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The Chieftain's Hatch: Undergunned in Italy


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The_Chieftain #81 Posted Jan 16 2018 - 20:05

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OK, after re-reading...

 

I'm not quite sure what you guys are actually arguing over right now. It's like you're throwing facts at each other, but I'm not sure what the basic premise is that you are attempting to create or refute with them.

 

However, a couple of notes.

 

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First, what book of yours?  I got the Firepower one and its fantastic, is that the one to which you are referring or is there another I missed?

Can Openers: 

 

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When we get to Bloody December and the fight for Ortona, we are talking about rubble and street to street fighting with Fallschirmjäger with vast anti tank resources, including a new improvised one dropped from balconies onto the top of passing tanks.

 

If you missed them, you may be interested in these two articles about Ortona. One and Two

 

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1) Do you think the HE round of the 75mm being more highly valued (in the type of fighting that was occuring more and more as the deserts of africa were exchanged for house to house fighting) than 76mm AP might have been a factor in reticence to change?

 

Although it is frequently quoted as a deciding reason as to why so many 75mm tanks were retained, I have not actually seen any documentation to support this. Remember that the original intent, both from the US and apparently Fifth Army, was to replace all 75mm tanks with 76mm tanks. That the 75mm was a better HE lobber is unquestioned, but the 76mm wasn't god-awful either: You certainly would notice if one fired at you. Later, Gillem, who replaced Devers, decided upon a ratio of 75mm and 76mm tanks to be fielded, but I'm not sure if that was based on HE-lobbing or simply production numbers: I conclude that there seemed to be little need to churn out Shermans at the continued high rate, using up money and material, and the number of 76mm tanks actually produced in the end was substantially less than that of 75mm tanks. Ergo, a mix was almost mandated.

 

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2) The Ford engine seems more important than the 76mm from my reading of that message - can you elaborate a bit on why please? 

 

They don't explain, but you're talking about a 40% increase in horsepower and easier maintenance. Since the function of the tank is to get the gun where it is needed, arguably it is more important than the gun improvement. Gun-power deficiencies can be mitigated by better mobility.

 

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Why is the M4(105) not mentioned at all?  It would seem mixed platoons of a 76mm, 105, and 2 75mms would be an ideal balance instead of this "battalion at a time" system.

 

There was, by the end of the war, a proposal to have a tank fleet of only 76mm and 105mm tanks at the platoon level, instead of keeping the 105s at company and battalion. However, I suspect it wasn't brought up in this context because the 105mm tank had a very definite role as an assault gun, and as a result anti-armor capability wasn't really important enough to worry about. With the 75mm tank, it was.

 

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​I don't buy that analogy whatsoever. When you may have only seconds to line up a shot on a tank that appears from no where or one that is hiding in a ambush position "firing at weak-spots" because your gun is so lame is totally impractical and near impossible in these situations. You take the fastest shot you can because it might be your azz otherwise. Chieftain you should know this. The German "elephant" commonly fired from cover in a dug in positions in Italy or even from caves and railroad tunnels to hide it from arty and air attack it was so big and the German panthers "shot trap" wasn't so easy to hit on the first shot and in fact the Germans pretty rapidly changed out that turret for one that had none.   

 

The fact that the Germans fixed the shot trap does seem to be an indicator that they thought it was a problem which was worth fixing. Especially since it didn't cost them very much to fix it, so why not? There doesn't seem to be much alternative in the 'how to kill a big German tank' department. Either you can do it yourself by point-and-shoot, or you need to come up with creative ways of doing it. Point-and-shoot, though vastly preferred, wasn't particularly reliable in all circumstances, so the fact that the US was winning implies that they came up with more complicated ways of getting the same result. Can you blame the US tankers for wanting an 'easy mode'?

 

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Chieftain, it is interesting to note that most of the pictures that accompany your article are of German tanks knocked out by aircraft.  Note the extensive damage to the tops of the German tanks and lack of penetration holes in the side/front of the hulls.  Notice the Tiger pulled off to the side of the road with its barrel pointing upward?  Yeah, those German tanks were taken out by aircraft.

 

If I were in a tank with a 75mm gun, I'd call for airstrikes too.

 

Well, I have not seen any information as to the cause of those specific losses, although aircraft are known to be highly over-stated in their effectiveness against armor. However, your last line rather makes the point. There is a saying that the most dangerous thing on the battlefield is a guy with a map and a radio who knows how to use them. All US tanks had maps, and they all had radios. An effective weapon is used against the opposition and the opposition is removed from play. That it just happens not to have a '75mm' designation doesn't matter to the knocked-out enemy.

 

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 am not sure whether these numbers are correct, or not.

According to author Zaloga and SHAEF, the losses of 5th Army (Sicily, Italy) amounted to 1,414 tanks, tank destroyers and self-propelled guns, including 1,171 M4's until May 15, 1945. The number of "80" killed tankers does not sound believable.

 

Page 56.

 

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A certain LTG Leslie McNair, CO, Army Ground Forces (nowadays known as Training and Doctrine Command, the boffins responsible for training and equipping soldiers and units deploying overseas) held that tanks were to support infantry, and as such only needed a competent HE capability (the short 75 of your basic M4 Sherman in this case) 

 

No, the 75mm was chosen as much for its anti-armor capability. Remember that at the time of its introduction, the weapon carried by the heavy tank destroyers was also a 75mm. It was as good as the US could build at the time, and the development timeline for the M4 indicates there was always an attempt to increase anti-armor capability of the tank.

 

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For instance when the 6 pounder began development the British tank board basically ignored any notion of mounting it on one of their new tanks. The 6 pounder development team in fact decided to go against orders and came up with a version that could be mounted on tanks anyway, which was only accepted after great reluctance and howls of complaints from the frontline over the inadequacy of the 2 pounder.

 

That wasn't as important to the timeline, though. 6pr was designed and the MkI approved in 1939. It did not enter production, however, even in the towed configuration, until November 1941, about a year and a half after Dunkirk. Such was the demand for lots of guns immediately, that they simply couldn't afford to change over. 

 

On the matter of optics, it is not incompatible to say that German optics were of better quality whilst saying that US optics were of better use. Even if the bush or tank is fuzzy in the Sherman, being able to spot the fuzzy thing first and put a round into it just on general principles will soon solve the question of whether it's a Panzer or actually just a bush.  Further, in cases when it's very obvious that the target is a tank, fuzzy or not, clarity takes a very definite second place to target acquisition. See first, shoot first, win. Quite why the Germans refused to put roof sights on their tanks is completely beyond me. I guess they didn't stop to ask "Why did the Americans and Russians stick these on the roof?". After all, a Panther's gunner in a turret-down position gets a wonderful-quality image of the piece of dirt fifteen feet to his front.

 

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A RAC (Royal Armour Corps) tank casualties survey for the NWE theater from 1945 displays that burns were still an apparent problem for British tank crews in 1945, as it (table 56) displays that  ...

"it is thus apparent that the problem of burns in tank crews is very much the same now, as it was in the desert in late 1942 and there is likely to be little use in our reiterating Chute's widely read and discussed remarks on their prevention. Suffice it is to say that if a means of preventing minor burns in tank crews could be found, it would reduce the non-fatal casualties sustained inside vehicles by something like a fifth."

 

It is of note, however, that burns were a problem for all tanks. British medical report did observe that Sherman crewmen were actually slightly less likely to suffer from burns than those of other vehicles.

 

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Considering how much time ( the speed of the development can be described with the terms "slow" , "casual", "partially unfocused" ) had been put into the mentioned series, it's probably safe to say that a higher amount of 76 mm guns and generally more capable guns (ie. 90 mm) and more capable platforms (90 mm TD designs) could have been made available and made available earlier, if the developers had not wasted so much time on projects that didn't have a future, and if ordnance and the other involved parties had not argued/struggled as much. Quite a few tankers' lives could have been saved, if they would have possessed better equipment.

 

I'm not sure quite how correct that statement is. There are two slightly different issues. One is over the perceived need for the better gun, the other is of the practical reality of the better gun. The guys in the US believed that the need would be met by the 76, this was wrong. However, the development timelines don't seem that bad. The 76mm was developed quickly enough, and first stuffed into a tank in Summer '42. It sucked, but they were working on it. The 76mm TD implementation was not withheld, that entered production Summer '43, and the tank, which is inherently a more complicated thing to make than a TD, followed only six months behind. 

 

As for engagement ranges in NWE, I would remind you of the existence of these charts.


Edited by The_Chieftain, Jan 16 2018 - 20:09.


thandiflight #82 Posted Jan 16 2018 - 22:00

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View PostBlackhorse_One_, on Jan 16 2018 - 00:51, said:

 

The "appellation" was in-place many years before Belton Cooper's book.

 

I heard it as a boy, and I was more than 40 when Cooper's book was published.

 

So because you heard this as a boy makes it historically accurate? I think you missed the point entirely.

Anlushac11 #83 Posted Jan 16 2018 - 23:16

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View Postthandiflight, on Jan 16 2018 - 16:00, said:

 

So because you heard this as a boy makes it historically accurate? I think you missed the point entirely.

 

No. Zinegata implied that the term came into use because of Belton Coopers book. Black Horse One was stating that it existed long before that.

 

All I will say on this is that the argument against the usage of the term Ronson was because the slogan "Lights first time, every time" was not used til after WW2. Someone posted a full page magazine ad for Ronson from before WW2 where the line was used in the advertisement. While the line was not a official slogan, it was used in advertising.

 

The counter argument is that Ronson did not use the line as a official slogan but there is documented evidence that the line was used in advertising before WW2. Zinegata's counter is that it has only been shown to be in that one ad. Okay, how many times does it have to appear in print to prove it existed. Answer is once. Now how many copies of that magazine were sold for that time period for that ad. How many other publications did that ad appear in? We dont know.

 

It was my understanding that the term Ronsons was applied to the British operated Shermans first met in North Africa and it is documented that like many other tanks crews expecting a long battle the tankers carried unsecured extra ammo stuffed in any available space. It is quite possible that a penetration could set this extra ammo on fire contributing to the myth of Shermans burning. it is also a fact that early Shermans stored ammo in the side hull sponsons. It is also a known fact that the enemy targeted the side sponsons since it was known ammo was there.

 

It was enough of a problem that the US Army and factories welded applique armor panels over the area and cast hull tanks had the casting molds modified to allow extra armor in this area. IMHO US Army and manufacturers would not have gone to the trouble of adding armor to sponsons and modify the casting for no reason. It is quite likely that some Shermans were knocked out this way and a memo was sent back saying we may have a problem here, what can we do to address it? The expedient band aid fix was to weld applique armor panels on to sponsons. Long term fix was the wet hull Shermans. 



Zinegata #84 Posted Jan 17 2018 - 04:06

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That wasn't as important to the timeline, though. 6pr was designed and the MkI approved in 1939. It did not enter production, however, even in the towed configuration, until November 1941, about a year and a half after Dunkirk. Such was the demand for lots of guns immediately, that they simply couldn't afford to change over.

 

Yes, but Beale's point was that without the artillery branch proceeding with the development of a tank-mountable version then there would have been further delays in the timeline than what historically occurred. In effect, it was the artillery going against the Tank design board's wishes that allowed the timeline to be preserved.

 

It's worth noting that the artillery guys had thought things through to the extent that they designed the 6-pounder tank gun version to be convertible back to a towed version if the Tank board really rejected the 6-pounder entirely; which points to how reluctant the Tank designers were at this point to even consider the 6 pounder.

 

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On the matter of optics, it is not incompatible to say that German optics were of better quality whilst saying that US optics were of better use. Even if the bush or tank is fuzzy in the Sherman, being able to spot the fuzzy thing first and put a round into it just on general principles will soon solve the question of whether it's a Panzer or actually just a bush.  Further, in cases when it's very obvious that the target is a tank, fuzzy or not, clarity takes a very definite second place to target acquisition. See first, shoot first, win. Quite why the Germans refused to put roof sights on their tanks is completely beyond me. I guess they didn't stop to ask "Why did the Americans and Russians stick these on the roof?". After all, a Panther's gunner in a turret-down position gets a wonderful-quality image of the piece of dirt fifteen feet to his front.

 

Yes, that the quality of German optics is better is not necessarily in question. My issue is that there are many commentators who believe that having superior optic quality automatically means that the tank has better accuracy at long-ranged shooting and target spotting. That is the myth.

 

As the German WarPru report notes a better scope wasn't the most important thing to successful long-range shooting, it was actually artilleryman training so they understood range-finding and curvature math. That's why the Panther F got a rangefinder, and why I noted that adding a sniper scope to a hunting rifle doesn't suddenly make anyone using it a sniper.

 

Meanwhile most other armies - and the Stug battalions - included a gunner's periscope so that there were more pair of eyes working together to facilitate target spotting. Which again is also something that they recognized as a problem with the original Panther, hence the F turret getting a gunner's periscope.


Edited by Zinegata, Jan 17 2018 - 04:08.


Zinegata #85 Posted Jan 17 2018 - 04:32

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View PostAnlushac11, on Jan 17 2018 - 06:16, said:

 

No. Zinegata implied that the term came into use because of Belton Coopers book. Black Horse One was stating that it existed long before that.

 

All I will say on this is that the argument against the usage of the term Ronson was because the slogan "Lights first time, every time" was not used til after WW2. Someone posted a full page magazine ad for Ronson from before WW2 where the line was used in the advertisement. While the line was not a official slogan, it was used in advertising.

 

 

Belton Cooper is not a British source. I have instead been insistent that it's a British-made myth. The publications which mention it - particularly before Cooper - are predominantly British.

 

Meanwhile wartime American soldiers were comfortable with nicknaming their flamethrower tanks after a lighter they actually used - Zippos. Why use a very common GI lighter to nickname uncommon flamethrower tanks, but use a rare lighter to nickname and disparage the much more common medium tanks? Does it not seem to be a contradiction, thus further demonstrating other sources for the Ronson monicker?

 

Try to at least keep up with the actual argument.

 

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The counter argument is that Ronson did not use the line as a official slogan but there is documented evidence that the line was used in advertising before WW2. Zinegata's counter is that it has only been shown to be in that one ad. Okay, how many times does it have to appear in print to prove it existed. Answer is once. Now how many copies of that magazine were sold for that time period for that ad. How many other publications did that ad appear in? We dont know.

 

Strictly speaking, the "wartime ad" did not say "Light up the first time, every time". It was something similar but it was not the exact same quote on the ad.

 

Indeed, I would note that Internet searches for "Ronson lighters" - specifically removing all mentions of the Sherman tank - tend to return articles that never mention any "lights up the first time, every time" tagline. 

 

This again rather strongly demonstrates that this was a meme created entirely by the historical tank community, while the rest of the world and actual Ronson-users would not associate any "lights up the first time, every time" tagline to the said lighter. Even if it was ever a tagline, it certainly wasn't a commonly known one.


Edited by Zinegata, Jan 17 2018 - 04:34.


Zinegata #86 Posted Jan 17 2018 - 04:43

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View PostGePunkt, on Jan 16 2018 - 20:00, said:

 

First, I said areas with open ground, second I also pointed out that the Ardennes featured a lot of confined spaces especially around some villages and some roads, and it should have been clear that that remark referred to villages and roads that were surrounded or separated.by woods or that resided in river valleys and depressions.

 

Your google link:

Nice try.

 

The area you marked is part of the French National wildlife park, which had been formed by picking small French parts of the region, but that park is in fact just a small southern part of the Ardennes, plus it's in France, whiile the Battle for the Bulge raged in Belgium.

This gives you an idea how large the Ardennes region is:

https://upload.wikim.../Ardennen03.png

 

Battle area (101st near Foy, after the offensive had failed) marked in Google:

https://www.google.c...32,12.04z?dcr=0

 

The Germans in the North got as far as Trois-Ponts (and close to Manhay), went through Stavelot (where they shot civilians), Malmedy (site of the massacre) and to a point in front of Spa, with Peiper's group.
In the West the Germans got almost to Dinant, but were stopped by the Allies, and they also suffered of lack of fuel.
In the South they had dashed past Wiltz and Bastogne, into the region west of Bastogne - towards Dinant.

Let's start the battlefield tour:


Area SE of Dinant, one of the most Western points of the bulge (ie. its northern tip). In this area, the Germans pulled into the woods for cover to avoid air raids in the open, waiting for fuel. Quite a number of tanks were abandoned and destroyed by their crews in this general area, due to lack of fuel:

https://www.google.c...12!8i6656?dcr=0
https://www.google.c...12!8i6656?dcr=0

 

The terrain N and NW of Dinant is even more flat (if compared to the mountainous and rocky eastern edge (mostly in Luxemburg and at the border to Belgium, but also right around the town of Houffalize) of the Ardennes, that's why the Dinant sector had been picked for the 5th Panzer Army's envisioned turn and subsequent push towards Brussels (which never materialized):

https://www.google.c...12!8i6656?dcr=0

 

The highest elevation is around 600 something meters high, but outside the TO, IIRC.


Road to Houffalize, the fields on the left and right offered far view (2-4 km) at some points:

https://www.google.c...12!8i6656?dcr=0


Road sector close to Houffalize, the elevation west of the road (behind the house) offers far view (my guess 2 km or more), all the fields in the east and on the elevation are Panther- and Tiger-II-friendly. If not on the attack/defense, both sides would stick to this main road to Bastogne: The Germans because they were behind the schedule, the US because their tanks would sink in on the fields.

https://www.google.c...12!8i6656?dcr=0


Approaches to the Highway to Bastogne, which didn't exist back then, of course:

https://www.google.c...12!8i6656?dcr=0
https://www.google.c...12!8i6656?dcr=0
Embankments that can be seen along the entire road were added after the war, as protection against erosion, but also as acoustic baffle to protect residential houses.


The town of Houffalize. A challenge for both attackers and defenders, the surrounding hills offered good positions for shots at bldgs and outposts, while the town offered to perform reverse-slope defenses on the bottom of this valley.

https://www.google.c...12!8i6656?dcr=0

 


Serpentine road south of Houffalize (leading to Noville), the town itself resides in a valley/depression:
https://www.google.c...12!8i6656?dcr=0

 


Road between Noville and Foy:

https://www.google.c...12!8i6656?dcr=0


Foy, one episode of Band of Brothers depicted the fight for Foy, when US units managed to retake Foy (which was on the road leading to Bastogne) eventually, after the offensive had failed:

https://www.google.c...12!8i6656?dcr=0
Foy is in the North, towards the bottom of the slope. None of these houses existed in 1944, maybe except for the grey building in the back.


"Downtown Foy":

https://www.google.c...12!8i6656?dcr=0
You can snipe up to 2 kilometers from the houses or places between houses and stables. US stragglers filtering back towards Bastogne used that road, during the German onslaught.


This is the Bastogne Historical Museum near Bastogne, maybe 1 km away from Bastogne, the elevation and hill ranges in the background allowed to screen the roads to Bastogne:

https://www.google.c...12!8i6656?dcr=0


Road (south-)east of Bastogne, this was one of around 2 or 3 approaches (this one from the East, 1 or 2 from the S) , and US troops had outposts in this area. Some of the elevations offered sneak peeks on the outskirts of Bastogne. In the main, this area consisted of acres and grassland situated around the city, with few trees and large open fields:

https://www.google.c...!1b1!2i41?dcr=0

 

This elevation in the SE is on the same road (from the East, which was used by those German units that were coming from Wiltz/Wardin). It offered a direct view on the city. Almost none of these houses, shops and factory facilities existed back then. There were no woods. Patton's final approach to link with the Bastogne defenders used 2 roads south of this road. 2 German Fallschirm units and other inf units were holding the sector south of Bastogne, during the siege of Bastogne (south of Wachenaule), but had to deal with the 4th Armored Division eventually. The US troops had some outposts on this elevation, early in the battle:

https://www.google.c...12!8i6656?dcr=0

 

Road just S/W of Bastogne:

https://www.google.c...12!8i6656?dcr=0

 


Bastogne is in the South, the houses to the left and right and in the distance are modern houses that didn't exist back then. Most of these trees were planted after the war. This area was farmland, in other sectors trees had been planted next to the road, to protect pedestrians and travelers from the strong winds in this open landscape. Placement was rather sporadic and not like the typical long lines of trees in Germany or Holland:

After attacks from other directions (SW and West, i believe) had failed several times, the German Inf tried to renew their attack from the North (which had failed before), but as they had to cross these open fields to close in from the North as well, even StuG support did not deliver the desired result and US inf., AT guns and TDs fended off all attacks. During one of those attacks the Germans tried to use heavy upcoming fog as cover, but the fog screen did not reach out to the US positions, so that the German uniforms (grey) created perfect silhouettes against the fog screen behind them. They were cut down by US small arms fire, MG fire and HE shells in numbers:

https://www.google.c...12!8i6656?dcr=0


In general, the German planners had picked the only viable road networks for their advances. Unlike during early stages of the war, Model went as far as to pre-define routes and even individual roads for individual armored units (sometimes even down to Coy level) and ordered them to move at night only and to hide in woods during the day, as he feared Allied air raids. Since Allied sorties were rare or even non-existent during the German onslaught, due to the weather conditions at Allied airfields and over parts of the Ardennes region, German units just dashed along, even during the day.

 

Keep it coming.

 

And if I bothered to upload my photographs from Normandy I can show you lots of instances where there was clear visibility for 2km+. It doesn't mean however that Normandy was not defined by restricted hedgegrow fighting.

 

That you petty-fog by dumping exceptions when the reality of the Ardennes is that it's heavily wooded and hilly (the "little park" you dismissed is 116,000 hectares in size and 1/5 of the entire province) really goes to demonstrate how there is no limit to you ability to lie so brazenly just to cling to old myths. That's why you kept insisting that 3.6 Shermans were killed per Panther despite the report stating this explicitly saying the opposite.

 

Indeed, it's really funny how you praise German operational planning - particularly the use of fog to hide themselves from air attack; while failing to mention that the fog would have also restricted visibility at ground level and would have been a prominent factor in further reducing visibility. 

 

But nah, the fog was just an indication of superior German operational planning. Nevermind the fact that it contributed to most engagements being fought at 500m, Or that all of those march route that Model planned were pointless insanity to begin with because their actual target for the operation was Antwerp and they basically had no chance of ever getting close. It's basically the equivalent of you bragging that you had tuned your car very well and planned your upcoming trip to exacting detail; without revealing that your plan's target is to reach the Moon with your sedan.



mrmojo #87 Posted Jan 17 2018 - 05:04

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View PostZinegata, on Jan 17 2018 - 11:43, said:

 

And if I bothered to upload my photographs from Normandy I can show you lots of instances where there was clear visibility for 2km+. It doesn't mean however that Normandy was not defined by restricted hedgegrow fighting.

 

That you petty-fog by dumping exceptions when the reality of the Ardennes is that it's heavily wooded and hilly (the "little park" you dismissed is 116,000 hectares in size and 1/5 of the entire province) really goes to demonstrate how there is no limit to you ability to lie so brazenly just to cling to old myths. That's why you kept insisting that 3.6 Shermans were killed per Panther despite the report stating this explicitly saying the opposite.

 

Indeed, it's really funny how you praise German operational planning - particularly the use of fog to hide themselves from air attack; while failing to mention that the fog would have also restricted visibility at ground level and would have been a prominent factor in further reducing visibility. 

 

But nah, the fog was just an indication of superior German operational planning. Nevermind the fact that it contributed to most engagements being fought at 500m, Or that all of those march route that Model planned were pointless insanity to begin with because their actual target for the operation was Antwerp and they basically had no chance of ever getting close. It's basically the equivalent of you bragging that you had tuned your car very well and planned your upcoming trip to exacting detail; without revealing that your plan's target is to reach the Moon with your sedan.

 

Was going so well, now the insults start.

 

Sigh...



Zinegata #88 Posted Jan 17 2018 - 05:17

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View Postmrmojo, on Jan 17 2018 - 12:04, said:

 

Was going so well, now the insults start.

 

Sigh...

 

I am primarily insulting the German operational plan, which some quarters still try to present as the final demonstration of masterful German operational planning but was in reality an operation that had no hope of achieving its strategic objective. Even tactically, where the Germans had some success, much of the plan was throwing inexperienced infantry at rough terrain (basically banging their head against a wall), or wishful thinking as 70 ton Tiger IIs attempted to speed along roads meant for farmers.

 

Yes, I am very, very bitter about this entire operation :D. I actually had to wargame it once from the battalion-level for the German side and anyone who thinks it will be a fun romp slicing through Americans will instead marvel at how a Panzer battalion capable of 30km/hr on a road march would crawl along at 3km/hr whenever they are forced off the road (which ended up being the majority of the time). 



thandiflight #89 Posted Jan 17 2018 - 07:32

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Without quoting anybody's post in particular:

To refresh: the Ronson lighter is American and not British. The Ronson lighter that was produced in Britain was only produced from 1959, therefore the British troops would not have referred to the M4 as a Ronson as this lighter was almost unknown to the British until AFTER WW2. The Ronson lighter was advertised in 1944 - and that was to advertise the fact that the entire production had been requisitioned by the Military and that it would be available to all later. When it was it was called "reliable" and did not use "lights every time" as a catch phrase. Simply put this was not a wartime name for the Sherman. It may not have been Belton Cooper who was responsible for this and it may be because somebody else in the post-war period (not a tanker) used it that he in fact wrote what he did demonstrating the power of suggestion. It is simply a myth.



mrmojo #90 Posted Jan 17 2018 - 09:20

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(said to be from) 1927 "lights every time"

 

 

But really, the discussion about tanks, equipment, tactics etc. is much more interesting.


Edited by mrmojo, Jan 17 2018 - 09:36.


Blackhorse_One_ #91 Posted Jan 17 2018 - 11:58

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View Postthandiflight, on Jan 16 2018 - 16:00, said:

So because you heard this as a boy makes it historically accurate? I think you missed the point entirely.

 

I didn't miss anything ...

 

Anlushac11's retort was close enough, and Zinegata's response confirmed it, with a nod to British sources.

 

I heard it from grandfathers, uncles, and friends of grandfathers and uncles, right here in the USA.

 

No idea where they got it, but one of those uncles was at The Bulge.

 

Get off your high horse, no pun intended.


Edited by Blackhorse_One_, Jan 17 2018 - 13:43.


Blackhorse_One_ #92 Posted Jan 17 2018 - 12:44

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View PostZinegata, on Jan 15 2018 - 23:05, said:

I wouldn't be surprised if there were people using it before Cooper, but I would be very surprised if it was from an American publication given that American military literature was much less prevalent than British ones until the 90s; and even today British publications still predominate.

 

Not looking to start any crap here, but I think you'll find that most Americans with direct combat experience in WW2 didn't talk much about their adventures to other folks who weren't there, let alone to write about them. Most of those Americans returned to their jobs or created new ones and went-on with life as best they could, and for the most part, they did it silently. I think you'll also find that none of the American Armed Services were particularly timely in releasing their own histories and battle reports for public consumption - many not yet written, and/or remaining classified for many years after the war, or buried in government archives.

 

Enter the scholars and the curious next generation ... Soldiers, sailors and dogs who were there stayed off the grass  ...
 

Audie Murphy may have been the earliest American veteran to write a memoir, but he was later attacked for questionable veracity regarding certain events as he wrote them in To Hell and Back (1949). At our end of the time-line, it could be argued that Belton Cooper already had a foot in the grave when he wrote his own memoir, Death Traps (1998) - and there have been far more Belton Coopers than Audie Murphys ...

 

Just sayin' ...


Edited by Blackhorse_One_, Jan 17 2018 - 13:44.


GePunkt #93 Posted Jan 17 2018 - 15:20

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View PostThe_Chieftain, on Jan 16 2018 - 19:05, said:

I'm not sure quite how correct that statement is. There are two slightly different issues. One is over the perceived need for the better gun, the other is of the practical reality of the better gun. The guys in the US believed that the need would be met by the 76, this was wrong. However, the development timelines don't seem that bad. The 76mm was developed quickly enough, and first stuffed into a tank in Summer '42. It sucked, but they were working on it. The 76mm TD implementation was not withheld, that entered production Summer '43, and the tank, which is inherently a more complicated thing to make than a TD, followed only six months behind. 

 

As for engagement ranges in NWE, I would remind you of the existence of these charts.

 

This is a misunderstanding.

I did not refer to the timeline of 75 and 76 mm guns, but to the time spent for development efforts on the doomed T20-T23 designs, which could have been spent on developing more TD designs (in addition to existing TD development eforts) with better crew protection and/or more potent guns (above 76 mm), or which could have been invested into a medium tank with the size and armament somewhere between a Sherman and a Pershing, in order to avoid having to transfer an untested Pershing to the ETO.



GePunkt #94 Posted Jan 17 2018 - 17:40

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Zinegata

Again, for reference: This is an actual German Ordnance Department report, meaning this is a document written by the wartime Germans explaining how long-ranged tank shooting actually

worked.

 
What this means is that it was inaccurate to shoot at long range if you treat the gun like a hunting rifle. Looking at your scope and trying to aim for the tank basically did not work, because at

that range the shell had a curved flight path due to the distance it had to travel, and was thus more similar to an indirect-fire artillery round.

 

That was why the report had this damning fact about tank gun accuracy:

 

    The assault gun battalions have significantly higher kill scores than tank battalions, even though they use the same guns and the latter have rotating turrets.

 

And again, why did the assault gun battalions have better kill rates? It wasn't because of the optics. Indeed, how can you even use the gunner's optics in indirect-fire mode? Indirect fire

implies you might not even have direct LOS to the target! The spotting was entirely handled by the commander in these cases - which is why the Stug's commander had a dismountable

artillery periscope.

Instead, the report concluded that what was needed was artillery training for tank gunners. Because at 1.5-2km range you need artillery rangefinding and curvature math skills more than a

really nice sight.

 

 

We're talking about Panthers and Shermans and their respective pros and cons, and then you come up with the translation of a German document dealing with the German's first set of guns with higher velocities, with you probably thinking that it would back up your claim that it took 3 Panthers to take out one Sherman and that German high velocity guns were not able to score long range kills with a Panther.

 

Just to make sure that you are not selectively reading and misinterpreting my post again, I am not claiming that long range engagements were usual combat ranges for Panthers or other tanks with high velocity guns.

 

Also, the document only details how long-range shooting with a Pz.IV (!) KwK 40 and a towed PaK 40 (!) and a French AT gun (!) should be conducted in order to up the number of hits, and it does not explain whether the table refers to the L/43 or the L/48 of the Pz.IV (the longer L/48 performed somewhat better at ranges close to its effective max range). At the time of document creation, the L/48 was the official standard gun of the Pz.IV, but it had not reached all fronts, yet.

 

The Report concludes that "it is advisable to pay more attention to it", and "it is our view it is necessary to begin tests in on this as soon as possible".
As with some other stuff you presented in other posts, you fail to understand the historical background and the original idea behind the document, plus you are comparing apples (Pz.IV's) and oranges (Panthers):

 

The main workhorse in summer and autumn 1943 was the Pz.IV. For the Battle at Kursk, the Germans had even fielded a noticeable number of Pz.III's with the 50 mm L/60 gun - even though they were inferior to the T-34 - to make up for the general lack of tanks, and a number of Pz.IV still had the short-barreled L/37 gun or the KwK 40 L/43. 5% of the deployed tank force consisted of Tiger tanks, only.
The Germans also deployed a high amount of StuG III (with the 75 mm short-barreled gun and with the long-barreled gun), 90 Ferdinands, and a low amount of Nashorn TDs.

 

Muzzle velocities:
Tiger I KwK 36:             773 meters/sec (AP)
                                    600 m/s (HEAT)
Ferdinand PaK 43    1,000 m/s (AP)
                                 1,130 m/s (tungsten round, rarely used, due to shortage)
Nashorn PaK 43           same as above
StuG III with L/24          385 m/s (AP)
                                    450 m/s (HEAT)
Pz.IV with L/24             same (AP)
                                    same (HEAT)
StuG III with L/43         740 m/s (AP)
Pz.IV  F with L/43         same (AP)
French PaK 97/38       570 m/s (AP)
                                    450 m/s (HEAT)

towed PaK 40 L/46      792 m/s (AP)
                                    933 m/s (tungsten)
                                    550 m/s (HEAT)

 

Penetration comparison:

 

The StuG III with the StuK 37 L/24 could pen 100 mm of armor at 1000 meters with its heat round, but only 35 mm with its AP round.
A number of the deployed StuG III's had the long 75 mm L/43, which was also mounted on some of the the Pz.IV. The gun did not have the punch of the longer 75 mm L/48 (the final standard gun), which was not mounted on Pz.IV's before April 1943, but had a 92% higher muzzle velocity than the short-barelled L/24.

 

The captured French PaK 97/38 had a max. range of 1500 meters (some authors claim 1500 - 2000) and could pen 75 mm at 60° and 90 mm at 90 degrees with HEAT at all ranges. The AP round could penetrate 66 mm (1000 meters) and 53 mm (1500 meters) only, but had a higher muzzle velocity.

That gun was disliked for 2 reasons:
1) the gun had limited amounts of captured Polish and French AP rounds,
2) the muzzle velocity was low, as it was a modified field gun, not an AT gun, and
3) it had to fire HEAT rounds by 1943, as AP round stocks were either very low or even empty. The Germans produced their own heat rounds for the French gun, and expenditure figures of 32,000 rounds in 1942 and well over 300,000 rounds in 1943 displays that the gun was only effective against Russian tanks at higher ranges (above 600 meters) if HEAT rounds were fired. Due to its even lower velocity, the heat round made it harder to hit targets at range, as the drop of the shell was higher, so that the gun's elevation had to be adjusted and watched continously, and as the lower shell velocity produced more misses when firing at moving targets.


Even though the Tiger sported the same gun as the Ferdinand and the Nashorn, both Ferdi and Nashorn used a longer version of the Tiger's gun, which delivered higher velocities and effective ranges.

 

Pz.IV: In January 1943 Hitler had orderd to fully shift the production of the Pz.IV from a mixed F and G output, to the up-armored level of the G model. Since the labor-intensive production of a Pz.IV took around 3 months, models with the L/43 gun reached frontline units slowly. Also, the bulk of the F-model output had been delivered to the tank units in Africa. The Germans then mounted the final gun upgrade with the longer L/48 barrel, starting in April 1943 (June according to some sources). This explains why some Pz. IV at Kursk still had the short KwK 37 L/24 or the somewhat weaker (if compared to the L/48) long L/43 gun.

 

 

Soooo.... since the Prüfwesen 1's pamphlet mentions the KwK 40 and PaK 40 with its "peacetime" accuracy table, for comparison, it is possible that L/48 versions were compared, even though its tank (Pz.IV) version was not the most widespread version, yet.


Some authors make the mistake of confusing long-barreled Panzer IV at Kursk with the Pz.IV of the G standard. In fact, most of these were re-designated (to G) F-models with the L/43 gun. Quite some sources indicate April 43, some sources indicate that the shift to the L/48 occured in June 1943.

In turn, the PaK 40 was a towed AT gun, of course, but sporting the original version of the 75 mm gun, but with a different barrel length : L/46, which was slightly better than the L/43 and which got close or even to the same level of the L/48 tank gun. Until the production levels of their own guns had climbed to halfway acceptable output numbers, the Germans depended on fielding captured AT guns and on their own low velocity guns with HEAT rounds as upgrades, to keep up with Russian tank developments. The Germans incorporated high amounts of high-velocity Russian guns, captured during the German onslaughts, and modified them so that they could fire modified german shells.

 

The first upgunned StuG III's had received the StuK 40 L/43 and eventually received the L/48 (months before the Pz. IV), but the production output was so low, initially, that some StuG's on the Eastern front still had the L/43 and even the L/37 guns. For the Battle of Kursk, a number of L/48 StuGs were collected and attached to the infantry divisions.

 

1) So what's the Prüfwesen's message?
2) Why did StuGs have higher kill scores?
3) Why did troops in the field prefer high velocity guns?

 

1) The message:
Until several months before the pamphlet was authored, the Germans - in the main - were used to tanks with rather short (or shorter) barrels and corresponding low velocities. The same goes for AT guns, as only the captured semi-automatic Russian AT guns (740 m/s, 990 m/s with tungsten rounds) and the 75 mm PaK 40 delivered high velocities. While a part of the StuG pool had received the higher velocity guns earlier (L/43, L48) than the Pz.IV's, the towed AT gun pool and output could not catch up with demand, so that infantry units had to fall back to using inferior guns with low velocities. The rather low number of Tigers in late 1942 and early 1943 could not make up for the initial lack of high velocity guns.

 

In general, guns with higher velocities appeared to be rather new to many German tank and AT gun crews, while a part of the StuG force had been able to gather first experiences with higher velocity guns, already. The tank crews expected to score hits with AP even at long distances, as they thought that the higher effective range and the rather flat trajectory would guarantee a hit, which was obviously not happening.
If an enemy vehicle that was spotted at ranges at say over 1400 -1600 meters appeared in the commander's sight at a certain angle, then he had troubles to gather the distance from the object's size with the reticle's mili-radians, as then the calculated distance did not match the real distance. In these case, using a foldable rangefinder would have helped. Some tank commanders secured themselves such scissor-scopes, others didn't think they'd be necessary.

 

Technically, the StuG force was part of the artillery branch, and the short-barreled StuGs could hit targets accurately with HE rounds at ranges of up to 6000 meters in indirect fire mode. Since the vehicles were equipped with stereoscopic rangefinders, L/24 crews had a good level of experience/training when it came to indirect shots.

 

The idea of the Prüfwesen department was to bring the crews of the new higher velocity guns in tanks and on towed towed AT guns to a level, where they could apply the right methods to accurately measure the distance to targets above 1400 meters. It also points out that the marked 200 meters increments on the tanks' visors (also found in Tigers and in Panthers) for elevation would work for short ranges. This is the Prüfwesen's theoretical approach. There might also be an error in the translation, as the direct-aiming method used in the field delivered acceptable results up to around 1200 (AP) - 1400 meters (tungsten) with a Pz.IV, depending on quality and type of shell, and as one or another sentence looks incomplete. The term in the German original might have been "kürzere" = shorter ranges. Whatsoever, the department then points out that the selected/marked 200 meter marks may actually result in shorter increments (below 200 meters) on long range shots, so that rounds will miss. The tank's own elevation (was it dug-in? was it on a terrain elevation? did it sit in a depression?) actually mattered.
What the document doesn't tell is that - in order to deliver the most accurate rangefinding -  a tank gun's position (as well as the distance of the gun from the ground, gun angle, etc.) would have had to be measured, in addition to using a rangefinder, to complete the equation, and which was the artillerymen's daily business with their guns.

 

On several occasions, individual tanks were used for artillery missions. On one occasion, a tank commander liaised with an artillery officer to get help with measuring the positions of 2 Panthers, and where then these 2 tank guns were employed for artillery missions with their remaining HE rounds, because they had run out of AP rounds (resupplies were days away). The procedure (the commander gave a very detailed and entertaining description in his memoirs) took 30 or 40 minutes for the 2 tanks. Since the commander did not receive any calls from the local HQ, he picked his own targets, with one of them being Russian troop quarters well behind the front. The max range was somewhere between 6000 and 8000 meters.

 

The inspector of the tank force (Guderian) never picked up the suggestions, and as gun development progressed, guns with even higher velocities (and higher effective ranges) were mounted on tanks, AT guns and tank destroyers. The Prüfwesen's suggestion was not deemed to be practical, as tanks had to manoeuvre and as Germany's new generation of tanks with even stronger guns could engage enemies in direct fire mode from distances where Russian and US medium tanks could not respond, and from distances where earlier tanks (ie. Pz.IV) with lower velocities had to be employed in indirect fire mode, so the suggestions were shelved quickly.

 

2) Kill scores:

The higher scores mainly derived from 4 facts:

a) StuG crews had conducted indirect fire missions since 1940.
b) The rangefinders gave them an edge over tank crews, where the latter had to calculate distances with their mili-radian reticles.
c) At the time the document was written, the StuG was not employed as offensive tank hunter and was not part of armored attacks, usually. The StuG Bns were attached to Infantry Divisions, to either conduct infantry support missions (with HE), or to up a given Inf unit's AT capabilities, because the production of the towed PaK 40 L/46 had not reached sufficient levels before July 1943 (with a mere number of 800 guns that month). In the Inf Divisions, the StuGs were then accompanied by inf platoons and served as cover for troops in the open steppe, but also as AT guns to protect the troops. When the StuGs evolved to also fill an AT role, the majority of StuGs were employed in a defensive stance, means they fired from stationary positions at incoming Russian tanks, taking advantage of their low profiles.
d) Many (towed) AT gun crews still had captured or German low velocity guns and were forced to work with even slower heat rounds.


3) Troops prefering high velocity guns
Since it was harder to actually hit a target with a low velocity gun and since the somewhat faster AP rounds' penetration often sucked, the troops preferred guns with more punch and higher velocities, of course. The pamphlet refers to both AT guns and tank guns and respective different types of ammunition, and points out that even when a given gun/shell combination would deliver the lower penetration power, that the troops would then still opt for the gun or round with a higher velocity. When a French crap gun made it easier to fire at an enemy tank with a somewhat faster AP round, then it's quite understandable that they hated to use its slower heat round, even if the heat round's penetration was way better. It was even worse with the towed PaK 40 with its AP/tungsten rounds, and its low velocity HEAT round (550 m/s), where the heat's low speed let the effective range drop to 1000 meters. On top of that, the heat round could penetrate 75 mm of armor across the shell's effective range, but the AP round could still penetrate 83 mm at 1500 and 73 mm of armor at 2000 meters, on plates sloped at 60 degrees, so the max. penetration was higher on vertical plates, of course. Gun crews tried to get that gun, if possible.

 

 

Zinegata


Moreover that you keep confusing the long-ranged shooting mechanic with the need for a gunner's periscope is yet another clear indication of armchair general evaluations.

You don't use the gunner's periscope to shoot. That's what the gunner's sights are for. The gunner's periscope is instead there to help him spot and acquire the target. That's why the Stugs had them because the assault gun was designed to get up close and support the infantry and its designers never forgot this spotting requirement. The Panther deleting this was a mistake. That's again why the Panther F put it back on.

 

I didn't say that.
And you just don't know the nomenclature for US tank sights, which I have used in one of my previous posts

At least in US tanks, the gunner's sight was called telescope, other devices (in arty vehicles, mortar halftracks, etc.) were called periscopes. The bodies holding the telescopes in tank sights were also called periscopes, as well as the obs device providing the Sherman gunner with battlefield awareness, as his telescope had a FOV of 9 degrees only. The Sherman's observation periscope could be tilted to the left and right. Since the US adopted 360° cupolas at one point, the obs periscope could probably not be rotated to a full 360°.
The designations listed by ordnance got quite confusing, as the term periscope also described the body holding the telescope and instrument light.
With the unified sight, designated "Periscope M10", the nomenclature got even more confusing (for you) as then ordnance used to refer to the body holding two telescopes as "periscope holding two self-contained telescopes in one body which is linked to the gun." One telescope was a 6-power scope with a FOV of 11 degrees, and the other telescope was a 1-power scope (= no magnification) with a pretty limiting vertical FOV of 8 degrees and a nice horizontal FOV of 42 degrees, so that the view rather resembled a view through a very narrow open view port, than through a scope.

With this unified scope, the US had actually acknowledged and adopted the Panther's switchable sight for the gunner. While the M10's incorporated obs scope had a higher horizontal FOV, the 8 degrees vertical FOV must have been quite limiting. The advantage was that - just like in Panther tanks - the gunner did not have to leave the eyerest for getting a broader image of the battlefield, anymore. They were installed in late Shermans, I am not sure how many (or if any at all) made it to the ETO, or when they were installed.

 

Panther F:

And here again, you don't even know what the Panther F was actually supposed to receive:
A stereoscopic rangefinder that would have given the tank the ability to measure the distance "on the fly" on moving and stationary targets from inside the tank, and without having to open the hatch (like with a scissor scope). No other MBT of the time had such thing.

Since these turrets did not even leave the factory, it's moot to discuss their planned deployment.

 

Rangefinder:

Other than that, German guns successfully performed long range shots with Panthers, TDs, King Tigers and other guns and vehicles.
During the Battle of Kursk, a single Ferdinand destroyed a Russian tank at a range of 3500 meters. The Russian tank had halted there, with the crew thinking they would be well outside the effective range of any German gun.
Sidenote: That Ferdi didn't have a rangefinder.

 



GePunkt #95 Posted Jan 17 2018 - 19:44

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View PostZinegata, on Jan 17 2018 - 03:43, said:

 

That you petty-fog by dumping exceptions when the reality of the Ardennes is that it's heavily wooded and hilly (the "little park" you dismissed is 116,000 hectares in size and 1/5 of the entire province) really goes to demonstrate how there is no limit to you ability to lie so brazenly just to cling to old myths. That's why you kept insisting that 3.6 Shermans were killed per Panther despite the report stating this explicitly saying the opposite.

 

Indeed, it's really funny how you praise German operational planning - particularly the use of fog to hide themselves from air attack; while failing to mention that the fog would have also restricted visibility at ground level and would have been a prominent factor in further reducing visibility. 

 

But nah, the fog was just an indication of superior German operational planning. Nevermind the fact that it contributed to most engagements being fought at 500m, Or that all of those march route that Model planned were pointless insanity to begin with because their actual target for the operation was Antwerp and they basically had no chance of ever getting close. It's basically the equivalent of you bragging that you had tuned your car very well and planned your upcoming trip to exacting detail; without revealing that your plan's target is to reach the Moon with your sedan.

 

1) The google link you posted was centered on the wildlife park and on an area that wasn't even touched by the Germans during the Battle of the Bulge. I said that there were open areas as well as confined places, and I even linked to the rocky area in and around Houffalize as sample for the confined areas.

So you claim that there was no open ground and I present links with street footage from points all along one (of several) route of advance proving the opposite.

 

2) In one of my post I doubted that the 3.6:1 (which actually refers to 3.6 Shermans killed for 1 Panther) presented by you or someone else would be realistic, as the Allied:German ratio was rather 2:1 in Normandy and 1.6:1 with the Brits in Caen, according to what I've read. Means: lower than the post-war study (collected by looking at 30 battles) sugested. It doesn't matter if the ratio is correct or not, just read these words, understand and process them. That's what I said.

 

You seem to have problems grasping what someone is saying. I may not be right with everything (eg. Chieftain confirming that a low number of US tankers got killed, by presenting a sheet covering 1941 - 1946, which may even include accidents after the war, so the kill number was indeed pretty low), but you put statements in my mouth here, I never made.

 

Re: fog

In the main, fhe fog lasted for 4-6 days and did not cover each and every sector. The weather started to clear up on 23 December.

 

Heavy fog on 20 December in the Werbomont area, M36 transfering to aid the 82nd Airborne against German armor near Werbomont (Northern Bulge sector):

https://upload.wikim..._destroyers.jpg

 

Us riflemen advancing to relieve the US defenders at Bastogne (notice the elevation providing far view). The area looks like the open areas I linked in my little battlefield tour.:

https://upload.wikim...ar_Bastogne.png

 

Knocked out Panther at Elsenborn ridge, no fog, almost no snow, wet street/terrain:

https://upload.wikim...rewman_1944.jpg

 

German tanks moved along the ordered routes of advance, bypassed/ignored Bastogne in the southern sector and tried to rush to their river objectives in the west. Since they wasted quite some time trying to find a viable way over the river (they had already missed an opportunity to cross at an almost undefended point earlier, due to bad recon), they ran into US forces defending the sites and one or another bridge was blown up by US engineers. Other bridges further North were held by British units. Fuel and ammo levels became critical.

Until that point (24 December) German tank losses in the West appeared to be minor, only Peiper's unit up north had lost a notable number of tanks.

 

Re: "superior planning". I don't see any statement in my posts that resembles such statement.

 

The planning for and the execution of the offensive in the Ardennes was doomed even before it had begun. It started with the low amount of fuel at FUPs, which forced quite some tank units to "steal" fuel from vehicles that were not immediately needed for the operation, with some tank units' general lack of fuel (where some units' tanks started with 60% fuel in their tanks), with Model and Rundstedt including units that were supposed to be disbanded and deleted from records (due to them being battered and understrength), with fuel reserves being collected for months (depriving units on the Eastern front of their mobility) - where even idle fuel was scraped together from gas stations all across Germany, and with the general lack of troops, tanks and other equipment. While ammunition was reserved for the operation, arty units in some other sectors could not fire more than 7 HE shells per day.

Then the actual advance was hampered by many other factors, where a vital factor was the stiffening and partially very aggressive/bold defense performed by US units.

The plan was ill-fated, but also partially badly planned, as the scope was too big. A percentage of the bad planning was based on Hitler's orders to give the mission a bigger scope. Either Rundstedt or Model (can't remember) wanted to downsize Hitler's idea and rectify the situation around Aachen first, before tending to the Ardennes and conducting a more limited offensive, that would have included more consecutive infantry waves (to be able to hold the ground) with additional rifle units taken from other sectors.



Zinegata #96 Posted Yesterday, 08:14 AM

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View PostBlackhorse_One_, on Jan 17 2018 - 19:44, said:

 

Not looking to start any crap here, but I think you'll find that most Americans with direct combat experience in WW2 didn't talk much about their adventures to other folks who weren't there, let alone to write about them. Most of those Americans returned to their jobs or created new ones and went-on with life as best they could, and for the most part, they did it silently. I think you'll also find that none of the American Armed Services were particularly timely in releasing their own histories and battle reports for public consumption - many not yet written, and/or remaining classified for many years after the war, or buried in government archives.

 

Enter the scholars and the curious next generation ... Soldiers, sailors and dogs who were there stayed off the grass  ...
 

Audie Murphy may have been the earliest American veteran to write a memoir, but he was later attacked for questionable veracity regarding certain events as he wrote them in To Hell and Back (1949). At our end of the time-line, it could be argued that Belton Cooper already had a foot in the grave when he wrote his own memoir, Death Traps (1998) - and there have been far more Belton Coopers than Audie Murphys ...

 

Just sayin' ...

 

Actually, the US Army actually did a fairly good job of trying to figure out what worked and didn't during the war. A lot of the literature being "rediscovered" in the present about the relatively low US tank casualties were actually from the 1950s or even just immediately after the war.

 

The issue - besides the reluctance of American soldiers to speak about their experiences (most soldiers regardless of nation had this issue) - was that the American publishing industry had always been rather reluctant to support books focusing on military history. That's why most of the books about World War 2 for general consumption was written across the pond; and popular ones like Longest Day were simply republished in America. 

 

It was not until Stephen Ambrose that American publishers even began to seriously consider publishing military history literature.

 

Indeed, I recall a tank & afv news interview wherein Zaloga noted that a lot of his work still ends up going to British publishers like Osprey, as Stackpole is about the only US publisher that is interested in tank-related subjects. 

 

As a result, much of what Americans believe to be true about "World War 2" history is in fact the British version of events; which is very different from the US wartime perspective in many regards. That's also probably why Churchill has such a great reputation in America as a shining beacon of anti-communism despite actually selling out Eastern Europe as part of his "percentages agreement" with Stalin. He made sure history was kind to him by being the one to write it.


Edited by Zinegata, Yesterday, 09:31 AM.


Zinegata #97 Posted Yesterday, 08:41 AM

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View PostGePunkt, on Jan 18 2018 - 00:40, said:

 

 

We're talking about Panthers and Shermans and their respective pros and cons, and then you come up with the translation of a German document dealing with the German's first set of guns with higher velocities, with you probably thinking that it would back up your claim that it took 3 Panthers to take out one Sherman and that German high velocity guns were not able to score long range kills with a Panther.

 

 

No, this is you ignoring that the core of the report was the simple fact that Stumgetchutze battalions performed better than the tank battalions even when they had the same guns and lacked turrets. Indeed, given that the document was published in September 1943 - after the Panther's debut - it seems the Panther and its newer gun didn't really make all that big of an impression; otherwise there should have been a notation on how the Panther's gun was doing much better.

 

The problem again is that you are insisting on a very narrow band of comparison - front armor, optic clarity, and gun penetration - and completely ignore the rest of the factors that are just as, if not more important, at determining victory. Otherwise Germany should have lost the war against France in 1940 against S35s and Char Bs with far superior armor and gunpower but with actual crippling issues with regards to spotting capability and crew ergonomics.

 

Trying to drag the conversation to "Panther vs Sherman" when you haven't disproven the US Army's 3.6:1 kill rate in its favor is pointless. You had already lost that part of the argument because you failed to address it - and indignant denial does not count as addressing it.

 

What we're now talking about is how you can't even accept that the Stugs actually performed better than the Panthers; because it follows the same "size doesn't matter that much" argument as the Sherman vs Panther.

 

But seriously, how many Panther battalions had reached 1,000 kills to begin with? Meanwhile the kill score of Stug battalion 667 by 1943 already exceeds the (largely imaginary) kill rate achieved by most Tiger battalions for the entire war.

 

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The inspector of the tank force (Guderian) never picked up the suggestions,

 

Guderian was also frequently wrong. His opposition to the Stugs was in fact a classic case of this because he was too busy playing favorites - he was a long proponent of the tank arm and had opposed Stugs primarily because it was an idea for the artillery arm. Indeed, it's worth noting that the Stug was originally conceived by Manstein - arguably an even better general than Guderian - so all you're really doing (again) is cherry-picking opinions that agree with you. 

 

Again what seems to be causing your collective meltdown with lots of text that don't actually say anything is that the WarPru report corroborates what folks who actually study the Wermacht closely have suspected all along: The Stug battalions were the best-performing armored unit in the entire Army. That's why some of them already claimed 1,100+ kill as early as 1943. They were better than the Panthers.

 

This is why you then tried to excuse the Panther's awful performance compared to the Stug with these reasons:

 

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2) Kill scores:

The higher scores mainly derived from 4 facts:

a) StuG crews had conducted indirect fire missions since 1940.
b) The rangefinders gave them an edge over tank crews, where the latter had to calculate distances with their mili-radian reticles.
c) At the time the document was written, the StuG was not employed as offensive tank hunter and was not part of armored attacks, usually.

 

Without realizing that, gee, maybe the Panther would be more effective if 1) It focused more on having indirect-fire capability and shoots, 2) Had a rangefinder like in the Panther F, and 3) Be involved in more general combat instead of being constantly kept in reserve, because it turns out Allied tanks turn up all the damn time and the Landser would really, really like it if the Panzers would show up to help them sometime. 

 

In short, maybe the Panther would be more effective if it was more like the Stug instead of chasing arbitrary increases in gun size and armor thickness. 

 

Not to mention that you're absolutely wrong about the third item in the first place. The document was written in September 1943. Stugs had been armed with the 75mm L48 since 1942, or a whole year prior. While Stugs were not yet being regularly assigned to Panzerjaeger Abteilung at this point as tank replacements, they were nonetheless expected to perform offensive anti-tank operations as part of the existing Sturmgeschutze Abteilung. Stug battalions would not be achieving 1,000 kills by 1943 otherwise.

 

Indeed, your comment seems to be an outgrowth of the silly idea that "infantry support" means "running away when they encounter enemy tanks and leave the infantry to fend for themselves until the Panzerjaeger are brought up". That's not how the German Army worked and that's not how the US Army worked either. When a Stug battalion was part of an attack then it was expected to attack enemy armor supporting the defenders too. 

 

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During the Battle of Kursk, a single Ferdinand destroyed a Russian tank at a range of 3500 meters. The Russian tank had halted there, with the crew thinking they would be well outside the effective range of any German gun.

 

"There is this story where this so-and-so tank did this so-and-so amazing feat! It proves this tank is awesome!"

 

Seriously what does this have anything to do with the price of fish?

 

I would also note that your story seems suspiciously similar from a memoir of a Soviet soldier, who fought at the Nikopol Bridgehead (not Kursk). He couldn't believe how the Ferdis were hitting them from 3,500m away. 

 

... Except how exactly is a Soviet soldier without his own rangefinding equipment supposed to be certain that he's getting hit by a Ferdi unit from 3,500m away to begin with? And how can said Soviet soldier be sure that the Ferdi had no range finder? Does he now suddenly have an omniscient view of the battlefield and can also see the German player's kill cam?

 

That you have devolved to these kinds of meaningless stories really demonstrates how little you say about tank warfare is based on reality. Very few of them prove to be entirely factual when examined closely; especially when people are silly enough to start quoting really precise ranges.

 

===

 

Really, the core the problem with your comments is that they are premised on the long-discredited notion that war is an armored joust; and that the winner of a tank vs tank engagement is the side with the bigger gun, thicker armor, and mega-pixel quality zoom. That's why you can't even imagine the Panther being outperformed by a smaller tank - either the Sherman or the Stug.

 

This was completely not the case in actuality. Smaller tanks killing bigger ones actually happened all the time during the war; and that is because those vehicles were employed correctly as part of an integrated system known as the Army. For instance all the complaints about the Stug having less armor than the Panther ring hollow if you consider that the Stug isn't going to get spotted - much less hit - if it was hiding behind a hill and employing indirect fire. Likewise the complaints about the lack of a turret largely vanish in the face of a fast vehicle traverse and constant close cooperation with the infantry to guard against flankers.

 

In short, the Stug worked very well because it was developed to fulfill the actual needs of the combat troops - which is why the troops loved them and basically forced the factories to keep making them. This is why Germany even ended up with a Stug IV variant to begin with when the factory making Mk IIIs was bombed. By contrast the Panther was sometimes rejected by the units getting them - with whole batches being ordered back to the factory due to all the defects they kept encountering.


Edited by Zinegata, Yesterday, 09:58 AM.


Zinegata #98 Posted Yesterday, 09:14 AM

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View PostGePunkt, on Jan 18 2018 - 02:44, said:

 

1) The google link you posted was centered on the wildlife park and on an area that wasn't even touched by the Germans during the Battle of the Bulge. I said that there were open areas as well as confined places, and I even linked to the rocky area in and around Houffalize as sample for the confined areas.

So you claim that there was no open ground and I present links with street footage from points all along one (of several) route of advance proving the opposite.

 

 

 

Again, will you stop lying so brazenly?

 

specifically said that even in Normandy I found plenty of open ground. The difference is that I refused to equate those exceptions as the norm - and that Normandy was still a campaign fought largely at close quarters despite these open areas. Because close-quarters combat is what characterize most actual combat accounts on both sides.

 

Hence saying I claimed there is "no open ground" in the Ardennes is again little more than another of your brazen lies; invented because you were caught making so many basic mistakes about the Bulge.

 

Indeed, here's your biggest one:

 

Even if we ignore the wildlife park - which you called "small" despite being 116,000 hectares in size - the entirety of the Ardennes region is still largely wooded and rough terrain in pretty much every public description you can find:

 

https://www.britanni...s-region-Europe

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ardennes

 

But no, apparently we're to believe that the Panther was somehow able to perform plenty of long-ranged shooting in the middle of heavy fog in a region described as a "wooded plateau" by actual general reference texts because you found a handful of photographs showing a few open areas.

 

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In the main, fhe fog lasted for 4-6 days and did not cover each and every sector. The weather started to clear up on 23 December.

 

*facepalm*

 

December 23/24th was the day Peiper abandoned his tanks - as this was the day that most Panzer units ran out of fuel entirely. Because the wonderful German operational planning had only issued enough fuel to get the tanks halfway to their objective.

 

So how, exactly, are Panzers abandoned by their crews / waiting for fuel going to be performing long-ranged shooting at this point? 

 

Really, that you claim this demonstrates that you don't even have a basic understanding of the timeline of the battle. You're instead just looking for exceptions and excuses to try and fit your premise that the Panther was somehow capable of doing a lot of long-ranged shooting; rather than carefully studying the actual events that occurred in the battle. 

 

German armor performed really badly against the American tanks in the Ardennes. They had only very limited tactical success at the outset, and that required having overwhelming local numerical superiority to achieve it. By the 23rd the German offensive had basically all but petered out, and indeed the focus at this point was extricating a lot of the over-exposed Panzer units (often minus their equipment) sent out on this fool's errand. 

 

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2) In one of my post I doubted that the 3.6:1 (which actually refers to 3.6 Shermans killed for 1 Panther) presented by you or someone else would be realistic, as the Allied:German ratio was rather 2:1 in Normandy and 1.6:1 with the Brits in Caen, 

 

The ratio of 3.6-1 was based on Zaloga, who you earlier cited as a source. 

 

The 2:1 kill rates typically mentioned meanwhile again completely fall apart based on the analysis done on the Panzerworld site. Because again Shermans that threw their tracks were still counted as "kills".

 

But really, this is a waste of time because you're too busy refusing to read sources that contradict you in favor of trying to pretend that Zaloga said 3.6 Shermans were killed for every Panther instead of the opposite.

 

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The planning for and the execution of the offensive in the Ardennes was doomed even before it had begun.

 

Uh-huh. Let's compare to what you said before:

 

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In general, the German planners had picked the only viable road networks for their advances. Unlike during early stages of the war, Model went as far as to pre-define routes and even individual roads for individual armored units (sometimes even down to Coy level) and ordered them to move at night only and to hide in woods during the day, as he feared Allied air raids. Since Allied sorties were rare or even non-existent during the German onslaught, due to the weather conditions at Allied airfields and over parts of the Ardennes region, German units just dashed along, even during the day.

 

German planners picked "viable" roads. They were able to "dash along, even during the day". 

 
This isn't the Battle of the Bulge. This is the Nazi's last ditch fantasy of how it would ideally turn out. 
 
You were in fact saying they planned it very well and they were able to advance quickly - completely ignoring all the traffic jams that bogged down the majority of the attacking columns, the realization that their now 45-ton tanks were tearing up the roads, and that small units of Americans were able to perform delaying actions because banging their head against a wall was often the only choice due to a lack of off-road options.
 
In short, you again basically tried to pretend that the exceptions (a handful of columns able to move at high speed) was the norm rather than the exception.
 
Read up on the actual battle. Not the Nazi fanboy fantasy version of it. There weren't lone Jagdtigers in the Bulge taking out 23 Shermans on their own. There were lone US Tank Destroyers taking on 5+ Panzers and winning.

Edited by Zinegata, Yesterday, 09:41 AM.


Anlushac11 #99 Posted Today, 06:54 AM

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View PostZinegata, on Jan 16 2018 - 23:17, said:

 

I am primarily insulting the German operational plan, which some quarters still try to present as the final demonstration of masterful German operational planning but was in reality an operation that had no hope of achieving its strategic objective. Even tactically, where the Germans had some success, much of the plan was throwing inexperienced infantry at rough terrain (basically banging their head against a wall), or wishful thinking as 70 ton Tiger IIs attempted to speed along roads meant for farmers.

 

Yes, I am very, very bitter about this entire operation :D. I actually had to wargame it once from the battalion-level for the German side and anyone who thinks it will be a fun romp slicing through Americans will instead marvel at how a Panzer battalion capable of 30km/hr on a road march would crawl along at 3km/hr whenever they are forced off the road (which ended up being the majority of the time). 

 

No, you insult anyone who disagree's with you and if they piss you off you try to get your moderator buddies to delete their posts, issue warnings, and try to have people banned. Been here long enough to have seen you and Ensign Expendable do it. Your little Asian buddy even bragged in the forums about how she pulled strings to get Snow Panzer banned and his guild banned. That lasted what about a day?




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