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Why ride the suicidal Hanomag halftrack when you can walk?


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I am surprised this hasn't been fixed yet. The German halftrack, carrying a squad with gunner at the ready (behind his parchment paper glacis plate), travels quickly down a road. The soldiers in the r

Yep, one the main issues that remain. I´ve seen HT drivers backing up often enough and with passengers in panicked state, the situation gets increasingly worse. If the HT driver decides to back up in

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Wouldn't that be 4 targets per minute? Or am I overlooking something here?

You can have a separate Target Brief Command at each waypoint - so 4 waypoints for each HT's movement, a 15s pause + Target Brief at each.

Since you're moving forward anyway to "crush them" ;) that works for your suppressive fire.
( ok, you'll lose some time to movement, the last waypoint probably wont have all 15 seconds left, but that's a minor quibble for mathematicians... )

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You can have a separate Target Brief Command at each waypoint - so 4 waypoints for each HT's movement, a 15s pause + Target Brief at each.

Since you're moving forward anyway to "crush them" ;) that works for your suppressive fire.
( ok, you'll lose some time to movement, the last waypoint probably wont have all 15 seconds left, but that's a minor quibble for mathematicians... )

Ah, of course. Hadn't thought of that :) But still it will be 15 seconds against target point 1, then 15 against point 2, etc.. rather than sweeping bursts.

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What seems to be missing in this discussion is the scale of the forces. These aggressive tactics are supposed to be part of a general large scale combined arms advance. How many 251s in a company, eleven? And four companies in a battalion, plus the HQ halftracks. That's a lot of machineguns behind gunshields to bring onto an objective! In the game I've seen infantry so thoroughly suppressed by a phalanx of oncoming armor that they don't get off a shot. If they dare raise their heads they get incoming fire from 5 different directions. Try using the same armor piecemeal and the shock effect just isn't there, usually it's just the opposite. Any 251 gunner who raises his head gets incoming fire from 5 different directions. When Germany invaded France the conflict was over in a month and a half and the Germans proclaimed a great victory. They also lost roughly 30,000 killed in that month and a half. So German tactics aren't necessarily meant to eliminate casualties on the battlefield, just to ensure they kill more of the enemy than get killed on their side.

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RockinHarry..very intresting findings. I'm one of those who has posted about gunner death rates, just recently infact. Others posted their thoughts and it seemed I needed to re evaluate my tactics rather than anything not quite right with the game.

 

Now however I'm starting to think the ease in which gunners are killed is questionable again. Your findings so far seem to point in that direction.

 I  would like BF to go back and do some in depth testing. The difference between German HMG42 and USA US M1919A4  is also something that prob needs a close look at by BF aswell.

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couple more excerpts from Kindler´s "Obedient unto Death"

"The men had their doubts about the armour, and some men of No 13 Company fired at it with small arms to see if the plating was truly bullet-proof, which turned out not to be the case. One NCO from each platoon was sent to an APC training course with the Army at Weimar, and between 14 October and 6 November 1942 intensive training was carried out including at night. During the preparatory phase in France some of the companies began to make changes to their APCs which others would copy on the Eastern Front. Many APC crews secured tree branches the thickness of an arm along the top of the lateral plating to reduce the splinter effect in the open crew compartment. No 11 Company made a striking innovation by fitting an additional armour plate on the front for better protection against direct hits."

APC driver Johannes Bräuer said:
"I remember well when we got the new APCs in France that shortly afterwards Guhl and Wolff carried out a firing test with small arms and carbine ammunition on the front section and between the two visor flaps, the results of which were not made known for a few days. In every case the rounds had penetrated and because of that they got a large smithy or something similar to make two 1cm thick fluted steel plates, these being secured with strong iron brackets one over the other at the front 5cm ahead of the front armour. Other companies partially reinforced the front of the vehicle with spare track links."

"Because an APC afforded too little space for a complete section of twelve men, Guhl ordered that on operations only six should be carried. At the sand table he took the opportunity to discuss tactical operational ideas. For him, APCs in an attack should proceed on a broad front hanging well back. His adage was: ‘The attack is nourished from depth’."

In the official Training Instructions for the Panzer Arm – Leadership and Deployment
of the Panzer Grenadiers it states:


"Panzer grenadiers (armoured) are the steel assault troops of the panzer division. Their characteristic, very mobile activity is the precondition for operations. They are part of a very close fighting community with the panzers. They perform their individual tasks with bold, rapid thrusts. Their great mobility, their ability crosscountry, armour, high firepower and fine officers make them capable of mastering the most difficult situations quickly and successfully. Panzer grenadier groups fight from the APC. Enemy action and terrain can bring about the sudden change from being transported to fighting on foot. Yet even to this fighting on foot, the manoeuvrable heavy weapons aboard the APC give their own individuality. The zest for attack and boldness, linked to lightning-fast decision-making and great flexibility, distinguish the panzer grenadier."

"Basically the attacks were made from the vehicles, providing the advantage of speed and flexible fire direction. Should a problem arise on the right-hand side, the APC crews would make smoke that side and give it a wide berth on the left. Rapidity, surprise and the enormous impression the APCs made were the principal elements for their successful deployment with the Leibstandarte. Jochen Peiper wrote: ‘The APC battalion used to attack the Russian positions like a cavalry unit: we came up at full speed from several sides, firing from all barrels. What we see here is APC tactics for the modern panzer grenadier as the men themselves experienced it. Former SS-Corporal Günther Wagner, No 13 Company, described it:

"The companies proceeded platoon-wise on a broad front against the enemy positions. If a valuable target was identified: Stop and shoot – after destroying it, roll on.When taking anti-tank fire the order would come by radio ‘Ausbooten!’ for infantry engagement. This meant that each APC followed a curve across the terrain with the rear doors open allowing the men to leap clear, spreading the section in a long, staggered line facing the enemy. The APC would complete the circle and come up behind the section, the wireless operator at the forward MG providing covering fire. The heavy platoon had two APCs with heavy built-in MGs, and two APCs with an 8cm mortar, these being secured to a baseplate fixed aboard the APC; for use outside the vehicle a second baseplate was used. This heavy platoon provided supporting fire from the rear – the mortars from concealment, a haystack, a hut, etc. At this time I had charge of two mortar APCs."

"In the APC battalion of the Leibstandarte the encounter had been fought using the APCs not as personnel carriers, but as valuable fighting machines in themselves. My comrades and I had mastered the quick change between fighting aboard, and rapid disembarking in order to break down the last enemy resistance before remounting to proceed with the attack. This tactic was practised in Peiper’s Battalion with great success and élan. Peiper’s night attacks were his special tactical refinement. SS-Captain Guhl remembered: ‘Night attacks were always successful because the enemy did not expect to be attacked at night. This factor and speed were the guarantees of success.’"

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From US sources (Battle experiences July 1944 to May 1945):

http://cgsc.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/p4013coll8/id/4050/rec/15

http://cgsc.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/p4013coll8/id/4046/rec/16

VALUE OF KEEPING ARMORED INFANTRY MOUNTED ON HALF-TRACKS

"We feel that having the infantry ride their half-tracks as far forward as possible rather than having them ride on the tanks has several advantages:
a.  "Every infantryman has some armor protection against enemy fire.
b.  "The ammunition reserve for infantry weapons is handy in the event of a long fire fight.
c.  "The half-track 0.50° caliber machine gun—one of the most effective weapons we have—is up where it can be used.
d.  "The artillery can render closer support because of the amor protection afforded the infantry by the half-tracks.
e.  "Men can be reassembled more quickly after a skirmish as they are more familiar with their own regularly assigned half-track than with the tank to which they are temporarily assigned.
f.  "The half-track radio can be used for communication purposes.  When armored infantry units are separated from their vehicles they have virtually no communications. 
—CO,  35th Tk Bn. 

EMPLOYMENT OF ARMORED INFANTRY

1.  Tank—infantry  teams.  "We have organized our tanks and infantry into regular teams.  Team A includes A Company of the infantry and A Conpany of the tanks and is called the A Force.  The other lettered companies are organized similarly into B Force, C Force, etc. The command of each force, to avoid confusion, is given to a staff officer, either of infantry or tanks.
2.  Riding: on tanks.  "The infantry ride on the tanks right up to the objective when possible.  Normally we put eight to ten men on one tank but do not place them on the two leading tanks where they are likely to suffer losses from mines, artillery and snipers. 
3. Rules for movement: We follow three general rules in our infantry—tank operations.
a.  "Infantry ride on the tanks when the action is fast, or the movement is through cities against very light or spotty opposition.
b.  "Infantry ride half-tracks when on a road march and when no opposition is expected.
c.  "Infantry walk beside the tanks when in cities, villages or woods in which opposition has been encountered or is definitely expected.
—CO, 51st Armd Inf Bn

ARMORED INFANTRY

When assaulting villages we have a rifle squad in a half-track follow each tank at about twenty-five yards, rather than have the infantry ride on the tanks.  The advantages are that a complete, organized squad is available to go into action, and that the infantry does not have to dismount every time the tank halts to fire during the approach. Also, the ability of the half-track to maneuver in rear of the tank affords the infantry some protection against enemy small arms fire.  We had fewer casualties among infantry when riding in half-tracks than when riding on the tanks.
--CO, 10th Tk Bn.

TECHNIQUE OF TANK-INFANTHY ATTACK (town fighting)

"We recommend the following procedures:  Approach the town indirectly as though going around it.  Scout the town and surrounding terrain.  Plan a coordinated  tank—infantry  attack from two directions, aimed to pinch off a part of the town between the prongs of the attack.  Designate infantry half-tracks to cover flanks and rear of attacking infantry and tanks.  Use the mortar and machine gun half-tracks to augment the fire of the assaulting infantry.  Mount assault infantry on tank decks until forced off by fire.  Put a section of tanks on each street.  See that riflemen protect tanks from bazookas and act as the eyes of the tanks.  Use artillery on routes not covered by the attack to deny them to the enemy."
—5th Armd Div.


SCREENING FORCE

"In a fast moving situation, when we do not have armored or cavalry units in front, we have organized a regimental task force to act as a screening force.  This force is composed of one motorized rifle company (mounted on half-tracks), one platoon of medium tanks, one platoon of M-10 tank destroyers, one platoon of the cannon company, and two or three reconnaissance vehicles.  This force is able to neutralize or fix enemy resistance encountered, thereby permitting the advance of our foot  troops without  fear of unexpected attack frcm the front.  This force serves as our advance guard, wnile division reconnaissance units protect any exposed flank,"
—Regtl  Exec, 1st Division

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If used properly, you can fight mounted in HT - you just need to make sure the enemy is well suppressed. I typically will recon by fire/bombard likely positions, then advance a platoon close to the position (but no nearer than 150m or so). Dismount and do that last bit on foot, with a couple of tanks in intimate support, say 300 m behind. HT pull back behind the tanks once inf dismount. Just dont drive any vehicle within 100m of positions that might have enemy in (inf AT/MG etc make this very silly). And don't go crew exposed.

 

Its the same with tanks - I fight buttoned unless I know I am more than say 500m from enemy...

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SS-Corporal Günther Wagner,    No 13 Company, described the combat experiences of APC men as follows:

The rear door of the APC was completely blocked by ammunition and packs. If we were fired upon we had to leave over the sides. After the first few days in action there ensued practical completion of fitting out. Spare track parts were hung over the front section or sometimes an additional armour plate would be fixed with long bolts. Because we had many wounded in the elbow and upper arm from ricochets and splinters, we very quickly fitted beams or tree-trunks along the upper edge of the slanting side armour. This had the additional advantage of making it more comfortable for sitting during the long drives.

33. SS-Grenadier Kuno Balz, No 13 Company, remembered another innovation: The protective shields for the MG42 were very poor in our opinion, for if you were firing off-centre, the shield turned with the MG and rifle or MG fire hitting it would then ricochet into the wagon. Therefore in action we would site sandbags near the shields to prevent this."

Am I correct in assuming they'd mount the logs and beams in the corner between the plates just above the benches' backrest? I have a hard time picturing anything else as being "more comfortable".

Hanomag-SdKfz-251-Half-Track-1940-07FAH2

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Am I correct in assuming they'd mount the logs and beams in the corner between the plates just above the benches' backrest? I have a hard time picturing anything else as being "more comfortable".

Hanomag-SdKfz-251-Half-Track-1940-07FAH2

It looks really roomy, would a man's head really poke above the amour when sitting on one of those benches? Even if trying to sit as straight as possible...

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Am I correct in assuming they'd mount the logs and beams in the corner between the plates just above the benches' backrest? I have a hard time picturing anything else as being "more comfortable".

Hanomag-SdKfz-251-Half-Track-1940-07FAH2

That wouldn't make sense to add splinter protection from ricochets. I would think on the top, outside, was how it was described.

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That wouldn't make sense to add splinter protection from ricochets. I would think on the top, outside, was how it was described.

I think you're right. if we imagine that the troops are standing up and keeping one arm outside the halftrack to steady themselves as it rolls along. Incoming bullets might hit the side and get deflected upwards, hitting the arm and elbow, but would be stopped by a wooden log. And the log would give support to the elbow, giving something to lean on for balance.

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It looks really roomy, would a man's head really poke above the amour when sitting on one of those benches? Even if trying to sit as straight as possible...

Am I correct in assuming they'd mount the logs and beams in the corner between the plates just above the benches' backrest? I have a hard time picturing anything else as being "more comfortable".

Hanomag-SdKfz-251-Half-Track-1940-07FAH2

It does not seem like the troops heads should be sticking out the top of the 251 if they are sitting on the bench seats.  Maybe this is part of the problem?

SPW%20251-1%20Ausf.%20C1_zpse8baiofm.jpg

SPW%20251-1%20Ausf.%20C2_zpsgtofnvuo.jpg

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It does not seem like the troops heads should be sticking out the top of the 251 if they are sitting on the bench seats.  Maybe this is part of the problem?

SPW%20251-1%20Ausf.%20C2_zpsgtofnvuo.jpg

Is it just me, or does it look like their butts are levitating over the seats?

From the war photos, it seems like only half their helmets should poke over the edge, so that their eyes would just be above the rim if they straighten up (and probably the whole head behind the armour if they slump just a little)

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