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The Battle of Arracourt


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wkim0628 #1 Posted Jun 28 2011 - 04:24

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So I'm Talking about the biggest tank battle before the Bulge that the Americans fought in.

quoting wikipedia here

Despite an impressive strength on paper, the German 5th Panzer Army order of battle was only 182 tanks (75 Mark IVs and 107 Panthers, although they had an additional 80 armored fighting vehicles such as StuG III assault guns). Although, at full strength, the 4th Armored Division would have fielded 263 tanks, 77 of these were M5 Stuart light tanks that were no match for German tanks or assault guns of 1944.

essentially battle numbers came down to

germans
75 panzer 4
107 panthers
80 stugs

vs

Americans
77 m5s
36 m18s
150 m4 shermans 75mm

outgunned and outmatched, what was the biggest contributer to the american win, considering CAS was unavailable

Der_Schatten #2 Posted Jun 28 2011 - 04:26

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the Germans were low on supplies, cut off from support, and had endured bombing the previous weeks so they were worn out

Amarak #3 Posted Jun 28 2011 - 04:36

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I would say it was piss poor coordination on the part of the Germans in the opening stages and then close air support by the P-47s in the closing stages.

Punisher_1 #4 Posted Jun 28 2011 - 04:47

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View Postwkim0628, on Jun 28 2011 - 04:24, said:

So I'm Talking about the biggest tank battle before the Bulge that the Americans fought in.

quoting wikipedia here

Despite an impressive strength on paper, the German 5th Panzer Army order of battle was only 182 tanks (75 Mark IVs and 107 Panthers, although they had an additional 80 armored fighting vehicles such as StuG III assault guns). Although, at full strength, the 4th Armored Division would have fielded 263 tanks, 77 of these were M5 Stuart light tanks that were no match for German tanks or assault guns of 1944.

essentially battle numbers came down to

germans
75 panzer 4
107 panthers
80 stugs

vs

Americans
77 m5s
36 m18s
150 m4 shermans 75mm

outgunned and outmatched, what was the biggest contributer to the american win, considering CAS was unavailable


Eh there was air support after the second day and and artillery you know a few things left out. Also excellent positions held by U.S. Forces in the defense. Terrain also dictates the course of the battle. It's also unknown the readyness of German equipment prior to the battle.  As for the P-47 I did not find a count of how many tanks they disabled.

Slacker #5 Posted Jun 28 2011 - 06:37

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Reasons

Superior positions of the americans
Surprise ambushes
The fog which limited the german abilities at range forcing the panthers into closer range with the shermans which exposed them to return fire.
Superior coordination and organization as they were fighting as a uniform group while the germans were a mix match of units which were dispersed because of allied bombing.
Air support

xthetenth #6 Posted Jun 28 2011 - 06:43

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The US made superior use of the terrain and weather and did better with their tactics than the Germans. They just straight up outfought the Germans. Get a Sherman in the right place and that 75 can penetrate Panthers. And it did, again and again.

MS_MadMan #7 Posted Jun 28 2011 - 07:34

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Actually, to properly analyze this part you would also have to look at a couple of other things.

The German's supplies we limited due to various reasons.  Of course they were low on supplies, but they also didn't control the town of Bastogne.  If you know your history, then you'd remember that Bastogne was taken by the 101st Airborne.  The 101st held the town and this prevented many of the needed supplies to NOT get to the front lines of the German's.  This led to another reason for the German defeat.

Another reason was that, without supplies, the German troops morale was low.  Think about it!  It was cold and they didn't have proper provisions.  The low morale meant that Patton could charge his 3rd Army into the lines and relieve the 101st at Bastogne after they got air cover.  With them rolling through, plus the American terrain advantage, the American air superiority, and low morale, the battle was as good as lost.

So, there are a few reasons for the German loss there.

Slacker #8 Posted Jun 29 2011 - 01:58

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View Postxthetenth, on Jun 28 2011 - 06:43, said:

The US made superior use of the terrain and weather and did better with their tactics than the Germans. They just straight up outfought the Germans. Get a Sherman in the right place and that 75 can penetrate Panthers. And it did, again and again.

Why for some reason did they do so well here when they normally were defeated by such a force. They normally used inferior tactics and incurred large losses in comparison. Why would they randomly do better this time.

VonKrieg #9 Posted Jun 29 2011 - 02:51

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WW2's matchmaker was broken, the Sherman was buffed due to its poor global exp stats and the Panther was nerfed because of its high damage ratio.

And while this was happening a T-54 broke through the eastern front and circle jerked the Reichstag until the cap timer reached 100 and Germany surrendered.

Hitler immediately logged into the WW2 forum and spammed it with whine posts about arty and Soviet bias.

Expat_Poke #10 Posted Jun 29 2011 - 06:44

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View PostSlacker, on Jun 29 2011 - 01:58, said:

Why for some reason did they do so well here when they normally were defeated by such a force. They normally used inferior tactics and incurred large losses in comparison. Why would they randomly do better this time.

??? Who drove who across France and then into Germany? This wasn't a case of randomly doing better. The cause of larger losses fits with the Americans being on the offensive, even then casualties were fairly even.  As for inferior tactics, there is something to be said about KISS (keeping it simple stupid).  The basics of the holding attack worked well enough and was a response to avoid the killing fields of WWI.  Another bonus was it worked at the platoon level up to army.  Was it perfect, no, but it got the job done.

I don't mean to put down the performance of the German Army and say the American Army was invincible, I just don't get the derogatory comments about the American Army.

I did laugh at VonKrieg's response.

Korbaan #11 Posted Jun 29 2011 - 20:55

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Ever hear the old saying, "amateurs talk about tactics, enthusiasts talk about strategy, professionals talk about logistics"?  The secret to the American success is all about superior logistics.  All the fancy panzers in the world won't help when the tankers are poorly trained due to lack of fuel for training, there's a chronic ammunition shortage, the machines haven't had spare parts or motor oil for three months, and everyone's been half starved for six.

Slacker #12 Posted Jun 30 2011 - 01:06

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View PostExpat_Poke, on Jun 29 2011 - 06:44, said:

??? Who drove who across France and then into Germany? This wasn't a case of randomly doing better. The cause of larger losses fits with the Americans being on the offensive, even then casualties were fairly even.  As for inferior tactics, there is something to be said about KISS (keeping it simple stupid).  The basics of the holding attack worked well enough and was a response to avoid the killing fields of WWI.  Another bonus was it worked at the platoon level up to army.  Was it perfect, no, but it got the job done.

I don't mean to put down the performance of the German Army and say the American Army was invincible, I just don't get the derogatory comments about the American Army.

I did laugh at VonKrieg's response.

This had nothing to do with superior tactics. It had to do with the germans not having enough troops,equipment,supplies and poor morale. The russians drove the germans back and that was not because of superior tactics. It was supplies logistics and overall industrial output. This is why germany lost not because of tactics. Tactics and strategy can give you an initial advantage and are responsible for all of germanies successes. Not superior numbers and better weaponry but better planning.

The germans were lead by the most well educated in the act of war of the time the prussians. They were masters of war and knew how to lead an offensive with less and win. The problem was they got bogged down and got into a stalemate in the eastern front. Thee quick victory was not won this essentially secured germanies fate when the offensive ground to a halt outside moscow. This is why the germans lost the war not the more effective tactics of the Americans.

As for the losses being even you are not factoring in what the germans were fighting with and what they were fighting against. The germans had little to no air support for the vast majority of the western front. They were massively outnumbered under supplied low on fuel and ammo and were not getting any quality reinforcements just old men and young boys. Ehile they were facing the massively numerically superior americans who had huge amounts of air support massive amounts of reinforcements,fuel,food,ammo and spare parts. The fact that the germans did not just completely crumble when the allies landed in france was only because elite troops were taking a rest in france. Had it just been the garrison force they would have shattered and ran.

Slacker #13 Posted Jun 30 2011 - 01:08

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View PostSlacker, on Jun 30 2011 - 01:06, said:

This had nothing to do with superior tactics. It had to do with the germans not having enough troops,equipment,supplies and poor morale. The russians drove the germans back and that was not because of superior tactics. It was supplies logistics and overall industrial output. This is why germany lost not because of tactics. Tactics and strategy can give you an initial advantage and are responsible for all of germanies successes. Not superior numbers and better weaponry but better planning.

The germans were lead by the most well educated in the act of war of the time the prussians. They were masters of war and knew how to lead an offensive with less and win. The problem was they got bogged down and got into a stalemate in the eastern front. The quick victory was not won this essentially secured germanies fate when the offensive ground to a halt outside moscow. This is why the germans lost the war not the more effective tactics of the Americans.

As for the losses being even you are not factoring in what the germans were fighting with and what they were fighting against. The germans had little to no air support for the vast majority of the western front. They were massively outnumbered under supplied low on fuel and ammo and were not getting any quality reinforcements just old men and young boys. while they were facing the massively numerically superior americans who had huge amounts of air support massive amounts of reinforcements,fuel,food,ammo and spare parts. The fact that the germans did not just completely crumble when the allies landed in france was only because elite troops were taking a rest in france. Had it just been the garrison force they would have shattered and ran.


Lezt #14 Posted Jun 30 2011 - 05:03

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you will realize,

the Germans had no scouts, very little intel, very little indirect fire support and no air support.

not knowing what your enemy have, where your enemy is, how your enemy is deployed significantly weakens any military formation

Mechanize #15 Posted Jun 30 2011 - 06:22

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View Postxthetenth, on Jun 28 2011 - 06:43, said:

The US made superior use of the terrain and weather and did better with their tactics than the Germans. They just straight up outfought the Germans. Get a Sherman in the right place and that 75 can penetrate Panthers. And it did, again and again.

The fact that someone actually downvoted this is really funny.

Guess some people can't accept that the axis simply weren't the invincible war machine all the arm chair historians on this forum make them out to be and lost the war for a reason.

Lunaris #16 Posted Jun 30 2011 - 07:29

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The main weakness is their panzer wedge formation. That formation are formidable versus soviet AT guns but easy target for carpet bombing. I read that allied bomber get the most german panzer kill.

CthulhuDreams #17 Posted Jun 30 2011 - 13:39

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The reason for these stories are always the same

A) US had superior operational availability. Stats from Italy indicate that a german force would field somewhere between 30 and 50% of it's strength on any given day, with the panthers and tigers running on the lower side of that bracket. The US could manage 70-90%, typically on the higher end of that bracket due to superior logistics and better mechanical performance.

This quickly tilts things the US way, because of the nominal strength of 262 tanks and assault guns, the Germans could probably on get operational something between 40 and 55 panthers, and 75 or so stugs/PZIII's combined. That's still a BIG force, but yeah. it's like 3/5ths the size of paper strength.

B) The US had absolute ton of artillery that was well supplied with large quantities of 105MM and 155MM ammo. It's difficult to overstate how much artillery the US had access to, and how fast it could be called down. This caused massive problems for German attack spearheads - the US wasn't trying to kill the tanks, it was trying to kill and suppress the infantry. Once your tank has lost infantry support (because they are cowering in a ditch), your tank is in extreme trouble. Unbuttoning will expose the commander to extreme risk of getting killed by shrapnel or shot, and if you don't unbutton, and have no infantry support, hostile infantry (with bazookas) and anti tank guns may as well have a cloaking field. This in addition to the situation you are in if you throw a tank (yeah, I wouldn't get out the tank to repair a track during a artillery barrage either.)

This makes attacking extremely difficult, if not impossible. Plus the US divisional 155MM guns had quite a long range and were very responsive - a major attack going in was going to cop an absolute pasting from artillery the entire time.

you can make a larger point that the entire US military was structured as a huge conveyor belt to deliver HE (whether from a plane, artillery, mortar, tank or grenade) directly to the germans from the factories in the US. It was extremely good at it. If I remember correctly during the battle of the bulge the US fired more artillery rounds in that sector than the germans did on the entire western front (over the same period)

The 'pound them into the dust' worked against German armored pushes from the beaches of Italy to the battle of the bulge. It is proven effective!

Incidentally, the US did have greatly superior tactics to the Germans - in the fields of artillery and close air support. The only nation that came close was the British. They had much better accuracy and faster response times due to more efficient ways of using it than either the Germans or the Russians. If the iconic weapon of the war for the Germans was the Panzer, for the US it was the artillery.

Slacker #18 Posted Jun 30 2011 - 23:44

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View PostCthulhuDreams, on Jun 30 2011 - 13:39, said:



Incidentally, the US did have greatly superior tactics to the Germans - in the fields of artillery and close air support. The only nation that came close was the British. They had much better accuracy and faster response times due to more efficient ways of using it than either the Germans or the Russians. If the iconic weapon of the war for the Germans was the Panzer, for the US it was the artillery.

How is having more equipment and ammunition better tactics?

Lezt #19 Posted Jul 01 2011 - 05:53

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View PostLunaris, on Jun 30 2011 - 07:29, said:

The main weakness is their panzer wedge formation. That formation are formidable versus soviet AT guns but easy target for carpet bombing. I read that allied bomber get the most german panzer kill.


LOL, what are you smoking? A strategic air strike against a tactical element? I believe an after action study found that out of the 150 panzers destroyed in a part of Normandy, 2 were destroyed by air strike, most were destroyed or abandoned by their crew.

Also the pig head is not the only formation used by the German army - you have all the marching formations, row echelon formations, double rank formations, cross formations, line formation, column formation, stagered formation, square formation, inverted vee formation. - To claim that the germans lost that battle because they were using a vee formation is ludicrous

CthulhuDreams #20 Posted Jul 01 2011 - 16:28

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View PostSlacker, on Jun 30 2011 - 23:44, said:

How is having more equipment and ammunition better tactics?

so the fact that the American artillery could deliver a TOT barrage faster and more effectively than the Germans was because they had more guns?

No, they had a really great doctrine and training for using artillery. They were literally the only nation that had a CAS doctrine. The US could get shells on target minutes faster than anyone else (well, not that much faster than the british, but much faster than the germans, and MUCH MUCH faster than the british)

Also, they didn't just have more equipment, they had better, reliable equipment. The Shermans reliability and cross country performance was unmatched by any German tank, and it was cheap and efficient to manufacture. This gives you the ability to create massive operational advantages in numbers.  The VT artillery shells uniquely used by the US were monsters.

The US also had superior infantry tactics. Looking at the german panzer doctrine (which was.. okay.) and concluding that the german doctrine was better across the board is deeply flawed.