Chieftain about Tanks from Poland to Iraq

Chieftain about Tanks from Poland to Iraq

A talk with Nicholas “Chieftain” Moran the military historian for Wargaming America / World of tanks and me. (Note: this was a private meeting). We talk about Shermans, Panzer IIIs, Panzer IVs, US Tank Crew Losses in World War 2, Guderian, Doyle, Liddell Hart, dust signature, tank bites, logistics, tactics, operations, Patton, intelligence, North Africa, Sicily, Normandy, Iraq, Zombies and a few other topics that crossed our minds. All in front of a Flak Tower (Command Version) in Vienna, Austria.
Link to Chieftain’s Channel:

Also available as podcast on iTunes and podcast apps- BUT corrections and quotes are only noted in the video:

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Herrera, Geoffrey L.: Inventing the Railroad and Rifle Revolution: Information, Military Innovation and the Rise of Germany. In: The Journal of Strategic Studies, Vol. 27, June 2004, p. 243-271

Army Air Forces Statistical Digest, World War II

Operation Think Tank – Question on Influence of Liddell Hart & Guderian (timestamped)

Pöhlmann, Markus: Der Panzer und die Mechanisierung des Krieges: Eine deutsche Geschichte 1890 bis 1945 (Zeitalter der Weltkriege)

Citino, Robert M.: The Wehrmacht Retreats: Fighting a Lost War, 1943

Corum, James S.: The Roots of Blitzkrieg. Hans von Seeckt and German Military Reform

Markus Pöhlmann

Frieser, Karl-Heinz: The Blitzkrieg Legend

Estes, Kenneth W.: Marines Under Armor: The Marine Corps and the Armored Fighting Vehicle, 1916-2000

Thayer, Thomas C.; Daddis, Gregory A.: War Without Fronts – The American Experience in Vietnam

Song: Ethan Meixsell – Demilitarized Zone


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  1. It's true, when the German army was having the most success they were fielding panzer 1s, 2s, 3s, and 4s with the 2s and 3s comprising the bulk of the tank force. They were frequently encountering tanks with better armor and better guns, but their tactics were more advanced and they usually had a massive advantage in local numerical superiority.

  2. The discussion of the Sherman makes me think of a naval equivalent. A 5-inch gun on a Fletcher-class destroyer isn't going to do anything against the armor of a battleship, but the torpedoes will. The armor of the destroyer won't stop a 15-inch shell, but no one would refer to a Fletcher as a death trap. They weren't designed to be fighting the Yamato or the Bismarck, much like the Sherman wasn't designed to resist a shell from a Tiger. But a Fletcher sure could send a Japanese destroyer to the bottom.

  3. Great video. Often unscripted conversations like these highlight the little bits and pieces that otherwise remain hidden. Excellent work, please keep it up!

  4. Actually it's almost impossible to compare the tanks in WW2 properly based on statistics bec the other factors like air power, infantry support, supply etc. we're much different. If there had been a fight between tanks only, surely the Sherman's would have lost against Panthers or Tigers.

  5. In terms of information being passed on during the war in iraq to units as troops were being cycled out: my economics teacher in high school was in a national guard unit and when the tour was up and the unit was getting cycled out, he and one other person volunteered to stay an additional tour just so that they could pass on the "how not to die" information to the people new to the theater. It really seems to me that the best way to pass on important information like that is to have more experienced troops teach the new ones. The Germans did that in ww1 on the western front. They would have a soldier who was there from the beginning "mentor" ten new soldiers.

  6. The war was what it was. Soldiers fought with equipment designed years before the fighting before anyone really knew what was going to happen and then mods occurs. Nobody in the war had the same starting point or view of strategic and tactical needs several years in the future. As it was some vehicles worked well, some not so much.

  7. Most people are laymen and have never been inside a tank let alone fought with it. So the best they can do is look up hard statistics, turning history into a dick measuring contest.

  8. Thank you both, this was a very informative video! The thing that I found disappointing in the Sherman was that it's success was often tied closely to having adequate air support. If you look at the battles of Caen and the Bulge, limited air support associated with weather seemed to cause greater losses of Sherman's and a near collapse of progress. I'm not sure the same was as true for the Panzer's 4, 5, and 6 in that stage in the war. Your thoughts?

  9. 21:5422:04 Yeah about the side skirts on the M1 Abrams. The first three (front 1/3 section of vehicle) sideskirt plates are ballistic, and carry heavy armour. The others sideskirt plates do not carry heavy armour.

    Just a personal opinion of mine. But I think a small front, 1/3 portion of the entire sideskirt contains substantial heavy armour. Apparently, this small portion of sideskirt (with the heavy armour) is enough to cover the entire side hull (or most of it) when the tank is viewed at a certain angle (The other advantage of armouring the first 3, front sideskirt plates with heavy armour, rather than completely armouring the entire tank's sideskirt with heavy armour, is to save on weight)

    I am guessing this was the case, because tank designers thought that projectile hits come from a rather narrow front arc:

  10. 59.20 Tigers? we won, we hold Italy now. Have you ever been asaulted by Tigers, and i mean Asaulted in the bocage, we do not want to fight them again, woof woof.

  11. Dust signature: It was common practice to drive trucks around behind the lines to give impression of tanks changing positions. I have read about the British 8th Army using this ruse as well as the Africa Corps.

    Logistics: Many American vehicles that were dragged off the battle field were used to make composite vehicles and put back into the line.

    Fact: My Dad after the war, went to one of the scrap yards and built his own jeep! He used to chain his jeep to a lamp post in Paris using a tank recovery chain!

  12. The 5th Air Force P-38 pilots were bewildered by complaints by the 8th Air Force regarding the range of the P-38. 5th Air Force was flying 12 hour missions and longer with the same aircraft. I mention this as an example of the disconnect between commands regarding information being shared.

  13. Love these two. They are not afraid to bust some myths about war and warfare that I always considered to be true and undisputed.
    I still think the Panther is an awesome tank though. 😉

  14. What people have to remember is every tank built in America had to be shipped across the ocean. Weight was an important factor in its design because they have to fit in liberty ships.