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German optics in the desert, total allied destruction?

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Do you think that superior german optics and tank guns will turn all desert battles into a slaughter? There is not much cover in the desert and german 88's and mark IV tanks, not to mention panthers and tigers will make short work of any allied tank in the open. Unless allies get air support I dont think the allied armor will have a very good time in africa.

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I suspect that the effect of the 88 will be mitigated by player tactics. People who play CM are more likely to use combined arms tactics than were often evident in the Desert.

Unless forces to by scenario design, I don't think that we'll see as many cavalry actions using cruisers against ATGs as occured in the desert and gave the 88 it's fearsome reputation. Add in borg spotting and ATGs in the desert are artillery bait.

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Originally posted by Soddball:

Tanks aside, the 88 will, I suspect, be the major beater of allied tanks, which won't be able to do much in return without HE rounds.

Except that with borg spotting, it will draw the fire of all on-map mortars into it the second it fires.

I guess Allied players will insist to only attack in night setting?

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well, we dont even need 88's, a few well placed 75 or 37 mm guns could do the trick. Im hoping for massive allied air support! Ill just have my infantry sitting back at some lagoon while my aircraft take out all the guns and then ill just march through and perhaps pick up some german army memorabilia.

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Full use of extreme range in the desert can be hampered by dust and heat haze.

In the early period when the Germans had the overall initiative, the Brits had some very thick tanks while the main armament of German tanks was limited. Valentines and Matildas against 50L42 and 75L24 are pretty "uber".

The Germans got a handful of 50L60 types in 1942. By then the Brits had Grants. They got an even smaller number of Pz IV F2s - long 75 but only 50mm armor - by the time of El Alamein. But the Brits had hundreds of Shermans by the time they counterattacked there. A Sherman in late 1942 is quite a strong tank.

In 1942, the Germans had a modest number of Marders with long 76s. Those could kill the thicker Brit types at range, but are thin themselves and so vulnerable to replies.

The main Brit problem with German towed guns stemmed as much from poor armor-arty cooperation on their own side as from the excellence of German 88s, or the pretty good 50mm PAK. 25 pdr barrages in the middle of duels would have evened the field pretty dramatically. Unsupported armor brigades rarely got them, owing to the Brit's own deficiencies not any technical superiority of German optics.

The Brits had their own gun lines against German tank attacks. 2 pdrs were insufficient against most of the German fleet, but they also used 25 pdrs in direct fire mode extensively. Those are dangerous to the German tanks out to medium range. The Germans were able to deal with them either by staying at quite long range, tossing 75mm HE from 75L24s, or more effectively by using called artillery fire from their own 105s and 150s, over the horizon.

As for the later fighting in Tunisia, by then the Germans had significant number of Pz IV longs. The US still had some Stuart units, completely outgunned, and some inferior Grants, but the bulk of the mediums had Shermans. The Brits had all these types plus Valentines, in both 2 pdr (outgunned) and 6 pdr varieties (fine).

The Germans had a tiny number of Tigers. The total sent to the theater over the whole course of the campaign was around 80, but nothing like that number were ever available at once. Instead it was more like a dozen at a time in major attacks, down to as few as a single platoon, in 1-2 spots on the map. They were not decisive because their numbers were so limited.

They were threatened by breakdown, mines, Brit 6 pdrs, 105mm HEAT, and the usual bag of expedients against uber-armor (arty to strip off infantry, air, hail fire, etc). But they certainly outclassed all AFVs they faced, when available.

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As for the later fighting in Tunisia, by then the Germans had significant number of Pz IV longs. The US still had some Stuart units, completely outgunned, and some inferior Grants, but the bulk of the mediums had Shermans. The Brits had all these types plus Valentines, in both 2 pdr (outgunned) and 6 pdr varieties (fine).
Plus Crusaders (mostly 6pdrs, I think) and Churchills (2pdr + 3" and 6pdr)

They also had, by then, 17pdr ATGs which can ruin a Tigers day.

Ami's had a few M10s sporting 76mm guns, but most TD units operated 75mm armed HTs

Most of the initial actions in Tunisia in late '42 described in "An Army at Dawn" involving US mediums are fought by M3s, with M4s as the reinforcing units

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AT guns -- anybody's AT guns -- seem to have done very well against armor very often in the desert. Even the Italian 47mm gun had some good days...though the most crucial and massive slaughter of armor by AT guns may well have been the Snipe Action in Oct 1942 where British 6-pdrs knocked out a very large number of Axis tanks and SP guns.

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Originally posted by flamingknives:

Ami's had a few M10s sporting 76mm guns...

Can you provide a citation for that? I've been trying to find out if any M10s made it to Tunisia and so far all my sources indicate that it didn't see fighting until Sicily.


[ November 09, 2003, 04:56 PM: Message edited by: Michael Emrys ]

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The Americans certainly did have M10s in Tunisia. But not in action until the begining of March, in the fighting near El Guettar. That was the first use of M10s in action. The 776 TD battalion, which served with the 1st Armored Division, converted to M10s between Kasserine and El Guettar. The 899 TD battalion, which was independent - higher level, also had M10s at El Guettar. The 601st was also there, but seems to have still had M3s.

II corps TD battalions with the divisions -

701st with 1st Infantry Division - M3s until after the campaign.

776th with 1st Armored - M3s through Kasserine, M10s El Guettar to the end

894th with 9th Infantry Division - converted to M10s before Sicily-Italy, but date unknown. I haven't found evidence they had M10s in Tunisia.

813th with 34th Infantry Division - one tactical passage barely suggested they had M10s by the mop-up stage of the campaign.

601st served with the 13th Field Artillery Brigade - no sign they had M10s until after the campaign.

Other TD battalions in Tunisia by the end, known to have M10s by Italy - 636, 804, and 899. 899 had them by El Guettar as mentioned above. I haven't found when 636 and 804 got M10s.

At least 2 battalions by March. None at the time of Kasserine in February.

Incidentally, another fellow mentioned his impression that US mediums were mostly Grants in Tunisia, or in 1942 Tunisia. In the early fighting in the north in 1942 that may be accurate. For the Kasserine period in February 1943 it is not.

Most of 1st Armored Division's mediums were Shermans by February. They fought in battalion strength during the Kasserine campaign but before the loss of the pass, proper, and something like 100 of them were lost. The second line with Grants were "backstop," behind the pass, not the front line. Most of 1st Armored's mediums in March and later were also Shermans.

For what it is worth.

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