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The Truth.... As We Know It


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schwert_2015 #321 Posted Feb 27 2015 - 07:58

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Of course, by the time our guys landed in France, the Soviet Union had already won the war in the ETO. The Germans could've pushed us right back in the ocean on day one and still lost the war. By June of '44, it was a question of when they'd lose, not if they'd lose.

Walter_Sobchak #322 Posted Feb 27 2015 - 18:28

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View PostDonward, on Feb 27 2015 - 01:13, said:

 

Wait. What? Panache? Holy Hell, you can complain about Monty for any number of things, but saying that man didn't have panache is about the most insulting thing that you can say about him, considering his affectation towards wearing every conceivable form of uniform and headgear that was humanly possible in the British Army which was rather known for its surfeit of uniform options.

 

 

Does issuing orders while naked count as Panache?  If so, British General Orde Wingate had plenty of Panache.  

 

From Wiki- Wingate was known for various eccentricities. For instance, he often wore an alarm clock around his wrist, which would go off at times, and had raw onions and garlic on a string around his neck, which he would occasionally bite into as a snack (the reason he used to give for this was to ward off mosquitoes). He often went about without clothing. In Palestine, recruits were used to having him come out of the shower to give them orders, wearing nothing but a shower cap, and continuing to scrub himself with a shower brush. Lord Moran, Winston Churchill's personal physician, wrote in his diaries that "[Wingate] seemed to me hardly sane—in medical jargon a borderline case. ]Likewise, referring to Churchill's meeting with Wingate in Quebec, Max Hastings wrote that, "Wingate proved a short-lived protegé: closer acquaintance caused Churchill to realise that he was too mad for high command."



KaiserSchnitzel #323 Posted Feb 27 2015 - 18:51

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View PostDV_Currie_VC, on May 22 2012 - 16:25, said:

I'm reading Max Hasting's book "Armageddon", right now. Puts a new perspective on the end of the war from both sides' point of view, both the eastern and western fronts.
I have it as an ebook, so I'll post a couple of interesting quotes when I get home....

 

OK I realize that I'm quoting a post from 2012, but I just had to do so to confirm how great and engaging this book is. You can find hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of historical accounts of WW2 and the surrounding political and societal issues surrounding the war and the decades before and after, but only a few of them are actually gripping to read. If you haven't picked this one up, you absolutely should.

KaiserSchnitzel #324 Posted Feb 27 2015 - 18:54

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View PostWalter_Sobchak, on Feb 27 2015 - 12:28, said:

 

Does issuing orders while naked count as Panache?  If so, British General Orde Wingate had plenty of Panache.  

 

From Wiki- Wingate was known for various eccentricities. For instance, he often wore an alarm clock around his wrist, which would go off at times, and had raw onions and garlic on a string around his neck, which he would occasionally bite into as a snack (the reason he used to give for this was to ward off mosquitoes). He often went about without clothing. In Palestine, recruits were used to having him come out of the shower to give them orders, wearing nothing but a shower cap, and continuing to scrub himself with a shower brush. Lord Moran, Winston Churchill's personal physician, wrote in his diaries that "[Wingate] seemed to me hardly sane—in medical jargon a borderline case. ]Likewise, referring to Churchill's meeting with Wingate in Quebec, Max Hastings wrote that, "Wingate proved a short-lived protegé: closer acquaintance caused Churchill to realise that he was too mad for high command."

 

This post really tied the thread together. 

ArcherII #325 Posted Jul 17 2015 - 19:16

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You may or may not be a fan of Patton, but the 3rd Army's move North to relieve Bastogne is a military feat that has few comparisons.  This is the coordinated breaking of contact, 90 degree pivot, and movement of personnel, equipment, and logistics train, across a mountain range, in the worst winter on record to that point in the 20th Century, and straight into a movement to contact and assault.......All on mostly verbal orders.

 

I do not think you can over-emphasize what an amazing feat of arms this was.  For an idea of scale....the 3rd Army at that time represents well over 1/2 the size of the current U.S. Army total (hovering at about 480,000).



Zinegata #326 Posted Jul 30 2015 - 09:25

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View PostArcherII, on Jul 18 2015 - 02:16, said:

You may or may not be a fan of Patton, but the 3rd Army's move North to relieve Bastogne is a military feat that has few comparisons.  This is the coordinated breaking of contact, 90 degree pivot, and movement of personnel, equipment, and logistics train, across a mountain range, in the worst winter on record to that point in the 20th Century, and straight into a movement to contact and assault.......All on mostly verbal orders.

 

I do not think you can over-emphasize what an amazing feat of arms this was.  For an idea of scale....the 3rd Army at that time represents well over 1/2 the size of the current U.S. Army total (hovering at about 480,000).

 

Telling an army to "turn left" is not brillance, especially when actual German reports say 3rd Army in fact moved much slower than anticipated.



SweetVictory #327 Posted Jul 31 2015 - 17:02

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http://www.ahgeneral...H_GEN_V14N5.PDF  (see pages 3-6 )

 

OK, it's a gaming magazine ( old-school gaming involving cardboard ) from 1977 but I liked Mr Hill's analysis of the tactical training differences.

 

"There was a famous saying about the Americans from none other than Rommel himself, who said 

'no one is more incompetent in battle than an American, at first, but no one learns faster.'"

 

No sources cited so take it for what it's worth.



Zinegata #328 Posted Aug 04 2015 - 06:37

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View PostSweetVictory, on Aug 01 2015 - 00:02, said:

http://www.ahgeneral...H_GEN_V14N5.PDF  (see pages 3-6 )

 

OK, it's a gaming magazine ( old-school gaming involving cardboard ) from 1977 but I liked Mr Hill's analysis of the tactical training differences.

 

"There was a famous saying about the Americans from none other than Rommel himself, who said 

'no one is more incompetent in battle than an American, at first, but no one learns faster.'"

 

No sources cited so take it for what it's worth.

 

Chit-and-counter wargame are in fact a pretty valuable source of original research. That's because many of the designers, such as Joe Balkoski, are themselves part-time historians. Wargame design also requires much more in-depth analysis than most general histories - going into minutae of weapons, tactics, and the like.

 

That said, Squad Leader is a bit dated as a source. Hill's article still partly holds true today, but sections of it - particularly on the Soviet side - no longer hold up to more modern scholarship and sources. There's also the problem that wargame designers of the 70s tended to be German-biased - partly due to the Cold War demonization of the Soviets, but also because people tend to prefer to play with the "underdog" faction with inferior numbers. In Proud Monster for instance - which simulates the first year of the German-Soviet War - people generally prefer to play the Germans because you will have a handful of units (a dozen or so Panzer Divisions) that can pretty much dance their way all over the map and create enormous pockets of captured Soviet troops. The Soviet player by contrast will be mostly picking up counters to send to the dead unit pile - and to the Soviet player a "good turn" is one wherein he lost "only" 200,000 men. If he manages a turn where he only loses 50,000 men, he should consider himself to be winning.

 

There is also the danger of minutae overshadowing the bigger picture. Throughout most of the article, Hill describes quite accurately that the Germans were big believers in the primacy of the Light Machinegun (LMG) in squad-level infantry combat; and how it was very effective against blobs of infantry. The problem, which most commentators don't realize, is that machineguns require an enormous amount of ammunition and logistical tail. A German Infantry Division, at the start of Operation Barbarossa, had 16,000 men under its command. Yet of these 16,000 men, less than 3,000 (!) were actually riflemen (10 riflemen in a squad, 3 squads in a platoon, 3 platoons in a company, 3 companies in a battalion, 3 battalions in a regiment, and 3 regiments in a Division = 2,430). Even adding in other "frontline" troops - e.g. anti-tank guns crews, heavy machine gun crews, etc - and you will have a "bayonet" strength of only around 6,000-8,000 men. The rest were in fact focused on support duties - particularly artillery and logistics to make sure all the LMGs have enough ammunition to begin with.

 

The Soviets by contrast wanted to mirror the German method almost exactly. Their official 1941 Infantry Division had 17,000 men and was almost a mirror image of the German version. Even at the squad level, the Red Army infantry squad was in fact supposed to have their own LMG.

 

The problem, which has only recently come to light, is that the Russian formations in fact were deficient in heavy weapons and logistics. The Soviets could not afford to arm each squad with an LMG, or to have a logistics network as extensive as the equivalent German formation to supply the machineguns in the first place. This was why by 1942 the Soviet Infantry Division had been reduced to an official size of only 6,000 to 10,000 men - the vast majority of whom were frontline personnel with no real logistics or artillery support. This meant that a Soviet Division at this point was largely a mass of riflemen - very effective if thrown against other riflemen, but would be at a severe disadvantage against a machinegun-armed enemy.

 

Hence, it wasn't "initiative" that defined the German infantry squad. Both sides had both good squad leaders and bad ones. The big difference for the Germans in fact was they could afford to use a lot of heavy weapons - supported by logistics - to inflict casualties on an enemy that could not really afford to equip its troops with machine guns (even if they had them, the Soviet infantry had no logistics to keep the guns supplied). The German infantry was thus not really the "underdog" - they were a modern army facing an enemy that was fighting on a level closer to the Franco-Prussian War. That the Soviets won anyway was a testament to the bloody-minded determination of the Soviet people.

 

Unfortunately to the present this is still not widely recognized, in favor of the Tom Clancy "Soviet hordes with inflexible thinking" fanfiction; which was born largely out of NATO's wishful thinking that it wasn't going to be completely obliterated in a conventional ground war in Europe.


Edited by Zinegata, Aug 04 2015 - 06:44.


Thissler #329 Posted Aug 25 2015 - 19:08

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I didn't think the german generals really had any idea who Patton was.  Shows what I know!  Good flick though, one of the first movies shown on HBO back in 'the day'.  It was a really big for us kids.  Just watched it again on netflix last week.  Good stuff still.

landedkiller #330 Posted Apr 27 2017 - 05:55

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View PostThe_Chieftain, on May 22 2012 - 13:04, said:


A Bridge Too Far is one of my favourite war movies. Pretty much the last of the Big Screen Epics, with an All Star Cast, it doesn’t try to do much except simply tell what happened. No romantic sub plots, no political commentary, it just goes all-out to bring us the story. There’s a scene near the beginning, where von Rundstedt and Model are discussing if they need to worry about stopping Patton or Montgomery.


“He’s their best. I’d prefer Montgomery, but Eisenhower isn’t that stupid” says von Rundstedt. The whole Monty/Patton argument in general is frequent, and shows up even in the Hatch forum (See the El Alamein thread).
Spoiler

 

The movie documentary done in the 1980's was good but they left out that the m103 were not America's main tank in world war 2 it was the m4 sherman if that wanted to be historically accurate they should have done panzer 3 and 4 mockups at least as they were rare to find intact even then I am sure even more so now. didn't even think the m103's were done till after world war 2 but maybe I am wrong. One of the things that I wish to find is a good live action film on Eisenhower or General Bradley. It's a shame history channel has gone the route of live action shows rather than having some live action and some documentaries like they used to. If you know a good documentary or live action film please let me know thanks

Sad_But_Drew #331 Posted May 04 2017 - 02:44

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View PostZinegata, on Aug 04 2015 - 00:37, said:

 

Chit-and-counter wargame are in fact a pretty valuable source of original research. That's because many of the designers, such as Joe Balkoski, are themselves part-time historians. Wargame design also requires much more in-depth analysis than most general histories - going into minutae of weapons, tactics, and the like.

 

That said, Squad Leader is a bit dated as a source. Hill's article still partly holds true today, but sections of it - particularly on the Soviet side - no longer hold up to more modern scholarship and sources. There's also the problem that wargame designers of the 70s tended to be German-biased - partly due to the Cold War demonization of the Soviets, but also because people tend to prefer to play with the "underdog" faction with inferior numbers. In Proud Monster for instance - which simulates the first year of the German-Soviet War - people generally prefer to play the Germans because you will have a handful of units (a dozen or so Panzer Divisions) that can pretty much dance their way all over the map and create enormous pockets of captured Soviet troops. The Soviet player by contrast will be mostly picking up counters to send to the dead unit pile - and to the Soviet player a "good turn" is one wherein he lost "only" 200,000 men. If he manages a turn where he only loses 50,000 men, he should consider himself to be winning.

 

There is also the danger of minutae overshadowing the bigger picture. Throughout most of the article, Hill describes quite accurately that the Germans were big believers in the primacy of the Light Machinegun (LMG) in squad-level infantry combat; and how it was very effective against blobs of infantry. The problem, which most commentators don't realize, is that machineguns require an enormous amount of ammunition and logistical tail. A German Infantry Division, at the start of Operation Barbarossa, had 16,000 men under its command. Yet of these 16,000 men, less than 3,000 (!) were actually riflemen (10 riflemen in a squad, 3 squads in a platoon, 3 platoons in a company, 3 companies in a battalion, 3 battalions in a regiment, and 3 regiments in a Division = 2,430). Even adding in other "frontline" troops - e.g. anti-tank guns crews, heavy machine gun crews, etc - and you will have a "bayonet" strength of only around 6,000-8,000 men. The rest were in fact focused on support duties - particularly artillery and logistics to make sure all the LMGs have enough ammunition to begin with.

 

The Soviets by contrast wanted to mirror the German method almost exactly. Their official 1941 Infantry Division had 17,000 men and was almost a mirror image of the German version. Even at the squad level, the Red Army infantry squad was in fact supposed to have their own LMG.

 

The problem, which has only recently come to light, is that the Russian formations in fact were deficient in heavy weapons and logistics. The Soviets could not afford to arm each squad with an LMG, or to have a logistics network as extensive as the equivalent German formation to supply the machineguns in the first place. This was why by 1942 the Soviet Infantry Division had been reduced to an official size of only 6,000 to 10,000 men - the vast majority of whom were frontline personnel with no real logistics or artillery support. This meant that a Soviet Division at this point was largely a mass of riflemen - very effective if thrown against other riflemen, but would be at a severe disadvantage against a machinegun-armed enemy.

 

Hence, it wasn't "initiative" that defined the German infantry squad. Both sides had both good squad leaders and bad ones. The big difference for the Germans in fact was they could afford to use a lot of heavy weapons - supported by logistics - to inflict casualties on an enemy that could not really afford to equip its troops with machine guns (even if they had them, the Soviet infantry had no logistics to keep the guns supplied). The German infantry was thus not really the "underdog" - they were a modern army facing an enemy that was fighting on a level closer to the Franco-Prussian War. That the Soviets won anyway was a testament to the bloody-minded determination of the Soviet people.

 

Unfortunately to the present this is still not widely recognized, in favor of the Tom Clancy "Soviet hordes with inflexible thinking" fanfiction; which was born largely out of NATO's wishful thinking that it wasn't going to be completely obliterated in a conventional ground war in Europe.

 

I remember ASL cut down quite a bit on the "Soviet Hordes" effect.  The Germans usually ended up with slightly more (and generally better) leaders, but the Russians didn't get stuck with 3 leaders for 48 squads either.

 

But yeah, the biggest issue with most WWII wargames is a sort of silent Wehabooism (if the Germans aren't scary, obviously our system must be wrong).  The Panther has been built to an incredible level in several of these games.  Partially, because it excels in measurable stats, partially because of the warps of the game (it is WAY too easy to guard your side armor in ASL, especially for something like the Panther).  And partly because every round up seemed to favor the Panther (the Turret armor of an ASL Panther is well boosted, as are the sides).  

 

The other issue is the dearth of good operational level systems (where you could see the power of mechanization and the effects of airpower).  It might also show what the German battlegroup system meant (they could throw-together counter-attack forces from several units if needed without too much friction).  It would also show the effect of all those rifleman losses. German "torso" divisions, that can only hold an outpost line) American units being able to continue to attack, but at an every-increasing loss of coordination, British units that simply can't attack more than once.

 

 



Zinegata #332 Posted May 08 2017 - 09:16

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View PostSad_But_Drew, on May 04 2017 - 09:44, said:

 

I remember ASL cut down quite a bit on the "Soviet Hordes" effect.  The Germans usually ended up with slightly more (and generally better) leaders, but the Russians didn't get stuck with 3 leaders for 48 squads either.

 

But yeah, the biggest issue with most WWII wargames is a sort of silent Wehabooism (if the Germans aren't scary, obviously our system must be wrong).  The Panther has been built to an incredible level in several of these games.  Partially, because it excels in measurable stats, partially because of the warps of the game (it is WAY too easy to guard your side armor in ASL, especially for something like the Panther).  And partly because every round up seemed to favor the Panther (the Turret armor of an ASL Panther is well boosted, as are the sides).  

 

The other issue is the dearth of good operational level systems (where you could see the power of mechanization and the effects of airpower).  It might also show what the German battlegroup system meant (they could throw-together counter-attack forces from several units if needed without too much friction).  It would also show the effect of all those rifleman losses. German "torso" divisions, that can only hold an outpost line) American units being able to continue to attack, but at an every-increasing loss of coordination, British units that simply can't attack more than once.

 

 

 

Few games attempt to simulate "hordes" on the tabletop as it greatly increases the playtime. Proud Monster for instance has hundreds of counters on both sides and a full game can be expected to last several days. A lot of the tactical games like ASL tended to keep the unit counts to more manageable levels, which is why you never see the Germans being as horribly outnumbered as they should be in a lot of battles.

 

The other issue here is that dealing with hordes actually tend to be very boring and workmanlike affairs. All the talk about German tactical superiority and maneuver is, quite frankly, largely a pile of nonsense. A company of German riflemen can't stop 3,000 Soviet soldiers by dancing around them. The German company wins by calling down artillery on the Soviets, who end up unable to attack at all as a good proportion of those troops are killed or wounded by the arty fire and the survivors think twice about charging.

 

The only game so far that really embraces the importance and supremacy of artillery and support weapon fire in WW2 is Steel Division, where most players are discovering that "elite" Fallschirmjaeger or a MG42 LMG doesn't really make an infantry squad more survivable in the face of artillery and mortar fire. And inevitably, we get the Wehraboos complaining that their "elite" WhateverTruppen keep dying to the "OP" Allies even though the game actually gives the Germans much more arty and airpower than they had historically for the sake of a balanced game - the Wehraboos quite frankly just don't realize that they should be using these weapons to kill or stop infantry attacks rather than trying to have them go hand-to-hand.






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