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HazeGrayUnderway

Talking about Tank Stuff

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What's next?  German Sixth Army starved itself into submission and the Red Army had nothing to do with it?

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That's another topic entirely. Don't get me started on the Wehrmacht's successes and failures, but they did way more than they ought to have been able to, with what they had. Even to the end, the worn-out landsers demanded respect from Americans, English, Russians.

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On 1/28/2022 at 11:04 PM, Dr_Seadog said:

That's another topic entirely. Don't get me started on the Wehrmacht's successes and failures, but they did way more than they ought to have been able to, with what they had. Even to the end, the worn-out landsers demanded respect from Americans, English, Russians.

It's not a different topic.  I'm simply using another example of this thread's silly logic.

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2 hours ago, Murotsu said:

Absolutely true.  Engineers didn't have enough real-world data to be confident welding would work in certain areas requiring high strength, so they stuck with what they knew.  There were issues too.  You couldn't use square corners on a welded ship for example as the corner under stress could, and sometimes did, crack.  This required a redesign using rounded corners to relieve stress points that riveting could handle.

I have no doubt that both the US and Germany, like everybody else had their share of issues shifting to welding in ship construction.  The Germans appear to have put the effort into engineering through those problems while the US used a combination of experience gained and engineering to do the same.  Japan simply didn't have the engineering and ship building base to do likewise, while the British were saddled with labor issues where unions refused to modernize as it might cost them memberships.  Eventually, both had to recognize the advantages were overwhelming and the shift had to be made.

I think in Bismarck's case, the stern strength issue was in part due to use of welding, but mostly due to poor engineering through lack of experience.

What I know of French WWII tanks, the ship builder FCM designed the FCM 36 light tank using the new electro-welding capacity the wharf had.  The problem with building tanks with welding though was economical, welders were paid more, which caused the manufacturing costs of the tanks to be much higher over the riveted tanks, which was why the kept production of the Hotchkiss H35 and Renault R35 at the same time they ordered the FCM 36.

And from what I heard off hand, Three KGVs did cost less than a single Iowa class Battleship.

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25 minutes ago, Sventex said:

What I know of French WWII tanks, the ship builder FCM designed the FCM 36 light tank using the new electro-welding capacity the wharf had.  The problem with building tanks with welding though was economical, welders were paid more, which caused the manufacturing costs of the tanks to be much higher over the riveted tanks, which was why the kept production of the Hotchkiss H35 and Renault R35 at the same time they ordered the FCM 36.

And from what I heard off hand, Three KGVs did cost less than a single Iowa class Battleship.

The FCM 36 also had issues with the quality of the welds.  This is why the number built was kept low.

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If properly welded St 52 welds should not  break as the weldmaterial has higher UTS then the platematerial.

 

In some cases on board Tirpitz some welds failed under heavy loads. They could identify wrong heat treatments during welding as the reason. Maybe low temperatures played a role.

 

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@Sventex Wehrabooism is a real thing out there;  MG42, Sturmgewehr-44 equipped armies, fantasizing of skies filled with Me-262s, tons of Panthers and Tigers with legions of Panzer and Panzergrenadier Divisions, basically stuff that never existed together in any meaningful number.  I used to be a Wehraboo in the 90s and early 2000s until I read more and more about WWII and came to the conclusion these guys were a bunch of jokers, set on fantasy filled pedestals.

The reality was the German troops were mostly equipped with the simple Kar98k bolt action rifle.

The reality was that the enemies of Germany became much more mechanized and the German military was a horse drawn military.

The reality was that the StuG III and PzKpfw IV were the more prolific, numerous armor of the German military, not Panthers.

Tigers I & II were excruciatingly rare.  The fun part is their disposition let the Russians know where the real German push was going to be.

The Waffen SS being some super-elite formation of fighting forces does not hold water, especially as the war went on longer and non-Germans got into the service, a bunch conscripted, and quality going downhill real fast.  Latvian men for example were given an ultimatum:

- Join the Wehrmacht.

- Join the Waffen SS.

- Get sent into Slave Labor / Concentration Camp.

Not to mention units of the SS who were only good as murderous thugs against unarmed women and children, and got slaughtered the moment they ran into actually trained, armed soldiers.

 

Most especially when you start getting into some of those German General memoirs who were saving their own butts and reputation while throwing someone else under the bus, especially Hitler, who was of course not around anymore to defend himself.

"The Germans had the best generals" until you realize that even alone in the Eastern Front, the Soviet generals caught up and started doing great deceptions and operations.

 

I remember watching a documentary on the Battle of Stalingrad and laughed when the presenter said, "Hopefully this is the last time we see a German army get surrounded and destroyed!"

*wink*wink*

 

A fantastic one are the insults leveled at Shermans for being Ronson Burners.  At least that required stuff like big guns destroying a Sherman, and not like in early 1944 during the Korsun Pocket, where the Germans threw their last reserve of 67 Panthers, but on the way to the fight, 6 of them caught fire and were lost... BEFORE COMBAT.

 

Even in WoWS the German Ship Lines are hugely inflated with a bunch of fake ships.  The protest for fake German ships isn't there, but whoo boy!  When a Paper Russian Ship comes around:

"Russian Bias."

"Another fake Russian Ship."

 

LOL, most of the German Cruiser Line is fake, almost all their Premium Cruisers are fake.  The German BB Line has a lot of fake ships, and almost all their Premium BBs are fake also!  There's even German BBs in the line with Fake Refits.  The recent German BB-Battlecruiser Split is made up of fake ships!  But where's the protest?  The entire German CV Line is fake, Germany has never, ever, EVER completed and operated a Carrier in their entire history, even going into today, but hey, they got a FULL CV Line in WoWS!

Naturally the Fake German CVs are filled with Fake German Carrier Aircraft because they never had anything outside primitive Bf-109Ts and Ju-87C that never operated on a working Carrier.

 

And let's get back to good 'ol German Strategy of WWII:  "Let's go to war with the British, the Soviets, the Americans, etc, against all the economic, population, and industrial powerhouses of the world, who, by amazing chance, are sitting on top of the critical strategic resources to run a war!  Let's get into not a 1 front, not a 2 front, but 4 front war!  While we're at it, let's do things in our conquered territories that will get ourselves, our children, our children's children, to be condemned by the world?  What can possibly go wrong?"

 

It's all one big joke.

Edited by HazeGrayUnderway
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In reality, the truth is somewhere in between the "reactionaries" and "anti-reactionaries".

The Luftwaffe was remarkably effective and technologically advanced - while also producing a large number of high quality aircraft and trained pilots throughout the war despite horrendous losses. The entire air force was replaced several times over in terms of material and men from the period 1939-1945. A lot is said about how the German "uber aces" did not come home to train new recruits, cited as a major fault - but when you are training so many recruits, any military force will suffer.

The Wehrmacht was not the "uber army", either. Many of its early huge victories were rather innovation in terms of tactics, new ways of combining weapon systems, and rethinking and reorganization of the entire way the army worked on the part of the German generals, which was largely due to the fact that the entire military system had been gutted by the Treaty of Versailles allowing "mavericks" like Guderian and Rommel space to move up the ranks and to implement new ideas. Additionally, its opponents made huge errors especially in the wars in eastern France and western USSR. In actual fact, Hitler was not as technically, tactically, or strategically incompetent as he's been made out to be in later decades - in several instances, his ideas were proved right over his generals' and he undoubtedly had great understanding of much of the technical aspects of the war. Of course, one cannot ignore the incredible evil of the regime which was pursued with singleminded efficiency, but there are others that compete for that prize during this time period as well... all shocking to Americans in extent, who themselves were not completely blameless...

Germany could never compete in terms of numbers, so they turned to engineering, and you get Tigers and Panthers of which much is made by later generations who have no understanding that these were weapons of defense, not of offense. Heavy tanks use more fuel, more resources, and are still a single tank - good for holding inside lines of defense, and not for exploiting breakthroughs.

And then the German navy, which started with grand ambitions (during peacetime rearmament), was ultimately not able to challenge the British fleet in terms of surface warfare, and turned to submarines - but not without notable victories against overwhelming odds. And THAT is what draws people now far removed from the horrors of that time to the German actions in WW2 - that they succeeded in ways which no one should have reasonably expected to be possible in early 1939.

The people who rebuilt Europe after the war knew that resurgence of ideologies and romanticization of that conflict was a very real risk in the future, and that is why they took the steps they did to limit that possibility. They have been remarkably successful in preventing major war in Europe, which historically has been every 30 years or so for many centuries.....

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Yes, the Tiger I was made on the premise of a heavy tank, a "breakthrough tank" on the offense.  As mentioned, the Soviets with their intelligence would find out where the Tiger battalions were deployed and that made it real obvious where the German offensive was going to be emphasized.

 

The very basic idea of the tank to begin with was offense.  Even during a defense, tanks were used as mobile formations to conduct counterattacks.

 

Always fun stuff with the reality of WWII shattering German myths.

 

Or in September 1944 for the Battle of Arracourt, where the US Army met a far stronger force of Panthers and crushed them with 75mm armed M4 Shermans and M10, M18 tank destroyers in open battle.

600px-Surprised_Pikachu_3D.jpg

The Panthers that guys on the internet, in WoT, [edited] wank off to, got their **** pushed in by 75mm armed Shermans.

 

Edited by HazeGrayUnderway

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Regardless of doctrine stated as “fact”, anyone familiar with German “doctrine” during or after the mid war period is aware that the actual plain fact was that the Germans were facing overwhelming superiority of numbers of enemy tanks.
 

The proposed solution was quality, rather than quantity. This was born out of necessity and after the German experience of meeting French, British, and Soviet tanks which were all but invulnerable against everything but 88mm Flak guns (as well as heavy artillery pieces shooting over open sights), pressed into emergency service.

The German “doctrine” for the Tiger was a complete fiction. When the Wehrmacht massed Tigers, it also massed PzIV and mechanized divisions, using Tigers as a proxy for armored force concentrations was convenient for the Soviets - because there were so few, that it was easy to count. All tanks could be offensively used, and the Germans needed every one they could get their hands on to attempt any sort of offensive, even in 1943.

Again, breakthroughs are not optimally exploited by heavy tanks. They are too resource intensive (fewer tanks), have logistical issues (such as crossing bridges too narrow for them and burning an incredible amount of fuel), and do best in long range engagements where their advantages in armor and firepower are most pronounced.

The Tiger and Panther were were designed to deal with being severely outnumbered by Soviet tanks, while engaging at long range in a defensive battle or slowly offensive battle on the incredibly open steppe terrain of Ukraine and southern Russia. Similarly, the Panther - which was cheaper, more mobile, and used less fuel - and thus more suited to the offensive.

There was a reason Patton and the other US Army brass eschewed heavy tanks for the greater numbers and efficiency of the M4 Sherman, and it was because the M4 was an offensive, not defensive vehicle. Much as the P4 and P3 were in 1940.

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12 minutes ago, Dr_Seadog said:

Again, breakthroughs are not optimally exploited by heavy tanks. They are too resource intensive (fewer tanks), have logistical issues (such as crossing bridges too narrow for them and burning an incredible amount of fuel), and do best in long range engagements where their advantages in armor and firepower are most pronounced.

There was a reason Patton and the other US Army brass eschewed heavy tanks for the greater numbers and efficiency of the M4 Sherman, and it was because the M4 was an offensive, not defensive vehicle. Much as the P4 and P3 were in 1940.

Even the US T28 Super Heavy Tank was an offensive vehicle, as it was explicitly designed as a breakthrough tank with a weapon designed to destroy fortifications.  A tank tailor made to roll over the Siegfried Line is not a defensive weapon by nature.

1280px-T28_Aberdeen_1946.jpg

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I think you are confusing the common meaning of offensive - usually meant as “tactically offensive” , with “offensive/breakthrough exploitation” which is a specific term in blitzkrieg vernacular and refers to strategic operations.

You can advance 25 miles with a Tiger in a single day’s battle, but advancing 250 miles per day over the course of a week’s offensive operations is a different matter. 

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1 minute ago, Dr_Seadog said:

I think you are confusing the common meaning of offensive - usually meant as “tactically offensive” , with “offensive/breakthrough exploitation” which is a specific term in blitzkrieg vernacular and refers to strategic operations.

You can advance 25 miles with a Tiger in a single day’s battle, but advancing 250 miles per day over the course of a week’s offensive operations is a different matter. 

Offensive/breakthrough exploitation was the explicate design goal of tanks at their inception in WWI, which predated Blitzkrieg.

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4 minutes ago, Dr_Seadog said:

Guderian disagrees with your interpretation. 

Guderian was a radioman in WWI, he had nothing to do tanks in that war.

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Lol. Good luck exploiting any breakthrough with tanks in WW1. They moved at a walking pace, had horrible reliability, and were meant to defeat wires and trenches across a space of a couple miles at most in a setting where aerial bombardment was dropping a few 25kg bombs once an afternoon.

Guderian developed his blitzkrieg (with input from others) in the 1920s and a central part of that tactic was massed aerial and artillery bombardment at o allow the tanks to “break through” without significant casualties, to penetrate deeply behind enemy forward forces to destroy headquarters, supply depots, forward airfields and the like - paralyzing the enemy’s action and resulting in great encirclements and mass surrenders of entire army groups.

The technology for blitzkrieg was not possible until the mid 30s. I fail to see your relevant point.

 

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15 minutes ago, Dr_Seadog said:

The technology for blitzkrieg was not possible until the mid 30s. I fail to see your relevant point.

Exactly, tanks predate Blitzkrieg.  They were often designed explicitly to breakthrough a defensive line, making them offensive weapons, not defensive. The Battle of Amiens saw one of the greatest advances in the war, an exploitation caused with the help of 500 allied tanks.  While after 4 days they would be only 6 operation tanks left, several cavalry divisions with the help of armored cars exploited the breach and prevented the Germans from being able to regroup.  This was not Blitzkrieg, but this was breakthrough and exploitation.  Using tanks to tear a hole in a normally impregnable defensive line was the original purpose of the tank and often heavy tanks were designed for this purpose.  The Heavy French tank, the Char Bi bis had a hull mounted howitzer designed to destroy fortifications and machine gun nests, this tank was meant for this original WWI doctrine, it was not meant to serve the Maginot Line in a defensive role.

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Again, I don’t think you’re understanding my original point. Which was that heavy tanks in WW2 could not be used as strategically offensive weapons, in the same way as lighter tanks could be.

You could not for instance, use some fictional massed assemblage of Tigers in the same way you could a similar massed assemblage of Panthers, which in turn, were not as fuel efficient or numerous as Pz3 or Pz4 would have been, and therefore less optimal for breakthrough exploitations than those lighter and less formidable tanks. But to an infantryman with light weapons, any tank is still a tank, and that is what blitzkrieg was always aiming for in any offensive - to have tanks of any sort facing weak rear guard troops, 50 or 100 miles behind the front line.

Again, this is why the Sherman was retained until the end of the war, en masse, by US Army brass which fully understood this concept.

While German “doctrine” might have been to use them as such “breakthrough weapons”, the vast majority of the fronts in WW2 were huge in area, highly fluid, and often thinly guarded, especially on the Eastern front. In such a setting, a few high quality tanks with less mobility and higher logistical load were far less advantageous than a larger quantity of mobile, less resource intensive tanks to an attacking force. There simply wasn’t a “line” to breakthrough in the same way that WW1 lines had. 

however To a defending force with limited manpower and limited logistical ability to move large amounts of armor or fuel to the front line, fewer high quality tanks were advantageous. This is to be expected, because after 1942 (Stalingrad), the Wehrmacht was almost exclusively a defensive force (barring flopped offensives such as Kursk and Wacht am Rhein), having to transport huge amounts of logistical material over large distances of contested terrain with spotty transport ability. and it was in a defensive setting or a few limited offensives with little actual strategic movement that the Tiger and Panther were primarily employed.

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1 hour ago, Dr_Seadog said:

Again, I don’t think you’re understanding my original point. Which was that heavy tanks in WW2 could not be used as strategically offensive weapons, in the same way as lighter tanks could be.

8 hours ago, Dr_Seadog said:

 you get Tigers and Panthers of which much is made by later generations who have no understanding that these were weapons of defense, not of offense. Heavy tanks use more fuel, more resources, and are still a single tank - good for holding inside lines of defense, and not for exploiting breakthroughs.

You said heavy tanks (and Panther) were weapons of defense, good for holding inside lines of defense.  As I have exhaustively explained, that was not the intended role of heavy tanks in WWII.

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1 hour ago, Sventex said:

You said heavy tanks (and Panther) were weapons of defense, good for holding inside lines of defense.  As I have exhaustively explained, that was not the intended role of heavy tanks in WWII.

"Intended role" is not what I was arguing. "Intended role" IE whatever some staff general (not Guderian) decided to write down for Tiger, Ferdinand, Elephant, and Panther utilization was garbage, did not apply to how the units were actually used by the crews nor operationally, and was never actually either theoretically or factually applicable to WW2 combat as actually fought in the vast majority of battles.

The idea espoused in said "schwerpunkt theory" goes back to WW1 thinking and battlefields, as you have already clearly illustrated in your examples of WW1 tanks. The sides with air and artillery superiority stuck with the very successful and innovative 1939-1941 version of blitzkrieg, which required heavy use of combined arms to establish a breakthrough which was then propagated with highly mobile armored forces (not heavy tanks).

As I have already explained, there WERE several good reasons to build "uber tanks" and none of them had to do with WW1 ideas.

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12 minutes ago, Dr_Seadog said:

"Intended role" is not what I was arguing. "Intended role" IE whatever some staff general (not Guderian) decided to write down for Tiger, Ferdinand, Elephant, and Panther utilization was garbage, did not apply to how the units were actually used by the crews nor operationally, and was never actually either theoretically or factually applicable to WW2 combat as actually fought in the vast majority of battles.

No.

Panzerkeil - Hermann Hoth's 4th Panzer Army - Battle of Kursk

Cunha-Panzerkeil.png

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3 hours ago, Dr_Seadog said:

And how far did they go at Kursk?

Kursk had the largest tank battles in human history.  It's not something that can so easily be dismissed.

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8 hours ago, Sventex said:

Kursk had the largest tank battles in human history.  It's not something that can so easily be dismissed.

We seem to be discussing two completely different things. Enjoy your thoughts. 

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The plain fact is that the German army was highly successful in the early stages of the war, far out of proportion to the ability they should have had on paper. 

The collapse of France and Britain in 1940 (Britain saved by the English Channel) and the collapse of the Soviet army in 1941 were both results of a highly innovative German leadership and tactics. The French armee and British expeditionary force were larger in terms of both quantity and quality of men and materiel than the Wehrmacht. Yet they fell in 6 weeks.

The Soviet army itself had more tanks and aircraft in May 1941, than the entire German army by a very large measure - in 1941 the Soviets had more than 25,000 tanks, with at least 11,000 on the western front opposing the Wehrmacht. They had double the men of the Germans, around 5.5 million in arms, and 33,000 artillery pieces, 3x more than the Germans. To compare, the Panzer Corps in 1941 had around 3,500 tanks, 10,000 artillery pieces, and around 2.5million men. 

Usually, in the attack, you want at least a 2:1 advantage in numbers, yet the Germans were vastly outnumbered by the opposite ratio!

The vast successes of the early campaigns of the Germans against all odds lent them an air of invincibility which was finally broken at Stalingrad and El Alamein. The impact of their outsized successes led military analysis and resulted in widespread adoption or outright copying of blitzkrieg / combined arms, maneuver and tactic theory, armor development, all the way to implementing versions of Wehrmacht squad and platoon design after the war —- in both the Western powers and Soviet.

 

so again, the truth is somewhere in between the reactionaries and anti-reactionaries. If you are to be taken seriously by serious people, denying the facts simply won’t do. 

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