U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Happy Thanksgiving Day!
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > History
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 04-14-2010, 03:41 PM
 
1,308 posts, read 2,623,318 times
Reputation: 625

Advertisements

I note in passing that the US military estimated that only 4 percent of casualities in combat were tied to small arms. Artillery, planes, tanks, and machine guns did the bulk of the killing. Which is interesting given the focus on line platoons in our rememberance of the war.

In comparing combat systems like tanks we tend to focus on tactical elements such as thickness of armor, penetration of the gun and so on. By that definition Germany should have won the war. We forget numbers and in doing so we ignore a key decision made by allied planners. Unlike Germany they deliberately created tanks that were easy to build - and thus could be built in huge numbers. And were easy to maintain in the field, which meant they were even more available than the relative numbers.

So while everyone has heard of the Tiger there were only about a 1,000 built. In contrast tens of thousands of T-34 and Sherman tanks were built. And when you are outnumbered 10 or 20 to one, you tactical advantages are of limited value. Moreover, the Tiger was prone to bogging or breaking down because of its weight, and it had to be abandoned when it was often because few German prime movers existed to tow it away.

The ultimate stupidity was the Porsche Tiger (really a massive assault gun, not the Tiger most are familar with - it had no turret). It was almost invulnerable to Russian tank fire so it plowed ahead of its infantry and lighter tanks. Than it got involved in close quarter fighting with Russian gunners or infantry who either set it on fire with molotov coctails or shot its tread off. It had no machine gun incredibly and a massive gun is of little value against scurrying infantry or hidden AT guns.

Score one for the peasents over the "master race"
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 04-15-2010, 08:06 AM
 
594 posts, read 1,654,112 times
Reputation: 743
Indicative of the desperate situation of the Soviet defense of Stalingrad is the fact that the Krasny Oktyaber tractor plant continued to produce tanks even as the Luftwaffe bombed key targets and the German Army fought its way into the city. It's said that the workers who produced the tanks often drove them off the line, minus paint or markings, and directly into battle. The tractor plant was one of the few heavy industrial plants not physically moved to the Urals, in what must be considered one of the Herculean moving tasks in history.

The Voice of Russia (The Stalingrad battle - 60 years)

An unfortunate "weapon" used in WWII and one that, as an animal lover, I find repulsive was the use of dogs to destroy tanks. I've read that the Russians trained dogs to run under captured German tanks and claim a prize of food. In actual battle conditions, the dogs were equipped with a jacket of high explosives. A vertical stick on the jacket would trip as the dog ran under the tank and trigger the explosives. Of course, there was always the possibility that the dogs could become confused and run under a Russian tank.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-15-2010, 12:40 PM
 
14,781 posts, read 37,921,582 times
Reputation: 14476
I think artillery is a very overlooked weapon of the war. Everyone has heard of the German "88" and a lot of people have heard of Katyusha's and Nebelwerfer's, but the more traditional artillery is often overlooked.

The U.S. in particular made fantastic use of their artillery. With advances in radio and field communication the U.S. often enjoyed unlimited and readily available artillery support to repulse an attack or soften a target. U.S. commanders even drew some criticism as not being aggressive enough and over reliant on their artillery, but when you have the choice of sacrificing 10 men to take a position or pound it into submission with artillery, the U.S. went to the artillery becasue it was always there.

Another key innovation was the use of close air support ground attack planes. The best example of this is Patton's 3rd Army and their integrated air units the XIXth TAC. With streamlined communications and observers/spotters integrated in the tanks there was seemless coordination between the ground and air. The tanks would support the infantry to create a breakthrough. The tanks would then exploit the breakthrough and make rapid advances. During the advance the fighter bombers would provide flank protection to the armored units. This tactic was incredibly succesful, but was considered too risky by the Allied High Command (mainly Eisenhower) which is a large reason why Patton was stopped in Alsace-Lorraine. Ike didn't want Patton advancing with an exposed flank even if Patton felt he could breakthrough to Germany proper in short order.

The funny part about the ground attack integration pioneered by Patton and TAC commander is the impact it had on future strategy and tactics.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-15-2010, 01:04 PM
 
Location: EAST-SIDE INDIANAPOLIS
355 posts, read 818,993 times
Reputation: 160
I always hear about people talking about U.S artilery. What are some name examples of what they used. Did they have their own divisions or were they attached on to infantry units? How were they deployed in battle, I'm guessing many different sizes of shells for different jobs?
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-15-2010, 01:12 PM
 
14,781 posts, read 37,921,582 times
Reputation: 14476
The main U.S. artillery pieces were the 105mm and 155mm Howitzer. They were towed pieces that needed to be deployed to fire. The U.S. also had mobile artillery units that mounted 105mm Howitzers on tank chassis. Additionally they also employed the Calliope rocket system that was attached to tanks.

Artillery operated as organic pieces of the infantry divisions and armor units also had organic artillery support either mobile or towed.

The biggest advantage wasn't the types or size of the pieces or even the ammunition they fired it was the command and control organization that the U.S. had. It was very easy for individual units to radio for artillery support and the fire control systems were very accurate. It was this communication ability and the abundance of artillery that gave the U.S. an advantage.

I guess you could say that the radio was the deadliest weapon the U.S. had. A commander on the front line could pick up his radio and talk to whoever he needed, from his commander, to the artillery to the ground support planes. This level of integrated communications really wasn't seen in any other army.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-15-2010, 02:18 PM
 
Location: EAST-SIDE INDIANAPOLIS
355 posts, read 818,993 times
Reputation: 160
The main U.S. artillery pieces were the 105mm and 155mm Howitzer. They were towed pieces that needed to be deployed to fire. The U.S. also had mobile artillery units that mounted 105mm Howitzers on tank chassis. Additionally they also employed the Calliope rocket system that was attached to tanks.--------what did the other armies have similar to this?


Did we just have enough artillery peices of different assortments that we were able to keep any unit that needed it supplied with artillery, or did we just do better at keeping track of where everyone was and keeping in communication? Is this where the Radio really came into play?

I love, well shouldnt say love but its incredible regarding world war 2 how it seems like each country did some things well while others did other things really well. Some chose certain things to be strong on other choose different methods.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-15-2010, 02:50 PM
 
Location: New York City
2,789 posts, read 5,630,124 times
Reputation: 1839
I think it was Stalin who called artillery "god of war". Artillery is not as sexy as tanks and aircraft so it doesn't get talked about as much but it is absolutely indispensable on the battlefield, more so than tanks or aircraft.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-15-2010, 07:06 PM
 
1,308 posts, read 2,623,318 times
Reputation: 625
Artillery was the great killer in the 2nd world war. Besides the weapons mentioned the US also used 8 inch artillery - if more rarely than the 105 or 155. The US had a wide range of self propelled artillery, such as the Priest. I think its questionable if the US artillery was better overall than the Soviets who used it in pulverising quantities. This included the awesome Katuska rocket batteries, an arm the US army largely ignored. What made the US artillery effective is that they had a map grid system that brought artillery down more accurately and quicker than any other nationality.

One reason that artillery does not get its full credit among non-professionals (proffessionals certainly stressed it) is that movies and other accounts rarely show it. Its expensive and dangerous to display and people would rather see individuals. Incidently a key reason that the Russians held onto Stalingrad were the guns across the river.

I don't think Patton was stoped because of Eisenhower's disagreement with his tactical decisions. He was initially stoped because there was simply not enough gas to keep his units going, when Eisenhower chose to shift the fuel to Market Garden. Later the fixed fortifications around nancy were a serious problem (in part because Patton badly underestimated the power of fixed fortifications).

Last edited by noetsi; 04-15-2010 at 07:15 PM..
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-15-2010, 07:10 PM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
35,859 posts, read 46,008,226 times
Reputation: 46584
I read once that the Russians dragged out cannon that had been used against Napoleon to defend Moscow and later took some of it to Berlin.
Don't know if it's true but it does make an interesting story.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-15-2010, 07:22 PM
 
1,308 posts, read 2,623,318 times
Reputation: 625
Incidently while it gets even less attention than artillery the use of naval fire power was critical as well, including the naval shore parties who brought it in. The firepower of naval ships is incredible. While the largest US land guns were the rare 8 inch howitzers these were standard on US cruisers. Even destoyer 5 inch guns were 125mm, and generally more accurate than land based artillery. The New Jersey class could bring 9 16 inch (400mm) guns to bare on a target.

While it was most effective in the Pacific, this played a key role in support of the Normandy and Italian landings where naval gunfire broke up German tank counterattacks.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > History
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2020, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Contact Us - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 - Top