, why those tanks were withdrawn from the ingame store :)

      Those premiums were made before game release, without proper, cautios balancing, and that caused that they are quite overpowered for their tiers (WG was later trying to counter it mainly by changing MM weight of Pz 38H). Original tanks in French tree are better balanced (H35 is OK, while B1 has a little to weak gun).

      So in my opinion these guns differ because of WG's "mistakes of youth". Now WG takes much bigger care about proper balance of premium tanks.

    2. No, by MM weight, but by changing battle tier spreads.

    3. So Pz 38H had that huge MM weight since release (he is number 1 on tanks list even when there are tier III tanks in battle)?

    4. Since some patch at release (6.4) got normal for T2 battle tier spread. I know it cause I owned this thing an year ago and Imade 69% WR on it in 150 games. Sold it cause fairplay first :)

    5. Dead_Skin_Mask,

      you are correct that Hotchkiss now gets in battles with tier 3 tanks but this is not due to its increased MM weight (balance against other vehicles), but because of a wider MM spread, ie Hotchkiss is still regarded as tier 2 vehicle and balanced accordingly, but now it can join battles with tier 3 tanks.

  11. @"39. Why was Dr Ferdinand Porsche so insistent on using the petro-electric drive system in both the Porsche tiger prototype (and subsequent Elefant tank destroyer) and the Maus tanks? did it have any advantages to justify its temperamental and maintenance heavy nature"

    Well, advantages are well known to every railroad fan in the world - all diesel-electric locomotives are able to haul huge trains tahnks to electric motors in the wheels, locomotives with mechanical transmissions are able only to haul some light trains (aprrox to 100-200 tons). Every nation tries to build some diesel-electric tanks and every nation got some problems with it - simply tanks are too small to proper build in all electrics into tank. Only one tank huge enough to house it, like Mr. Doyle said, was successful :)

  12. Please ad the Jagdtiger top gun to Maus i think tath fits in tath large turet .
    And on tath way bcomes more comfortable the jt s gun ist still a tier 9 gun :)
    sorry for bad english

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