cheasesteak, on 20 March 2017 - 06:25 PM, said:
This is the part I disagree with. T-43 was a completely new design that looked like a T-34, but shared little in actual mechanicals. It also was really more of a MBT predecessor than the T-34 since it was intended to replace BOTH the T-34 and KV-1. It was never fielded because the T-34/85 was generally superior as a medium tank. The T-34/85 never superseded heavy tanks (IS and later model KVs), but was used with them. Soviets didn't buy into the MBT concept until MUCH later. [EDITED - I looked it up, and the T-43 did share a bunch of parts with the T-34, but had new engine, suspension and turret. Still, it was really a prototype].
Also, T-44 was a very, very different design from either T-34 or T-44. Completely new configuration in hull design and turret placement. Much stronger case that this tank was the Soviets first MBT (even if it wasn't used).
cheasesteak, on 20 March 2017 - 06:31 PM, said:
On the M4, it has probably as good a claim to the MBT linage as the T-34. It was used by the US as a MBT before the concept really existed. US didn't have a true heavy during the war, and the M4 was the jack of all trades that characterizes the MBT.
Also, T20 was derived from M4. The T20 was the base that ultimately led to the M26, then M46/7/8 then M60. The changes from M4 to T20 (same engine, suspension, gun) might be less significant than the changes from T-34 to T-43.
Interesting to read, though we disagree. I'm not even claiming that I am right over you, I'm just developing my point of view and curious to read yours.
In the mid/late thirties, A-32 tried to bring solution to T26-46 shortcomings. most of these ideas would come in the T-34.
T-34 was conceived before WW2 and was in production in 1940, as a medium tank, before Russia was even in war.
When war occurred, T-34-85 showed that it was sufficient to fulfill any role. This is the very definition of the main battle tank.
the success of the T-34 pushed to develop the T43, then 44, 54, etc...
The success also proved the ill fat of the heavy programs, as too slow, expensive and cumbersome.
meanwhile the KV and IS programs were also continued (IS-2,3,...7,8) probably because they had political support in Moscow but eventually reason prevailed, and all were discarded.
On the battlefield it also impressed the German who designed their own panthers based on the T-34 benchmark. IMO the best tank of the war was the panther, and by far. Tiger and the subsequent King TIGER and Maus, e100 were just increasingly megalomaniac, and less and less relevant to the war situation.
cromwell-centurion also proved a similar thing, but many years after the T34 and the M46 also was a similarly balanced tank, but came way too late in the war. At the time war arupted in Europe, M2 was a thing, the coming M3 still had sponsons instead of a turret, and m4 weren't in production until 1942
the "tank destroyer" doctrine was also a thing in the USarmy, as far removed from the reality as it was, while the tank vs battle that had already occurred In most of Europe. the concept and doctrine of MBT wasn't expressed until after all these tanks, after the war, well into the Cold War. But it was a lesson that those tanks had taught, and T-34 was the first.
in my view, the transition from T-34 to T-43 and T44 is much smoother and evolutionary than the jump from M4 to T20.
The entire architecture of M4 was derived from the radial engine (I used rotary engine in a previous post, which proves that I'm saying nonesense at least once in a while). It had many shortcomings in armor, mobility, etc.. And its main asset was the logistics, price tag, and availability. After using a V8 the entire architecture of the vehicle had to be changed. there was nothing carried from the M4 except the turret (which was a good turret IMO).
so I would say that the American line of medium / MBT really started at the T20. Previous programs M2,3,4 were just leaps forward. Due to both time of studying and internal friction inside the US army, M46 didn't come until extremely late in the war, to be compared with T-34 which was fielded before the war.
T-34 could fulfill any role. It was a medium, but it defined the MBT genre that prevailed later. The crude technology, finish, equipment, used in the T-34 IMO only illustrate the typical lack of care and means that
WG Soviet put in the completion of their programs. it does not take away the merits of the original idea.
I write ite lengthy and confusing things, which proves that I'm getting tired and the movie is boring... Time to do something else