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Miscellaneous Umiak/misc. races question-and-answer thread 
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Umiak/misc. races question-and-answer thre
Mr.Tucker wrote:
How old is the current Umiak civilisation? It seems that they were already an industrial species when they finished conquering their co-evolved planetary rivals (roughly 1000-2000 years after the fall of the Soia). Did they then resort to infighting or did they jump into space and become a spacefaring species? (which would make them substantially older then the Loroi). Do they have an innate cultural hatred of any Soia-related species due to their suffering at the time of the empire ?

It is generally believed that Umiak interstellar civilization is older than the Loroi interstellar civilization, but it's not clear by how much; nobody knows the dates of the Umiak timeline or the location of their homeworld (including most of the Umiak that you're likely to run across). If the Umiak have been steadily expanding (which seems likely), then there's a limit to how long ago they could have started. The Loroi theorize that, assuming that the Umiak creation story is true, the post-Fall rebuilding period for the Tizik-tik and the subsequent struggle with the Hal-tik must have been drawn out over many tens of thousands of years.

TrashMan wrote:
Now, make a virus that has a really long incubation period, attack a Loroi plant and bombard it, but don't destroy it fully. Launch virus missiles among the regular bombardment ones. Wait for the Loroi relief effort. As Loroi travel to and from the planet, the virus spreads. When it hits, it hits in multiple places and spreads rapidly. Massive damage before a cure can be found.

All of this has been tried before; it's kind of "Total War 101." The Umiak left some nasty surprises for the Loroi when they started losing territory in the Semoset offensive.

Both sides have very sophisticated medical technology that can detect pathogens, even if they can't immediately cure them. There is very little direct access to enemy populations in this war, and whenever it does happen, the affected system is usually quarantined and carefully screened for this sort of thing. In addition to their many other shortcomings, biological agents are much more difficult to spread between star systems than they are between cities on a planet; an infected individual can't just hop on a plane and be spreading the disease far and wide in a matter of hours the way one can in a terrestrial example.

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Post Re: Miscellaneous Umiak/misc. races question-and-answer thre
An interesting option for someone with sufficient biotech is the binary plague, two pathogens that are by themselves harmless, possibly even beneficial, and would spread throughout the target population without ever killing anyone. If they both infect the same individual they then become extremely lethal, though you probably want some incubation time. Then you deliver the initial infection to two widely separated points of the target population. If the initial infections don't get caught, you'll have dozens of outbreaks as it spreads through a mixing population.

It'd be an effective way to start a war, all the delivery problems the umiak and Loroi face now would probably still stop it cold.

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Post Re: Miscellaneous Umiak/misc. races question-and-answer thre
One of the other shortcomings of using viruses as weapons is that they mutate rapidly. Viral epidemics tend to be short; a lethal pathogen burns its way through the population and then disappears, having shifted into a variety of less-lethal variant forms that don't kill the host (which is usually not beneficial for a parasite). That's the problem with molecular machines in general; most viruses don't even have enough gene information to reproduce on their own (they require the host's genes for that), much less implement any kind of error-correction scheme. No matter how carefully you engineer your virus, after six months or so and millions of generations, it won't be the same organism that you engineered.

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Post Re: Miscellaneous Umiak/misc. races question-and-answer thre
Ironically, the best was to win a total war is to target the population.

and I don't mean in the "kill it", but "make life miserable for them".
Destroy farms, food and water processing/manufacturing, infrastructure. That means your enemy now has to provide relief effort. Which means shipping in food, re-construction work. That takes manpower, time and effort. Resources that are not used against you.

Turn every civilian into a problem that takes away resources instead of adding them to the enemy.
Bleed the enemy dry.


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Post Re: Miscellaneous Umiak/misc. races question-and-answer thre
TrashMan wrote:
Ironically, the best was to win a total war is to target the population.

and I don't mean in the "kill it", but "make life miserable for them".
Destroy farms, food and water processing/manufacturing, infrastructure. That means your enemy now has to provide relief effort. Which means shipping in food, re-construction work. That takes manpower, time and effort. Resources that are not used against you.

Turn every civilian into a problem that takes away resources instead of adding them to the enemy.
Bleed the enemy dry.


Which is exactly what the Umiak have been trying to do with their attacks and their attempts to break through the Loroi lines

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Post Re: Miscellaneous Umiak/misc. races question-and-answer thre
Are the Kikkut still alive, or were they wiped out with the Tizik-tik? (not really relevant to the story but would help shed light on Umiak attitudes).


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Post Re: Miscellaneous Umiak/misc. races question-and-answer thre
TrashMan wrote:
Ironically, the best was to win a total war is to target the population.

Sure, but the issue in this war is that you generally don't have access to the enemy population. The population centers that were within reach of the front lines have already been mostly destroyed by raids.

Mr.Tucker wrote:
Are the Kikkut still alive, or were they wiped out with the Tizik-tik? (not really relevant to the story but would help shed light on Umiak attitudes).

Elements of the Tizik-tik and Kikkut genomes were absorbed into the diverse collective that eventually became the Umiak "species," as the Hal-tik co-opted traits that they found useful. However, there are still "naturally" reproducing populations of Hal-tik and Kikkut, though they are probably not seen much outside the homeworld.

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Post Re: Miscellaneous Umiak/misc. races question-and-answer thre
Arioch wrote:
Mr.Tucker wrote:
Are the Kikkut still alive, or were they wiped out with the Tizik-tik? (not really relevant to the story but would help shed light on Umiak attitudes).

Elements of the Tizik-tik and Kikkut genomes were absorbed into the diverse collective that eventually became the Umiak "species," as the Hal-tik co-opted traits that they found useful. However, there are still "naturally" reproducing populations of Hal-tik and Kikkut, though they are probably not seen much outside the homeworld.


There goes my most recent pet theory that the Umiak basically run a 'shell' empire with only devastated, over-exploited, and poisoned worlds behind them as they expand outwards out of necessity. :(

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Post Re: Miscellaneous Umiak/misc. races question-and-answer thre
The Umiak homeworld is indeed an ecological disaster, but that doesn't mean that nobody lives there. It has been depleted of limited resources like fissionables and fossil fuels, and clean water is a commodity, but these are trivial obstacles for any post-industrial civilization that can build colonies on hostile, airless worlds.

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Post Re: Miscellaneous Loroi question-and-answer thread
Ok, I've got a nagging question which I shall posit to the users of these forums: who would win in a tussle between a Barsam and a Delrias? The Barsam are bigger, have an enhanced healing factor (how fast are we talking here?), but no hand-to-hand combat experience. The Delrias are somewhat smaller (still imposing), but are extremely martial from a young age. Take your bets gentlemen ;) .

EDIT: A related question would be how the Delrias got good at making particle beam weapons. They don't seem very research or craftsmanship oriented. Wouldn't reseachers be seen as ''weak'' in such a physical combat oriented species ? (or is that just human bias?)


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Post Re: Miscellaneous Loroi question-and-answer thread
Mr.Tucker wrote:
A related question would be how the Delrias got good at making particle beam weapons. They don't seem very research or craftsmanship oriented. Wouldn't reseachers be seen as ''weak'' in such a physical combat oriented species ? (or is that just human bias?)

Delrias Scientists Get No Respect?

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Post Re: Miscellaneous aliens question-and-answer thread
Barsam regenerative capabilities help them to recover from injuries faster, but would not have an impact on an individual fight.

Mr.Tucker wrote:
A related question would be how the Delrias got good at making particle beam weapons. They don't seem very research or craftsmanship oriented. Wouldn't reseachers be seen as ''weak'' in such a physical combat oriented species ? (or is that just human bias?)

I don't think that martial traditions and technology are incompatible; one has only to look at the Japanese. I'm also not sure that there's anything "weak" about being smart. My father was a lineman on Caltech's football team.

Also, the Delrias' ancestors established an interstellar empire on their own, before the Dreiman or Soia arrived in the Local Bubble. The Delrias might be "big and dumb" in comparison to their ancient kin, but that's still pretty smart.

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Post Re: Miscellaneous aliens question-and-answer thread
Arioch wrote:
I don't think that martial traditions and technology are incompatible; one has only to look at the Japanese.

I was going to bring up Japan, but I couldn't think how to word it properly. They certainly had martial traditions, and they certainly advanced technologically very rapidly to catch up to the West. I didn't know enough about Japanese history though, so I wasn't if it was Imperial Japan that did both of those things, so I didn't post it.

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Post Re: Miscellaneous Umiak/misc. races question-and-answer thre
Firstly I'd like to say I have no idea how this question ended up here. I tried posting it on the Loroi thread and it ended up here. Only noticed that a few minutes after, deleted it, and tried to post it again on the Loroi thread. Again it ended up here. Either I'm losing my mind or I need a new pair of glasses :cry:

Anyway, I think I've phrased the question badly. How do they intimidate each other? Do they do it brawny-style like, say, Klingons, or do they stare at each other like cats? Or perform courtly and ritualised duels like the old samurai, or the gentlemen of 18th century Europe? If I'm the head manager of a Delrias engineering firm, do I beat my (smarter?) research team into submission as an interview? Do they get promoted into my position if they beat me? :lol: Or is that just for personal issues? (in Imperial Japan, they didn't actually do that, they just used a perverted form of the Samurai Code as indoctrination for their troops. It didn't affect civilian lives like the medieval one did. Imperial Japan industrialized rapidly, but became overly beligerent after the military took control of the Government, and their science stagnated. The Zero was more of an exercise in brute-force engineering than a technical masterpiece. They only became techno-wizards some time after the end of the war) .


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Post Re: Miscellaneous Umiak/misc. races question-and-answer thre
Mr.Tucker wrote:
Firstly I'd like to say I have no idea how this question ended up here. I tried posting it on the Loroi thread and it ended up here. Only noticed that a few minutes after, deleted it, and tried to post it again on the Loroi thread. Again it ended up here. Either I'm losing my mind or I need a new pair of glasses

I moved the post here, because it's not about the Loroi.

Mr.Tucker wrote:
How do they intimidate each other? Do they do it brawny-style like, say, Klingons, or do they stare at each other like cats? Or perform courtly and ritualised duels like the old samurai, or the gentlemen of 18th century Europe? If I'm the head manager of a Delrias engineering firm, do I beat my (smarter?) research team into submission as an interview? Do they get promoted into my position if they beat me? :lol: Or is that just for personal issues?

The Delrias have a complex system of determining their social hierarchy, one element of which includes the implied threat of violence. Physical size, fighting ability, and the ability to create and maintain networks of intimidating friends are all factors in this system. The intimidation is not "ritualized" but it is somewhat abstract, it is mostly threat but does occasionally result in actual violence. Such fighting is mostly unarmed, and the outcome depends on size, strength, skill, and numbers; it is usually non-lethal, but may result in serious injury.

This system is used in interpersonal conflicts (in particular, in disputes over mating rights), and to help establish hierarchy; it's not used as a substitute for intelligence or skill or business acumen. An individual might intimidate her way to the leadership of her engineering team, but she can't get a job as an engineer by beating up her prospective employer. And because the conflicts can include allies and are not strictly one on one, charisma and leadership ability can be as important as your own fighting ability.

Mr.Tucker wrote:
(in Imperial Japan, they didn't actually do that, they just used a perverted form of the Samurai Code as indoctrination for their troops. It didn't affect civilian lives like the medieval one did. Imperial Japan industrialized rapidly, but became overly beligerent after the military took control of the Government, and their science stagnated. The Zero was more of an exercise in brute-force engineering than a technical masterpiece. They only became techno-wizards some time after the end of the war) .

I have to disagree with you here. Even before the end of the Shogunate around 1870, Japanese craftsmen were second to none in the world (the only problem being that they made weapons that were 100 years out of date); living in a martial society had not diminished their skill. When the samurai class was abolished in the Meiji period, Japanese society did not lose its martial nature; it was still a military dictatorship (nominal democratic reforms notwithstanding). All of Japanese culture, military and civilian, was strongly affected by the samurai ethos and worship of the Emperor; in WWII, civilian students signed up in their tens of thousands to sacrifice themselves as kamikaze pilots; civilian housewives joined up in their millions to sacrifice themselves in suicide attacks against the expected American landing boats. To this very day, samurai mythology pervades Japanese culture and popular media.

I don't see how the phrase "brute-force" can be used in any connection with the Zero, which was the finest carrier-based aircraft in the world when it was introduced in 1940. There were many factors that prevented the Japanese from significantly improving or replacing it during the war, but it wasn't because the aircraft designers were stupid.

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Post Re: Miscellaneous Umiak/misc. races question-and-answer thre
Hmm... I dunno. Zero was agile and long ranged, but very, very fragile. No armor, no self sealing fuel tanks. It established its lasting reputation in a few golden months spent fighting less experienced opponents flying obsolescent machines, but, like the Imperial Japanese Navy as a whole, it's shortcomings became evident when faced with an industrialized, technically capable opponent in a protracted war.


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Post Re: Miscellaneous Umiak/misc. races question-and-answer thre
hi hi

Being starved for resources was one of the major motivations for Japan going to war, with the US oil embargo being only the culmination of an economic and political confrontation that stemmed back to the end of the first world war and through the great depression. Now, there was certainly more to it than that, but it was no mistake that the Zero was half as heavy as its western counterparts.


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Post Re: Miscellaneous Umiak/misc. races question-and-answer thre
Arioch wrote:
I moved the post here, because it's not about the Loroi.

Oh, ok. The Delrias were part of the Union so I figured they wouldn't belong here.

Arioch wrote:
The Delrias have a complex system of determining their social hierarchy, one element of which includes the implied threat of violence. Physical size, fighting ability, and the ability to create and maintain networks of intimidating friends are all factors in this system. The intimidation is not "ritualized" but it is somewhat abstract, it is mostly threat but does occasionally result in actual violence. Such fighting is mostly unarmed, and the outcome depends on size, strength, skill, and numbers; it is usually non-lethal, but may result in serious injury.

I see. Thank you or clearing that up. I just had a hard time figuring out how such a society would function.

Arioch wrote:
I have to disagree with you here. Even before the end of the Shogunate around 1870, Japanese craftsmen were second to none in the world (the only problem being that they made weapons that were 100 years out of date)

This is a bit untrue. Even during the High Middle Ages, Europeans could produce better weapons than the Japanese. Folded steel of similar qualities was used earlier by vikings in the 9th and 10th century, before being superseded by better designs. Craftsmanship has no bearing in industrial wars.

Arioch wrote:
I don't see how the phrase "brute-force" can be used in any connection with the Zero, which was the finest carrier-based aircraft in the world when it was introduced in 1940. There were many factors that prevented the Japanese from significantly improving or replacing it during the war, but it wasn't because the aircraft designers were stupid.

They created the lightest aircraft possible at the time, with the heaviest guns and best engine. It surpassed all pre-war designs, but was rendered obsolete within a year by better US fighters (which had all of its characteristics but were much tougher) and never replaced. Not stupid, but terribly inflexible.
The militaristic period had its roots in the 1870s, but came into power during the 1930s. Before that was the period known as "Taisho democracy". Economic reasons were, indeed, one of the root causes of them coming to power.


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Post Re: Miscellaneous Umiak/misc. races question-and-answer thre
Mr.Tucker wrote:
This is a bit untrue. Even during the High Middle Ages, Europeans could produce better weapons than the Japanese. Folded steel of similar qualities was used earlier by vikings in the 9th and 10th century, before being superseded by better designs. Craftsmanship has no bearing in industrial wars.


The problem with this has to do with the quality of the resources available to them. Local Japanese iron was rife with impurities, the folding steel technique was used partly to remove these impurities and partly to overcome what impurities remained. Their designs never moved forward because the quality of the resources they had were always going to be terrible and because their isolationism removed the impetus to improve until the issue was forced. For what they had to work with, Japanese craftsmen were absolutely commendable in their accomplishments.

Resources do have bearings on wars, and if you are being blockaded and resource starved as an island nation, you're going to struggle against an opponent who has none of your handicaps.

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Post Re: Miscellaneous Umiak/misc. races question-and-answer thre
Often in such wars, the insanity (or lack of vision) from leadership can lead to loss.

Hitler canceled the development of many cutting-edge stuff (like the sturmgeweher and the jet fighter) and pulled resoruces into stupid, short-sighted projects.

Japan made a big mistake by ignoring the US carriers in the beginning (not that it would have made a big difference in the long run).
They also stopped sending bomb-balooons to the US (a very cost-effective strategy)


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Post Re: Miscellaneous Umiak/misc. races question-and-answer thre
TrashMan wrote:
Hitler canceled the development of many cutting-edge stuff (like the sturmgeweher and the jet fighter) and pulled resoruces into stupid, short-sighted projects.

Wasn't that because they were running out of time and resources? Better planes would have taken longer than they had left just to develop them. Rocket interceptors were built because they didn't have enough plane fuel.

Then again, it is Hitler, Armchair General-In-Chief we're talking about here, so I suppose quite a few of his projects that I hadn't heard of could have been stupid.

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Post Re: Miscellaneous Umiak/misc. races question-and-answer thre
Hitler's main problem, incompetence aside, was that he got it into his head that he could fight the Allies in the west and Russia in the east. At the same time. In the middle of the Russian winter. The moment he did that, Germany went from losing a very bloody and hard fought war where it may have been able to surrender conditionally, to losing very badly a very bloody and incompetently fought war where it had to surrender unconditionally, then got ripped into pieces between Russia and the Allies and divided for a generation.

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Post Re: Miscellaneous Umiak/misc. races question-and-answer thre
TrashMan wrote:
They also stopped sending bomb-balooons to the US (a very cost-effective strategy)


The bomb baloons caused only a handful of civilian casualties and no damage to infrastructure and the war effort. Hell with the censorship that went on the populace at large didn't even know about them, so they were useless even as a psychological weapon.

The only thing that the baloon project caused was some ridiculous propaganda pieces on Japanese media that the 'US west coast was burning from the north all the way to the south'.

TrashMan wrote:
Often in such wars, the insanity (or lack of vision) from leadership can lead to loss.

Hitler canceled the development of many cutting-edge stuff (like the sturmgeweher and the jet fighter) and pulled resoruces into stupid, short-sighted projects.


The Sturmgewher was 'cancelled' only on paper, it was hidden by the German high command as a new submachine gun named MP-44 and sent into the Eastern front for 'field testing'. The Germans loved it immediately and when Hitler asked western front generals and troops what they needed in order to turn the tide, all of the people he asked said 'more Sturmgewhers', the gun then entered mass production as STG-44 becoming the first Assault Rifle in the world.

The Jet fighters and Jet Bombers were never cancelled (the Me-262 and the Ar-234 respectively), instead they entered mass production but not only were the jets horrible outnumbered, their pilots where inexperienced and the plane had a lot of 'growing pains'. For example the Germans had huge problems with the landing gear of the Ar-234.

The jet project that was cancelled was the German 'flying wing' jet fighters and bombers. They were like the B2 bomber but even if they were built such planes would be very difficult to handle because the flying wing concept needs 'fly by wire' piloting in order to remain stable in the air, something that was decades ahead of the time (iirc the first fly by wire plane was the F-16).

Generally speaking the Germans had some good wunderwaffe ideas and a lot were feasible but they also spent a ridiculous amount of money and man hours on projects that were stupid to begin with, see this for example:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V-3_cannon

As for Japan:

The Japanese were never ahead technologically, quite the contrary they were behind the US when they bombed Pearl Harbor) but ingenuity allowed them to come up with certain neat weapons:

The A6M, it was a light and very maneuverable interceptor but very, very fragile. When the US found one intact on a pacific island they immediately dismantled it and reassembled it in order to see how that damn thing was so maneuverable. They were shocked with the simplicity of the design and the pilots themselves were horrified with how unsafe the plane itself was for those who flew it. No armor, no self sealing tanks and when those tanks would rupture the pilot would probably be burned alive.

The Zero remained a good fighter as long as there were good pilots to fly it and the Japanese pilots at 1941 were great, with hundreds of flight hours under their belts. The problem is that the Japanese didn't rotate them away from the front in order to train new pilots at the rear as everyone else was doing. Instead they kept everyone at the front to die out and the replacements were so Green that they couldn't use the full capabilities of their aircraft. A lot of historians argue that if half of the pilots lost at Midway (the best of the best the Japanese had to offer) were kept behind to train a new batch of pilots, then the Japanese would have held on for an extra year.

The other Japanese wonder weapon was the Long Lance torpedo, which was a powerful but niche weapon.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_93_torpedo

It's long range was great on paper but when the US navy begun evasive random evasive maneuvers before contact the advantage was lost. Then there was the volatile fuel problem.

However on Land weapons the Japanese were horribly underequiped, their infantry weapons were probably the worst used in the war (probably on par with the Italians) and their tanks were beyond coffins of metal, even the Sherman was considered top of the line when compared with them.

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Post Re: Miscellaneous Umiak/misc. races question-and-answer thre
dragoongfa wrote:
However on Land weapons the Japanese were horribly under equiped, their infantry weapons were probably the worst used in the war (probably on par with the Italians) and their tanks were beyond coffins of metal, even the Sherman was considered top of the line when compared with them.


Contrary to popular belief, the Sherman was not a bad tank. It wasn't the best, but it certainly wasn't bad. When it was first introduced the Germans didn't have much that could really do well against it. The reason they all tended to blow up so spectacularly had nothing to do with design, the operators kept stuffing in more ammo then the thing was meant to hold.


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Post Re: Miscellaneous Umiak/misc. races question-and-answer thre
NuclearIceCream wrote:
dragoongfa wrote:
However on Land weapons the Japanese were horribly under equiped, their infantry weapons were probably the worst used in the war (probably on par with the Italians) and their tanks were beyond coffins of metal, even the Sherman was considered top of the line when compared with them.


Contrary to popular belief, the Sherman was not a bad tank. It wasn't the best, but it certainly wasn't bad. When it was first introduced the Germans didn't have much that could really do well against it. The reason they all tended to blow up so spectacularly had nothing to do with design, the operators kept stuffing in more ammo then the thing was meant to hold.


The Sherman is best described as 'adequate' which for the people manning that thing meant that it wasn't good enough, still better than what the Brits fielded throughout the war, all of their tanks were obsolete throughout the war. When it first came out in Africa the German and Italian tanks there were obsolete, short barreled and low velocity guns were the norm with only a handful of Tiger I's sent in near the end. In Sicily and Italy there wasn't much opposition and the landscape didn't really allow tank warfare.

When Normandy happened the Germans had wised up and all of the German tanks there were armed with long barreled high velocity guns and the weakest German tanks (Pz IV) had comparable armor. However the Sherman also ended up fighting Panthers, Tigers and King Tigers until the end of the war. Frankly the Sherman was obsolete when it met the Panther. The Brits managed to upgrade it with a bigger gun (introducing the Sherman Firefly) but still it wasn't enough.

Also, little know fact, they carried more ammo because they needed to score far more hits in order to penetrate the armor of Panthers and Tigers.

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