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Everything posted by SimpleSimon

  1. I think the net effect of many decades of media familiarization, video games, movies, tv, books, etc is that there's an inability to see things the way people saw them in 1941. Many people in the world in 1941 did not have electricity or indoor plumbing, had never seen a car or an airplane before, and essentially still lived as peasants. Even the ones that did had very little familiarity with something like a tank aside from maybe hearing about it as the nebulous "land battleship" of the Great War. If a T-28 emerged from the treeline it would for many soldiers I think it would be equivalent to something quite actually biblical, and would not be laughed at. It just so happened that by 1941, German troops were pretty seasoned and also probably had a pretty good idea of what its limitations would be. (Avoid its line of sight, wait until it runs out of gas). If you were green and did not know these things as many conscripts in many armies in 1939-41 it would be much worse. Until the advent of credible infantry anti-tank weapons though, such as the Panzerfaust and Bazooka there really wasn't much you could do to challenge a tank assault except hope engineers chose your sector to mine. Most early war infantry anti-tank weapons were improvised weapons or just placebos. By 1943 there was enough warning, enough collective experience, and most importantly of all just enough anti-tank weapons around to at least keep the frontline from melting rapidly in a tank assault-as long as it was a smaller than a Corp attack. It really wasn't until the 1980s that there was much prospect of stopping a Tank Army though...
  2. I've seen the Panther in real life and while its smaller than I thought it would be it's still a very...sinister looking tank. Has a predatory vibe like its namesake. The multi turret monstrosities look pretty stupid-the rationale behind them was that they could multitask and cover each other or suppress multiple enemy positions etc but in practice it didn't work on only one tank commander and tanks with all those turrets just look really crowded. I certainly wouldn't laugh at a T-28 if it came at me, but the turrets definitely don't contribute to why i'd view running into it as a major bad day for me and the boys.
  3. Big ooof when you get sent into Aachen or Cologne for infantry support. US Army TDs had a tendency to end up playing Assault Guns. A job for which they were fairly unsuited given their height and open top. Hope the GIs cleared the upper floors of the opera house you're driving by before it starts raining potato mashers. 😬
  4. I think people care too much about armor. Someone would always turn up with the gun to defeat it, and tanks were generally killed by AP shot from anti-tank guns which were way common. Fact was even armor that technically "overmatched" the oncoming projectile was still vulnerable to spall/lucky gap hits. Savvy crews understood the only thing their tank was actually proof against was bullets and fragmentation. Anything else needed to be dealt with before it got a shot off. The Panther looks really survivable in theory, but the side armor in the track wells was only 40mm thick and could be penetrated by anti-tank rifles and definitely so by the tiny 45mm anti tank gun the Russians had tons of. Other than that distance was also pretty equivalent to safety for a tank, since physics meant lots of small rounds lost performance rapidly over wide areas and there'd be fewer hiding options for anti-tank guns that would put them close enough to endanger your tank. Even something the size of the Tiger is pretty hard to hit at 1000m and if you're in something like that or the Panther looks good right? At the kinds of ranges they could fight at the T-34 and Sherman would have extreme difficulty even hitting you. Unfortunately, shortages of infantry mean that your tank will frequently be sent into close fighting a lot-Rattenkrieg'ing it up along with the bloody Landwehr. Since "Divisions" are down to single Regiments or even Battalions at this point that's just how it's going to be. Crew losses in the Panzer Divisions accelerated throughout the war for this reason, and it was major element in the decision to expend so many of them in Glorious Panzer Death Charges where the chances of survival might actually improve with operational mobility and disruption of the Allied line. Maybe if you're lucky you'll be able to extract the crews too once their tanks run out of gas. Yeah, gonna go with the Sherman.
  5. I watched the video. I think what's often not brought up is that the manner in which the Allies were conducting strategy in the ETO often required attacks up predictable routes due to the all the wrecked bridges and need to capture Ports. Market Garden was a pretty infamous case-literally up a single highway-but there plenty of times in Italy Allied commanders had to do the same thing because there was no alternative. This meant the unfortunate Division Commander often had no choice but to send his troop into Pak country. I've heard the often quoted readiness figures in American Armored Divisions which are quite impressive-but so were losses overall. By 1944 however it was pretty much accepted that tanks were going to suffer many losses no matter what they did. Frontlines were way more dense than in 1940-so there was little hope of achieving clean breakthroughs anymore, calibers had increased-so hits were more likely to be fatal, and finally tanks of peer tonnage were being mass produced-so tank Armies were large enough to be held in reserve now to plug breakthroughs. I was just reading Zaloga's book on US Army Armored Divisions and he was highlighting the different manner in which the British and Americans viewed their armor for consideration. The British tended to view their Armored Divisions as anti-Panzer Divisions-deliberately to be used against German armor. whereas the Americans saw their Armored Divisions in the 1940 sense of the Breakthrough Force. Chief difference between American thinking and similar German school of thought is that the Germans felt the infantry shouldn't do anything except bottle up and "deal with" stragglers caught in a kessel. The Americans felt the infantry should be the ones to actually punch the line open-which Armored Divisions (formed up as Combat Commands) would then exploit. This was pretty much Operation Cobra in a nutshell and later on the Battle of Remagen. There was a greater degree of cavalryman thinking going on in US Army Armor than in British and definitely German Panzer Divisions.
  6. Well just about every tank during the 2nd World War was a death trap. By today's standards they'd all be unacceptable. Most of them stored ammunition in open racks for instance. The Sherman was literally the only one at least trying to decrease the brew up chance. I'm sure it's going to be mentioned ad nauseum too but Ronson didn't come up with the slogan "lights first every time" until the 1950s either. I think Tommy Cooker was in use during the war, but no one's sure if that was just meant for the Sherman or any tank the British were using. The fact that crews were running around complaining about the Sherman all the time is sort of interesting-because it implies the crews tended to survive enough to complain at all. I definitely do not want to turn this into another Defense of the Sherman thread however lol...
  7. Statistically the Sherman. Grand scheme you'll probably be fine but even if you're unlucky, the Sherman is the only tank of the war with wet stowage for its ammunition and an escape hatch beneath the hull. Very important for evacuating the vehicle under fire. The Sherman's sheer mass went a long way into enabling crew survival by making it easier to evacuate and taking hits from shaped charges a bit better than smaller tanks. Mainly due to greater volume between ammunition and fuel stowage. If you're a tank crewman there isn't a lot of certainty, but one thing that's bound to happen to you? Your tank will be shot out from under you at one point or another. Whether you can get out of it easily enough to fight another day is the big priority for me.
  8. It sounds like this was the intent of the directly attached mortars that were given to the infantry in British Divisions. This is why the Bren Carrier was so common and so valuable. That it was barely bulletproof or splinter proof was just the bonus-it's main job was to huff the Vickers and MkII mortar around with their crews and ammo.
  9. Think part of the problem is different combatants used the term "effective" with wide latitude. It could mean quite different things from Army to Army. I believe the PPsh sight has settings for 100 and 200 meters. Germans used to capture them whenever able as I recall though-they found it a very favorable weapon for assault troops. Although this might've reflected shortages of the MP40 more than it being a "better" SMG. Most sub-machine guns were pretty similar during the war, and seem to have been valued for the service they provided storm troopers and assault teams than being quality guns. Most of them were manufactured with surprisingly low tolerances-some were made entirely out of metal stampings with just the barrel and bolt being lathed, and have a bargain basement feel in my opinion. Earliest models of the Thompson had an insane leaf sight up to 600 yards as I recall. This was dropped, but it might've been intended to be used in semi-auto. The Thompson's problem is that it was basically a World War 1 design, huge, heavy, and expensive. It fired a cartridge notorious for rapid muzzle energy loss after about 100m.
  10. The way airplanes are implemented in RT makes them useless, and is a waste of a mechanic. I'd say to just remove them too, but not because I don't want airplanes in the game. Intricate and detailed attack parameters are totally reasonable to set during the player's planning phase, but since we can't do that for no good reason what's the point in even having them at all? As for the other games it's yeah not very realistic that we can get near-JDAMs accuracy out of FW190s on call-in airstrikes, but that's way less of a problem than RT's weird roving air attacks the VVS most certainly did not do. It seems to me that the community has these really built in ideas of what CAS looked like in the 1940s-it wasn't like a less sophisticated version of today's AirLand Battle concepts for instance-but removing it entirely isn't appropriate either. Airstrikes could be very intricate and surprisingly accurate for the day, it just took a lot more effort to manage. The Stuka was clever but also very clearly a gimmick, and the way it bombed it was still necessary to send whole squadrons than just one or two airplanes like the games suggest. CAS did indeed happen a lot in the 2nd World War, and it wasn't unusual to see 40+ airplanes attack a "point" target instead of 2 using a laser guided bomb like we're used to now. That's why you sent many of them. We just can't do that in the WW2 titles because the rules governing airstrikes are fundamentally Shock Force's and they Do Not Work for 1940s.
  11. Shocking to think some of them have even turned up in Iraq or Syria. I suppose anything that can chuck a 152mm HE round can still be found some kind of job though.
  12. Army crews have 32 even, but rarely are they much good for indirect fire I felt. Too much complication for too little kaboom. My own preference-but I usually just order them to direct fire at targets they have visibility on. There were reports of the 60mm round it used landing right next to Germans and not killing them. 60mm produces very little fragmentation (less than a hand grenade in theory) and a lot of Armies ditched light mortars during the war. Sort of off topic in this case I know but the key to me is just that I don't rely much on them. I prefer to expend their ammunition at first opportunity and use the crews as line infantry.
  13. Incidental to an issue with call-for-fire issues but the Airborne mortar crews are only issued 20 rounds per team. Seems much like they're intended for direct fire.
  14. If they're behind a hill and out of your sight Bulletpoint they might as well be on Venus. They're out of play.
  15. The Americans and Germans in particular are the most split-friendly sides in the game with lots of heavy firepower distributed at low levels. I find it very handy for instance to use the organic MMG squads as base of fire for assault-teams like this. What the Americans are doing basically in this configuration would be classic Storm/Shock Trooper doc but the Americans have their own sort of unique "fix and flank" concept involving minimal exposure to the assault element as much as possible. It doesn't seem that the Americans are interested in closing as much as exposing enemy flanks and such. Melees are bloody affairs after all. For the Germans the ubiquity of the MG34/42 gives them a pretty equivalent advantage, and one that capitalizes again on that whole exposure element of it. Except that the Germans are prepared for your men to try and run away-which machine guns with such high rates of fire will rapidly punish... The philosophies split as to how they both get where they did. For the Americans, the presence of heaps of machine guns, mortars, launchers, even novelties like the Bazooka, etc is a result of the whole "Arsenal of Democracy" enabling the ToEs to push weapons that'd normally be held at higher levels right down to squads or even teams. There's so much largesse after all who cares if they're lost? There's no shortage of anything so its liberally distributed. For the Germans this all changes a bit as while Germany was materially limited the way the German Army was organized heavy weapons could be passed to very low levels-levels that in many Armies would've been wasteful or inefficient distributions but German Officers and NCOs were often crack troops and knew how to apply what they had. So the whole organization was very bottom-up and this wasn't always ideal either. Because German Officers thought in terms of firefights and tactical action they tended to have a very myopic picture and lacked operational context a lot of the time. This is why for instance you had so many Glorious Panzer Death Rides causing a ton of local damage but rapidly petering off as the tanks ran out of gas and ammunition. Course the strategic picture was mostly unpalatable after 1942 anyway so who wanted to think about that? The other issue was as the war went on guys like that died off and increasing dependence on ad-hoc and emergency formations like the Volksgrenadiers, Luftwaffe Field Divisions, etc were a symptom of the increasing "brain drain" in the Wehrmacht that accompanied things like fighting all 3 of the world's largest superpowers at the same time. All those guys are dead by 1945, even the sailors and airplane mechanics are all dead, we're down to old men and kids of the Volkssturm...
  16. A further scenario I made for myself "Fall of Calais". A Waffen SS motor Division invests the town w/support from StuGs, Combat Engineers and artillery. I fortified the British into the city and the density of the map + it's relatively small size made for a pretty hectic battle. https://ibb.co/7289HRY Just discovered horses are in the mod too! https://ibb.co/LPp4Txh
  17. I actually finished Mussolini's War Erwin but haven't felt like commenting on it much since discussion didn't seem to continue in the thread. I was just getting to descriptions of North Africa too.
  18. Highly dependent on unit composition and circumstances but it usually shouldn't be necessary unless you're scouting or defending. I do not generally split up infantry but then I typically work with rifle-heavy Armies like the Italians or British or Red Army who don't gain much from being split up anyway. As for the forced penalty Russian infantry squads take on being split-it makes zero sense but it's not the only oddity in RT. In forests it's not a bad idea but one should ask why you sent men in there instead of high explosive.
  19. I'm a bit more willing to engage with the individual scenarios on the grounds of them being really challenging since there's no overall-link to preserve. A lot of the time the campaigns are really painful about their core-troop usage though and the need to preserve a given force while also facing serious penalties for failure to achieve objectives are often incommensurate with the given challenge facing the player.
  20. Usually I give any scenario in the game one go as a series of saves from various points I consider "junctions" in my plan and see how often I need to save-scum my way to victory. Two or three reloads is ok to me but if I have to go more than that I discontinue and hit up the editor.
  21. The Microprose logo flashing by for me was like the weirdest flex ever lol.
  22. In general i'm in favor of an all-around overhaul of the support options so there are more parameters for fire plans. The system we have is mostly unchanged from....Shock Force 1 and is pretty reflective of its 2007ish design and thinking. Not necessarily sure we need something as granular as "at my command" though. You can have that more or less with TRPs and the Emergency Fire option which when combined are-some would argue-a bit broken even. Id personally prefer more options for stuff like mixed bombardments in one battery (smoke and HE), creeping barrage, and Target-Reference Zones or poly-customizable fire plans rather than just points.
  23. Haiduk said was I was about to. I'm not too miffed to see T-72s around in spite of their existence for export, because I could easily see them finding their way into an invasion anyway.
  24. Here's a scenario Im in late testing for. https://ibb.co/28KRcND The American's right-most Battalion. I advanced them and their support teams up through the crevice as close as possible to the town. The Germans weren't deployed to stop this, so they were able to get close enough to screen the machine guns moving up behind them. I've abstracted American infantry squads to 6 men-this is the 1944 arrangement of 4 Garands, 1 Thompson or 50% Grease Gun and 1 BAR. Additionally there are BAR, marksman, bazooka, and rifle grenade "teams" of two men and an HQ squad of 4 men. German Infantry are configured dependent upon when I set the scenario but the late 1944 arrangement is usually 5 men, one MG34 or 50% chance of an MG42, three K98s and randomly one G43 or StG 44 selected randomly. The last guy will have an StG44 or MP40 selected randomly. The high randomization of German infantry squads is meant to abstract the confused state of resupply and rearmament going on in the Wehrmacht at this time. Since this is a Panzer Aufklarung they're all Scout Teams of 3 men though with an MG42/34, MP40, and K98/G43. https://ibb.co/wNK7K8M Post battle. 2nd Battalion went up a road I had placed an Sdkfz 234/4-the variant with a Pak 40. They were delayed by this and Jeep that tried to scout up the road was destroyed. The center of the town was taken by Right-Battalion which maneuvered closely and was able to destroy the half track pictured with their bazooka team. There's a destroyed 232 barely visible that was taken out by a bazooka team after they maneuvered into the hamlet from behind. On the flipside of this, as the German commander I was trying to extricate my Aufklarung by using the Spahwagens to cover the movement of the Scout teams but in practice this was extremely difficult. The Americans can rapidly punish any movement you make openly and in the end I was only able to extract one team and the 234/4 car. This is how I can construct stories and narratives that play out really well and are exciting to watch even if there's not many surprises because im hotseating against myself.
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