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panzerschreck vs (tank hunters) panzerfaust


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In WW2 tactical gaming, I always liked battles with a small defending group trying to delay a much larger attacking group. Mostly in town and light urban settings. During AGCs break up and attempts to reform what would the small anti-tank / infantry teams be armed with? I just put together a battle that plays well but I think has the wrong ratio of 3 panzerschrecks to 1 tank hunter. I think it should be the opposite (they are supported by a straggler group pluw an added LMG). I believe that the historical situation produced a wide variety of tactical groups trying to do their duty and survive. But perhaps the ratio above goes too far in providing the superior schrecks over the panzerfausts. Any thoughts?

Kevin

Edited by kevinkin
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I'd've thought that most of your teams would still be made up of "line infantry" and they get 'Fausts organically/incidentally, as well as some 'Shrecks as part of the TO. Just counting the TH teams probably won't give you a good feel for the ratio of "teams that hunt tanks" that are armed with 'Fausts vs 'Shrecks.

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Thanks sir. The TO does not supply any insight. A German infantry company has a tank killer team of 1 PF and 1 PS. The stragglers have to have those added. I think it may be understanding the availability of those weapons on the eastern front. I think PFs were more available which is why I believe my OOB is off.

Kevin

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Fausts were historically 10 times as common as schrecks.  The ratio between them increased over the course of the war.

Ad hoc tank hunters were the only kind early in the war, and would be uncommon late.  But in 1944 might be as numerous as the schrecks.

That means THs and pioneers with demo charges and the like, as well as regular squads just using grenade bundles.

 

None of the above were terribly effective against Russian armor in the summer of 1944.  The fausts weren't the best types yet, the schrecks weren't very numerous, the overall operational defeat led to units scattered and low on morale and combat effectives, etc.  The biggest things the Germans had going for them were terrain related - plenty of water obstacles to work with, a limited road net through them, physical obstacles and mines supplementing those natural choke points etc.  Even so, the most effective blocks were either mobile reserves with armor, or prepared city defensive zones that held out a while even surrounded, but at much larger than a few holdouts scale.

 

The idea that a few guys with fausts and MPs at a road corner were going to delay or impede a full armored column, on the other hand, is mostly fantasy.

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Thanks sir. The TO does not supply any insight. A German infantry company has a tank killer team of 1 PF and 1 PS. The stragglers have to have those added. I think it may be understanding the availability of those weapons on the eastern front. I think PFs were more available which is why I believe my OOB is off.

Kevin

Are you saying that none of the rifle squads have any 'Fausts at all? Most squads in the ETO seem to have one or two 30 or 30k 'Fausts; is that not the case for RT Landsers?

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The idea that a few guys with fausts and MPs at a road corner were going to delay or impede a full armored column, on the other hand, is mostly fantasy.

It worked in Normandy thanks to the terrain and the Allies' tendency to commit piecemeal attacks against obvious targets down narrow avenues of approach. S'ok though. Tomorrow morning 200 Hawker Typhoons will just remove the whole grid square anyway.

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CaptHawkeye - I deny it. They needed full positions to stop armor in Normandy, despite favorable defensive terrain. Whole panzer corps in the British sector, in fact. In the US sector, when they ran low enough on infantry that they could not hold the front line in sufficient density, the US readily broke through - and nothing stopped tneir armor columns after that. There were plenty of small units to try simple roadblocks, and plenty of fausts and schrecks, and still favorable terrain. But units like the 2nd Armored went through such thin stuff like a hot knife through butter. Heck, they went through panzer KGs like a hot knife through marginally thicker butter. Fundamentally, it was Allied HE arms reducing German infantry to thin screens that ensured breakout, precisely because thin infantry screens were hopeless against entire armored task forces. Even with the best defensive terrain and all the infantry AT weapons you could ask for.

Edited by JasonC
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"Worked" is a relative term here. Grand majority of the time delays only successful because Allies literally blundered into German defenses head on, in bad weather, with a traffic jam at St. Croissant due to an errant Jeep driver checking his watch at the same time a French farmer's ass decided now was a good time to go on strike in the middle of the T junction.

But but 2nd SS Panzer is on the way to plug the gap!

Well they were until they lost half the infantry's trucks to P-47 runs. Attempts to cross local bridges unsuccessful because none of them exist, and the engineers got buried by an avalanche of 105mm and 25pdr fire on their way to the river.

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I'm being sarcastic here Jason. :P Read some of the Green Books. Fall of the Philippines and Northwest Africa specifically. Very detailed books but at times exhausting due to highly sterile writing. I haven't commit to any of the Normandy books yet though.

Edited by CaptHawkeye
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The delaying force I am trying to replicate is on the battle scale to confront a Soviet forward attachment as described by Jason in a recent thread on doctrine. I find these to be fun as you stalk enemy armor in and out of backyards while holding back their infantry. Of course if you do too well the entire town would be flattened given enough time for the Soviets to bring up guns and alike.

Kevin

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I get it. I would recommend building a blocking position like that around one heavy PAK, 3 tiles of AT mines (and maybe 2-4 of AP mines), a couple of grenadier platoons with an attached HMG section (2 MG42s), maybe 2 panzerschrecks, 2-3 tank hunter teams, one sniper. No armor or artillery support (maybe one on map 81mm mortar, I suppose). Overall, 75 to 100 men with a handful of effective AT weapons, representing a reduced company "making do". Some terrain bottlenecks or obstacles, but not a single route required of all vehicles - the AT mines shouldn't be guaranteed hits. (If vehicle recon "finds" them, they can be avoided etc.)

That is enough to give such a column trouble and give its recon something to do. With poor tactics on the Russian side, it should be able to mess them up and slow them down. With good combined arms tactics from the Russian side, they should be able to blow through it. I hope this helps.

Edited by JasonC
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Thanks. From game play POV so much depends on the length of the scenario and the ground needed to be crossed. 15 mins is a blink of the eye in real terms. But can change the battle result in-game drastically. In the game, if the scenario is too short recon has to charge ahead and not allowed to carefully scout. Too long and the attacker takes the delaying position apart unit by unit. Even with equal losses the attacker has enough to occupy and push ahead. I have been toying with the points allocated differently ie terrain is worth twice as much to the attacker and enemy losses twice as much to the defender. Ideally I think the defenders would give a bloody nose gain intel and then hightail it out of Dodge to the next delaying point rearward. The timing of the withdrawal might provide interesting play for a normally static defense. The map would be like 1 by 3 or more KM deep.

Kevin

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I'd make tne game length around 30 minutes, but with the column taking up to 10 minutes to all arrive. That gives the recon a chance to do its thing, but when the main body arrives it has to get down to business reasonably rapidly. It is still enough time. I like giving the attacker an exit victory condition for the tanks, only, in scenarios like this. That penalizes the attacker for losing too many tanks or spending too long, but let's the infantry and weapons and soft transport stick around for the mop up, without a ruinous VP hit for any losses etc. i don't think you need 3 km deep, though, especially if there is enough tree cover to break up realy long LOS lines. I hope that helps.

Edited by JasonC
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