View Full Version : OT: WW2 Tanks Fire on the move?

03-13-2006, 06:54 AM
Did many tank crews do this with a relatively high degree of accuracy in WW2? casue if i remember correctly, tanks then did not have stabilizers. Yet in many movies and games we see tanks firing on the move. Now i know that these are movies and games but stilll.... i know with and experienced crew maybe it was possible...but was is done often?

03-13-2006, 07:01 AM
I'm sure that they did regularly fire on the move, but that doesn't mean they hit the target very often when they did it. There's a big difference between firing and firing accurately. Still, the idea of suppressive fire is pretty simple: if someone's lobbing shells at you, you will hit the dirt or run for it rather than stand around wondering if it's going to be hitting you.

This is because the people who stood around waiting to see where the shell went had a tendancy to die or get injured pretty quickly.

So I'd suggest that on-the-move firing was more suppressive fire than an attempt to actually hit a target.

03-13-2006, 08:54 AM
US manfactured tanks had gyrostabilizer main gun systems.


03-13-2006, 09:38 AM
If i remember right the Sherman had a stabalization system for the gun, but it was such a pain in the "rear" that most gunners prefered to go into battle with it turned off.
I can swear i read that somewhere.

03-13-2006, 10:43 AM
At the start of the war British tank crews were trained to fire on the move. With enough intense training, this was reasonably successful, but as casualties mounted and training for replacements was reduced, this tactic lost its effectiveness, and became basically pointless.

It took them a good while to realise this though, and even in North Africa groups of British tanks would still charge German anti-tank gun positions like cavalry, with catastrophic results.

03-13-2006, 01:53 PM
The M4 (Sherman) did have a one-axis stabilizer (vertical) but, as someone pointed out, it really wasn't that easy to configure or maintain. Or use for that matter if memory serves me right.

Sov doctrine emphasized the quick stop and fire just to avoid spraying HE all over the place.

The Germans seem also to have had the preferrence to stop and aim for something before firing.

I assume the British habit of firing on the move was discontinued partly due to shorter training for the crew, as pointed out earlier, and the main armament going from being aimed with the shoulder Mk I, not totally unlike a rifle, to being rigidly mounted in the mantlet.

But then again, distance and gunner ability plays an important role too. I believe Wittmann KO some 12-15 vehicles, some of them tanks, with a Tiger E tank without halting, but the distances involved were in the order of 10-200 m. A good shell velocity probably helps as well......

03-13-2006, 03:15 PM
Most but not all late war shermans had gyros. However as mentioned here they were not liked by their crews and not used much. The biggest problem was lack of proper training and understanding of the capability of the weapon as the gyros worked well enough when used correctly. The war tended to eat up experienced tank crews and there was a lot of undertrained crews around. Late war M3, M24, M18(hellcats) also had gyros. Possibly some others (Jacksons)and Pershings for sure.

For all other tanks motion shots were pretty tough. Motion fire was used for suppression and area fire but if you wanted to hit any sort of specicific target at any sort of range, you had to stop.

03-13-2006, 03:36 PM

these guys would know