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Old 01-04-2010, 03:03 PM
 
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The initial goals of plan Blue were much less gradiose. After the initial German successes Hitler changed the plan, making it broader. The result was that the fourth tank army, for example, was sent across the 6th army's path blocking it from moving for key days (it was later sent back an amazing blunder overall).

The 4th panzer was supposed to support the 6th army in the drive on Stalingrad and was redirected to support the premature push to Rostov and the Caucuses.
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Old 01-04-2010, 03:06 PM
 
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While that is true the soviet population never occupied by the Germans, particularly in Asia, vastly outnumbered the Germans. And huge partisan groups had already mobilized before being drafted into the Russian army.

Actually the Soviet far east was sparsly populated, it was the reconquered area's that supplied manpower after Stalin had used up his reserves in the campaigns of 43 and 44.
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Old 01-04-2010, 03:11 PM
 
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The Soviet units in the European front, had already been bloodied by the Finn's, they did not have the most advanced tanks, while there were at least two tank armies in Siberia equiped with early T34's. While they did not have radios, they did have thick sloped armor and a main gun nearly as good as a German 88mm. The Germans didn't have a tank that could match them until the Panther was deployed in large numbers in 43-44.
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Old 01-04-2010, 03:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by noetsi View Post
True and the Yugoslavs fought briefly as well. But I meant fought continuously during this period, and both the Greeks and Yugoslave regular military fought only for a short period. Actually the Yugoslav royal army turned in one of the worse performances of the war.

There is an interesting phenomeon about WWII. From Nov 1939 to April 1940 there was very little real fighting. Then from July 1940 through July 1941 there were only fairly low level conflicts in Africa and the Balkans on land. The German army in particular except the few divisions in Africa and the brief operations in the Balkans, essentially did not fight at all from July 40 to July 41.

It was a strange pause in the war.
True, with the exception of having to bail out Mussolini in Greece and Libya the Germans were refitting and preparing for Barbarossa.

I wouldn't characterize the Italian invasion of the Balkans as low level considering it did involve 500,000 troops. The greek did very well pushing the Italians back into Albania until the Germans invaded in April of 41 during Operation Marita.

In addition, the losses suffered in Crete and the subsequent occupation of Yugoslavia tied down several Panzer, Mountain divisions for the remainder of the war, Troops that were critically needed on other fronts.

Operation Merkur resulted in such heavy losses to the Para divisions Hitler restricted their use as airborne troops.
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Old 01-04-2010, 07:59 PM
 
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The large distances of open space allowed armies to manuver.Thus,a formation on foot could be encircled or bypassed by a more mobile formation.This happened throughout the early part of the campaign against the Russians.However,as they gained exprience in the operational art,the Soviets turned the tables on their brutal mentors at Stalingrad,and during Operation Bagration.
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Old 01-05-2010, 11:05 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Big bull View Post
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While that is true the soviet population never occupied by the Germans, particularly in Asia, vastly outnumbered the Germans. And huge partisan groups had already mobilized before being drafted into the Russian army.

Actually the Soviet far east was sparsly populated, it was the reconquered area's that supplied manpower after Stalin had used up his reserves in the campaigns of 43 and 44.
Respectfully I have to disagree. While the population density may have been small in the East the total population was large, far in excess of the entire German population. It was not until 1944 that the Russians reconquered much of their Western lands and put the public into their military. Well before then the Russian army vastly outnumbered the Germans.

The T34 had excellent armor but by no streach of the immagination was its 76mm medium velocity gun comparable to the 88mm high velocity German guns. Of guns mounted on tanks (or tank destroyers) only the US 90mm came close and then only to the shorter versions of the 88 (such as mounted on the Tiger as compared to the King (or Royal) Tigers).

Russian guns suffered from inferior shells and poor optical equipment until late in the war that seriously effected their capacity, particularly at long ranges. And poorly trained crews and the lack of radios commonly meant that they failed to achieve what they should have on paper. Moreover, their engines had a habit of stalling, making their high speeds far less useful than they should have been.

Until the Soviet counter offensive in Dec 1941, relatively few T-34's were encountered -the KV was actually more of a problem for Germans (the KV152 mounting a six inch gun was a major problem in city battles or restricted terrain but too awkward in the open).
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Old 01-05-2010, 04:05 PM
 
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This is from a game, but it reflects the reality of the Russian front in early stages of Barbarossa - on the southern front.

[SIZE=1][SIZE=1][LEFT]
Quote:
[SIZE=1][SIZE=1]
Near DUBNO, RUSSIA, 27 June 1941:
[/SIZE][/SIZE][SIZE=1][SIZE=1]On June 22nd, “Barbarossa” struck the
Soviet Union. Unlike the other Army Groups, Army Group South would have to
fight through solid defenses held by troops skillfully led and determined to fight.
By the 23rd, a breach of the front between the Russian 5th and 6th Armies was
an accomplished and menacing fact. The Germans now drove for Dubno. On the
24th, the military soviet of the south-west front decided, in fulfillment of Timoshenko’s
Directive No. 3, to mount a massive armored counterattack. Six mechanized
corps were assembled to attack the flanks of Panzer Group I, which were[/LEFT]
thrust into the third great tank battle of the young campaign.
[LEFT][/SIZE]
[/SIZE]
The results were not pretty....

[/SIZE][/SIZE][SIZE=1][SIZE=1] [/LEFT]
[/SIZE]
[/SIZE]
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Old 01-05-2010, 07:29 PM
 
59 posts, read 113,992 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noetsi View Post
Respectfully I have to disagree. While the population density may have been small in the East the total population was large, far in excess of the entire German population. It was not until 1944 that the Russians reconquered much of their Western lands and put the public into their military. Well before then the Russian army vastly outnumbered the Germans.

The T34 had excellent armor but by no streach of the immagination was its 76mm medium velocity gun comparable to the 88mm high velocity German guns. Of guns mounted on tanks (or tank destroyers) only the US 90mm came close and then only to the shorter versions of the 88 (such as mounted on the Tiger as compared to the King (or Royal) Tigers).

Russian guns suffered from inferior shells and poor optical equipment until late in the war that seriously effected their capacity, particularly at long ranges. And poorly trained crews and the lack of radios commonly meant that they failed to achieve what they should have on paper. Moreover, their engines had a habit of stalling, making their high speeds far less useful than they should have been.

Until the Soviet counter offensive in Dec 1941, relatively few T-34's were encountered -the KV was actually more of a problem for Germans (the KV152 mounting a six inch gun was a major problem in city battles or restricted terrain but too awkward in the open).
You are correct about the population, again doing a little more research.

But as for the 76mm on the early T34's, it was superior to the guns on the Mk III and Mk IV panzers which made up the majority of Germany's main battle tanks until late 43 or 44. The Panther was the first tank to qualitatively hold its own against the T34.
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Old 01-05-2010, 10:41 PM
 
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The 76 mm was superior to the short 50mm on the IIIH but about the same as the long barrelled 50 on the later IIIJ. Generally its ability to hit at longer range was less because of poor Russian optics. Two other problems, other than poorly trained crews, seriously harmed the T34. First it had a slow traverse, meaning its chance of hitting a moving target was less. Second, early versions could not fire with the commander's head out of the tank which further reduced the ability to hit moving targets. The longer 75mm on the German IV IVF2 and H was definitely superior to the T34 76 mm. That is one reason I assume for the development of the 85 mm gun on the T34 85, a huge improvement in all respects.

The initial T 34 (and the KV) series stunned the Germans. They were far faster, better armored, and better armed than the III series (then armed with a 37mm) or the II 20 mm gun. Contrary to legend German tanks were lightly armed and armored until 43. But technical problems such as the lack of radios, poor optics and even more so poor training permited the Germans to defeat their opponents in ways that strict comparisons of the tanks would not suggest should happen.

Panthers and Tigers have taken a major place in the mythology of WWII. But the reality is there were few of them and they commonly were plagued with mechanical problems which commonly became catastrophic since few German vehicles could move them when they broke down. The Tiger may be the most overrated tank of the 2nd world war. It was an incredible tank on defense, in covered terrain but was slow, unreliable on soft ground, and thus not well suited to offensive actions. The panther was clearly supperior, but had an unfortunate habit of catching on fire largely because the engine was never designed for the size of the tank. Like all German tanks it was to sophisticated, which slowed production and increased breakdowns.

From July 43 on the real terror to allied tanks was the panzerfaust and krek. Tanks such as the Russian IS2 (late war model) which were all but invulnerable to even the 88 could be knocked out by the faust - which was fired by a single soldier. The high russian tank losses late in the war were largely due to them.

Of course then there is my personal favorite for really dumb tanks. The Porsche Ferdinand was a monstrosity - nearly invulnerable to Russian guns and armed with a long barreled 88 (the same version of the King Tiger). The only problem was that it had no machine gun. So after it broke through Russian defenses Russian at guns just blew out its treads and Russian infantry set it on fire with molotovs. A 75 ton armored monster defeated with a few men with a bottle and some fuel....
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Old 01-06-2010, 01:43 AM
 
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Thank you for making my point.
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