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Author Topic:   Pershing vs Sherman in Korea
Alex H
Senior Member
posted 08-06-2001 11:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Alex H     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Yes, the Sherman was outclassed there too.


The Pershing in Korea:

A study conducted after the war counted 119 tank-vs-tank actions during the war, 104 involving US Army tank units and 15 involving the Marine 1st Tank Bn. The M26 and M46 were involved in nearly half of these, the M26 in 38 actions (32%), and the M46 in 12 actions (10%). Only 24 of these 119 engagements involved more than three North Korean tanks and most were small-scale encounters of platoon size or less. The relatively small number of tank-vs-tank battles of the M46 was due to the fact that none saw combat until early September. A total of 34 US tanks were knocked out by North Korean armor, including 6 M26 and 8 M46 tanks, of which only 15 were totally lost. The US tanks knocked out 97 T-34/85 tanks and claimed a further 18 as probables. The M26 was credited with 39% of the NKPA tank losses and the M46 with 12%. About half of the engagements took place at ranges of 350 yds or less, and at this distance the M26 had a hit probability of 85%, somewhat higher when firing HVAP and somewhat lower when firing APC ammunition. About 20% of the engagements took place at 350-750 yds, and a similar number at 750-1,150 yds. Hit probabilities at these ranges were 69% and 46% respectively. These figures are comparable to the M46 and M4A3E8 Medium tanks, since at the time all US tanks had similar fire control systems. The shortest engagement range was 10 yards, and the longest known successful engagement by and M26 is 3,000 yards.

There were hardly any encounters with North Korean armor after November 1950. The US Army concluded that the M26 was a markedly more effective tank than the M4A3E8 Sherman in tank fighting, being about 3.5 times more effective in offensive missions, and 3.05 times more effective overall.

Type - Kills - Losses - Kill/Loss

Sherman 47 - 20 - 2.35
Pershing 38 - 6 - 6.33
M46 12 - 8 - 1.5

All info from Steve Zaloga's "M26 Pershing"


Two questions:

a) Anybody care to try and redeem the M4?
b) Where can the Army study Zaloga cites be located?

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Jeff Duquette
Senior Member
posted 08-07-2001 10:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jeff Duquette     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Pershing apparently had severe engine problems in Korea relative to the Sherman. All that climbing up and down mountains cut the engine life of the M-26 and M-46 down considerably.

Maintenance stats are laid out in a study called "Armor in Korea" Department of OPerational Studies, Far East Command, 1951.

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Alex H
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posted 08-07-2001 03:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Alex H     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Apparently what inclined the balance in favor of the Sherman in the troops preference, was that it was easier to build and grade roads to get Shermans into firing positions atop hills, than to do the same for Pershings. This on account of the better power-to-weight ratio of the Sherman, and its more narrow width (compared to the Pershing), although what you say about engine life was surely a contributing factor (intuitively, it just makes sense).

Thanks for the tip on the report.

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Mike J
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posted 08-07-2001 08:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mike J     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Alex H:

Type - Kills - Losses - Kill/Loss

Sherman 47 - 20 - 2.35
Pershing 38 - 6 - 6.33
M46 12 - 8 - 1.5

All info from Steve Zaloga's "M26 Pershing"


Two questions:

a) Anybody care to try and redeem the M4?


Forget the M4, it's the M46 that appears to be beyond redemption here. Why are its statistics so poor?

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Alex H
Senior Member
posted 08-08-2001 11:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Alex H     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Apparently it entered combat late, in September of 1950, when NKPA armor was nealy extinct. Furthermore, they seem to have been victims of a rash of freak hits. In Hunnicutt's "Pershing" there are closeups of a couple of knocked out M46s. One shows a penetration through the glacis, the round hit exactly at the juncture of a towing lug and the glacis - creating a perfect shot trap. The towing lug cannot be more than 2" wide.

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Rich
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posted 08-14-2001 03:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rich     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Alex, the study was by the ORO (Operations Research Office -- an early version of RAND) Far East and was completed (Vol 1 at least, I can't find Vol 2) in November 1951. But it disagrees in many ways with the conclusions drawn by Hunnicutt. For one, only 11 UN tanks were destroyed out of 17 damaged by enemy tanks up to 1 January 1951. And only 42 NKPA tanks were toted up as kills by UN tanks (a total of 59 cases) so I can't imagine where 119 comes from. Or were there 119 incidents of tank versus tank and only 59 hits total?

And the other details don't appear to agree either. There were only 4 M-46 and M-26 listed as hit (2 destroyed), 11 M-4 (7 destroyed), and 2 M-24 (2 destroyed). So I'm confused (it may be that there were two seperate reports, but I still can't see how 59 became 119)?

In any case I'll dig a bit and see what I can find.

[This message has been edited by Rich (edited 08-14-2001).]

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Chris Lawrence
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posted 08-15-2001 09:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Chris Lawrence     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Rich:
Alex, the study was by the ORO (Operations Research Office -- an early version of RAND)

ORO had no relationship with RAND. ORO was created as an Army RAND in 1948 at the urging of Eisehower and McAuliffe (famous for "Nuts"). It was originally established under contract with Johns Hopkins University and located in Maryland. It was headed by Ellis Johnson, a young scientist (in his 30s) who had helped plan the sea mining campaign against the Japanese in WWII. By 1952, ORO had 220 staff.

ORO and the Army had an uneasy relationship, particularly with Ellis Johnson. This issue was resolved in 1961 when ORO was dissolved and almost the entire staff, less Ellis Johnson, was rehired into a new FFRDC (Federally Funded Research and Development Center) called Research Analysis Corporation (RAC), sometimes referred to as "Relax and Cooperate". In the late 1960s, the Army began shutting down all its FFRDCs: SORO/CRESS, which privatized and then shut down, HumRRO, which privatized and is now effectively defunct, and RAC. RAC was sold to General Research Corporation (GRC, which still exists)...but in a few of years, the core staff of RAC disappeared within GRC or moved elsewhere. By 1972, the Army had no FFRDCs.

Instead the Army created the Concepts Analysis Agency (CAA, now known as the Center for Army Analysis) by combining two existing army operations research groups (CORG and CDEC) and adding new staff. This organization has been the Army's primary operations research center since its establishment in 1973.

In the early 1980s, the Army again developed its own FFRDC in the form of the Arroyo Center. This very small organization was transferred to RAND in 1984 and operates with a budget of 16-23 million a year (1987-1995...I haven't bothered to collect more recent figures).

In my opinion, the most useful and producive period of ORO was in the early 50s. That is when they conducted some of their most useful long term reserach. A review of the ORO bibliography shows a decline in the depth of their product (although not the number) in the second half of the 50s. RAC never produced as far-reaching or interesting material as ORO, even though they had some good people on staff (for example, one of their vice-presidents was Hugh Cole, the director (and sometimes author) of the Army "Green Book" series (Official History of WWII)). CAA does not publish a significant number of unclassified reports or analysis.

For the type of analysis we do at TDI, we find some of the early ORO reports useful. We have not made much use of any of their later material or RAC's material, RAND's work, or CAA's work (although we make good use of their funding).

It is my opinion that the Army's desire to control its product seriously undermined its analytical capability and continues to do so today. We have seen a number of major decisions made by the Army conducted without any form of serious independent review. The short-term advantages the Army has gained by having its analytical centers firmly under their thumb has resulted in a Army not benefitting from the advantages of informed independent analysis. I believe this has hurt the Army in the long run and has wasted tax payers money.

P.S. I am the author (although I am only listed as a researcher) of "A History of the Department of Defense Federally Funded Research and Development Centers" published by Office of Technology Assessment (OTA, also now dissolved)

[This message has been edited by Chris Lawrence (edited 08-16-2001).]

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Alex H
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posted 08-15-2001 11:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Alex H     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Rich:
...But it disagrees in many ways with the conclusions drawn by Hunnicutt...

Thanks Rich, I'll keep an eye out for your posts. One thing though, the source is Zaloga, not Hunnicutt. I'm kind of suspicious of the info because it lists no M-24 losses, and from other sources I know at least 2 and possibly more M-24s were lost at Chonui on July 10, 1950 alone.

Chris,

Is there an index online somewhere to the ORO etc. reports you mention? Sounds both promising and interesting!

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Rich
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posted 08-15-2001 09:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rich     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Oh Chris! Picky, Picky, Picky! I can never keep clear the alphabet soup of the various OR outfits of the 50s and 60s. But you are correct, the only useful product from the whole mish-mash of accronyms was that produced by the Johns Hopkins people -- Dorothy Clark in particular of course.

Alex H: There is a ORO/RAC bibliography.

Chris: Can we copy it and offer it to the public?

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Chris Lawrence
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posted 08-16-2001 12:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Chris Lawrence     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Rich:
Chris: Can we copy it and offer it to the public?

Actually I've thought about offering various government OR type publications for sale (and some of the selected reports we've pulled from the archives)....but it takes time to assemble, list them, post them on the site, etc.

In principal, I have no objection.


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Alex H
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posted 08-16-2001 11:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Alex H     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Is there anything on tanks/afvs?

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Chris Lawrence
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posted 08-17-2001 08:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Chris Lawrence     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The ORO/RAC bibliography is a 2" thick list of all the reports they did in the 20+ year history, sometimes with a one sentence description. Getting the reports is another problem. The Korean War tank survey Richard is using was one of the more few reports specifically on tanks (there is a classifed second volume, which we do not have). He got that from the internet. Dorothy Clark's Breakpoints paper may be the only other ORO report we have on file.

The ORO/RAC reports can be gotten from GRC (located in Tyson's Coner, VA), but I am not sure what the procedure is. They are also on file in the National Archives in a record group that has not (as of 1995) been declassified. They are also scattered about in various OR and Defense libraries.

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Jeff Duquette
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posted 09-01-2001 12:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jeff Duquette     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Alex H: I received this information awhile back during a similar discussion with “Conall” (his internet name…he used to post a fair amount on the old Tank Net forum). Anyway you may find some of this information of interest. I don’t personally have a copy of WO 342/1, but you can obtain copies of the numerous declassified War Office reports from PRO, Kew England. They are not cheap however and the copying and mailing process is slow.

quote:

WO 342/1 Tank and anti-tank warfare: tanks; battle performance and tactics 1951 Feb - 1953 Sept

There's quite a lot of interesting information on the M26 Pershing & M46 Patton in WO 342/1 Tank and anti-tank warfare: tanks; battle performance and tactics 1951 Feb - 1953 Sept, notably in Notes on Armour by E.D. Strong dated 16th June 1951. I don't think that Hunnicutt had access to this material (not mentioned either in the book or bibliography), not least because it was still classified until 1990, so I thought it was worth describing at some length.
Several points stand out immediately:

1. The 90mm M3 gun was inferior to the 20pdr but more than capable of taking out T-34/85's at all combat ranges (usually less than 500m in Korea).

2. Mechanical unreliability was a major problem, for example in the period 8th April 1951 to 8 June 1951, 31 M26 Pershings were lost due to mechanical failure out of a total strength of 88 - a 35% loss rate, in comparison to 8 combat losses in the same period. The M46 appears no better, with 67 mechanical failures in the same period out of a total strength of 188 - a 36% loss rate, in comparison to 30 combat losses. By comparison the M4A3 had a 20% mechanical loss rate.

Going into a little more detail during the month of May 1951, one M46 equipped battalion reported the following maintenance jobs:

3 transmissions replaced
40 defective oil cooler fans
27 bad magnetic clutches
9 broken final drives
6 faulty control differentials
plus numerous jobs tackled by the Battalion maintenance platoon (the other jobs were done by dedicated maintenance units in the rear).

3. Mobility was poor in comparison to the T-34/85 & the M4A3, the M46 appears to have had especially poor cross country performance due to power loss in the transmission & relatively high ground pressure at 13.3psi.

4. Both the M26 & M46 were gas guzzlers, in Korea on an average road march the following fuel consumption was found:

Tanks Gasoline consumption
(Gallons per mile)
M24 1.5
M4A3 2.5
M26 3.0
M46 4.5

The report notes that with a UN tank strength of approx 1200 in Korea, and an estimated mileage of 25 miles per tank per day, the difference in gasoline consumption between a hypothetical use of M4A3 & M46 tanks alone would be 60,000 gallons excess per day for M46 tanks, or 1,800,000 gallons per month. The M46 in Korea was therefore something of a logistical nightmare.
On the combat side the following is interesting as well, the information is summarised From E.D. Strong's Distribution of Hits by AP projectiles on UN Tanks in Korea found in WO 342/1 Tank and anti-tank warfare: tanks; battle performance and tactics 1951 Feb - 1953 Sept:

During the period July 1st - Sept 20th 1951, 40 UN tanks were penetrated by AP projectiles fired by T.34 tanks mounting 85mm guns, self-propelled 76mm guns, and 45mm, 57mm, & 76mm anti-tank guns. All these tanks were American, since British armour did not engage enemy tanks or anti-tank guns during this period. The tanks studied were the M24 Chaffee, the M4A3 Sherman, the M26 Pershing, & the M46 Patton.
Distribution of Hits:

Hits Penetration
Front Turret 8 2
Front Hull 12 4
Side Turret 7 4
Side Hull 27 22
Rear 3 3
Unknown 5 5
Total 62 40

Of the 57 hits whose position are known, 20 (35%) were on the front of the tank, 34 (60%) were on the sides, and 3 (5%) on the rear. This agrees roughly with observations made from a very much bigger sample in WWII, which indicated that 40% of all hits were on the front surfaces.

Of the 40 tanks penetrated, 16 were hit in tank to tank combat with enemy T.34's, & 24 were hit by anti-tank guns. The relative effectiveness of American tanks is illustrated by the relative numbers knocked out in actual combat with T.34's:

Type No. Destroyed No. T34's destroyed
M24 5 1
M4A3 7 24
M26 3 31
M46 1 18

Also worth noting the numbers of tanks penetrated by anti-tank guns was:

M24: 2
M4A3: 13
M26: 4
M46: 2

However, a better indication of the effectiveness of the tank's armour is given by the ratio of hits penetrating to hits sustained:

Type Hits sustained Hits penetrating % penetrating
M24 11 10 91
M4A3 30 20 67
M26 14 7 50
M46 7 3 43

The report concludes that:

1. Despite the small number of tanks hit by AP projectiles, Korean experience indicates that the distribution of hits on various parts of the tank armour was roughly the same as WWII.

2. The effectiveness of heavier frontal armour on tanks is illustrated by the fact that only 30% of hits on the front caused penetration, wheras 76% of hits on the side penetrated.

3. Although M24 light tanks were not a match for Russian built T34's, US medium tanks destroyed T34's as a rate of approximately seven for every US tank destroyed by them. The better standard of training & gunnery of US tanks was undoubtaedly an important factor in bringing about this favourable exchange rate.



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Alex H
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posted 09-03-2001 12:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Alex H     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks Jeff. It is very interesting, I'm going to see if I can get the original from the WO.

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Tom Rodwell
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posted 05-03-2002 06:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom Rodwell     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The ORO report is obtainable from the following link:
http://carlisle-www.army.mil/cgi-bin/usamhi/DL/showdoc.pl?docnum=53

Be warned it's 28mb & doesn't show a progress bar.

Interestingly the report flatly contradicts Zaloga & states that in its opinion the Sherman M4A3(W)76E8 was equally effective as the M26 & M46 in Korea. Quite where Zaloga derived his M26 being 3x more effective than the Sherman remains something of a mystery.

Best regards

Tom (aka Conall)

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Darrin
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posted 05-11-2002 12:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Darrin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Tom Rodwell:
The ORO report is obtainable from the following link:
http://carlisle-www.army.mil/cgi-bin/usamhi/DL/showdoc.pl?docnum=53

Be warned it's 28mb & doesn't show a progress bar.

Interestingly the report flatly contradicts Zaloga & states that in its opinion the Sherman M4A3(W)76E8 was equally effective as the M26 & M46 in Korea. Quite where Zaloga derived his M26 being 3x more effective than the Sherman remains something of a mystery.

Best regards

Tom (aka Conall)



Thanks Tom a very interesting read. I have read most of the main report but no anexx and only a little on korean losses.

I don't have zolga or hunnicourt but If you are talking about tank vs tank combat and protection from ATG as seen by fewer penetrations it is easy to see where the M26 and M46 are 3 times more effective then the Sherman.

The other tanks also carry a 90 mm gun which will be better against other tanks then the shermans 76mm gun. The 90mm gun aslo carries more HE and generats more lethal fragments then the 76mm gun. Against tanks, troops in open and undercover the 90mm gun is better. The higher velocity also allows for more accurate placment but greater disace from bounce placement with delay fuzes.

Unfortuatly korea was not a typical tank battle. After the first few months the koreans and chinese had few tanks left. The UN lost large numbers of tanks during the retreat from the north due to mechancal breakdown rather then enemy action. When including all causes of tanks lost the tank that had the lowest % (temporary+permanent) losses was the sherman. Roughly M4 40%,M24 55%, M26 60% and M46 50%. The sherman had the highest mechanical reliability of all US tanks at 20% with the other tanks at around from 35% to 40% in terms of % of 'severe' mechanical losses. The sherman did have a bit larger number of permant losses compared to the M26 but very close. Roughly M4 23%, M24 21%, M26 19%, M46 23%.

Looking at these figures a force composed of shermans and M24s would be the most effective makeup. The 10 to 15 ton larger tanks might be nice to have but whith little armour remaining they are more costly to produce and operate. The M46 in korea consummed gas at almost double the rate as the sherman. The poor road conditons, brigbes, raukways, terrain, vast distances all worked against the M26 and M46.

The sherman was around and in major combat for a long time at this point. It had years to become tested. The US knew how to use it and what it needed to keep working. The mechanics knew what to do to fix it. Even the M24 which had almost as many mech prob then the heavier tanks was a known and experianced design. Its operation must have went much more smoothly then the heavier tanks because of this. The M24 short 75mm gun proably generated more lethal fragments from ts HE shells than all other US tanks. The M26 and especially the M46 were still works in progress at that time.

Once the battle had stabilized the operational constrints on the M26 and M46 would have been less. Plus troops would have more experiance operating and maintaining these newer tanks. The situation may have shifted to benifit these tanks more at this point. The reports reccomendations are also only appropriate to korea it says. In europe facing thousands of rus tanks some far heavier than the T34-85 the situation would be far different. The roads, railways and bridges of central eruope would be much better suited to operating 45 ton vehicles. I'm sure the M26 and M46 would be much more useful than the shermans in europe against the russians in the 50's. But the sherman would still have a large place in the battle as well.

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Darrin
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posted 05-12-2002 05:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Darrin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Darrin:

Thanks Tom a very interesting read. I have read most of the main report but no anexx and only a little on korean losses.

I don't have zolga or hunnicourt but If you are talking about tank vs tank combat and protection from ATG as seen by fewer penetrations it is easy to see where the M26 and M46 are 3 times more effective then the Sherman.


I should also say that I don't have the WO 342/1 report either. I am only looking at the info jeff provided from you over a year ago. Third hand, hersay infomation. This report seems only to cover the last 2 and and a half years of the war. The ORO report only covers the first 6 months. Maybe they summmerize all togeather in the latter report.

Looking through the ORO report I do not yet see US tank type des to NK tanks des. No typical tank destroyed ratios. What I do see so far is 17 tot US losses but only 11 permenantly destroyed.

The total number of T34s committed appears to be 600 all of which APPEAR to be lost according to the report. The report is a bit unclear about all being lost. Plus an unkown number of SU-76. Roughly 240 T34 wreaks were found and only 39 were des by tank fire according to the operational reserch teams. These examinations are never exact though especiacally since the reserch crews had to examine tanks in sep to oct and possibly latter a bit unclear here as well. Many of the tanks may have been des in aug but examined months later after multiple hits from different weapons and canabilization of parts by the NK. There were also around 75 sp 76mm des guns examined of which only 3 were des by tank fire accoridng to the report.

If the reserch teams are acccuate we have 11 des US tanks of all types to 42 des korean tanks and SP guns. For an overall ratio of 4 des korean tanks and spguns to 1 US.

If the NK did lose all 600 t34's by the end of the report time with the exact same porortions lost according to the reserch teams. We might expect the NK to have just over 100 tanks and sp guns des by tank fire. For an overall ratio of around 9 des korean tanks and sp gun for each US tank des.

There are a large number of problems with this type of resarch. To name just one according to the ORO report the NK did not appear to have any 85 mm AT or SP guns except on the T34. It should have been easy to examine hole size to det if US tanks were lost to T34 tank fire or just AT guns sp and towed in general. As long as we don't consider tanks being knocked out by a sub calibre tungsten round or freindly/captured fire. Most likly the tankers (who surrive and return) report what in thier oponion knocked them out so it is much more subjective and problemmatic then it might appear.

When you are looking at total permant losses for both sides from all causes the numbers are much more robust. When trying to compare all tanks lost only to other tanks it starts to breakdown. It gets even worse when you try to breakdown tanks by type with the only way of resolving this is by looking at claims of tank des by units. Even from mid 43 on the ger usually cut thier PROVEN claims in half when doing operational and stragtegic planning and this figure was pretty close to reality.

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Darrin
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posted 05-14-2002 08:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Darrin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Darrin:
I should also say that I don't have the WO 342/1 report either. I am only looking at the info jeff provided from you over a year ago. Third hand, hersay infomation. This report seems only to cover the last 2 and and a half years of the war. The ORO report only covers the first 6 months. Maybe they summmerize all togeather in the latter report.

Looking through the ORO report I do not yet see US tank type des to NK tanks des. No typical tank destroyed ratios. What I do see so far is 17 tot US losses but only 11 permenantly destroyed.

The total number of T34s committed appears to be 600 all of which APPEAR to be lost according to the report. The report is a bit unclear about all being lost. Plus an unkown number of SU-76. Roughly 240 T34 wreaks were found and only 39 were des by tank fire according to the operational reserch teams. These examinations are never exact though especiacally since the reserch crews had to examine tanks in sep to oct and possibly latter a bit unclear here as well. Many of the tanks may have been des in aug but examined months later after multiple hits from different weapons and canabilization of parts by the NK. There were also around 75 sp 76mm des guns examined of which only 3 were des by tank fire accoridng to the report.

If the reserch teams are acccuate we have 11 des US tanks of all types to 42 des korean tanks and SP guns. For an overall ratio of 4 des korean tanks and spguns to 1 US.

If the NK did lose all 600 t34's by the end of the report time with the exact same porortions lost according to the reserch teams. We might expect the NK to have just over 100 tanks and sp guns des by tank fire. For an overall ratio of around 9 des korean tanks and sp gun for each US tank des.

There are a large number of problems with this type of resarch. To name just one according to the ORO report the NK did not appear to have any 85 mm AT or SP guns except on the T34. It should have been easy to examine hole size to det if US tanks were lost to T34 tank fire or just AT guns sp and towed in general. As long as we don't consider tanks being knocked out by a sub calibre tungsten round or freindly/captured fire. Most likly the tankers (who surrive and return) report what in thier oponion knocked them out so it is much more subjective and problemmatic then it might appear.

When you are looking at total permant losses for both sides from all causes the numbers are much more robust. When trying to compare all tanks lost only to other tanks it starts to breakdown. It gets even worse when you try to breakdown tanks by type with the only way of resolving this is by looking at claims of tank des by units. Even from mid 43 on the ger usually cut thier PROVEN claims in half when doing operational and stragtegic planning and this figure was pretty close to reality.



The very last appendix in the ORO report describes briefly the tank losses for US forces up to Aprl '51. No more enemy tanks encountered and no enemy tanks reported as des. Nothing else beyond this date no ratios etc.

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Jeff Duquette
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posted 05-18-2002 11:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jeff Duquette     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The ORO report was issued on 8 April 1951. One can safely assume that any information collected close to that date or after that date is not included in the report.

Some additional stats on NKPA AFV OoB:

According to "The Korean War" by the Korean Institute of Military History, the NKs had:

on December 27 1950:

120 Tanks (T34/85)
73 Self-propelled guns (SU-76s)
60 Armored Vehicles (BA-64s)

on May 12 1950:

173 tanks
176 Self-propelled guns
60 Armored vehicles

on June 25 1950:

242 tanks
176 Self-propelled guns
54 Armored vehicles

I know the Soviets sent additional tanks between Jun-Oct--not sure of exact numbers but it was on the order of magnitude of 50-100. Most of these replacement tanks never made it to the front cuz they were blown-up by the U.S. Air Force while still loaded on trains. Some made it as far as Seoul and were available in the battle for Seoul after Inchon--maybe a company or two. I recall coming across a tale of USMC riflemen KO'ing T34/85's in the streets of Seoul with the newly issued 3.5" M20.

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Darrin
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posted 05-19-2002 08:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Darrin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jeff Duquette:
The ORO report was issued on 8 April 1951. One can safely assume that any information collected close to that date or after that date is not included in the report.

Some additional stats on NKPA AFV OoB:

According to "The Korean War" by the Korean Institute of Military History, the NKs had:

on December 27 1950:

120 Tanks (T34/85)
73 Self-propelled guns (SU-76s)
60 Armored Vehicles (BA-64s)

on May 12 1950:

173 tanks
176 Self-propelled guns
60 Armored vehicles

on June 25 1950:

242 tanks
176 Self-propelled guns
54 Armored vehicles

I know the Soviets sent additional tanks between Jun-Oct--not sure of exact numbers but it was on the order of magnitude of 50-100. Most of these replacement tanks never made it to the front cuz they were blown-up by the U.S. Air Force while still loaded on trains. Some made it as far as Seoul and were available in the battle for Seoul after Inchon--maybe a company or two. I recall coming across a tale of USMC riflemen KO'ing T34/85's in the streets of Seoul with the newly issued 3.5" M20.



If this is true it points out how difficult it is to estimate enemy tank str, losees and cause. Esp during war or even after it from one sides info.

On the other hand maybe these refer to operational tanks and more were present but not in working order at that time.

Even if these numbers refer to total tank str they may not be the whole picture. The UN teams found 240 T34 wrecks to investigate from sep to oct (possibly latter). From your figures above the T34 NK tank str drops from 242 to 120 by Dec 27th. Only 120 could be confirmed des if we do not acount for replacments. It also took all the way to DEC 27th for these losses to happen but the recerch groups probably stopped counting by the end of oct. Even if we assume ALL 100 T34s you mention sent by rus were des by this time and in an area where they could be counted. Tanks des on rail lines in northern korea may not have been couted by teams around in oct. Even if they were present in nov and dec the UN did not take over every bit of NK terr at any time. Nor did the resrch teams go with the front line troops.

These numbers point to 240 T34s des max by the end of dec but the UN conted 240 min by the end of oct probaly. Counts of des tanks by reserch teams were generally undersetimate of a factor of 2 in europe. You can't find every tank with the time and persoonal you have. A min number of tank last by the NK would be more like 360 (+50%). Up to the end of oct or maybe the begining of nov. Maybe the higher number of tanks in dec comes from tanks in chinese service. The report seems to indicate that the chinese had no tanks. It also seems to indicate that no tanks were encoutered towards the end up to the end of jan. Of course the report is not entirly clear about this either. During a retreat I could see the tankers missing a few enemy tanks. Perhaps these tanks were not operational much anyways. Ready for combat with fuel and ammo near the UN line. Or maybe the T34 crews were avoiding the UN during this period as well. 120 tanks spread all over NK is not as conc as 240 spread accros the narrow parts or around pusan.

The above is all referce to T34-85. The UN also examined 75 sp 76mm guns by reserch teams. Up to the end of oct as above the reserch teams were exactly similar. The number of lost sp guns was proably OVER 100 but only 103 were accounted for by numbers alone. Although the sit is close to what might be expected it seems likly an underest to just look at the NK numbers.

The probalem if not chinese tanks is proably uncounted replacments T34-85s and sp 76mm guns. Looking at the arm cars we see almost no losses compared to the tanks. Arm cars in an att would probably be lost at an even higher rate then tanks. Again uncouted replacment vechiles must be the difference.

I should say my exprtise what little I have is not with the korean war. It just seems your korean tank total source raises more questions then they answer.

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