A reflection on the quality of German armor

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freud
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A reflection on the quality of German armor

Post by freud » Sat Jun 08, 2013 8:51 am

Having played the entire PG-series from inception I can't help but noticing that the Germans seem to have got the short end of the stick in PC Wehr. A comparison of, say, the Jagdtiger from PG1 up until now with the IS-2 or M26 clearly shows that the first-mentioned has had all combat stats drastically reduced while the latter two has been sterioded-up way beyond their historical qualities. Late war, all German armor appear to have been nerfed to the point where they fail to provide in-game combat value save for the very heavy ones (Tigers and above). Historically Hetzers and StuGs where deadly opponents, far more likely to knock out an allied tank then being pulverised themselves and were easily responsible for the lion share of allied tank losses on both fronts in the closing years. In this respect, PC seem as slanted in the favor of allied units as PG1 was to their axis counterparts. I can't help but to think that the reasoning on behalf of the developers were to increase the difficulty of game-play. The result, however, seems to be that few players would consider light to medium armor in their cores and rely on solely on heavy panzers. And with the release of latest patch, where such core-building is supposed to be countered by a more frugal prestige system, it is perhaps a reasonable proposal that a few light and medium panzers receive a boost so as to make them more viable in-game.
Thoughts?

Victor_K
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Re: A reflection on the quality of German armor

Post by Victor_K » Sat Jun 08, 2013 3:49 pm

I would suggest looking at deducters' mod. The info can be found under the Scenario Design topic. He lists changes to units and gives good reasons why.

flakfernrohr
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Re: A reflection on the quality of German armor

Post by flakfernrohr » Sat Jun 08, 2013 3:54 pm

There are always the cheat codes and modding the equipment file to suit your individual preferences and wishes. I agree with you about the Germans having the "short end of the stick" when it comes to armor, especially Stugs, Hetzers, Marders, etc. Even the lowly Pak40 guns were real tank killers but not in the game.
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Re: A reflection on the quality of German armor

Post by Razz1 » Sat Jun 08, 2013 5:00 pm

Also we have the AT and AA Mod which uses the camouflage trait and increases the initiative to make them better.

Soon to be updated to include Allied Corps.

KeldorKatarn
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Re: A reflection on the quality of German armor

Post by KeldorKatarn » Sat Jun 08, 2013 6:17 pm

Hmm I dunno I think the balacning is mostly ok. As for the initiative of the TDs... well.. a StuG had lousy initiative when attacking. And from what I know TDs get a initative bonus when defending, so that should be ok as long as you do not attack. And you could not attack with a German TD. Those guys lay in ambush and destroyed, they didn't run around and shoot down the enemy. They had such a great record because by the time they were used in great numbers, Germany was on the defensive. And here these things usually work very well in PzC I think. As for them getting lost... well whenever a tank or TD was produced in huge numbers, that usually means it was also lost in great numbers... so yes StuGs were incredibly good, but we also lost a lot of them. So they were not invulnerable. I am pretty sure if you manage to ambush an enemy IS with a StuG, that you will still get a very good result.

brettz123
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Re: A reflection on the quality of German armor

Post by brettz123 » Sat Jun 08, 2013 9:25 pm

KeldorKatarn wrote:Hmm I dunno I think the balacning is mostly ok. As for the initiative of the TDs... well.. a StuG had lousy initiative when attacking. And from what I know TDs get a initative bonus when defending, so that should be ok as long as you do not attack. And you could not attack with a German TD. Those guys lay in ambush and destroyed, they didn't run around and shoot down the enemy. They had such a great record because by the time they were used in great numbers, Germany was on the defensive. And here these things usually work very well in PzC I think. As for them getting lost... well whenever a tank or TD was produced in huge numbers, that usually means it was also lost in great numbers... so yes StuGs were incredibly good, but we also lost a lot of them. So they were not invulnerable. I am pretty sure if you manage to ambush an enemy IS with a StuG, that you will still get a very good result.
I think the problem with your analysis is that you are equating attacking and defending in terms of game mechanics with attacking and defending in terms of real life. Sure the TDs were effective on the defense in real life but that doesn't mean they let tanks run up on them and shoot at them first before responding. The TDs should be much better in the game. In the game you can be on the defense and still attack in terms of game mechanics.

freud
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Re: A reflection on the quality of German armor

Post by freud » Sat Jun 08, 2013 9:28 pm

The problem with StuG is not only its low initiative, it simply lacks the firepower to damage heavy allied armor. Ambush or not. Hetzers and other Jagdpanzers are even worse off in this respect. StuGs where in reality responsible for stupendous amounts of tank kills, tallying some 20,000 by 1944. Quite impressive to say the least considering production numbers barely reaching 10,000 of all versions throughout the entire war. StuGs and Jagdpanzers served as stand-in tanks in the late war German army and as such they where by no means employed only for defensive purposes.

KeldorKatarn
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Re: A reflection on the quality of German armor

Post by KeldorKatarn » Sat Jun 08, 2013 10:21 pm

brettz123 wrote:Sure the TDs were effective on the defense in real life but that doesn't mean they let tanks run up on them and shoot at them first before responding.
Who said they did, but they did not act, they did react. A StuG going offensive was dead. AYou cannot fight in a thing without turret with a tank. if you don't surprise the tank from a well prepared defensive position you are toast. StuGs were so great because they could field larger waeapons thanks to no turret but they were a defensive only weapon as TDs. In a direct fair fight they were toast, but German TD crews were very good at preparing such traps. Initially with the 88 guns, later with the StuGs and other TDs. but they were still no match for a tank in a fair fight and that they were used in panzerdivision in the late war was an emergency situation because they simply could be produced faster and it was better to have 2 stugs than 1 or no tank. That was by no means a decision made based on the fact that they were better suited for the tast, they were not. not at all. it was simply a matter of being able to build them faster at a time where Germany needed every gun it could get as fast as possible.

StuGs are great for laying traps, in a fair fight against a tanks they SHOULD get slaughtered. take the Ferdinand, the TD often described to be a bad machine. Well.. it wasn't at all. It was (except for the mechanical difficulties that had prevented the chassis from being used for the Tiger) a great TD. The high loss rate it had was nearly exclusively in units which never had used an armored TD before. So they started using it very offensively thinking they were invulnerable and suffered big time as a result. The Ferdinands which were put into action by former StuG crews who knew exactly that the way to use them was to hide and lay in ambush had incredibly good success with these machines. Which shows that even the heavily armored TDs were not at all suited for offensive operations and way too vulnerable to being flanked, either by tanks of infantry. The StuG was a silent killer and was so great because it had such a slow profile and was nearly never spotted first. You didn't drive a Stug around and started firing, you hid it very well in stationary positions and didn't move for days sometimes. The self propelled nature was only used to keep up and to relocate fast. It wasn't used to fight tanks head on.

brettz123
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Re: A reflection on the quality of German armor

Post by brettz123 » Sat Jun 08, 2013 10:32 pm

KeldorKatarn wrote:
brettz123 wrote:Sure the TDs were effective on the defense in real life but that doesn't mean they let tanks run up on them and shoot at them first before responding.
Who said they did, but they did not act, they did react. A StuG going offensive was dead. AYou cannot fight in a thing without turret with a tank. if you don't surprise the tank from a well prepared defensive position you are toast. StuGs were so great because they could field larger waeapons thanks to no turret but they were a defensive only weapon as TDs. In a direct fair fight they were toast, but German TD crews were very good at preparing such traps. Initially with the 88 guns, later with the StuGs and other TDs. but they were still no match for a tank in a fair fight and that they were used in panzerdivision in the late war was an emergency situation because they simply could be produced faster and it was better to have 2 stugs than 1 or no tank. That was by no means a decision made based on the fact that they were better suited for the tast, they were not. not at all. it was simply a matter of being able to build them faster at a time where Germany needed every gun it could get as fast as possible.

StuGs are great for laying traps, in a fair fight against a tanks they SHOULD get slaughtered. take the Ferdinand, the TD often described to be a bad machine. Well.. it wasn't at all. It was (except for the mechanical difficulties that had prevented the chassis from being used for the Tiger) a great TD. The high loss rate it had was nearly exclusively in units which never had used an armored TD before. So they started using it very offensively thinking they were invulnerable and suffered big time as a result. The Ferdinands which were put into action by former StuG crews who knew exactly that the way to use them was to hide and lay in ambush had incredibly good success with these machines. Which shows that even the heavily armored TDs were not at all suited for offensive operations and way too vulnerable to being flanked, either by tanks of infantry. The StuG was a silent killer and was so great because it had such a slow profile and was nearly never spotted first. You didn't drive a Stug around and started firing, you hid it very well in stationary positions and didn't move for days sometimes. The self propelled nature was only used to keep up and to relocate fast. It wasn't used to fight tanks head on.
Ohhh, I agree with what you are saying in real life. My point is that saying that because this is what happened in real life equates to them being bad when I initiate combat is a pretty bad analogy because real life attacking isn't analogous to in game attacking. If the game made them bad at attacking AFTER moving I would buy your argument but they aren't good at standing still and attacking things that get close either which even according to you they were in real life.

KeldorKatarn
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Re: A reflection on the quality of German armor

Post by KeldorKatarn » Sat Jun 08, 2013 10:55 pm

Even there I'd have to disagree. The units in game represent larger unit formations, not individual machines. Also even from a point of the game I consider defensive fire when the unit is attacked or ambushes another unit. And since Tds get initiative bonuses when on the defense... I guess it depends on how you abstract the combat in your hear. I personally have been pretty effective in using them and I'm pretty happy with them not being more powerful than tanks. Because.. why would I be using tanks then. Even with tanks I hardly ever move up to enemies and blast them, I let them move up to me so I define where the battle happens, so even with the fire before move rule I could imply switch 100% to TDs without any problems. I don't think that would be so good.

freud
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Re: A reflection on the quality of German armor

Post by freud » Sat Jun 08, 2013 11:33 pm

Lack of a traversing turret is a decisive factor only as far as close combat is concerned. This should be addressed by lowering the TD-class close defence (as is the case afaik). Initiative best reflects the effective range of the units main weapon. Hard attack on the other hand ought to correspond to the main guns ability to penetrate armour. The hapless StuG fall woefully short in all three departments while only the first mentioned is really called for.

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Re: A reflection on the quality of German armor

Post by danhanegan » Sun Jun 09, 2013 2:30 am

Not quite what you are talking about, but German armor plate did suffer in quality as the war went on. In the early war German armor plate was great, substantially better than what the Russians could produce and slightly better than American (I am not too sure how British plate compared). But as the war went on they ran short of strategic metals, especially tungsten, and wound up using inferior alloys. Just because late war German tanks and TDs had thicker armor than earlier models did not neccessarily mean they could resist incoming fire as well.

Similarly, German shot lost some of its quality as the war went on. Early on most German AT guns had an option to fire some sort of tungsten cored APCR round, and some experimental guns were designed for nothing else. But by 1943 tungsten core rounds ceased production as all available tungsten was prioritized for other purposes. Even standard "steel" AP rounds suffered. The german "88" performed better than american 90mm guns with similar ballistics because the German shot used harder steel that held its shape better when it slammed into enemy armor plate. But again, those extra hard steel shells required tungsten in the alloy, and when the tungsten ran out, German AT rounds had to make do with softer steel and lost some penetration ability.

Pound per pound and millimeter per millimeter, German armor plate and AP ammo simply was not as good late in the war as it had been earlier.

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Re: A reflection on the quality of German armor

Post by Mordan » Sun Jun 09, 2013 7:44 am

Hello,

A Stug III in the PzC Stalingrad scenario does wonders against soviet KVs

btw anyone want to play a stalingrad MP map with me? I'm very good at it with both Germans and Russians.

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Re: A reflection on the quality of German armor

Post by flakfernrohr » Sun Jun 09, 2013 10:28 pm

freud wrote:Lack of a traversing turret is a decisive factor only as far as close combat is concerned. This should be addressed by lowering the TD-class close defence (as is the case afaik). Initiative best reflects the effective range of the units main weapon. Hard attack on the other hand ought to correspond to the main guns ability to penetrate armour. The hapless StuG fall woefully short in all three departments while only the first mentioned is really called for.
The "hapless" StuGIII could spin on a dime and turn to an angle shot on a penny in the hands of a good driver to take a quick shot. Plus it was so low to the ground it did not provide for a very large target. There are reasons why there were so many StuG tank aces.
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Re: A reflection on the quality of German armor

Post by KeldorKatarn » Sun Jun 09, 2013 11:41 pm

Guys no matter what you may have read about the greatneess of the Stug, a turretless vehicle will always be defeated by a tank. if only because it cannot watch its surroundings as well as a tank. it is build for forward fire, orienting itself already knowing where the enemy will appear. It cannot see anything in other direction if it is closed up, at least not nearly as well as a tank. And that flatness? Yeah great for hiding but also not so great for watching your surroundings because lower to the ground = bad view. Any infantryman can sing a song about that. A StuG can only fight already knowing what's going on. if the enemy appears from an unexpected direction or from multiple directions it is very very vulnerable and you cannot go around and constantly spin the entire machine, that's why tanks have turrets. Ever thought about what happens to a StuG that has a track blown off? It's a sitting duck. A Tank can still fully defend itself. Also tanks usually had at least decent side armor, since they expected to be flanked every now and then. Most StuG type weapons are paper thin anywhere but the front, that's because they were built to only fight to the front because they are defensive weapons.

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Re: A reflection on the quality of German armor

Post by flakfernrohr » Mon Jun 10, 2013 12:13 am

Cannot deny that a tank has a very distinct advantage with a turret and in some instances heavier armor, but in experienced hands of an experienced crew, the StuG was a very worthy opponent, particularly with the L48 gun (which was my point)
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Re: A reflection on the quality of German armor

Post by boredatwork » Mon Jun 10, 2013 1:33 am

Guys no matter what you may have read about the greatneess of the Stug, if only because it cannot watch its surroundings as well as a tank. it is build for forward fire, orienting itself already knowing where the enemy will appear. It cannot see anything in other direction if it is closed up, at least not nearly as well as a tank. And that flatness? Yeah great for hiding but also not so great for watching your surroundings because lower to the ground = bad view. Any infantryman can sing a song about that.
??? The StuG G, by far the most numerous variant (7000+) had a copula for the commander who was no worse off than the average buttoned up Panzer commander for 360* view. And while the flexibility of having a turret was a huge tactical advantage, the greater height that resulted from having one was an undesirable by product. I'm sure some anecdotal examples could be found where the improved view was an advantage, but in general I don't think it was a tactically significant factor compared to the disadvantage of being a larger, more conspicuous target either attacking or defending. I can't recall anyone praising the Sherman or Grant for example because their height made it easier to see things compared to the large volume of criticism that they were too tall. And despite being much heavier most modern AFVs are still shorter.
Also tanks usually had at least decent side armor, since they expected to be flanked every now and then. Most StuG type weapons are paper thin anywhere but the front, that's because they were built to only fight to the front because they are defensive weapons.
??? The StuGs were built on tank chassis - they had exactly the same side armour as their tank counterparts.


@the opening post

I think ultimately PzC borrowed the original PG mechanics a bit too literally. The game pieces represent not units as KK suggests nor individual pieces of equipment but rather an abstract combination of both. Similarly the mechanics are abstract representing neither truly tactical combat nor operational level combat. Consequently many of the unit stats have been fudged, and not always consistently. What does a piece's HA value represent? What does a unit's GD represent? In the case of tanks if we made them directly proportional to a unit's armour penetration and maximum armour respectively, and then based the mechanics on a true to life probability of a given weapon defeating a given armour value you would wind up with situations like a 75mm Sherman being unable to damage a Tiger or Panther at all when historically that was not the case. At best the existing system/values can be an attempt to factor in things like flank shots, damage to optics and suspension, HE panicking green crews into abandoning tanks prematurely, etc.

To more accurately reflect historical reality you would probably have to add additional stats for side armour, have initiative directly related to the handiness of a given weapon, and then place greater reliance on terrain type, experience, and entrenchment to generate a nominal range within that hex at which combat takes place, and the likelyhood of one side or the other getting flank shots.

Under the current system I've used StuGs (and PzIVs) into the 1945 GC successfully but they suffer from 2 major shortcomings IMO:

1. The economic system in the game is borked - as long as cores are limited by slots choosing a tank over a StuG will always be the smarter option in much the same way that fighters will always be superior to AA. If you had a choice between deploying 9 tanks OR 15 StuGs OR some combination thereof then the later would be a more viable choice.

2. Because the cores are quantity capped instead of quality capped and because Enemy unit size is base capped at a fixed 10str the Grand Campaign itself relies on excessive quantities and qualities of opposing units as a method of balance - the extreme abundance of IS-2s for example - which devalues the contribution of the low end of the "high-low" mix.

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Re: A reflection on the quality of German armor

Post by KeldorKatarn » Mon Jun 10, 2013 2:54 am

If chosing Stugs to replace panzers were a liable choice then the game would definitely do something wrong. The Stug was good, but the Stug was no tank. And it should never be able to replace a tank in this game, not even in greater numbers.

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Re: A reflection on the quality of German armor

Post by boredatwork » Mon Jun 10, 2013 4:08 am

KeldorKatarn wrote: And it should never be able to replace a tank in this game, not even in greater numbers.
Given that the Germans were largely on the defensive from 1943 onwards the StuG should indeed be a viable substitute for tanks - otherwise why on earth did the Germans build so many of them?

Because it was more effective in a defensive Anti Tank role than any tank they could they build on the PzIII Chassis, and could be built in far greater quantities than any other tank option that would have required retooling the production line.

The problem with the game currently is the prestige system doesn't reflect that economic reality.

freud
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Re: A reflection on the quality of German armor

Post by freud » Mon Jun 10, 2013 4:34 am

flakfernrohr wrote:
freud wrote:Lack of a traversing turret is a decisive factor only as far as close combat is concerned. This should be addressed by lowering the TD-class close defence (as is the case afaik). Initiative best reflects the effective range of the units main weapon. Hard attack on the other hand ought to correspond to the main guns ability to penetrate armour. The hapless StuG fall woefully short in all three departments while only the first mentioned is really called for.
The "hapless" StuGIII could spin on a dime and turn to an angle shot on a penny in the hands of a good driver to take a quick shot. Plus it was so low to the ground it did not provide for a very large target. There are reasons why there were so many StuG tank aces.
I should have made it it clear that the last phrase refers to how the StuG is represented in the game. An interesting fact is that the tank ace Michael Wittmann always used his Tiger as a StuG, finding it quicker to move the whole vehicle rather than only the turret when engaging the enemy.

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