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DMS

Are AT guns too fragile?

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Posted (edited)

45mm anti tank gun had 7mm shield set at 45 degrees. 7 : cos 45 = 9,9.

2-b09b25319787ab4bd690553dbce69b20.jpg

Penetration for usual 7,92mm ammo: 8mm at 100m, 3,5mm at 500m. (30 degrees)

Penetration for AP 7,92: 13mm at 100m, 7,5mm at 500m.  (30 degrees)

So, after 500m ap mg round wouldn't penetrate gun shield. Usual MG ammo would hardly penetrate it after 100m. In the book of W. Schneider "Panzer Tactics" I found following scheme.

719321951_21312.png.80e22949b415c19eb50d94322f4bbc65.png

I made some tests, setting 3 lmgs against 2 guns at 500m. MGs easily supress crew...

Some photos to show that there was enough space to hide behind the shield. (At least for gunner and loader)

9282732f7add.jpg

45mmph1.jpg

Edited by DMS

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I'm not sure I get the argument here.

 

In the extract from Panzer Tactics, it suggests that 500m you won't KO the AT gun with MG fire so best to engage it with the main gun = better chance of KOing the AT gun. Yes?

Your test proves that point because at best all you can hope to do is suppress the AT crew - which again given the size of the gun shield appears correct as at best only two people are right behind the shield - everyone else is either side with less protection (assuming the gun is not dug in).

So MG fire above 500 m will, at best, suppress an AT gun (a suppressed AT gun is still potentially a threat - as I've found it to my cost in-game - they can quickly recover if the fire slackens and re-engage). So if 500m plus and if you want to KO an AT gun, then engage with the main gun firing HE.

Perhaps I'm missing the point you are trying to make?

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7 hours ago, George MC said:

Your test proves that point because at best all you can hope to do is suppress the AT crew - which again given the size of the gun shield appears correct as at best only two people are right behind the shield - everyone else is either side with less protection (assuming the gun is not dug in).

I didn't wait until crew is dead. Crewmen were dying 1 in 1-2 minutes at average. Gunner usually dies first, he hides not enough close to the shield. As a result, gun doesn't fire back.

I think that gunner is almost in safe and shouldn't be supressed so much...

Why this is important in my opinion? Because historical tacticks of Red Army is missed: accompanying infantry "on wheels" by artillery. (In cities and in the open ground) German armor countered Soviet offences, and soviets moved AT guns after the infantry lines. (Soviet guns were light enough for that) When I try to do this in the game, AT guns are quickly supressed by few mg bursts and then are destroyed...

 

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I know this was a tactic the Soviets used - hence why the Germans were very keen to counterattack as soon possible before the Soviets loaded the AO with PAK. But I'm sure they were not doing this in full sight of unsuppressed enemy MGs.Perhaps you need to rethink your tactics and try not to do it in full sight and 500m from an unsuppressed enemy?

FYI in game I've successfully rolled AT guns into firing positions, both as player and in AI plans without the other player spotting them until they opened up. Did it under cover or with the enemy being heavily suppressed.

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I always seem to run into that flak 88 with 1 crewman left that manages to maintain a decent ROF and gets a few KO shots on me.

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Posted (edited)
Just now, George MC said:

I know this was a tactic the Soviets used - hence why the Germans were very keen to counterattack as soon possible before the Soviets loaded the AO with PAK. But I'm sure they were not doing this in full sight of unsuppressed enemy MGs.Perhaps you need to rethink your tactics and try not to do it in full sight and 500m from an unsuppressed enemy? 

Guns not just moved behind, but usually supported infantry attack by direct lay fire. First scheme that I found in pamyat-naroda.ru:

1407392784_21.thumb.jpg.3872b35c6fb82c0c8c660598e5836fbd.jpg

"Scheme of battle positions for direct lay fire".  23.10.1942. 268 rifle regiment. Side of the square is 1 km. As you see, distance to German positions is 400-700m. It wouldn't be possible, if German mgs would be effective against guns at 500m, right?

Just now, gundolf said:

I always seem to run into that flak 88 with 1 crewman left that manages to maintain a decent ROF and gets a few KO shots on me. 

Right! It seems that flak gunner is coded to ignore supression when he is seeing target. Shield is 9mm, sloped at 30 degrees to vertical. Thicker, than M-42's, but not too much...

Edited by DMS

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Nice find!

Would the guns in the above scheme not have been dug in and camouflaged? If they are that close to the Germans, and the Germans know they are there I'm pretty sure they'd be targets for mortar/arty fire? 

I'm not sure of the context though in the above scheme i.e. how they guns got to be where they are. AI said moving guns forward, at close range, in plain sight of an unsuppressed enemy is asking for trouble in-game and in RL I think. Whether MGs are there or not.

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On 6/28/2018 at 10:52 AM, George MC said:

Would the guns in the above scheme not have been dug in and camouflaged? If they are that close to the Germans, and the Germans know they are there I'm pretty sure they'd be targets for mortar/arty fire?  

 

Probably they were. I was very lucky and found regimental journal for this days! (Regimental documents are rare, unlike divisional)

1086264376_3123.thumb.jpg.2ac5ff49f1c82a773c370b35bcef0a1c.jpg

"Batteries of ИПП (AT regiment) and ПА (regimental artillery) fired by direct lay at targets №35, 37, 32, 39, 40 and 101. Results: target 37 is destroyed, targets 35, 38, 39 49 and 101 are damaged. Ammo used - 120, mortar ammo - 134. Snipers destroyed 16 Germans."

377878228_312.thumb.jpg.d19b4fb852949a9d75552f008c6d35b1.jpg

"Regiment made engineer work entrenching forward line. Enemy shelled forward line of defense. Ammo used - 80. Losses: wounded - 1."

It was usual positional war, not assault... Snipers overclaimed results, of course.

Quote

I'm not sure of the context though in the above scheme i.e. how they guns got to be where they are. AI said moving guns forward, at close range, in plain sight of an unsuppressed enemy is asking for trouble in-game and in RL I think. Whether MGs are there or not.

Correct! But how much close is too close?

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I'd like to be able to remount AT guns. It's too easy to get the crew to run, and impossible to get them back into position.

Another fortification type that improves on the sandbag wall would be nice. Either that, or a way to get gun crews to use the foxhole fortifications better.

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I recall reading a British western desert AAR years ago that found during a particular battle their AT guns (2 pdrs at the time) tended to fire only six rounds before getting knocked out. Of course a few managed to fire very many more than six rounds, and a few fired very much less than 6 rounds. I recall someone reporting here that American 76mm AT gun life expectancy during the Bulge battles was very low, if they found themselves facing the enemy at all.

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It's all about the range.  If you're shooting at around 300m or less, the unit won't live long.  This is one reason am keen on desert games.  The LOS tends to be much longer.  

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AT guns are my favourite CM unit type. I only know about British WW2 doctrine when it comes to AT guns and I use this in game.

In defence the guns would be positioned in defilade or reverse slope positions with infantry positioned to defend them rather than the guns positioned to protect the infantry.

In attack, tanks would be used to take ground. AT guns would then be brought up to take the positions of the tank units so that the tanks could advance whilst the guns protected the newly captured position with infantry supporting them.

I have broken with doctrine on occasion and used smoke to conceal AT manouevre to attack tank positions.

I am currently playing a game where I have several AT guns at the edge of woodlines. They are protected by sandbags and have been getting the upper hand against multiple panzer assaults. All guns are in tact with a couple of crew casualties only, whilst the area they are covering is a graveyard of German armour and burning wrecks. Man I love AT guns!!

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On 6/29/2018 at 1:03 PM, DMS said:

Probably they were. I was very lucky and found regimental journal for this days! (Regimental documents are rare, unlike divisional)

1086264376_3123.thumb.jpg.2ac5ff49f1c82a773c370b35bcef0a1c.jpg

"Batteries of ИПП (AT regiment) and ПА (regimental artillery) fired by direct lay at targets №35, 37, 32, 39, 40 and 101. Results: target 37 is destroyed, targets 35, 38, 39 49 and 101 are damaged. Ammo used - 120, mortar ammo - 134. Snipers destroyed 16 Germans."

377878228_312.thumb.jpg.d19b4fb852949a9d75552f008c6d35b1.jpg

"Regiment made engineer work entrenching forward line. Enemy shelled forward line of defense. Ammo used - 80. Losses: wounded - 1."

It was usual positional war, not assault... Snipers overclaimed results, of course.

Correct! But how much close is too close?

Hi @DMS

Another interesting post. Liking this discussion with these primary sources. 

Thats an interesting action. It would appear they ID the targets then unseen dug in the guns and then proceeded to take out the GermanMG posts by sniping them. 

Re how close is to close?

Another poster mentioned AT positions which chimes with what I’ve read from Soviet first hand accounts (I Remember website being a good source). In the example you outline it does sound like they took the German MGs by surpass before they could respond effectively. 

I’m stil if the view that moving later got AT gins (or any AT gun) into position in LOG of any enemy unit is asking for trouble. Moving the gun would expose the crew way more than them crouching behind the shield I think. 

I’d still say if moving guns forward with infantry you’d have to be doing it with the enemy suppressed or under cover (smoke/terrain). 

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On 6/30/2018 at 11:15 PM, George MC said:

Thats an interesting action. It would appear they ID the targets then unseen dug in the guns and then proceeded to take out the GermanMG posts by sniping them.  

Re how close is to close? 

Regiment defended position for half a year. They were sending recon groups, that spotted every German MG nest. There were some minor engagements, once German outpost spotted recon group on the minefield and shot them with mg. 3 men were killed, recon platoon leader and political worker amongst them. So German positions were well known. Probably they set guns in somewhat like keyhole positions between trees to engage a given target, though it is just my guess. I don't know how effective sniper fire was... "16 Germans were killed" should be read as "16 aimed shots were made". Though they could make Germans to keep low.

dwa312.jpg.db21fda8407097ae74696a0692e44f36.jpg

https://pamyat-naroda.ru/documents/view/?id=100798650

On 6/30/2018 at 11:15 PM, George MC said:

I’m stil if the view that moving later got AT gins (or any AT gun) into position in LOG of any enemy unit is asking for trouble. Moving the gun would expose the crew way more than them crouching behind the shield I think.  

I’d still say if moving guns forward with infantry you’d have to be doing it with the enemy suppressed or under cover (smoke/terrain). 

In several PBEM battles I tried to use AT guns to support battalion attack. I used 76, 122 divisional guns, 120 regimental mortars... Guns were moving far behind infantry... And still 1 surviving MG managed to lay a killing burst on the gun in every battle! They attract fire. It is correct and 100% realistic for large guns, but small 45mm... (And regimental cannon on it's base) I don't know, may be I have a little bias as I usually play for Soviet rifle units. :)

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On 6/27/2018 at 9:43 AM, DMS said:

45mm anti tank gun had 7mm shield set at 45 degrees. 7 : cos 45 = 9,9.

2-b09b25319787ab4bd690553dbce69b20.jpg

Penetration for usual 7,92mm ammo: 8mm at 100m, 3,5mm at 500m. (30 degrees)

Penetration for AP 7,92: 13mm at 100m, 7,5mm at 500m.  (30 degrees)

So, after 500m ap mg round wouldn't penetrate gun shield. Usual MG ammo would hardly penetrate it after 100m. In the book of W. Schneider "Panzer Tactics" I found following scheme.

719321951_21312.png.80e22949b415c19eb50d94322f4bbc65.png

I made some tests, setting 3 lmgs against 2 guns at 500m. MGs easily supress crew...

Some photos to show that there was enough space to hide behind the shield. (At least for gunner and loader)

9282732f7add.jpg

45mmph1.jpg

I would not say, the photos show that there is enough space to hide. As you say, there is barely enough space for one man. Imaging crouching behind the thin shield, trying not expose your body, hearing MG bursts rattling the shield, bullets zipping by, ricocheting left and right, dust and stones being kicked-up and flying around. Put a second layer of “normal” battle din onto that. I, certainly, would be impressed, eh, suppressed and would not try to act as hero.

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, StieliAlpha said:

I would not say, the photos show that there is enough space to hide. As you say, there is barely enough space for one man. Imaging crouching behind the thin shield, trying not expose your body, hearing MG bursts rattling the shield, bullets zipping by, ricocheting left and right, dust and stones being kicked-up and flying around. Put a second layer of “normal” battle din onto that. I, certainly, would be impressed, eh, suppressed and would not try to act as hero.

For 2 men, gunner and loader. Loader assistant is exposed, like commander and other crewmembers.

Well, gunner in Stummel is also behind the thin shield, slightly exposed... Like gunner in Su-76, Hanomag e.t.c. If armor is not penetrated, gunner would fire back, I think. As Russian military theoretic Dragomirov said, "Ineffective fire just encourages the enemy". PPSh rounds are deadly at 200m, but from 400m it sounds like a "derp gun" and won't pin down anybody. For supression real danger is essential.

Edited by DMS

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1 hour ago, DMS said:

For 2 men, gunner and loader. Loader assistant is exposed, like commander and other crewmembers.

Well, gunner in Stummel is also behind the thin shield, slightly exposed... Like gunner in Su-76, Hanomag e.t.c. If armor is not penetrated, gunner would fire back, I think. As Russian military theoretic Dragomirov said, "Ineffective fire just encourages the enemy". PPSh rounds are deadly at 200m, but from 400m it sounds like a "derp gun" and won't pin down anybody. For supression real danger is essential.

Well, gunners in StuG’s and the like had at least the consolation of being surrounded by steel. If it does not help in practical terms, it gives at least a “safe feeling“.

As for the military theoretic: Perhaps the professionals on the forum can comment. I stood only once in front of a gun drawn for purpose and that was suppression enough.

I doubt especially the “real danger” part, aka „I think that’s nonsense“. There are too man soft factors to make such a general statement. Test yourself. Try to complete a difficult task when you are well rested and not under pressure. And try it after a sleepless night, hungry and under pressure. I am very sure the results will be quite different.

To put it differently: Veterans should stand, when Conscripts run. But Conscripts may stand against all odds, if the conditions are right or they are just lucky...

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Posted (edited)

I'm probably not contributing directly to the main question at hand (how much protection should the shields of ATguns provide) but may be interesting for the side-question (did AT guns manoevure when exposed?). Here is a British brigadier's reflection on how to use AT guns after the battle of Gerbini 19743, where - after a successfull night attack - the British failed to bring up their AT-guns (according to the British doctrine mentioned by Josey Wales) in time to repel the German counter-attack the next morning and were therefore beaten back to the starting line. I've marked the more interesting parts (concerning the  usage of AT guns in an attack context) in bold: 

"2. In view of this experience it appears that our arrangements (contracted in the desert) for reorganising the A.Tk defence of a captured position requires thorough overhauling. In the desert the enemy was generally completely evicted from the captured area, thus allowing some hours of darkness and quietness for reorganisation. In this battle conditions were, as already described, quite different. It seems now that the A.Tk plan for reorganisation down even to the sighting and responsibility of each gun should be worked out beforehand. A.Tk defence should follow up the various stages of the attack, making good ground as it is captured. Guns, particularly Pheasants [=17pdr AT guns], should be sited in the vicinity of the start line to fire well forward; not only in an A.Tk role but also in the close support role firing HE. Support A.Tk guns should be pushed well forward to reorganise on the reserve coy positions when captured, and in turn also to provide close support to the forward coys. Forward A.Tk guns should then be pushed forward to carry out their pre-allotted tasks in the area of the forward coys when those areas are captured. All guns should be carefully camouflaged before the attack, so that they can, should it be necessary, give support initially from exposed positions. The forward movement of the guns should be controlled by a very responsible officer (in case of Bns the 2nd i/c) who should have by his side an arty officer, prepared, should it be necessary, to bring down smoke to cover the forward movement. All ranks in the Bn should understand this procedure so that they can cooperate to the full extent to aid this move forward if [recte: of?] A.Tk guns either by smoke or fire. Finally it seems imperative that each A.Tk Bty should have at least one troop of S[elf]P[ropelled] A Tk guns for quick reorganisation in forward areas."

Read more: http://51hd.co.uk/accounts/gerbini_combs#ixzz5KHLj6EUt

 

Also, you may like to check out the 61st AT regiment's journal from July 1943: http://51hd.co.uk/accounts/61_anti_tank_sicily

Edited by Kaunitz

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I think the real strength of AT guns was the fact that they could get a couple of shots off before being spotted and getting return fire on them. They were easy to conceal.

As long as the game does that, then I think they are factored correctly as to being correct as to realistic results.

Now at one point they were too easy to spot in the game, but the coding has been improved and now I find that the smaller guns do seem to have the ability to shoot and stay.

hidden for a period of time.

As to pinning them once spotted, hard to say if it is too easy, that is not a hard factor that can be proven, its a opinion and the designer is in control of that 

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My answer may be a bit vague and I don’t know if it helps, but I remember a thread about moving AT‘s on a battle field. It started with a video, showing some re-enactors merrily pushing a 75mm PAK forward.

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, StieliAlpha said:

My answer may be a bit vague and I don’t know if it helps, but I remember a thread about moving AT‘s on a battle field. It started with a video, showing some re-enactors merrily pushing a 75mm PAK forward.

Yes, and my question was a little vague too..."So, Vere is my BN return File" :-(

Edited by JoMc67

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On the question of moving and deploying AT assets in the attack.

The following document, published by the Oberkommando des Heeres (German army high command) 1 March 1942, details the experiences gained on the Eastern Front. Anti tank combat 

42.) Employment

The appearance of enemy tanks must be reported by all parts of the spotting- and guard sections by the fastest possible means to warn the troops.

Due to their immobility, the 5 cm Pak must be placed into position, in accordance with the anti-tank plan, at an early stage. Because of their greater mobility, the 3,7 cm Pakcan be kept ready behind cover, or concealed near already prepared positions.

Positions must be set up around bushes, hedges, etc., maintaining good traversability, but above all good camouflage. Foxholes must be laid out, without creating earth mounds, for the gunners and ammunition. Laying out mines around the position prevents tanks from overrunning the position.

 

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19 hours ago, JoMc67 said:

Yes, and my question was a little vague too..."So, Vere is my BN return File" 😞

Sorry, mate. I took the week off from playing, to enjoy global warming. At the moment summer is just too good to play. I‘ll be back on-line next week or „manana, in‘ch Allah“.

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Issue to me is that the guns are usually too common than that they're too fragile or not. It's not uncommon for many of the game's scenarios to have 2 Pak40s covering a 500x1500m map with spare heavy AT assets. Players are usually not informed enough to realize that no one would realistically expect them to fight their way through defense lines as deep as usually encountered in a CM scenario. 

Edited by SimpleSimon

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