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JasonC last won the day on October 16 2019

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About JasonC

  • Birthday 04/01/1966

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  1. We've heard all the changing armor quality stories, but a few less concerting facts. First, Duckman's quote about the cracked mantlet specifically says the 122 ricoceted off. Second and more on the actual theme of the thread, there is precise little evidence that US 57mm ATGs were ever very effective against the front of Panthers. There is in fact remarkably little evidence of their being effective vs anything, really. So e flank shots at close ranges, some hits on Panzer IVs, no doubt. But a simply horrible combat record vs serious German armor, in the bulge period specifically. At best, they were sometimes effective when set up to get a close range side shot onto a narrow forest road, where a wreck could block the route and protect them from the rest of the German armor. When they lined up lots of them with wide fields of fire, they were generally outshot pretty catastrophically, with minimal effect themselves. Towed 76mm were pretty ineffective too, but can at least boast some important tactical successes (a couple of King Tigers e.g.) The actual 57mm formations were frequently cannabilized for riflemen, especially in the armored divisions, which didn't have enough infantry and had more useful AT weapons in armored mounts. The really effective AT weapons in the bulge fighting were the armored tank destroyers, M10s, M18s, and M36s. Mines, bazookas, physical obstacles, some 155mm artillery fire in large amounts over wide areas - were more important supplements to those than towed ATGs. Non TD armor in division amounts was also AT effective; lesser doses of just Shermans, much less so.
  2. Erwin - asked and answered - yes, the Germans were just plain wrong. Why is this hard?
  3. Higher magnification is hopeless for handheld use. You need a fixed mount, whether ground or vehicle. 7x is about as high as is practical with anything hand stabilized; even at 10x you get plenty of object movement from "jitter". At 25 or 50 as used on true telescopes or spotting scopes you can't even hold the intended point inside the field of view with your hands. Googling around, I find the standard artillery set usually had 8-10 magnification, even with the quite heavy mount and tripod.
  4. Erwin - one cheap to make gun across the whole force, was the primary motive for the MG42. The high ROF was certainly useful in an aircraft or anti aircraft role, for the reasons already given above. By late war, The Germans didn't consider it sufficient caliber for any anti material purpose including AA, relying on 20mm cannons, 15mm MGs, and late war on 30mm cannons for that. But early midwar, they had lots of MGs in the skies, on fighters and (flex mounted) on bombers, not just ground LMGs in the infantry.
  5. cool wrote in part - " often MGs do area fire and covering twice as big an area seems sometimes helpful". But you aren't covering twice as big an area. You don't get one more bullet by having a higher rate of fire. You don't get one more ounce of barrel metal or one more inch of barrel surface area to cool things off. You don't get to fire any more, therefore, not over any length of time. You don't even get to fire the same ammo faster in any sustained fire sense. You just get to fire the ammo you can and do fire, in narrower windows of time within the overall firing time you have. As I said, that only helps you if you can get those narrower windows to coincide exactly with periods of higher enemy exposure, and only if the other intervals of time when you aren't firing with the high ROF gun, but would have been firing with a low ROF gun, have significantly lower target exposure. Ammo being limited is not a function of era and whether you have enough trucks. The ammo limitation that matters is right up at the firing position, and the last half mile to that firing position is man packed. Nothing else lives in infantry forward areas where MGs are firing at each other, certainly not unarmored trucks packed full of ammo. They can't go there; they don't go there. The ammo an MG in action has is set by the ammo men can carry to the firing position in their hands and on their backs. Including ongoing trips by ammo carrying parties to be sure, but always strictly limited. Every MG ever made can fire off the ammo that can be hauled to it in those tactically relevant circumstances much faster than it can be hauled up to the gun. You can cite games with indirect fire from covered positions out of action, but they don't have exposed targets and will never even "rate" in the accuracy per round sweepstakes. Take actual practical values from WW2 - which aren't appreciably different these days, incidentally. A squad level MG is lucky to have 1500 rounds, counting the stuff carried by the riflemen of the whole squad. An HMG team with a dedicated ammo operation and a fixed position into which ammo has been "dumped" ahead of time without regard for the ability of the team to ever move it out again in "tactical time", might have 5000 rounds. Even at low sustained rates of fire, those amounts last less than half an hour, perhaps less than 10 minutes for the LMG role. At cyclic rates they are gone in 1-3 minutes for the LMG, and 3-10 minutes for the HMG amounts. Infantry battles lasted *hours*, often half a day. Nobody is firing continually, even with occasional resupply (in amounts around that LMG scale, not that HMG scale). Say they want to cover a wider beaten zone with area fire. The low ROF MG will have its trigger depressed for 2-3 times as long in those long periods of combat, as the high ROF gun. But both have the same ammo, both have the same heat deposited by their ammo fired that they need to dissipate. When is the high ROF gun better? Only if the times its trigger is depressed the enemy is exposed, and the times its trigger isn't depressed but the low ROF MG would be firing, the enemy isn't exposed. That's it. On the other side, the extra bullets that miss the point target or overkill by hitting it twice, are "lost" by the high ROF MG, and "saved" by the low ROF MG. That's the trade off. The only way the high ROF is better is if the former brief exposure factor outweighs the extra overkill factor. There is no assurance it does. It certainly isn't going to convey anything like 50-100% higher overall effectiveness, just from having a higher ROF. More like "break even overall if you are lucky, occasionally better and occasionally worse, depending".
  6. cool - no, you can't fire over twice the beaten area to make full use of a higher rate of fire. The shots are coming very fast. It is the inherent dispersion the shots cause by moving the gun barrel around with their own recoil impulse that determines the angle the burst covers. That and the range determine the width of the spray pattern at the other end, not the operator. The effect of a denser pattern is just to make the spray a fuller probability of a hit on anything inside that dispersion cone, through a narrow range window, and at quite a distance. Even that density only matters for a briefly exposed target, because the same density is available for the lower ROF gun by just extending the length of the burst in time, if the target is still visible. Higher ROF does not fire any more bullets overall, because the total rounds fired is set by gun resupply, not ROF. Also, none of them can fire at cyclic for very long, and for all the air cooled guns, sustained rate of rounds fired is set by heat issues, not cyclic rate. Only water cooled and lower ROF MGs can actually sustain cyclic ROF over extended periods, and that's only useful if the target is exposed that long, is that large and numerous, etc. For all the air cooled guns, and all the high cyclic rate guns, they only concentrate the bursts *within* the overall firing time. If they try to fire twice as many rounds as another air cooled, they just overheat and force a barrel change sooner. So what you get from high ROF is a better hit chance on very briefly exposed targets, in specific range windows where a slower ROF would leave a pattern with larger than man sized gaps in it. Vs vehicles e.g. AA use, you also get more repeated hits on the same target, which may matter for material damage against something one hit won't put down. In return, you are very clearly lowering, not raising, average accuracy in all other engagement situations, by sending 10 rounds to the same area an ordinary ROF gun would send 5 or 6. In other words, by increasing the number of rounds wasted in near misses (or overkill repeat hits) in all cases in which a lower ROF gun would have hit the target anyway, with the same burst length and point of aim. If you look at post WW2 experience, people have not all gone to 1200 rpm let alone tried to increase ROFs further. The only application in which an even higher ROF has been sought and used is for guns designed to be fired air to ground, from fast moving planes and at extended ranges, where a much higher ROF is useful to create a dense enough pattern. And there it just replaces the WW2 aircraft armament approach of mounting several guns in parallel and firing them together. It does save weight in that role, but that's the engineering gain. Modern ground mount MGs use ROFs higher than the WW2 standard only with lighter rounds that may want multiple hits, or for an anti material purpose. The notion that 1200-1500 rpm is more effective than 500-800 is rejected by modern armies. The best ROF for air cooled ground mount MGs meant to hit infantry is in the 600-800 range, not higher. As for the 8 vs 16 shotgun analogy, the purpose people use 16 smaller pellets for, from a shotgun, is much smaller targets than people or deer. If you want no rabbit sized holes in your pattern, sure you want more smaller shot.
  7. Erwin - about 550 rounds per minute, cyclic. Half second 5 round bursts, practically speaking. MG rate of fire is extremely overrated, incidentally. A very high ROF is only helpful vs briefly exposed targets or e.g. anti aircraft use where brief exposure and a need for many hits to do material damage is important. Vs infantry in their skivies, 2 hits aren't any better than 1, the beaten zone is set by gun manipulation mechanics not ROF, and running out of ammo twice as rapidly isn't nearly as good an idea as wargamers seem to think. The allies had MGs with twice the ROF of their typical ground mounts for aircraft use, but deliberately didn't use them in infantry roles. It wasn't some technology ability, it is a design choice. The impression the ROF equates to firepower largely stems from a mental idea that each bullet has the same chance of inflicting harm, and this isn't even remotely true. It's a bit like expecting a shotgun shell with 16 pellets to be twice as destructive as one with 8. Nope, same pattern size per blast, only a marginally higher hit chance on the worst shots, you are in the pattern and get hit or you aren't and you don't, etc.
  8. breeze - If I have a motor vehicle to carry gun and ammo, I'd take a belt fed M1919 over a Lewis or a Bren, any day.
  9. Re reloading pans, see - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l73mR4D9pYw Jump to 8:19, and watch for 40 seconds. No, he doesn't load 47 rounds in 40 seconds. Try 5. Reloading 1 47 round pan mag from loose rounds is a 5 minute operation at the shortest, and some modern people report 10 minutes is more realistic. The 47 rounds load in two layers and the winding spring gets progressively harder to turn as load. This is incredibly clumsy compared to putting rounds into a box magazine, like we all do today.. "But, but, you'd never reload a magazine in combat!" Even if you just fired your last rounds from your last loaded magazine? Do you throw rocks at them instead? In WW 1, a Lewis crew was 8 men - yes, 8 men. They carried 26 47 round pans between them, in addition to the gun. A battalion typically have 200 pans, and didn't have a large reserve - the pans were mostly out with the guns. Notice, they never even tried to treat the Lewis as a squad level magazine gun. It was a heavy weapons platoon kind of item, with "squads" of a sort for each one just to haul its ammo around. Bren gun mags were packed 12 to a box, often loaded only 28 to a mag for spring tension reasons, which means 336 rounds to a box. Such a box weighed 30 lbs. Each Bren in the field was usually assigned at least 25 magazines, including typical 2-4 per rifleman in the squad, outside of the Bren team proper. Each rifleman was also carrying 90 rounds for his rifle, which could be fed into the Bren mags if desired. That really wasn't practical with the Lewis, for the reason shown in the video above. The Lewis required a large team and had a fixed ammo load and very long times and a separate ammo operation to keep the gun fed, beyond its first surge use of its panned-up ammo. The Bren was readily handled by squads, used by just a few men, resupplied from boxes carrying 12 mags, mags were readily reloaded by any rifleman in the squad, rapidly, from loose rifle ammo or ammo lose out of boxes. Pretending it is more important to have 47 rounds between pan changes instead of 28 rounds between mag changes, than all those advantages, is myopic. It is overly fixated on one mechanical point in the whole chain of keeping the gun supplied.
  10. First, the varied causes of loss point is perfectly sound. But the notion that the data imply that StuGs were the best isn't actually supported by that data. Notice that it is British loss reporting that is behind that conclusion, as to the division of gun losses between ATGs, SP guns, and turreted tanks. Notice that the SP guns accounting for 25% of losses doesn't mean just StuGs, but also Marders, Jagdpanzer IVs, Hetzers, Nashorns, Jagdpanthers etc. A whole zoo, in other words. Yes the StuG was the most common item in that zoo, but it wasn't by any means all of it. Along with the ATG portion, what this is really saying is that combat stance has a large effect on losses. The attacker loses more tanks than the defender does, and loses them to diverse causes of loss. Because tanks attack where they think the enemy is weaker, and that will be the place the defender's AT assets are scarcer on the ground, not right on the nose of a large concentration of heavy armor. The AT weapons that are present in those locations will be the ones allocated to defensive combat roles - the Panzerjaeger's towed guns and SP guns. Meanwhile, why aren't the turreted Panzers killing more tanks? Because the same thing is happening to them in reverse, but even more so for the Germans because they committed their turret tanks to action in quite unfavorable operational circumstances, throughout the ETO. German armor doctrine was crazily offensive minded - they thought attack was the whole point of armor. They launched repeated armor led counterattacks in unfavorable odds circumstances - Gela, Salerno, Anzio, Epsom, Lehr vs US in the Cotentin, Mortain, the Panzer brigades in the Lorraine, the Ardennes, Alsace. When they had lots of armor they always used it in grandious counterattacks into numerically superior allied defenses, and against allied forces vastly superior in the other arms (HE firepower arms especially, but tactically also in infantry odds). Naturally, they lost lots of tanks doing this, without a lot of allied tanks being at their chosen points of attack to get killed by them. The other interesting item about the accounting is that the Germans probably lost at least as many AFVs vs the western allies as he reports. This is a process of elimination, with about 50,000 German AFVs produced and 40,000 lost on the eastern front. The trade ratio was around unity, in other words. They weren't trading just for each other - the allies are losing 20% to mines and 13% to non-battle and 7% to infantry AT etc. The Germans likewise report "destroyed by crew" as a leading cause of loss, though some of that reflect prior gun inflicted damage and inability to move a tank in a repair shop when the front line shifted. The author's belief that the Panzer IV likely accounted for most of the turreted tank KOs is probably not correct. It was only about a third of the AFV fleet in the late war period. It might have matched the other turreted tanks, but not appreciably more than them - the other big group was of course the SP guns. Panzer IVs thus probably only accounted for about 7% of western tank losses, and it could run as low as 5%. Compare that to the StuGs as the largest component of the SP guns and the disparity caused by stance becomes quite clear.
  11. The Bren is a vastly better gun than the Lewis. The BAR is admittedly much worse than the Bren as a GP LMG, but it is also 9 lbs lighter, 2/3rds the weight of the Lewis. The Lewis is 5 lbs heavier than the Bren. And pretty much worse in every respect. The higher ammo capacity from 47 round pans vs 30 round box is not a great advantage, because the circular pans are much, much slower to reload (not putting a new pan onto the gun - putting the rounds into a pan), and are very awkward to carry especially in numbers. The 47 round pans are reliable feeding, but those disadvantages are crippling in comparison to the simple 30 round box mag of the Bren. Larger pans weren't reliable feeders and are even less practical to move about and refill. The Bren was extremely accurate, 5 lbs lighter, more ammo could be carried by a team in box and loose, with loose actual useful in action given the ease of reloading the box mags, and had all the barrel change virtues of the Lewis as a GP LMG. It was way better than the BAR. In the BAR vs Lewis comparison, something could be said for the Lewis, but at only a few lbs lighter than an M1919 it just didn't have a role in the US weapon mix. If you are going to carry a nearly 30 lb MG into action to use as a GP MG, belt feed out of a 1919 is way better than pan fed out of a Lewis (the 1919 receiver is only 3 lbs heavier than a Lewis gun; 4 lbs with a buttstock in the A6 version). The BAR was a single man weapon in contrast, at 19 vs 28 lbs.
  12. On the bunker, indirect artillerynis actually what it defends against the best, with small arms fire a close second. It has two vulnerabilities - close approach by infantry outside its covered arc (not from its front, in other words), and direct fire by AT weapons from its frontal arc, going through the firing slit. That means guns, tanks, ATRs. For an MG only bunker, a tank just trumps it for that reason, because the MG won't hurt a buttoned tank, and even a lighter tank's main gun will eventually put rounds through that firing slit and knock out the bunker. If you don't have a tank, a towed gun with a good gun shield (small antitank gun for example) can do it. With the Russians, a few ATRs all banging away will likely suppress it, though if you are too close the reply MG fire is more dangerous to you guys than the reverse. The bunker is easier to see at range, so 3 ATRs at 200-250 yards and in cover can pin down the guys inside, and they likely won't see your shooters to fire back. If you have no tank or long enough lines of sight for that, you have to flank it. Smoke can blind it will you get through its firing arc, but don't run into its "friends" supporting it in the process. By that I mean you need to prepare the way for a smoke supported rush, by defeating infantry around the bunker. Artillery HE can help with that, etc. You never want to "fight fair" or give the enemy's strongest units the match up they are best at, so don't spend lots of off board artillery trying to shell the bunker itself, or leave lots of infantry in its front arc for it to shoot up, for long periods. If you can arrange any of the clean win methods above, use them. If you can't, avoid the route the bunker covers, entirely, and try somewhere else instead.
  13. First on a source - Hugh Cole's bulge Green Book covers this under the section titled "one threat subsides, another emerges", the first half of which covers the liquidation of Peiper's pocket. On the weather, the 30th division narrative is clear that on the 22nd the day was very cold, falling snow and heavy overcast, so there was snow on the ground and it would still be present on the 23rd. 117th Infantry on the 22nd is described as trying to reduced a German force on the nose of a ridge that held them off with mortars, werfers and small arms, until a fourth company from Stavelot got behind them. They spent the rest of the 22nd mopping that up. On the 23rd, they fought for La Gleize, where what was left of Peipers armor was concentrated. Much of the day was spent reorganizing infantry in the wooded terrain. Attempts with armor met mines, ATGs, and dug in tanks and generally failed. US artillery was however incessantly pounding the Germans in the town, which drove the men into cellars - plenty if wounded (up to 300) and US POWs (200) were also in the town by then. The US did not get in, but the pressure was enough that Peiper sought and was given permission to evac his men that night. They left 28 tanks and 70 halftracks behind, along with their wounded and the US prisoners.
  14. herr_oberst is correct, the US artillery definitely practiced TOT missions at this stage of WW II - and used them with considerable effect in front of the Elsenborn ridge position, among other places.
  15. kevinkin - as long as you agree that maneuver never won anything - before the 6 days war at least - while attrition was always the decisive question, we have complete agreement. If you disagree and think that maneuver is a better way to win campaigns and wars and that attrition is only an unintelligent fall-back that arises when people aren't smart enough to win through maneuver, then we have complete disagreement. What you previously said is entirely irrelevant to the question; it turns only what you try to maintain is true, now. If the answer is "nothing", you are free to say so.
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