Jump to content

LongLeftFlank

Members
  • Posts

    3,503
  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won

    6

Everything posted by LongLeftFlank

  1. Great info, cheers, but is your data necessarily contradicting @dbsapp? ...In 1942-43 one would assume the vast bulk of German consumption to be in the east (with Med front/Africa negligible), but with the second front (plus, e.g. Cassino-Anzio) in 1944 some of that usage would be in the West. Also, could some of the German shell expenditures be losses? captured, or demolished to prevent capture? Although I doubt it would account for the 2:1 ratio.
  2. That is all quite correct, although I don't know that it particularly contradicts the prior. Great stuff on shell counts, quite important thanks. Does your 1944 figure include all calibres though? I do find it a little hard to believe the Germans outshot the Russians 2:1 by then (on the Ostfront, or on all fronts?), but it's big if true. As we know, German war production peaked in 1944. ...Luftwaffe-Army coordination, while it certainly existed and was highly effective, may be a little overstated. There were plenty of friendly fire attacks, for example, and fog is fog and muddy airfields suck (literally). It wasn't a resource available 'on call' to tactical formations, like artillery. The late '44 'cab rank' system notwithstanding, even the Americans had to wait for Korea for tactical air strikes to be called in in timeframes of much less than a day. A little more from Jason that builds on your points: "The Germans had the best radio direction finding systems in the world in the first half of WW2. They regularly knew where any powerful radio transmitter was broadcasting from in hours, and could arrange to strike any concentration of them within 1-2 days. They used this to good effect in France in 1940 and Russia in 1941-2. The Russians got paranoid about ever getting on the radio, and that hurt their comms in its own right. "German tanks see and hear better - they have commander cupolas, 3 man turrets, radios, and better optics. On a large battlefield with cover available, this tends to let the Germans get many on few fights first here and then there. They can get "piecewise" numerical superiority in sequence, even with the overall numbers on the field even.
  3. Jason again: "In pure materiel, the Russians had forces sufficient to stop Barbarossa cold. Before the purges, the thinking of the leading staff was actually *ahead* of the Germans in mobile warfare doctrine, including realism about what could and could not be expected from single operations. "Russia invested far more heavily in mobile forces, sooner, than German did. They had the largest airborne force in the world, the largest tank fleet by an order of magnitude, the best tank designs. They had a fully elaborated all arms formation built around high theory hashed out over about a decade, far in advance of anything the western allies had. "On the other hand, the Russian quality advantage existed only at the top of the distribution of tank types. The Russians had an enormous number of tanks when the war began, but 85% of them were thinly armored, 45mm gun armed lights, split between T-26s (by far the most common type) and the BT "fast" series. All these were entirely vunerable to every tank gun in the German AFV fleet, and every field gun they had as well. Their own guns were dangerous to the lighter half of the German fleet, but needed flank shots at relatively close ranges against the better half (the newer 50mm front armor Pz IIIs, IVs, and StuGs). The better Russian tanks were a more serious matter, but there weren't all that many of them after early breakdowns (or "never rans") are taken out of the mix, and they were "spent" in penny packets. "The officer corps also had suffered a a deliberate politically paranoid campaign against some leading mech theorists as smelling fascist and maybe pro German, incomplete personnel for their ambitious mech arm, low readiness, a poor maintenance culture, and peacetime training that avoided stressing critical support elements. "To be fair, it is not typical to deliberately "stress" CSS in peacetime exercises. More of them are conducted in open plain regions than in swampy forests with limited road nets. "So what happened to the Russian tank fleet? Glantz had shown from previous operational studies that basically half of it is gone by the end of the summer. They are outnumbered in armor throughout the fall battles. Even though the Germans don't have much (3300 to start and falling). Did the Germans just kill every tank in battle, because T-26s are so bad? "They indeed made catastrophic mistakes. They were on the defensive and nobody yet knew how to stop modern all arms forces with proper doctrine when they were on the offensive. They tried the obvious, reasonable things, like coordinated mech counterattacks against the shoulders of penetrations - but their mech arm fell apart on them within days, without result. "You find there are serious Russian counterattacks with armor. Tank corps strength, and prewar TOEs thus those are big formations. One operation on the Smolensk axis involves well over 1000 tanks. Occasionally there is some early effect, but never anything real to show for any of it. What's going on? "Whole mechanized corps report they are out of gas. "We are not just talking failure to use combined arms in a doctrinally correct manner. We are talking about launching attacks with major formations that push ahead for 2-3 days, and nobody has organized their regular resupply. As in, CSS non-existent. "At Smolensk, 5th and 7th Mech have 1036 tanks apiece (!), and their attack fails. Glantz offers that many of them are T-26s or BTs (so what? If half of them were BTs it would still be awesome. Lack of adequate recon and tank infantry cooperation is cited for their failure, against the well prepared AT defense of - one panzer division. 7th Mech alone lost 832 tanks within five days and withdrew in disorder beset also by a host of command and control and logistical problems. Another corps cites swamps and air. "Higher ups gave nonsensical orders. Lower officers obeyed them to the letter. They drove off to point B. No gas arrived to meet them (the route may not have existed, the enemy might have been between, any of a hundred reasons the original order was nonsense). They screamed for gas. The front moved. The crews got out and walked. That is how "swamps" consume entire Mech corps. "So what does Stavka do? They abolish the Mech corps. This is usually regarded as a big step back to penny packet thinking, but I believe it was correct, indeed absolutely essential. It is vastly harder to move a 1000 AFV glob in a coordinated fashion than it is to move a brigade of 50 T-34s. A reliable brigade of T-34s at the right place and time is more valuable than a wallowing CF of an out-of-gas Mech corps. Let alone half a dozen of those brigades. "This retied the tanks to the infantry formations. Which were lasting long enough to protect and use them. It restored tank infantry cooperation."
  4. For those interested, dipping again into the writings of @JasonC, from years ago in these forums (and BGG): "Germany was the first great power to know there was going to be a war, but it was also the last to mobilize its economy. Predictably, therefore, it lost catastrophically. "It was an article of faith for Hitler that Germany should not compete in all out "material struggle" as it had in WWI, but should instead rely on Aryan superiority, quality and tactics to achieve cheap and rapid victories. "The decision to attack Russia in the first place showed a singular contempt for the military importance of odds. The British empire, Germany, and Russia were approximate equals in industrial and economic terms. The Germans drastically underestimated Russian military power. The idea was indeed annihilation battle, but it was also to defeat Russia in one swift campaign of a single season. "The hope was that Germany's new methods of warfare had made a war of attrition unnecessary - the complete mobilization, the millions cycled through the fronts, the massive expenditure of treasure and blood through munitions to grind down enemy armies. At the operational level, the Germans were seeking annihilation much more by maneuver than by battle. At a tactical level, they had come to believe in armor as the restorer of shock in the old sense, and the decisive arm, always to be employed offensively. "The German 1941 performance was outstanding in every military sense, with the Russian moves initially dismal and barely passable later on. The cards were stacked as neatly as you please. "The basic story of 1941 is the Germans chop the Russian army into pieces and gobble those pieces up. By the time they finish swallowing, there is a new Russian army in front of them. Repeat until the Germans miss a step and stall. People debate which step was the one that missed. "What defies basic logic is expecting to fight a state as powerful as Russia to the death in a planned war of extermination, without mobilizing your own economy. "The main issue was simply that they were in an all fired hurry, for no decent reason, other than not bothering to plan for a longer war. "The German army in front of Moscow in November 1941 had absolute numerical superiority. It lost it by December. The reason is the Russians were mobilizing a million men per month and the Germans weren't mobilizing even enough to replace their own losses, which were a tenth those of the Russians. "Germans were still working only a single shift at critical war plants in the fall of 1941. Key plant was being used 10 hours a day, most women were not in the labor force. 40% of steel production was going to civilian industry. "The Russians were much closer to losing in pure attrition terms than people often realize, because a 5 to 1 loss rate is one heck of a headwind to try to make up. "The Russians had been treating formations like ammo. The 1941 Russian economy was working much better than anything else in the picture - they were mobilizing, the Germans weren't; they got massive quantities of war material; they fielded new armies reliably and got them where they were needed, strategically speaking. And those armies milled around, in total chaos, until destroyed - under cockamamie orders and utter confusion. Chaos and confusion reigned in the "near rear" - roughly, railhead to front line in the active sectors. But the next lot were getting off trains 100 miles further east. "The Germans overran areas that contained half of the Soviet prewar population. While something like 12 million workers were evacuated and men inducted beforehand and refugees, still around 50 million people passed under German rule. There wasn't any numerical discrepancy left to speak of, in the two population bases, by November. "Yes the Russians could pull back in space terms. But there weren't a lot of additional recruits to be had in the Urals. Not a million a month. They could keep up the huge mobilization rate for a while anyway, but not forever. Not at 1941 loss levels. "The sustainability of all the Russian offensives of the second half of the war depended on mobilizing manpower from the last areas cleared, and getting them into new units within 6 to 12 months. Those provided half or more of the new recruit flow. The loss rate simply wasn't sustainable without the front moving their way. "The Germans are wiping out over three quarters of a million men per month and the Russians are replacing it, but not gaining. The Russian force in the field has a half life on the order of 60 days. And it isn't the October mud pause that stops this - October is just as disastrous as the months before it, and the respite from the mud is too short to matter. "No, the key thing is that the Germans aren't getting anything themselves. 50k replacements in a time period when the Russians get more like 3 million. It is the sheer scale of the Russian mobilization rate that is the strategic shock to the Germans, and they don't even know it is happening. Every million men they wipe out, they think is the last. When it is just another month or so. "If the Germans had mobilized as they attacked, they'd have had double the Russian force by November and as many additional tanks as they produced in 1942. What happens in November is the German logistics start giving out, that lets the Russian loss rate fall and the front stabilize, the rear area chaos clears up somewhat (or at least, is matched by equal chaos in German logisitics by then), and Russian front line strength soars. "The Germans have 2.7 million men in the field and the Russians have only 2.2 million, on November 1. A month later the Germans are weaker not stronger, and the Russians have 4 million. The Russians just don't lose a million men in November - that is all it takes.
  5. Suvorov tells great stories though. Did they ever find him? I don't know that either. Of course they found him. They are good at that.
  6. Ha ha, yes, since traditional Islam prohibits human images in art (idolatry) -- although this stricture was widely ignored in Iran and India -- it tends toward geometric patterns, mixed media and calligraphy instead. And when living in an arid desert environment that is mainly shades of brown, liking bright colours is understandable. ... But there is a good way to do that (Cordoba, Blue Mosque, Taj Mahal) and then, a not so good way. My best guess is that Saddam's regime produced a lot of rich officials whose kids took architecture degrees in London and then brought their mediocre talents home, using oil or oil state money to bring their 'visions' to life.
  7. Yeah, great stuff @Zveroboy1 and thanks to Sarge2 for flagging this one for me. If I ever get back to my own mod project, I will definitely loot this one shamelessly (with due credit). Especially those garage doors with signs overhead, beautiful! ... One thing I struggled with in Ramadi was how 'cinderblocky/bricky' larger buildings should be, as opposed to private houses which are largely mudbrick (given the Euphrates nearby). Unlike Aleppo or Homs or Mosul, Ramadi also doesn't have much of a medieval 'rabbit warren' Old Town district left either. Poor folks generally leave their exterior walls unfinished, but folks with more means will usually try to plaster and whitewash the facades, at least on the front. Of course, that needs to be maintained..... Poured cement slab or pillars with thin curtain walls tends to take over from brick in most large developing world structures taller than 4 stories after about, say, 1980. You'd still see brick or even cinder going higher but those walls wouldn't be load bearing, just keeping out the elements. But there are always exceptions, and corner cutting.... So other than for looks, what I did was to make most of my hi-rises clusters of smaller buildings with interior doors, rather than the single large footprint tiles. Tactically, this means they won't pancake as easily under HE fire, or only parts do, which is what you'd expect with a building where walls aren't the primary load bearing element. Also lets you do funky looks like recessed balconies. ....Also, is Aleppo very seismic? I'm pretty sure the answer is yes, given that Antioch and Beirut are. Po' folks gonna build anyway with whatever's cheap and trust to Allah, but any kind of major public edifice will need cement and rebar pillars, or else very solid walls indeed! Anyway, great job mate!
  8. Well noted on speed of deployment and sustainability, Steve, thanks. Sounds like @The_Capt has some of the same questions, but he speaks for himself well enough. It's great that it can get on the ground quickly, but what does it **do** once it's there? 1. Uncle Sam hasn't contemplated airlifting Army brigades to be sacrificial speed bumps against heavy armour since the Cold War. In 1990, they stuck a brigade of the 82nd in Saudi (I know an S-2 who was there) to warn off Saddam until the heavies got there. But in this day and age, no President will sacrifice 5000+ Americans overseas (hmm, Korea). 2. In a built-up area, *all* AFVs are vulnerable to mines/IEDs and flank shots (as you noted). But you still want a mobile platform that can overwatch streets in defilade for the infantry. And that means having enough frontal protection to shrug off RPG shots for long enough to kill shooters. Stryker (and Hummer) won't stand up to this job, as all CMSF players know, and as the Filipinos found out with their LAVs in Marawi in 2016. Bradley will do it. 3. In your Kosovo type intervention, where you're looking to face down a militia or a weak and disorganized army unable to field its own coherent armoured units, or deploy advanced ATGM, ok, I get the Medium concept. Dense forest/jungle aside, light armour totally dominates firefights in populated zones. It's hard to reach out and touch it. Useful, provides economical dominance and infantry protection. ... But then the partisans retreat into rugged/forested areas and towns/cities. You then have Grozny (see point 2). But at least you've secured the countryside. So plans to field more than 1-2 Stryker brigades seems to assume the Army's future wars could include occupation of larger countries with weak regular armies whose mech can largely be disabled with airpower. There's a long list of countries I could see fitting that bill. But as@The_Capt astutely notes, is the Will there? Sounds like more Team America: World Police to me, and popular support is wearing pretty thin for that kind of mission. But then I suppose that isn't the Army's concern: they want the capability to execute the missions they're ordered to perform.
  9. I stand corrected... kinda. https://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/us-army-moves-ahead-with-stryker-hull-modification-06308/ ...My CMSF experience left me a little 'meh' though regarding the Stryker's capability in either ranged combats or MOUT. Hence, my 'fish nor fowl' comment on these Jack-of-all-trades platforms (cf. the LCS or the F35). But I claim no expertise. Time will tell, I suppose. P.S. It looks like foreign buyers to date are mainly focused on policing within their own borders. So yeah, I'll just leave that there, dangling awkwardly. Brazil, Colombia, and Peru are all looking to upgrade their armored fleets and the Stryker is seen as an attractive capability that will help with countering threats from “illicit networks” within their borders.
  10. I recall dimly that a primary motive for BFC's choice of (fictional) theatre was their interest in gaming out how the Stryker brigades might perform in a 'force projection' (i.e. Iraq style invasion of a hostile sovereign) when compared to other kinds of Army (and then Marine and Allied) heavy mech or 'light' (RDF/MEF) forces. ...I give BFC due credit for being a little skeptical about this flavour of the month concept, which has now been abandoned (together with the hapless fish-nor-fowl Stryker IFV). While it was entirely possible for BFC to stay 'historical' by setting CMSF in the Iraq War (OIF1 / OIF2), it would have made an entirely unsatisfying 'sandbox' for the above (in addition to drawing political flak). Saddam's army c.2003 proved incapable of fielding a mechanised RED force of any size to oppose the Coalition forces. Iraqi RED would have been even more of a pushover than Syrian RED, with BLUE knocking over half-hearted positional defenses (bunkers and berms) that had already been largely trashed by airpower. Or else various flavours of (mainly urban) Uncon hit and run (OIF1 / OIF2) ambushes at platoon scale. None of which exactly showcases modern mech forces.... So all the Why We Fight dirty bombs backstory is really kind of an afterthought. As is the civilian stuff. I take the OP's point about ROE stopping BLUE from leveling whole towns with HE. But the 'human shield' factor is much overstated except when we're talking small Uncon hit-and-run stuff, and even that becomes irrelevant after the first shot as all civilians go to ground (as do the soldiers). Maybe not even the first shot; civilians are rather good at detecting when armed strangers are in their neighborhood and making themselves scarce. In fact, that's generally the first sign BLUE troops have that something is about to go down. In the game, this is all pretty well abstracted in the existing Population Density factor which makes 'unconspicuous' Uncons harder to spot until they shoot.
  11. Eine kleine TG in den haus! 'Marching Music for Psychic Youth', one of the original industrial tracks, very much an acquired taste. (And don't let the imagery mislead you, I am *not* encouraging anyone to dump skinhead romper stomper sewage here. Genesis P. Orridge had a long career making very edgy cultural statements, but s/he loathed politics. And nzi punks can still eff off as far as I'm concerned.). Or put another way.... That said, head nod to Danny Elfman (who has since recanted whatever his wrongthink was back when) And while I'm in the WLIR 1982 playlist: This is America! / How's your favourite son? / Do you care just what he's done?
  12. More classic punk ...They say theygot control'ayou / anthatsalie yaknow She doesn't thinkso but she's dressed forthe H-bomb (for the H-bomb)
  13. Wow, great stuff! (work has put my own projects back in CM hypersleep again for the time being. Ain't it awful?). One question: how endemic are tulip trees in northern Europe? (I know they're pretty common in northeast North America - a very ancient and resilient genus that dates to the Jurassic btw though not well suited for timber). I think this has been discussed before, and is well beyond anyone's ability to mod up, but I'd expect large expanses of primeval mature oaks and such to be a bit of a rarity in timber hungry populated (embattled) Europe. Large stands of conifers (not great for firewood), absolutely. Isolated big trees by riverbanks, in parks or manor estates, sure. But deciduous woods that haven't been logged in the last century? not so much. Tactically, This Matters since stands of smaller trees (regrowth) competing for sunlight offers a lot less ground level LOS through in season than what's in the game.
  14. Of course, and as a bright young Javanese, whether of the elite or of more humble origins or even Chinese (who'd been in entrepots like Semarang and Cirebon since the 1400s), I'd want the supercilious Dutchmen gone as well. But the bit the anticolonial Americans missed (never having better motives for all the trouble they caused), was that 'the universal right of national self determination' is all very nice, but who is getting to define 'nation'? In most cases, all you are doing is handing the stick from one set of Exploiters/Oppressors to a different set. In this case, from the Dutch Empire to the Javanese Empire. Javanese were and are deeply disliked, even by other Indonesian Muslims (and they don't get along with each other especially well either, lol). And also, effective revolutionaries tend to make awful civil leaders. They know a lot more about disrupting and destroying than saving and investing; the best that can be hoped for is that they take some bribes and step out of the way. But anyway, we are now well into Politix here, so I will probably comment no more on nonmilitary topics.
  15. Well, letting the enemy fight his way into your defensive belt and then counterpunching his breakthrough force with reserves, is not passive. But I must say, I don't know of a WWII army that positioned 'linebacker' divisions (or brigades) in this way, unless you count the small US TD formations. Once the Alllies had gone over to the offensive, I suppose they didn't see the need for it. (Postwar, the '2 up 1 back' US brigade formation was presumably a 'linebacker' approach) The Russian defense at Kursk, as I understand it, was more 'sliding' new divisions into prepared provisions in front of the German advance ('The next 3 days will be terrible. We must see they break their necks!') than counterpunching, with the exception of the Prokhorovka debacle. But I'm sure there's a Kursk expert who can validate that.
  16. Well, without making too many excuses for the purely extractive VOC colonial plantation project of 3 centuries, beginning in the 1910s the Dutch did begin, belatedly (and following the British example), to make very serious investments in local infrastructure and education. 1. As I understand it, having had the good fortune not to lose a generation of youth in the Great War, the Netherlands recruited, trained and sent out a fresh cadre of talented administrators and engineers. These rapidly displaced the post-VOC old guard, and delivered very remarkable development in the 1920s-1930s. They also opened the colonies to (regulated) foreign investment, attracting significant capital from Britain, America... and Japan. ....On the infra side, Bandung's Art Deco district (and the military cantonment now housing the infamous Siliwangi Division) is still quite wonderful, along with similar though smaller developments in Surabaja and Semarang. I've visited a 1937 hydro plant in southwest Java that is still running beautifully today. The railway system (there's a wonderful museum in Semarang) is still a tremendous asset, although nothing much has been done with it since 1945.... 2. Naturally, the elite Indonesians the Dutch trained up to share the administration (and the wealth) in their own homelands were heavily nationalist-socialist in outlook, in the intellectual fashion of the era. They wanted the Dutch out, more or less instantly. The Dutch police authorities, like the British and French, were ill equipped to deal with bright student 'subversives' from the favoured classes, so their scattershot crackdowns merely generated resentment without quashing the movement. And as you note, the imperial model had started to come under criticism back home, as early as the 1890s. There was also the ambiguous position of the large (non Muslim) Chinese commercial class. They were overwhelmingly in favor of Sun Yat Sen (who, let's face it, was pretty much a commie, though totally ineffective as anything more than a figurehead) and hence left leaning, at least the nonpropertied ones. Nonetheless, the bigotry and resentments of the Indonesian bumis made it hard to make common cause. 3. The 1942 Japanese invasion wiped out the Dutch administrative cadre, along with about half a million locals, including Chinese, Muslim datus and slave workers. After realizing the Japanese were not in fact their liberators, but slavemasters, the nationalist cadres went underground where they learned the basics of guerrilla warfare and organization. 4. In 1945, things got violent pretty fast upon proclamation of Merdeka. In a number of places, most notoriously Surabaja, Dutch families who had survived the Jap camps were massacred by locals. This didn't incline the arriving Dutch forces to negotiate. Since the revolutionaries were no Viet Minh, being riven by intrigue and personality clashes in the ancient Javanese palace backstabbing tradition, the Dutch and their local allies (basically everyone who wasn't Muslim or Chinese) were able to regain control over the major cities. But their limited local support base (the Japs had killed the conservative Muslim leaders) led to an extended stalemate, until they finally gave up and exited.
  17. Ha ha, you would like my Oostindischer friends, Aragorn. Their parents returned to postwar Holland with stories of beheadings, eating rats etc. and their families were all like, 'that's nothing, we had to go without cheese for a whole winter in '44-45!' So many of them simply re-expatriated, where being the scion of British colonial administrators myself, made friends with their kids. We are 19th century people. Funny thing is, we also have a lot of Asian friends (you know, the downtrodden victims of all this) who think in much the same way. They would far sooner have skipped the entire Communist thing and negotiated peaceful independence with the Europeans, who were on their way out anyway (plantation agriculture having long passed its peak as a money machine). Then the Pacific century would have begun at least 50 years sooner. (sorry, wandering well OT here)
  18. Turk Westerling? Celebes was a mess; the Japanese murdered all the Muslim datus they could find for not being servile enough to them, and that made it very hard for the Dutch to find local conservative leaders to offset the revolutionaries postwar, unlike the British alliance with the the Malay sultans against the (mainly Chinese) CPM. I have a lot of Oostindischer-descended friends and have spent a fair amount of time working in the archipelago. Other than Java and Sumatra, coastals and flatlanders are Muslim, but the upland tribes (headhunters) are Christian (ex-animists, missionaries got to them). Christians largely sided with the Dutch, predicting (accurately) that they'd get screwed after Liberation, pancasila notwithstanding. They kept fighting long after independence, largely unnoticed in the West except when a CIA pilot, Anthony Pope, was shot down parachuting guns to them in 1958. In Sulawesi I saw one army memorials to 'heroes' e.g. 120 soldiers wiped out in an ambush on some remote mountain road. Tough people and a tough country to maneuver in, even on foot. Armed resistance only petered out in the 1970s in some spots and even today there's no love lost, especially since the government resettled Javanese Muslims in Christian areas. A lot of the Indonesian islands would shrug off the 'Javanese empire' if they could. A colourful part of the world.
  19. In "Soldaat van Oranje", one of the 4 old schoolfriends volunteers for the Dutch SS and goes East. I shan't spoil it further for those who haven't seen it, good film.
  20. @JasonChas written at length, in this forum and on BGG, on the Panzer Brigades, and what he views as the German cult of the panzer attack. As oldsters here know well, Jason is a genius macro-thinker, but he also tends to contemptuously wave away counterexamples (micro) that don't fit his Macro thesis. Nonetheless, there is a great deal worth pondering. For those interested, here are some snips: 1. The Germans placed great emphasis on using armor offensively and on concentrating it, and they were the first to understand the need to support it with all arms - motorized to keep up and organic to the PD to ensure effective command and cooperation etc. However, very few men on the German side fully understood the technical details of how and why they had been so successful in the early war period, from 1939 to 1941.... Early in the war achieving an initial break-in was a more important thing to achieve, because the defenders against it mostly didn't know what to do about it. But the Germans did not ascribe those earlier successes to the Allies being dumb at the time. They ascribed them to their own doctrines and what they thought of as the power of the offensive. 2. As a result, they had an extremely offensive minded doctrine about the use of armor. Armor attacked, that was its essence. Letting the enemy attack first and then counterpunching was needlessly forfeiting initiative to enemies whose armies were still viewed (in some respects, rightly) as unadaptive and rigid, and therefore brittle. They believed mass employment in multiple-corps level attacks was the only possible way to employ serious armor. So whenever they accumulated any to speak of, they attempted another such attack. Later in the war the offensive emphasis became a terrible liability. The German armor doctrine had worked in 1940 and in 1942, and they didn't adapt well to it no longer working. They were forever throwing away their magnificent armor on useless counterattacks because they did not have a defensive armor doctrine. By the time a PD was allowed to defend tactically speaking, it often had half or less of its tanks remaining. The higher ups snapped up any armor at all fresh and not immediately in the line, for counterattack schemes. The right place for them would have been just off the line in local reserve, ready for action in any direction, linebacker style. But putting a PD in reserve off the line was an engraved invitation to have it transfered out of your command to somebody else. It was a big ad saying "not needed to hold the front, immediately". It was a general disease - have armor -> attack -> lose armor -> defend. The Germans should have husbanded their uber armor and used it as linebackers, smashing the most forward Allied probes. But defending with armor was simply a heresy. Armor attacked. That was its reason to exist. 3. The 1944 Panzer brigades were the latest and worst example of the armor offensive disease. Worst, because at least a rebuilt PD retained experienced cadres and had all arms in the right proportions. Panzer commanders recommended using new tanks to refit existing Panzer divisions, to get their cadres, experienced staffs, and all make use of their remaining all arms support. But OKW overruled that,and made new KG sized formations instead, out of green men. Hitler wanted more armor formations on the map, psychologically, perhaps. But more likely, they wanted to control the commitment of the new armor, and in particular to ensure it got offensive missions. The Panzer brigades had cadres, certainly, but they performed absymally, and a large part of that has to be put down to green formations. The men hadn't worked together, and a lot of the rank and file were raw. They also tended to get committed piecemeal, and as I have stressed here, on overly offensive missions. Until wrecked - remnants were allowed to defend but not the full strength formations. In the September 1944 Arracourt battles in Lorraine, Hitler thought he was pulling a repetition of Manstein's famous "backhand blow" in the Kharkov counterattack, early 1943. OKW thought the Americans were as logistically overextended after grabbing France. Which was largely true, in the gasoline area at any rate. But the US army wasn't a horsedrawn affair. Panthers charged every morning in fog, to avoid Allied air power. The result was a series of knife fights at 200m, which the US won hands down. They were more often in their own defensive zone, better visibility, TDs heard the Panthers coming, Shermans flanked them, etc. They still managed to get initial break-ins easily enough, even against later Allied defenses. The problems they encountered typically had to do with breakdown of combined arms when infantry got stripped off the tanks by artillery, or getting lost in a deep defended zone and hunted by reserves while buttoned, or having roads cut, mined, bridges blown, etc. Thrust forward with a whole battalion of Panthers at once, down 2-3 roads a company on each, and what happens? Do you get through the front line battalion? Sure. So what? Now you are in bazooka land. You can't drive through an enemy army without showing side plate. Every hedge and wood needs to be scoured by Panzergrenadiers, but they are being blasted by American 105s and 155s. The Allies could "countermass" with artillery fire on the narrow breakthrough areas. Allied fire support and fire responsiveness increased drastically from early war to late. The German infantry could not 'shoulder' through the holes to widen them. Once the tanks were stripped, they were hunted rather than hunters. 4. Did the German command learn from this fiasco? No. The commander of a storied PD who fought his whole army out of the trap of the south of France took control of the remnants of a shattered Panzer brigade, a fresher one that hadn't done well the last few days, cadre from another PD, and his own PD with a reduced number of runners. For days he battered away at a US combat command, trading Panthers for Shermans and not getting even 1 to 1. He was clever about arty and night infantry attacks helping out, to keep it up as long as he had. But he was down to 30 runners, having used up essentially all the armor in the whole theater. So he called off his attacks - and was promptly reprimanded for showing insufficient offensive spirit! Not by some political brown nose at OKW, but by a picked old Prussian Rundstedt protege. With the armor the Germans sent to Lorraine, fully re-equipping the crack 11th Panzer division, the 21st PD, giving 17th SS one panzer battalion, likewise for 3rd and 15th Panzer grenadier, plus TDs or StuGs for all of the above as well, and all of them employed defensively, the PDs as monster backs and the Pz Gdrs as sinew behind river lines and between the woods and cities held by the infantry - you could have fought 3rd army to a standstill, while keeping that massive force intact. Instead they attacked and attacked throughout September until there was nothing left. **** More from Jason on 'Panzerleute disease', for those interested: The question they should have been asking was: where and when am I going to destroy his armor? Because then, it is obvious enough a kill sack or Pakfront in your own zone is a more promising location for it, than off in his. If instead you are trying to win the whole campaign 1940 style without having to face his armor, you try to hit where it isn't. Expecting to paralyze, pocket and kill whole armies again, as in the glory days. Well, that didn't happen and it wasn't going to happen. Offensive spirit did not produce those successes. Enemy weaknesses and mistakes did. The Allies weren't that dumb anymore. You couldn't beat them without fighting them, you had to kill them by fighting them. In particular their armor. And that requires a different way of thinking about what armor can do for you, to consider it the "heavy wood" in a frankly attritionist battle of material, rather than thinking of it as exploiting cavalry that was going to make the enemy 'evaporate' by driving around him and shooting up his supply lines. German defensive armor 'doctrine', such as it was, was the net outcome of a lot of (often superb) tactical skills applied, improvising with whatever remained on hand after the counterattacks bled out. That was all twice as hard and half as effective as it might have been, since the German armor was already decimated at lower exchange ratios than it could have achieved.
  21. "Oo d'you 'fink you are, the Lone Rainger?" (...flash little twerp!) The Buggles! OK, this is late 80s, but the bass bops along ...and I never saw it coming / only saw it fade away
  22. For your further listening pleasure, JD in their classic punk and pop phase: "You think they give a damn about their bills in Russia?" (The life of a CM modder's always intense!) And B52s is always great video arcade brain chewing gum.... ...And while we're diving down the New Wave teen synthpop rabbit hole (this was my younger sisters' playlist not mine at the time, but it grew on me...)
  23. Jungle/dense forest fighting works as well as any other CM infantry fight, guys. It has its own unique and interesting tactical challenges. It's really no more (or less) of a micro hassle than fighting urban scenarios -- easier in a way since you don't have multiple building levels to deal with. And the tree toggle is handy. The main problem with the current game engine in modeling this kind of fighting is that it *massively* undermodels concealment (targets are wayyyyy too easy to spot), and even the densest vegetation types are still way too easy to see through. To offset this in my Makin scenario, I made extensive use of gapped low bocage segments which truncate LOS and allow lots of sneak and peek. It's also important to use Green troops on the US side, to reflect the exhaustion that rapidly sets in, requiring commitment of fresh forces.
  24. There are probably many ways to design for this effect, but yes: a capable sniper ought to be a major pain in the arse to spot and winkle out, capable of forcing an entire platoon to ground and holding up an advance, as happened/happens a LOT in RL, especially in urban warfare or bocage/woodland warfare. Not simply spotted and plugged after his first couple of shots, as is common in game.
×
×
  • Create New...