I was reading "The Mammoth Book of Eyewitness World War II"* and saw a piece by Rommel. It is excerpted from "The Rommel Papers", and here he is writing about the first four days of El Alamein, when the Germans were shocked to be blasted around the clock by air and artillery, and were forced to begin the long retreat westward. The surprising thing (to me) is what he says about the Sherman tank: "The tactics which the British were using followed from their apparently inexhaustible stocks of ammunition. Their new tank, the General Sherman, which came into action for the first time during the battle, showed itself to be far superior to any of ours. ....In contact engagements, the heavily gunned British tanks approached to a range between 2000 to 2,700 yards and then opened concentrated fire on our anti-tank and anti-aircraft guns and tanks, which were unable to penetrate the British armor at that range." (He seems even more impressed by ther huge amount of ammo available to and expended by the Brits, claiming that their tanks routinely fired up to 30 main gun rounds at individual targets.) So there you have it: Rommel thought (or at least said while trying to explain why he lost) that the Sherman, in the desert in Ocotber, 1942, was king of the battlefield. WHAT THE HELL?! Just what is going on here? The great Rommel himself, writing at some point after the battle, after he had had time to review the facts and filter conflicitng reports, plainly states that THE SHERMAN WAS FAR SUPERIOR TO ANY OF THE TANKS OF THE AFRIKA KORPS! Good Lord, didn't he have Pz IVDs, and weren't some of those with the "Long 75" gun? And he plainly says the Sherman's (puny, IMO) 75 outranged his PAKs, and even the AA 88s which he had famously turned into AT guns. (There were no Fireflys present at El Alamein were there?) This goes against everything which I thought both "the numbers" and the historical record showed about the early Shermans. Sure it was more than a match for PZ IIs and (most of) the IIIs, but the IVs, and the PAKs and 88s too? So is there something else going on with Rommel here? Is he stretching it on the Brit's equipment advantage, and going overboard so that nobody would dare suspect it was his management of the battle or his soldiers failures? I don't think anybody then or now does think it was Rommel's or his soldiers' fault which lost El Alamein. Most folks see that the Brit's air superiority, huge ammo and gas stores, and Rommel's own lack of ammo/gas, made the difference. Rommel, for all his tactical brilliance and elan, was a vain old so-and-so. Maybe he was so very afraid of any hint of crticism that he made grossly exaggerated statments about the Sherman. I dunno. Anlushac-11 I'm sure can shed light. Any other ideas? *The Mammoth books are a broad general series, with several volumes which take excerpts from other books, reports, letters or interviews about various types of WWII combat. I think it is/was a British publishing house since the WWII books often concentrate heavilhy on UK actions and stories of Empire soldiers, sailors and airmen. Outstanding sources of info.
seems strange indeed.. as the early version of the sherman in the desert where know as the cooker.. you dident even have to get a direct hit and it would light up..
The Sherman on El Alamein is far superiour to most German tanks at the time. I do believe there were some Panzer IV F2's, but only a few. Compared to the masses of Shermans the British had recieved for the second battle of El Alamein, they completely outclasses the axis forces in North Africa.
Of course, the 88 would still rip it to shreds.
I think I've seen Anlushac (correct me if I'm misquoting you Anlushac) say that the Sherman was a pretty good medium tank and that one of the main reasons it's so poorly rated is because the U.S. tried to use it later in the war against the heavy tanks that Germany had by then.
I'm guessing that's the reason Rommel said it was good.
After read about the war in desert to research for the FH2 maps I realized that germans were not defeated in 2 weeks because Rommel was a damn genious (ideas like the dummy tanks or increase artificially the sand created by his armoured columns, and indeed his advanced tactics) and because he had the flak 88, no more, the british turtles eat german DAK tanks at breakfast.
You have cried a lot to get the panzer 3, but we always told this tank was not the kingtiger of desert, be aware
So the sherman will have its day, and maybe another in Italy. Im curious, Ive hard alot of people complian about the El Alemien in the game now; will it be completely redone for FH2, or just remade as it is now?
It have to be completely redone because no DICE property can be used in Battlefield 2 mods.
I think it would be a shame to dump El Al completely. It is a tough map, but that is what makes it good. If AA is improved or if several mobile AA's (to counter the fact pilots know where stationary AA is placed) the map could imo stay as is. I appreciate the fact FH is working towards realism, but pilots knowing where every bit of AA is stationed is hardly realistic. It is a problem. Any suggestions on solutions?
The Sherman in October of 1942 was the King Of the Desert. It was tall but it was well armored at the time by having 45mm of armor sloped 55 deg from vertical, similar in front armor protection to a T-34.
The Shermans 75mm gun was one of the largest tank mounted guns at the time and was capable of defetaing the German tanks. Remember a hit does not have to penetrate to knock out a tank. A large round like the 75mm can jam a turret, break parts, stun the crew, blow off a track or damage the suspension, etc. The Sherman also carried a fair amount of HE which was one of the reasons it was well liked. AT gun crews and AA gun crews have no defence against shrapnel and concussion from a HE round detonating close by.
The PzIV F2 was still very new to North Arica and not available in any sizeable numbers at El Alamein, furthermore tehre was very little AP ammo for their 75mm L/43 gun available. The Brits meanwhile were able to field over 500 Shermans.
The problem with the Sherman was that while every other nation had performed major upgrades to their tanks almost every 6 months and by 1944 were fielding new models the US was still producing what was virtually the same identical tank from 1942 with not a single modification other than to produce the 47deg front hull, but only for the purpose of simplifying production. There were no armor, ammo, or main gun upgrades performed until Shermans started dying by the hundereds in Italy. Sudddenly the US Army could not get the modifications done quick enough.
Blame this on the US Army Ordanance board who were opposed to any changes that would slow down production, the 1942 equivalent of the bean counter.
The much overdue and needed upgrades were in the works but most did not arrive in Normandie and Europe til around September 1944. By Battle of the Bulge roughly 50% of all US Army Shermans were wet hull 76mm gun armed tanks.
The El Alamein map can't stay as it is right now, it was too big and too long battle to represent it in one map. It should be splited into smaller operations in more historicaly accurate locations. The idea of big battles in one map of a location that never existed that was used in Battlefield 1942 should be leaved forever.