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Achtung Panzer: The Blitkzrieg, Myth and Reality


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Revan #21 Posted 27 February 2014 - 04:52 AM

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View PostLunaris, on 26 February 2014 - 02:43 PM, said:

And 500 thousand Soviet soldier threathening your right flank. Ready to strike your supplylines.

 

 They were in no real condition to do much and the Soviet army was not that good at attacking in 41. Army group South probably could have contained them while north just kept on pushing. See the Kharkov debacle in early 42 for the general state of the Red Army. 


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Revan #22 Posted 27 February 2014 - 04:56 AM

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View PostTovarishTony, on 26 February 2014 - 03:30 PM, said:

If all of Hitler's armies were pushing to Moscow they would be easily get encircled by Soviet counterattacks from Leningrad and Stalingrad then would be cutoff from the rest of the German army so its a proper logic to split into 3 groups(Army Group North,Army Group Center and Army Group South). Meanwhile in terms of the development of panzers before the Battle of Kursk since the Germans initially having trouble in encountering T-34s and KV-1s as they started the invasion of the USSR. The Germans knew that the T-34 is cheaper in production compared to their best panzers so they wanted to copy it but the German designers are against it and in 1942 they decided to produce heavier tanks like the Tiger as their response against the T-34s. In 1943 they tried to use Tigers and Panthers for their blitzkrieg in Kursk but it slowed them down as the blitzkrieg turned into a crawl despite the Soviets had high losses of T-34s while the Germans may have less losses it cost them alot of repairing their tanks while they have to rely on the resources of Romania,Hungary and other countries occupied by the Nazis as Hitler's ambition for capturing the oil fields in the Caucasus in 1942-1943 were a disaster for Germany just like Stalingrad. One reason why the T-34 got its legendary title because of various things including good firepower,mobility and the most important thing that the panzers never had during the war is simplicity which made it suitable for mass production and it doesn't require alot of resources compared to the Tigers and Panthers.

 

 T-34 has a myth around it but the Russians still lost something like 5 of them for every Panzer they killed. A lot of those Soviet offensives ground to a halt as at various tines the Germans were destroying them faster than the Soviets could build them. Something like 6000 tanks lost in 3 months. In terms of skill the Soviets were the best from post Kursk and through out 1944. In 1945 they suffered casualties similar to 42/43 all over again as they more or less brute forced the way into Germany- see the battle of the Seelow Heights right near the end. Germans have nothing and still inflict massive casualties on the Soviets. 


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TovarishTony #23 Posted 27 February 2014 - 05:54 PM

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View PostRevan, on 27 February 2014 - 04:56 AM, said:

 

 T-34 has a myth around it but the Russians still lost something like 5 of them for every Panzer they killed. A lot of those Soviet offensives ground to a halt as at various tines the Germans were destroying them faster than the Soviets could build them. Something like 6000 tanks lost in 3 months. In terms of skill the Soviets were the best from post Kursk and through out 1944. In 1945 they suffered casualties similar to 42/43 all over again as they more or less brute forced the way into Germany- see the battle of the Seelow Heights right near the end. Germans have nothing and still inflict massive casualties on the Soviets. 


The best German panzers(Tigers) were mostly handed to the SS panzer divisions and the SS were an elite force compared to the Soviets(even guards tank armies) who were still getting used to the T-34 in the early months of the war plus the initially poor organization of the Red Army while the Soviet tank casualties in 1945 were mostly done by panzerfausts(also known as faustpatrone) and panzerschreks where even the Volkssturm use them. The Red Army does have the better training for conscripts as they have the equipment where conscripts can easily get used to it and they learned lessons from their earlier defeats. The Red Army especially from armies with the title "guards"(Гвардия) were battle hardened veterans while the Germans since they lost alot of experienced men in the battles of Moscow,Stalingrad and Kursk have to rely on the Volkssturm which made it worse by having these divisions controlled mostly by the Nazi party instead of the Wehrmacht. The huge losses of manpower made the Wehrmacht getting crews for tanks difficult due to complex engineering and maintenance of their tanks unlike the T-34.


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Revan #24 Posted 28 February 2014 - 07:37 AM

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View PostTovarishTony, on 27 February 2014 - 06:54 PM, said:


The best German panzers(Tigers) were mostly handed to the SS panzer divisions and the SS were an elite force compared to the Soviets(even guards tank armies) who were still getting used to the T-34 in the early months of the war plus the initially poor organization of the Red Army while the Soviet tank casualties in 1945 were mostly done by panzerfausts(also known as faustpatrone) and panzerschreks where even the Volkssturm use them. The Red Army does have the better training for conscripts as they have the equipment where conscripts can easily get used to it and they learned lessons from their earlier defeats. The Red Army especially from armies with the title "guards"(Гвардия) were battle hardened veterans while the Germans since they lost alot of experienced men in the battles of Moscow,Stalingrad and Kursk have to rely on the Volkssturm which made it worse by having these divisions controlled mostly by the Nazi party instead of the Wehrmacht. The huge losses of manpower made the Wehrmacht getting crews for tanks difficult due to complex engineering and maintenance of their tanks unlike the T-34.

 

 Also the dire fuel situation. Towards the end Luftaffe pilots had 1/3rd the training than they were supposed to get and the Panzer schools were not much better. Panzerfaust probably destroyed more Soviet tanks than the German panzers. 


Edited by Revan, 28 February 2014 - 07:38 AM.

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DivHunter #25 Posted 28 February 2014 - 08:05 AM

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View PostRevan, on 28 February 2014 - 10:37 AM, said:

 

 Also the dire fuel situation. Towards the end Luftaffe pilots had 1/3rd the training than they were supposed to get and the Panzer schools were not much better. Panzerfaust probably destroyed more Soviet tanks than the German panzers. 

 

They lost more pilots in training than on combat missions in the later years.



TovarishTony #26 Posted 28 February 2014 - 10:15 AM

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During Operation Bagration most of the Luftwaffe were moved to the Western Front due to they know the allied air superiority and the Soviets caught the Germans by surprise in Byelarussia and the Germans got raped by Soviet air superiority which the scene looks like the summer of 1941 but in reversed roles. One thing the Germans cannot do is having the mass production on par with the Ilyushin IL-2 Shturmoviks which were the most produced military aircraft of all time at the same time serious difficulties with fuel and manpower again.

Here this footage as how the Germans had another blow of huge losses of manpower in 1944 after Operation Bagration

 

As a result the Volkssturm was formed in late 1944 while the experienced German armies at the West were defending against the Western allies specifically the Battle of the Bulge and the Soviet forces were already in Hungary so Hitler sent elite panzer divisions there instead of making them defend Berlin just to defend the Hungarian oil refineries then the Soviets responded with SU-100s. The Soviets steamrolled the German divisions in Pomerania and Silesia too losing their importance resources such as coal and steel. The German ambitions on wunderwaffe weapons drained their resources to the bottom while the King Tigers ended up being encircled by T-34-85s.

A video about the German Wunderwaffe


Edited by TovarishTony, 28 February 2014 - 10:17 AM.

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Lunaris #27 Posted 01 March 2014 - 01:17 AM

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View PostRevan, on 27 February 2014 - 04:52 AM, said:

 

 They were in no real condition to do much and the Soviet army was not that good at attacking in 41. Army group South probably could have contained them while north just kept on pushing. See the Kharkov debacle in early 42 for the general state of the Red Army. 

 

Actually Red army doctrine is all about attacking. Only in 1943 they learn about proper defend. Kharkhov debacle due to insufficient armored forces and German buildup for Operation Blue.

 

View PostRevan, on 27 February 2014 - 04:56 AM, said:

 

 T-34 has a myth around it but the Russians still lost something like 5 of them for every Panzer they killed. A lot of those Soviet offensives ground to a halt as at various tines the Germans were destroying them faster than the Soviets could build them. Something like 6000 tanks lost in 3 months. In terms of skill the Soviets were the best from post Kursk and through out 1944. In 1945 they suffered casualties similar to 42/43 all over again as they more or less brute forced the way into Germany- see the battle of the Seelow Heights right near the end. Germans have nothing and still inflict massive casualties on the Soviets. 

 

Actually that is how German armor superiority myth is build. First you must know that Soviet count their losses different than Germans, they count them on daily basis, while Germans count  their losses on monthly or more basis. This lead to double or triple counting for soviet while German only count their losses once and T-34 production are low until 1943.

 

In fact that German use inferior tanks when they are winning and start loosing when they have superior tanks. Its easy to understand why that happens if you drop tank spec and focus on logistic and organization. Soviet tank forces prior 1943 are doomed to fail even without engaging enemy tanks or ati tank guns. unlike WoT tank need fuel and 1024 tanks in soviet mechanized corps of 1941 need huge number of trucks to carry them which they dont have at that time. How did Germans managed to defeat soviet tank forces with just pz 1,2 and 38t? Simply just wait until soviet run out of fuel or attack their fuel depot/truck, then those tanks will became useless then abandoned, soviet will count them as losses even without single German firing any weapon. Things change when they learn harsh truth that tank need fuel. Their tank forces was trimmed down from 1024 to 96 tanks in just one year, and trimmed down again to 63 the following year. Then they start winning.

 

View PostTovarishTony, on 27 February 2014 - 05:54 PM, said:


The best German panzers(Tigers) were mostly handed to the SS panzer divisions and the SS were an elite force compared to the Soviets(even guards tank armies) who were still getting used to the T-34 in the early months of the war plus the initially poor organization of the Red Army while the Soviet tank casualties in 1945 were mostly done by panzerfausts(also known as faustpatrone) and panzerschreks where even the Volkssturm use them. The Red Army does have the better training for conscripts as they have the equipment where conscripts can easily get used to it and they learned lessons from their earlier defeats. The Red Army especially from armies with the title "guards"(Гвардия) were battle hardened veterans while the Germans since they lost alot of experienced men in the battles of Moscow,Stalingrad and Kursk have to rely on the Volkssturm which made it worse by having these divisions controlled mostly by the Nazi party instead of the Wehrmacht. The huge losses of manpower made the Wehrmacht getting crews for tanks difficult due to complex engineering and maintenance of their tanks unlike the T-34.

SS are not elite, far from it. They are conscript in quality.

 

Guards are not better trained as well, it just their front commander will demand more from them because they have extra gear. For example standard rifle company have one mortar battery one anti tank rifle platoon and one MG platoon, in guards rifle company they got two anti tank rifle platoon two mortar batteries and two mg platoon. Just like that, extra gear.



Melcyna #28 Posted 01 March 2014 - 11:16 AM

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do note however that since units typically attained guards status after essentially proving themselves in action, they are typically also more reliable...

 

essentially, they have passed their trial by fire... (they after all survived the battles before they acquired guards status) and can thus at least be expected to hold up better than conscripts who will be of dubious capability...

which in turns means they are going to be a better investment of hardwares and equipment (for obvious reason) and naturally thus the preferred unit of choice as well for task and goal that are more critical...

 

After all... If you are the general, which would you use for taking an important key location in a grand warfare?

1. the green unit freshly formed or with minimal participation record thus far

2. the guards unit that already had several battles in their belt or have survived a major battle



Lunaris #29 Posted 01 March 2014 - 12:35 PM

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Everyone have their own trial of fire. 6th guards tank army receive its guard status due the German side performing very very very bad. It just few month after its formation they managed to join Kostrum pocket encirclement.

 

62nd army receive their guard status after Stalingrad although the real feat is holding advance of 6th Army and 4th Panzer Army alone after 2nd Kharkov. When it receive guard status the entire army already replaced with conscripted noobs. 64th army who also have their share holding Stalingrad did not get guard status.

 

Maybe the guard status actually given to their generals not for the soldier. 8th guards or example (formerly 62nd) was build up from scratch with conscript level recruit in 1942. They did not have major engagement until 1944 (Bagration) and their job is to babysit 1st Polish army to make sure they are not wiped out when doing something stupid (Helping Warsaw, Germans inside Warsaw are few but outside Warsaw are many, enough to wipe out 2nd Tank Army almost down to the last tank). Their real job is to storm fortress city of Poznan, taking a lot of losses due Stalin want the city intact (no fancy uber arty barrage) and rebuild again to defend Kostrin bridgehead, hit by two major German assault. Rebuild again to join Battle of Berlin (only have 2 weeks to rebuild), have the most casualty out of all 1st Belorussian Front despite does not have the hardest job (the hardest is 5th shock so its natural they have 2nd highest casualty). 



Melcyna #30 Posted 01 March 2014 - 01:42 PM

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No, the generals can be shifted from unit to unit (or liquidated, and that can happen either by friend or foe in Russia at the time) so it never made sense to attach it to him...

 

rather the unit as a whole get it... and  you can think of it as the unit's heraldry... in that the unit does not even necessarily have to be intact to preserve the status.

 

and while it's true that the unit's soldiers will suffer casualties, and probably replaced and thus is never static (in fact the entire soldiers complement may well have to be reformed, and note that they do not necessarily reform it with conscripts... they can and do reform guards units taking experienced soldiers from elsewhere, typically remnants of other units etc that sustained significant casualties)... most of the unit's command hierarchy should be intact even if the unit suffered casualties...  and this is extremely valuable...

 

unless of course if the unit suffered such severe losses that it's for all intent and purpose annihilated including it's command staff.

 

remember that one of the biggest problem for Russia at the start of Barbarossa was their command staff in essence... they quite simply lacked good officers... (since Stalin purged so many of them) and without good officers and command staff, a unit is no more than a disorganized mob.

 

note as well of course that:

while surviving a battle and having experience doesn't guarantee 'guards' status for a unit

(you have to appear to perform well at least, and yes this is done even if the foe is technically not equal)...

a guards unit is guaranteed to have survived a battle and thus have experience.

 

during the time after all, they won't necessarily know that the enemy that a unit face might be incompetent, all they can see and know for sure is if the unit succeeded and at what cost in their task, so the only real concrete information they have to award the 'guards' status is really just their perceived performance... the fact that their enemy is led poorly or what not isn't going to matter since they wouldn't know that for certain with the condition and information available at the time.


Edited by Melcyna, 01 March 2014 - 01:56 PM.


Whatistheshootyend #31 Posted 18 August 2014 - 05:55 AM

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View Postjpkiwi, on 26 February 2014 - 09:15 AM, said:

WEll..Churchill had wanted to be mates with Germany..  And would have liked to gone with him to take Stalin out of the game..Churchill hated the guy with a passion. Another one of those what ifs.  Hilter stuffed up..  When u joined the German army u made an oath to Germany, Hitler went and changed that making then swear to allegiance to Hitler, Which is why most of them keep fighting ..  Prussian values and all that. 

 

I think you'll find, that while Churchill was extremely anti-communist, he saw Nazi Germany as the immediate threat to Britain.  From the early 1930's onwards he was issuing warnings of the German military build up and the need for Britain to rearm.  The governments during this period chose to ignore the warnings until almost too late.  As soon as the Soviets were attacked he started organising the shipments of supplies/armaments from Britain, and also the USA, to the Soviets.



badcooky #32 Posted 30 October 2014 - 03:41 PM

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View PostLunaris, on 01 March 2014 - 03:17 AM, said:

 

 

SS are not elite, far from it. They are conscript in quality.

 

Guards are not better trained as well, it just their front commander will demand more from them because they have extra gear. For example standard rifle company have one mortar battery one anti tank rifle platoon and one MG platoon, in guards rifle company they got two anti tank rifle platoon two mortar batteries and two mg platoon. Just like that, extra gear.

What a load of schit.


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KiwiPanzer #33 Posted 31 October 2014 - 03:04 AM

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I read that Hitler was warned that Germany would not be ready for war until 1944.

Commander_Dusty #34 Posted 28 December 2014 - 04:40 PM

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I remember (correct me if I'm wrong), from the book Steel Fist, a book on the history of the panzers that General Heinz Guderian, the architect of the Panzers, Blitzkrieg, and modern tank warfare wrote a dire warning about invading the Soviet union in his  book "Achtung -  Panzer!" , citing soviet industrial capacity, sheer numbers, brutal winters and their scorched earth tactics used throughout their history. Something the rest of the German High command seemed to ignore .

 

One thing to note is that the Soviet Union was interestingly able to indigenously develop their own tank industry from scratch, despite years of trade embargoes and isolation by the western powers,  following the end of WW1, the winter war and the rise of communism. 


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mttspiii #35 Posted 29 December 2014 - 06:29 AM

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View PostBlitzkreig95, on 28 December 2014 - 04:40 PM, said:

One thing to note is that the Soviet Union was interestingly able to indigenously develop their own tank industry from scratch, despite years of trade embargoes and isolation by the western powers,  following the end of WW1, the winter war and the rise of communism. 

 

Just like every other Great Power at that time I guess. UK's tank industry was accordingly reduced due to their focus on the navy, France's tank industry was stifled by politics and overestimation of their WW1 tank force (and Maginot), Germany's tank industry had of course the Treaty to deal with, and the Americans barely bothered with tanks at all.

 

Tank industry-wise, I'd put the Czechs above all the Great Powers with the exception of Russia, and probably France.


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The_Snowman #36 Posted 19 September 2015 - 01:33 PM

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As late as Operation Barbarossa, Germany was still using the obsolete Panzer I and II and the Czech Panzer 35(t). They made up about 40% of the tank forces used in that operation. The Panzers I and II were never meant for combat in the first place, but as training vehicles to get members of the tank corps ready to fight in a real tank. The Czech tanks were always a problem because parts availability was an issue. They also used a lot of captured tanks from other countries and again, because they weren't German made, parts availability was a problem. They would use them until they couldn't be repaired anymore. Many would be stripped to the chassis and converted into tank destroyers mounting German guns. The original Marder was a converted Hotchkiss H35 because they captured so many of them when France fell. 

 

Where Hitler really screwed up was in building increasingly heavy tanks that were overengineered and expensive. I read an article once about the Tiger and they said that there was a part in the turret rotation mechanism that had been engineered for a 20 year service life. If a Tiger in the field survived to 9 months of age, it was considered venerable. Parts engineered to last 20 years are overkill. The last tank that Germany built that justified it's cost of production was probably the Panther. It didn't cost a lot more than a Panzer IV, to build but was able to carry more armor and more powerful guns. A cost reduced version of the Panzer IV produced alongside the Panther in large numbers probably would have seen Germany through the war a lot better than ridiculous projects like the Maus. 



dalcor #37 Posted 21 December 2015 - 05:00 PM

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This is a very interesting thread with most people supplying answers and comments that have for the most part been backed up by facts.

 

kiwipanzers comments that "Hilter was warned that Germany would not be ready for war until 1944".  That was correct for the Reichmarine their 5 year building plan (PLAN Z) from 1939 -1944 hadnt even began.

The plan approved by Hitler called for a surface fleet composed of the following vessels, which included all new ships built in the 1920s and 30s:[11]

Type Projected Completed
Battleships 10 4
Battlecruisers 3 0
Aircraft carriers 4 0
Panzerschiffe 15 3
Heavy cruisers 5 3
Light cruisers 13 6
Scouts 22 0
Destroyers 68 30
Torpedo boats 90 36

These figures included the four Scharnhorst- and Bismarck-class battleships already built or building, the three Deutschland-class panzerschiffe and the six light cruisers already in service.[11] To complete the core of the Plan Z fleet, six H-class battleships, three O-class battlecruisers, twelve P-class panzerschiffe, and two Graf Zeppelin-class aircraft carriers with two more of a new design, were to be built.[18][19] The five ships of the Admiral Hipper class fulfilled the mandate for heavy cruisers, while the M class of light cruisers would fulfill the requirement for light cruisers.[20] The Spähkreuzer 1938 design would form the basis for the fleet scouts ordered in the program.[21] On 27 July 1939, Raeder revised the plan to cancel all twelve of the P-class panzerschiffe.[19]

 It was also true for the Luftwaffe and the Army because neither was 100% ready for war.

 

I do believe that for all their inadequacies that the Germans could have won WW2, but in the end they lost the war on the beaches of Dunkirk.  Hitlers decision at the suggestion of Herman Goering to let the airforce finish off the Allies at Dunkirk was in my opinion what lost the Germans the war.  You just cant let 338,000 military personnel get away.  Yes over 100,000 were French with most of them heading back to France in time to surrender, but that still leaves around 200,000 British personnel.

 

Of that 200,000 Brits there was troops from 1st Armoured Division, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 12th, 23rd,  42nd, 44th, 46th, 48th, 50th, 51st infantry divisions, 14 division all told, this doesnt include the support units, HQ units and also very importantly the airforce fighter and bomber squadrons that also had to escape out of Dunkirk.  If the Germans had sent the Panzer division in and captured most of these troops,  while i doubt that Churchill would have surrendered this potential loss of personel could have made the invasion of England (Sealion) a lot easier, it could have had an impact on the Battle of Britain, for while some of the pilots in France were able to fly out, a lot still had to be evacuated and so did most of the ground crews which were needed to keep the planes serviced and operational.

 

Some of these division were sent to North Africa to fight against the Italians and the Germans and some of the troops would have been sent out as replacement, without which Rommel may have been able to get to the Suez.  Without the pilots and ground crew, the Battle of Britain may have been lost.  Then Britain may have been lost and the war would be all but over.

 

But thats just my opinion.

 

 



tequila_powered #38 Posted 04 March 2016 - 05:22 PM

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Also, Germany did not embark on Total War i.e. putting the economy on full war production footing ....until 1943 after Stalingrad. And then you think about the Afrika Korps in 1941 waiting woefully for dribs and drabs of equipment to be shipped over, with majority of its transports being captured British....

Puteralanun #39 Posted 16 May 2016 - 11:37 PM

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View PostThe_Snowman, on 19 September 2015 - 01:33 PM, said:

As late as Operation Barbarossa, Germany was still using the obsolete Panzer I and II and the Czech Panzer 35(t). They made up about 40% of the tank forces used in that operation. The Panzers I and II were never meant for combat in the first place, but as training vehicles to get members of the tank corps ready to fight in a real tank. The Czech tanks were always a problem because parts availability was an issue. They also used a lot of captured tanks from other countries and again, because they weren't German made, parts availability was a problem. They would use them until they couldn't be repaired anymore. Many would be stripped to the chassis and converted into tank destroyers mounting German guns. The original Marder was a converted Hotchkiss H35 because they captured so many of them when France fell. 

 

Where Hitler really screwed up was in building increasingly heavy tanks that were overengineered and expensive. I read an article once about the Tiger and they said that there was a part in the turret rotation mechanism that had been engineered for a 20 year service life. If a Tiger in the field survived to 9 months of age, it was considered venerable. Parts engineered to last 20 years are overkill. The last tank that Germany built that justified it's cost of production was probably the Panther. It didn't cost a lot more than a Panzer IV, to build but was able to carry more armor and more powerful guns. A cost reduced version of the Panzer IV produced alongside the Panther in large numbers probably would have seen Germany through the war a lot better than ridiculous projects like the Maus. 

 

Hitler didn't screw up. He and Speer knew exactly what they were doing. They realized, No matter how simple and cheap a German tank was built, German factory will never be able to produce them in large enough number to make a difference to the war. They simply don't have the resources even if they can match the Allies industrial capacity. Case in point, German army destroyed a Russian tank in larger number than the Germany entire tank production lines could ever produce, and still the Russian outnumbered the German in the end.

 

Tank such as Maus, Tiger II and Jagdtiger and other wunderwaffe such as ME-262, V1 and V2, was mostly a psychological weapon. It was intended to lift the morale of the German troops and terrorized the enemy. And it work at some point. Rumor abound among the Allied troops about an unpenetrable German tank, and even till this day, this rumor still captured the imagination of many tank enthusiasts. Since there's no way Germany cab match Allied war production, they have to resort to scare tactic.


Edited by Puteralanun, 16 May 2016 - 11:50 PM.


tequila_powered #40 Posted 17 May 2016 - 05:19 PM

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Erhm no. Speer was not in favour of the supertanks. Speer cancelled the Ratte in 43 although it was approved by Hitler. Speer was also more in favour of Panther than Tiger. He also preferred mass production standardization instead of the multiple models and variants (all those chassis being diverted to multiple use) or complex designs ie supertanks. Speer was appointed to production czar only after Todt died in Feb 42. Even then, it took Speer a lot of party fighting and Stalingrad to obtain sufficient authority to get Germany as raise to wartime production in 43 onwards.




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