Jump to content

Why is the Panzer IV so expensive to buy in Quick Battles?


Recommended Posts

For what it's worth, all other factors being equal, I've found it rare for one 75mm M4 to win a shootout with one PzIV at typical combat ranges.

Up close (which is abnormal for tank combat), the Sherman has an edge, but at normal range >500m, the PzIV spots first, shoots first and hits first, and usually kills - and even if the hits don't always kill at long range, they will mess up the M4 so badly it's out of the fight.

At long range, an M4 with a 'typical' crew will take multiple ranging shots before it can hit anything. Only an Allied 76mm (or a well up-armoured Sherman) is really an equal match for the PzIV at normal range for tank combat.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 hours ago, Lethaface said:

This would be unlogic, as there is a separate rarity point system. 

I have the answer probably. A Panzer IV cost 110 Thousand Reichsmarks during WW 2, A Sherman cost $ 50000 on average during WW 2. In buying power The Reichsmark is maybe 80% to 90% of the US$ that is if they converted their money in neutral Sweden for example. It is a theory, but I don't know which formula the game designers used. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, chuckdyke said:

I have the answer probably. A Panzer IV cost 110 Thousand Reichsmarks during WW 2, A Sherman cost $ 50000 on average during WW 2. In buying power The Reichsmark is maybe 80% to 90% of the US$ that is if they converted their money in neutral Sweden for example. It is a theory, but I don't know which formula the game designers used. 

That still wouldn't be a very good formula to run on given the Reichsmark's fluctuation of value during the war and the enormous hidden or obscured costs involved in the use of slave labor the Nazis applied. In any case, I doubt the rarity costs were thought up based on things like production man-hours or fiscal policy. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, SimpleSimon said:

That still wouldn't be a very good formula to run on given the Reichsmark's fluctuation of value during the war and the enormous hidden or obscured costs involved in the use of slave labor the Nazis applied. In any case, I doubt the rarity costs were thought up based on things like production man-hours or fiscal policy. 

Plus IMO the 'points' are an approximation of the capabilities of the asset, the vision being that in a QB with an equal amount of force the combat power of opposing forces is roughly similar.

They're not meant to be based on aspects like the original historic monetary value in wartime currencies, or how rare they were (those are the rarity points, but indeed those were probably also not based off fiscal policies but rather general availability in the time period).
Using such values for the 'buying points' would defeat the idea of a QB imo.

Edited by Lethaface
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Lethaface said:

Plus IMO the 'points' are an approximation of the capabilities of the asset, the vision being that in a QB with an equal amount of force the combat power of opposing forces is roughly similar.

They're not meant to be based on aspects like the original historic monetary value in wartime currencies, or how rare they were (those are the rarity points, but indeed those were probably also not based off fiscal policies but rather general availability in the time period).
Using such values for the 'buying points' would defeat the idea of a QB imo.

 
 

It was based on what the currencies were worth in Neutral Sweden. US manufacturing was far more efficient and could produce a comparative vehicle a lot cheaper. We are better off asking Battle Front about their formula.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nobody but Charles knows the exact formula, but Lethaface is correct that rarity* is accounted for separately and real world manufacturing price is no factor at all.

*Rarity for any unit is in relation to other units in its own army, i.e. the rarity for a Tiger tank is it's proportion of the Wehrmacht's tank inventory only, not compared to the number of Shermans or T-34s.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 12/24/2020 at 5:01 AM, Freyberg said:

For what it's worth, all other factors being equal, I've found it rare for one 75mm M4 to win a shootout with one PzIV at typical combat ranges.

Up close (which is abnormal for tank combat), the Sherman has an edge, but at normal range >500m, the PzIV spots first, shoots first and hits first, and usually kills - and even if the hits don't always kill at long range, they will mess up the M4 so badly it's out of the fight.

At long range, an M4 with a 'typical' crew will take multiple ranging shots before it can hit anything. Only an Allied 76mm (or a well up-armoured Sherman) is really an equal match for the PzIV at normal range for tank combat.

This is my observation as well. I'm no expert in the matter, whether real-life or in-game, but my surface-level analysis of the latter is that the German tanks and their crews tend to be a little better at spotting and shooting than the Americans/Brits.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would recommend house rules for QBs to limit armor creep. They're pretty simple.

Use Fionn's Armor Rules as a basis. For every vehicle you purchase from the Rule of 76 list you must purchase 2 or 3 from the Rule of 75 list. Or whatever ratio you please.

I also like to set ground conditions to wet to make people think about putting too many of their eggs in one basket.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 hours ago, chuckdyke said:

It was based on what the currencies were worth in Neutral Sweden. US manufacturing was far more efficient and could produce a comparative vehicle a lot cheaper. We are better off asking Battle Front about their formula.  

Sorry what? Based on a Swedish currency? How was that negotiated? How and why was the American process cheaper? American workers were unionized and made use of the some of the most sophisticated machine tools in the world, which all sounds far more expensive than slave labor and hand-crafting ubiquitous in German factory firms. I'm sorry if it seems like I'm interrogating you a bit here but a lot of this statement creates more questions than it answers. It's baffling to me. 

Market value is useful in peacetime conditions but I would caution referencing it during wartime. Currencies not limited to the Reichsmark when through explosive inflation/devaluation cycles with the war's turns and this fiscal instability continued for a number of years after the war until the consequences of the Marshall Plan and Bretton Woods Conference stabilized the world's markets a bit through rebuilding booms. 

Material values, ie: tons of steel, rubber, copper, etc are "safer" measures of value at least in the sense that represent objectively measurable inputs, but that's still not the system I think CM should reference for unit values. I would say within the timeline of the game's narrative values should be reflected by frontline reserves of units or maybe even something more local. "X" Panzers under the command of Army Group B and such. Production value is outside the scope of the game ultimately.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, SimpleSimon said:

Sorry what? Based on a Swedish currency? How was that negotiated? How and why was the American process cheaper? American workers were unionized and made use of the some of the most sophisticated machine tools in the world, which all sounds far more expensive than slave labor and hand-crafting ubiquitous in German factory firms. I'm sorry if it seems like I'm interrogating you a bit here but a lot of this statement creates more questions than it answers. It's baffling to me. 

Market value is useful in peacetime conditions but I would caution referencing it during wartime. Currencies not limited to the Reichsmark when through explosive inflation/devaluation cycles with the war's turns and this fiscal instability continued for a number of years after the war until the consequences of the Marshall Plan and Bretton Woods Conference stabilized the world's markets a bit through rebuilding booms. 

Material values, ie: tons of steel, rubber, copper, etc are "safer" measures of value at least in the sense that represent objectively measurable inputs, but that's still not the system I think CM should reference for unit values. I would say within the timeline of the game's narrative values should be reflected by frontline reserves of units or maybe even something more local. "X" Panzers under the command of Army Group B and such. Production value is outside the scope of the game ultimately.

The people who did the research compared neutral Sweden what German Reichsmarks could buy and what a US$ could buy in that country in 1944. Yes, well paid Union Labor is often more efficient the M4 Sherman was produced at 70 % of a German Mark IV. Slave labor is far from efficient. The Mark V Panther was expensive because of the workmanship, the welding of the vehicle in Bovington was done by a craftsman not by a concentration camp inmate. I admire the American industrial might during WW 2. The Americans produced the Sherman and its chassis was used for its TD's and self-propelled artillery too. Today the Germans produce fine cars but not too many pick-up trucks. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

29 minutes ago, SimpleSimon said:

Sorry what? Based on a Swedish currency? How was that negotiated? How and why was the American process cheaper? American workers were unionized and made use of the some of the most sophisticated machine tools in the world, which all sounds far more expensive than slave labor and hand-crafting ubiquitous in German factory firms. I'm sorry if it seems like I'm interrogating you a bit here but a lot of this statement creates more questions than it answers. It's baffling to me. 

Market value is useful in peacetime conditions but I would caution referencing it during wartime. Currencies not limited to the Reichsmark when through explosive inflation/devaluation cycles with the war's turns and this fiscal instability continued for a number of years after the war until the consequences of the Marshall Plan and Bretton Woods Conference stabilized the world's markets a bit through rebuilding booms. 

Material values, ie: tons of steel, rubber, copper, etc are "safer" measures of value at least in the sense that represent objectively measurable inputs, but that's still not the system I think CM should reference for unit values. I would say within the timeline of the game's narrative values should be reflected by frontline reserves of units or maybe even something more local. "X" Panzers under the command of Army Group B and such. Production value is outside the scope of the game ultimately.

I don't care about QB point values in the slightest, but what is baffling to me is how anyone could think that anything hand crafted would be cheaper than anything mass produced.  The element that's missing in your ... analysis ... is time.  Let's say that two different manufacturers are producing toenail clippers.  Let's assume that each version of toenail clippers uses the same amount of steel per unit.  If company A produces one toenail clipper per minute and company B produces one toenail clipper per day well then the cost of company B's toenail clipper is higher even though the objectively measurable input of steel is the same on a per unit basis.  Granted, company A would be acquiring more steel because they are producing more toenail clippers, but if the manufacturing process is efficient enough then that cost isn't going to have a significant enough impact on a per unit basis since company A is producing so many more clippers than company B.  That's pretty basic manufacturing knowledge and it comes down to efficiency.  Unionized workers only cost more if two manufacturing processes are similarly efficient.  The slave labor thing is probably a little overstated in your comments as there would still have been specialists involved. 

However slave labor is notoriously inefficient since there is a distinct lack of motivation for the 'worker' to do anything beyond the absolute minimum to stay alive and in the case of German manufacturing how many times would the same part have to be reproduced because of sabotage or inattention to detail?  A slave isn't going to be working as fast and as efficiently as he or she could in order to support the war effort.  Maybe the slaves themselves aren't being paid a 'wage', but the guards and infrastructure that is created to support your slave laborers isn't free.  You still have to feed them something and you still have to house them somewhere.  At least with unionized workers they can pay for their own transportation, living arrangements, and food out of the wages that are paid to them by the company.  With a slave the state has to pay for all the guards, housing /camps, food, and transport for moving the slaves between camps and various work sites.  You also have to power the manufacturing site and run all the machinery and if that machinery is being powered such that you are making the same part over and over again because your slave labor can't make it right the first time or is taking an extra hour to do the same thing a union guy is making well then how efficient can you be?

So no, simply measuring inputs isn't necessarily safer - at least not in the way being suggested.  Without accounting for waste then perhaps more aggregate inputs would suggest greater aggregate outputs since more materials are probably being used in the manufacturing process, but then that would be reflected in the per unit cost basis as already suggested by using the Swedish currency.  In other words, the difference in the consumption of material inputs within the manufacturing process would be reflected by the difference in the cost basis through the use of a third party currency.  Measuring material inputs would not put Germany on an equal footing with America in WW2.  It would only reinforce the discrepancy in manufacturing efficiency between the two.

Sorry for the interruption - you may all get back to your regularly scheduled QB points discussion 😉

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, ASL Veteran said:

I don't care about QB point values in the slightest, but what is baffling to me is how anyone could think that anything hand crafted would be cheaper than anything mass produced. 

Think we're having a miscommunication here. I'm referring to unskilled labor by my use of the term "hand crafting". Not sure if you're thinking of artisan-crafting ie: skilled hand crafting? Anyway, I think it's reflective of how ugly the subject is that little has been written on the Nazi use of slave labor until recent, and how enormous its effects were on their production, and how that inherently bound up the whole war effort with the Holocaust.

So lathes don't grow on trees. They have to be built and make use of valuable raw materials. Slaves come free from the concentration camps and are seen by the Nazis as expendable. I'm not endorsing this sort of thinking, just highlighting that human labor can indeed enter circumstances where it becomes less dependent on input than factories and machinery ie: industrial tooling. You have to be as prepared as the Nazis were to expend human life in order to achieve this, or you could just be Foxconn. If mass production could engage in cycles of endless devaluation than why is de-industrialization a thing? Why are factories closed and their contents sold off? You're not wrong here the tendency in a normal society is for workers and governments to setup barriers between capitalism and the exploitation-to-destruction of human labor. So the typical counter-play is to use machinery and automation to remove workers and their wages from the process. What if you're the Nazis though and you're faced by a severe materials shortage? What if you have no scruples about expending human lives in production? 

Like, you're right, usually the nature of industrial production is to replace workers with machines because machines have lower inputs-but their required input is never negligible. The Nazis created a situation-a horrifying one-where they could use and expend human labor in the industrial process (especially in unskilled sectors although the V2 and Me262 programs were surprising exceptions to this) and if we look at the industrial process completely devoid of any humanity then nothing's cheaper than a working slave. Worst case is you go from 0 to 1 here. Yes a voluntary healthy worker will make 10 value but needs 4 input and an assembly line makes 300  but needs 50 of something etc. Multiply 1 by enough times while subtracting nothing from the value produced in the form of wages and you're profiting. Economists will lambast your process as inefficient and absolutely all normal human beings should not fail to underline the unspeakable sacrilege of expending human lives like this but it is materially cheaper than a machine. The Nazis created this situation where human life became less valuable than machinery owing to the artificial materials shortage created by "the front". 

Now if we view the nature of the process through its social relations then we can see that in fact it didn't come cheap. The cost or bill presented to Nazi Germany for this manner of production was the World War. Their methods proved unable to pay that bill...

 

Edited by SimpleSimon
Link to comment
Share on other sites

All this stuff about economics and industrial processes is interesting, but I don't think it contributes to how unit points are calculated in CM.

Here's a better question. In a tank-only ME QB, on a large map with typical tank combat ranges (500-1500m), playing against an opponent as good as yourself, with six Pz IVs, how many vanilla 75mm M4s would you feel you need for the game to be properly balanced...?

The game points assume eight M4s, actually not quite.

Seems right.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Panzer IV F had a properly designed 'Tank Gun' Kampfwagenkanone or KwK 40/L43. Not as good as the Pak 40 AT gun in the AT role but better than the 75 mm on the Sherman which was a field gun. The KwK could penetrate the Sherman with no problems inside the ranges you specified.  Likewise, the 75 mm on the Sherman could penetrate the Mark IV. The KwK had a flatter trajectory which increased the odds in regards range estimation, also the gun had a better penetration performance, and could engage the Sherman under more unfavorable angles. We need to consider not only armor and the guns also the radio, optics, and the turret rotation. I think 1:1 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 12/24/2020 at 1:19 PM, chuckdyke said:

The only logic is to keep the game historically adequate. In the last year of the war only 4000 Panzer IV's were built. To reflect this in the game is to make the purchase more expensive. 

This is taken care of by the unit's rarity cost. It's been brought up a couple of times already.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 12/24/2020 at 12:01 PM, Freyberg said:

For what it's worth, all other factors being equal, I've found it rare for one 75mm M4 to win a shootout with one PzIV at typical combat ranges.

Up close (which is abnormal for tank combat), the Sherman has an edge, but at normal range >500m, the PzIV spots first, shoots first and hits first, and usually kills

I must say my personal experience has been different - I have not noticed any spotting benefit for the PzIV. At least not frontally. Tanks with cupolas (Panzers and Shermans alike) do seem to spot better to the sides though, as expected. Again, just based on personal experience, not testing it out.

But yes, I admit there's a specific and narrow long-range window (900-1000m?) where the Panzer Iv probably has an edge, because its better gun will land a hit faster, while still being able to penetrate the Sherman. I'm just saying that kind of setup is quite rare. Terrain will usually dictate you have to engage at shorter ranges.

Edited by Bulletpoint
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Panzer IV uses a variant of the Pak 40 and has the Zeiss optical sight which is a handy tool for estimating range if you know a thing or two about it. The Sherman has a sight with some lines drawn on it and little else, and the 75mm M3 had about 2/3-3/4 the muzzle velocity of the L/48. It was harder to use at long range because it was intended as a general-purpose gun, and the Sherman carried a heavy load of HE shells for it to sling since it was intended mostly to bombard soft positions. Flat trajectory from a high muzzle velocity would facilitate first-round accuracy, but why you need that against trenches and foxholes? Higher muzzle velocity will require larger shell casings and consequent reduction in ammunition supply. I don't find it too shocking that the Panzer IV has a slight edge at range, many of the factors that made it an inferior tank to the M4 would not be in the scope of CM. 

And in fact the M3 gun was intended for use against tanks despite common misconceptions otherwise, but the Americans had to accept some compromises in the gun's performance in order to meet the demands placed on the design. The Army wanted a balanced tank, not a Tiger killer. So there's a degree of truth to which the Sherman was "sub optimal" against other tanks but only sort of and before Normandy even there were plans to replace the Sherman with the T20 which had the M1 76mm gun. That tank was cancelled though and no one was going to delay the invasion of Europe so Shermans could get a better gun. 

Edited by SimpleSimon
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The cheapness of the basic M4 Sherman is mostly because of it's crappy armor. It has cast armor rather than RHA and is also thinner up front compared to later models. The M4A3 (75) is 217 pts. Give it a 76mm gun and it's 243 pts, 10 pts more than a Pz IV.

You just have to accept that the QB prices are broad approximations, not based on match-ups between specific units in specific circumstances. So yeah, a Stuart that costs 100 pts can penetrate the Pz IV's front turret at short to medium ranges. Does that mean a Pz IV should cost 100 pts? That's not how the system works.

If I could wave my magic wand I'd increase the prices of uber tanks across the board but my wand has little magic in it unless something is crazily out of whack like the price of rocket artillery a few years back. Pz IV prices are not in that category.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

24 minutes ago, Vanir Ausf B said:

The cheapness of the basic M4 Sherman is mostly because of it's crappy armor. It has cast armor rather than RHA and is also thinner up front compared to later models. The M4A3 (75) is 217 pts.

In the British roster, a Sherman I (M4) is 175 points. A Sherman V (M4A4) is 176 points.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...