Antitank Guns

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fgiannet
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Antitank Guns

Post by fgiannet » Thu Sep 16, 2021 8:26 am

I know this is a little late in the game but it seems, in what I have read, antitank guns were responsible for a disproportionately high number of tank kills. This includes the “door knockers” (although it is more dramatic to speak of them getting crushed by the tanks they were meant to destroy). They were able to achieve this by extensive use of the ambush. There are many accounts of German tanks engaging the enemy and then withdrawing. When the allied tankers pursued they would run into the German antitank gun ambushes. The Germans did this to the Soviets, British, and US. It was a standard/intelligent tactic that is rarely spoken about. I have read two books written by antitank gunners and they speak, in detail, about setting up ambushes as well as how much combat they were seeing because of their MOS (one battalion of antitank gunners among 9 battalions of infantry).

There is a complaint that towed antitank guns are not useful in the game and this has been addressed somewhat with the camouflage trait. I think antitank guns should attack the close defense value when someone runs into them in ambush (you probably can’t use camouflage in conjunction with this change).

It will be devastating to the hard target but the main goal of a towed antitank gun was to let their targets get within close effective range without being spotted. That was when they were most effective and would cause disproportionate casualties. Then the player is incentivized to utilize them in a historical fashion (trying to get the enemy tanks to run into them), a player could get good use out of one battalion of antitank guns deployed historically (so you would always want one around), and even the lowly 3.7mm Pak-36 could be useful. It would also fix the strange situation where it is better to have a tiger tank get ambushed by 3 star conscripts instead of 3 star 76mm guns.

We have all heard about 88s being needed at Arras, etc. and the importance of close assaults by the infantry on the Eastern Front but I think the utility of towed antitank guns has been downplayed historically (along with the excellent Soviet antitank rifle). War is about more than shell diameters. Having said this I am sure I am missing things.

Is there a simple change I could make to a file that would implement this?

Thank you

goose_2
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Re: Antitank Guns

Post by goose_2 » Thu Sep 16, 2021 1:48 pm

fgiannet wrote:
Thu Sep 16, 2021 8:26 am
I have read two books written by antitank gunners and they speak, in detail, about setting up ambushes as well as how much combat they were seeing because of their MOS (one battalion of antitank gunners among 9 battalions of infantry).
I would be interested in knowing what these 2 books were.
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captainjack
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Re: Antitank Guns

Post by captainjack » Fri Sep 17, 2021 3:42 am

One source is Guns against tanks
http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarl ... 00004.html

There's a few good accounts of French AT gunners experiences during Fall Rot (the 25mm was very good - easy to conceal and with a good rate of fire because of the small shells). I can't recall sources right now but work a few searches - I suspect if you can read French you'll find even more.

Also worth a look
https://www.britishpathe.com/video/the- ... f-the-guns
It shows some people shifting guns around including unloading from the bed of trucks (not sure if capable of firing from the truck but gives an idea of how fast you can shift from portee to ground deployed.

And of course YouTube searches and forgotten weapons have some good illustrations of guns being fired which can give an idea of how easy (or not) this is.

fgiannet
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Re: Antitank Guns

Post by fgiannet » Sat Sep 18, 2021 2:06 am

goose_2 wrote:
Thu Sep 16, 2021 1:48 pm
fgiannet wrote:
Thu Sep 16, 2021 8:26 am
I have read two books written by antitank gunners and they speak, in detail, about setting up ambushes as well as how much combat they were seeing because of their MOS (one battalion of antitank gunners among 9 battalions of infantry).
I would be interested in knowing what these 2 books were.
The first book was heavily edited and pretty conventional. I am sorry but the title escapes me. I was kind of hoping someone else would bring up the title while expanding on the subject (this is a well read crowd).

The second book is seared into my memory. It is called:

Eastern Inferno: The Journals of a German Panzerjäger on the Eastern Front, 1941–43

It is the largely unedited journal of Hans Roth. There are a lot of unvarnished details in that book which I have not found elsewhere. I do believe, if my poor memory is functioning properly, that he even sketched a plan for an ambush they were going to spring on the Soviets (in order to get them in a cross fire between his guns and some Stugs). It was such an established tactic that this soldier, not an officer, understood the exact intention of what they were trying to accomplish.

The book is available on Hoopla if your library offers that.

I would really like to know your thoughts on it if you read or have read it.

goose_2
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Re: Antitank Guns

Post by goose_2 » Mon Sep 20, 2021 8:19 pm

fgiannet wrote:
Sat Sep 18, 2021 2:06 am
goose_2 wrote:
Thu Sep 16, 2021 1:48 pm
fgiannet wrote:
Thu Sep 16, 2021 8:26 am
I have read two books written by antitank gunners and they speak, in detail, about setting up ambushes as well as how much combat they were seeing because of their MOS (one battalion of antitank gunners among 9 battalions of infantry).
I would be interested in knowing what these 2 books were.
The first book was heavily edited and pretty conventional. I am sorry but the title escapes me. I was kind of hoping someone else would bring up the title while expanding on the subject (this is a well read crowd).

The second book is seared into my memory. It is called:

Eastern Inferno: The Journals of a German Panzerjäger on the Eastern Front, 1941–43

It is the largely unedited journal of Hans Roth. There are a lot of unvarnished details in that book which I have not found elsewhere. I do believe, if my poor memory is functioning properly, that he even sketched a plan for an ambush they were going to spring on the Soviets (in order to get them in a cross fire between his guns and some Stugs). It was such an established tactic that this soldier, not an officer, understood the exact intention of what they were trying to accomplish.

The book is available on Hoopla if your library offers that.

I would really like to know your thoughts on it if you read or have read it.
Oh man that sounds like a great one. Thanks for adding another great book to my list of must reads.
I will probably finish Forgotten Soldier tonight.

That is a definite must read. Best memoir I have ever read, which is saying something because Soldat was the best before this one, both books are recent reads for daddy and started my love for memoirs. I have read them before, but nothing near as good or compelling as both of these books. So much material so little brain.
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proline
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Re: Antitank Guns

Post by proline » Wed Oct 27, 2021 11:24 pm

fgiannet wrote:
Thu Sep 16, 2021 8:26 am
Is there a simple change I could make to a file that would implement this?
There is not. You see, towed anti-tank guns already are implemented correctly. They easily defeat tanks, especially if the tank attacks them, and they absolutely destroy tank destroyers that can't hit back against soft targets. The problem is not their stats but rather that, as in WW2, towed AT are only good on the defensive. Now in WW2, one side was on the defensive at every battle. In PzC, you're on offense something like 90% of the time. That's the reason they are weak in PzC. You would need to write a much more defensive campaign. But defense isn't fun. It's a slow-moving static grind. Which is why defensive scenarios are rare even in the late war GC when the Germans were on the defensive.

fgiannet
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Re: Antitank Guns

Post by fgiannet » Sat Nov 20, 2021 10:34 am

I think you have astutely analyzed the question and accurately articulated the response. I have never really played with the Wehrmacht antitank guns but it looks like they are very effective (with the 3.7 as an exception). There was a pretty big difference between the 5cm and the 7.5cm historically but not so much in the game. The main thing that sticks out to me was a time I maneuvered a Soviet 76mm AT into an ambush and realized things would have been better if I used my conscripts instead (because the Soviet AT is shooting at ground defense instead of close defense). An ambush should lead, according to what I was taught in the Army, approximately 50% losses for the enemy but the AT guns I have gotten to ambush the enemy (primarily US and Soviet) lead to less losses then if I had used infantry. That seems odd to me. If infantry is effective because the enemy is close then AT guns should be even more so. Things also depend on how close the engagement happens. You would think an ambush happens at much less than 500 yards but it is just a game and the rules are whatever the makers want them to be. Thanks for answering my question (“it can not be easily changed”).

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