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Truth or Non-Truth..The M18 Hellcat was one of the most successful tank destroyers of World War 2.

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EnsignExpendable #81 Posted Aug 27 2015 - 03:44

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Ok, Preussisch Stargard, good enough. Let's look at the battle of the 8th Tank Corps (the only tank unit in the 2nd Shock Army) for the city.

 

Posted Image

 

"At 9:30, a signal was given for the 20 M4A2 tanks of the 59th Guards Tank Brigade, which arrived as reserves, to attack. At 12:30, the tanks moved north of Dombrovken. Near Frode, the column of the 59th Guards Tank Brigade was counterattacked by infantry and enemy tanks. Losing one tank, the tanks entered Preussisch Stargard by 18:00 and joined up with tanks from the 58th Guards Tank Brigade."

 

Now, the actions of the other brigade:

 

Posted Image

 

"The nighttime action of our tankers was so sudden, especially the actions of Guards Captain Valuyskiy's battalion from the 58th Guards Tank Brigade, that the enemy did not have time to destroy bridges and river crossings across river Ferze, which was a considerable water hazard. 

There were no losses during this nighttime action with the exception of one tank that hit mines."

 

And just to be thorough, the losses of the Corps from the previous day:

 

Posted Image

 

"Our losses:

Write-offs

T-34 tanks: 5

IS-122: 1

SU-85: 1

120 mm mortars: 4

Cars: 8

Motorcycles: 1

 

Personnel losses: 

Killed: 47

Wounded: 228"

 

So that's a total of 9 tanks lost taking Preussisch Stargard, in total. Where's your panzer ace now?

 



EnsignExpendable #82 Posted Aug 27 2015 - 03:49

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I mean, to be fair, Jagdpanthers actually appear in the combat diary of the 2nd Shock Army (although not by name), making them more notable than the performance of "aces" like Korner whose tanks didn't even earn a mention in Soviet documents.

Cognitive_Dissonance #83 Posted Aug 27 2015 - 13:20

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View PostEnsignExpendable, on Aug 26 2015 - 20:49, said:

I mean, to be fair, Jagdpanthers actually appear in the combat diary of the 2nd Shock Army (although not by name), making them more notable than the performance of "aces" like Korner whose tanks didn't even earn a mention in Soviet documents

 

That is freaking awesome! Thank you. Okay so I have some work to do. The accounts I have don't give a day, just "Late February 1945" Bix does relate the first tanks he destroyed as being "American" so I am guessing Sherman, but I can't be sure as he doesn't indicate model, but can we say with certainty they are Sherman's? At this point I guess the actions of the Soviets at this point are going to come down to the distinction of Stargard, or Storogard. I can't help but wonder now if the information you provided could be based on the wrong city (a Bix translation error?). Only problem though is Storogard is quite a bit further west, but the Soviets were moving so fast it is possible.

 

So I do have something to work around with at this point, in that Bix stated the first tanks he destroyed were American tanks. I think that is an important link. I have some more digging to do. I know the tone has been snarky here and there, but I REALLY appreciate the information you have provided. I have a salient data point from both accounts that I can now research on. Not sure how long this will take, but I will be digging today. If this proves fruitful will move on to other accounts.

 


Edited by SmirkingGerbil, Aug 27 2015 - 13:25.


Cognitive_Dissonance #84 Posted Aug 27 2015 - 13:39

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View PostZinegata, on Aug 26 2015 - 20:35, said:

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So yourself and a couple of others dismiss Prit, but Shaufler (a tanker himself) corroborates the date and time as late February 1945 Starogard/Stargard, NOT Nov 4th, near Dzelzgaleskrogs, which is quite a bit North and East of Starogard.

 

So, I have produced two published authors,

 

Prit's profession prior to writing fiction and non fiction (his work cannot be considered as "historical" ) - was as a doctor for the British Army. How that makes him qualified to say anything about German unit movements in 1945 when he clearly relied soley on Bix's statements without checking any of the archives shows your rather poor understanding of how historical research actually worked.

 

Schaufler meanwhile? What does him being a tanker have anything to do with the price of fish. As Chieftain himself noted, he's a tanker but that has absolutely no bearing on anything he ever writes. Being a tanker might make you better aware of what is the front and rear side of the tank, or how to drive one. Being a tank officer, such as Wolfgang Schneider, might make you more qualified to comment on tank tactics. But it does not make you a qualified military historian. You need to archival research - which means going to the great military archives to find out what really happened by putting together all the evidence.

 

But Schaufler clearly doesn't do that. Like Prit his work is mostly just copy-pasting existing war diary accounts. That doesn't provide any real verification - that just means two people read the same (likely very inaccurate) personal account by Bix and quoted it to make a non-fiction book.

 

Bluntly, "published author" has reached the point of being a nearly meaningless credential that only really holds any water for people born before Generation X. EL James is also a "published author" but we all know that Fifty Shades of Grey is actually just a rehashed Twilight fanfiction. To play the serious historical research game you need more than a few books repeating the same tired old copy-pastings of war diary accounts and get to more primary documents - like actual movement schedules and loss reports from both sides.

 

And given that you're talking to EE, who has in fact translated quite a few of these actual primary documents whereas you're still quoting what is essentially "Wermacht Porn" (a term used by Dennis Showalter, who specializes in German Military History as a college history professor in the University of Colorado and a former president of the American Society for Military History - you know actual meaningful credentials that tells you he's an expert at actual military history instead of being merely an expert at driving a tank) I really do not find much of your posturing very convincing.

 

Jagdpanthers moreover again did not perform well in the West. Only a handful of the Schwere Panzerjaeger Abteilung went to the West and they did very little of note. I seriously doubt this was much different in the East.

 

I will add Dennis Showalter to my list thanks.
 
I can't speak to the veracity of these fellows, but at this point the data that Ensign provides and Bix's account are corroborated on one point - the first tanks Bix saw and destroyed (by his account) where of American design - I have my work cut out, and will pull in more resources. In other words, I need to go to archives, or at this point I have a museum Docent I am going to email to start this.
 
I am 52 years old, so you can stop worrying that I am a "Twilight Millennial" . . . but I did watch that tripe with my daughter.
 
I have other authors to pull from (pardon me for using the term author), such as Speer, Shirer and others that are in my library at least in regards to overall operations and the state of Germany in late 44 and I plan to pull them into my research.
 
Do you have any problems with William Shirer, Albert Speer, and Anthony Beevor?


4thTaterBattalion #85 Posted Aug 27 2015 - 14:03

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Thanks Guys,


 

Your input has been informative, educational and respectful,


 

Thanks


 

Where is WG Chieftain?


Edited by MSgtTater, Aug 27 2015 - 14:21.


EnsignExpendable #86 Posted Aug 27 2015 - 23:06

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View PostSmirkingGerbil, on Aug 27 2015 - 07:20, said:

 

That is freaking awesome! Thank you. Okay so I have some work to do. The accounts I have don't give a day, just "Late February 1945" Bix does relate the first tanks he destroyed as being "American" so I am guessing Sherman, but I can't be sure as he doesn't indicate model, but can we say with certainty they are Sherman's? At this point I guess the actions of the Soviets at this point are going to come down to the distinction of Stargard, or Storogard. I can't help but wonder now if the information you provided could be based on the wrong city (a Bix translation error?). Only problem though is Storogard is quite a bit further west, but the Soviets were moving so fast it is possible.

 

So I do have something to work around with at this point, in that Bix stated the first tanks he destroyed were American tanks. I think that is an important link. I have some more digging to do. I know the tone has been snarky here and there, but I REALLY appreciate the information you have provided. I have a salient data point from both accounts that I can now research on. Not sure how long this will take, but I will be digging today. If this proves fruitful will move on to other accounts.

 

 

There were Shermans in the 8th TC, yes.

Knumb_Knutz #87 Posted Aug 27 2015 - 23:14

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No it was not.

 

Many U.S. TD's in WWII were regulated to Infantry Support roles because of their lack of armor protection.  German MG bullets could penetrate it's side let alone an AT gun or especially the Panzerfaust and Panzerschreck anti tank launchers.  Those two devastated many Hellcats and Wolverines.

 

As for 60 mph???  Maybe on a steep downhill with the wind behind it's back.

 

And for the gun, the WWII model NEVER had the 90mm gun as in WoT.  They were armed with the standard 76.2 mm gun.  The same gun that was installed in the M4A3E8 and because of that, there were huge fights over ammo allocation from supply depots.  Hellcats NEVER received the APCR Ammo that was in scarce supply.  Those went to the tank units.

 

After WWII, the U.S. Army tank corp did a study and determined that TD's were irrelevant and therefor, eventually were discontinued in favor of the Main Battle Tank concept of only having one tank, and NOT several.



cashdash #88 Posted Aug 27 2015 - 23:30

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View PostKnumb_Knutz, on Aug 27 2015 - 17:14, said:

No it was not.

 

Many U.S. TD's in WWII were regulated to Infantry Support roles because of their lack of armor protection.  German MG bullets could penetrate it's side let alone an AT gun or especially the Panzerfaust and Panzerschreck anti tank launchers.  Those two devastated many Hellcats and Wolverines.

 

As for 60 mph???  Maybe on a steep downhill with the wind behind it's back.

 

And for the gun, the WWII model NEVER had the 90mm gun as in WoT.  They were armed with the standard 76.2 mm gun.  The same gun that was installed in the M4A3E8 and because of that, there were huge fights over ammo allocation from supply depots.  Hellcats NEVER received the APCR Ammo that was in scarce supply.  Those went to the tank units.

 

After WWII, the U.S. Army tank corp did a study and determined that TD's were irrelevant and therefor, eventually were discontinued in favor of the Main Battle Tank concept of only having one tank, and NOT several.

 

Wow, I think you got all of 1 thing in this post right.

 

Impressive really.



zloykrolik #89 Posted Aug 27 2015 - 23:39

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He got the gun part right.

Meplat #90 Posted Aug 28 2015 - 00:47

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View PostKnumb_Knutz, on Aug 27 2015 - 15:14, said:

No it was not.

 

Many U.S. TD's in WWII were regulated to Infantry Support roles because of their lack of armor protection.  German MG bullets could penetrate it's side let alone an AT gun or especially the Panzerfaust and Panzerschreck anti tank launchers.  Those two devastated many Hellcats and Wolverines.

 

As for 60 mph???  Maybe on a steep downhill with the wind behind it's back.

 

 

1- Which "German MG bullet".

2- And the last M-18 you drove was....



EnsignExpendable #91 Posted Aug 28 2015 - 01:11

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These are my favourite posters, the ones whose opinions are so important that they can't be bothered to read a single post, let alone the whole thread, before stating it. For some reason, it's almost always completely wrong. Who knew.

The_Chieftain #92 Posted Aug 28 2015 - 03:06

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A little late here, but I'll chime in on the OP.

 

Put in terms of meeting its designed function, M18 was an outstanding success. Remember, it was designed for an operational level role, and in that role, I can't think of another vehicle which could do it better. (Contrary to an earlier post, M18 was a defensive vehicle, not an offensive one). If you really wanted to have a battalion of whatsits sitting around ready to respond to an armored assault wherever it happened, Hellcats were what you wanted.

 

In terms of performance as it actually was used, it did reasonably enough. They killed a lot more than they lost. The relative lack of armor compared to M10 was important, especially for morale, but I'm not sure what tangible benefit it actually proved to have. (What did M10 armor stop that M18 didn't?)

 

The vehicle found its own niche. Could it play infantry support as well as jadgpanther or Su100? Arguably not, even if the turret helped. Then again, could Su100 or Jadgpanther keep up with cavalry units like M18 did? Arguably not.

 

As to Blix, is it possible there was an attack launched on a local commander's initiative for some reason, which may not have made the offensives list?



Zinegata #93 Posted Aug 28 2015 - 04:13

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View PostThe_Chieftain, on Aug 28 2015 - 10:06, said:

A little late here, but I'll chime in on the OP.

 

Put in terms of meeting its designed function, M18 was an outstanding success. Remember, it was designed for an operational level role, and in that role, I can't think of another vehicle which could do it better. (Contrary to an earlier post, M18 was a defensive vehicle, not an offensive one). If you really wanted to have a battalion of whatsits sitting around ready to respond to an armored assault wherever it happened, Hellcats were what you wanted.

 

In terms of performance as it actually was used, it did reasonably enough. They killed a lot more than they lost. The relative lack of armor compared to M10 was important, especially for morale, but I'm not sure what tangible benefit it actually proved to have. (What did M10 armor stop that M18 didn't?)

 

The vehicle found its own niche. Could it play infantry support as well as jadgpanther or Su100? Arguably not, even if the turret helped. Then again, could Su100 or Jadgpanther keep up with cavalry units like M18 did? Arguably not.

 

As to Blix, is it possible there was an attack launched on a local commander's initiative for some reason, which may not have made the offensives list?

 

The thing about the Jagdpanther and Su-100 is that neither were deployed in a manner that would have put them in a position to support the infantry much to begin with. The Jagdpanthers were kept exclusively in the Schwere Panzerjaeger Abteilung - heavy anti-tank battalion - which tended to be attached to Panzer or Panzergrenadier formations in the same manner as the Schwere Panzer Abteilungs. They were never really attached to the Infantry unlike the workmanlike Sturmgetchutze Abteilung.

 

The SU-100 meanwhile had their own independent units, and were usually used as overwatch formations covering the advance of tanks and infantry. If the Soviets really wanted to support the infantry with armor, they tended to use the cheaper SU-76. 

 

The Hellcats had opportunity to support the US Infantry because the Tank Destroyer battalions were attached to the Infantry Divisions. And even if they were not good at being direct-fire armoured support I don't think they lost the same indirect-fire mode capability that the M10 had - which is the role many of the TDs ended up serving in anyway.


Edited by Zinegata, Aug 28 2015 - 04:13.


Zinegata #94 Posted Aug 28 2015 - 04:25

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Quote

Do you have any problems with William Shirer, Albert Speer, and Anthony Beevor?

 

Anthony Beevor has won many awards. Unfortunately the majority of them are non-fiction or popular history. This is not the same as professional historical analysis. Beevor in fact makes many outright mistakes in his work - because he's too busy mining the archives for human drama than simply stating what happened. And he is unfortunately rather petulant when confronted by his errors - for instance in his Stalingrad book he couldn't even get the command structure of the Soviet Army correct even though he claims to have gone through the Soviet archives, and he completely ignores the fact that Operation Mars and Uranus were both part of a larger operation despite claiming to have used When Titans Clashed as a source - which explicitly stated these two operations were likely linked.

 

Beevor is in fact very careless, and what he says in his book often does not align with what his sources say; which is why he is very rarely used as a source for serious detailed analysis. This is why Phil Sabin (a professor who made a career out of simulating war through the use of wargame simulations; just like the German General Staff used to do) noted that an amateur wargame designer from Japan - Testsuyo Nakamura - had a more accurate Order of Battle for Stalingrad than Beevor did.

 

If you want good non-fiction you're better off with Enemy at the Gates, as Beevor is in large part just copying Craig's style and Craig at the very least interviewed more actual survivors of the battle from both side than Beevor ever did. Same with Cornelius Ryan. They may be older books, but as non-fiction they're actually better because they had access to more surviving veterans particularly their higher-level commanders (by the time Beevor wrote his books almost all officers above the rank of Major were already dead). 

 

In short, Beevor's a bad source. He's for non-fiction enjoyment, though if you're into that kind of non-fiction I would rate Craig, Ryan, and Tuchman as much better than him.

 

Shirer's also non-fiction. Rise and Fall is a very divisive book at Shirer makes a lot of sweeping conclusions based on his personal experiences; and the conclusions tend to reach towards pre-WW2 German history which he is not really an expert on.

 

And Speer? Don't make me laugh. Speer is one of the most terrible self-serving sources ever; who spent most of his post-war life pretending to be the "repentant Nazi" to earn money and adulation. In reality he actively supported the Holocaust, stole artwork from Jews and sent them to the camps, and tried to hide these stolen artworks even after the war. This is why the first real look at how the Nazi economy worked by a real economic historian - Adam Tooze's Wages of Destruction - often seems like a Speer-bashing work at times because of the sheer volume of lies and myths that Speer peddled to try and sell his "clean Nazi" image to the West.

 

In reality Speer was an ambitious man who cultivated strong links with top-ranking Nazis, hence directly supporting their agenda. He was also a self-promoter who tended to take credit for things he did not actually do, such as the "miracle" in German production which was in fact not a result of his managerial skills but the cumulative effect of investments already made in 1939 - something that should be rather obvious when one considers that factories are not built overnight. After the war he used his capacity of self-promotion to save himself from execution and portray himself as the repentant Nazi; which is why all of his fellow Nazis were angry at him at Nuremberg. It wasn't because he was "breaking a code of silence" as he tries to claim. It was because they could all recognize he was trying to save his own skin and refuse to take responsibility for his own actions. 

 

Really, when reading auto-biographies, it always pays to remember Robert Citino's (an expert in how the German Army worked) acidic commentary on them: Nobody writes an auto-biography for the sake of putting down oneself. It's always to make yourself look better and make posterity treat you more kindly. The only person in the Western World to write an auto-biography critical of oneself is Saint Augustine, which is why his book is named Confessions.


Edited by Zinegata, Aug 28 2015 - 04:44.


Cognitive_Dissonance #95 Posted Aug 28 2015 - 13:07

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View PostZinegata, on Aug 27 2015 - 21:25, said:

Quote

Do you have any problems with William Shirer, Albert Speer, and Anthony Beevor?

 

Anthony Beevor has won many awards. Unfortunately the majority of them are non-fiction or popular history. This is not the same as professional historical analysis. Beevor in fact makes many outright mistakes in his work - because he's too busy mining the archives for human drama than simply stating what happened. And he is unfortunately rather petulant when confronted by his errors - for instance in his Stalingrad book he couldn't even get the command structure of the Soviet Army correct even though he claims to have gone through the Soviet archives, and he completely ignores the fact that Operation Mars and Uranus were both part of a larger operation despite claiming to have used When Titans Clashed as a source - which explicitly stated these two operations were likely linked.

 

Beevor is in fact very careless, and what he says in his book often does not align with what his sources say; which is why he is very rarely used as a source for serious detailed analysis. This is why Phil Sabin (a professor who made a career out of simulating war through the use of wargame simulations; just like the German General Staff used to do) noted that an amateur wargame designer from Japan - Testsuyo Nakamura - had a more accurate Order of Battle for Stalingrad than Beevor did.

 

If you want good non-fiction you're better off with Enemy at the Gates, as Beevor is in large part just copying Craig's style and Craig at the very least interviewed more actual survivors of the battle from both side than Beevor ever did. Same with Cornelius Ryan. They may be older books, but as non-fiction they're actually better because they had access to more surviving veterans particularly their higher-level commanders (by the time Beevor wrote his books almost all officers above the rank of Major were already dead). 

 

In short, Beevor's a bad source. He's for non-fiction enjoyment, though if you're into that kind of non-fiction I would rate Craig, Ryan, and Tuchman as much better than him.

 

Shirer's also non-fiction. Rise and Fall is a very divisive book at Shirer makes a lot of sweeping conclusions based on his personal experiences; and the conclusions tend to reach towards pre-WW2 German history which he is not really an expert on.

 

And Speer? Don't make me laugh. Speer is one of the most terrible self-serving sources ever; who spent most of his post-war life pretending to be the "repentant Nazi" to earn money and adulation. In reality he actively supported the Holocaust, stole artwork from Jews and sent them to the camps, and tried to hide these stolen artworks even after the war. This is why the first real look at how the Nazi economy worked by a real economic historian - Adam Tooze's Wages of Destruction - often seems like a Speer-bashing work at times because of the sheer volume of lies and myths that Speer peddled to try and sell his "clean Nazi" image to the West.

 

In reality Speer was an ambitious man who cultivated strong links with top-ranking Nazis, hence directly supporting their agenda. He was also a self-promoter who tended to take credit for things he did not actually do, such as the "miracle" in German production which was in fact not a result of his managerial skills but the cumulative effect of investments already made in 1939 - something that should be rather obvious when one considers that factories are not built overnight. After the war he used his capacity of self-promotion to save himself from execution and portray himself as the repentant Nazi; which is why all of his fellow Nazis were angry at him at Nuremberg. It wasn't because he was "breaking a code of silence" as he tries to claim. It was because they could all recognize he was trying to save his own skin and refuse to take responsibility for his own actions. 

 

Really, when reading auto-biographies, it always pays to remember Robert Citino's (an expert in how the German Army worked) acidic commentary on them: Nobody writes an auto-biography for the sake of putting down oneself. It's always to make yourself look better and make posterity treat you more kindly. The only person in the Western World to write an auto-biography critical of oneself is Saint Augustine, which is why his book is named Confessions.

 

 

"Antony Beevor", maybe a different guy. So his book "Stalingrad" is fiction? Correct spelling is "Antony" not "Anthony". My mistake.

 

Of course Albert Speer's book is self serving (I guess you just assume at face value I am some foolish fascist worshiper? I am asking, just trying to establish stance, not trying to be antagonistic), and the source of the myth of the "Good German", but Shirer and Speer books combined have many corroborative data points. This is how I read and correlate, many sources. Currently reading about 6 books on the period in Afghanistan from 1979 to a bit after 911, should I also list the authors of these books for you so you can save me the trouble if they are not reliable sources? I am being serious, again not trying to be abrasive.

 

And Shirer, well, lots of folks I know feel that his work is pretty much the bible or a good guide and reference, and they are much smarter than me. So from your perspective, all the people I know are incapable of critical analysis, that is a bit disappointing to say the least. Maybe he is not an expert on pre WWII, but he did live in Germany leading up to WWII. I don't know many folks who have that distinction when writing on a topic such as this.

 

So since you have pretty much discounted Shirer, Beevor, Speer, Schaufler, Buttar. I am curious, have you published something I can reference, or do you have some books in mind that I should consult that meet your standards? I don't mind buying more books, I like to read.

 

Thanks,

 


Edited by SmirkingGerbil, Aug 28 2015 - 13:31.


Cognitive_Dissonance #96 Posted Aug 28 2015 - 16:03

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I came across this today Zinegata . . . I am seriously thinking about getting this (a bit pricey, but worth it.)

 

Combat History of the 654th Schwere Panzerjager Abteilung (Hardcover)

by Karlheinz Munch (Author)

 

Regardless, since I will probably get it, just wondering what your reception of it will be?



cashdash #97 Posted Aug 28 2015 - 16:19

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It's probably just translated war diaries.

Cognitive_Dissonance #98 Posted Aug 28 2015 - 16:24

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View Postcashdash, on Aug 28 2015 - 09:19, said:

It's probably just translated war diaries.

 

It presumably contains an account (still verifying) of the 15th Scots and the 6th Guards tank brigade south of Caumontl' Evente encounter with 3 JagdPanthers which resulted in the loss of 11 Churchills, and ultimately the 3 Jagd's broke down and had to be abandoned, I am interested in it for this reason. Can you give substantive information that it is "just translated war diaries"

 

I seem to encounter a lot of panning of material here, just curious of you have a concrete reason to think this?

 

Moot at this point, I ordered it, will have by Wednesday, Combat History of the 654th Schwere Panzerjager Abteilung (Hardcover). Several reviewers have it as "Primary Source" and it has combat action reports in it. Should be a good read.


Edited by SmirkingGerbil, Aug 28 2015 - 18:08.


MapleOne #99 Posted Aug 28 2015 - 17:24

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I would like to quote my great grandfather whom fought in the HellCat but has since passed. "We sure did love driving the old girl, but when it was time to fight, that my boy was is where she got the "hell" in HellCat from" 

4thTaterBattalion #100 Posted Aug 28 2015 - 17:50

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View PostMapleOne, on Aug 28 2015 - 11:24, said:

I would like to quote my great grandfather whom fought in the HellCat but has since passed. "We sure did love driving the old girl, but when it was time to fight, that my boy was is where she got the "hell" in HellCat from"

 

I like that QUOTE!!!!!

Thanks for sharing.

My Condolences.  A 07 to  him.







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