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Posts posted by JasonC

  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. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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".  

  5. 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.  

  6. 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.

  7. Re reloading pans, see -


    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.



  8. 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.

  9. 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.  

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. Kevinkin - you ask what I was disagreeing with.  In relevant part, you wrote 

    "the overall concept of maneuver warfare vs attrition warfare in winning campaigns and wars, not battles... there was no way in WWI to follow up successful maneuver tactics strategically and in the end attrition warfare always settled back in without a decisive result."

    I claim the sentence after the ... is just as true of WW2, and that maneuver warfare was only important in winning battles, and not wars.  (At least in that era - 6 days war might plausibly be argued either way).  I agree that in WWI, maneuver only mattered tactically, and at the strategic level attrition was always the decisive issue.  I claim that in WW2, maneuver occasionally mattered operationally, a step above tactically, if you like, but never strategically, and attrition remained the decisive issue at the strategic level throughout WW2.  

    Going beyond my disagreement with your statement to further positive claims of my own, I claim there is more essential similarity between the two wars than most suppose. I claim WW1 generals were not too stupid to practice maneuver, and WW2 generals were not more clever because they did practice it.  Both practiced it, both expected too much from it, and in neither case did it deliver what they expected of it.  It did provide some tactical force multipliers in both wars.  It could be done well or badly, likewise in both.  The best performances applying it did get more out of it in WW2 than in WW1, but made up for it by betting the farm on successes from it that it simply could not deliver.  I claim such mistakes lost the war.  I claim the only sound grand strategy for any of the sides in WW2 was an attrition strategy, and to the extent any of them thought they were in any other kind of war, they were wrong, and that it hurt them mortally to be wrong about so critical an issue.

    Clear enough where I am coming from?


  14. kevinkin - sorry for the lateness of the reply.  The problem I have with your comment is that WW2 was also very clearly decided by attrition  processes.  Maneuver theory never offered more than some force multipliers in either war, tactical in the first if you like (though they did reach operational scale importance in the east and early on), but never strategic or war winning even in the second  war.  Attrition as the overall strategic wrapper in great power war is not something maneuverism has repealed or overthrown, despite the claims of its advocates. In fact, it has lured its practitioners into forms of military "gambling" in  which they attempted more than they could accomplish, failed to achieve the decisions they loudly proclaim they were aiming at, and at best just managed to inflict a better loss ratio against the enemy, which was only ever of attrition-logic importance.

  15. Amizaur - Assuming everything you derived from the diagram is correct (which I believe), that puts the feasible penetration range of the 75L48 hitting the turret front at just under 1000 meters, or as low and 750 meters if production instances were routinely as thick as 115mm rather than the design spec 110mm.  In that range, in any event.  That is using the usual 50% penetration standard, so in CM terms at those range a substantial portion of hits would be partial penetrations only.

    Which still seems long compared to the tactical evidence, which reports 88L56 and 75L70 penetrations to that distance and a bit more, but (so far) for 75L48 only short range and side penetrations.  I note that with 30 degrees of additional side angle to the plate, you'd expect the same round to only penetrate at 100 meters, which may account for much of the discrepancy.  Meaning, in combat it may have simply proved harder to get true flat hits on any of the plates than reading off a diagram and imagining a shot from straight ahead would tend to suggest.

    Panzer IVs should not be routinely defeating IS-2s in heads up duels at 1200 to 1500 meters, in any event.

  16. They had them, issued them, used them, and staff studied and reported on their effectiveness, as early as the first winter of the war.  There is a chapter in one of Glantz's books based on Soviet staff studies on that period on the effectiveness of smoke.

    What they actually found, though, was that smoke was most effective when used on a large scale in space and especially in time, and in favorable weather conditions.  They note its usefulness in forcing river crossings in particular.  They report plenty of tactical failures when it wasn't used in sufficient mass and duration, or in unfavorable conditions of wind and weather. Large scale meant dedicated smoke generators and the like, not just a short smoke fire mission by regular artillery.

    The tactical smoke grenade itself is reported as effective and its primary purpose is against enemy ranged fire.  In other words, not used on the enemy to blind him, but directly in front of a pinned infantry unit to get enemy long ranged fire off of them and allow then to get back to safety or cover.  It isn't explained at length why this is particular to long ranged enemy fire, but it is obvious enough.  At short engagement ranges against a numerous enemy, fire comes from too wide an arc for it to be effective.  But when it is a matter of a single enemy MG 800 yards away, one smoke grenade will break their LOS and let the pinned down men move.

    Here is a google books link to the Glantz item -

    https://books.google.com/books?id=SVHYAQAAQBAJ&pg=PA192&lpg=PA192&dq=soviet+infantry+smoke&source=bl&ots=u4U_m4e9Na&sig=sFaLXW-sgPDy0qaEXiuEJ-7nEIQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj-ucHpmL7LAhVU-WMKHYVmBDgQ6AEISjAM#v=onepage&q=soviet infantry smoke&f=false


  17. Hank24 - the 15th Pz Gdr was a motorized formation that had a single armored recon battalion plus a single panzer battalion, alongside 2 regiments each of 3 battalions of motorized infantry, plus the usual artillery regiment and a battalion each of pioneers and antitank.  The panzer battalion was equipped with StuGs because there were shortages of turreted tanks by that stage of the war, and even some of the panzer divisions had to use them in place of turreted tanks.  Unlike a full panzer division, there was no halftrack mounted battalion in its panzergrenadiers, so the recce battalion was the only light armor component of the division.  They could readily have "tasked" the StuGs from the panzer battalion with the light armor from the recce battalion to create an armored kampfgruppe, but the StuGs were under the command of a panzer battalion commander in that case.  That would leave the rest of the formation as basically motorized infantry with artillery and towed anti tank guns, suitable for more defensive missions.  With that division organization, it is a "natural" enough tasking, whether to punch with or to use as a "fire brigade" conducting local counterattacks to support the motorized infantry positions.

  18. Bozonwans - be advised, the AI will "walk right into" an annihilating barrage, but human players just won't.  If you don't surprise them, and pin them down with the first flight of shells, they will be elsewhere 2 minutes later.  Stationary barrages don't hurt human players, unless they are very large in footprint (e.g. barrages by lots of small rocket modules can't really be avoided, because their impact zone is half the map).

  19. hank24 - No, recon battalions never had organic StuGs.

    Mobile division recon battalions, the kind that did ride in halftracks like the original poster described, were light armor formations with armored cars, gun armed halftracks, the MG armed halftracks carrying the recon infantry, and support halftracks with short barreled 75mm infantry guns (SPW-251/9) and 81mm mortars as their "artillery" component for fire support.  Almost all of the armored cars had 20mm main armament.  The gun armed halftracks generally included some with 37mm PAK armament, on a one per platoon basis.  Very rarely, the armored car companies might include a small number of 50L60 (Puma) or long 75mm gun armed halftracks, late in the war only.

    Those formations had a ton of light armored vehicles and tons of MGs, making them very effective against enemy *infantry* forces, and mobile even in artillery barrage areas, where leg infantry would get pinned down.  Those were the characteristics that gave them an operational reconnaissance ability.

    But German mobile divisions didn't just fight their individual battalions alone.  There was generally another SPW mounted battalion in the panzergrenadiers; there was always a panzer regiment with 1 or 2 battalions of full turreted tanks, and there was also a divisional panzerjaeger (antitank) battalion that might have Jagdpanzers late war, or StuGs, or a mix of StuGs, Marders, and towed heavy PAK (75mm L48).  When the divisional commander wanted his recon to have armor support, he would create a kampfgruppe under the recon battalion commander with attached tanks from the panzer regiment or with all or part of the panzerjaeger battalion attached.  Sometimes it would instead operate with the armored panzergrenadier battalion plus an attached tank battalion as the main striking force of the division.

    Operationally, this means you would sometimes see a recon battalion force with StuGs or Marders or Panzer IVs attached to it - or Panthers or Jadgpanzer IVs late war only.  But those weren't organic.  They were assigned to a KG from other battalions, cross attachments.

    Note that the Russians didn't think nearly as highly of light armor as the Germans did, and they relied more on actual turreted tanks to give punch to recon forces.  With infantry riding those tanks, or accompanying them on motorcycles and light trucks.  The standard mechanized corps recon formation was a motorcycle infantry battalion with light tanks attached, and in a similar fashion to German KGs, they would add T-34 companies with tank riders to those when they wanted a heavier reconnaissance force that could punch through lighter enemies, instead of just stopping when enemies were encountered.

  20. kevinkin - the desire to not get killed to death is a remarkably strong motivator.  Motivate, as in cause to move with a purpose and with speed.  No motel 6 required.  No, people aren't going to move slower in combat than in training.  Might they make more mistakes or skip a step?  I suppose, yes.  Or a member of the team might have more urgent things to worry about, like not bleeding to death or something similar.  But other than that, no it isn't going to take 4 times longer to do something that you've been trained to do and have done repeatedly, that your life will depend on doing rapidly right now, just because someone is shooting at you.

  21. JonS - I and others are complaining about things that take comically longer in CM than in real life.  Pushing guns, setting them up, rotating them, setting up crew served weapons, etc. You might try reading the thread.  Or you could stick an index finger in each ear and sing God Save the Queen, I suppose. 

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