This month's graphic gives ammunition to those engaged in any 'best of' conversations around Tanks in WWII.
(I'll try to post some of the previous versions in a week or so - but am v busy with new mac and xmas parties - for US readers, we in the UK go out alot at Christmas Time.The main aim of the graphic is to be able to give people a framework to discuss the virtues of tanks in WWII. It doesn't necessarily seek to be conclusive although I do believe it shows some interesting patterns.
An influential factor was the volume of production undertaken by the US and Russia. This is hinted at but I was wondering if there was any way to show this on the graphic. I decided not as it would have been a distracting variable in this discussion.(rising bars along the years etc)
Life size calibre
I am working on another graphic, to be featured this year hopefully, showing how in the European Air War the Germans (especially) up-gunned to cannon where the US stayed with machine gun calibre bullets. An interesting point in the design is that the calibres of the projectiles are shown real size on the page.
I wondered if this was also possible with the tank calibres and I tried a bunch of different permutations but again, despite looking interesting, they didn't really allow comparison - and they all bled into each other. This would be interesting to put on a wall chart or a larger format display but not here.
Barrel lengths and type of projectile
Some might argue that I have gone for the wrong or over-simplistic variables involved in assessing the effectiveness of tanks. Instead, I want to do some other graphics that explain factors as barrel length and velocity as well as comparing different types of shells and tank gunnery in general.
It does ask wider questions of how much data can be contained in a magazine-spread display as opposed to other media. (there aren't too many that compare with the high resolution of magazine printing - newsprint is poorer for instance.
One could argue that the web is a place for some of these issues - I will address that in a later article but these graphics are staying in print for the foreseeable future.
Taking out the KV2
I had included the KV2 heavy tank - partly because it is such a magnificent looking thing - and it also underlines (and over-illustrates) the Russian commitment to heavy tanks.
Variation in Tank Models within designations
One interesting fact which there was no room to show was the amount of development within Tank Models. There were many makes of the Panzer IV, with new armour and minor tweaks to the gun, iterating the machine towards the next model. There was also a lot of battle field modification at unitlevel, which would not have been noted and so the number of different tanks within seemingly set patterns is much more plentiful than at first seems.
I was thinking of adding a silhouette at the bottom of each 'bar' but at this size, they would not have been useful - and their minimal decorative quality at that size would have served only to distract.
I thought to indicate the weight of the tanks by showing the tracks as darker on the heavier tank - the reasoning being they would leave more of a mark on the page as they went across it - this was a bit too clever/ obtuse and again there was a danger that the graphic could be cluttered by this.