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Would more Pkw IV do the trick?
Milano, Italy
Joined: November 30, 2007
KitMaker: 642 posts
AeroScale: 382 posts
Posted: Tuesday, December 15, 2009 - 08:56 PM UTC
Hi all.
It is often reported (on TV documentaries, books and articles) that the sheer number of T34s and Shermans was the strategical strenght that allowed alled armies to defeat the Germans during WW2.
This, substantially, could be summoned up that in the dispute of quantity vs. quality (tributed to the German panzers overall) the first won.
Now I was wondering: what if the German had stick to mass producing only Pkw III and IV (maybe with little updates as a sloping frontal armour)? These Panzers are often considered equivalent to T34 and Shermans, so I wonder, would such a confrontation modify the final results of the war (nothwistanding air superiority) ?
What do you think?

Florida, United States
Joined: May 28, 2009
KitMaker: 285 posts
AeroScale: 0 posts
Posted: Wednesday, December 16, 2009 - 02:13 AM UTC
Doubt it. Air power made all the difference as far as that's concerened. Woulda given the ground attack planes more targets, that's all. The other factor would be the lack of experienced crews & logistical support. Germany was just running out of live bodies to use. The luftwaffe had plenty of planes, just no pilots or gas to fly them. Even if they could have produced the same amount of Shermans as the US they wouldn't have had the crews to man them or gas to drive them. Least that's my impression.
British Columbia, Canada
Joined: November 02, 2008
KitMaker: 1,138 posts
AeroScale: 1 posts
Posted: Wednesday, December 16, 2009 - 06:56 PM UTC
I would imagine that even if the Panzer IV would have extended the war, Germany would have lost anyway, what with loss of air power and industrial resources. Plus one of the bombs dropped in Japan would have instead been dropped on Berlin, if it came to that.
United States
Joined: June 23, 2008
KitMaker: 1,024 posts
AeroScale: 0 posts
Posted: Thursday, December 17, 2009 - 01:48 PM UTC
Not to forget the Panzer II Panzer III Panzer IV were all based on 1930s designs, hence the archaic rectangular upper hull. But it did keep a low profile. I dont think the number of panzers wouldve done the trick, the Pershing was rolling off the production lines and that would destroy a panzer IV without trouble.
England - South East, United Kingdom
Joined: December 13, 2004
KitMaker: 2,188 posts
AeroScale: 10 posts
Posted: Thursday, December 17, 2009 - 04:09 PM UTC
No, even if the Germans had constructed PzIVs to exclusion of everything else, they could not have hoped to compete with US & Russian tank production. Perhaps if the time and resources wasted on some of the pet projects and the superheavies such as the King Tiger, Jagdtiger etc had been ploughed into mainstream tank production of the Panther, that might have had some effect, but the end result would have been the same. Germany was running out of resources, especially fuel. Also as others have pointed out, the total air superiority of the Allies was crucial; not so much in destruction of tanks themselves ( RAF research after the end of the Normandy campaign proved that contrary to pilots claims, the number of wrecked tanks attributable to direct air attack was very small), the main effect was on the "tail" which every modern army requires to keep it in the field. By constantly destroying or interdicting German supply columns, freedom of movement was curtailed.
Milano, Italy
Joined: November 30, 2007
KitMaker: 642 posts
AeroScale: 382 posts
Posted: Thursday, December 17, 2009 - 10:47 PM UTC
Thank you guys!
very instructive replies.
Joined: June 22, 2007
KitMaker: 165 posts
AeroScale: 0 posts
Posted: Saturday, January 02, 2010 - 08:54 PM UTC
None of the Western European armor was designed to be mass produced. Even if the Germans had concentrated on PZKW IVs, they were still not suited for mass production, they were meant to be built by locomotive factories and heavy equipment factories. The Soviets had a lot of tank and tractor factories that could produce large numbers of simple tanks like T34s, but only the USA converted it's domestic auto industry as well as heavy equipment and locomotive factories to armor production.
Minnesota, United States
Joined: July 11, 2006
KitMaker: 439 posts
AeroScale: 0 posts
Posted: Saturday, January 16, 2010 - 11:22 AM UTC
The Pzr. IV was not an especially brilliant mass-production item either so concentrating on it probably would not have helped.

The problem with the numbers thing, which is NEVER adequately explained in all those documentaries and books is this. Armored divisions are the offensive strike force of a modern army. A fully kitted out and battle-ready tank division is a powerful thing. American and British armored divisions and Soviet Armored Corps after 1943 usually operated at or near their assigned TOE strength because production outpaced attrition. Not only that but production was sufficient to form new units, thus increasing the offensive power of those armies.

In the German situation production could not keep up with attrition, let alone allow the forming of new units. The response to this reality was to drastically reduce the TOE strength of a Panzer division by 1944 to just around 200 tanks from more than 400 in 1940. Even then it was rare for a Panzer division in that stage of the war even after being withdrawn for refit to have more than 150 vehicles, and some of those would be Panzerjager's or Stug's instead of proper tanks. There are accounts of some Panzer divisions beign committed to battle with as few as 6 operational tanks. That isn't a division, it is a reinforced platoon. The answer again wa to keep reducing the size of the division - first eliminating 1 company from each battalion then one platoon from each company than 1 tank from each of the remaining platoons (from 22 to 14 tanks per company). These badly under-strength divisions were never going to have anything like the offensive power of the 1939-41 divisions and without the ability to take the offensive the German's could do nothing more than delay the advancing horde as long as possible.

Neither the Panzer IV not the Panther was the right tank for Germany to restore her offensive might, given the limitations of German industry in the war years.