Accession Number:

ADA028974

Title:

The Development of American Tank Destroyers during World War II: the Impact of Doctrine, Combat Experience, and Technology on Materiel Acquisition

Descriptive Note:

Final rept.

Corporate Author:

ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

1976-06-11

Pagination or Media Count:

145.0

Abstract:

The success of Germanys armored formations during the early years of World War II forced the US Army to reexamine the problem of antitank warfare. The result of that reexamination was a uniquely American solution--the tank destroyers. Primarily the brainchild of General Lesley J. McNair, the doctrine of tank destroyers was based on the concept of mobile antitank guns, organized in battalions, which could move and mass as necessary to defeat enemy tanks. This study focuses on the development of guns and gun motor carriages for the tank destroyers. The Tank Destroyer Center used a twofold approach to solve its equipment problems first, adapt what was immediately available as expedient equipment, and, second, begin development of an ideal tank destroyer designed to fit their doctrine. Circumstances forced the US Army to thrust its tank destroyers into combat before the ideal tank destroyer was available. The tank destroyers in combat theaters were never employed according to their doctrine. Misemployment and the limitations of expedient equipment created dissatisfaction among overseas commanders concerning tank destroyers. Pressure from overseas effected doctrine, organizations, and development efforts in the United States. The US Army forced the Tank Destroyer Center to adopt and develop weapons unsuitable, in the latters view, for tank destroyer doctrine--towed guns. A technological threat from heavy German tanks caused development efforts in the United States to incorporate bigger guns. The US Armys failure to properly assess the magnitude of the threat resulted in a scarcity of adequate antitank weapons in Northwest Europe.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
  • Ammunition and Explosives
  • Combat Vehicles

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE