Should Panthers be cheaper?

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kondi754
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Re: Should Panthers be cheaper?

Post by kondi754 » Sun Aug 09, 2020 5:15 pm

@Retributar, McGuba
It makes no sense to compare the conflict in the Middle East of the 1960s and 1970s with the Second World War
The Israeli-Arab Wars were a local, small-scale, for mass-media conflict mostly (they lasted several days and were supposed to be an implementation of a policy of facts made, before the UN Security Council convened and announces its resolution on this matter)
World War II was a conflict between world powers on a different scale and period of time. So it was a war for the destruction of the enemy's manpower, industry and economy. First of all, it took place over a huge area that had to be filled with people and equipment, but not several dozen kilometers of front lines on the Golan Heights or the Sinai Peninsula.

@Retributar
If that's what you're interested in, then read about the Battle of the Chinese Farm when Ariel Sharon's Mechanized Division was crossing the Suez Canal in 1973. :wink:

McGuba
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Re: Should Panthers be cheaper?

Post by McGuba » Sun Aug 09, 2020 5:28 pm

Haha, this topic is getting further and further away from the opening post. Nevertheless, it is indeed interesting. :)
kondi754 wrote:
Sun Aug 09, 2020 3:27 pm
McGuba wrote:
Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:52 pm
The Pz.IV might have been on par with the T-34/85 and the Sherman, but was certainly outclassed by the Soviet "beast killers": IS-2, ISU-122, ISU-152 and SU-100. And thousands of these were produced from 1944, and there were the Sherman Firefly, Comet, M36 and M26 in the west which also seem to have a better gun at least. So even if the Germans decided to stick to the Pz.IV/StuG III combo and produce more, they would have run into some problems dealing with these Allied types after a while.
Unfortunately, I have a different opinion. If you read the monographs about the vehicles you write about, you would come to 2 conclusions:
1.The Pz IVG or H handled with most of these tanks and SPGs very well, not to mention the StuG IV which were very dangerous to all of these vehicles
2.Most of these vehicles were so few on the frontline so it is not worth writing about them because they hadn't strategic or at least operational significance, at best tactical
1. I would like to read those monographs as well. Where shall I start? Especially when it comes to the supposedly superior StuG IV. As far as I know it was very similar to the StuG III, the main difference was that it was built on the Panzer IV chassis instead of the Panzer III. Other than that it had the same speed, protection, main gun, etc. Are you sure you did not mean the Jagdpanzer IV/70 instead which was indeed fairly good as it had the same main gun as the Panther and a heavily sloped armour?

2. I have these production numbers for the Soviet AFVs in 1944:

T-34: 13.900 (3.900 T-34/43 and 10.000 T-34/85)

SU-100: 500
IS-2: 2.200
ISU-122: 945
ISU-152: 1340

If we combine the latter ones we get nearly 5.000, which is half the number of T-34/85s produced in that year. So I would not say these Soviet SPGs and heavy tanks were so few compared to the T-34 medium tanks. In the same year Germany produced 3.200 Panzer IV tanks, so if these Soviet heavies were so few, then the German Panzer IVs were even more scarce, which I would hardly agree with.

As for the Firefly, it looks like at the time of Normandy one in four British Sherman was a Firefly and later this ratio went up to 50-50. I also would not say it was scarce or insignificant. Comet, M36 and M26 were indeed fairly late and did not see a lot of combat though. But had the war lasted longer their numbers would have increased in the end. However, the real deal was in the east and there the Soviet heavies were fairly significant from mid 1944, I think. These were supposed to be breakthrough tanks and SPGs, spearheading the offensives and thus I think they had a significant operational value.
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adiekmann
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Re: Should Panthers be cheaper?

Post by adiekmann » Sun Aug 09, 2020 9:09 pm

Catacol wrote:
Sun Aug 09, 2020 10:52 am
adiekmann wrote:
Sat Aug 08, 2020 5:30 pm
The fact is, no matter what tank they built, the Germans were never going to match the production capacity of the Allies, so it wouldn't have mattered, and even if they somehow miraculously did they did not have the manpower - unless they developed unmanned drone tanks, or crewed by Nazi Zombies! Yikes!
Go read the analysis of wartime potential production in Richard Overy's "Why the Allies Won" - he debunks the long held view that Germany was "doomed" to lose because of productive capacity differences. Had Goring not made such a mess of things with the 4 year plan, and Todt failed to reconcile the competing arms of German industry and failed to maximise the productive capacity of the occupied territories, then the production gap need not have been there. Speer set about sorting all this out, but his arrival in 43 was too late. There is an interesting bit in there referring to US support given to Soviet production facilities, and the bewilderment of US observers who couldn't quite work out how Soviet production didn't just fall apart. The resilience of the soviet worker, and his/her capacity to endure horrendous working conditions and adapt to material shortages, was one of the great triumphs of the Soviet effort. It is also worth saying that by 1944 manpower reserves in both the USSR and UK were close to exhaustion. Russian infantry units were almost always understrength, and the UK couldn't further expand ground forces at all. Yes - German manpower was stretched....but so too were her enemies. We need to puncture the myth of the "inevitability" of German defeat due to material and manpower differences because it hugely oversimplifies a complex topic.

And in any case wars have to be won via victory on the battlefield - they are not won in factories. Germany could have avoided defeat at Stalingrad; she could have avoided the capitulation in Tunisia in 1943 and not run down a blind alley at Kursk. These were hugely significant battlefield defeats, the result of poor intelligence, poor strategy and poor leadership. We also therefore need to puncture the myth of the indomitable Wehrmacht doomed to defeat but heroic in the quality of the rearguard action. Yes - there were some inspired commanders such as Manstein and some units that were extremely high quality such as Grossdeutschland - but German generals and the German leadership lost them the war no matter the impact of Auftragstaktic on the ground. Germany lost the war as a result of her own failures and not because of the supposed tag team numerical superiority of her enemies.
Well, yes, that was what I was saying. The Nazis could have done much better and didn't fully mobilize the economy until like 1942. But there is no way they could have matched the resources and production capabilities of the United States, nevermind all of the combined Allies. They would have been better off in mid war if they had done so, but that would only have delayed the inevitable unless they had succeeded in winning the war early. But once they failed after the winter of '41, it turned into a war of attrition.

Then there's still the problem with resources. Some have pointed out in this thread that better AT munitions would have been smarter than constantly making bigger tanks with more powerful guns. Well yes. The Allies knew this too. However, that requires tungsten and other metals which Germany did not have good access to and was thus impossible. It remained in rather short supply for the western allies too.

Manpower. The Germans solution was slave labor. But there are numerous problems with using slave labor (beyond the obvious moral ones). Their quality of work sucks. It opens it up to sabotage and high failure rates. All of these things did occur to compound the problem of production, rather than fix it. Soviet workmanship was shoddy too because of similar working conditions under the umbrella of threats. However, Soviet tanks loses were such that they didn't care because they didn't care about how many men died to the degree that the Western Allies or even the Germans did. Why worry about quality welding on your tank when you already know it's not going to survive that long on the battlefield anyway?

And ultimately yes, strategic defeats resulting from stupid orders to "hold fast" and "reinforce a defeat" (as Rommel called the reinforcements being transferred to Tunisia) all make this problem mute, and that's not to include mysteries like why Hitler declared war on the US. I agree. But Yamamoto understood the importance of industrial production of material and access to key resources already before the attack on Pearl Harbor. The whole real reason for the Japanese attack was because of resources (i.e. oil) was cut off by Britain and the US. Modern warfare requires these things so to underestimate their importance is just searching for an academic thesis.

This is a complex topic with no one correct answer. Yes, numerous scholars have come up with their own "why the Allies won/Germany loss" opinions. The only certain thing one can say is that they all contributed to some degree. Ranking them will be something that will forever be argues and disagreed about. It is like the story of the blind wise men and the elephant. They all are correct in describing the elephant, but all only have a piece of the picture. We're all actually arguing over who is "most correct," (the one who felt the trunk in my opinion :lol: ).

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Re: Should Panthers be cheaper?

Post by Retributarr » Sun Aug 09, 2020 11:06 pm

adiekmann wrote:
Sun Aug 09, 2020 9:09 pm
Then there's still the problem with resources. Some have pointed out in this thread that better AT munitions would have been smarter than constantly making bigger tanks with more powerful guns. Well yes. The Allies knew this too. However, that requires tungsten and other metals which Germany did not have good access to and was thus impossible. It remained in rather short supply for the western allies too.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
[Tungsten Mines] Galicia and World War II
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galicia_and_World_War_II

The tungsten mines, such as the Mines of San Fins, were used for the Axis war industry. The extraction and transport of the mineral carried out by front companies, such as the Finance and Industrial Corporation (Galician: Sociedade Financeira e Industrial).
Image
38.1 cm /45 Model 1926 naval guns of the Monte de San Pedro in A Coruña, with 35 km range, protected the Galician ports of Ferrol and A Coruña for the Third Reich

Germany had to seek sources in Europe. Spain and Portugal were the only producers, with Galicia accounting for almost 70% of Spanish reserves. For this reason, it became the main center of extraction.
Year_______________________Quantity (t)_________________Value in millions of pesetas
1939__________________________76___________________________ 0,755
1940_________________________563___________________________6,985
1941_________________________156___________________________3,623
1942_________________________159_________________________-18,751
1943________________________1396_________________________241,054
1944________________________2502_________________________406,455
1945________________________1662_________________________246,221

Spain during World War II - Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spain_during_World_War_II
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
[Ret: Another way to get a plentiful supply of "Tungsten" is to Invade 'Spain'... if 'Franco' is unwilling or unable to assist you in your efforts to secure the product and as well... now the 'Door' would be wide-open to the attempt to seize 'Gibraltar'. To ensure that you can have access to this 'Tungsten'... would now mean that if 'Franco' is unable to assist in 'Spains' defence... that the German's would now have to shoulder the entire effort by themselves!.]

2006-01-06 · From the very beginning of World War II, Spain favoured the Axis Powers. Apart from ideology, Spain had a debt to Germany of $212 million for supplies of matériel during the Civil War. Indeed, in June 1940, after the Fall of France , the Spanish Ambassador to Berlin had presented a memorandum in which Franco declared he was "ready under certain conditions to enter the war on on the side of Germany and Italy". .

Despite ideological sympathy, Franco even stationed field armies in the Pyrenees to deter Axis occupation of the Iberian Peninsula. The Spanish policy frustrated Axis proposals that would have encouraged Franco to take British-controlled Gibraltar.[2] Much of the reason for Spanish reluctance to join the war was due to Spain's reliance on imports from the United States. Spain was still recovering from its civil war and Franco knew his armed forces would not be able to defend the Canary Islands and Spanish Morocco from a British attack.[3]

Spanish policy would return to "strict neutrality" as the tide of war started to turn against the Axis. American pressure in 1944 for Spain to stop tungsten exports to Germany and to withdraw the Blue Division led to an oil embargo which forced Franco to yield.

Operation Felix

See also: Military history of Gibraltar during World War II
Image
Invasion plans of Nazi Germany and probable routes of British invasion

Before Franco and Hitler's October 1940 meeting in Hendaye, there had been Spanish-German planning for an attack, from Spain, upon the British territory of Gibraltar which was, and is, a British dependency and military base. At the time, Gibraltar was important for control of the western exit from the Mediterranean and the sea routes to the Suez Canal and Middle East, as well as Atlantic patrols.

The Germans also appreciated the strategic importance of north-west Africa for bases and as a route for any future American involvement. Therefore, the plans included the occupation of the region by substantial German forces, to forestall any future Allied invasion attempt.

The plan, Operation Felix, was in detailed form before the negotiations failed at Hendaye. By March 1941, military resources were being ear-marked for Barbarossa and the Soviet Union. Operation Felix-Heinrich was an amended form of Felix that would be invoked once certain objectives in Russia had been achieved. In the event, these conditions were not fulfilled and Franco still held back from entering the war.

[Ret: Alternative WWII Path Direction???]
***After the war, Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel said: "Instead of attacking Russia, we should have strangled the British Empire by closing the Mediterranean. The first step in the operation would have been the conquest of Gibraltar. That was another great opportunity we missed."[15] If that had succeeded, Hermann Göring proposed that Germany would "... offer Britain the right to resume peaceful traffic through the Mediterranean if she came to terms with Germany and joined us in a war against Russia".***

As the war progressed and the tide turned against the Axis, the Germans planned for the event of an Allied attack through Spain. There were three successive plans, progressively less aggressive as German capability waned:

Operation Isabella [Plan-01]
Main article: Operation Isabella https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Isabella
This was planned in April 1941 as a reaction to a proposed British landing on the Iberian peninsula near Gibraltar. German troops would advance into Spain to support Franco and expel the British wherever they landed.

Operation Ilona or Gisella [Plan-02]
Ilona was a scaled down version of Isabella, subsequently renamed Gisella. Devised in May 1942, to be invoked whether or not Spain stayed neutral. Ten German divisions would advance to Barcelona and, if necessary, towards Salamanca to support the Spanish army in fighting another proposed Allied landing either from the Mediterranean or Atlantic coasts.

Operation Nurnberg [Plan-03]
Devised in June 1943, Nurnberg was purely a defensive operation in the Pyrenees along both sides of the Spanish-French border in the event of Allied landings in the Iberian peninsula, which were to repel an Allied advance from Spain into France.
Last edited by Retributarr on Mon Aug 10, 2020 3:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

IceSerpent
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Re: Should Panthers be cheaper?

Post by IceSerpent » Sun Aug 09, 2020 11:37 pm

kondi754 wrote:
Sat Aug 08, 2020 4:11 pm
You can always change the turret, the point is that instead of building unnecessary heavy tanks, you can upgrade or rebuild an existing combat-proven tank
See what the Israelis did to the Sherman in the 1960s, a late 1930s project of tank and performed very well on the battlefield against the Arab T-54 and T-55
In other words, the first step of successfully upgrading Pz IV H would be to use a time machine in order to get some 1960s technology? :roll:
Ok @IceSerpent, so whats your point of how should the development of the German Panzerwaffe be in the face of a losing war, when it was necessary to defend more often than to attack, and when the available resources were systematically reduced ?
In 1943? It didn't really matter much at that point - Germany didn't have industrial capacity necessary to mount a successful defense. In 1938 - 1940 they could develop something similar to T-34 instead of Pz III and Pz IV, i.e. sloped armor, diesel engine, transmission in the rear, etc. They also shouldn't have let British evacuate from Dunkirk, regardless of the cost. All that is just playing "what if" though.

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Re: Should Panthers be cheaper?

Post by kondi754 » Mon Aug 10, 2020 11:24 am

IceSerpent wrote:
Sun Aug 09, 2020 11:37 pm

In other words, the first step of successfully upgrading Pz IV H would be to use a time machine in order to get some 1960s technology? :roll:
You are running out of arguments, so do you start to use eristic tricks? :wink:
This was just an example, the Germans wouldn't need the technology from the 1960s, it was enough for them to upgrade this tank to the standard of the mid 1940s. :D

IceSerpent wrote:
Sun Aug 09, 2020 11:37 pm
In 1943? It didn't really matter much at that point - Germany didn't have industrial capacity necessary to mount a successful defense. In 1938 - 1940 they could develop something similar to T-34 instead of Pz III and Pz IV, i.e. sloped armor, diesel engine, transmission in the rear, etc. They also shouldn't have let British evacuate from Dunkirk, regardless of the cost. All that is just playing "what if" though.
So you share ma view, that nothing could save them from disaster :)
You forgot to add that in 1935 they should have obeyed General Wever and quickly developed strategic bombers forces. They could do so at the cost of canceling the aircraft carrier project, abandoning the construction of Bismarck, etc.

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Re: Should Panthers be cheaper?

Post by kondi754 » Mon Aug 10, 2020 12:36 pm

McGuba wrote:
Sun Aug 09, 2020 5:28 pm

1. I would like to read those monographs as well. Where shall I start? Especially when it comes to the supposedly superior StuG IV. As far as I know it was very similar to the StuG III, the main difference was that it was built on the Panzer IV chassis instead of the Panzer III. Other than that it had the same speed, protection, main gun, etc. Are you sure you did not mean the Jagdpanzer IV/70 instead which was indeed fairly good as it had the same main gun as the Panther and a heavily sloped armour?
Of course I think of the late StuGs III and StuGs IV too, but I named these all vehicles "StuG IV" to distinguish them in the discussion from the early StuG III, which were used to support infantry but not to hunt enemy tanks.
No I mean StuGs not Jagdpanzers, which were to little to have operational impact.
So you have to read about the operations of armored units in the north of the Eastern Front, e.g. in Estonia or Courland - there are a number of descriptions of how very well camouflaged StuGs in well-chosen defense positions massacred the waves of T-34, SU-85 or ISU-122 which attack in the open area or on the Sandomierz bridgehead on the Vistula River, in January 1945, the StuGs company supported by few Konigstigers neutralized the entire Soviet heavy tank regiment, destroying a dozen IS-2s, the vast majority of which were destroyed by the StuGs and then they retreated.
(and the Tigers II were left on the battlefield, abandoned by crews unable to launch tanks buried in the thick mud :wink: )
You are too attached to stats and technical data, but there is no tank indestructible, even a Konigstiger could be destroyed relatively easily by a shot to the side armor at close range or the engine - sometimes it is enough to break the track and the tankers trying to repair it can be shot with the MG.
The advantage of the Stugs was the low, compact hull, which made them extremely difficult to detect and neutralize, besides, they were definitely cheap to produce and their 75mm gun was enough to destroy heavy tanks with it. "StuG vehicles destroyed more than 20,000 Soviet tanks and armored vehicles on the Eastern Front during the war, which gives them the best destruction result among all German armored vehicles." (Wikipedia)

McGuba wrote:
Sun Aug 09, 2020 5:28 pm

2. I have these production numbers for the Soviet AFVs in 1944:

T-34: 13.900 (3.900 T-34/43 and 10.000 T-34/85)

SU-100: 500
IS-2: 2.200
ISU-122: 945
ISU-152: 1340

If we combine the latter ones we get nearly 5.000, which is half the number of T-34/85s produced in that year. So I would not say these Soviet SPGs and heavy tanks were so few compared to the T-34 medium tanks. In the same year Germany produced 3.200 Panzer IV tanks, so if these Soviet heavies were so few, then the German Panzer IVs were even more scarce, which I would hardly agree with.

As for the Firefly, it looks like at the time of Normandy one in four British Sherman was a Firefly and later this ratio went up to 50-50. I also would not say it was scarce or insignificant. Comet, M36 and M26 were indeed fairly late and did not see a lot of combat though. But had the war lasted longer their numbers would have increased in the end. However, the real deal was in the east and there the Soviet heavies were fairly significant from mid 1944, I think. These were supposed to be breakthrough tanks and SPGs, spearheading the offensives and thus I think they had a significant operational value.
One important thing at start, it was the Allies who began building heavy armored vehicles in response to the Tigers and Panthers but not vice versa.

Re: production numbers
But these numbers speak of all production in 1944, it's not like all these vehicles were at the front in the same time. There were maybe max 800-1000 heavy vehicles of all sorts in the same time on the whole eastern front. Divide this number by the number of kilometers of the eastern front in 1944, not even the entire front, but just take into account the length of the front in Karelia, in the Baltic countries, in East Prussia, Poland and Hungary, in other directions the number of tanks was very small. If you add it all, then divide the number of 1,000 heavy armored vehicles by the number of km, I assure you that it will not be even 1 heavy vehicle per km.
The Soviets were losing huge amounts of armored vehicles, so to tell the truth they didn't even keep up with the replenishment, many tank brigades operated in incomplete states, there were even differences in the number of tanks between each tank army. In the winter of 1944, after crossing the Dnieper, conquering Kiev and heavy fights near Zhytomyr, the 3rd tank army, before the operation of encircling the German bridgehead near Korsun, had maybe 250 tanks and self-propelled guns, about 30 heavy ones included, while the newly introduced 2nd tank army had about 600 tanks. It often happened that the tank army had 80-100 tanks during the offensive operation, this was the level of losses.

EDIT. The Russians had a total of 6 tank armies at the front in 1944-45

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Re: Should Panthers be cheaper?

Post by IceSerpent » Mon Aug 10, 2020 2:56 pm

kondi754 wrote:
Mon Aug 10, 2020 11:24 am
You are running out of arguments, so do you start to use eristic tricks? :wink:
This was just an example, the Germans wouldn't need the technology from the 1960s, it was enough for them to upgrade this tank to the standard of the mid 1940s. :D
No tricks, just telling you that they actually tried to do it and failed. If you have an idea on how exactly they should have done it, please share. Not sure about the others, but I'd be interested.
So you share ma view, that nothing could save them from disaster :)
You forgot to add that in 1935 they should have obeyed General Wever and quickly developed strategic bombers forces. They could do so at the cost of canceling the aircraft carrier project, abandoning the construction of Bismarck, etc.
Certainly. They were already doomed at that point in my opinion. I'd say that there were some things Germany could have done differently in 1930s and during initial stages of the war, and potentially make that global conquest idea happen. In the late stages of the war it was simply too late - they didn't have enough time or resources to recover.

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Re: Should Panthers be cheaper?

Post by IceSerpent » Mon Aug 10, 2020 3:59 pm

kondi754 wrote:
Mon Aug 10, 2020 12:36 pm
You are too attached to stats and technical data, but there is no tank indestructible, even a Konigstiger could be destroyed relatively easily by a shot to the side armor at close range or the engine - sometimes it is enough to break the track and the tankers trying to repair it can be shot with the MG.
The advantage of the Stugs was the low, compact hull, which made them extremely difficult to detect and neutralize, besides, they were definitely cheap to produce and their 75mm gun was enough to destroy heavy tanks with it. "StuG vehicles destroyed more than 20,000 Soviet tanks and armored vehicles on the Eastern Front during the war, which gives them the best destruction result among all German armored vehicles." (Wikipedia)
We're attached to technical data (with a caveat of considering production to be part of that technical data), because It's really the only meaningful way to compare various vehicles. Hitting side or rear armor from a concealed position was definitely "a thing", but it doesn't tell us much. It could be done by virtually any anti-tank weapon to any armored vehicle. I.e. Tiger had 60mm of hull side armor and early T-34 (with F-34 76 mm gun) could penetrate that from 500m. So, a concealed T-34 could theoretically wreak havoc. However, it still wasn't a very effective vehicle to field against Tiger I.
Re: production numbers
But these numbers speak of all production in 1944, it's not like all these vehicles were at the front in the same time. There were maybe max 800-1000 heavy vehicles of all sorts in the same time on the whole eastern front. Divide this number by the number of kilometers of the eastern front in 1944, not even the entire front, but just take into account the length of the front in Karelia, in the Baltic countries, in East Prussia, Poland and Hungary, in other directions the number of tanks was very small. If you add it all, then divide the number of 1,000 heavy armored vehicles by the number of km, I assure you that it will not be even 1 heavy vehicle per km.
Same can be said about Pz IV. Total number produced (all of them, 1937-1945) was around 8200. Accounting for losses, there were not that many on any given battlefield in 1944. Not to mention that Germany had to spread them across multiple fronts.

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Re: Should Panthers be cheaper?

Post by kondi754 » Mon Aug 10, 2020 5:25 pm

And that's what I mean, instead of building new heavy tanks and self-propelled guns, it was better to build 16,000 Pz IV and let's say 20,000 StuGs to adequately saturate the all fronts in the most important operational directions and areas. But like I mentioned earlier, the most important was the lack of soldiers with adequate training to fight effectively 1944-45. Above all, the Germans lacked infantry to cover such enormous spaces

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Re: Should Panthers be cheaper?

Post by Retributarr » Mon Aug 10, 2020 10:06 pm

kondi754 wrote:
Mon Aug 10, 2020 5:25 pm
And that's what I mean, instead of building new heavy tanks and self-propelled guns, it was better to build 16,000 Pz IV and let's say 20,000 StuGs to adequately saturate the all fronts in the most important operational directions and areas. But like I mentioned earlier, the most important was the lack of soldiers with adequate training to fight effectively 1944-45. Above all, the Germans lacked infantry to cover such enormous spaces
The Germans were low on Fuel-Supplies... so what you are proposing is not possible!. In one article that i read... the article indicated that approximately one-third of the available panzers that could have been used in Operation-Barbarossa... were in-fact 'Not-Used' because of the low inventories of Fuel-Reserves.

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Re: Should Panthers be cheaper?

Post by kondi754 » Mon Aug 10, 2020 11:33 pm

Retributarr wrote:
Mon Aug 10, 2020 10:06 pm
kondi754 wrote:
Mon Aug 10, 2020 5:25 pm
And that's what I mean, instead of building new heavy tanks and self-propelled guns, it was better to build 16,000 Pz IV and let's say 20,000 StuGs to adequately saturate the all fronts in the most important operational directions and areas. But like I mentioned earlier, the most important was the lack of soldiers with adequate training to fight effectively 1944-45. Above all, the Germans lacked infantry to cover such enormous spaces
The Germans were low on Fuel-Supplies... so what you are proposing is not possible!. In one article that i read... the article indicated that approximately one-third of the available panzers that could have been used in Operation-Barbarossa... were in-fact 'Not-Used' because of the low inventories of Fuel-Reserves.
Germany before Barbarossa has limited fuel indeed due to its dependence on Soviet oil supplies, when the Berlin-Moscow relationship cooled down from the fall of 1940, these supplies were much smaller. (BTW, Wehrmacht conquered France with a help of Soviet oil and other raw materials and substantial political assistance)
Germany only had access to own resources (very small) and small oil fields in Austria and Hungary, from where they imported this raw material.
They didn't have access and regular oil supplies from Romania, because until 1940 there was a government favorable to the Allies, and later when Romanian fascists took power, they were under enormous pressure from Stalin. They were afraid to send larger amounts of raw materials to Germany because there was a high risk of a Soviet invasion similar to the occupation of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia and the eastern part of Romania.
The Third Reich secured these supplies only in the early spring of 1941, when deployed its troops to Romania to attack Yugoslavia.
The fuel situation in Germany in 1943 and even in 1944 was not the worst yet also by launching large-scale production of synthetic fuel. This situation worsened considerably after Romania went to the Allies side in the late summer of 1944.
This is also what these StuGs and Pz IV would be for, to defend the Romanian oil fields.
The Romanian army would fight much more willingly with 1000 StuGs and 500 Pz IV behind its backs, for example. The Romanian government would also be less willing to risk breaking its alliance with Germany in such a situation.
The last issue - very important in the situation of fuel limitation - Pz IV and StuG consumed 2-3 times less fuel than heavy tanks and other heavy vehicles

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Re: Should Panthers be cheaper?

Post by McGuba » Tue Aug 11, 2020 9:02 am

kondi754 wrote:
Mon Aug 10, 2020 12:36 pm
Of course I think of the late StuGs III and StuGs IV too, but I named these all vehicles "StuG IV" to distinguish them in the discussion from the early StuG III, which were used to support infantry but not to hunt enemy tanks.
Ah, ok. Maybe it would make more sense to refer to the late version of the StuG by StuG IIIG or simply StuG III with long 75 mm gun (as that would also include the StuG IIIF) to avoid confusion as the StuG IV was a different type.

there are a number of descriptions of how very well camouflaged StuGs in well-chosen defense positions massacred the waves of T-34, SU-85 or ISU-122
There is no doubt that well hidden AT guns could cause unpleasant surprises to the attacker. But the even cheaper towed 75 mm AT guns could do the same, so why not produce even more of those instead of StuG IIIGs and Pz.IVs? Anyway, problem was, the main gun of these, the 7.5 cm KwK 40 could not penetrate the frontal armour of the Soviet heavy tanks and SPGs with the normal ammunition, or only from a very short distance. So they had to wait until they showed their side meaning they had to let them close, sometimes too close. Tungsten ammunition was scarce and could also not penetrate the frontal armour of everything at longer distances. That's why they came up with the 7.5 cm KwK 42 which had a much longer barrel allowing it to penetrate the front armour of nearly all Allied heavy tanks at normal combat distances, even with the pletiful conventional ammunition. But the Pz.IV and the StuG III could not be equipped with this one for being too heavy and long. In the end they managed to put it on the Jagdpanzer IV, which was built on the chasses of the Pz.IV, but even in that case the long barrel caused problems as it made the vehicle nose heavy. So it was not an ideal solution. The Panther solved all these problems as they could be equipped with the long 7.5 cm L70 gun making them much more deadly then the StuG IIIG aginst the heavy tanks and SPGs.

IceSerpent wrote:
Mon Aug 10, 2020 2:56 pm
kondi754 wrote:
Mon Aug 10, 2020 11:24 am
You are running out of arguments, so do you start to use eristic tricks? :wink:
This was just an example, the Germans wouldn't need the technology from the 1960s, it was enough for them to upgrade this tank to the standard of the mid 1940s. :D
No tricks, just telling you that they actually tried to do it and failed. If you have an idea on how exactly they should have done it, please share. Not sure about the others, but I'd be interested.
As a matter of fact, I would also be interested to learn how could they upgrade the main gun of the Pz.IVH/J when they had no such superior gun available at the time that they could be equipped with.

kondi754 wrote:
Mon Aug 10, 2020 12:36 pm
in January 1945, the StuGs company supported by few Konigstigers neutralized the entire Soviet heavy tank regiment, destroying a dozen IS-2s, the vast majority of which were destroyed by the StuGs and then they retreated.
So even your source claims that the StuGs were supported by heavy Tiger IIs in this particular battle, it would be interesting to see whether they could have done the same without them or not. Unfortunately, we will never know. What we know that there were some very heavy Tiger IIs as well and they contributed to the destruction of the Soviet heavy tanks.

kondi754 wrote:
Mon Aug 10, 2020 12:36 pm
"StuG vehicles destroyed more than 20,000 Soviet tanks and armored vehicles on the Eastern Front during the war, which gives them the best destruction result among all German armored vehicles." (Wikipedia)
Sure that is probably true, but one must add that the StuG III with the long gun was also the most produced German AFV of the war with over 8500 made. I think it is fair to expect the most produced vehicle to destroy more enemy tanks than the others. I am not saying it was bad, it was indeed great and cost-effective, but by mid 1944 it was becoming obsolete as it could no longer penetrate the front armour of the enemy heavy tanks and SPGs with the normal ammunition at normal combat ranges.

kondi754 wrote:
Mon Aug 10, 2020 12:36 pm
One important thing at start, it was the Allies who began building heavy armored vehicles in response to the Tigers and Panthers but not vice versa.
In June 1941 the Soviets already had hundreds of KV heavy tanks with heavy armour. The British Matilda II of the time also had a fairly heavy armour, heavier than any contemporary German tank. These entered service well before the Tiger and Panther so the Allies were ahead of Germany when it comes to heavily armoured vehicles. The Germans responded to the KV and T-34 threat by building Tigers, Panthers and upgunning the existing older types as a stop-gap measure until more of the new types become available. Then the Soviets obviously had to respond to this and also upgun their existing types and create new ones. Had the Germans only upgunned Pz.IV tanks and use StuG IIIGs the Soviets would most likely have improved their own AFVs as well in response. Whether the IS-2 and the others were made in that case or not, again, we will never know, but there was a natural arms race anyway in which both sides tried to build better armoured vehicles than the enemy with bigger guns, so I think yes. The IS-2 and ISU types were not completely new designs, they were based on the existing KV tank so their design and production did not require immense time and financial investment. It was possible to make these fairly easily because the Soviets had a useful heavy tank at the outbreak of the war while the Germans did not.

kondi754 wrote:
Mon Aug 10, 2020 12:36 pm
There were maybe max 800-1000 heavy vehicles of all sorts in the same time on the whole eastern front. Divide this number by the number of kilometers of the eastern front in 1944, not even the entire front, but just take into account the length of the front in Karelia, in the Baltic countries, in East Prussia, Poland and Hungary, in other directions the number of tanks was very small. If you add it all, then divide the number of 1,000 heavy armored vehicles by the number of km, I assure you that it will not be even 1 heavy vehicle per km.
This calculation does not make a lot of sense, the Soviets were not silly, they did not distribute their heavy tanks equally along the whole eastern front. Usually they were heavily concentrated spearheading the main offensives to maximise their effect. This calculation only shows that compared to the length of the eastern front heavy tanks were relatively few, which is true. But the same is true for medium tanks, artillery, and even infantry since the distances were indeed vast.
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Re: Should Panthers be cheaper?

Post by IceSerpent » Tue Aug 11, 2020 2:30 pm

kondi754 wrote:
Mon Aug 10, 2020 5:25 pm
And that's what I mean, instead of building new heavy tanks and self-propelled guns, it was better to build 16,000 Pz IV and let's say 20,000 StuGs to adequately saturate the all fronts in the most important operational directions and areas.
It's not that easy to do, because this would require re-tooling factories to produce those vehicles. Germany would have to start doing it way before everything started to go sideways.

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Re: Should Panthers be cheaper?

Post by kondi754 » Tue Aug 11, 2020 5:11 pm

@McGuba, IceSperpent
1. This is how I imagine how Germany should wage war in 1943-45, picking defensive positions in convenient places and setting up ambushes for incoming Soviet tanks using AT guns, StuGs and light/medium tank destroyers (Hetzers nad Jagdpanzers) but you have to admit, that StuGs are definitely more mobile and flexible in defense than towed AT guns. :wink:
Of course, Hitler made this very often impossible by firm orders to hold positions, declaring cities as fortress instead of the flexible defense that Manstein had already proposed in the spring of 1943.
2. Of course, some decisions were made, factories were adapted to the production of heavy vehicles, but I believe that despite this, the Germans could and should at least limit their production, and use the free production capacity to make components, parts for other lighter vehicles or maybe it could be used to design and production new gun with better parameters, to be mounted in the Pz IV and StuG. However, I also think that the production of StuGs and Pz IV absolutely couldn't be stopped.
3. If the armament of these vehicles was too weak in some situations... (I have my doubts), although I think you underestimate the training of the StuGs crews, and the Pz IV was used by very experienced tankers until the end of the war, unlike heavy tanks, which were often handed over to tankers fresh after training at the Panzerwaffe center. On the other hand, you also need to take into account the generally lower level of training of the Soviet tank crews, which very often couldn't use their advantage on a bettlefield and pushed themselves under the barrels Panzerwaffe experts
4. When it comes to heavy tanks number per km, I realize that the war is different :D - I only wanted to visualize more of the huge area of ​​warfare where even the USSR was unable to produce enough tanks and had to concentrate them on selected sections.
Outside of these short stretches, most of the troops were regular truckless infantry, supported by 76mm horse-drawn guns and some 45mm AT guns. In these secondary sections of the front, the best that the Soviets had at their disposal was the cavalry supported by light tanks and SU-76M light self-propelled guns.

But even by concentrating them on selected sections of the front in order to break through, a large number of heavy tanks were eliminated by the Germans already when breaking the primal/main defense, because the Soviets had to put in their armored reserves on the first or second day of fighting to break through the main defense line. Tank armies participated in breaking the defense-line in every great Soviet operation, so after the breakthrough only selected tank corps, which had been in reserve so far, were sent to the enemy's operational space.
These were rather Shermans and T-34/85 supported by ISU-122, SU-85 and SU-100 later.

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Re: Should Panthers be cheaper?

Post by Horseman » Tue Aug 11, 2020 6:54 pm

IceSerpent wrote:
Tue Aug 11, 2020 2:30 pm
kondi754 wrote:
Mon Aug 10, 2020 5:25 pm
And that's what I mean, instead of building new heavy tanks and self-propelled guns, it was better to build 16,000 Pz IV and let's say 20,000 StuGs to adequately saturate the all fronts in the most important operational directions and areas.
It's not that easy to do, because this would require re-tooling factories to produce those vehicles. Germany would have to start doing it way before everything started to go sideways.
I think you missed the point. The argument is that They should never had retooled the factories to Panthers/tigers in the first place.

It's interesting though how many "What they should have done" theorys are made about Germany in WW2. And we'll never really know if any of the choices would have even made that much difference.

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Re: Should Panthers be cheaper?

Post by Retributarr » Tue Aug 11, 2020 8:40 pm

What could have?... What should have?... What might have?:

Well to start with!... "What could have made a difference!".
***Securing Tungsten and other strategic metals from Spain with or without "Franco's" willingness or blessing would help maintain the 'Anti-Tank' units in Russia as to their capability to destroy Russian-Tanks in large numbers. Access to 'Gibraltar' would now be a much... much easier and simpler operation/task... to keep the British and the Allies out of the Mediterranean... thereby now drastically increasing the viability of "Rommel's Afrika Corps in the taking of Cairo and Egypt and the Suez-Canal!... as well as beyond and into the Caucasus. The 'Balkans' would no-longer have been a major issue and time waster now without British-Involvement [Operation "Barbarossa" could now start much sooner!.]. Defending Spain from Allied invasion would now... however have to be a major paramount concern and serious undertaking.

What should have!... Made a difference!:
Hitler NOT 'Declaring-War-On-The-United States' as soon or as early as he did... could have had a big impact on buying more time to settle matters before the U.S. would have then gotten involved. Instead of hindering the development and/or even trying to re-purpose the "Me-262" interceptor jets as well as their introduction into the Luftwaffe'... but instead they took the decision to favour or maintain full-throttle production on existing less leading edge or effective air unit types to no great outcome!. If on the other hand the acceleration of the development of the 'Me262 Jet... if the effort was put into it... could have resulted in an outcome of 'Crushing/Obliterating' the huge waves of bombers flying over Germany.

What might have!... Made a difference!:
Just my personal 'Opinion'... but I would have concentrated my 'main-efforts' on immediately taking the Caucasus... [With or without Rommel's assistance!... better with it... If at all possible.] … securing the 'Oil-Fields'... then bringing them back into full-operation... as well as setting up an impregnable defence perimeter/zone around the region to keep the Russians and other Allied interference out of the way. Russian effectiveness would now be so severely degraded to the point where they would no-longer be able to mount strong offensive and defensive actions or capabilities that they did before!... because now... 80% of their 'Oil-Supplies'... would now not be available to them!.
Last edited by Retributarr on Tue Aug 11, 2020 9:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Should Panthers be cheaper?

Post by IceSerpent » Tue Aug 11, 2020 9:12 pm

Horseman wrote:
Tue Aug 11, 2020 6:54 pm
I think you missed the point. The argument is that They should never had retooled the factories to Panthers/tigers in the first place.
A lot of Panthers were produced at the MAN factory in Nuremberg, which was bombed repeatedly by Allies. On top of that the transmission issues of the initial Panther design stemmed from lack of equipment for making planetary gears, so at the very least they would have to acquire / produce that stuff first in order to make extra gear boxes for additional Pz IVs. If you go just by overall production numbers, 8.2k Pz IVs + 6k Panthers + 1.3k Tigers barely make the goal of 16k (still 500 short, but who is counting...lol). That leaves nothing for extra StUGs though.
So, producing just 16k Pz IVs was probably possible, at the expense of not having any Tiger I or Panther tanks. Making 20k StuGs on top of that would definitely require re-tooling of quite a few extra factories, probably on occupied territories.

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Re: Should Panthers be cheaper?

Post by adiekmann » Wed Aug 12, 2020 2:12 am

Horseman wrote:
Tue Aug 11, 2020 6:54 pm
IceSerpent wrote:
Tue Aug 11, 2020 2:30 pm
kondi754 wrote:
Mon Aug 10, 2020 5:25 pm
And that's what I mean, instead of building new heavy tanks and self-propelled guns, it was better to build 16,000 Pz IV and let's say 20,000 StuGs to adequately saturate the all fronts in the most important operational directions and areas.
It's not that easy to do, because this would require re-tooling factories to produce those vehicles. Germany would have to start doing it way before everything started to go sideways.
I think you missed the point. The argument is that They should never had retooled the factories to Panthers/tigers in the first place.

It's interesting though how many "What they should have done" theorys are made about Germany in WW2. And we'll never really know if any of the choices would have even made that much difference.
The Army should have assassinated Hitler before the war even started! There's a "for sure! "

Actually...not really and a surprisingly many attempts were made (unsuccessfully) even before the Czech crisis. Who knows if another nutball would have taken his place? Historians I know first hand generally do not like to speculate, at least not deeply, into "what ifs." Sure, they think it can be fun but it is otherwise pointless because you cannot really know after a certain point what would have happened next. Especially a couple of domino drops down the line, so to speak. (It's fun listening to them make fun of political science professors for related reasons too! :D )

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Re: Should Panthers be cheaper?

Post by adiekmann » Wed Aug 12, 2020 2:58 am

Retributarr wrote:
Tue Aug 11, 2020 8:40 pm
What could have?... What should have?... What might have?:

Well to start with!... "What could have made a difference!".
***Securing Tungsten and other strategic metals from Spain with or without "Franco's" willingness or blessing would help maintain the 'Anti-Tank' units in Russia as to their capability to destroy Russian-Tanks in large numbers. Access to 'Gibraltar' would now be a much... much easier and simpler operation/task... to keep the British and the Allies out of the Mediterranean... thereby now drastically increasing the viability of "Rommel's Afrika Corps in the taking of Cairo and Egypt and the Suez-Canal!... as well as beyond and into the Caucasus. The 'Balkans' would no-longer have been a major issue and time waster now without British-Involvement [Operation "Barbarossa" could now start much sooner!.]. Defending Spain from Allied invasion would now... however have to be a major paramount concern and serious undertaking.

What should have!... Made a difference!:
Hitler NOT 'Declaring-War-On-The-United States' as soon or as early as he did... could have had a big impact on buying more time to settle matters before the U.S. would have then gotten involved. Instead of hindering the development and/or even trying to re-purpose the "Me-262" interceptor jets as well as their introduction into the Luftwaffe'... but instead they took the decision to favour or maintain full-throttle production on existing less leading edge or effective air unit types to no great outcome!. If on the other hand the acceleration of the development of the 'Me262 Jet... if the effort was put into it... could have resulted in an outcome of 'Crushing/Obliterating' the huge waves of bombers flying over Germany.

What might have!... Made a difference!:
Just my personal 'Opinion'... but I would have concentrated my 'main-efforts' on immediately taking the Caucasus... [With or without Rommel's assistance!... better with it... If at all possible.] … securing the 'Oil-Fields'... then bringing them back into full-operation... as well as setting up an impregnable defence perimeter/zone around the region to keep the Russians and other Allied interference out of the way. Russian effectiveness would now be so severely degraded to the point where they would no-longer be able to mount strong offensive and defensive actions or capabilities that they did before!... because now... 80% of their 'Oil-Supplies'... would now not be available to them!.
All good points, and since we're playing "What if..." and I find it fun too :D , allow me to throw another log onto the fire.

How about if Hitler listened to FM von Kleist's recommendation that they invade the Soviet Union as liberators, not...like racist supremacists who wanted to murder everyone they deemed as "Untermenschen." Soviet sources acknowledge that their brutal treatment of Soviet POWs and the population in occupied areas was the best thing that could have happened to them. Without it, the average Soviet soldier would not have fought. I mean why else fight for an a*hole regime like Stalin's? And if you were a Soviet soldier, would you surrender if you knew that that was a likely death sentence anyway? Plus then they will just murder or enslave your family were they to fall into the enemy's control? Of course not! So the Soviet soldier wasn't crazy or didn't care if he lived or died, he really had no choice. Man...we love to discuss this stuff and play a game about it, but we are all fortunate that we did not live in any of the major European countries during those years. (Sorry, but I am assuming that there's nobody THAT OLD on this forum! :lol: )

But in 1941, this would have gone against every bit of Nazi doctrine. I watched a few months ago on YouTube a lecture by a military historian where he discussed if Hitler was dumb, or insane, and the usual instinctive adjectives that first come to mind. He argued no. However, he went on to say that there are countless documented examples of where, say a General, would come and present his case for something. Hitler would listen respectfully and often even agree with the general but then do the contrary nonetheless! Why? His point was whenever there was a conflict between a good economic/strategic/etc. choice, and one of Nazi ideology, he ALWAYS went with the ideological choice. And that was his undoing.

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