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Javaslinger

ATG vs Armor... Cost/benefit?

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So it seems like armor is considerably more useful and commonly used in CM2.... However, in reality the relative inexpensiveness of ATG's meant there were A LOT more of them in static defenses in actual warfare. I don't know if the way they're modeled or their relative costs being off, but I find that they are not cheap enough (or armor isn't expensive enough) to warrant their purchase given their massive differences in flexibility in game.

Thoughts?

Javaslinger

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I tend to agree with you. The real life costs of ATGs vs. AFVs were so one sided that if a defender lost two guns, or even more in some cases, for each AFV destroyed, he probably would come out ahead.

Michael

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Scenario designers do tend to treat AT guns like artillery. They'll give you just enough but seem to have a dread of giving you too much for fear of unbalancing gameplay. Very little by way of 'pak fronts' or overlapping fields of fire. Really, a Sicily battle involving Italian troops could involve an absurd number of 47mm guns dug in along a front. There's nothing to stop QB players from purchasing a 'pak front' but it seems to be rare. This tendency goes all the way back to CMSF. How often did allied armor confront a phalanx of long range ATGMs with overlapping fields of fire?

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Another topic. The Brits had the marvelous 17 pounder AT gun but I cannot recall reading any anecdotes about their relative success in battle (which is odd, Brits were notorious for documenting EVERYTHING in their unit histories). Maybe they turned out to be as ineffective as the 3 inch gun. All I've read was that the Valentine chassis 'Archer' was even worse at the job and they soon reverted back to towed 17 pounder again.

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I tend to agree with you. The real life costs of ATGs vs. AFVs were so one sided that if a defender lost two guns, or even more in some cases, for each AFV destroyed, he probably would come out ahead.

Michael

Points from CMBN v1.11. All units Regular, Normal, 0, as part of Formations.

US:

76mm ATG - 101

76mm Sherman - 242

75mm Sherman - 187

German:

Pak40 - 96

Pz IV - 230ish

Panther - 340ish

So a 2 for one exchange is generally in favour of the ATG, except in the case of the boggo Sherman, according to BFC's pricing.

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Mikey - see if you can find a copy of "The Development of Artillery Tactics and Equipment", by Pemberton. The 17-pr was successful when it got a chance - for example at Medenine - but given the nature of the war by then, with the Allies generally on the offensive, they didn't get many chances.

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...but given the nature of the war by then...

Ah, exactly the same problem the 3 inch gun had. You can't exactly kill tanks if none cross your path to be killed. :) Gustav Line is getting the 40mm Bofors gun. Talk about weapon ill suited to offensive warfare! :D

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womble,

Good stuff! How much for the 57mm?

JonS,

Exactly. A thing that looked like a priapic 25 pr to begin with (the crash produced 17/25 pr) with and a public monument later (the all-up ATG) is not the ideal tool for offensive warfare, though very handy if counterattacked by, say, Tigers!

MikeyD,

There was a CGSC(?) study I couldn't locate and a book talking about Dom Buttgenbach, a fight in which the towed TDs got quite a workout. The book's called AGAINST THE PANZERS, by Vannoy and Karamales. I highly recommend it.

Regards,

John Kettler

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Historically ATGs would have been spread over quite a long front, whereas the attacker would concentrate his forces at one point, and RL ATGs would have been at their most effective long range (by CM standards), so ATGs are probably well modeled for cost and effectiveness. In CM they're usually only effective in the hands of experts, though (of which I'm not one).

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I think the other factor would have been the increasing use of tanks with calibres large enough to fire useful HE. The war in the desert saw the Germans successful with PAK/FLAK fronts on the offence and strong points on the defence when the Commonwealth was restricted to driving around in tanks that relied on the 2pdr sans any form of HE. The doctrine of driving up so the non ap BESA machineguns could penetrate German gun shields was to put it lightly, found wanting.

Even in 41 tank guns with HE were like anti tank gun kryptonite

A single KV with it’s duel purpose 7,62cm gun held up 6th Panzer division (22 June `41) destroying 2 8,8cm FlaK’s a battery of 105mm over the course of a day. Never mind all the panzer’s it scared off. In the desert the Matilda’s could do the same to the under gunned panzers but had no effective answer to FlaK’s and PaK’s.

One should note that the reason why the American duel purpose 75 guns was so loved by the tank corp was that it could engage the Panzers and HE the PaK’s/FlaK’s

The changing nature of the war can be seen in how lauded the 88 was in the desert verses the foot note they suffered as mere casualties during Normandy.

The Specialised Flakkampfgruppen (antitank sections) of III Flak Korp first deployed during Operation Goodwood managed to lose 35 8,8cm Flak and 70 light (2 and 3,7cm guns) Flak in exchange for 20 British tanks.

The Flak Korp as a whole managed about 92 tanks kills claimed, including 12 Panzer Faust kills. Heer and SS Panzer/PzG units for perspective claimed 3,663 allied tanks destroyed.

Note that by 1944 the infantry divisions Panzerjager battalions were supposed to have 14 Marder’s and 10 StuG’s as the usefulness of towed guns was considered low one should note that poor quality Infantry divisions tended to have at most 22 towed PaK’s and captured French and or Russian artillery pieces that also tended to lack motorised transport. Towed guns are cheap, by 42/43 they also were not judged cost effective and were being phased out in favour of StuG’s/Marder’s. Towed guns were used when they had nothing better to fill the PanzerJager battalions or the unit was static.

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I have excerpts from a Sherman tanker's tutorial showing methods for indirect fire on AT guns using the platoon commander as remote spotter. Directed at the platoon level, firing from defilade positions. Sounded like a spotted AT guns wouldn't stand a chance. German tanks didn't come with training or instruments for indirect fire. Though I recall one Jadgtiger who happened to have a former artilleryman as a crewmember who was able to cobble together indirect gunlaying instruments to good effect.

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Sounds about right. The closest that German Panzer troops came to indirect fire was when Marcks ordered the PIV to close to 2600m and "indirect" (I think really parabolic arc) fire on the 25pdrs butchering the crews before conducting a general assault scattering Commonwealth tank and infantry units post Operation Crusader.

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I tend to agree with you. The real life costs of ATGs vs. AFVs were so one sided that if a defender lost two guns, or even more in some cases, for each AFV destroyed, he probably would come out ahead.

Michael

But only if you ignore the crew!

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Some assignments they conveniently leave out that bit about it being a near-suicide mission, that if you're captured you'll be shot out of hand. You know, like sniper or flamethower man.

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...the 6 pdr clone...

Not precisely a clone. While the 6 pdr was designed to have an L/50 barrel, most of them had an L/43 barrel due to production difficulties with the longer barrel until late in the war. The US version had the L/50 barrel in all the ones it used in service. There were also other detail differences.

Michael

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Historically ATGs would have been spread over quite a long front, whereas the attacker would concentrate his forces at one point, and RL ATGs would have been at their most effective long range (by CM standards), so ATGs are probably well modeled for cost and effectiveness. In CM they're usually only effective in the hands of experts, though (of which I'm not one).

What I have found is that with a small or medium sized map the range of most encounters is so short that AT guns have a hard time traversing quick enough to engage a moving target unless its moving away from or towards the gun at an acute angle. Not only that but the AI for the AT gun targeting has a bug and this further handicaps the gun. Hopefully BF will correct the bug and that should give the AT guns a better chance at close range to engage a moving target where the angle is changing rapidly. Even with the targeting bug AT guns are effective against tanks if used at long range , 600m or so, if they are well cited but that can't be done on a small map or even a medium sized map in most cases.

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Even with the targeting bug AT guns are effective against tanks if used at long range , 600m or so, if they are well cited but that can't be done on a small map or even a medium sized map in most cases.

While I agree with most of the sentiment, I think it's symptomatic of the problems people have using ATGs that 600m could be considered even close to "long range" for 75mm or better ATGs. I'd characterise it as being at the short end of "medium", myself.

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While I agree with most of the sentiment, I think it's symptomatic of the problems people have using ATGs that 600m could be considered even close to "long range" for 75mm or better ATGs. I'd characterise it as being at the short end of "medium", myself.

Yes I agree. 600m is actually at the upper end of short range for the 75mm or better ATG but I have found that at that range the change of angle relative to the gun of a tank crossing at quick speed perpendicular to the axis of the gun is slow enough that the gun can overcome the targeting bug well enough to engage the tank if the gun is well cited. Hope I said what I meant to say.

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What I have found is that with a small or medium sized map the range of most encounters is so short that AT guns have a hard time traversing quick enough to engage a moving target unless its moving away from or towards the gun at an acute angle. Not only that but the AI for the AT gun targeting has a bug and this further handicaps the gun. Hopefully BF will correct the bug and that should give the AT guns a better chance at close range to engage a moving target where the angle is changing rapidly.

That should not be for the smaller ATGs. I don't know about the German guns—haven't looked into them yet—but the Allied guns, up to 57 mm, could mostly be traversed by the crews simply pushing on the breech.

Michael

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Yes I agree. 600m is actually at the upper end of short range for the 75mm or better ATG but I have found that at that range the change of angle relative to the gun of a tank crossing at quick speed perpendicular to the axis of the gun is slow enough that the gun can overcome the targeting bug well enough to engage the tank if the gun is well cited. Hope I said what I meant to say.

Perhaps part of the problem, or at least an aggravating factor, is that people are driving tanks faster than would be the case IRL over many kinds of terrain. As has been stated in these pages ad nauseum, vision from the inside of an AFV was severely limited, especially when buttoned up. The consequences of a track hitting a stump or a stone could end up being fatal, or at least the major inconvenience of having your tank immobilized until it could be repaired. Dangerous obstacles can easily hide in tall grass until you are right on top of them. It might be necessary to perform emergency maneuvers to avoid them, and that is far more practical at a slow to moderate speed. If people are getting away with driving at Quick or even Fast speeds off road, then the game should impose a higher probability of immobilization.

Michael

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@Bastables..is that KV1 info from Raus book Panzer Operations? Superb read.

No unfortunately, I remember it from reading Tank Vurses Tank by Macksey at the school library in secondary school.

I'm guessing Raus's book is quite good?

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