|It sometimes seems that America learned the wrong lessons about armored vehicle development in WWII. Since our main tank was underarmored and undergunned during most of our participation in the war, we seem to have developed an aversion to "good enough" weapon designs during the post war period. We try to sqeeze the last tiny bit of armor and weapon performance out of every design. As aresult we often end up with development programs that are delayed by specifications that were unachievable to begin with and which change while the weapon is being developed, and which are plagued by cost over-runs as a result. In the case of the Stryker it seems we have ended up with designs that also overshoot weight limits, and an AGS version that is too powerful for the chassis it is based on. The unwillingness to mount a low pressure gun on the AGS seems to be part of an unwillingness to mount anything less than a MBT gun on its light tanks ever since WWII.
Although undergunned and armored compared to enemy tanks, the Sherman was extremely successful at exploiting breakouts because of its good mobility and rugged reliability. We fixate on the difference in guns and armor between the Sherman and its German opposition because these are easy to compare, and because every tanker lost to enemy fire is a painful tragedy. It is much harder to compare factors like mobility and reliability, especially since being on the defensive generally did not make the gross deficiencies that late war German armor suffered in these areas particularly apparent, and because it is harder to project what effects reductions in mobility in favor of armor and firepower would have had on the success of American armor. We attribute our success to "quantity vs. quality", yet I see no evidence that quality--in terms of gun power and armor strength--was a decisive factor in any major battle in WWII or since. In my view the key factors have always been crew training and tactics, operational initiative, and the support of a strong combined arms team. Am I wrong?