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Formerly CONFIDENTIAL live fire tests of US DF weapons vs US copies of German PBs


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Brother Ed tipped me off about this real grog treasure, one I believe is directly applicable to CM as it evolves. The War Department film "Infantry Weapons and Their Effects" showed what AT rifle grenades, the bazooka, 37 mm and 57 mm could do to a rather anemic German pillbox, but this is something altogether different, for these are probably higher quality than the original German pillbox replicas of a bunch of different types, aperture configurations and thicknesses. Weapons range from .50 BMG through 155 Long Tom. Though unfortunately no dummies were used to show effects on occupants, the interior wall damage and the internal pics of the embrasures and surrounds tell the tale pretty well anyway. Have never seen anything quite like this and had no idea such a thing existed. 
 

Regards,

John Kettler

 

Edited by John Kettler
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I think most of the bunkers on the Westwall were built by the Todt Organization. In true Nazi fashion I would not be surprised if the stated protection offered by most of those bunkers was in fact much lower than claimed...the objective was to win Hitler's favor and/or look good for propaganda reels. Ironically the people who ended up most convinced about the Westwall's much overrated strength seem to have been the French and Americans rather than the Germans. Wehrmacht Generals certainly never bought that the idea that the Siegfried Line would hold any determined attack off and were pretty openly dismissive of it. 

Note that the M2 Howitzer and other artillery pieces gave a really disappointing performance against the bunker. Howitzers and artillery are just the weapons these bunkers are designed to protect against, as many of them were designed during a time when few tanks mounted guns heavier than 40mm and many were armed with little more than machine guns. Plenty of the project even under the best conditions sounds like it was badly mismanaged in all the usual ways Nazi incompetence ensured. The infamous dragon's teeth structures turned out to be unable to defeat bulldozers just burying them with mounds of dirt after all...

 

Edited by SimpleSimon
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I watched it.  Although scary, not at all surprising for anyone with a sense of history.

The cannon and gunpowder removed castles and forts from the landscape.  Only the Romans would have been impressed with 7" of concrete as they invented the stuff, but did not know rebar.

And so, I would take a tank any day.  At least, if the odds don't look good, you can hope to withdraw and fight another day.

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In my opinion, Fort Vaux, Fort Douaumont and the Battle of Verdun laugh at the idea that fortifications were entirely useless in the 20th century. Eben Emael would've certainly proven a major problem to the German advance in 1940 if it hadn't been captured in an airborne coup de main that nearly failed and Guderian reflected how fortunate the German Army was to have never tested the Czech's fortifications in the Sudetenland, which were actually more modern and more comprehensive than the French Maginot line was. 

It is true that gunfire could reduce any fortification...but that was dependent upon both weight of the fire and even more importantly time. Modern Forts like the French ones at Verdun enabled 500 to 1,000 men to frustrate and impede the movement of entire Corps and it's hard to imagine a better kind of economy-of-force especially when so many of these countries were just too poor to afford Panzer Divisions. When Patton made his snide comments about Fortifications being "monuments to the stupidity of man" he very crucially failed to realize that the Westwall wasn't designed to stop anyone, just to look good on newsreels. The Maginot Line meanwhile was out-of-date, undermanned, cut off, and attacked from behind...and still presented an enormous problem to the attacking Germans until the French government surrendered. 

Edited by SimpleSimon
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Completely...but mainly because of the quality of surveillance technology these days that makes any sort of fixed structure or defense much riskier than a mobile one. Firepower wasn't really the controlling element of that...siege guns are one of the oldest weapons in warfare and maybe even the oldest kind of gun period and plenty of them were around in both World Wars. Guidance as you say though, presented a major problem because now a Fort could be hit directly and quickly and surveillance ensures that it can't hope to just hide either. The main thing that kept Forts around through the first half of the 20th century was the major time investment that would've been necessary to properly reduce a well built Fort, which could still be considerable. Now? Everyone's going to know where it is and drop a bunker buster on it in the first hours of an invasion. 

Edited by SimpleSimon
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  • 1 month later...

http://themaginotline.info/index.php

http://www.jarrelook.co.uk/Urbex/Ouvrage Mont des Welches/Mont_des_Welches.htm

Here's a good pair of websites with lots of pictures and information about the peer French fortification on the border, the Maginot Line. 

It's apparent to me after a little bit a study that the Maginot Line was much superior at its intended job to the Westwall, and presented a serious obstacle to an attacker. More of its bunkers were partially or fully buried. Many of them made use of cast turrets and such with excellent ballistic qualities. Interestingly, most of the Maginot Line's bunkers had their buried segments facing toward Germany (a machine gun would often be the only weapon to cover this arc). This is the because the bunkers were designed to watch over minefields, obstacles, and guard posts on the ground between them as well to cover each other with enfilading fire. Substantial support facilities are buried underground with the bunkers as well like kitchens, surgery wards, air scrubbers etc. They are designed to hold out even if cut off and would've had substantial self-sufficiency for this. 

 

 

Edited by SimpleSimon
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  • 2 weeks later...
14 hours ago, civdiv said:

Plus you have to get the 20+ hits with your 76mm Sherman in roughly the same spot on the bunker w/o getting zeroed by an ATG. I know it isn’t just one Sherman pounding away but pillboxes are usually mutually supported.

Also, they are usually dug into the side of the hill, so the spot you can actually hit is very small.

But not to worry. In the game, 2-3 HE shells will take care of that concrete pillbox :)

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