Heya. Am I already too late to reply to this topic? Hopefully not. It was an interesting read and I’d like to point out two things:
1. Some details you may have missed in your comparison
2. The fact that this comparison, though interesting, should not be needed due to asymmetrical faction balance.
1. I would not consider the Panzer III as having the same role/potential as the M5.
- The thicker armor is not just a slight advantage; 50mm compared to 30mm is… what? A 2/3rds increase? When looking at the penetration values you gave (which are average numbers), the PzIIIs armor should be able to withstand shots from the M5 at a certain distance or when presented at an angle while not giving the Stuart the same ability.
Talking about big maps here, not skirmishes. In a skirmish, a general should carefully think which tanks to send in, as the small map, and that's plausible, will negate many abilities a heavier tank has.
- Does the PzIII ingame have the 50mm KwK38 L/42 gun? If yes, it may be somewhat comparable to the 37mm M6 gun but this is not the most iconic gun he has been fitted with. The KwK 39, that was intended for the main production model of the PzIII Ausf. J, had a length of 60 calibers and way better penetration than the Stuart 37mm M6. Actually my data says that a Stuart would have been able to penetrate only 46mm of armor at 500m and 30° (or 60°, depends on whether you calculate from 0° or 90° as vertical) impact angle. The KwK38 would have 56mm penetration and the KwK39 around 61mm. But penetration values can be argued about forever as you rarely find the same data in two different sources. Also, the 50mm gun has a better range and loses less penetration at a distance and
there is the quite-hard-to-explain feature of "overmatching", which results in larger calibers having less trouble penetrating angled armor.
In addition the larger caliber should cause way
more damage to enemy vehicles (we're talking about more than double the projectile weight here; 2,18kg for the 50mm gun, 0,871kg for 37mm).
And anyway, one should not forget the anti-infantry capabilities
based on the HE rounds. I don’t have the numbers for the explosive fillers at hand but the projectile weight says: 50mm has much more room for kaboom.
- Higher weight means that the PzIII is able to put way more mass against damage, which should lead to considerably higher HP values ingame.
- Upgrade potential: I think (hope) that the ability to customize tanks will be an upcoming feature of H&G at a given time. It would then be more than plausible to fit a PzIII with the (historical accurate) longer gun, additional frontal armor of 20mm, “Schürzen” (spaced armor on sides and turret) and, additionally, the 75mm L/24 KwK37 howitzer as an option. The M5 does not at all offer such possibilities.
A few words on mobility. I actually think it's one of the most striking factors for a tank - and one that keeps lights in the fields, where the enemy has heavies or whatnot. It's not only maneuverability in one-on-one fights. It also very
important to quickly reach a good position and to be able to reposition once having fired a few rounds.
2. Why do we need to make every tank put in the game comparable to one of the other faction? It has been said before that it's hardly possible. Fact is that tank development has been asymmetrical, each faction besting the others from time to time. As there is a strategic background to the battles fought and weapons can be balanced by price, spawning abilities and requirements for unlocking them
, I would find it way more interesting to have different abilities among the warring factions!
That said I do see the PzIII, whilst being a medium, in a German light/medium tank branch (something like PzI – PzII – PzIII – Panther) and have a separate medium/heavy branch (like PzIV E – PzIV F – Tiger). Despite that, US forces may be given an individual light tank branch (M3 – M5 – M24 Chaffee) and a medium/heavy branch (M3 Grant – M4 – M4A3E8 – Pershing) or so.
It's quite strange to put German tanks in the field, that were outdated by the time of D-Day, whilst US forces get late-war tanks. The Easy8 is not at all comparable to the PzIII either and PzI was a pre-war to first-combat vehicle not fitting in at all. It's true, what has been said: in the second half of the war US tanks tended to be faster and were produced in greater numbers, while German tanks were upgraded in armor and firepower, having their advantage there. This is not at all reflected in H&G right now.
But let's wait for the next tanks to come into the game, I'm sure they will even things out, hopefully in an asymmetrical manner.
So, no! Do not make the PzIII a light tank, which he has never been, but implement it the way it was and balance game by other factors than making all vehicles even!