Although the prevailing view that Allied tanks were overwhelmingly outclassed by their German counterparts in Normandy has been challenged elsewhere (see Chapter 5), there is little doubt that the armour available to 21st Army Group was not ideal. Shortcomings were apparent, most notably the weakness in Allied armoured firepower, and even though the reliable and dependable Shermans and Cromwells performed admirably in the exploitation phase from mid-August onwards, it was not until 1945 that truly competitive designs began to be introduced into frontline units. Ultimately, although the ‘tank gap’ was by no means as significant or as pronounced as claimed in some works, it remains the case that Allied tanks were deficient in a critical area, and any analysis of the employment of armour in Normandy requires this to be explained.