Talk:Stridsvagn 103

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Third crew member[edit]

I think the text "though a third man was added for psychological reasons" (removed 07:16, 30 April 2009) should be put back. Not sure where I read it but it was probably in Grenander's book Arméns eldkraft.85.30.133.221 (talk) 12:49, 6 November 2009 (UTC)

I do not know much about the psychological reasons (and I´m sure no-one with inside knowledge about the tank would put it on print), but I think we could have managed quite well beeing only driver/gunner and commander during most of the "day time". The actual contribution during combat, transport etc from the radio-operator/rearward driver was minimal, both fysical and psysical. BUT!!! - during service and above all during camping and all the work setting up tents, keeping post, doing patrols etc we could have had good use for even a fourth crew member... Being six people in a tank platoon instead of nine is a big difference, and I can assure you that we would have loved beeing twelve instead of nine during patrolling instead of sleeping. (A Swedish tank platoon is/was three tanks with the crews, often one to three additonal crew members for substitution during illness, wounds, leave, officers training...)

 — Preceding unsigned comment added by 78.79.19.52 (talk) 21:14, 28 September 2011 (UTC) 
The third crew member, sitting with his face to the rear, was both radio operator and rearward driver, with controls that allowed him to drive the tank at full speed in reverse. Though with less control than the forward driver (steering with a steering wheel that wasn't a full circle but only a circle segment, like a pizza piece; which meant that he couldn't control the elevation of the tank/gun, something that was done by rotating the handles on the steering bar either forward or to the rear). So he wasn't there just for psychological reasons. All three crew members could drive the tank BTW, because both the driver and the tank commander had full controls (with steering bar) and the radio operator/rearward driver (a job that was usually referred to as "bakåtförare", that is rearward driver) had limited controls. All three of them were also trained as drivers, in addition to their other jobs, i e being commander, gunner and radio operator. Thomas.W (talk) 19:03, 9 June 2013 (UTC)
I thought the rear driver did have some control over elevation, in that his taking control did level the tank and adjust the ride height, ready for driving. What he couldn't do was to lay the gun, but then he didn't have a sight anyway. Andy Dingley (talk) 22:19, 28 August 2013 (UTC)

Armor thickness[edit]

The 90-100 mm figure is unsourced and as far as I can tell it's completely wrong. Armor layout drawing dated 1962. Source: Swedish national military archives (Krigsarkivet). 83.250.155.91 (talk) 22:18, 11 April 2014 (UTC)

The layout specifies the armour angles (for the frontal armour relative the gunline which in turn is +1° compared to the horizontal line), but I can't make out the thickness nor in which unit it's stated. 78.70.77.71 (talk) 19:59, 25 August 2014 (UTC)

gun laying?[edit]

Turretless armoured fighting vehicles are usually classified as assault guns or tank destroyers, but the Strv 103 is considered a tank because of its gun laying ability and its designated combat role matches those of other tanks.

I suppose this means that the gun can swivel to the left or right, the implication being that the usual turretless AFVs cannot. The article does not clearly state this in the rest of the text, and in fact implies the opposite.

Since the Strv 103 orients the entire tank to depress and elevate the barrel, in a hull down position it has very little apparent height and subsequent visual profile to the enemy.

This tells me that it's no different from any turretless AFV such as assault guns or tank destroyers. I propose 1) removing the distinction, whether or not the article persists in referring to it as a tank; or 2) rewording the mention of assault guns and tank destroyers as a loss of distinction. D. F. Schmidt (talk) 21:12, 23 July 2015 (UTC)

Please don't. That would be far from an improvement.
In the Strv 103, almost uniquely (and the exceptions are really obscure prototypes), the barrel orientation is fixed to the hull in both elevation and traverse. Andy Dingley (talk) 22:04, 23 July 2015 (UTC)
So please defend the claim that this is a tank, and not a tank destroyer. You're appealing to interest in improvement, which we have in common, yet the rest of your statement does nothing to corroborate the claim that it is considered a tank any more than any tank destroyer was in World War II. Further, while you are claiming that the barrel orientation is fixed to the hull in both elevation and traverse, the rest of the article claims (by using the term gun laying, even) that the gun in fact can be depressed or raised. Removal or correction of a false claim is indeed improvement. D. F. Schmidt (talk) 18:17, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
The gun is laid onto the target by using the tracks and adjusting the vehicle suspension. Not having a turret no more makes it not a tank, than having a turret makes the M10 tank destroyer or the Charioteer tank destroyer tanks. GraemeLeggett (talk) 18:27, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
I'm not here to "defend claims", that's what the sources are for. Please read them.
The barrel here is fixed. Laying and training are both done by moving the hull (and only by moving the hull). Unusually (and uniquely well for the Strv 103) the transmission and active suspension were equipped to do this easily. There are plenty of other assault guns with casemate mounts, but as these have neither the precision of the slewing transmission control nor any suspension control, their casemates have to have a small amount of movement (in both axes) for precision in laying.
A handful of '50s tank destroyer prototypes did something similar, mostly because they were fielding particularly large calibres and autoloaders were becoming of interest. See the FV4401 Contentious for another one with a fixed elevation mount and active suspension, but in this case with some traverse in the mount. Andy Dingley (talk) 19:48, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
The main difference between an MBT and a tank destroyer is mostly doctrinal. It is not a well-defined concept and the Wikipedia entry explains it poorly, so I'll do my best here. A tank destroyer was almost a dedicated tank-killer which was dependent on other arms for its own protection. If tanks came with company (i.e. soft targets) they were screwed as the tank destroyer security elements were not equipped to deal with the scale of the threat. The MBT is an all-purpose platform who's primary goal is to destroy the combined-arms integrity of the enemy. [1] So whether this was an MBT or a tank destroyer cannot be determined from a surface-level inspection of the specs alone. Most experts call this an MBT and I can definitely see it being deployed that way. Mark Schierbecker (talk) 08:11, 25 July 2015 (UTC)
We go by what the reputable sources say. They say the S-tank is a tank, that's what we report. The Tank Museum website puts it under MBTs by the way. GraemeLeggett (talk) 18:12, 25 July 2015 (UTC)
Indeed. So can we reduce the claim to what the source indicates. Sadly the Tank Museum website you refer to--if it's at http://www.tankmuseum.org/home --does not seem to list this tank under Stridsvagn or 103 (I did a search for each), so I cannot possibly confirm your source without buying a book I'll probably never look at again. So I don't know what the claims are as the basis for placing it as a MBT, but I'm pretty sure the claim doesn't include gun laying as that means it would include all casemate AFVs. So it must be something else. Perhaps it's the function and doctrine. If so, let's limit the scope of the claims to that. I won't claim that this is a tank destroyer; I'll just say that a bird isn't a bird because it has wings. You wouldn't say that all things (say, helicopters for example) that have wings are birds. And you wouldn't say that all things that wiggle are snakes; some are worms or legless lizards. So again: sure it has unique gun laying ability, but can we dispense with the claim that it's a tank because of gun laying? D. F. Schmidt (talk) 18:59, 28 July 2015 (UTC)
No. We describe it as an MBT because that's what sources, from Jane's to Bovington describe is as. It's an MBT because it's unique gun laying ability gives it the capabilities of an MBT within contemporary Swedish doctrine. Andy Dingley (talk) 19:18, 28 July 2015 (UTC)
Other than the difference of using the suspension to lay the gun to distinguish it from the usual casemate mount on TDs, there is no reason to treat this style of laying the gun as advancing the argument that it is a tank. As I said: I don't object that it's called an MBT. I object that this is cited as a reason to call it one. And it doesn't help that the source is one that the world doesn't have access to. D. F. Schmidt (talk) 19:22, 28 July 2015 (UTC)
It doesn't matter if a source is not easily gotten hold of (WP:SOURCEACCESS). So long as it is possible for someone to verify it if required. With ref to Bovington, it's curious that it doesn't appear in the search (it seems the collection itself doesn't), but if you use Museum Online and then Vehicles then use the dropdown list it is there as "Stridsvagn 103 S" [2]. GraemeLeggett (talk) 20:30, 28 July 2015 (UTC)
The Tank Museum has got a couple of things wrong, they say two machine guns as secondary armament but the S carried three FN GPMG (Ksp 58), two fixed and one moveable, and the top speed is listed as 50 kph, but I have clocked (by driving right behind them for 10-15 miles) a whole column of S tanks doing a steady 70 kph on a main highway in Southern Sweden. Thomas.W talk 21:05, 28 July 2015 (UTC)

At the beginning of this section I proposed a change to the wording. The basis is that the message is antithetic but the text doesn't acknowledge that it is. Earlier in the lede it reviews how the tank lays its gun. Following this, the wording seems to think that in the way it lays its gun it is more like a traditional MBT than a TD. On the other hand, traditional MBTs have a turret which makes it far more flexible than this tank does. Even a TD has more flexibility than this tank (except, of course, the fact that the entire tank moves more flexibly than a traditional TD).

That said, I removed the text that is antithetic so that the message is more congruent. Somewhat expectedly, Andy Dingley reverted my edit with the explanation Restoring this. This is the difference between the S and the casemate assault guns. See the reversion. I don't see how telling the truth in this case improves the message of the sentence while implying it is more like traditional tanks in that its gun is mounted less flexibly than a casemate TD. Excuse me; I'm rambling because I'm not sure what makes sense anymore. D. F. Schmidt (talk) 23:32, 28 July 2015 (UTC)

Why is your opinion of this tank at variance to all other sources?
Yes, it is a casemate AFV. Other casemate AFVs are considered as assault guns or tank destroyers. However this is not the same, it has a unique ability for rapid, powered gun laying. This, within Swedish doctrine of the period, makes it usable for the MBT role. It doesn't mean it's the same as other MBTs or even as good as other MBTs (although it gains other advantages of low height, an autoloader and the resultant reduced crew workload), but it does mean that it can be an MBT. The independent sources agree on this and describe it as such. There is simply no question to answer here. Andy Dingley (talk) 00:17, 29 July 2015 (UTC)
I've made another change to the lede. What I'm noticing here is that everyone seems to think that you can't improve on truth. My opinion is that the truth--as stated at the top of this thread--is muddy. Point out to me where I said it can't be an MBT. If you can do that, I will reverse my opinion from that statement where I asserted that. On the other hand, due to the fact that the gun laying is similar to traditional TDs (under the conventional wisdom--bear in mind that this gun laying is unique in the world of AFVs), expansion is required to explain that despite this gun laying, not as a matter of natural course this is indeed a tank. My point has always been that we need a better explanation of how this AFV can be thought of as a tank, not to dismiss its role as a main battle tank. D. F. Schmidt (talk) 00:35, 29 July 2015 (UTC)
Gun laying here is the polar opposite of the other casemate AFVs. Some of the best known of these are the WWII German StuG assault guns and the Soviet heavy calibre tank destroyers. Both of these are used in a tactical discipline that only operates with attack by advance, and so their limitations are diminished; by always driving towards the enemy, their need for traverse is relaxed. Compared to other turreted MBTs of similar calibre, they actually traversed quite a bit faster than the heavy turrets did, making them more capable of rapid fire from the short halt.
The S tank is the opposite. It is a defensive AFV, intended only for the defence of a homeland. Attacks were predicted and their directions constrained by mining. The S tanks would be dug in (and had a dozer blade to prepare their own positions) and would await the advance. During combat, they would use shoot-and-scoot tactics, retreating gradually across the large spaces available and fighting a war of attrition. Their nearest analogue would be the WWII British Archer.
What is an MBT? As interminably discussed, it's a three-way compromise between protection, mobility and firepower.[1] The S tank is relatively central within this, biased towards mobility. It's not even really possible to define the "MBT" and its features without also qualifying this by its decade. Generally it's an armoured, mobile direct-fire vehicle capable of attacking and defending itself against similar vehicles. It can engage both hard and soft targets. Perhaps the first modern MBT, the very effectively generalist Centurion, was used as hill-climbing artillery in the Korean War. The next generation, Chieftain, "started a trend towards tank destroyers in tank's clothing which the Americans and the Germans followed."[1] Note too that (being British) it did so with firepower and protection, not with mobility, rather in contrast to your view of tank destroyers given here. Yet who would challenge either of these as MBTs? All the S tank does is to choose a different place within the compromise triangle. Yes, it's more of a tank destroyer than it is an infantry support weapon, but so are so many other MBTs of the era. The Swedes recognised that. When developing supplementary AFVs they looked extensively at designs with lightly protected hulls and exposed main gun mounts: compromising survivability in a tank-on-tank battle but providing the infantry support artillery that the S tank was unable to provide.[1]
The S tank became obsolete, and rather faster than other MBTs, because the game changed. A low visibility profile is of no use if it has a gas turbine engine in a cold climate, once thermal sensors appear on the battlefield. Nor does a low hull profile protect against helicopter attack. It's not even much use against ATGWs. Andy Dingley (talk) 01:51, 29 July 2015 (UTC)
We persist in misunderstanding each other. But considering your research and the fact that it seems to explain what I've felt that this article lacked, it sounds a lot to me like you should find a way to incorporate this into the text of the article.
In the matter of your statement that "Gun laying here is the polar opposite of the other casemate AFVs", I think it's a little disingenuous. The S tank would be in a defensive posture as opposed to assault guns, but the process of aiming was rather similar. They couldn't, for example, aim at a target at their 9 o'clock, now could they.
Now my understanding has come around to realize that the S tank uses its suspension to elevate and depress its gun, and I've always understood that it has only its tracks to traverse, but both the S tank and TDs (at least in WW2) lack a 360-degree turret. If TDs and assault guns usually had a wide traverse, they are never portrayed as doing so; certainly no more than 90 degrees left and right. So in order to aim at their target, they too would have to traverse with their tracks. True, that on the charge they wouldn't generally have to, but if they were ambushed they would. No different from the S tank. That is what I've been describing as a common way (or at least an apparently common way) to lay gun. Both would have to face their target. The purpose of its presence and its target are another matter altogether. Just as non-turreted ships would have to yaw to traverse their guns, the S tank would have to traverse. That has always been why I've been associating the two, and why in my opinion the lede begged more explanation. D. F. Schmidt (talk) 02:08, 29 July 2015 (UTC)
I'd say the confusion stems from that the 103 is NOT a turret-less tank, but a tracked turret. BP OMowe (talk) 01:37, 12 December 2015 (UTC)

This discussion appears to periodically descend into unfruitful sophistry, but I would nevertheless like to add a few points: It has been proposed that the S-tank is an MBT because it is defined as such by the Tank Museum. On the other hand, it has been admitted that there is no strict definition of what an MTB actually is. It has also been argued that what defines an tank, tank destroyer or assault gun is its proposed use rather than its physical-mechanical properties. If we start from the beginning, the first tanks were developed to break down barbed wire obstacles and give fire support to infantry attacking entrenched positions in the First World War; the capability to fight other tanks was secondary since originally the enemy (the Central Powers) had no tanks and even later only had few. Many of the first tanks also had no turret. Between the wars came a plethora of designs with weights ranging from very light to very heavy and armament ranging from one or two machine guns (e.g., PzKpfw 1) to multiple cannon and machine guns (e.g., T-28). At the beginning of WW2 there were lightly and heavily armored types armed with small-caliber anti-tank guns (PzKpfw 3, Matilda 2) that could offer little support to the infantry against soft targets due to the small weight of their projectiles. On the other hand there were dedicated infantry support assault guns that could be either turretless (e.g., StuG 3 Ausf. A) or turreted (e.g., PzKpfw 4 Ausf. A), mounting large-caliber, low-velocity guns with limited effect against armor. Eventually, guns on both tanks and assault guns developed toward long-barreled large-caliber types with anti-armor capabilities. In effect, originally dedicated assault guns like the StuG 3 and the PzKpfw 4 became more "tank-destroyer-like". Many tanks like the Tiger II were designed from the start with a primary anti-armor role and were way too expensive and sophisticated to be used as mere mobile artillery. As far as the "role" goes, you cannot distinguish between turreted and turretless "tank destroyers" (in fact, the Swedes had a turreted tank destroyer called the "Infanterikanonvagn 91" that was partly coeval with the S-tank). The argument presented above that the StuGs were used "in a tactical discipline that only operates with attack by advance" is not true; the StuG 3 Ausf. G was used defensively against Soviet armor with good effect by, e.g., the Finns during the massive Soviet attack on the Karelian Isthmus in 1944. In other words, it was used in exactly the same role that the S-tank was designed for, in spite of having originally been designed as assault gun. Now does this make the StuG 3 a tank, a tank destroyer, or an assault gun? If an archaeologist digs up an S-tank in 2300 AD, would he be able to judge what its designated combat role would have been or would he simply classify it along with the other turretless types, in spite of its novel aiming mechanism?

The single mechanical feature that separates the S-tank not only from all other tanks but also from all other kinds of gun-carrying armored vehicles is the fact that the gun is fixed and is aimed by moving the whole chassis. This, rather than thermal sensors and helicopters, is what made it obsolete: a fixed barrel cannot be gyrostabilized, in other words, the S-tank cannot fire on the move as all current MTBs can. This means that once it leaves its prepared dugout, an S-tank is a sitting duck since a following enemy tank can fire on it while on the move while the S-tank would have to stop and adjust its hull position before it could shoot back. With modern tanks doing 50+ mph, the S-tanker's best bet would be to bail out and run rather than attempting to drive to safety once the original defensive line was breached. The S-tank was never used in a real situation, so we do not know how its use doctrine might have changed once its utility in actual combat was established. My guess is that using them as mobile anti-tank guns in hull-down positions would have been quickly abandoned and they would have been relegated to behind-the-lines artillery in locations where they could withdraw before coming under fire from enemy tanks.--Death Bredon (talk) 15:24, 18 December 2015 (UTC)

They were pretty useless as artillery as they had no indirect fire capability. They didn't have the elevation to make this useful, so they weren't equipped with indirect sights to make it possible. This is one of the reasons the British didn't like them on trials. Andy Dingley (talk) 15:47, 18 December 2015 (UTC)

References

  1. ^ a b c Richard Simpkin (1981). "No speed please, we're British". In Col. John Weeks. Jane's 1981–82 Military Annual. Jane's. pp. 41–51. ISBN 0-7106-0137-9. 
First of all it is laughable that a modern tank can do 50mph + on a battlefield. Notwithstanding the rough ride that even the most sophisticated suspension could not fully alleviate, charging across a battlefield like that would be suicide against an opponent with similarly armed and armoured tanks (see my entry in the talk section on the Challenger 2 tank on the value of high speed versus high acceleration to moderate speed). Second of all, what was the S-Tank designed to do? If it was designed with the sole purpose of destroying heavy armour then it is a tank destroyer. If it was designed with a dual role, or even secondary, infantry fire-support role then it should be classed as a MBT. The fact it does not have a turret or three-axis gun stabilization is neither here or there if it can adequately fulfill its designed roles.

Andy Loates:: — Preceding unsigned comment added by Loates Jr (talkcontribs) 15:45, 23 December 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Request[edit]

Now that these AFVs are out of service, where does one go to see one?

Basesurge (talk) 11:21, 29 December 2015 (UTC)

Bovington has one. I expect that the Swedes have a few, in whatever they have as tank museums. I doubt there's one on display in the US. Andy Dingley (talk) 16:52, 29 December 2015 (UTC)

MBT, TD or SPAT?[edit]

There is a great deal of debate in here about whether the S-Tank should be best classified as a 'tank destroyer' or 'MBT'. First of all I will raise issue with the term 'tank destroyer', as this was a uniquely American term to convey an element of offensive "esprit de corps" to what were essentially turreted light tanks fitted with anti-tank guns ( I refer of course to the M10/M36 and M18). The comment in an earlier section stating that Tank Destroyers did not have turreted weapons (quote from above: "but both the S tank and TDs (at least in WW2) lack a 360-degree turret") is blatantly false and in fact the reverse is true, all purpose-designed tank destroyers ("TDs") had a turreted main armament, as only the US Army operated "tank destroyers", i.e. the M10/M36 and M18 gun motor carriages (GMC). (Even when the British used the M10 GMC it was officially referred to as an SPM - self-propelled mount).

All other similarly roled main-gun AFVs designed or adapted from existing designs were either assault guns (StuG III short), or self-propelled anti-tank guns/assault guns (StuG III long, StuG IV, Panzerjager Marder series, Panzerjager 38t 'Hetzer', Jagdpanzer IV (A)/(V), Jagdpanther and Jagdtiger, and the British Archer 17pdr SPM) and all without exception had a casemate mounted main gun with very limited traverse. When tasked to destroy enemy armour, they were used as essentially defensive weapons, either to protect the flanks of an attack or in concealment to defend a position against an enemy attack.

Looking more at the Allied side, the British Charioteer and Sherman/Firefly conversions were attempts to up-gun existing traditional medium tank designs to specifically engage the German Panther and Tiger tanks. Should these types also be considered SPATs rather than medium or cruiser tanks, given the fact the mediocre high-explosive capability of the 17pdr was considered irrelevant and that their sole job was to effectively engage their Wehrmacht opposites at longer and more survivable battle ranges?

As for the American tank destroyer concept, that the idea of sending a tank destroyer unit out to hunt down an enemy tank breach ("seek, strike, destroy" the motto of the Tank Destroyer Command) was an abject failure can be testified to by the fact that immediately after the cessation of hostilities in 1945 the command was disbanded and its equipment (M10/M36 and M18) sold off under the Military Assistance Program to friendly governments, their role within the US Army as anti-armour support for infantry divisions taken over by adding a tank battalion to each division.

Getting back to the S-Tank; irrespective of its layout, if the S-Tank was capable of fulfilling the roles of a 'generic' MBT then it too should be classed as an MBT. If it was only capable of being used against enemy AFV in the direct-fire role then it should more correctly be type-classified as a self-propelled anti-tank gun (note: NOT a 'tank destroyer'!).

IMHOLoates Jr (talk) 13:43, 6 January 2016 (UTC)Andy LoatesLoates Jr (talk) 13:43, 6 January 2016 (UTC)

The British also used tank destroyers (Archer, Achilles & Wolverine in WWII), the name "tank destroyer" was widely used in relation to them even though the official title was SPG and their doctrine was broadly the same as that of the US tank destroyers.
For the S-tank though, it matters not what we think or how it was to be used, but how WP:RS have already named it. They have called it a tank and included it with MBT. Maybe they're wrong. But Janes' is RS and I'm not, so their description gets to stick. Andy Dingley (talk) 13:57, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
On a point of pedantry the British SPATs (Achilles/Wolverine/M10 SPM, whatever you wish to call them, and that itself is a cause of confusion!) and Archer were all operated by the Corps of Artillery, and were traditionally referred to by their crews simply as 'guns', not tank destroyers or even SPATs. During the Second World War only the American Army routinely used the phrase 'tank destroyer'. This latter term has come into more widespread use post WW2, in particular since the introduction of anti-tank missile armed vehicles.

Loates Jr (talk) 14:11, 6 January 2016 (UTC)

For the record, I'm the one that said that TDs generally didn't have a turret. It is because in my exposure to WW2 equipment, somehow German equipment shines brighter and is more celebrated, and their TDs did not have a 360-degree turret (for indeed, they were not MBTs and if they weren't SP infantry guns or SP artillery guns, they are probably TDs--functionally, of course; if you want to pedantically debate naming of things, German tanks weren't tanks either, but Panzerwagen, armored wagons or armored cars). American TDs did have a 360-degree turret, but that is not a defining feature of TDs, and on the flip side no main battle tank has casemate guns, so discussing American TDs is not fruitful here.
Also for the record, I concede that, as Andy Dingley has noted, there are more reliable sources than me, but the composition of the part of the lede that discussed why it is an MBT instead of a TD was miserable and needed work. D. F. Schmidt (talk) 23:05, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
Again, I feel I must raise issue with you; the "Tank Destroyer" (or "TD") was a weapon or unit unique to the United States Army and designed to fill a specific niche found only within that army. The term 'Tank Destroyer', and its abbreviation 'TD' was an Army Ground Force term applied to a weapon system or Army combat unit intended solely to engage an enemy tank force, and for which every other army would use anti-tank guns, or in the case of the Waffenamt, 'tank stalkers/tank hunters/tank defeating gun' (panzerjager/jagdpanzer/PaK). The term Tank Destroyer was a contrived name to imbue an offensive philosophy into what were, or should have been, purely defensive weapons. This was one of the reasons the basic design of US self-propelled anti-tank guns had such inherent flaws. The Germans did not use anything remotely like a 'tank destroyer'; indeed the very philosophy driving the flawed tank destroyer concept demanded the very vehicles the TDC ended up with; poorly protected, size and complexity of medium tanks, mediocre main gun in an open-topped turret. I understand this may seem verging on pedantry but it must be understood the very name 'Tank Destroyer' was what we would today call a 'brand' and not a type of weapon. In overall design, layout, armour protection, gun power and mobility, the American Tank Destroyers were nothing more than lightly-armoured medium tanks. In any other army, with first-hand experience of tank fighting, these designs would never have seen the light of day such was the artificial and contrived doctrine of the US Army's Tank Destroyer Command.
As for translating German designations into English, be very careful here. The full designation of German tanks was Panzerkampfwagen (PzKpfw) which most accurately translates as 'armoured fighting vehicle' not 'armoured wagon' or 'amoured car'; further, each chassis had a Sdkfw (sonderkampfwagen) number, this translates best, though not accurately, as 'special purpose fighting vehicle'. What I am trying to get across here is that panzer = armour = tank = protected, depending on context, whereas 'Tank Destroyer' specifically refers to either the equipment used by, or the designation of US Army anti-tank battalions, towed or self-propelled. I know, I'm a Sheldon Cooper when it comes to military nomenclature; but please, if we're talking about weapons specifically designed to defeat tanks, call them what they are generically speaking: anti-tank weapons; NOT some American name given to a contrived and fanciful doctrine which had no bearing on the realities of a modern battlefield using designs no other army would even consider unless they had little option.
with repsects, Andy L Loates Jr (talk) 13:25, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
What I'm hearing is the term "tank destroyer" was a brand name, so to speak, propaganda for a lightly armored medium tank to sell it as a weapon that can be used offensively against tanks. And that the doctrine of this use of these weapons was nominally (but not effectively) used by the U.S. Army. So what did they use TDs for? I suppose what you're saying is that a more functional (not branding) term is a lightly armored vehicle with a gun fitting the grade of a medium tank. (Except some of their TDs had 90-mm guns, far more powerful than a medium tank.)
As you say, only U.S. produced such tools with 360-degree mounts.
I'm also hearing that other armies used guns on self-propelled mounts and basically called them SPMs or SPGs or that sort of thing. Pretty much every army--including the U.S.--used these.
Pardon me for forgetting the kampf part of PzKpfw. And the translation I used before, I admit now, is a calque, as Panzer + (Kampf) + Wagen would be "armor"/"armored" + ("battle"/"fight") + "car"/"wagon". Practical use of each of the terms could influence a different translation.
And as translations go, Panzerkampfwagen -> armored fighting vehicle as Panzerjaeger (armor hunter) -> tank destroyer.
As for anything else, lots of video games I've been exposed to refer to German (and other armies') armored gun mounts as TDs, for classification purposes at least. And as much as you're talking about the early short-gun StuG III, I would not consider that a TD--doctrinally it's an SPIG.
So, (nominally) doctrinally U.S. TDs were marketed as offensive weapons to destroy tanks but (according to you) never saw service in that function, so we can throw it out as a functional classification unless other armored vehicles could indeed fill that role. If none can, we can just dismiss it as a functional term and call all non-MBT vehicles with armor-piercing guns "TD".
All told, if what you've said about the U. S. Army's use of TDs is true, this becomes a question that leads to no answer satisfying to any participant. Perhaps I can't speak for others: Me, I find it no longer worth pursuing an argument when terms are so ill defined. D. F. Schmidt (talk) 21:17, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
" only U.S. produced such tools with 360-degree mounts."
Apart from the British Achilles, Wolverine, Avenger, Sherman Firefly, Challenger, Charioteer, Caernarvon and Conqueror.
The later ones are arguable, as they were armoured to MBT standards. Their guns were also dual-purpose, after the lessons of early WWII. However they were still dispersed across tank regiments, specifically tasked for the AT role, and carried little, if any, HE. Centurions they were not. The 17pdrs certainly, in all but name, were "tank destroyers" as much as anything the US produced. Andy Dingley (talk) 22:42, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
It doesn't matter what individual editors think they should be called, we go by what reliable sources call them. If Jane's says tank, that's pretty much the end of it. (Hohum @) 14:34, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
Agreed, Hohum, Janes IS the definitive source for what the S-Tank should be classed as, as you quite rightly point out.
As far as the US Tank destroyer concept and how it differs from most other WW2 armies idea of defence (rather that pre-emptive attack) against enemy armour, the main thrust as far as I can interpret is in its essential philosophy, much of which was gleaned from innaccurate or downright false intelligence based on the defeat of France in 1940 and the French conclusions as how the Wehrmachts panzer force could have been stopped. In essence, the US Army was struggling to find a way to halt future attacks by massed German tanks, and certain assumptions were made (that were almost Japanese in thinking) in deciding what the enemy was likely to do in battle. It can be agued that HAD the Germans attacked with nothing but massed waves of panzers, HAD those panzers broken through friendly lines and maintained their unit cohesion, and HAD the US Army a conveniently located Tank Destroyer battalion, then the outcome may well have been what the US Army hoped for; a massed furball of German tanks being assaulted by a powerful force of medium-tank sized vehicles armed with guns sufficiently powerful to engage those panzers yet remain conveniently out of range of the panzers own guns. In the end the TDC forgot, or ignored, several key issues that held true by the time the US Army was in the field in sufficient strength to encourage such a battle.
First was that allied airpower precluded the ability of the Wehrmacht to mount such attacks. Second, the 'blitzkrieg' concept required the use of all-arms formations; panzers, motorized or mechanized infantry, light and medium artillery barrages behind friendly lines, and a plethora of automatic small arms and motars, and where possible, close air support. Third (and this is vitally important when analysing the relative success or lack thereof of the Tank Destroyer doctrine), a lack of appreciation of the ongoing armour/gun race taking place as a result of the war in other theatres, in particular on Germany's eastern front. (To demonstrate this it might be worth noting that when the Sherman tank first saw combat in the Western Desert in the hands of the British 8th Army in late 1942 it was considered by all sides as one of the best all-round tanks in terms of protection, gun-power and automotive reliability. Yet by the time of the Normandy invasion in 1944 the US Army was invading France with essentially the same tank, whereas the German panzers were almost a whole generation ahead in terms of protection and gun power. On the other hand the British were already developing a 17 pdr anti-tank gun whilst the earlier 6 pdr was still being introduced into service, this new gun entered limited service in early 1943, while the Germans were introducing the Tiger tank to the Tunisian campaign).
When you realize the 3inch and 76mm guns of the M10 and M18 respectively offered little better armour penetration than the bog-standard 75mm gunned M4 in 1944, you understand why German Panzerjager and jagdpanzers (true self-propelled anti-tank guns) were so much better than their equivalent US TD opponents, both in fighting ability and doctrinal use. Of course, the introduction of the 76mm gunned Sherman in August 1944 in response to the panzer threat in France should have rendered the similarly armed M10/M18 obsolescent; you basically have your medium tank armed with the same gun as the less well-protected tank destroyer!
In the words of a senior American officer at the time, what the US Army needed was a killer tank, not a tank killer.

A very good analysis of the Tank Destoyer arm can be found here:

http://tankdestroyer.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=166:seek-strike-and-destroy-us-army-tank-destroyer-doctrine-in-world-war-ii&Itemid=86

Finally, sorry for taking this discussion so far off-topic as to be unrecognisable; my ego (and disdain of the Tank Destroyer concept), has once again got the better of me!Loates Jr (talk) 14:07, 8 January 2016 (UTC)

There were three different US 76mm guns fitted to the Sherman and the tank destroyers, varying by barrel length. They had quite different performance. Andy Dingley (talk) 19:55, 8 January 2016 (UTC)
Unfortunately the the 3inch gun carried by the M10 and 76mm guns by the M4 (76) and M18 did not offered sufficient improvement in armour penetration to the 75mm carried by the original M4. That's why so many US commanders were so disappointed with their performance against the latest German armour. It wasn't until the tungsten-cored rounds for the 76mm guns became available in early 1945 that they were able to achieve a decent chance of knocking out enemy armour at 'normal' battle ranges. It's for the same reason the 3inch gun on the M10 was replaced by the 90mm as a matter of urgency after D-day.143.167.143.33 (talk) 14:10, 11 January 2016 (UTC)