Home Forums Modern A probably stupid question about tank destroyers

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  • #64795
    Victoria Dickson
    Participant

    So, tank destroyers.  In particular the ones with really long guns.  How do they get around corners in close terrain, like moving through a town or at a road junction in woods?  Do they demolish anything the gun would bump into?

    And a possibly even stupider question, is the gun removed for rail transport?

    #64796
    Mr. Average
    Participant

    Very carefully, and preferably with infantry on the ground to guide them. Although there would have to be REALLY tight quarters for that to happen. There’s more open space in a town than maps and photos would lead one to believe, generally.

    To my knowledge guns on a fixed-mount TD like a StuG aren’t removable without taking off the front glacis plate, typically.

    #64799
    Retroboom
    Participant

    Nikolas Lloyd mentions this briefly in his video about muzzle breaks:

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    #64800
    John D Salt
    Participant

    So, tank destroyers.  In particular the ones with really long guns.  How do they get around corners in close terrain, like moving through a town or at a road junction in woods?  Do they demolish anything the gun would bump into?

    And a possibly even stupider question, is the gun removed for rail transport?

    I’ve never seen guns removed for rail transport. They will be put in a travel lock, if there is one.

    Although some of those guns might look impressively long, they are only five or six metres at most. Compared to the dimensions of most metalled roads, or railway flat cars, that’s not so much.

    I think it was Dundee OTC that a school friend told me about who had an Officer Cadet from their armour wing commanding a Saladin and driving through a village somewhere near Salisbury Plain. His driver took a fairly sharp corner at good speed; and this was when he discovered that he had not checked the turret lock. That the turret lock had not been applied became obvious when the Saladin’s hull rounded the corner, but the turret made a good effort at staying pointed in the same direction as it had originally been travelling. This meant that the gun was now pointing to the side, instead of ahead, and before he could order “driver, halt” our OCdt had pinged down three or four of the lightly-constructed aluminium lamp-posts lining the road.

    That’s the story he told me, anyway. I think it rather unlikely that it would be possible with a stubby little gun like the Saladin’s, but it’s a better tale than the usual one of an officer cadet driving an FFR Land Rover into a ditch and then reporting on the radio “I’ve rolled my Rover over, over.”

    All the best,

    John.

    #64802
    irishserb
    Participant

    In non-combat situations, crew members will get out and act as spotters to help guide the driver through tight spots.

    We ran a game convention in the mid 1980s at a National Guard facility, where one of the units stationed there brought an M48 into the convention hall for attendees to see/climb on/play with.  After the con, they were moving it back to its parking spot out in the yard, and while passing through a tight arrangement of buildings and walls around the courtyard, managed to pivot the tank in place, swinging the right rear of the tank through a wall of the one of the buildings.   Just a little tap, and it displaced about 7 feet of wall about 5 feet high , pushing it into the building.  I guess the spotter was considered to be at fault.

    We weren’t invited back to the run the convention there the next year.

    #64808
    Norm S
    Participant

    Anything on tracks does have the advantage that it can more-or-less turn on the spot.  I have just built a Soviet SU 100 and that gun seems massive, almost as long as the chasis itself. The model has some strange protrusions on the attachment to the mantelet, so perhaps in this particular instance the gun was removemable for rail transport etc.

    Reading the Osprey Duel book on the JagdPanther, it says that the army manual instructed that these vehicles should stand off at around 1500 – 2000 meters from the enemy and use they powerful gun at a distance – of course that is no fun to our table, where vehicles at best are just a few 100 metres apart. But if this is true, then the big gun things might not be under the same amount of pressure while they manoeuvre as much as they would be if amongst buildings that had the enemy very much nearby.

    #64809
    Russell Phillips
    Participant

    And a possibly even stupider question, is the gun removed for rail transport?

    I’ve seen modern tanks with their turret rotated to the rear when on rail cars, probably because it’s easier to get on/off without a long gun sticking out the front. If you’re referring to tank destroyers without rotating turrets of course, that won’t be an option.

    I found this image of a Jagdtiger on a railway car, with gun in place:

    Source

    Also this (ISU-152?):

    Source

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    #64829
    MartinR
    Participant

    The Jagdpanzer IV/70 had particular mobility problems as the guns was long, heavy and relatively close to the ground. The main issues were the front suspension was massively overloaded (hence the replacement of the rubber tired front wheels with all steel ones) and the gun would often get stuck in the ground when crossing uneven country. Evidently a travel lock helped a bit as kept the gun at a reasonable elevation when it was manouvering.

    I would have thought the SU 100 had similar issues but I’ve not come across any explicit accounts of them.

     

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    #64839
    Etranger
    Participant

    The Jagdpanzer IV/70 had particular mobility problems as the guns was long, heavy and relatively close to the ground. The main issues were the front suspension was massively overloaded (hence the replacement of the rubber tired front wheels with all steel ones) and the gun would often get stuck in the ground when crossing uneven country. Evidently a travel lock helped a bit as kept the gun at a reasonable elevation when it was manouvering.

    I would have thought the SU 100 had similar issues but I’ve not come across any explicit accounts of them.

    There’s a story in the memoir Panzer Gunner where the crew wrote off a new JgdPzIV by hitting a wall with their gun when near to the enemy. They blew the tank demolition charges and fell back on foot. I’m not sure why they didn’t just drive back though! ( but see https://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=136586 for a different take on the book)

    • This reply was modified 4 years ago by Etranger.
    • This reply was modified 4 years ago by Etranger.
    #64846
    Etranger
    Participant

    Until mid WWII it was usual for tanks to be designed to minimise the barrel overhang to reduce the possibility of damage, which is one reason why most turrets were centrally mounted. It was only with the development of longer high velocity guns (the Tiger, Panther & T34 spring to mind as early examples) that such a convention was discarded. However the early Panther design with a forward mounted barrel was still too much for the Panzerwaffe!


    From https://www-d0.fnal.gov/~turcot/Armour/pz4.htm

    #64862
    Iain Fuller
    Participant

    Funnily enough I got to thinking about the same thing as I watched that Lindybeige piece on Muzzle Brakes just the other day. It never comes up in games does it, might have to think about that next time I play Chain of Command.

    By the way the SU-100 gun does stick out a long way in front of the body of the vehicle, I know it is obvious from models and photo’s but it really is a huge looking beast when seen up close.

    #64863
    Russell Phillips
    Participant

    It never comes up in games does it

    No, but there are probably lots of odd quirks of various weapon systems that are ignored or not directly handled in rules.

    Military history author
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    #64865
    Iain Fuller
    Participant

    True Russell, you can’t account for everything I suppose.

    Just found this whilst searching for pics of a particular trio of SU-100’s. It looks as if the second one from the front has just managed not to jam its gun in the ground whilst looking like the rest of it is pretty stuck.

    #64891
    Victoria Dickson
    Participant

    Thanks for all the responses, if I have any more stupid questions I know where to come. 🙂

    (Read that ‘if’ as a ‘when’)

     

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