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BrotherSurplice

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  1. Upvote
    BrotherSurplice reacted to LongLeftFlank in Panzer Brigade   
    @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.
  2. Like
    BrotherSurplice reacted to Rinaldi in Panzer Brigade   
    Hard to argue with the analysis, in this case. The German's propensity to launch local counterattacks quite literally won us battles, or won us larger successes in what would otherwise have been a rebuff. Indeed, we began to plan around the certainty of a counteroffensive: 2nd Alamein, Epsom, Totalize, Tractable are all good examples.
    Totalize would have been a success regardless, in my view, of the disappointing 2nd phase but the Germans just had to lay on the alter for us their last heavy armour reserve in a wild counterattack against strong positions, enhancing the scale of the victory and denuding themselves of any type of effective reserve in follow-on set pieces. 
    In fact, off the top of my head, the only time the Germans didn't predictably dash themselves to pieces in a counteroffensive was during Crusader, and that's largely because they were so taken by the deception they refused to believe armour was en masse in their rear, we got impatient, and abandoned excellent BPs. We make such a pfaff about how flexible and dynamic the Wehrmacht was in Europe operationally, but in all reality they were predictable, and a predictable foe is invariably inflexible. 
  3. Upvote
    BrotherSurplice reacted to Combatintman in CM Cold War - Beta AAR - NO The_Capt or Bil   
    And how both of them think they will kick the other's a$$.  This is a pretty good AAR in my view, just a shame that Bil's and the Capt's threads are getting derailed by protracted and sometimes arcane discussions about weapon performance.
  4. Upvote
    BrotherSurplice reacted to gardar15 in CM Cold War - Beta AAR - Soviet Thread - Glorious Soviet Victory at Small German Town 1980   
    How a real life cold war gone hot scenario would have happened. At least until 89.
  5. Like
    BrotherSurplice got a reaction from Bil Hardenberger in U.S. Thread - CM Cold War - BETA AAR - Battle of Dolbach Heights 1980   
    A delicious AAR, just the thing to whet the appetite for this game!
  6. Upvote
  7. Upvote
    BrotherSurplice reacted to Xorg_Xalargsky in Unofficial Screenshots & Videos Thread   
    I'm not sure what your point is Rinaldi??

    https://gyazo.com/5901baee2b965bbca1b34cc9ceed9ec5

  8. Upvote
    BrotherSurplice reacted to Aragorn2002 in Was the Russian T-34 Really the Best Tank of WW2?   
    Air war is very different from tank war. In both experience and training are vitally important though. Numbers and position are also important. Chosing between a Bf109K, a Tempest, a Fw 190D, a Ta 152, a Spitfire XIV or a Yak-3, is almost impossible, since in an air fight  so much depends on other factors than for example speed and firepower.
    I keep saying that few authors really take the time to do proper research. 
    Or as Sherlock Holmes puts it:
    “Data! Data! Data!” he cried impatiently. “I can't make bricks without clay.” 
  9. Upvote
    BrotherSurplice reacted to chuckdyke in Was the Russian T-34 Really the Best Tank of WW2?   
    Yes, they did. Everybody appreciated the Sherman except Hollywood. 
  10. Upvote
    BrotherSurplice reacted to Vergeltungswaffe in Was the Russian T-34 Really the Best Tank of WW2?   
    I've posted it before, but it's worth another watch.
     
  11. Upvote
    BrotherSurplice reacted to Aragorn2002 in Was the Russian T-34 Really the Best Tank of WW2?   
    The Pz V also burned remarkably easy when hit, except from the front and was more difficult to bail out. The Allies were on the offensive and had to leave cover and face the high quality German guns and optics. But every time the Germans went on the attack in Normandy or the Ardennes they also suffered heavy losses in tanks and crew. 
    I'm not sure whether the Ronson reputation of the Sherman was entirely deserved. Besides if the casualty rate of the Sherman crews was indeed low, than I would much rather be in a burning Sherman, than a burning Panther. Well, you know what I mean. 😀
  12. Upvote
    BrotherSurplice reacted to Aragorn2002 in Was the Russian T-34 Really the Best Tank of WW2?   
    With the best trained crews, let's not forget that. Compare the training of German tank crews and British and American tank crews before Normandy or the Ardennes in driving and shooting hours. That's also part of the success of the Sherman tank. Especially the British marksmenship, both on tank guns and anti-tank guns was exceptionally good. With an endless supply of fuel, ammo and training time they were much better than the largely and relatively undertrained German tank crews. You can compare it with the inequality in training hours between Allied and German fighter pilots in 1944/45. 
    Training is all.
  13. Upvote
    BrotherSurplice reacted to Falaise in Was the Russian T-34 Really the Best Tank of WW2?   
    Thank you, @Aragorn2002, this is a very interesting press article! I had the same intellectual approach as you!
    Even without taking into account the logistics aspect, reliability etc. I am always amazed by the good behavior of a 76 sherman facing the big German cats on CM
    After the war France hesitated to resume the production of the Panther or its clone and it did not do so and besides no nation does it.
    The Stug and other Pz iv continued their career but not the Panther.
    The latest version of the Sherman of Tsahal with 105mm French  have continued to prove their reliability until 73
    In short it is in my opinion him the Sherman the best tank of the second world war
  14. Upvote
    BrotherSurplice reacted to Aragorn2002 in Was the Russian T-34 Really the Best Tank of WW2?   
    I agree that the best tank is not necessarily the best armoured or heaviest gunned tank, but the best all round one.
    Interesting to hear the Sherman had low fatality rates. Can you name a source for that? Not doubting it, just interested.
    Personally I think the Germans better could have concentrated on their own Sherman, the Pz IV. Although completly outgunned and outclassed by the end of the war, it would have enabled the Germans to keep their tank divisions up to an acceptable strength. The higher losses in combat compared to the Panther or Tiger would have been (more than) compensated by the lower losses due to maintenance problems. Better a tank battalion with 40 running Pz IV than with 20 partly immobile Panthers. On the other hands there also was the problem with fuel and trained crews. 
    The Panther and Tiger were a nightmare for the German tank industry and repair units. On the other hand the Germans could only dream of the Allied tank numbers and had to gamble on quality vs. quantity. That they failed on both quality and quantity is also a fact.
  15. Upvote
    BrotherSurplice reacted to Macisle in Was the Russian T-34 Really the Best Tank of WW2?   
    I think the late variant Shermans still had the edge, but much less of one than vs. the T-34/76. Having a two-man turret eliminates the earlier T-34s from being considered in the running IMO.
    Over the years I've gone from thinking the Germans had the best tanks, to the T-34, to the realization that the much-maligned Sherman was the best tank by a pretty wide margin. By "best" I mean operationally and strategically. Ease of production, reliability, parts standardization and supply, ease of transport (could and did go anywhere by whatever), adaptability and ability to upgrade, crew situational awareness and comm equipment, ergonomics and crew fatigue, ease of bail-out and ability to survive (astonishingly low fatality rates compared to the other tanks of the war across the board), etc. The T-34 K/D ratios were appallingly bad and, unlike the Sherman where on average four guys survived to apply lessons learned, you had just one for the T-34.
    The Sherman was truly a war-winning tank in every sense of the term. Sure, it might be in trouble in certain tactical situations vs. certain opponents, but those don't outweigh its strengths and performance in macro.
  16. Upvote
    BrotherSurplice reacted to Saint_Fuller in And now.....   
    I was guessing ICM, because I can't imagine a 70s-80s war scenario where the submunitions aren't being flung around like candy to delete tank formations.
  17. Upvote
    BrotherSurplice reacted to IICptMillerII in Help Battlefront Out & Leave A Steam Review   
    Oh boo-hoo. This kind of moral virtue signalling crap is exactly that, and I stand by my statement. Anyone who has devoted the past 20 years of their lives (and yes, there are some) to trash a game online at every possible chance they get across every possible medium is mentally disturbed.
    I also love that you have conflated what I said to be a personal attack against you and anyone else that has ever criticized the game. Guess I just absolutely destroyed myself then! Consider me slayed.
  18. Upvote
    BrotherSurplice reacted to IICptMillerII in Help Battlefront Out & Leave A Steam Review   
    Yup. Unfortunately there are a handful of mentally unstable/disturbed people out there who have literally dedicated their lives to trashing BFC and Combat Mission at every turn. The reasons vary, but most of it boils down to stupid people being mad that they were matter of factly told off instead of being coddled and treated specially. This disenfranchised mob tends to conglomerate, and you get the hate groups/groupthink you are seeing. 
    This is one of the main reasons I was always against CM moving to Steam. Granted, my logic is not the most sound, and it is a personal opinion, but I just didn't want these people having another avenue to complain about the same old things. Now that CM is on Steam though, and the overhead is being taken care of by Slitherine, I do not think its a bad thing for BFC. The outrage mob will scream about the game the next few days, but it won't last. Give it a week or two and you'll start to see more sane opinions come forward as the dust settles. The misinformation, such as spotting being a diceroll, certainly annoys me in particular, but that's the internet for you. 
    Its also important to point out that with CM published on Steam by Slitherine, there isn't anything to worry about. They will handle the community outreach on Steam as well as advertising. If, at the end of the day CM doesn't perform on Steam, then it won't be the fault of BFC, or even Slitherine for that matter. And we are a very long ways off from drawing any drastic conclusions like that. 
  19. Upvote
    BrotherSurplice reacted to scarletto in To our friends from the UK and the Commonwealth   
    I'm not sure you could say London represented anything, it is probably the most awful City i have visited in the World, yet it still attracts people like moths. No idea why, once outside the tourist spots it is just a the Have or Have not place. 
  20. Upvote
    BrotherSurplice reacted to Jock Tamson in To our friends from the UK and the Commonwealth   
    London is not particularly representative of the rest of the UK.  Many of the smaller cities offer a quality of life that Londoners can only dream about.  Example: Edinburgh

  21. Upvote
    BrotherSurplice reacted to Warts 'n' all in To our friends from the UK and the Commonwealth   
    In the "uk". When you were "a school". Ah, that sums up life in Murdoch's Dictatorship of the Semi-Literate.
  22. Upvote
    BrotherSurplice reacted to Xorg_Xalargsky in Exciting news about Battlefront and Slitherine   
    I agree, as an average consumer myself, I can't wait to leverage Steam's public platform for the benefit of the community and to provide honest feedback in good faith.
  23. Upvote
    BrotherSurplice reacted to MOS:96B2P in Stop Getting Shot At   
    A few additional. 
    Indirect fire Hide in a building, direct fire Hide behind a building.
    Pin with MGs.  Kill with HE
    What teams/vehicles have overwatch for the moving teams/vehicles.
    Disembark at least one terrain feature away from OpFor.
    Supporting fire call time is X minutes.  Where am I likely to need supporting fires in X minutes. 
    Pay attention to team/vehicle suppression meters. 
    What is X Platoon's contingency if it gets hit by indirect fire.  
    Maintain C2.
    Maintain a reserve. 
    Don’t be in a hurry to die.
  24. Upvote
    BrotherSurplice reacted to General Jack Ripper in Stop Getting Shot At   
    See title.
    Anyone else got simple advice for new players?
    Here's a short list of mine:
    Do not get shot at. Shooting makes you easier to see. Cover arcs are not magic. Maybe allow your troops to wait a minute before flogging them onto their objectives. Don't call in that airstrike. No seriously, don't. It'll hit your own guys. It doesn't matter how thick your armor is. You don't assault a position by running straight into it. Use more ammo, you don't get bonus points for frugality. Limit your leaders exposure. Split your squads. Three guys in one action spot are not as vulnerable as six. Maybe we can make a community contributed list Murphy's Laws of Combat Mission.
    At the very least, let's have a fun thread for once.
  25. Upvote
    BrotherSurplice reacted to IICptMillerII in Issues with tank targeting accuracy   
    You'll have to excuse the double post here, but I feel compelled to share this.
    I think some of the misconception about what is happening in the game is coming from the fact that the TacAI always aims for center mass. The real world is not like World of Tanks or War Thunder, where shot placement on specific 2in by 2in spots on a tank has been developed into some kind of gamer science. In reality, all gunnery (small arms, AT, tank, autocannon, missile, etc) is based on the principle of always aiming for center mass. This is as true today as it was back in 1944/42/insert warfare date here. The modern training doctrine, ie standard gunnery in an Abrams tank, it to ALWAYS laze a target at center mass, and then immediately fire. This is called 'lase and blaze' by gunners. There are many reasons to do it this way, but the most important two are 1) if you do not lase the center mass of the target, you can get a bad laser return, which gives you an incorrect range to target, meaning your shot will miss. And 2) because even in an M1A2 SEP Abrams tank, which has a gunner and tank commander sight that is 1080p resolution with a x50 zoom, it is still hard to pick out individual parts on a tank in combat conditions. 
    To illustrate this, here is a video of an actual Abrams on a training range. You can see the thermal sights they are using, the targets and everything. The gunner does not look for a specific part of the target to shoot at, he fires center mass after a quick and successful lase:
     (Btw the comments on this video are pretty hilarious)
    This second video shows an actual battle position (BP) engagement on a training range. Note that the tank pulls up into the firing position, scans for and engages targets (fires twice) and then reverses. All in the span of 20 seconds. This is irregardless of return fire in a real life combat situation. Tanks train to constantly reverse out of and advance into firing positions to reduce the chance of them being shot at at all:
    In summary: tanks always fire at center mass. Even in good hulldown, tanks still reverse out of line of sight to prevent themselves being shot at at all, and to greatly reduce the chances of them being ranged in on/hit if they are engaged. 
    Edit: Ninja'd again, by @Saint_Fuller who makes an excellent point which my post helps to illustrate as well. 
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