Re: British Tanks

Doug wrote:
Didn't the T34 have a manually operated turret? I know it didn't feature the superior optics of Panthers or Tigers. Did the Centurions feature optics (i.e. rangefinding equipment) on par w/the German tanks?

No mass produced WW2 tank had a proper rangefinder as standard equipment. In fact they did not have even stadiametric rangefinders, which are hardly "proper" rangefinders either; in tanks they are more range "guesstimating" devices. Proper rangefinders, i.e. stereoscopic or coincidence principle ones, didn't became standard in Western tanks until the late 1950's and even later in Soviet designs (the T-55 and T-62 had stadiametric rangefinders).

The German superiority in optics was simply that - they had better optical glass and even more importantly, they had coated optics, which improved efficiency and reduced reflections. These were mostly courtesy to Carl Zeiss, which is still one of the leading companies in military optics. The better optics of German tanks allowed German tank gunners them to see their targets clearly farther away.

However, the American and British optics were not *that* bad either. The Soviet pre-war optics were quite bad, but they quickly copied the Pz IV optics as well as they could for their later models, so even they had mostly decent tank sights by 1944.

Tero P. Mustalahti