Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 30 of 37

Thread: WWII: For those who thought it was nice, but too short...

  1. #1
    Nec Pluribus Impar Member SwordsMaster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    3,518
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default WWII: For those who thought it was nice, but too short...

    Managing perceptions goes hand in hand with managing expectations - Masamune

    Pie is merely the power of the state intruding into the private lives of the working class. - Beirut

  2. #2
    Guest Stig's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    At the bar
    Posts
    4,215

    Default Re: WWII: For those who thought it was nice, but too short...

    mmmm what should I say about the first one

    maybe that he's wrong
    for example:
    saying Churchill wanted to fight Hitler, well Winston had nothing to say, he wasn't the Prime-Minister, Chamberlain was.

    Or saying that no lesson can be learned, saying that Germany was absolutely superior, they weren't, both the British and French armies were not worse, the German plans were better. If you lose the Battle of Britain, are you superior? not really, maybe that columnist should look better into his sources

  3. #3
    Nec Pluribus Impar Member SwordsMaster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    3,518
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: WWII: For those who thought it was nice, but too short...

    Ok, I'll get the ball rolling. I believe that the guy from the first article is mostly right, except in liberally using the term Fascist. I would say they were despotes but he seems to use that indiscriminately.

    In any case, he does make a few good points, but I think he does not go deep enough, in the sense of not noticing where all these dictators come from. Most of them were raised during the imperialistic clashes pre-and-during WWI, which I imagine must have been very instructive.

    Most european regimes anyway, replaced a weakened monarchy with a strong elected leader who just happened to be worse than any monarch... I cannot imagine Kaiser Wilhelm killing a few million jews without a communist uprising...

    I do have to agree that propaganda was the war-winning tool in this case. You can't help but agree that german uniforms and iron crosses were the coolest ones of the whole war.... And I bet anything that that went a long way to help morale and recruitment. If a soldier looks like a boy-scout (british), or a sack of potatoes (american) or like a ragged bandit (russian) it is hard to mantain high morale....

    Now that I planted the seed of controversy, I will let you chip in...
    Managing perceptions goes hand in hand with managing expectations - Masamune

    Pie is merely the power of the state intruding into the private lives of the working class. - Beirut

  4. #4
    Nec Pluribus Impar Member SwordsMaster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    3,518
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: WWII: For those who thought it was nice, but too short...

    Quote Originally Posted by Stig
    mmmm what should I say about the first one

    maybe that he's wrong
    for example:
    saying Churchill wanted to fight Hitler, well Winston had nothing to say, he wasn't the Prime-Minister, Chamberlain was.

    Or saying that no lesson can be learned, saying that Germany was absolutely superior, they weren't, both the British and French armies were not worse, the German plans were better. If you lose the Battle of Britain, are you superior? not really, maybe that columnist should look better into his sources

    Damn! beat me by 1 minute! True. But when churchill came to power he did not choose to negotiate peace. And Hitler would have been up for it too! And it wasn't really in the interests of british people to continue fighting, but in the interests of the Empire. I mean if the brits had stayed neutral, they would have made a huge profit out of the war, and Churchill wasn't stupid enough not to see it...

    About your second point, read my second link. Man for man, the germans were superior as were the japanese. Their morele was higher, they were better equipped and had better weapons. Compare the King Tiger with the Sherman, and you'll see the difference.
    Managing perceptions goes hand in hand with managing expectations - Masamune

    Pie is merely the power of the state intruding into the private lives of the working class. - Beirut

  5. #5
    Guest Stig's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    At the bar
    Posts
    4,215

    Default Re: WWII: For those who thought it was nice, but too short...

    Most european regimes anyway, replaced a weakened monarchy with a strong elected leader who just happened to be worse than any monarch... I cannot imagine Kaiser Wilhelm killing a few million jews without a communist uprising...
    It's hard to call Hitler an elected leader, yes he was choosen by the majority of the people, but would they vote for him if he would have said:
    If you vote for me, I will kill all the Jews

    No they wouldn't have done that, that came after Hitler was elected.

    I do have to agree that propaganda was the war-winning tool in this case. You can't help but agree that german uniforms and iron crosses were the coolest ones of the whole war.... And I bet anything that that went a long way to help morale and recruitment. If a soldier looks like a boy-scout (british), or a sack of potatoes (american) or like a ragged bandit (russian) it is hard to mantain high morale...
    Don't fully agree with you there. Yes the Germans looked mightely Imperialistic, but seriously does it matter. Besides the German helmet is just plain stupid

  6. #6
    Nec Pluribus Impar Member SwordsMaster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    3,518
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: WWII: For those who thought it was nice, but too short...

    Quote Originally Posted by Stig
    Don't fully agree with you there. Yes the Germans looked mightely Imperialistic, but seriously does it matter. Besides the German helmet is just plain stupid
    And the british one is a pearl of haute couture...
    Managing perceptions goes hand in hand with managing expectations - Masamune

    Pie is merely the power of the state intruding into the private lives of the working class. - Beirut

  7. #7
    Guest Stig's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    At the bar
    Posts
    4,215

    Default Re: WWII: For those who thought it was nice, but too short...

    Damn! beat me by 1 minute! True. But when churchill came to power he did not choose to negotiate peace. And Hitler would have been up for it too! And it wasn't really in the interests of british people to continue fighting, but in the interests of the Empire. I mean if the brits had stayed neutral, they would have made a huge profit out of the war, and Churchill wasn't stupid enough not to see it...
    Not entirely true. If Churchill would pull retreat England from the war the Suez Canal would become German and that would be a loss, next to that it would still go at war with Japan, etc etc, no peace was for several reasons not an option.


    About your second point, read my second link. Man for man, the germans were superior as were the japanese. Their morele was higher, they were better equipped and had better weapons. Compare the King Tiger with the Sherman, and you'll see the difference.
    No the French had the SOMUA tank which was mightely superior to any MarkIII or IV, point is that they used them wrongly.
    Due to that Germans could break through at Sedan and encircle the BEC, which had to retreat.

  8. #8
    Nec Pluribus Impar Member SwordsMaster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    3,518
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: WWII: For those who thought it was nice, but too short...

    Not entirely true. If Churchill would pull retreat England from the war the Suez Canal would become German and that would be a loss, next to that it would still go at war with Japan, etc etc, no peace was for several reasons not an option.
    Not necessarily. If the brits had pulled out of the war, they might have negotiated free passage for british shipping in the channel, and they didn't have to go to war in Japan at all... Japan was an american venture, and I'm sure Hitler wouldn't have cared enough to have the UK as an enemy again.
    Managing perceptions goes hand in hand with managing expectations - Masamune

    Pie is merely the power of the state intruding into the private lives of the working class. - Beirut

  9. #9
    Guest Stig's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    At the bar
    Posts
    4,215

    Default Re: WWII: For those who thought it was nice, but too short...

    Quote Originally Posted by SwordsMaster
    Not necessarily. If the brits had pulled out of the war, they might have negotiated free passage for british shipping in the channel, and they didn't have to go to war in Japan at all... Japan was an american venture, and I'm sure Hitler wouldn't have cared enough to have the UK as an enemy again.
    Japan wanted all the colonies, including India

    If England would become neutral they would lose their positions as most important country in the world (imo they lost it already, but back then they thought differently), would you as an imperialist allow that to happen.
    Next to that, they knew the Germans would have a hard time trying to invade England.
    The entire British nation wanted to fight Germany, be it with their bare hands, they didn't want peace, and would certainly not like Winnie to make peace.

    England wanted as much world influence as possible, peace with Germany would result in no influence in Europe at all, as it would be German.
    Next to that the goverments of Poland, Belgium, Holland, France, Norway, Denmark, etc who escaped into Britain would insist to fight on.


    It's easy to say that England could make peace, but it's hard to make that peace

  10. #10
    Nec Pluribus Impar Member SwordsMaster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    3,518
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: WWII: For those who thought it was nice, but too short...

    Quote Originally Posted by Stig
    Japan wanted all the colonies, including India

    If England would become neutral they would lose their positions as most important country in the world (imo they lost it already, but back then they thought differently), would you as an imperialist allow that to happen.
    Next to that, they knew the Germans would have a hard time trying to invade England.
    The entire British nation wanted to fight Germany, be it with their bare hands, they didn't want peace, and would certainly not like Winnie to make peace.

    England wanted as much world influence as possible, peace with Germany would result in no influence in Europe at all, as it would be German.
    Next to that the goverments of Poland, Belgium, Holland, France, Norway, Denmark, etc who escaped into Britain would insist to fight on.


    It's easy to say that England could make peace, but it's hard to make that peace
    Well, you are just proving my point. Churchill was an imperialist as much as Hitler, which is what I argued at the beginning.
    Managing perceptions goes hand in hand with managing expectations - Masamune

    Pie is merely the power of the state intruding into the private lives of the working class. - Beirut

  11. #11
    Guest Stig's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    At the bar
    Posts
    4,215

    Default Re: WWII: For those who thought it was nice, but too short...

    Quote Originally Posted by SwordsMaster
    Well, you are just proving my point. Churchill was an imperialist as much as Hitler, which is what I argued at the beginning.
    Yes but a different kind of imperialist really, Hitler wanted all the land, Churchill (or any other Brit) wanted influence, he didn't want to attack Poland to get that influence.

  12. #12
    Headless Senior Member Pannonian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    7,614

    Default Re: WWII: For those who thought it was nice, but too short...

    Quote Originally Posted by SwordsMaster
    I do have to agree that propaganda was the war-winning tool in this case. You can't help but agree that german uniforms and iron crosses were the coolest ones of the whole war.... And I bet anything that that went a long way to help morale and recruitment. If a soldier looks like a boy-scout (british), or a sack of potatoes (american) or like a ragged bandit (russian) it is hard to mantain high morale....
    In WW1 the British uniforms were the envy of the combatant nations. The German field grey may have looked smarter, but they stood out more. If smart uniforms were the decisive factor in war, the French would have stuck with the blue and red in the first war.

  13. #13
    Nec Pluribus Impar Member SwordsMaster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    3,518
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: WWII: For those who thought it was nice, but too short...

    Quote Originally Posted by Pannonian
    In WW1 the British uniforms were the envy of the combatant nations. The German field grey may have looked smarter, but they stood out more. If smart uniforms were the decisive factor in war, the French would have stuck with the blue and red in the first war.
    You must agree, it woold have been a lot more entertaining! Specially if they had kept the bearskin hats also!


    Yes but a different kind of imperialist really, Hitler wanted all the land, Churchill (or any other Brit) wanted influence, he didn't want to attack Poland to get that influence.
    That didn't stop Churchill from invading Africa to get to the middle eastern oilfields... Influence is cemented on military might. Which needs, steel, rubber, oil, uranium, and assorted industries to function. Which need raw materials, which mean land.
    Managing perceptions goes hand in hand with managing expectations - Masamune

    Pie is merely the power of the state intruding into the private lives of the working class. - Beirut

  14. #14

    Default Re: WWII: For those who thought it was nice, but too short...

    on the idea of everyone being a fascist
    THe countries leaders were all despotic from east to west. However some countries actually had democratic process within them, some of them were legitimate goverments. Hitlers goverment was based on terror his party enginered. I'd say the actual people in many countries fiercely held onto their national identities

    on Declerations of war
    Yeah ummm i'm sorry but Britian declared war becuase it was required to do to the aggressive action of germany on poland in respect to the treaty between poland and britian. It was a series of treaties that were called into effect and Germany knew to expect it. Hell it chose to honor its treaty with Japan and declare war on America.


    I'm not sure what he means by better soldiers, Allies had more men, more equipment and what really mattered far more air support then the germans did. also the germans had this bad disadvantage of wasting their best troops on the russian front. but you can't compare the King tiger and the Sherman because they were built for different purposes. The sherman was lighter, faster, far more mobile and far easier and cheaper to produce. The king tiger was a huge headache to produce and rebuild and repair. The Tiger was better then 10 Sherman tanks but the Allies had the man power and ability to put eleven on the field. And while yes the Germans did have the prototypical Assult rifle made due to of course the presence of some of the most inovative gunsmiths in the world in germany but in essense it was meaningless against the numbers the allies had. Oh and also hitler had that bad habit of killing his best generals.

    Yeah um There was a purpose to the soft underbelly of Europe. It knocked out one of the Axis powers, it destoryed the Veteran Afrika corps, it also allowed the western powers enough time to test tactics and prepare so that the disasters of north africa weren't repeated. Oh and don't forget opening the Suez back up as well as adding another potential route to Russia which was the big deal with Gallipoli, the northern route to russia wasn't always open

    Military lessons?
    hmmmmm... unless the writer of the first article is a master of logistics, small units tactics, paratroop use. i'd say we learned something in World war 2. Small group tactics improved big time, so did our knowledge and understanding of the importance of air cover.

    ... Special forces mabye. i mean the improvement of weapons allowed small group tactics and resistance movements to take huge strides. THis seems to me like a lesson. use long range specialized troops and destroy the enemies capability to produce war materials. Sounds like a relatively new plan
    Drink Tea

    Currently Reading: Nikolai Gogol's dead souls

  15. #15
    His higness, the Sultan Member Randarkmaan's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Lierbyen, Norway
    Posts
    443

    Default Re: WWII: For those who thought it was nice, but too short...

    I think it's a bit far-fetched saying that the Soviets just fought because they were more afraid of the NKVD than the Germans and that Hitler could have had his invasion of Russia supported by the people he invaded if he had not had the idea that they were. Bottom line here is people don't fight for their regimes they fight for their homes, though there are exceptions as some did join the Germans, but most of them were Ukrainians and other "non-russians" far as I know. A little known thing that Stalin did during WWII was that he gained the support of the Russian church during the war, which helped motivate many soldiers.

    Also one thing I'm sick of (can't seem to have found it in the first article, didn't read the second one) is all this mystical awe for the German army and the Waffen SS which is really prevalent on the internet. Yeah, sure they had tanks which many people find to be "totally awesome" and whatnot and supposedly very ... sexy... uniforms. But it seems to me that the German army and leadership was as much in "mystical awe" over their armies as today's "Weermachtophiles" and believed that all resistance would crumble in front of their "Totenkopf panzer divisions with Knights crosses and edelweisses". The problem was that this was not what happened in the end.
    Last edited by Randarkmaan; 12-17-2006 at 20:15.
    "One of the nice things about looking at a bear is that you know it spends 100 per cent of every minute of every day being a bear. It doesn't strive to become a better bear. It doesn't go to sleep thinking, "I wasn't really a very good bear today". They are just 100 per cent bear, whereas human beings feel we're not 100 per cent human, that we're always letting ourselves down. We're constantly striving towards something, to some fulfilment"
    -Stephen Fry

  16. #16
    Praefectus Fabrum Senior Member Anime BlackJack Champion, Flash Poker Champion, Word Up Champion, Shape Game Champion, Snake Shooter Champion, Fishwater Challenge Champion, Rocket Racer MX Champion, Jukebox Hero Champion, My House Is Bigger Than Your House Champion, Funky Pong Champion, Cutie Quake Champion, Fling The Cow Champion, Tiger Punch Champion, Virus Champion, Solitaire Champion, Worm Race Champion, Rope Walker Champion, Penguin Pass Champion, Skate Park Champion, Watch Out Champion, Lawn Pac Champion, Weapons Of Mass Destruction Champion, Skate Boarder Champion, Lane Bowling Champion, Bugz Champion, Makai Grand Prix 2 Champion, White Van Man Champion, Parachute Panic Champion, BlackJack Champion, Stans Ski Jumping Champion, Smaugs Treasure Champion, Sofa Longjump Champion Seamus Fermanagh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Latibulm mali regis in muris.
    Posts
    11,360

    Default Re: WWII: For those who thought it was nice, but too short...

    Should Britain have sued for peace?

    Interesting question. Britain could have retained its possessions in the Med -- even Egypt -- but it would have knowingly given over effective possession of the Continent to Nazi control by doing so. A resumption of trade in Europe would have been to England's economic advantage.

    However, I don't think, morally, that the British could have done other than they did historically. Germany would have solidified its power in a way that would have guaranteed their ascendency in Europe and, eventually, threatened England's position.


    Germany as the "Best" of WW2?

    While the "cult of the Wermacht" thing is a bit over the top -- good point that -- I would have to answer a simple yes.

    Germany fielded the most effective land forces of WW2 -- bar none. They fought more opponents under more conditions and more effectively than any other military in history. Even when vastly outnumbered and nearly bereft of air cover, they still managed a creditable defense on Both European fronts -- at a time when a huge percentage of their logistical network had been devoted to the criminal pogrom against Europe's Jews (and a few million others considered "undesireables" by the Nazis.

    The Wermacht were the first to use "blitzkrieg" tactics as a strategic tool of warfare, and the only ones to practice them effectively -- with some few exceptions -- until halfway through the war. This gave them a hitting power out of all proportion to their physical force component. It allowed Germany to defeat numerous opponents who couldn't figure out an effective counter-method.

    In addition to the use of armor as a strike/penetration force, Germany's success was largely dependent on the amazing ability of their infantry. Germany's adoption of the light machine gun as a squad level tool gave their infantry superior firepower in the small-group firefights that comprise the larger battles of that conflict.

    One other concept that they used extremely well was the kampfgruppen. These units were created from bits and pieces of other units, often on a termporary basis, creating combined arms strike forces for key attacks or mobile defense. Their ability to work well within/alongside the larger structure of the standard army units around them gave the Germans a surprisingly flexible tactical tool. These combined arms teams were highly effective.

    -- please note: ALL 3 of these concepts have become the norm for first-tier military forces to the present day.

    Is the "cult of the Wermacht" thing a bit over-blown? Certainly. But the myth has grown up around a core of fairly important facts.
    "The only way that has ever been discovered to have a lot of people cooperate together voluntarily is through the free market. And that's why it's so essential to preserving individual freedom.” -- Milton Friedman

    "The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule." -- H. L. Mencken

  17. #17
    His higness, the Sultan Member Randarkmaan's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Lierbyen, Norway
    Posts
    443

    Default Re: WWII: For those who thought it was nice, but too short...

    There is a lot of truth to what you just said, in the beginning the Germans were nearly unstoppable because the Germans had the momentum of their groundbreaking strategies on their side, but the Allies and the Soviets learned from their mistakes and began fighting in mostly the same ways. Because the Germans no longer had the momentum on their side they just stopped up and in 1943/44 it seemed that no matter what the Germans did they were doomed in the end it all came down to delaying that impending doom. What enabled the Germans to hold on for so long may have been due to the quality of their soldiers, but also "credit" could go to Hitler who simply refused to surrender and would rather see his country destroyed than surrender it, though in the end it also became a matter of punishing the people for their lack of commitment and faith in his plan. Anyway honestly I don't think the Germans could have beaten the Soviets, even though many say that had it not been for Hitler they would have won the war. Of course they are forgetting that had it not been for Hitler the war would probably have been very different and Germany would most likely not have a large nor a well equipped and trained army to use if they were to participate.
    "One of the nice things about looking at a bear is that you know it spends 100 per cent of every minute of every day being a bear. It doesn't strive to become a better bear. It doesn't go to sleep thinking, "I wasn't really a very good bear today". They are just 100 per cent bear, whereas human beings feel we're not 100 per cent human, that we're always letting ourselves down. We're constantly striving towards something, to some fulfilment"
    -Stephen Fry

  18. #18
    Ming the Merciless is my idol Senior Member Watchman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Helsinki, Finland
    Posts
    7,967

    Default Re: WWII: For those who thought it was nice, but too short...

    By what I know of it the rank and file of German soldiery in WW2 wasn't really anything special. Oh, they were competent and well trained all right, but among the major participants the only ones for whom this does not hold equally are the Soviets. The grunts were just regular folks after all, not some kinds of all-conquering supermen; to get decent results out of them you had to use them properly, like any other soldier.

    Which the Germans for a while did very well, having a bit of a monopoly on the whole properly massed mechanized units thing. Those were really their main trump card anyway - fast-moving, hard-hitting armoured formations supported by mechanized infantry and aircraft. Most of the infantry still had to leg it though, and German artillery wasn't anything to write home about - nevermind now entirely unable to keep pace with the mechanized units, hence the dire need for the "flying artillery" of the Luftwaffe.

    And where this combined-arms trump card for one reason or another didn't work (be it due to supply issues or uncooperative geography, such as the vast dense forests in the Fenno-Soviet front or the ruin-maze of Stalingrad), the Wehrmacht seems to have had a bad habit of floundering. Or at least their rate of advance in "forest Russia" does seem rather pitiful (or, as in many cases, downright nonexistent), especially when compared to the breathtaking sweeps they could effect in the open grounds of "steppe Russia".

    Bit of an one-trick pony really. Moreover the whole military system was really a bit too predisposed towards offensive thinking and constant movement - the focus on aggressive advance being obviously worth nothing, or even a problem, when faced with extended positional warfare nevermind now when fighting on the strategic defensive. It also resulted in an unfortunate willingness among the senior leadership to trade men for time - perhaps a necessary sacrifice for the Blitzkrieg principle to be fully effective given the tactical tools available at the time, but hardly one the Germans could actually afford on the long term as their entire world-conquest project rested on precariously thin resource base from the word go.

    Pretty much the second the other guys picked up the whole massed armour and decent combined-arms principle, as well as the appropriate countermeasures, the Germans were screwed but good. That's the inherent problem in basing your overall edge on an innovative way of using tools everyone as such already has - the others only need to copy the trick, and the advantage is lost. And if you were relying on that advantage to overcome enemy superiority in other fields (such as raw resources)...

    That the Reich was run by a bunch of loony idiots who didn't let the soldiers do their job properly and kept wasting crazy amounts of resources on technically impressive but practically useless "super weapon" schemes - not to mention the pure gratuitious waste of the Holocaust - of course did not help one bit.
    "Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. --- Proof of the existence of the FSM, if needed, can be found in the recent uptick of global warming, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. Apparently His Pastaness is to be worshipped in full pirate regalia. The decline in worldwide pirate population over the past 200 years directly corresponds with the increase in global temperature. Here is a graph to illustrate the point."

    -Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

  19. #19
    Sovereign Oppressor Member TIE Fighter Shooter Champion, Turkey Shoot Champion, Juggler Champion Kralizec's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Netherlands
    Posts
    5,812

    Default Re: WWII: For those who thought it was nice, but too short...

    Quote Originally Posted by SwordsMaster
    About your second point, read my second link. Man for man, the germans were superior as were the japanese. Their morele was higher, they were better equipped and had better weapons. Compare the King Tiger with the Sherman, and you'll see the difference.
    I seriously doubt that the average German soldier was (significantly) more motivated then a British or American soldier...the Russians is another story.

    The idea of the Germans having better weapons and tanks is a bit one sided. For one thing, the French had better tanks at the start of the war like Stig mentioned. Panthers and Tigers weren't available straight away, you know.
    About Russian tanks...they were generally easier to mantain (not as complex as German tanks) and were at first superior to the various Panzers the Germans fielded. Tigers weren't ready yet, and the Panthers were designed as a reaction to, and based on, the T-34. The Russians also had the hardy KV tanks, later made into the IS (Iosef Stalin) line of tanks. I read that the IS-3 could destroy a Panther by hitting its turret even at an unfavourable angle.
    You're right though that the Shermans were pretty lackluster for tank-to-tank combat, though the British "Firefly" version was a major improvement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stig
    It's hard to call Hitler an elected leader, yes he was choosen by the majority of the people, but would they vote for him if he would have said:
    If you vote for me, I will kill all the Jews

    No they wouldn't have done that, that came after Hitler was elected.
    Hitler wasn't elected by a majority, he just managed to form a majority with another party and get himself appointed as Chancellor. And it's pretty improbable that he already had intentions of eradicating the jews as soon as he was appointed.

  20. #20
    Ming the Merciless is my idol Senior Member Watchman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Helsinki, Finland
    Posts
    7,967

    Default Re: WWII: For those who thought it was nice, but too short...

    Quote Originally Posted by SwordsMaster
    Compare the King Tiger with the Sherman, and you'll see the difference.
    Entirely different class of tank, cannot be compared. The Königstiger was a special-purpose heavy assault and lineholder monster, massively armoured, heavily armed, expensive as Hell, slow, and was lost due to mechanical failures even more frequently than the gearbox-busting Tiger. Total numbers produced during the whole war don't add up to even 500, if Wiki is to be believed.

    The Sherman was an all-purpose medium grunt tank. Cheap and cheerful if not terribly impressive, but given that over 50,000 of the boxy things were made (Wiki again)...

    If those designs were to be compared to something, it'd have to happen within their own class. For the Sherman that'd be Panzer III and IV, and maybe V (better known as Panther, although if it can be regarded as a "grunt" machine is another thing given the total production run of feeble circa 7000). For the Tiger, I don't think there's an equivalent in the Western Allied arsenal - you'll have to go to the Soviets and their "heavy metal" assault and breakthrough tanks like the IS series. Which, if I've understood correctly, pwnz0r the Tigers.


    Over-engineering their better equipement (especially given the state their war industry was in) was a recurring and characteristic German trait, and duly tended to gimp the gear due to sheer lack of numbers. A feudal Japanese warlord reputedly once observed that for the price of one masterpiece sword you could buy several hundred simple but serviceable spears, and on the battlefield it was those hundred spears that won...
    Last edited by Watchman; 12-18-2006 at 22:45.
    "Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. --- Proof of the existence of the FSM, if needed, can be found in the recent uptick of global warming, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. Apparently His Pastaness is to be worshipped in full pirate regalia. The decline in worldwide pirate population over the past 200 years directly corresponds with the increase in global temperature. Here is a graph to illustrate the point."

    -Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

  21. #21
    Magister Vitae Senior Member Kraxis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Frederiksberg, Denmark
    Posts
    7,129

    Default Re: WWII: For those who thought it was nice, but too short...

    Now now... the IS-2 (IS-1 was nothing special) certainly didn't pwn the King-Tiger. It could kill both Tigers, but it could just as easily get killed. That was if it hit... And most of the time it was woefully inaccurate due to being overbored and having lousy sights. Add to that the incredibly slow reload (dual piece by one overloaded loader) and the grand total of 28 rounds (of which a vast majority had to be HE as German tanks were relatively rare). Not only that but the German Tiger crews were of course the best the Germans had, while the IS-2s were perhaps considered elite, if not really living up to that.
    Also the IS-2 had some odd armourplacement, in that it's turretfront and rear were equally strong while the flanks were terribly weak.
    The IS-3 however, now that was a masterpiece, and if the Allies had dared to go to war with the SU after WWII, it would have ripped the Allied forces to shreds. I believe it is that tank you might be referring to, but it never entered combat.

    The Panther can certainly be considered a grunt. And expensive grunt, but a grunt. It served as the main battle tank unlike the Firefly, IS tanks and Tigers. It was meant to do the job of a regular tank, and it did. But that didn't mean the Germans didn't try to do stuff with it, such as the 75mm/L100 or the Schmallturm, or for that matter IR sights (and they worked to the Allies' great dismay, luckily only few had them).
    If you look at the numbers of produced German tank then look at the PzIV, not that many more than the Panther. And looking at the productionsheets in comparison the Panther took over from late 43 as the prime tank in production, hence the 'gruntness'.

    The point with the German infantry was simple. Initiative and command. Those were their main points of strength. They wholeheartedly believed in the strength of minor commanders and their tactical abilities. So that aspect of their army was always in top condition. The tactical commanders who were with their troops were supposed to know what to do at all times, and they were fieldpromoted a whole lot. None of that academy lieutenants that the Allies had to fight against (ok they did train officers at home but not to the same extent, even prior to the war).
    Also the Germans sent their best and brightest to the front. The rabble were sent to the rear, best going to artillery and worst to supply and such. But the artillerymen were decidedly worse than the infantry in general.
    You can say the Germans were "Teeth rather than Tail", where the Allies were generally "Tail rather than Teeth". This is readily obvious with the American divisions. Their lineinfantry was always chronically short on men, while the division might even be overstrength (a tendency to get all kinds of specialist companies, battalions and whatnot by the high command). And American losses always felt apalling due to the fact that not a lot of troops were actually present to fight. Add to that that the best went to 'the Tail' (no offense to those who have relatives who served as infantry), and you can see the problem.

    However by summer 44 the Germans had lost irreplaceable men due to them being on the frontlines (and thus dying a lot). So the German infantry was no longer that much better individually (though they were generally better led in small groups). Naturally static troops such as garrisons and the like were not terribly great.

    In Russia the Germans truly felt something when they faced the Russians in the woods. But that was not because the Germans were particularly bad at woodbattles, they were just not as good. I have read translated German manuals and they are very sound on battles in the wood. Like 'never defend the treeline, always try to be ahead or behind it' or 'while attacking it is a good idea to use wedge formations to be able to hit moving enemies (responding to attacks), and always use heavy reserves', 'never cut the branches above hipheight' (I can explain that one if anyone wants to).
    But the Russians were just that much better on the defensive (on the offensive the Russians fared less well in woods). Also the Russians seemed to be particularly good at camoflage and digging in, combined with a great disregard to their own lives. A common Russian tactic was to place machinegunnests backwards, leave a gunner there, camoflage it heavily, then move to a position futher in. The Germans would then advance past the machinegun, giving the gunner a golden opportunity. He would of course die soon after and he knew it, yet he did it willingly (if not he would just leave prior to engagement and it doesn't seem the Germans found many abandoned nests).

    In cities the Germans did well enough. Aside from Stalingrad there were few citybattles where the Germans bested directly, and if you consider the losses the Russians lost proportionally more than in regular fieldbattles, so it definately wasn't because the German troops were bad at citybattles per se.

    But while the German artillerymen might not have been the best, they were directed very well when they were used. The Germans were great at catching the enemies during the staging for attacks, causing the most confusion and destruction. But late in the war their artillery was confined to about a single round per day. No wonder they did very little damage at times. They had no ammo!

    And if you count mortars as artillery, then the Germans were decidedly superior to most of their enemies, if not all. Most Allied losses were caused by this weapon, in particular the 80mm version. The Germans were exceptional at striking units on the move (low tactical level of course), and at times when the Allied troops thought they were relatively safe. Also Allied troops hated the fact that they could never seem to find the places from where the mortars were fired from. It was like a shadow. Along with the Tiger and MG42 the 80mm mortar was the most feared German weapon.
    The mortar doesn't seem to have suffered from the same shortage of ammo.

    Overall the Germans were perhaps a bit better, but in the end there were so many new lousy troops (and formations) as well as enemies that it hardly mattered.
    You may not care about war, but war cares about you!


  22. #22
    Praefectus Fabrum Senior Member Anime BlackJack Champion, Flash Poker Champion, Word Up Champion, Shape Game Champion, Snake Shooter Champion, Fishwater Challenge Champion, Rocket Racer MX Champion, Jukebox Hero Champion, My House Is Bigger Than Your House Champion, Funky Pong Champion, Cutie Quake Champion, Fling The Cow Champion, Tiger Punch Champion, Virus Champion, Solitaire Champion, Worm Race Champion, Rope Walker Champion, Penguin Pass Champion, Skate Park Champion, Watch Out Champion, Lawn Pac Champion, Weapons Of Mass Destruction Champion, Skate Boarder Champion, Lane Bowling Champion, Bugz Champion, Makai Grand Prix 2 Champion, White Van Man Champion, Parachute Panic Champion, BlackJack Champion, Stans Ski Jumping Champion, Smaugs Treasure Champion, Sofa Longjump Champion Seamus Fermanagh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Latibulm mali regis in muris.
    Posts
    11,360

    Default Re: WWII: For those who thought it was nice, but too short...

    Truth about those mortars -- from vets with whom I've spoken -- the yanks did not like to face a crack mortar team. Think about it. At ideal engagement range, you use a high arc with lots of "hang" time. If you've got a largish target -- say a company that's not expecting it -- your good mortar crew can pop three rounds out of the tube and start bugging out even as the first one hits. With a spotter, they work slower but miss less -- and still get away with it cause the relatively small flash wasn't spotted.

    You make a good comparison about the teeth/tail thing, Krax. It's a good point to remember in understanding 7/43 and onwards.
    "The only way that has ever been discovered to have a lot of people cooperate together voluntarily is through the free market. And that's why it's so essential to preserving individual freedom.” -- Milton Friedman

    "The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule." -- H. L. Mencken

  23. #23
    The Black Senior Member Papewaio's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Posts
    15,674

    Default Re: WWII: For those who thought it was nice, but too short...

    For starters I don't think cut of the uniform was as important as functionality. Although a few times the uniform's of some nations did scare opposing troops by and large I don't think it was the pivot point of morale.

    Japan was an american venture, and I'm sure Hitler wouldn't have cared enough to have the UK as an enemy again.
    Considering 6 weeks after Pearl Harbor, Singapore fell amongst other British assets I don't really believe that Japan was soley an american venture.

    Man for man, the germans were superior as were the japanese. Their morele was higher, they were better equipped and had better weapons. Compare the King Tiger with the Sherman, and you'll see the difference.
    If the Italians and Russian conscripts are the comparison. Then certainly all 3 of morale, equipment and weapons the Germans and Japanese were superior.

    The Japanese Army and 'Marines equivalent' that fought through Malay certainly had the better of Commonwealth troops. But I do think once all armies were fighting on their door step to their nation or even worse their home they fought a lot harder and their morale was a lot higher.

    Stalingrad.
    Kokoda.
    Okinawa (when the pendulum had swung fully back the other way).
    Are all examples of home turf spirit.

    Germany had a huge advantage as long as they kept the momentum up. But they came unstuck (well equal too) if the enemy had time to prepare or when involved in either attacking or defending static defenses that could not be avoided. Again Stalingrad and Tobruk shows how much difficulty the Germans had at attacking prepared positions, while El Alamein fleshs out that from a defensive point of view

    Although Germany had a lot of great weapons it was probably the logistics side that couldn't keep up with it... might be why mortars had more shells as the sheer number you would get on a tonnage basis compared with art and possibly because art can be used from a longer distance means it would have been used more often too... pure conjecture.

    It does seem that the equipment of the British and the Americans was often superior in either brilliance (radar and the code breaking devices) to sheer stubborn luck (Hurricane and Mosquito using non metal fuselage's that turned out to be quite tough) to massive investment of resources (nuke).

    Also the British really played to their strengths in defending Britain and in supplies to their troops. They took a far more long term strategic approach, grind them down so the supplies ran out point of view, whilst the Russians used their superior manpower to exhaust German numbers. While America was the manufacturing powerhouse and really stuck it to everyone with the sheer amount of equipment.

    I think it was Germany's undoing to go up against 3 powers who had vastly different strengths who could all play to them. Russia could easily utilise its people in massive infantry warfare. Britain could defend its island and use its navy and bombers to gain a superiority in supplies (which it then used in great effect to help win North Africa). While the USA mainland was so far from direct conflict that it could manufacture as much as it wanted without having to worry about bombing raids. Swap their positions around and the outcome would have been different.... Imagine no Channel ... Britain would have been overwhelmed right after France. Imagine Russia being a series of islands, each one's manpower being depleted one at a time. Imagine USA in the range of long range German Bombers laying waste to the manufacturing plants.
    Our genes maybe in the basement but it does not stop us chosing our point of view from the top.
    Quote Originally Posted by Louis VI the Fat
    Pape for global overlord!!
    Quote Originally Posted by English assassin
    Squid sources report that scientists taste "sort of like chicken"
    Quote Originally Posted by frogbeastegg View Post
    The rest is either as average as advertised or, in the case of the missionary, disappointing.

  24. #24
    Ming the Merciless is my idol Senior Member Watchman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Helsinki, Finland
    Posts
    7,967

    Default Re: WWII: For those who thought it was nice, but too short...

    Quote Originally Posted by Kraxis
    Now now... the IS-2 (IS-1 was nothing special) certainly didn't pwn the King-Tiger. It could kill both Tigers, but it could just as easily get killed. That was if it hit... And most of the time it was woefully inaccurate due to being overbored and having lousy sights. Add to that the incredibly slow reload (dual piece by one overloaded loader) and the grand total of 28 rounds (of which a vast majority had to be HE as German tanks were relatively rare). Not only that but the German Tiger crews were of course the best the Germans had, while the IS-2s were perhaps considered elite, if not really living up to that.
    Ill-trained crews and poor sights were an ubiquitous issue with the Soviets. They did well enough with those once they figured the correct methods though. And which were easier to replace - the rough IS-2's with their haphazardly trained crews, or the precious Tigers ? This isn't a question of who wins a duel, but of overall military usefulness and potential - and I rather suspect the cheaper, faster and generally more flexible IS series rather wins out on this.

    Put this way, the Tigers were really the German version of the KV series while the IS's were really more like specialized, souped-up T-34s.

    The Panther can certainly be considered a grunt. And expensive grunt, but a grunt. --- If you look at the numbers of produced German tank then look at the PzIV, not that many more than the Panther. And looking at the productionsheets in comparison the Panther took over from late 43 as the prime tank in production, hence the 'gruntness'.
    Or rather, "intented to be the grunt but kinda couldn't afford it". For a backbone design the Panther comes across as far too demanding for the tottering German industry - and if the as-such decent IV wasn't produced in much greater numbers, that would rather seem to suggest the actual "grunt work" in bulk really went to III's and the assorted clourful ad hoc adaptations of captured equipement and obsolete machinery...

    Which, in turn, brings us back to the recurring issue with German bad overall planning. What's the point of coming up with high-end war machines if your factories can't produce them even close to the numbers they'd be needed in, capacity is constantly "on hold" while assembly lines are being re-tooled for new and supposedly better designs, and when the push finally comes to shove the field armies find themselves running out of gas ?

    You can say the Germans were "Teeth rather than Tail", where the Allies were generally "Tail rather than Teeth". --- And American losses always felt apalling due to the fact that not a lot of troops were actually present to fight. Add to that that the best went to 'the Tail' (no offense to those who have relatives who served as infantry), and you can see the problem.
    IMHO this really just underlines the argument that the Allies had a lot better grasp on the realities of modern industrial warfare than the Axis tended to. The whole Axis world-conquest project was mainly Teeth with rather little Tail to back it up, and when the opposition rudely failed to fold before the initial onslaught like the weak-kneed liberal-democrat pansies and Bolshevik Untermenschen they were supposed to be the entire operation started hitting major snags right fast.

    Although, given that neither the German nor the Japanese brass presumably were complete idiots, that may well have been a conscious gamble. When it's readily obvious you're going to lose a drawn-out struggle by raw logistics and resources, it's sensible to aim for at least an initial advantage in purely military matters and bank on speed and shock to settle matters swiftly isn't it ?
    The downside of that kind of thinking would then tend to be the siren call of optimistic self-delusion, of persuading yourself to believe that really is enough and the other guy really will collapse before the resource disparity hits in...

    In Russia the Germans truly felt something when they faced the Russians in the woods. But that was not because the Germans were particularly bad at woodbattles, they were just not as good.
    The main point I was making was that when circumstances, such as the peculiar conditions of woodland combat, neutered the Germans' main and really only true advantage - mechanized combined-arms tactics - they proved themselves to be nothing special. Their stark inability to ever reach the Murmansk railroad on the Finnish front (which the Finnish light-infantry peasant army incidentally managed, if only briefly), and conspicuous lack of lighting conquests in "forest Russia" proper, would seem rather telling.

    Although the Red Army actually had the exact same problem. It was similarly really configured for rapid large-scale operations in fairly open terrain, and was clearly not at its best in campaigns in densely forested areas. Although the Soviets at least could partially compensate with sheer numbers and the weight of ground artillery fire, which unlike the air support the German mobile elements relied on wasn't practically blind in forests.

    I have read translated German manuals and they are very sound on battles in the wood. Like 'never defend the treeline, always try to be ahead or behind it' or 'while attacking it is a good idea to use wedge formations to be able to hit moving enemies (responding to attacks), and always use heavy reserves', 'never cut the branches above hipheight' (I can explain that one if anyone wants to).
    All armies worth anything come up with stuff like that pretty fast when they run into new things. And even if it isn't made an official publication, you can bet the soldiers themselves will make a point of sharing their hard-earned practical tips and tricks with their mates. The crash course in urban combat fresh Soviet conscripts shipped to Stalingrad would be a sort of extreme example (with duly hefty tuition fees).

    In cities the Germans did well enough. Aside from Stalingrad there were few citybattles where the Germans bested directly, and if you consider the losses the Russians lost proportionally more than in regular fieldbattles, so it definately wasn't because the German troops were bad at citybattles per se.
    At Stalingrad they got stuck. They also got stuck besieging Leningrad, to the point of having to ask the Finns for assistance in trying to take it (which for various reasons was not forthcoming - quite to the contrary, the Finns intentionally left gaps in their siege line to let Soviet supply columns through...). Anyway, back in those days urban areas were still where motivated but unskilled fighters could take on much higher-calibre troops in something akin to even terms. This was also proven in the Spanish Civil War. Most conventional soldierly skills the armies taught, after all, either did not work or had to be heavily modified in such circumstances, and cunning, ingenuity as well as sheer "grit" could well be of as much value.

    Crazy Soviet casualty figures are worth little except perhaps to illustrate the particularly bloody and brutal side of extensive urban warfare. The Soviets notoriously wasted lives like water anyway, and city fights were hardly different; the relative German casualty figures would probably be more enlightening...

    But while the German artillerymen might not have been the best, they were directed very well when they were used. The Germans were great at catching the enemies during the staging for attacks, causing the most confusion and destruction.
    Hardly something of their specialty. Everyone did that whenever they could, the Soviets in particular to good effect given the raw numbers of their artillery. The lacklusterness of the German artillery arm actually makes sense you know. Self-propelled artillery was still very much at its infancy around the time and the unpowered kind is really more of a defensive instrument - and the German military doctrine was obsessed with the offensive. Ergo, their resources and energy were directed mainly to honing matters related to their Blitzkrieg tactics - tanks, personnel carriers, ground-attack aircraft etc. - rather, one suspects, at the expense of more static and "defensive" matters such as "leg" infantry and artillery. IMHO they were suffering from a tunnel vision brought about by too much speed, but anyway. The Soviets had a different approach - they preferred to use massive artillery concentrations to create a breach in the enemy line and then smash their tanks through the weakened spot, infantry pouring into the gap right afterwards.

    But late in the war their artillery was confined to about a single round per day. No wonder they did very little damage at times. They had no ammo!
    All teeth, no tail. Notice a trend here ?

    And if you count mortars as artillery...
    I don't. Aren't those normally regarded as an organic part of the infantry arm for close tactical fire support ? Can't vouch for the big heavy types though.
    "Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. --- Proof of the existence of the FSM, if needed, can be found in the recent uptick of global warming, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. Apparently His Pastaness is to be worshipped in full pirate regalia. The decline in worldwide pirate population over the past 200 years directly corresponds with the increase in global temperature. Here is a graph to illustrate the point."

    -Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

  25. #25
    Magister Vitae Senior Member Kraxis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Frederiksberg, Denmark
    Posts
    7,129

    Default Re: WWII: For those who thought it was nice, but too short...

    I'm only going to respond directly to one aspect...

    and if the as-such decent IV wasn't produced in much greater numbers, that would rather seem to suggest the actual "grunt work" in bulk really went to III's and the assorted clourful ad hoc adaptations of captured equipement and obsolete machinery...
    Yes and no. The PzIII was produced in even less numbers, about 6000 and went out of frontline production in 42. Hence the PzIV and Panther were the main battle tanks, while the Tiger was the heavy punch added to tough situations.

    The philosophy behind the Panther as a main battle tank, as aopposed to a specialist tank, was simple enough.
    "Ok, we are being swamped with enemy tanks. We can't match that kind of production. So we might as well give our crews a chance to survive, for after all our most precious asset lies in our better crews."
    Meaning the Germans had understood that if they had just stuck to the PzIV it would hardly have helped them as they would sooner run out of welltrained crews. Rather give the good crews something to work with.
    Understandable enough, even if it didn't work too well.

    But in general, you have the correct idea about the Germans. I agree, but as far as I understood the discussion was about the Germans being better soldiers on the individual basis. And there I would have to say yes, as most of their heavy defeats came as a result of poor planning and even backstabbery from higher up, rather than poor performance by the infantrymen themselves.

    And forests and cities have always been equalizers... Teutoberger Wald? You can't move fast through forests, and you can't just trump it over unless you know exactly where the enemy is. However if the enemy has enough strength in the woods, then all your mobility and keen positioning comes to naught, you will still have to root them out from positions that are very hard to get to.
    Hence the Russians had a good time on the defensive, as did everybody with enough troops in woods on the defensive. The simple fact that the Germans overcame a numerically superior enemy on the defensive in the woods is impressive enough for the troops involved.

    And cities, well the Germans tried to stay away mostly. Going around and all that. But at Stalingrad something went wrong... Suddenly the Germans threw themselves into the battle rather than around it. Technically speaking Stalingrad was not worth anything when you held the banks north and south of it (just as disruptive to trafficing as holding the city). But again the troops did well, however they were led down by their superiors, and of course the fact that the Russians had a nice little plan going.
    Going to other cities I could mention Königsberg and Berlin as successes. Not that that prevented them from falling, but the Russians learned heavy lessons in both.
    One could also argue the battles of Kharkov as good German victories. The second might have been a loss though (if not for Manstein pulling them out in time), but the third was a great victory, inside a city.

    I wouldn't say that the Allies had a better grasp per se.
    The British were out of breath by Normandy. There were simply no more infantry to be gotten, hence the great tankslaughters at Caen. Better to throw away lots of replaceable equipment than irreplaceable infantry. And as mentioned the Americans went totally overboard with the tail department. There is a truth to the American saying "behind every fighting man are 20 other men". There were endless culumns of various rear area troops and the like, but very few infantry. That made American infantrydivisions cumbersome, slow and quite weak in attacks where their superiority of equipment was out. Hürtgen comes to mind, where Germans Volksgrenadier units (nowhere near good) bloodied the Americans to the point that the operation was abandoned despite a good numerial advantage. It was simply too costly (forests again).

    The current day western armies are a mix of German and Allied traditions. More emphasis is on the low ranking officers and sergeants (initiative and command), but the big tail has been retained as to artillery and supplies. But no longer will the tail contain useless formations or other tag-alongs.
    You may not care about war, but war cares about you!


  26. #26
    Nec Pluribus Impar Member SwordsMaster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    3,518
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: WWII: For those who thought it was nice, but too short...

    Great discussion there, guys, I just want to make a point about Stalingrad.

    When the german advance seemed unstoppable, the russian high command was adamant about not allowing the enemy past the volga, so Stalin sent sapper armies (the SU was the only country in the world to have a sapper ARMY as opposed to brigades...) to fortify the city. Once the germans finally took control of the city with great loss due to the massive fortifications and fierce resistance, and dug in themselves, the red army kept stupidly (Zhukov style) storming the fortifications over and over. Hence the huge casualties. A city fortified by the russians and then the germans should have never been assaulted in the first place, but the russians were too serious about the whole "not a step back" thing...

    I also want to agree that german tanks were a lot more sophisticated than allied and russian tanks, and were production-heavy. But this is also due to their role as speaheads. They were not intended to form the bulk of a battle line.
    Managing perceptions goes hand in hand with managing expectations - Masamune

    Pie is merely the power of the state intruding into the private lives of the working class. - Beirut

  27. #27
    Headless Senior Member Pannonian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    7,614

    Default Re: WWII: For those who thought it was nice, but too short...

    Quote Originally Posted by Kraxis
    I have read translated German manuals and they are very sound on battles in the wood. Like 'never defend the treeline, always try to be ahead or behind it' or 'while attacking it is a good idea to use wedge formations to be able to hit moving enemies (responding to attacks), and always use heavy reserves', 'never cut the branches above hipheight' (I can explain that one if anyone wants to).
    Can you expand on those points? I'm intrigued.

  28. #28
    Magister Vitae Senior Member Kraxis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Frederiksberg, Denmark
    Posts
    7,129

    Default Re: WWII: For those who thought it was nice, but too short...

    The 'treeline' point is somewhat simple. Everybody understand the strength and protection trees offer. As soon as you lie next to a tree it is obviously. Add in a little brush, leaves and other good stuff and you are practically invisible as well. Invisible and near invulnerable to direct fire. Pretty good eh? Well, why not add in good vision by using the edge of the wood? BAD idea.
    The enemy knows these strengths as well and will always expect you to lie there waiting for him. He will bombard the edge of the wood, use smoke and all kind of other stuff to root you out from the edge.
    But he will never expect you to be further in or even on the outside (that one is of coruse risky, but could well be worth it), unless he himself is experienced in forestcombat. The forestedge is simply too obvious a defensive position to be used properly.
    Besides lying deeper in, the enemy might even get lax thinking the wood is unoccupied, giving you a great opportunity for ambushes (Russian reversed MG nests for instance).

    Attacking in wedge would of course not happen on minor tactical level, but on battalion level with either companies or platoons. First platoon is soon embroiled in combat. The nature of forestcombat makes it a very confused affair, and most low level commanders will think the enemy is much stronger, so they call in the support. No other attacks happening? Obviously the enemy is trying to punch through right there! Hence the troops on the flanks might be stripped of certain units. That is when the next units in the wedge hits (not next to the first of course), and so on. The inside ofthe wedge is of course supposed to be 'filled up' so the point has a chance to break through with support from the next formations. In effect it only means that while you select a spot to break through and you pin the front, you do so at the most optimised way.
    This is the one I remember the least of however, so I can't get more technical about it.

    About the branches.
    Now that one one is devious. We all know that a forest offers good protection, but at the same time bad vision. So you risk getting surprised by an advancing enemy. Not good!
    The solution is to use the trunks for protection and cut away the branches and bushes. Good protection and good vision. But unfortunately this makes a human presence very obvious. You will immediately see the cleared forest from the thick of the forest. Thus the defenders are suddenly obvious to the attackers, while the attackers are still invisible. VERY BAD!
    You have to assume that the defenders will take the most advantage of the forest and simply lie down, make MG nests or dig foxholes. The point is that the defenders are low to the ground. Meanwhile the attackers are pretty much forced to stay upright to advance at any speed and not get bogged down in a fight they cannot win.
    See the reason now?
    The defenders can see out, while the attackers can't see in. The lower branches gone will offer vision for the defenders while the higher branches will obscure the attackers' vision. Firstly making the clearing less likely to be detected and secondly making advancing enemies unlikely to get any sort of coveringfire while running (submachineguns are the kings of forests).
    The hipheight is in fact far too high up, and is only used as a far extreme, generally it is advised that you cut as low as possible. Getting on your knees will be enough to get below the hipheight, and it will also be visible enough to an observant person.
    The Russians were terribly great at cutting only select branches and bushes, making their positions impossible to spot. One of the stories in the manuals stated that a German soldier accidentally stepped into a Russian foxhole with a sleeping crew. He never saw it until he literally stepping into it. He was lucky they were not awake.

    The reason for heavy reserves (the manuals talk about 50-60% at least) should be fairly obvious. You never know where the enemy is, and as such you need to be able to direct the men fast to a given breakthrough, or fight. Also, the Russians like to trickle past the Germans advances, getting into their rear, tearing up rear units. With heavy reserves these trickles of men would be caught in the 'open' and dealt with.

    Mortars were considered better weapons than artillery in forests, generally because they had an easier time falling down to the bottom, but also because the Finns had adopted a simple method of finding the range. Spotter carries a rope of a specific length he stretches out (from the mortar nest). Then he adds the range he needs to the rope's length, giving instant hits. Naturally a man would be tasked to keep the rope straight. The Germans adopted this technique before the Russians.

    The Germans emphasised bringing losts of grenades, SMGs and flamethrowers. Especially flamethrowers (unless the forest was dry ofr obviously reasons) as they could be snuck up to the enemy fairly easily and the impact on morale would be considerable (and you can easily imagine them getting an entire line of defending men to retreat from their carefully prepared positions).

    And there were a lot of other things I can hardly remember now (it is after all 8 years since I read them).
    Last edited by Kraxis; 12-19-2006 at 17:43.
    You may not care about war, but war cares about you!


  29. #29
    Member Member Oleander Ardens's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Europe
    Posts
    1,007

    Default Re: WWII: For those who thought it was nice, but too short...

    Watchman: If you study the fight for Murmansk then you can come up with a lot of reasons why the Germans were not able to reach it, even if they used troops which were considered by them elite: The Gebirgsjaeger.

    Specially trained to fight in rough terrain they have shown their battlevalue in Poland and especially in Norway were they defended Narvik in a heroic effortd. At least it would have been called heroic if the western allies would have done something similar.

    They were of course no superhumans but they combined Initiative, Command and strong regional bounds to formations which were very hard to stop. Outflanking and daring surprise attacks all were part of their CV.

    The Russians defending Murmansk had extremly short supply routes, as Murmansk was the harbor from which the material of the allies would enter Russia, and on the end of the railway. They put far more effort, men and material into defending it than the Generalstab or Hitler put into taking it.
    The used allmost all methods to dislogde the German attackers, for example massed amphibious landings and applied constant pressure on a very long frontline to tire out the outnumbered and outgunned attackers and keeping them from being able to concentrate their numbers to pierce through the deep defense networks the every able Russian soldier had cunningly camoflaged.

    All three sides, the Finnish, the Germans and the Russians learned a lot from fighting with or against each others, all of them used mobile skitroops, snipers, various artillerytechniques they invented or picked up from the other... and all proved to be good soldiers which happened to be thrown in a terrible war.

    Cheers
    OA
    "Silent enim leges inter arma - For among arms, the laws fall mute"
    Cicero, Pro Milone

  30. #30
    Shadow Senior Member Kagemusha's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Helsinki,Finland
    Posts
    9,546

    Default Re: WWII: For those who thought it was nice, but too short...

    This is intresting discussion indeed.Let me throw some figures in the talk so we can see the differences on the armamemnt and the difference in the relative amount of supporting personel in Allied and Axis Divisions.

    German Infantry Division 1939-1941.

    average 16,860 men.

    Officers
    518
    NCOs
    2,573
    Beamte (Officials)
    102
    Other ranks
    13,667

    total 16,860 men

    Divisions first line Combat troops

    3 infatry regiments+ Reconnaissance (Aufklarungs) Battalion,Anti-tank (Panzerjager) Battalion and Engineer (Pionier) Battalion

    Each infatry regiment average

    Officers
    75
    NCOs
    493
    Beamte
    7
    Other ranks
    2,474

    total 3049 men

    Reconnaissance (Aufklarungs) Battalion
    623 Officers and men
    Anti-tank (Panzerjager) Battalion
    550 Officers and men
    Engineer (Pionier) Battalion
    520 Officers and men

    Total for first line combat troops 10840 men

    The battle supporting troops(artillery,signal,light)

    Artillery (Artillerie) Regiment
    2,872 Officers and men
    Light (Leichte) infantry ‘column’
    30 men
    Signal (Nachrichten) Battalion
    474 Officers and men

    total 3376 men

    Rear or logistical support elements

    Supply services (Versrgungsdienste) consisting of rations platoon, baker company, butcher platoon, Military Police and Feldpost platoon.
    226 Officers and men
    Logistics column / supply ‘train’ (3 motorised, 3 horse drawn, 180 Officers and men each)
    1080 Officers and men
    Petrol, oil and lubricants column
    35 Officers and men
    Workshop company (Mechanics, carpenters etc)
    102 Officers and men
    Transport company
    245 Officers and men
    Veterinary company
    235 Officers and men , 890 horses
    Medical contingent consisting of 2 Medical Companies, 1 Field Hospital and 2 medical transport platoons.
    616 Officers and men

    total of the logistical support elements 2539men

    So in total German infantry division in 1941 had:

    first line combat troops 10840 men 64.7%
    battle supporting troops 3376 men 20.15%
    logistical support elements 2539 men 15.15%

    total 16755

    I think that the Division headquartes is not among the figures and could count for the remaining 105 men.



    Weapons of German Infantry Division(rifles not included)

    Light machine guns
    378
    Heavy machine guns
    138
    Anti-tank rifles
    90
    50mm mortars
    93
    81mm mortars
    54
    20mm AA guns
    12
    37mm Anti-tank guns
    75
    75mm Infantry guns
    20
    105mm howitzers
    36
    150mm howitzers
    18

    amount of artillery pieces
    84
    amount of mortars
    147

    total 231

    when divided to support troops 1 artillery or mortar per about 47 first line fighters.Not so bad artillery support afterall.Il throw in more details about other countries divisions later.
    Ja Mata Tosainu Sama.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Single Sign On provided by vBSSO