Stumbled across an interview with Steven Zaloga (c/- Mad Padre Wargames Blog) and it’s discussion around the movie “Fury” and the performance of the Sherman (and Allied Armour in general) in North-West Europe 1944-1945. Zaloga criticises some of the accepted truisms on tank warfare in NW Europe (namely about the Sherman’s vulnerability and the claimed 5 to 1 ratio of how many Allied tanks it took to destroy one German tank) – he also cites a disproportionate reliance on British authors describing their experiences of Normandy, which obviously is not representative of the campaign as a whole (in Normandy Montgomery used his armour as a battering ram to (a) keep infantry casualties down, and (b) ensure German armour and other resources were continually drawn to the northern sector in preparation for the breakout in the centre & south).
In the Steven Zaloga Interview (at Tank And AFV News) another significant comment (backing up similar information I’ve seen elsewhere) is, despite popular myth, how few Tiger I (or Tiger E) tanks the American forces saw in North-West Europe; “When you read unit accounts, whether it’s the actual unit after action reports or the published books, everyone talks about Tiger tanks. But in looking at it in both German records and US records, I’ve only found three instances in all the fighting from Normandy to 1945 where the US encountered Tigers. And by Tigers I mean Tiger 1, the type of tank we saw in the film“. Zaloga’s new book Armored Champion is due out shortly (about April 2015) and addresses much of this with “a general look at tank warfare in World War 2 that puts it into a broader context …to distinguish between what I call [the] “tankers choice” and [the] “commanders choice” .” Could well be a good read.
Another potentially good read cited by Zaloga is Robert Forczyk’s “Schwerpunkt: Tank Warfare on the Eastern Front 1941-1942” which looks to more accurately at how tank warfare on the Eastern Front really developed on both sides as Barbarossa progressed and led into the major battles of 1942.
I must confess I still have yet to see “Fury“.